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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Hurrah
On the 4th of December 2010, on the third of 3 sell-out shows at the Oslo Spektrum in Norway, the curtain will finally fall on a-ha's glittering 25-year career.

Undoubtedly a sad day in the calendar, but this hugely talented trio will be bowing out on a high note. Last year, in "Foot of the Mountain", they released one of their finest albums, proving it was...
Published on 29 Aug. 2010 by The_Dread_Council

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
I love a-ha but this isn't one of their best albums. Obviously their hits are on there but strip them away and the songs that are left over are really all quite uninspiring.
Nevertheless, I have all their hits on one album now and will continue to enjoy listening to them for years to come.
Published 11 months ago by Mrs. G. Smith


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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Hurrah, 29 Aug. 2010
On the 4th of December 2010, on the third of 3 sell-out shows at the Oslo Spektrum in Norway, the curtain will finally fall on a-ha's glittering 25-year career.

Undoubtedly a sad day in the calendar, but this hugely talented trio will be bowing out on a high note. Last year, in "Foot of the Mountain", they released one of their finest albums, proving it was possible to be both contemporary and retro. This year, fans have been rather spoilt: Comprehensive 2-CD remasters of their first two albums ("Hunting High and Low" and "Scoundrel Days"), an updated version of Jan Omdahl's insightful book "The Swing of Things", a brand new single, and now this compilation album.

"25" is actually a-ha's third compilation album, following 1991's "Headlines and Deadlines" and "The Definitive Singles 1984-2004", but this is easily the most comprehensive, and it has been lovingly put together by reissue specialists Rhino Records. The only gripe I have is the band's chunky new logo on the aquatic cover, but this doesn't detract from what is a highly recommended retrospective.

Across the two discs, every remastered track (including some rare radio edits and mixes of singles) has been presented in chronological order, with the exception of "The Blood that Moves the Body" - this remix was used to further promote "Headlines and Deadlines" in 1992, and appears here for the first time in album format. Fan (and band) favourites "The Blue Sky", "The Swing of Things", "There's Never a Forever Thing" and "Slender Frame" have also been added, giving further weight to the claim that a-ha were more than just a singles act.

Each of a-ha's nine studio albums are well represented here, allowing listeners to trace their musical development. It took a few albums for a-ha to shrug off their poster-boy image, but below the surface of their catchy, intricate melodies lies a melancholic depth that has won them many admirers over the years, including bands such as Keane and Coldplay. In the early 90s the band moved away from their trademark pop sound, and their 60s influences (The Beatles and The Doors, in particular) were certainly more prevalent. By 1993's "Memorial Beach", guitars were at the forefront of the instrumentation and the material steered more towards the American market.

Fast forward to the new millennium and the end of a-ha's `seven-year-itch', and the newly focused trio were a slightly more democratic affair; less reliant on the creative tension between Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and Magne Furuholmen, and utilizing more of Morten Harket's lighter material. There were, arguably, mixed results over three albums and, by 2005's deceptively-titled "Analogue" album, they were once again flirting with a rockier sound.

In 2009 a-ha went back to basics with the solid, 10-track "Foot of the Mountain", which played to the three-piece's strengths, with all the material being penned by Waaktaar-Savoy and Furuholmen. Final single, "Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)", does admittedly sound like a hold-off from those final album sessions. However, it is a fitting finale, bringing a-ha full circle with a catchy synth-pop tune that has Harket declaring "These stained glass wings could only take you so far."

For many it's the end of an era, but there is still much to look forward to from each of this loveable band's component parts. As Harket remarked on the end of a-ha: "It turns into a positive thing - the three of us are still around." A capable songwriter in his own right, he has to date released four solo albums (two sung in his native language), while Furuholmen has recorded two solo albums, composed film soundtracks, and carved out a successful career as an artist in tandem with his musical commitments. Waaktaar-Savoy, a vastly talented and prolific musician and songwriter, has already released 6 albums (including one compilation) with his side-project Savoy since 1996, and a new album is reported to be in the works.

"It's time to celebrate..."
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for pop-music fans, 31 July 2010
Got this album on import; it really brought it home to me just how great a band A-ha really are. This is their first complete retrospective and has ALL their singles and cherry-picks the best album tracks too. There's hardly a duff track on it - it really is that good. And the sleeve artwork is classy too.
If you love catchy but adult widescreen pop with a melancholic slant and some epic, haunting melodies, then this really is highly recommended. Non a-ha fans too will be surprised at the depth, range and quality of the songs.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goodbye to A-ha, 30 May 2013
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This album was released surrounding the bands' final break-up and just after the release of their farewell single. The first ever A-ha album I ever bought was 'The definitive singles collection 1984-2004' compilation album and I have loved this band ever since. Whereas that album has the defining singles and most of them on it from that 20 year period, this album has not just every single ever released by the band, including the final ever song 'Butterfly, butterfly (The last Hurrah) but also a selection of non-singles from each of the 9 studio albums. I think this is the ultimate A-ha collection and was especially attractive to me when it was released as I had collected some but not all of A-ha's albums so it gives a flavour of a couple of the non-singles from those albums. The album artwork follows on from the final album Foot of the mountain with the nature theme but has its own bubble style artwork. The booklet features a welcome informative piece about the band's history.

This album really is a piece of music history and if you have never bought an A-ha album before then it gives you a true slice of the band with not just the singles but album songs as well. The album features edited single versions and remixes which would even appeal to the veteran fan. There are 5 songs from the 1st two albums, 6 songs from the third, 4 songs from the fourth, fifth and sixth, 3 from the seventh, 3 from the eighth, 3 songs from the ninth and final album and the farewell single, which is very melancholy and emotionally stirring for the longer term fans. I think it's a brilliant song to say goodbye.

From the early days of deep 80's synth pop all the way to the modern nostalgic electro of their final album and final single this 2 CD album takes us along the journey of the bands development. If I had to recommend an album to anyone interested in this band then it would be this greatest hits compilation. With 39 songs which take you through the bands 25 year history as 1 of the most successful bands it is an album not to be missed, by new and old fans, even if it's just to add to your collection because it's pure gold! At just £5.07 this album is a no-brainer purchase when 'The definitive singles collection' right now is £9.12! This album has over double the amount of tracks so this is the obvious choice for anyone. This album is compelling evidence that A-ha were the greatest Norwegian band of all time and proof that they are one of THE greatest bands ever.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent release at last, 12 Oct. 2010
By 
Michael O. Byrd (MEMPHIS, TN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The cd's are excellent, but what I was happiest with is the DVD. It's apparently region free. I wish more of the videos were on there, but most of the best ones are there and it play fine in my Regions 1 player. Every version of Headlines and Deadlines I've ever purchased has locked up my region free player for some reason. Overall an excellent release for the guys. Spans their full career with some of there best hits as well as some of their best non-single tracks. A must for fans and a good idea for anyone wanting to get a good idea of their full career.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Music is great, DVD not so..., 15 Oct. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not much more can be said about the 2 CD's in this deluxe package that hasn't been said already - an excellent summation of 25 years of quality music from A-ha, with all the singles and choice album tracks compiled and remastered superbly. Essential purchase. However the DVD is a mixed bag...

Whoever remastered the videos has made "odd" edits to the music tracks so for example, the video of "The Sun Always Shines On TV" which always used the 7" single version now uses an odd edit of the album version as it's soundtrack. Your average punter wouldn't notice but to a fan it sticks out a mile. Also Rhino have carelessly inserted a video of the "Star Spangled Banner" after the aforementioned track, a video which has NOTHING to do with A-ha at all - the quality control department must have been asleep that day. You can skip it but why on Earth is it on there? Also whilst it's nice to see the original 1984 version of "Take On Me" it's disappointing that quality videos like "Cry Wolf", "The Living Daylights" and even the inane "Touchy" are conspicuous by their absence. Even "Hunting High And Low" is missing. So it's a missed opportunity by Rhino to provide a complete one-stop package for fans and anybody who may be curious about the band's work. Still it's only another two quid so you may as well go for the deluxe version.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a band and what a legacy, 4 Oct. 2010
When you listen to their latest (and final) single Butterfly, Butterfly it's hard to believe that a-ha have been around for 25 years as tehy still sound as fresh and current as ever. And when you look at the tracklisting on this Best Of you will be amazed at how many classic tracks they had and what an outstanding body of work they produced. To existing fans this will not come of any surprise but to those that only know Take On Me and a couple of their other hits i really can't recommend this album enough. The BBC recently reviewed the album and called them 'The Coldplay of their generation' which is a fantastic comparison - they were not only musically and stylistically innovative but also produced the most catchy and brilliant pop tunes!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the best!, 9 Nov. 2010
By 
Mr. Neelen A. Patten "Neel1" (Mauritius) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I've been a huge fan of a-ha since 1987 at least and I have all their studio CD albums. Yet, I still found this purchase useful because they contain many rare and unique versions of the songs I love most. Like Hunting high and Low (The 7" remix), two versions of Take on me, including the 1984 version as video, the single version of Nothing is keeping you here, which is more energetic than the album version, and most of all, their latest and last single, Butterfly, Butterfly with which I fell in love from the first listen itself....This is one song that I've been longing to hear from them, and they chose to express it for me finally!! I love to play that song to my 3 years old niece and she sings back because the tune is so addictive!

This 3 disc collection also contains a DVD with some of their best video clips: Take on me, Sun always shines on TV, ...You will love the video of "Angel in the Snow" which hasn't been released internationally before...and the video of "Butterfly Butterfly" which was produced by Steeve Barron, the same guy who produced the cult video for Take on me in 1985....a-ha has come back to a full circle....This is a great collection even for the die-hard fans because the songs, even the very old ones, have been remastered and all sound fresh....It's a real pleasure to listen to songs like Train of Thought and Blue Sky with this quality of sound, not available in the original recording itself...These songs are simply breathing on this collection......

This is one best collection and I'm glad I have it now...Will be treasured for years now...Good choice of present for someone who knows a-ha or who likes music of the 80's...I recommend this collection very strongly!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best, 23 Oct. 2010
A-has' music is a gem with as many sides as the listener is willing to discover. Unfortunately, the overall willingness has been minimal.
Critics and general public have often dismissed a-ha as "pretty" or "Norwegian", or something equally relevant.
My advice to anyone interested (or uninterested) in music is to listen to what a-ha have achieved; nothing I could write in this review could ever do it justice.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most misunderstood band ever !!!, 23 Aug. 2010
A-ha are often and wrongly labelled with being a throw away 80s pop band
whilst this maybe true of a couple of songs from their first album
they are far from this,and the fact that Chris Martin from Coldplay
states A-ha as a major influence shows how good a band they really are.

A-ha have written some of the most beautiful and haunting songs i have ever heard.
Their songwriting and melodies are amazing and Mortens voice is truly powerfull.

This two CD set has the best from all their albums with only a personal favourite
''out of blue comes green'' missing.

For further listening i would buy Scoundrel days( their best album) and Memorial beach.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 25: The very best of a-ha Deluxe Edition, 23 Nov. 2010
This is fabulous album. All the great a-ha songs on one album. Having only just accidently re-discovering them in June, it has been a huge pleasure to uncover more and more little music gems of theirs. Unfortunately, the band is calling it quits this December but their music will live on, especially in this album. It gives you a taste of their music so that you can go on to explore their other albums and the other songs that are not on this album. I find their songs have a rare, poignant beauty about them that are very characteristic of this band and its members who exude sincerety and integrity/. Even the songs you might not think you would like - you end up singing along to and then playing over and over again. Highly recommended.
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