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4.8 out of 5 stars
Hunting High And Low
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2002
None of a-ha's album's are perfect - but it's impossible not to give them 5 stars, because each of them is so enjoyable in its own way.
I love this band - it started when I heard 'Take on Me' when I was 13, and this was the first album I bought with my own money.
Admittedly, it's sooo 80s, and not all of the songs age as well as their subsequent material. But it's immense fun, and reflects the energy and enthusiasm that the band obviously felt on the verge of success and stardom. They were so fresh-faced back then (with full hair and tight denim trousers!)
The band's better-known singles are here - Take on Me, The Sun Always Shines on TV, Hunting High and Low, and Train of Thought, but there are also some other unknown gems - particularly Living a Boys Adventure Tale.
As I said, some of the tunes are just too 80s to appeal to anyone other than die-hard fans - like And You Tell Me and Love is Reason.
But overall it's a great album of perfect syth pop, and a good starting point for a band that went on to have a great career!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2009
I've had "Hunting High and Low" for over 20 years, but it was only listening to it again recently that I consciously realised just how good it really is.

What's great is that it manages to fit way more depth, intelligence and atmosphere into the 80s synthpop mould than you'd expect, yet still remains a fantastic pop album.

"Take On Me" may be the best-known song here (in part because it was their only major American hit). It's a good song, but possibly overplayed at the expense of the real masterpiece at the heart of the album, "The Sun Always Shines on TV"- a UK number one, and deservedly so.

The most generic 80s track here is "Love is Reason"- actually quite decent in its own right, but this simply highlights the fact that most of the other non-single songs are way better than the filler you'd expect from a debut album. I mean, "Living a Boy's Adventure Tale" is brilliant.

Morten Harket's singing is one very obvious reason for this album being a cut above the typical 80s synthpop offerings, but not the only one; aside from the songs, there are also some nice touches with the arrangements, like the clarinet in "Living a Boy's Aventure Tale" or the voices and strings in the middle of "I Dream Myself Alive".

Better than you'd have any right to expect from a debut, Hunting High and Low may be pop, but it's certainly not disposable, and it still sounds great over 20 years later.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2010
When I first heard that this classic cd was getting the royal treatment on its 25th anniversary, I was ecstatic since this is indeed what this masterpiece truly deserves. Sound quality has been
improved tremendously to be at par with recordings nowadays and is louder compared to the original cd which came out in the 80s. Hearing these beautiful songs once again made me relive the 80s when my late brother who loved a-Ha was still with us and we would listen to a-Ha songs together.

The extras are really worth it because after hearing the demos, you get to appreciate even more the final versions which made it to the classic cd. For example, "Take on Me" didn't exactly sound awesome in it's original or demo versions. The melody was there and the vocals but the brilliant arrangement was missing then. Which is why when they finally came out with THE version which made it all the way to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Pop chart, we know why it did.

Hearing the other songs in the cd, I now wonder why they were not released in America because they could have become big hits. Like "Hunting High and Low" with its beautiful melody and arrangement could have been a-Ha's answer to "Save a Prayer". I also like "Love is Reason" and wonder too why this did not become a hit in the US.

This is a must own for any a-Ha fan. So lovingly put together in time for its 25th anniversary!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2010
The original album was enough to give this five stars. 'Take on me' is one of the best songs i have ever heard, period. And that is with repeated listens. The vocal range of Morten is staggering and the synths lines are extremely melodic, atmospheric and memorable. 'Hunting High and low' is an acoustic tune, very melodic. I also love 'Here I stand and face the rain', nice backing vocals and mix of atmospheric synths and acoustic guitars. All the tracks are good, except for 'love is reason' which is still playable, but more filler shallow pop.

But the bonus tracks? Loads of demo versions of every track on the album. The original, rare 1984 version of 'take on me', also a very nice track, but nowhere near as good as the genius final track. Plus very very rare B-sides 'Stop and make your mind u' (B side of 'Take on me') and 'Driftwood' (B side of the 'sun always shines on TV). PLUS another 11 tracks of unreleased songs.

This is an excellent double album and a must have for all A-ha fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2010
One of my favorites from the mid 1980's, "Hunting High and Low" Aha's first classic collection is finally remastered and released as this fine band calls it a day. With all the music that came out during the 80's this one stood out from the pack. That angelic vocal delivery of lead singer Morten Harket combined with a band that was really
mature(and played real instruments). Moody and atmospheric with songs that soared and in all the emotions of guys in a band in their 20's so far away from their home in Norway. I could not stop listening to these songs, I was so deep into the likes of David Bowie, Grace Jones, Lene Lovich, The Smiths, Propaganda, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen to name a few, my taste in music was expanding faster then I could take it all in, but I knew it was a great time to be around with music videos opening our eyes and thanks to the song and video to TAKE ON ME, I was introduced to this great band. I never could understand why the media and record companies in AMERICA forced this band to be pin up boy idols and left their musicanship by the waist only to abandon them just when they left their mark, is a mystery to me. I have followed this band most of ther career, I loved them like I enjoyed bands like the Moody Blues and the Beatles from their 60's and 70's. HUNTING HIGH AND LOW is full of explosive music, harmonies and good taste. They've gone on to make so much great music over the years, but this first one is so special. Aha will be missed by those
who have a good ear for tunes but we have their legacy. Still hear the sounds of "Living a boys adventure tale" in my brain so many years later, only now it sounds so much better, yet still gives me chills from back in that time of my life. Thanks Aha for all the music, one of the all time great singers in rock pop music history. I hope you continue doing solo projects! You are all just as talented on your own but Aha no one can compare to you!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2010
this is one of my favourite albums of the 80s - it is clear that the production brought a lot of the demos to life. it is great to hear all the demos here and a lot of the bonus remixes too. there are a lot of extra tracks here but not all of them are great and some of them seem that they would not fit in with the album. I would have like to have seen new remixes of other tracks.
diftwood is the best extra tracks and b side to the sun always shines on tv. the first CD with extra bonus tracks is wonderful and the 2nd CD an interesting addition. nice packaging etc and a great deluxe edition due to this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2008
Ok, I'll admit it, I love A-Ha, even now. This album was released when I was about 5 and my sister, 5 years older than me, had this on cassette and I can remember we both played it to death, with the result that listening to it now conjures up some really lovely memories of my childhood. But anyway.....yes, there are some undoubtedly cheesy 80s songs on here such as (which I think has been mentioned before) 'The Blue Sky' and 'Love is Reason' but even now, the classics such as 'Take on Me' and 'The Sun Always Shines on TV' still bring a tingle to the spine because they have been really well produced and there is a great use of synthesisers in there (do I detect a Fairlight in there somewhere - ultra ultra expensive early sampling synth with a really unusual sound, used by Art of Noise a lot). When compared to some of the other 80s albums by other artists, this does stand out - or I could just be biased!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2013
I'll admit that, like much of the American audience, my fascination with a-ha didn't last beyond this first album and its two U.S. chart hits. Fickle! I did eventually buy the "Headlines And Deadlines: Best Of" CD and found they were much more than a two-hit wonder. Back to this two-disc treasure found!
This is a magnificent debut album made even more so by unearthing the demos and unreleased sides that documents the story of how this group began. With the booklet included, it explains how they came to the final ten sides chosen for the album's original release. Beautifully remastered, and everything sounds fantastic. The only thing I found strangely missing is that glorious slow-intro extended 12" mix of "Take On Me," which there IS room for. But with two released and two demo versions already here, maybe Rhino thought it would be overkill. That mix can now be found on a few various artist comp's, so just a minor quibble. Don't let this stop you from buying this!
I also would have liked to have seen a record company push for hit singles in the dreamlike title track and "Love Is Reason," banished to the U.S. B-side of "Take On Me." But they're still here to be enjoyed! I particularly liked hearing "Driftwood" again after many years, and several of the "extra" tracks. Morten is a terrific vocalist, such an emotional range without overdoing it. Five stars for this amazing journey back to 1985...and beyond!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 September 2010
One could see through the synthesisers and computers,particularly the FAIRLIGHT in the making of this groundbreaking 1st album by Morten ,Pal and Magne.The songs,are what they are all about ultimately,and in TAKE ON ME,HUNTING HIGH AND LOW,LIVING THE BOY's ADVENTURE DREAM and THE SUN ALWAYS SHINES ON TV,they have an entire masterclass on PERFECT POP SONGWRITING all on its own ther.Not only have the songs on HHAL stood the test of time,it surpasses almost anything which is churn out by the radio these days.This is where it all began..the journey of pop's archetypal songwriting geniuses in the guise of (rather unfairly labeled)teen idols.Absolutely recommended!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2002
This was the first albulm I ever owned from about 1986 I think. It is as good as I remember. The pure pop excellence of Take on Me and The Sun Always Shines on TV really stand the test of time, sounding fresh to this day. The textured keyboards and the beauty, yes sheer beauty (!), of Morten Harket's voice shines in the title track and Living A Boy's Adventure Tale. Maybe its my age but this remains, in my opinion, a classic pop albulm and I would recommend it to all those who remember A-ha. ...
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