a-ha: Minor, Major, Meh

A lot of people anxiously waited out the 7 years between a-ha's Memorial Beach and Minor Earth Major Sky. Granted, most of those people anxiously awaiting this album live in Germany, but that is neither here nor there. The band had been on indefinite hiatus since the early 1990's so this album came as a pleasant surprise for those willing to wait it out. Of course the surprise wasn't as pleasant for me because I'm a curmudgeonly cuss who hates on everything good, but we'll get to that later.

Like so many other a-ha fans I didn't waste any time in picking up Minor Earth Major Sky. Unfortunately I was in Cambodia when I bought my copy so I can't vouch for its compliance with copyright law. Anyway, I know a lot of a-ha fans were very pleased with this album. It represents a fusion of all things a-ha both old and new. On albums like East of the Sun West of the Moon and Memorial Beach a-ha eschewed their former keyboard-heavy sound, giving much more precedent to the standard rock instruments (guitar, drums, bass). On Minor Earth Major Sky a-ha leaves ample evidence that they are the same a-ha that gave us Hunting High and Low.

All that being the case, I don't love this album. In fact, I find it a bit of a chore to wade through. I find the songs boring and the arrangements numbing. Maybe this is the sort of thing that is supposed to grow on me, but I am sad to report that after 9 years of owning this album it still hasn't begun to take root. What more do I need to do? Listen to it with a laser show? Listen to it in the back of a custom van driven by a sketchy individual with no last name? Listen to it while maidens of the Orient anoint my body with the balm of forbidden trees? Do all three at the same time? I honestly don't think I will ever fully enjoy this album.

I remember vividly that my first impression of this album after having listened to the entire thing for the first time was that it sounded like a headache put to music. I know there are plenty of rabid a-ha fans who love this album, but there's no accounting for taste. No matter how many times I have listened to Minor Earth Major Sky it still sounds like an hour-long bad idea to me. I honestly wished it didn't because I have always loved a-ha, but this blog isn't about how I wish albums sound to me. It's about how they actually sound and how they actually make me feel when I put them on. Anyway, I'm not throwing out any more apologies for my opinion. I don't like this album at all.

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