~ Another blog about the new a-ha song: http://nearvana.wordpress.com/2009/04/28/this-is-about-the-chart-not-art/
Without the handicap of being attached to the Magne song, and so judging “Foot of the Mountain” on its own merits, I think a-ha have a really great pop song on their hands.
This single is all about getting on the radio, not creating an artistic masterpiece. To that end they have a polished, catchy pop-song with a great hook and a superior vocal from Morten.
Unfortunate as it is that some fans are disappointed that the band have plundered an existing recording, I can assure them that, as someone who is not “Magne-fied”, I think the new a-ha single is a winner.
Well said, Graham! I didn't agree with everything he said, but his post was a great starting point for thought/discussion. Go read it!
~ The a-ha fan cafe did a Q&A with the fabulous Martin Kvamme, who designed the single cover and new a-ha logo. Notable from this discussion is the revelation that the stuff hanging off the bridge on the cover is meant to be lava. Considering the song is 'Foot of the Mountain' are we then to assume that the foot of the mountain isn't idyllic at all, but that this 'refuge' is on the edge of a volatile force? Is this a kind of irony/fatalism perhaps? Isn't the foot of a volcanic mountain just about one of the most dangerous places to live? Is the point a kind of 'climbing a mountain is looking for trouble, so we'll just stay here where it's safe'? Or 'there is danger inherent in living, so why not embrace the fact and go on living to the fullest?' My little brain can't process all the possibilities of meaning. I think I need to just go back to enjoying it as a pop song and leave it at that ;-)
~ More required reading: this translated article, which is all kinds of funny. The part that's on topic is where Magne says "The song was originally written for a-ha, but then things took time, and it ended up on my solo album first." That's a bit unexpected, but dear Nicola asked the question the other day on the forum before this interview translation was posted, so major props to her for being right!