Thursday, July 1, 2010

Norwegians on ice

Everyone's fjordsome threesome, a-ha, have been busy beavers. Their farewell tour has been packing venues to the rafters all around the globe. They're about to release deluxe editions of their first two longplayers, "Hunting High And Low" and "Scoundrel Days".

There's even a new single about to hit the "shops". It's called "Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)" which will be available as a digital download on July 5. Then, on July 30, they will release it as a CD single in Germany. Snap your grubby, little hands on a copy of it ASAP because it's sure to be a tough one to find.

"Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)" is also the lone, new track featured on "25", their forthcoming, career retrospective. The double CD set will be released in Norway on July 19, in Germany on August 6, and in the UK on October 4. It is their third hits compilation following "Headlines And Deadlines - The Hits Of a-ha" from 1992 and "The Singles: 1984-2004 which was first released six years ago outside the US. For some odd reason, the latter just received an American release this month.

The tracklisting for "25" includes 33 of their 36 singles lovingly placed beside six of the band's favorite album tracks. The missing tracks are either remixes or live recordings which would have meant three songs would have been included twice.

There are a few surprises. For instance, the second mix of "The Blood That Moves The Body" from 1992, which was released to promote their first greatest hits collection, makes its first appearance on an a-ha album. Its inclusion is favored here over the original single version from 1988.

It's nice to have the single versions of their most recent releases, "Nothing Is Keeping You Here" and "Shadowside", which differ greatly from the ones that appear on "Foot Of The Mountain".

However, it isn't clear from the tracklisting if "Dark Is The Night For All" and "Angel In The Snow" are the single versions. Both tracks were retitled as "Dark As The Night" and "Angel", respectively, when they were issued as singles from their parent album, "Memorial Beach", back in 1993.

Lastly, the original 7" single of "Take On Me", which appears on CD for the first time on the deluxified edition of "Hunting High And Low", is missing from "25". I can certainly live without it on this new retrospective now that it's finally available in a beautifully remastered bundle of zeros and ones.

The following is the tracklisting for "25" in its full glory. Morten, Mags and Paul are ending on high note, indeed!

CD 1

1. Take On Me
2. The Blue Sky
3. The Sun Always Shines On T.V.
4. Train Of Thought (7” Remix)
5. Hunting High And Low (7” Remix)
6. I've Been Losing You
7. Scoundrel Days
8. The Swing Of Things
9. Cry Wolf
10. Manhattan Skyline (Edit Version)
11. The Living Daylights
12. Stay On These Roads
13. Touchy! (UK DJ Edit)
14. There's Never A Forever Thing
15. You Are The One (7" Remix)
16. The Blood That Moves The Body (Two-Time Gun Remix)
17. Crying In The Rain
18. Early Morning
19. Slender Frame
20. I Call Your Name

CD 2

1. Move To Memphis (Single Version)
2. Dark Is The Night For All
3. Cold As Stone (Remix)
4. Angel In The Snow (Edit)
5. Shapes That Go Together
6. Summer Moved On
7. Minor Earth Major Sky (Niven’s Radio Edit)
8. The Sun Never Shone That Day (Radio Edit)
9. Velvet
10. Forever Not Yours
11. Lifelines
12. Did Anyone Approach You?
13. Celice
14. Analogue (All I Want)
15. Cosy Prisons (Radio Mix)
16. Foot Of The Mountain
17. Nothing Is Keeping You Here (Single Remix)
18. Shadowside (Single Edit)
19. Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)

Note to trainspotters, the versions of "Touchy", "Cold As Stone" and "The Sun Never Shone That Day" on "25" mark the first time they are being made commercially available.


  1. A digital version is now available in the US, apparently only at iTunes.

    Pluses -- it adds eleven videos ("Take On Me," "Sun Always Shines," "Train of Thought," "Hunting High And Low," "Cry Wolf," "I'll Be Losing You," "Stay On These Roads," "Crying In The Rain," "Dark Is The Night For All," "Summer Moved On," and "Butterfly Butterfly.") It also adds the Steve Osborne version of "Butterfly Butterfly."

    Minuses -- it deletes the tracks from _Analogue_.

  2. Am still obsessing over the Move To Memphis and Dark Is The Night videos. That is all.