Wednesday, July 7, 2010

a-ha: "Scoundrel Days"

Now is the perfect time to discover one of the great, undervalued albums of the 80s.   a-ha is mostly known in the US for "Take On Me", but they've had an incredible run of hits internationally.   They recently decided to call it quits - they are touring, releasing a 2-disc compilation, and just put out their first 2 albums in deluxe, 2-disc remastered form.

"Scoundrel Days" is a brilliant collection of 80s pop - dark, atmospheric, edgy and strongly melodic.  The songwriting and production is top notch, and it benefits mightily from the new remastering.  It sounds fuller and more alive than the original pressing, and I've been hearing details I had missed previously.   Great to hear this classic record in such terrific sound.

And if you're a fan of 80s pop at all, this is an album worth checking out.    It was a flop in the US.  First single "I've Been Losing You" didn't catch on.  Only one single, "Cry Wolf," had any amount of American success, but not enough to make the Top 40.  "Scoundrel Days" spawned 3 hits internationally (the 2 above plus the wonderful hyper-dramatic "Manhattan Skyline," and has remained a fan favorite.   I was a huge fan of this album from the early days, and it's remained one of my favorites of the decade.   

No question, a-ha's best album - but many of their others are stellar as well.   I'll be picking up the deluxe reissue of their debut, "Hunting High and Low."   And hopefully later albums like "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" will be reissued.

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