25: Very Best of
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Audio CD, Import, September 3, 2010
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2010 two CD collection from the Norwegian Pop trio. After nine albums, an iconic music video, and sales of more than 36 million worldwide, 2010 celebrates a-ha's 25th anniversary and final year together. The album includes 38 a-Ha favorites including 'Take On Me', 'The Sun Always Shines On TV', 'Cry Wolf' and 'Velvet' plus the brand new track 'Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)'. Warner.
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Before I start, 2 questions...why "25" is not being released in the US at all??? Is it because of unavailability of licensing of tracks from their 2 Universal albums "Analogue" and "Foot Of The Mountain"??? Is this because of this reason that Rhino/Warner released (finally and late??) in the US the 2004 comp "Singles 1984-2004"??? Otherwise, why release that when knowingly "25" was ready to go?? And speaking of those 2 albums, why were there NO CLIPS from those albums on the DVD??? They have the songs, why no clips?? Strange.
Now, as for the 2CDs, I say SHEER perfection...remastering and song selection, the right versions ("Move To Memphis 1991", "The Blood That Moves The Body 1992"), many of their best non-single album tracks ("Scoundrel Days", "The Swing Of Things", "Slender Frame") AND non-album singles (the 1991 "Move To Memphis", "Shapes That Go Together", the new "Butterfly Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)")!!! It's like the whole of the 2CDs was made to order for me, as if I was contacted and consulted in putting this together...sheer perfection and a clearcut way to explain to in-the-dark Americans why a-ha MATTER and got the shaft in American media, that they were unfairly tagged a 1-hit wonder joke, and are clear innovators of beautifully epic, intricate, dark, melancholic, widescreen pop that clearly influenced bands like Coldplay and Keane, and that even U2 tipped their hats to this groundbreaking Norwegian trio in "Beautiful Day", a nod to their 1985 #20 pop hit (in the US belying their 1-hit-wonder status here) "The Sun Always Shines On TV", one of their best (if not their very best) songs...sheer perfection.
As for the DVD...it's meant to be a post-"Headlines & Deadlines" companion piece...and for the most part, it's awesome, with most of the clips post-1991, with a few classic clips and rarities like alt-cuts of their 1990 Carole King/Everly's cover of "Crying In The Rain" which has the band in it mostly, and the original 1984 clip of "Take On Me", interesting and cool...but it all stops with the clip of "The Sun Always Shines On TV", wow, whoever did that should be fired pronto!!! They used the wrong music track (the album version, not the single version) and had the music and video track badly jumpcut right when Morten starts to sing/mime...REALLY bad...and no excuse as the "Headlines & Deadlines" video/DVD did not have this problem...THEN what's really weird/odd is after the clip ends, it goes into the US National Anthem and video as if it's an end of a broadcast day in the 70s, the TV is about to go off the air into static, with US scenery and a US flag in the middle of the screen!!! Like, HUH??? Where did they get THAT??? And why is it on an a-ha DVD...a NORWEGIAN band????? Was it an American nationalist, is it a druggy sign of things to come???? Is this an alien invasion??? Am I here?? It sorta mirrors the 1969-era moon exploration clip of "Minor Earth Major Sky", with the US flag-planting, but in all the wrong ways. Totally surreal and kinda funny, but completely WRONG and misplaced. Whoever was responsible should be fired, immediately. Then, the print of "Take On Me" was possibly damaged, as for a splitsecond, the closeup of Bunty Bailey's face in the opening scene post-animation was either worn or had some dirt on the print, but it's only a quick splitsecond, no biggie...and the clip of 1986's "I've Been Losing You" (missing from "Headlines") had all-over-the-place editing...horrible job but that was prob the original vidclip. I'm just happy the 1991 clip of "Move To Memphis" is on there, perfect and untouched...that clip is pure sex...the hot girl, water, S&M imagery, plastic...pure sex...even the guys had that mood going on, Morten in Elvis mode, long hair and all.
So overall, 4 stars...docked a star for the bad editing botch job on the DVD...everything else was perfect...not sure if Rhino will be able to fix the DVD, but I doubt it.
This final "hits" collection is really a must have for A-ha fans or anyone looking to experience their releases in one collection. I loved the story of how they came to be and the trip through time, from then to now, that was included in the liner notes. It was nice to see a couple of different versions of the songs included on here as I have virtually all of them on CD somewhere or other already. Even though I have all of their previous albums I still wanted to get a copy of this one for myself just to have as a final farewell.
Thanks for 25 great years of music!