do yourself a favor
I'm currently listening to Magne's Spotify playlist songs I wish received some more love. I'd previously liked it and added it to my favorite playlists, but never played it through before, mostly because I have all those songs downloaded and playlisted elsewhere. But I've discovered while listening that it is a pretty cool musical experience, and I definitely recommend it for any MF fan.
Hard to say if the track order has some meaning or logic behind it, but halfway through I am a believer — whatever led to this specific listening progression, it's super effective for setting a mood. I haven't hit 'This is now America' yet, I see it there in the playlist coming up, but I'm unsure if it will fit well or be jarring. We'll see in a minute (it's the next track).
...oh hey, that works really well. Wow.
Speaking of 'This is now America', it's interesting to me that only two of Magne's solo songs made the cut; all others are a-ha tracks he wrote or co-wrote. And the two solo tracks are from his most recent solo album, leaving out his earlier, similarly brilliant albums altogether. I'm wondering if there is a musical/compositional reason for this, meaning the list was very intentionally curated, or if there is a different reason those albums are not represented which have nothing do with with the music itself.
An old favorite, so I am not going to argue with the choice, but it's interesting that there are two versions of 'Dragonfly' on the list. One is live, and Magne sings it (so spectacularly, and I was at the show where it was recorded, so that version is super special to me), so it is substantially different than the album track. Makes total sense.
Sadly, I don't have access to the live version of 'Dragonfly' from 'How Can I Sleep With Your Voice In My Head' because the album is STILL not available in North America on Spotify. I probably haven't heard it in years because I have to go to Apple Music and look for it there, among all my purchased a-ha albums. Out of sight, out of ears? Sigh.
On the subject of live tracks, there are multiple live albums to choose from, presenting quite wonderful versions of a-ha songs from their catalog, and yet Magne only chose two live tracks — 'Dragonfly' as mentioned, and 'This Alone Is Love', which is coming up next. Also an interesting choice and one that I am sure will fit well with the rest — and I was also there when this live track was recorded :-)
There are three a-ha albums not represented, which in total could have added ten more songs: 'Hunting High and Low' — which no one could argue needs more love, so that exclusion makes sense — and 'Memorial Beach' and 'Analogue', both albums that could use more love. So that's interesting. While I can see musically why the two 'Memorial Beach' songs weren't included, at least a couple of the 'Analogue' tracks by Magne would have fit nicely. So maybe there is a story there, or maybe not.
I think 'Little Black Heart' could well have followed 'Mythomania'. Now I am wondering if I were to undertake a structured, thorough process to identify the perfect MF song playlist for myself (definitely not making judgements for others here), (1) how long would that take, (2) would it be fun, and (3) would the result rival how satisfying this playlist already is? Meaning, would it be worth it?
I like this selection a lot, and I can see why some songs aren't included ('Maybe Maybe' and 'Touchy!', I'm looking at you), but I do miss some of the songs that didn't make the cut, from both the a-ha catalog and his solo works. Maybe I'll take the lazy way out and make a chronological playlist of all songs Magne wrote or co-wrote, regardless of artist (yes, I'd include that Backstreet Boys song, haha), and then hit shuffle to see what happens. Curating a track order sounds exhausting LOL.
Of course I can't do that, because 'Past Perfect Future Tense' isn't available in North America, and neither is 'Analogue', 'Ending On A High Note' or 'How Can I Sleep With Your Voice In My Head' — or 'Winter Days' from Martin Halla, which he did a lot of writing on — and of course there are Apparatjik songs to consider, although I can't remember if the guys are credited in the liner notes for individual songwriting contributions. (All of my CDs are packed up as we're doing some renovations, and I couldn't find scans of liner notes online anywhere.)
Anyway, go listen, it's worth it. And when I make my playlist (incomplete though it will be), I'll come back and share the link in case it saves anyone else the effort ;-)
p.s. 'Father Christmas' was a late addition by Magne, and I just reached it — doesn't fit well IMO, 'Scoundrel Days' would have been the perfect ending song!