December 1, 2022

a-ha – True North – Retro Pop

Released: October 21

a-ha taps into their Nordic roots on their stunning new album “True North”.

Comprised of 12 songs – six by Magne Furuholmen, six by Paul Waaktaar-Savoy – the collection marks a fresh start for the band, who recorded the LP sometime in November 2021 in Bodø, the Norwegian town 90km above the circle arctic polar.

“First we had the idea of ​​recording a live studio session,” Paul explains. “Then, to film a session in the studio. This turned into a production with the Norwegian orchestra, the Arctic Philharmonic, with whom we collaborated.

The resulting album is a layered piece that not only explores the state of the world today, but also the band’s place on a post-pandemic planet plagued by climate concerns.

Opener and first single I’m in is, according to Magne, “a song about total commitment and a show of support for someone who is in trouble. True commitment is a leap of faith.

“Everyone knows how hard it can be to offer unconditional commitment and support, but that’s what it takes to make something worthwhile happen – love, friendship, change , self-improvement, careers, a better world.

“Without this attitude, everything becomes bogged down in contradictory thoughts, doubts and fear. Just say it, ‘I’m in,'” he shares.

It’s a bold statement from a band whose group politics has become pop legend, but on “True North” they sound more united than ever, with the trio defending themselves against the stunning orchestration that evokes a soundscape and a world in which the album exists.

Generally speaking, Paul’s contributions are more visual in their lyrics, with narrative leads such as hunter in the hills and Bumblebee showcasing its on-point storytelling and opening up the Norse culture they were raised in for all to experience.

Meanwhile, Magne’s compositions are more contemplative in addressing his concerns about the state of the planet, with moments like Between the halo and the horn an amazing contemplation on the choice we face between light and dark, good and evil, right and wrong.

The foundations of “True North” may be rooted in real-life concerns, but throughout the LP lies an overarching optimism for the future – and scattered among the sweeping ensemble are several glorious pop moments that set showcasing the magic of a-ha, nearly four decades into their career.

Notable highlights include the stunning harmonies of Morten Harket and Magne on The bluest of bluewhile Make me understand starts slow and turns into a groovy chorus that proves irresistible and an immediate highlight on the album.

For a band whose foundations rest on the synth-heavy new wave, “True North” is a bold move, but the result is an album that stands out in their catalog and is sure to be remembered as a masterpiece. of their golden years.

‘True North’ is available now.

READ MORE: a-ha’s Morten Harket Works On New Solo Album As Band Returns With Epic Project ‘True North’