Saying goodbye to a-ha

Growing up gay in the 1980s I often listened to techno-pop in my room and dreamed of escaping. The souring falsettos of bands like Erasure, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, and a-ha kept me grounded back then. I escaped into music.

Unlike the other aforementioned bands, a-ha all but disappeared from American radio and record store shelves by the 1990s. But not so in the rest of the world. In the 2000s the band scored massive hits all over Europe. The Norwegian supergroup remained relavent everywhere else across the globe. With synth stabs and the Morten Harket’s soaring falsetto, the greatest pop’s ever seen, the band made infectious and tightly-produced records.

At their New York show this past Saturday night the band did not disappoint. The music was tight and clear. The vocals were nuanced and on-key. Harket even held his record-holding 22-second note on “Summer Moved On.” Playing their hit records in descending order, the trio finished with “Hunting High and Low,” “The Sun Always Shines on TV,” and the obligatory “Take on Me.” The crowd, mostly displaced Europeans and grown-up gay boys, jumped with giddy excitement as it had been 20 years since a-ha’s first, and only, US tour. This was their last ever.

The synths stopped, the lights went up, and Hacket’s incredible voice remained a memory. Goodbye a-ha. Your final farewell was sparkling, high-noted, and shimmering. Like your brilliant discography.