A-ha Tapping Into Its Revolutionary Past
The '80s synth pop trio with the weird name, A-ha, has released a 4K version of their classic video "Take On Me." The video, which was part live action, part pencil animation, was played heavily on MTV in 1984, when it was first released.
The technique is called rotoscoping, and it was a big deal at the time to see it in action in a popular music video. A-ha released a second version of the video in 1985 for their debut album Hunting High and Low.
Rolling Stone writes that according to the press release for this remastering, music videos from that nascent period in MTV history were edited in tape format. But this new version was restored from the original 35mm film.
The band also shared a short clip of the video to compare the improvements, though sometimes it's difficult to tell what's what, at least until the last couple of frames, which show lead singer Morten Harket restored to all his colorful glory.
"Take On Me" was a top hit on the Billboard Hot 100 back then, and stayed nestled in regular rotation on MTV for quite a while. Though it's been 35 years, its unusual visuals have kept it running strong on YouTube as well, where it's poised to reach 1 billion views.
Other videos that have kept the fire include Guns N' Roses "November Rain," "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana.
A-ha's 4K release was only one part of the band's rollout of improvements to the legacy of "Take On Me."
Last month they released a docuseries about the video and song. And in October, the video got more airplay after the president tweeted a video that used rotoscoping similar to A-ha's version. Trump's version was not well-received.
At the time, Magne Furuholmen, A-ha keyboardist and co-songwriter, spoke out about Trump's version and the controversy it stoked.
“You want to be careful about deciding who’s allowed to do what with what you put out in the world. …We make our music for everybody. We didn’t intend to make our music part of a divisive campaign and, all things equal, would have preferred it not to have been."
The Last Word
“You write a song in your youth and you don’t write for a particular group of people one way or another; you write it for everyone. But then stuff like this happens," Furuholmen went on.
Speaking of Trump's copycat version, Furuholmen said, “Even blind pigs can find truffles.”