25: The Very Best Of –
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|Audio CD, CD+DVD, Box set, 4 Oct 2010||
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Deluxe three disc (two CDs + NTSC/Region 0 DVD) edition includes bonus DVD featuring 17 career-spanning video clips. 2010 collection from the Norwegian Pop trio. After nine albums, an iconic music video, and sales of more than 36 million worldwide, 2010 celebrates a-ha's 25th anniversary and final year together. The album includes 38 a-Ha favorites including 'Take on Me', 'The Sun Always Shines on TV', 'Cry Wolf' and 'Velvet' plus the brand new track 'Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)'. Warner.
A double-CD collection celebrating the retirement, after 25 years, of what was once dismissed as a little more than a prototype Norwegian boy band seems like an overambitious concept. That’s until one remembers that the Norwegian trio have sold in excess of 35 million records. But their early rush of pop brilliance and their consequently powerful association with a young audience – Morten Harket was, after all, the man who inspired a generation of teenagers to wear suede leather bracelets – mean that some ‘grew out of’ a-ha, and critics turned their back. By 1991 they might have been playing to the biggest audience of paying fans ever recorded – a staggering 198,000, at Rock in Rio II – but the story went virtually unreported, a disappointment so crushing the band went on hiatus.
They reunited in 1998, wiser and more mature, something reflected in their new music, and a 2005 singles compilation released on their 20th anniversary saw them return to the UK top 20. This latest attempt to exploit their catalogue, 25 – The Very Best Of, is therefore an enlightening affair, proof that though they rarely repeated the pure immediacy of Take on Me or The Sun Always Shines on TV, nor the ambitious drama of I’ve Been Losing You or 1987’s James Bond theme, The Living Daylights, a-ha remained capable of crafting mature pop. In fact, this thorough 39-song survey leads one to the unexpected conclusion that they were the Coldplay of their generation, accomplished at writing songs that carried an emotional depth capable of reaching out across arenas. Dark Is the Night for All is an uplifting piece of mid-paced stadium rock with a gentle heart, Velvet is a lush tearjerker that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Morcheeba record, while final single, Butterfly, Butterfly, sees them return to their synth-pop roots with added grandeur, sounding not unlike Pet Shop Boys with choirboy vocals.
Inevitably, though, over two and a half hours of a-ha things start to sag, as they would with many artists, and that seems a shame. These three Norwegians have more than earned a status approaching iconic, and recent gestures – they’ve given away over £400,000 in grants to developing Norwegian artists this year – prove that music was always a far greater driving force in their careers than fame and teenage adulation. But few people listen to full albums anymore, so this is better thought of as a well-earned condensed encyclopaedia into which to dip than a simple retrospective collection. Either way, respect is due, and 25 provides more than room enough for that.--Wyndham Wallace
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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.
I bought this album on the basis of four tracks (The sun never shines; Hunting high and low; Living Daylights; and Take on Me) - the album is worth it just for these tracks.
In addition, there are many more tracks in a similar vein which the true fans will, no doubt, tell you are even better. You should be able to sample these on the MP3 download version of the album if you need more evidence to back up you gut instinct about whether to buy.
A fun purchase on a whim, but money well spent - plus you get the classic video from "Take on Me" included...
It is not easy locating a greatest hits CD album which, also contains a Music DVD.
Unfortunately, not all the hits are provided on the Music DVD.
If only more companies would adopt this approach to selling music and include the music videos.