A-ha: It ain’t just older fans who take on them
Take On Me's legacy a 'nice surprise' for A-ha, who perform here next month
Take On Me is 35 years old. But the song's appeal seems to be timeless, judging from the way the hit debut single of Norwegian pop trio A-ha has been resurgent over the years.
The unplugged version was featured in the 2018 superhero film Deadpool 2 in a poignant scene towards the end.
US rock band Weezer included a cover in its 2019 compilation, The Teal Album, while an accompanying music video starred Stranger Things actor Finn Wolfhard and was filmed with the rotoscoping technique that made the original A-ha video famous.
A remix is even used in local e-payment service provider NETS' new commercial.
Next month, Singapore fans will get to hear Take On Me live on stage, as A-ha - comprising singer Morten Harket, keyboardist-guitarist Magne Furuholmen and guitarist Paul Waaktaar-Savoy - performs here for the first time as part of its Hunting High And Low tour. It will be the group's only stop in South-east Asia.
On how the various recent versions of the song have introduced A-ha to a whole new generation, Furuholmen, 57, told The New Paper in an e-mail interview: "Those things really happen without our knowledge, but it is always a nice surprise to see the enduring legacy of Take On Me and the place it has secured for us in popular culture three decades on."
He added: "Most people who are drawn to something end up in situations where others point out the origins sooner or later. We have an army of fans who will make sure people know eventually!"
He also said he still enjoys performing Take On Me at A-ha's shows after all this time.
"It has the ability to bring people up and out of their seats. The point is to connect with the audience and try to create unique moments that glow - for them and for us - and not simply about keeping ourselves entertained as artists. This is not a kind of 'job' where s*** gets boring - by a long stretch."
Back in the 1980s, A-ha was one of the era's quintessential boy bands.
So what were his best and worst memories of being heartthrobs that made fangirls weak-kneed?
"Looking back, it doesn't sound too bad," Furuholmen said jokingly.
"At the time, it felt alien and also constricting - like the music was not the most important. But all these years on, the music is what has given us a lingering appeal, so I guess it was all good in the end."
But no, it isn't just middle-aged women who turn up at their concerts these days.
He said: "I think we all have a strong connection to music from our youth, so yes, for a lot of people, coming to see A-ha is probably about reconnecting to a time.
"But equally, we see a lot of faces out there who were not even born at the time we started out."
Furuholmen is looking forward to returning to Singapore, having been here in November 2018.
He said: "I have friends in the art circuit, around the university and also in the world of printmaking, so it'll be fun to catch up with them. And for a foodie like me, Singapore offers an amazing array of experiences."