Wave goodbye

November 22, 2010

Pop and Death go together well; something the X Factor fails to recognise. Hell, If Aidan had done the right thing and sang something by a-ha he’d still be living in the house and the fun imposter, the man in the Scream mask, chess-losing Wagner, he’d be out in the cold, looking to cross the Styx.

Pop, Death, Misery. Even when it sounds like Pop it’s usally not. Take Forever by Roy Wood. Forever… is it going to be something good that’s forever Roy?

And I wonder who she’ll be
If she’ll put the hurt on me
Forever, Forever.

Seems not. I bought Forever in 1973, when I was 11. But it was always the B side that interested me more. What was an 11 year old supposed to make of a track called Music to Commit Suicide By? And I wonder… has anyone ever committed suicide to this piece of music? I would guess so. I knew as an 11 year old, possibly introduced to the notion of suicide for the first time, that it would always be my first choice. I’m still here, so possibly sometimes Pop is just Pop and not Death.

But it lingers doesn’t it? Proper pop never strays far from it. In the midst of life we are in death etcetera.

Last night I saw the Kings of Death Pop.

To some a-ha are all cheekbones and Take on Me. Well, that’s just fine. But come on, don’t be afraid, sing along:

Take on me (Take on me)
Take me on (Take on me)
I’ll be gone
In a day or two

Gone? It’s not all cheekbones. There’s a skull beneath.

Morten’s always been troubled. I’ve read the interviews. Those cheekbones, they’re only like that because the skull is pushing its way out. He’s thin-skinned. It’s a fine line between this and this.

Don’t think of a-ha as just pop. And banish any thoughts of guilty pleasures (a foul concept that should be reserved solely for the liking of abominable acts against mankind). a-ha have, for the past 25 years, been the Kings of Teen Misery Pop. Here’s just six songs:

  • I’ve Been Losing You
  • Dark is the Night For All
  • Lie Down in Darkness
  • The Sun Never Shone That Day
  • Forever Not Yours
  • Shadowside

They’re the jolly ones.

Last night, at Trent Arena in Nottingham, they were glorious. And they’re going. After 25 years they are calling it a day. It’s true! This is their last ever tour. I believe them. Get a ticket. There’s still a few dates left: Sheffield tomorrow, then Cardiff, Bournemouth, London, before it all ends in Oslo on the 4th December. Go! They’ll be gone, in a day or two.

And if you’re still not convinced by the death thing, please watch and enjoy their 2000 single Velvet.

Goodbye a-ha. And thank you.


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