11 January, 2022

a-ha - ranking highs and lows - Part 4: Rank 75-51

Welcome back to Ranking Highs and Lows, the countdown of all a-ha songs from the worst to the best. If you come here after reading the first three blog posts counting down from 147 to 76 then we truly applaud and appreciate you! If on the other hand you've decided to skip the bottom half and only join us here then we welcome you on this part of the journey as well but also urge you to check out the previous posts. Maybe some of your personal highs and lows can be found there!

We remain committed to reaching the top, much like a-ha did in the years before the breakthrough. But unlike a-ha we have no plans of taking long breaks between releases so with this blog post we now move into the top 75, where you might find a couple of surprises or some of your own favorites. And that's the beauty of it: There's plenty of a-ha for all of us whether you like the early days or the newer material best, whether you're a synthie or a rocker, a ballad lover or an up-tempo appreciator.

As always before we continue the list do take the opportunity to also check out the countdown in podcast format. Here you'll hear more discussion about each of the songs, arguments of the friendly and constructive kind (we're not a-ha after all so we keep it nice), and basically just a couple of a-ha fans having a good time once again discussing their favorite band like so many times before. Just look up 'a-ha - Ranking Highs and Lows' on your favorite podcast app, and hopefully that should sort you out.

And in case you need a little reminder or an introduction to the Ranking Highs and Lows project you can find it here. Or simply head over to our Facebook page and leave a comment there. We'd love to hear what you think!

And with that let's move into top 75, something a-ha has actually done 22 times so far on the UK singles chart. The last time was with Foot Of The Mountain, which reached number 66 on the UK singles chart in August 2009 but only made it to number 88 on our countdown. What's maybe more interesting is that we'll encounter a UK top 10 single very soon... Come see! 


Start The Simulator
Foot Of The Mountain (2009)

JP: For me it's one of the absolute highlights from the Foot Of The Mountain album, probably even the highlight. The lyrics are based on transcripts from the Apollo 13 mission in 1970, and it's incredible how much emotion is hidden in those technical terms when set to a beautiful melody. Cold, desolate, claustrophobic with a strange sense of optimism hidden below the whole thing. "You're in control now / Now you're on your own" sounds both deeply depressing and strangely uplifting at the same time. Possibly Morten's best vocal performance on the record, and one of his most moving overall. The final two minutes of the song are the most exciting on the whole album. We can't cram 75 songs into top 50, but it feels weird not to acknowledge the quality of this song with a higher rank.

JSS: Another special lyric by Pål that is out there - so to speak. It is taken from a spaceship manual, and somehow it works perfectly. The mood of the song is great, and again it does not sound like anything that you have heard before, which to me is a sign of quality. I once tried to play it on guitar, and that is not an easy task. Morten sounds great. Another high point on the album.


Monday Mourning (demo) 
The Demo Tapes (2004) / Hunting High And Low Deluxe Edition (2010)

JSS: I used to like this one a lot. It is maybe going a little over board, but is has a nice atmosphere and the melody is good. It is slow and does not hit the level of other comparable songs, which will come higher on the list. One good thing it did for me is that it spawned a great idea for a funeral parlor named "Good Mourning".

JP: An early demo and a ballad packed with atmosphere. Heartbreakingly beautiful vocals from Morten who seems to explore his capabilities at this early stage of a-ha's career before fame hit. Beautiful imagery in the lyrics: "Monday Mourning / Tears are falling / Down like fluid pain". The song wouldn't have fitted on either Hunting High and Low or Scoundrel Days and has more in common with songs like Driftwood. Maybe there should have been an album between the first two? Or what would have happened if songs like Monday Mourning and other of those dark, atmospheric demos had formed the basis of the the third a-ha album? It would have sounded very different from Stay On These Roads, that's for sure!


All The Planes That Come In On The Quiet (demo)
Hunting High And Low Deluxe Edition (2010)

JP: Atmospheric and experimental ballad. First recorded by Pål and Magne's old band Bridges (or rather at that time, Poem) but here given the early a-ha treatment. It points in many different directions and underlines that even in the early days a-ha were never (just) about searching for the big hit. Not as polished in the production as some of the other demos but feels like an important piece. I'm not sure it should have been placed higher than Monday Mourning, which is ranked 74, but it's a compromise I'm happy to make as both are excellent songs.

JSS: I used to have a debate with a couple of English colleagues about the title. It turns out that it does make sense in English. Well, I love this song. One of the best demos, and it should have been higher on the list in my book. With a little more work this could have been included on one of the first two albums.


Analogue (2005)

Analogue (All I Want) cd single cover - in a digital layout

JSS: I thought that Analogue would bring a-ha back on top of the charts all over the world. I liked this song so much. The intro, the verse everything. Somehow it has lost a little over the years. And I like the demo version Minor Key Sonata better, where the chorus was kept more down. It goes to show that I like Pål Waaktaar-Savoy better than I like Max Martin. And that is comforting to know when I go to bed at night!

JP: A concert favorite thanks to the guitar riff and the audience clap-along. A great pop song after Max Martin sprinkled his magic pop dust over the track and an example of when a-ha (or the record company) went directly for the commercial impact, which to be honest feels a bit cynical. The main difference from the original take on the song, Minor Key Sonata, apart from the general production is the new soaring chorus. Unfortunately the massive instrumentation in the chorus almost drowns out Morten's voice which I think maybe prevented it from being an even bigger hit. Still, it put a-ha in the top 10 on the UK singles chart for the first time since 1988. It's undoubtedly a strong song, but it has lost some of its shine over time and I wouldn't object if it was taken off the concert setlist for now.


There's A Reason For It
Lifelines (2002)

JP: Another Pål composition that almost certainly must also have been considered for Savoy. That is not a bad thing per se considering the high quality of Savoy's output, but it does take some of the a-ha feeling away. To me it's a prime example of how there were a lot of good songs on Lifelines but a real lack of coherence. Never a strong favorite of mine I've grown to appreciate the song more over time, but I prefer the version with the "A Break in the Clouds" chorus, which is included on the Lifelines Deluxe Edition. Great, contemplating, introspective lyrics in the verses as well as a jab at modern-day throwaway culture: "And everything is all too fast / Just add water, nothing's built to last".

JSS: A clear favorite of mine on the Lifelines album. I know that Pål thinks it sounds like a demo, but I like the analogue feel to it. The chords are great with the Gmaj7 and the lyrics in the second chorus "When your colleagues can't recall your name / Time and time again / There's a reason for it". Some kind of biographical story, and it pains me too that Pål is not known as well as The Edge.


Cast In Steel
Cast In Steel (2015)

Cast In Steel - cover for the download-only single (why bother then?)

A nice introduction to the album. A drawn video was made with the lyrics, which was really emotional to me. The lyrics are great - especially the retrospective "I'll never get over what we said / It lingers in my head". It's beautiful and it sounds beautiful. Very adult pop, but hey, they are adults, and all the fans are too.

JP: Morten singing in a relatively low key in the verses with an extremely beautiful transition into one of the most melodic choruses of a-ha's recent years. Strings are used to great effect as well, and the lyrics bear the Waaktaar-Savoy trademark of being both very concrete and abstract. Absolutely among the best songs on the album of the same name, and the way that Morten delivers the line "It lingers in my head" could almost be trademarked because nothing else sounds quite like that. I can't really see why they didn't choose Cast In Steel as the first single from the album, and in my view it possibly should have been higher on our list as well. In the end it did get a digital-only single release but in a different version produced by Steve Osborne which is clearly inferior to the original. Don't be fooled by copies, kids!


Less Than Pure
Lifelines (2002)

JP: A relatively heavy song by a-ha standards (we're not talking Metallica after all) with a great bass sound and a restrained yet melodic chorus which is taken up a notch towards the end of the song. Despite the use of electronic elements it feels more organic than many of the other compositions on Lifelines. Maybe not as fresh sounding today as back in 2002, but that's also a lot to ask for. I still like this one a lot.

JSS: Nice drive and a fair song to bring in on an album that lacks the big moment. I used to like it a little better. It is a clear album filler, albeit a good one. Rock with a special vocal in the verses where it goes from word to word almost seamlessly.


Lifelines (2002)

JSS: This is a perfect album closer by Magne. The lyrics are still touching me till this day, but then again I was a bit heartbroken at the time. I always found comfort in "no-one got ahead standing in line". It is a really beautiful song. It deserves to be higher on the list. Super well written and Morten's voice in the chorus is perfect. Great keys too.

JP: The album closer on Lifelines and while it didn't meet the usual standards for a-has closing tracks (except at that time maybe for You'll End Up Crying) it is certainly one of Magne's best contributions during a-ha's second coming. Helped by the fact that it's written from the third person perspective and by the soaring chorus where Morten sounds like he's almost standing on his toes to reach the high notes, but in a good way. I wouldn't have minded a more organic production with fewer electronic elements, but a beautiful song it is.


I Dream Myself Alive
Hunting High And Low (1985)

JP: An song from the debut album that is maybe easy to forget or ignore because it's overshadowed by the big hits or setlist regulars. And while it doesn't quite reach the incredible heights of many of the other songs on Hunting High And Low it is one I still have great fondness for and it certainly belongs in top 75. Morten is using a slightly grittier side of his voice in places, and there is something urgent and intently rushed about the instrumentation. Even as a child I really liked the opening lines "You can't deny / There's something dark against the light / All I can say / It doesn't have to be this way". Could probably work well in a slowed down style, too. Great track.

JSS: Somehow this track never stood out as one of the best, but not one of the worst on the album either. Morten sings great in the verses. The chorus is a little boring, but the middle part with some weird spoken word saves it more or less. But clearly an album track.


Go To Sleep (demo)
The Demo Tapes (2004) / Hunting High And Low Deluxe Edition (2010)

JSS: I loved this. Same tradition as Monday Mourning, but more chilled and atmospheric. It was also exciting that it had lyrics from And You Tell Me. I still like it, but it has lost some over time.

JP: A demo likely from 1983, two years before a-ha made it big. A wonderful, sweet ballad and Morten's vocals are on top form. It wouldn't necessarily have been a great fit on Hunting High And Low but could have made a fantastic B-side to a single. Shares some lyrics with And You Tell Me but Go To Sleep is easily the better song. I think I read somewhere that Morten really likes this one and so it is no wonder that he does a beautiful vocal delivery.


The Way We Talk
East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon (1990)

JP: Upon its release this was something of an unusual a-ha track. Not only was it the shortest song they had released (clocks in at 1:30 minutes) but it was also the only one at the time not to feature Morten on vocals as Magne stepped up to the microphone. A very naked, jazzy, atmospheric track. The vocal melody line is rushed in places, packing a lot of syllables into a short phrase, but it works. It's not a big song, but it's still important for the whole album experience, I think. Honest, personal lyrics. A hidden treasure.

JSS: This has always been a perfect song on the album to break it all up. And great that Magne took the liberty of singing it himself. I always enjoy this one. They could have done more jazzy stuff, but never really did. Allegedly, a tough period for Magne, and this one is about relationship problems. I always thought it was about his personal life with Heidi, but now I guess it could be about him and Pål just as well. Well, maybe not, as he sings that he would change if he could, and none of them are able to change for each other.


Cold River
East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon (1990)

JSS: I used to think that this was just the coolest song. This was also a demo for Train Of Thought and the merging of the two songs with the riff from Cold River live is a nice addition to the live repertoire. Nowadays, the song itself is skippable to me. As with Scoundrel Days, the side two of East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon lacks a little quality to be perfect.

JP: One of the rockiest songs on East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Some fairly explicit lyrics that were lost on me when I was 14-15 years old. One of those tracks I never had a chance hear live but would have loved to. The chorus is not their strongest ever, and you can accuse it of being a bit forced overall, but when you're fifteen years old and ready to see 'your' band progress Cold River was a bold step. There is clip from 1987 on YouTube where a-ha is recording a demo version of Cold River that almost sounds like the superior version. Hopefully we'll get to hear that some day.


Sole Survivor
Lifelines Deluxe Edition (2019)

JP: I wonder if Pål went through another Beatles-phase while writing for the Lifelines album. That's the vibe I get, at least. Sole Survivor is certainly stronger than several of the other tracks that - through democracy or just sheer stubbornness - got included on the album. Interesting structure and nice vocal harmonies. Lifelines should have been cut to 10-12 songs instead of 15, and Sole Survivor should have been on it (even if I personally still prefer To Show It Is To Blow It from the same Lifelines Deluxe Edition, but Jesper really likes this one and as a-ha's career has shown that you've got to make compromises now and then).

JSS: This is a great song. Nice shifts in the song throughout, and especially the Beatles-like middle part is almost genius. Should have been included on the Lifelines album for sure.


Bar Room
Memorial Beach Deluxe Edition (2015)

JSS: I have listened to this so many times since it was released. One of the happiest moments for me with regards to demo songs that never got to be released on an album. Some say that this would not have fitted the Memorial Beach album, but I think it would. It could easily have replace Between Your Mama And Yourself, and the text universe is similar. This one is about picking up chicks at the bar and take them dancing. Nice little air freshener of a text. Great drive in this song, and Morten sings great. They should have finished this song. It could have been a hit single at the time.

JP: Bar Room was mentioned in an article in German teen magazine Bravo already back in 1991/92 (together with another so-far unreleased track called Box on the Air - if anyone reading this knows anything about that song then let us know!) when Pål had started working on songs for Memorial Beach, and since then Bar Room had a mythical status for me. What would it sound like? Slow or fast, rocking or soft? I think I even had a dream about the song once or twice. So when it finally got released on the Memorial Beach Deluxe Edition in 2015 did it meet my high expectations? The short answer is "no", and the longer answer is "no, there is no way it could have". Because you can't go back to those days, can you? The excitement after waiting almost a quarter of a century is enormous, and no song can live up to that. But it's still a highly enjoyable, fun song with almost a country rock feel to it, and it's one I have listened to a lot. Certainly superior to Between Your Mama and Yourself - the other "fun" track from the Memorial Beach recording session - but it might not have been the right fit for the album. Great song but they should have released Bar Room as a B-side back in 1993 instead of waiting 20+ years to give fans a chance to hear it.


Hurry Home
Stay On These Roads (1988)

JP: Hurry Home (or "burry bome" as the 12-year old me first thought it was called was when I saw the Stay On These Roads cassette tape cover with the titles written in italic typography which made the h look like a b) made a big impression on me when it was first released. I thought the train-like drums or percussions in the intro were amazing, and I always liked they lyrics with the mix of very specific and abstract imagery. Not often mentioned on any "essential a-ha songs" list Hurry Home is not the strongest track on Stay On These Roads, but I have always had a great fondness for it - not least the "Rolling countries / Fields unfolding" segway into the final verse. Very 1988 but you won't hear ME complain about that. Maybe it's time for a-ha to bring "burry bome" back onto the setlist?

JSS: This is a weird one. It has some of the greatest moments on Stay On These Roads in my ears, but combined with some of lesser quality. It begins well with an almost high energy Stripped by Depeche Mode feeling. The verse and bridge are nice, but then it kicks in; the chorus with "I'm doing it right ...". It straight up destroys the mood of the song. However, the middle eight is one of the finest moments with regards to atmosphere in any a-ha song, and I so enjoy those 35 seconds it lasts. Rewritten a little it could have been so much better.


Angel In The Snow
Memorial Beach (1993)

Angel single cover - no snow in sight

JSS: I would so much love to love this more, but I don't. Pål's wedding song to Lauren and still I am not a big fan. I sounds good, the music is nice, but the vocal melody is just a bit boring and repetitive. Increasing a tone in the third verse is not adding anything for me. I know that many other fans recognise this as one of the better songs on Memorial Beach, but to me only Between Your Mama And Yourself is worse. Still, the song is enjoyable and maybe it does not benefit lying between two of the greatest songs on the album either.

JP: When Angel In The Snow was first released I thought it was the most romantic song in the whole world and it made a huge impression on me. My seventeen year old self felt every word and every chord. I remember it even got voted onto a very indie radio top 10 chart in Denmark which made me feel very proud as a-ha weren't exactly seen as very alternative. I was never fond of shortening the title to just Angel for the single. It lost some of the magic, I think. The lyrics are very sparse but sometimes a few words can say a lot. "And always will I be there / Shake worries from your hair" is Pål at his romantic and image-creating best. Commercially it didn't do well, which - apart from the fact that a-ha weren't really in vogue at the time and that the record company didn't seem to care - I partly blame on the lack of a chorus. I still think it's a beautiful song even if I can't continue to vigorously argue that the guitar sounds nothing like U2. The fact that it's ranked 60 on our list is a compromise. I could easily see it make top 50 even if maybe has lost some of its shine over the years. Did I ever quote the lyrics when courting a girl I liked? Maybe I did, maybe I didn't. OK, I did.


The Love Goodbye (demo)
The Demo Tapes (2004) / Hunting High And Low Deluxe Edition (2010)

JP: I just love this one! It was included on the demo tape that circulated among fans in the early 1990s, and already back then I immediately connected with it. It's definitely one of the best demos from the pre Hunting High And Low days. I'm not sure it would have been a good fit on the debut album (if so then it would have to be instead of Love Is Reason) but the quality is certainly there in its early form. "She's sitting by the window / Clinging to the phone / Dialing endless numbers / No reply / The love goodbye" is such a great lyric. It's probably fair to leave it out of top 50 but it's a fantastic song!

JSS: This is definitely one of the good demos from the early period. Very very cool and well written middle part, where Morten sings: "Oh, there's not a soul / In the streets below ...". It takes the song down in such a nice way. I always enjoy this one and it is the best of the bunch with Dot The I and Nothing To It.


Goodbye Thompson
Cast In Steel (2015)

JSS: One of the best songs on Cast In Steel. Pål can really portrait life in New York like very few can. Another song that does not sound like anything else, and I really appreciate songs like this on a-ha albums. It kind of proves that they have not gone all mainstream and that the German sounding production has not completely taken over. The simple yet complicated song is Pål in a nutshell. To the untrained ear this song may appear boring, but I will not hear of it!

JP: Paul Auster has his New York Trilogy, but Pål Waaktaar-Savoy is no stranger to writing about life in New York either - mostly for Savoy, though. This is a song about a shop on Thompson Street with a "Closing" sign on it. You probably won't find many other songs dealing with THAT subject. As the last track on Cast In Steel it is maybe not the grandiose or epic album closer that a-ha have produced so many of over the years, but there is a beautiful sadness or melancholy that stands with the best of them! Morten makes wonderful use of his darker vocal nuances in the verses before letting the notes fly in the final chorus which adds a sense of bleak optimism to the lyrics. The harmonies are among the best on the album.


Never Never (demo)
The Demo Tapes (2004) / Hunting High And Low Deluxe Edition (2010)

JP: A very cool demo with a raspy sounding Morten in the verses. Has some of the same hectic beat as Train of Thought. I would have loved to hear a fully produced version of this song without the "Hold me..." part that ended up on The Sun Always Shines on T.V. I think it could have been a hidden gem on the debut album. The last line ("I swear to you I'll make this promise hold") is as pure early-days a-ha as it gets. Fantastic!

JSS: Oh, this is a demo that was so fun to hear, when it first appeared on The Demo Tapes that came out with the first edition of the book "The Swing Of Things" by Jan Omdahl. It is cool and Morten sings very cool. It would have been nice to include on the album if it had not been for the fact that there are large parts of The Sun Always Shines On T.V. on it. However, the verse is still up for reuse some day.


Keeper Of The Flame
Analogue (2005)

JSS: This is one of the finest moments on Analogue. Songwriting more Beatles than The Beatles. The lyrics about being young and falling in love with music are great. The piano is really cool as well. I remember Pål taking over the piano from Magne for this song at Frognerparken in 2005 and claiming "Now for some real piano playing". That was a great comment displaying that he is a guy full of humour despite that he rarely speaks at concerts.

JP: One of the compromises on our list. I definitely like this song - also a lot - but I still think we put it a bit too high. Maybe it's easy to be charmed by Pål giving us a glimpse into an ambitious teenager's mind where he contemplates world domination and keeping the rock'n'roll flame alive, taking over from past generations. There's a lot of nostalgia in the instrumentation which fits the lyrics and a lovely chorus with trademark quirky wordplays that link back to Afternoon High from the previous album. On the positive side also counts the fact that this is an unusually "out of fashion" sounding song, which is totally applaud. In short: Really good, but not great.


Stop! And Make Your Mind Up
Take On Me 12" single (1984) / Hunting High And Low Deluxe Edition (2010)

Stop! And Make Your Mind Up on the Take On Me 1984-version 12" single - including! dodgy punctuation principles

JP: I first heard Stop! And... on a bootleg cassette tape as the original version was difficult to come across. The cassette copy I got was recorded with the treble turned up completely and the bass turned to an absolute minimum to help drown out some of the background noise after repeated copying. So it wasn't until I later found the original Take On Me 12" single that I heard the intended mix. Bass or no bass: It's a hidden gem with a kinship to Driftwood but with a lighter tone. Objectively speaking not one of a-ha's strongest songs, but we're being subjective here. I like this one a lot!

JSS: I have a friend who till this day has this one as one of his favorite a-ha songs. I introduced him to it and I can hear why. I love the energy and the weird sounds in the beginning. It is just a lovely demo-like song, but it does not sound like anything else they have done. It would not had fitted on the final album, so it is well placed as a little gem on the B-side to the maxi-single of the first release of Take On Me from October 1984.


Afternoon High
Lifelines (2002)

JSS: This one should have been a single. I love this song. Pål at his best in that period. As is goes, it has some Beatles elements, which adds to the pleasure. It is highly energetic and the text just screams springtime. It is probably one of the only a-ha songs that puts me in a good mood. Note that I don't care for music that tries to put me in a good mood...

JP: Although the title speaks about afternoons, for me this is late summer mornings put to music! Ever since its release I have simply adored Afternoon High. "Daylight hits the corners of your mouth / Steals the words that filled you up with doubt". How can you not love that line? The final quality owes a lot to the production as the original slower demo version lacks some - or rather a lot! - of the album version's charm and goes for a more lazy feeling. Afternoon High has a kind of stop-and-go structure to the arrangement which suits it well. For me it's a classic even if it's not classic a-ha.


I Call Your Name
East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon (1990)

I Call Your Name single cover - No need to call. The other two are right next to you.

JP: This one started much higher on the list, but I can't escape the feeling that time hasn't been good to it. Maybe it's the saxophone that locks it in a time loop? Or maybe we got carried away when we did the ranking and relegated it further down the list than what is fair. Because it's still a damn good song!! Maybe a bit too long in the end, but it has a lot of live studio feel to it which gives it a certain atmosphere. Lyrically it's second to none! I remember a single review from Smash Hits (or some other UK teen music magazine) that described it as "more telling lyrics from the mad-genius pen of Pål Waaktaar" and that the song easily ranked among the best from a-ha. At the time I definitely agreed and feel a bit ashamed that it's not even in our Top 50... Maybe the conclusion is that I Call Your Name is one of those songs that you need to be in the mood for. And when you are it's great!

JSS: With this song I realized that a-ha was maturing and that I - at least my taste in music - was maturing with them. I really liked this song - especially the verses. The saxophone was a really nice addition to the soundscape, and I liked the live version they played around in the early 90's with a different middle part that changed tone. However, somehow I have realized that the years have not been too good to this song, but it is still really enjoyable and a cool choice for a second single off the album with a b/w video to match the mood. The only reason it did not make top 50 is that the competition is so fierce.


Lamb To The Slaughter
Memorial Beach (1993)

JSS: I think Magne mentioned that this song was "the story of my life - a very heavy waltz". I think he was still suffering in the band during that time and lacking confidence in his songwriting. However, it is certainly a great contribution to the album, and this is such a great song with its dark lyrics. Really nice verse where Morten sings so great and Magne himself does really cool backing vocals. In the demo version of the song there is even more backing with a super melody to it.

JP: Magne's only contribution to a-ha's fifth album (except for a co-write on Move To Memphis) and certainly one of his strongest overall. This is Magne's tale of the toll that the early success took on the band, and it has resignation written all over it. The line "We go down / It's the only way out" was part self-fulfilling prophecy and part description of the decreasing success with each subsequent album release since the debut. I think it's safe to say that this wasn't a great time for Magne. For anyone who is interested in understanding a-ha's career trajectory this feels like a central piece. According to Barry Page's extremely well-researched and great book "a-ha Down to the Tracks" Magne was not happy with Morten's vocals on the song, but then again Magne didn't seem happy with pretty much anything related to a-ha at that time. For me as a fan it sounded awfully cool back then, and I still think Morten did a great job. A heavy song. And excellent.


Mother Nature Goes To Heaven
Foot Of The Mountain (2009)

JP: One of the best songs on a rather disappointing album. Morten's vocals are mostly in the mid-range which is sometimes underrated, I think, as the audience often seems to be more in awe of the impressive span he often showcases. There's a heavier version on the Cast In Steel deluxe edition which seems to link back to the Analogue album sound, but the final version has a more immediate appeal. "Things you could do asleep / In a not too distant past / Are trying your patience harder now" is another great line from Pål. Could have been lower on the list for me but still deserves a place in the top 75. I would rank Start The Simulator (which stalled at rank 75 which was too low for my taste) higher than Mother Nature..., but that's what compromises are for - you win some, you lose some, and Jesper is really fond of this one. And I am too.

JSS: Without any doubt my favorite on this album - and it was from the beginning. It has a certain bass groove that I really like. And the chorus does not go overboard with high notes and "great wings". It is just a solid melody sung really really cool. The middle part is great too, and to me this is how cool a-ha can be in the later years.

Mother Nature goes to heaven, and so do we now - if heaven is the 50 best a-ha songs! It's safe to say that we are moving into classics territory from here. The quality of the songs in top 50 cannot be questioned although tastes of course differ. And there are still enough songs from across the different phases of a-ha's long career that we haven't counted down so far, so we can proudly argue that we are not falling victim of just taking a trip down memory lane where everything that is old is automatically better. So if you feel like asking the question "Hey driver, where're we going?" then the logical answer is: To the countdown from 50 to 26, of course! A few surprises may even be in store so come join us.