a-ha and Norway

What happened in Norway on 22 July 2011 affects us all. The horrible, senseless, pointless killing of youngsters alike is a vile act that should never ever be repeated. When I heard the news, I felt especially bad for Norway. It's a fascinating country, free of protocol and filled with natural resources, riches, culture and landscapes. They're not even a part of the EU (European Union), for they don't need it. A peaceful and quiet country that never makes the headlines.

Yesterday, my favourite pop band a-ha, proud Norwegians, announced they would come out of their self-imposed retirement to participate in a national memorial service in Oslo on 21 August. That's great news, from a fan's point of view. However, I wish it had never been apt to hold a memorial service. This is not why you want your musical heroes to reunite.

That said, I'm looking forward to hear them again and I'm sure their carefully crafted tunes will soothe the trampled souls of the Norwegians and, by extent, the baffled rest of the world. I only hope the producer of the service will have the decency to leave out questionable song choices. The last thing we need to hear is Hunting High And Low, Cosy Prisons or Celice (with its lyric "it's in the way you hurt me").

Which may be a bigger problem than you would initially say, because a-ha has a lot of brooding songs with dark subject matter. Even a seemingly touching song as Soft Rains of April turns out to be about a convincted criminal. My personal picks would be Love is Reason, Minor Earth Major Sky (for the sense of grandness it evokes) and their farewell song Butterfly Butterfly (The Last Hurrah) because it sounds so cautiously optimistic.

My thoughts are with you, Norway.

Julian De Backer, 12 August 2011