So much of a-ha's career has been overshadowed by the monolithic popularity of their debut album Hunting High and Low and the hit single "Take on Me." This being the case, no album in a-ha's catalogue is so easily overlooked as Scoundrel Days which was released only a year after a-ha's auspicious debut.
Scoundrel Days doesn't dazzle with uptempo hits like "Take on Me" and "The Sun Always Shines on TV", which is why it is so easy to neglect, but it remains an excellent listen from start to finish.
Ok, I just reread what I just wrote and I have decided to stop writing like a wannabe journalist and just be me for a minute. Here's the thing: I don't always enjoy the darker, edgier, "it has to grow on you" sort of albums. If any given band has two albums: one poppy and engaging and the other dark and spikey, 9 times out of 10 I'm going to enjoy the poppy one more. It's just the way I am. In a related story: I like candy more than asparagus.
Scoundrel Days isn't as immediately satisfying as Hunting High and Low. You can't listen to it in your car and screech along as you try to match Morten Harket's falsetto. Sure, you can try to sing along, but these songs don't beg you to sing along the way "Take on Me" does. They're darker, moodier, more spikey and interesting.
For some reason this album reminds me of driving down a long, lonely stretch of highway. It reminds me of driving to Bullhead City which is as long, lonesome and barren a drive as you could ever hope to make in your life. If I ever make that drive again, I can only hope to have synthpop this good playing on the stereo.
I wish I could have more to say about this album, but I don't. I am writing this in the last few minutes of my workday, so my brain is operating at only 10% of its standard level. Let's leave it at this: Scoundrel Days was good. I enjoyed every minute of it.