Analogue – A-ha

Norwegian trio A-ha have had huge success throughout the world with their work in the 1980s and are still very popular in South America & Europe now in latter half of the 2000s. I was a fan from 1987 till 1991 and then they faded away in the wake of all my rock, metal & blues bands. The band temporarily split up. Then in 2000, I heard what would become my favourite A-ha song – Summer Moved On and Minor Earth, Major Sky from their comeback album and was hooked again. I prefer this A-ha over most of their 80s stuff, a very melancholic approach to pop-rock that only these Norwegian trio can do. Still I didn’t have any of their songs until, a couple of years ago, based solely on nostalgia reasons, I bought their greatest hits cd and regained my taste for them.

Analogue is the band’s 8th & latest studio album, released in 2005. I was able to download it in its entirety and enjoy the wonderful songs on it. The album starts off with first single Celice, about people who have lost their direction in the hunt for meaning – and loneliness as a result of lost innocence. You hear the opening lines by singer Morten Harket, the music of Paul Waaktaar-Savoy & Magne Furuholmen and it’s like meeting a familiar face. When Don’t Do Me Any Favours is about non-compromising & rejecting a person (probably a former lover) like the line “I’d rather be your adversary than to be your slave“. Cosy Prisons is many fan reviewers favourite track on the album (I love it but my fav is another track). The song is about the hi-life & things that money can buy and enclosing oneself in a protective bubble, isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be and compares that kind of life to being in a “cosy prison” without a clue about the real world.

Analogue is downright one of the best a-ha songs that I have ever heard and is so addictive that I already played it 10 times on my pc and on my cell phone! It starts of with an ominous guitar sound and then the keyboards kick in with that repetitive line that is so atmospheric! It’s a plea of a loved one to return. In a similar vein, but much slower, is Birthright, which tells a person who is planning on leaving, that the answers might not be there and that time can take care of things.

Holy Ground is about saying goodbye to someone who you used to love but now the love is ground due to differences in their respective thinking. Over The Treetops is a sound that seems to be about a nature lover and wanting to live the simple life closer to it. Halfway Through The Tour‘s subject matter that has been written & sung about by many, many bands who are regularly on the road – being homesick and lonely even when playing for stadiums across the globe and being in the media spotlight. The Fine Blue Line is about how good things can change quickly and nothing is permanent. Keeper Of The Flame & Summers Of Our Youthare a nostalgic look at playing music in the passion of youth, while Make It Soon is a love song. White Dwarf is about a picture of planets, moons & a white dwarf! At best I think it’s a analogy for fading love!

All throughout Harket’s vocals draw you into the world of a-ha, while Waaktaar & Furuholmen lend their musical talents to weave a musical tapestry that is far superior to their early works. Their best album ever? Who cares, just get it!

Song for the day – “Analogue (All I Want)” – A-HA

Montreal Canadiens's New Look

The 2007-08 season will see the debut of the Rbk Edge jerseys for each of the 30 NHL teams. The clubs are taking this opportunity to also change the overall design and or logo or just update what they were using till date. However I, as well as numerous other hockey fans, weren’t too happy with most of the changes that have shown up till date. The new New York Islanders home jersey absolutely stinks!

It’s good to see that the Montreal Canadians, perhaps the most revered of all clubs & uniforms, haven’t changed the look much. It pretty much looks the same. Somethings are best left unchanged.

What's So Special about Sevilla FC?

What indeed is so special about Sevilla Fc? Nothing, it seems on paper. But they are the current holders of three major trophies: the UEFA Cup, the Copa del Rey, and the Spanish Super Cup. They are, infact, the two time defending UEFA Cup champions (2005-06, 2006-07) beating elite opposition along the way. The history books will show you that the club started in 1905, that they play at the 45,000 capacity Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium and that they finished 3rd in La Liga last year behind Real Madrid & Barcelona. That from 1915 they have been involved in one of the most violent football derbies whenever they play their cross-town bitter rivals Real Betis (which was created by a rival faction within Sevilla itself).

And there is the sad death of Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta. On the first day of the Spanish League 2007/2008 season, Sevilla were playing Getafe CF when Antonio Puerta began walking towards his goal area, keeled over, placed his hands on his knees, and collapsed onto his back. His teammates and Sevilla medical staff came to aid him to make sure of him not swallowing his tongue. He was revived and substituted. In the dressing room afterwards, he collapsed again. He was hospitalized and after 3 days in hospital (in which he was in a ‘critical condition’ and his health was ‘unfavourable’ reports came from the Spanish media that Puerta had died. These reports were later confirmed. As a mark of respect for his passing, players from Seville and AC Milan wrote “Puerta” on their shirts during the European Super Cup match on 31st August 2007. Furthermore, as Milan went on to win the match, no jubilation was done as a sign of respect for the grief sustained by Sevilla, as the win was dedicated to Puerta.

When Sevilla played AEK Athens in Greece on Monday, in the qualifying stages for the Champions League, a minute silence was observed at the stadium while flags flew at half mast and images of Puerta & the damages caused by the Greek forest fires, which claimed 64 lives last week were shown on the giant screen. The matched ended in a 4-1 victory for Sevilla (6-1 on aggregate) who will now play in the Champions League for the very first time. And they will face my Arsenal side in the group stages. I hope they do well.

Sevilla FC are a great club with character & team spirit, as they shown in recent years. They may not have star names in their side : Goalie Andres Palop, defender & captain Javi Navarro, striker Freddie Kanoute & defender Khalid Boulahrouz (on loan from Chelsea) are the only names that I, as a regular follower of European football from 1998, know off. But they will be one to watch and they are proof that the Spanish league is a whole lot more than just Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia & Deportivo La Coruna.