Alfredeus a.k.a. TheMunDial

a-ha, the gateway drug.

That’s how I’ve always seen the group. I don’t think Morten, Paul, and Mags would appreciate that description, though. To them, they’re just doing what they love, I suppose; to me, however, a-ha has taken on an almost mythological sheen in my mind, like a Greek god of yore or Superman on the big screen. Their music is outstanding, of course, but the unconventional methods to their madness is also a hushing experience. Their music videos have become legendary (OK, maybe just the one for the general masses, but is it really their best, truly?), and their penchant for sublime live performances, jigsaw lyrics, and insistence on evolving not with the music business, but with the greying of their hairs and the wizening of their beliefs, have all collectively created a sort of intangible luster that lingers somewhere behind the eyes of this relatively new fan. Half a decade of adulation might seem like a lot, but you must remember that their biggest American triumph occurred before I ever opened my baby eyes. By rights, I shouldn’t even be writing any of this.

I say they’re the gateway drug because they really did blast the door down for me as a child of the melody. I was never a musical explorer before them — I just accepted what I heard on the radio and saw on MTV’s TRL as the only source of musical experimentation to be had. And then, it all fell into place, the Tetrising of a-ha. After a few years of being a fan of “The Living Daylights” (I, the preteen OO7 aficionado), I saw them mentioned on Smallville. “They’re alive?” I brushed it off…for a couple of weeks. A marathon of I Love the ’80s on New Year’s Day piqued an interest in me I thought would only last, well, New Year’s Day 2OO3. VH1 kept on with the ’80s tradition with Where Are The Now? Video Vixens II, which showcased Bunty Bailey, if you’ll recall. I was only marginally familiar with “Take On Me,” if only aesthetically, but I was intrigued by the thought of a sequel. My curiosity had to be quenched (sidenote: I shall live out my old age cruising Wikipedia), and I sought out “The Sun Always Shines On TV” without hesitation. Immediately following that, I tracked down “Summer Moved On.” “Forever Not Yours.” “Manhattan Skyline.”

Needless to say, I was taken. An 11th-grader with a newfound hobby to nurture, I looked for others who had found the gospel according to a-ha, but I quickly found out that no one had heard of them, not really. “Oh, yeah. ‘Take On Me.’ I love that video.” Cringe. So a-ha became my dark little secret, occult and rewarding, almost elitist. I’m sure you can say the same…

From a-ha, I explored other “similar” artists from the era, from this vacuum in time branded as New Wave. Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Tears For Fears, New Order — this is but the very short list I have come to admire. Through New Wave, I uncovered its sister genre, Post-Punk, with such luminaries as Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cure, Joy Division, and The Psychedelic Furs, to name a few. My appreciation for music, most of all a-ha’s, became a mammoth, primordial hunger for more, more.

And I’m thankful it was them. I was sixteen when I tripped across the void of basic cable TV (which would soon be mauled by the “advent” of reality TV and Flavor Flav, thank God), the ripe age when a teenager starts the search for their own interests, unknowingly. a-ha’s bittersweet pop, melodic melancholia, and introspective wordplay all screamed through me — they had ripped the pages from my own adventure tale, effusing the thoughts only I believed to have with unnerving instrumentation that bordered on the psychoactive-fantastical.

a-ha was me, and I them.

But as I came to relish every synth-bop, every disarming bass strum, I realized that I was not alone in my quest to decipher those three letters and a hyphen. Cold As Stone, that odd little corner of cyberspace with the quirky site address, shined all the brighter, and I was overjoyed to find others who felt the same way about Ah-Ha. I didn’t ask for it, but they were friendly, too. The friendliest cluster of people I’ve encountered on the Internets, in fact. This blog, in the year I graduate from the university, with an a-ha hum swirling through my skull like when I graduated high school, is my way of saying, “Thank you, my friends.”

“The mirror sees you, so alone — cold as stone.”

So as I await the next album from Three Guys and a Hyphen, who have the impossible task of topping Analogue, I realize something very startling, but very welcomed: a-ha, the gateway drug, is us.

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2 Responses to “Alfredeus a.k.a. TheMunDial”

  1. :)

  2. Just stopping by looking at things a bit. = )

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