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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A slice of the best of 80s pop, 8 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Scoundrel Days (Audio CD)
Gosh, the memories!
I used to be nuts about these guys when I was 13 - completely obsessed! I had bought Hunting High and Low (and worn a hole in it!) and awaited a new offering with bated breath. This album was released on my 14th birthday, and I can remember traveling home on the bus, gingerly clutching and studying the cover (oh, for the days of vinyl when buying an LP was a REAL event!)
I certainly wasn't disappointed. In fact, I preferred this to the previous album, and it still remains one of my all-time favourites.
I guess if I'm brutally honest, there are a few weak, 80s-lite track (Maybe Maybe, in particular!) but there are some fantastic tunes as well. Unlike HH&L, Scoundrel Days defines a-ha's trademark lush melodic tunes and soaring vocals. It's a far more mature album, and many of the tracks have a timeless quality, that still sounds fresh today.
My own favourite is the incredibly sexy and powerful 'I've Been Losing You'. This is actually my favourite a-ha song ever. But 'Scoundrel Days' and 'The Swing of Things' are also among the best songs they've recorded.
Most people think of this band as a one-hit wonder ('Take on Me) but their career spanned many years and they are still producing some amazing music. Anyone who ever had an interest in the band, or in 80s music in general should defintely give this a listen!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Putting the gun down on the table, I must have realised..., 11 July 2010
...it wasn't the Deluxe Edition, that makes no difference.

Or does it? Now that anything and everything appears ripe for this kind of special treatment, the appearance of a-ha's second album in a bells-and-whistles two disc format might seem merely routine. After all, what hasn't been either issued or rumoured to be issued in this way?

Well, there are very good reasons for celebration in this particular case.

Ever since its release in October 1986, the only existing Scoundrel Days CD had been based on the original. The 90s and 00s came and went without a reissue or remaster of any kind. So, first up this new edition makes good on that, restoring the beautiful sleeve artwork that adorned the Vinyl LP in the process. These little details matter!

Then there is the extra/bonus material, mostly (and sensibly) confined to the second disc. The demos are presented in a sequence that mirrors the main album (with a further version of the title track for good measure); a nice touch even if, sadly, the audio quality of some (notably The Swing Of Things and Cry Wolf) verges on the distorted. In conjunction with the informative liner notes, it's possible to build up a fascinating picture of how this album evolved from a mixture of discarded songs for their debut album and hastily-written songs on tour, while the demos included here of Scoundrel Days (v.1), I've Been Losing You and Weight Of The Wind give the clearest evidence of how they worked at moving from the Hunting High & Low sound to something darker and deeper. The difference between these early works, and the finished versions, is quite startling. Maybe Maybe, meanwhile - always the album's weakest link - is arguably better in demo form...and listen out for the completely daft "sock it to me!" ad libs in the supposedly moody and tortured Weight Of The Wind.

The extended mixes of its three singles are obviously welcome, and fit nicely onto the end of Disc 1, leaving Disc 2 for the demos, three B-sides, and Live recordings from a key Croydon gig in January 1987.

If that's not enough to tempt you...well, it's simply their best album. Always has been. The occasional sound issues aside, this is how it should be enjoyed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The album where everything works, 23 Sep 2005
This review is from: Scoundrel Days (Audio CD)
A-ha's first album was a classic, this second album is actually an improvement and a huge leap forward for the band.
Take a listen and you will see what A-ha are really capable of, this is A-ha at their very best, most diverse and it all works together on a grander scale than 'Hunting high and low'.
'Scoundrel days' A low key piano and quiet vocals unleash into a monster chorus with mysterious lyrics - a mini epic.
'The swing of things' A great pop song, with heartfelt lyrics about missing a loved one and making choices in life.
'Iv'e been losing you' One of A-ha's best songs - fantastic lyrics, a rockier sound and killer chorus (See also - catchy middle bit and false ending!)
'October' Let this song wash over you, a simple synth ballad.
'Manahattan Skyline' Another mini epic - starting with harpsichord and bursting into a guitar heavy chorus, sounds like a different band have kidnapped A-ha and made them do 'rock'.
'Cry wolf' A catchy synth-driven song with crashing drums and non-stop bass line.
'We're looking for the whales' Another A-ha song that sounds like nothing else they (or anyone else) has done, sort of Motown meets Norwegian sailing song - with lots of hooks!
'The weight of the wind' A relentless, dark, pop song? Yes, A-ha at their best (again) with snarling lyrics, pan pipes and most importantly - a great tune.
'Maybe, maybe' There is much debate about this song and whether it should be on the album at all - it does have a jokey feel - but so did lot's of Beatles' songs! And its something of a relief from the intensity of the last few tracks.
'Soft rains of April' A beautiful ballad, with harps and synths, a good ending to a great record.
This album sounds like no-one else and has not dated at all over the last 20 years, buy it and be inspired by a truly great band.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A-ha are unique, 15 April 2004
This review is from: Scoundrel Days (Audio CD)
I think A-ha fell into the same trap that Duran Duran did - always remembered more for their pretty faces and their videos when it was the music that really set them apart. Like Duran I think A-ha should sometime see a resurgence in their popularity, apparently their record company still gets more phonecalls about them than anyone else.. That is the mark of a band that was more than bubble-gum and even us 14 year olds were able to appreciate it back in 1986. I loved Hunting High & Low because it was more than 'pop', it was a spiritual journey, I loved Mortens vocals, the lyrics, the soaring other-worldly quality to their songs. But when I 1st heard 'I've Been Losing You' I knew I had to have their 2nd album too. It's thumping bass and powerful lyrics really hit me: in fact it still gives me the shivers now. And what a great false ending... But that was not the only surprise, I put the LP on and was hypnotised. One minute you could feel like you were standing on a cliff edge with racing clouds overhead and the sound of the waves crashing below you and then you could be sitting in the dark quietly letting the sound of Mortens voice wash over you and lull you to sleep. His voice just has this amazing quality to it, no-one else comes close.. This album showed such maturity - I don't think the critics knew what to make of it when they considered A-Ha a teeny band. My favourite tracks are I've Been Losing You, Manhattan Skyline (simply for being so different), October, Scoundrel Days and Swing of Things but all have their quirkiness, even Maybe Maybe which to me has a tongue in cheek McCartney-esque quality about it. I personally love the line 'Maybe it was over when she chucked me out the Rover at full speed' - almost Morrissey-style brilliant ;-) Looking for the Whales took me most getting used to but they are from Norway after all.. I LIKED the fact they were not like the churned out pap we got back then, they had it all, looks, talent and let their own unique style come through. This is not 80's music - this is timeless. I like it even more now than I did when I was 14 and you can't say that very often.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pop genius, 13 May 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Scoundrel Days (Audio CD)
Along with ABC's Lexicon of Love and Propaganda's A Secret Wish, this is one of the key 1980s pop masterpieces. It's a shame that slack, lazy retrospectives have distilled A-ha down to just "Take on Me" (and even that is overshadowed by it's own pioneering video!) and nothing else. The song-writing and production on this polished jewel stand comparison with the very best albums ever made. Combining an instictive pop sensibility with complex song structures and mature lyrics give this album an appeal to anyone with ears!
Your life is poorer if you do not own a copy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bewildering girls, 21 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Scoundrel Days (Audio CD)
These three chaps from the colder parts of Scandinavia may have once been regarded as little more than leather-thong wearing teen idols, but posterity and reflection now combine to draw us to the conclusion that they were musically way ahead of their time - indeed, perhaps musically somehow beyond time itself. "Scoundrel Days" must be the very apex of some early burst of super-symmetry. Beside the untold potency of the title track, and the strangely disturbing malevolent lyricism of "Cry Wolf", the album contains a scatting of undiscovered joys - "The Soft Rains of April" rhymes "Dover" and "over" without the slightest hint of irony, and the great pivotal final word of the song, uttered in a slightly mannered, unaccompanied style, is oddly monastic in its incantation. "Looking for the whales" needs to be reinvented as "Looking for the Wales"; "Maybe Maybe", containing lyrics such as "Maybe you were joking when you chucked me out the Rover at full speed", is saturated in a narrative force clearly inspired by old Norse mythology. "Manhattan Skyline", with deftly alternating pace in the manner of a malfunctioning petrol-driven lawnmower, completes the selection. The album is a milestone of the mid-eighties, and there's a generation of twenty-somethings out there whose lives will never be the same again as a result.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their best work ever!!!!, 3 Oct 2002
This review is from: Scoundrel Days (Audio CD)
If you're an a-ha fan and you don't own this album there is something wrong with you. From start to finish this is an immaculate album, with anthems levelling if not surpassing older hits such as "take on me" and "the sun always shines on tv". My personal favourites would have to be "the swing of things", and their own personal masterpiece "manhattan skyline", songs that touch the soul and beyond. Some criticise lesser tracks than "looking for the whales" and "maybe maybe", each has it's own charm and DO grown on you. Hidden gems would include the title track which certainly should have been released as a single, and "the weight of the wind" a heart pounding thrash out about someone who's clearly losing the plot. a-ha are brilliant make no mistake, and this is their legend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most impressive record of the 80s, 19 Jan 2004
By 
Aria Murasaka "a world traveler" (http://muses-garden.blogspot.com) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Scoundrel Days (Audio CD)
Of all their albums, "Scoundrel Days" is the one that always remained on top of my playlist, no matter the musical mood of the day. More than a pop record, it is a classic, maybe even ahead of its time, and it seems to me that many people, including some who left reviews here, tend to understand the richness of it better now than they used to at the time it was issued.
Those whose knowledge of the band is limited to some fancy pop songs like "Take on me" or "Touchy" should be warned: entering one of their album, especially this one, is another experience entirely.
The first song sets the mood: "Scoundrel Days" is the reflection of both a more cynical tone and darker musical atmosphere compared to their first effort, "Hunting High and Low", that prevail during the whole 40'.
It doesn't mean that light doesn't shine through from time to time (in the beautiful "Manhattan Skyline", "We're looking for the Whales", the rocky "Cry Wolf" or "Maybe, Maybe", whithout doubt the only "weak" track of the 10). But what will stay with you once you turn off the stereo are the almost resignated sigh that are "October" or "Soft Rains of April", the sensation of horizons opened and speed of "The Weight of the Wind"(btw great to listen to on the road, ....), and finally the near desperate "I've Been Losing You" and "The Swing of Things", my personal favorite.
A record that you may need to listen to a few times before it gets a hold on you, but once it does, it never lets go.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second Album, 14 Jun 2009
This review is from: Scoundrel Days (Audio CD)
The album kicks off with the title track which is pure A-ha. Nobody else sounds like this. Morten Harket's soaring vocals, Paul Waaktaar's quirky lyrics ( I run the wind round ), a dark melancholy sound. Anybody who doesn't like pop music still couldn't ignore this song the first time they hear it. The Swing of Things is a worthy followup to the stunning opening track with some great keyboards and a fantastic bridge that gives Morten's voice a hard workout. I've been losing you has a great hook that drives the song and an excellent keyboard bridge. Definately one of their best songs ever. Manhattan Skyline is another song that demonstrates you can't bracket A-ha. These guys can basically do whatever the hell they want. There's an unorthodox structure in this song with 3 sub choruses and a swift change in tempo as the guitar kicks in. The Weight of the Wind could have been a single. its surely one of their best album tracks.
Morten's change of gears on the second verse underlines how the songwriters aren't happy to plod along with a decent tune. October and Soft Rains of April are two good ballady songs. Cry Wolf isn't my favourite A-ha single but its a decent enough pop song. Looking for the Whales is pleasant enough. Maybe maybe isn't very good but all this considered this album is five stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melancholic beauty, 12 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Scoundrel Days (Audio CD)
I just saw these guys in Oberhausen and when they played "I've been loosing you" somewhere in the middle of the gig, it hit me with such Royal Power that I could barely stay awake:) - I used to fall asleep to this album every night for years. Scoundral days, can change your life (if you have the album and you grew up in the 80's it probably already did). From the opening "Was that somebody screaming", Scoundral days is a journey in unique pop artwork (nothing sounds like this) The Swing Of Things, Manhattan Skyline and I've been loosing you are nothing but masterpieces!
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