Happy Birthday Scoundrel Days

Seems like a thousand years ago I eagerly waltzed into Tower Records to pick up “Scoundrel Days” — the long-awaited second LP from my new favorite band, a-ha. I was intrigued by Morten Harkett’s angelic voice and entranced by the song stylings of Paul Waaktar and Mags, who were bringing symphonic cinematics to their unique Norwegian pop. As the needle grooved into the soaring melodic plea of the title track, I knew this was not only a great album, it was a beacon to my suburban soul. I don’t think I’ve ever kept a record on permanent turntable rotation as I did “Scoundrel Days.” From the eclectic autumnal melancholia of tracks like “October” to the bouncing eco-ode, “We’re Looking For The Whales” to the lush wistful final song, “The Soft Rains Of April,” I fully embraced the epic synth Panavision scope of a-ha’s masterpiece (with the exception of “Maybe Maybe,” my least favorite of their songs) — as did fans like Morrissey and Leonard Cohen. And of course, Coldplay’s biggest influence is a-ha. Sadly, America turned its back on the band’s darker follow-up despite its global chart status and “Cry Wolf” being a US dance hit. It wasn’t until 2010 when an anniversary edition of the disc made it to 36 on US charts. Better late than never. To quote the titular song, “They forgive anything but greatness…These are scoundrel days…”

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2 Responses to “Happy Birthday Scoundrel Days”

  1. […] atmospheric wistful note, here’s the final track from a-ha’s 1986 pop masterpiece (yes) “Scoundrel Days.” On a disc brimming with melodic peaks, the howling synthesizers in the middle eight section […]

  2. […] a-ha’s second LP, Scoundrel Days, here’s one of their finest hours and the perfect autumnal […]

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