monday music:
take on me

Take On Me was a big 1985 number one single by Norwegian pop-rock / New Wave band a-ha. It had then-avant-garde ultra-catchy synthpop instrumentation that can't so easily be erased from the minds of '80s youth.

I don't think anybody understood what the phrase "take on me" meant, but combined with the other lyrics, it became apparent to everyone that it's supposed to be romantic.

The music video that came with it was equally avant-garde. It's a romance-fantasy story with animation (rotoscoping) - it's a quick chick-flick actually. It had several wins in the 1986 MTV Awards: Best New Artist, Best Concept Video, Best Concept Video, Best Direction, Best Special Effects and Viewer's Choice. It was also nominated for Best Group Video and Video of the Year. It was that hot.

It's still one of my favorite music videos of all time. The pencil-drawings were done so well, and I had wondered if ever could learn to draw like that. I remember being so impressed by the whole video - the idea of a girl walking into a comic book and interacting with pencil sketches was so cool. Besides, the guy's so cute. Every time it came on Video Hit Parade, I'd totally watch it, no matter how many times I've seen it; when it came to the end, I'd always wish there was a part 2 to the story.

Take On Me

We're talking away
I don't know what I'm to say but I say it anyway
Today's not my day to find you Shying away
I'll be coming for your love, OK

Take On Me, Take me on,
I'll be gone In a day or two

So needless to say
I'm odds and ends So I'll be Stumbling away
Slowly learning that life is OK
Say after me, It's still better to be safe than sorry

Take On Me, Take me on,
I'll be gone In a day or two

Oh the things that you say
Is this life or Just to play my Worries away
You're all the things I've got to remember
You're shying away
I'll be coming for you anyway

Take On Me, Take me on,
I'll be gone In a day or two

Sometime in the late '90s, the Ska band Reel Big Fish came out with a cover. Covers don't often do the originals justice, but this take of Take On Me takes gold. I used to turn the volume up whenever it played on NU 107.

The video isn't that impressive, but it's still fun to watch nonetheless, it's like a party in there. They didn't have any typically cute guys (like the one in the a-ha video), but I do find something attractive about a guy who can sing + plays instrument + is into punk ska + is slightly geeky.

I can't believe that's been more than a decade ago. ^_^

Maybe it's due to the fact that I love (still do) '90s third-wave ska and punk-ska, but I find the Reel Big Fish version waaaaay better than the lamer-than-lame A1 copy cover that came out in 2000. The A1 version did better on the mainstream though, and not that many people knew about the Reel Big Fish one. Tsss. I blame the boy band mania associated with so much cheese and corn in that era. Still, props to them for the sci-fi-ish music video that tried too hard to be cool by adding elements of VR and The Matrix, and for bringing back the love (albeit massacring) for an '80s favorite.

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