Has it really been 30 years (!) since Norwegian synth-pop outfit a-ha exploded onto the international scene with their signature hit single “Take on Me”? The tune has held up remarkably well over the years and the video — considered revolutionary in its day — still entertains after three decades. Rhino is helping a-ha celebrate its 30th anniversary (there’s a reunion tour in the works, as well as their first new album since 2009) with a “super deluxe” reissue of the band’s “Hunting High and Low” debut album.
The sprawling set includes four CDs, a DVD and a 60-page hardback book filled with rare photos and stories about the making of the album, which has sold more than 10 million copies across the globe. It’s probably more material than any casual fan can digest, but hardcore a-ha followers should rejoice.
The remastered original 10-track album kicks off the “super deluxe” edition and still packs a punch. “Take on Me” was the only U.S. hit, but the guys also shine on “Train of Thought,” the title track, “The Sun Always Shines on TV” and “I Dream Myself Alive.”
Disc 2 features 25 demo recordings made between 1982 and 1984, while Disc 3 includes 15 extended versions and B-sides, instrumentals and remixes. Disc 4 is comprised of 10 previously unissued alternate mixes, while the DVD features a half dozen videos — including three versions of “Take on Me.” Good stuff. (Jeffrey Sisk)