How can the influence of A-ha be heard in singers like Harry Styles and Shawn Mendes? | Song

This month, A-ha returned to Brazil with the “Hunting High And Low” tour, named after the Norwegian band’s debut album. The 1985 record has hits like “Take on Me”, the title track and “The Sun Always Shines on TV”.

These successes are confirmed in the Brazilian shows of the group, but they are also located in another place: in playlist of influences from two new pop idols. Recent singles from Shawn Mendes and Harry Styles take direct inspiration from A-ha’s ’80s synthesizers, falsettos and radio sound.

“As it was”, by Harry Styles, is the best example of how the sound of A-ha still has power. Smooth and dancing like the band songs, she already counted nine weeks at number one on the Hot 100 from “Billboard” magazine.

So far, no other song is so preferred for Song of the Year in the United States. The song is another hit in the former One Direction member’s career and is featured on the ‘Harry’s House’ album. The singer’s third album plays with clichés, grooves, powerful ballads and dancing sounds. Styles continues to deliver charismatic retro pop, influenced by artists such as Fleetwood Mac, Rod Stewart, David Bowie and, of course, A-ha.

Harry Styles, Morten Harket (A-ha) and Shawn Mendes — Photo: Disclosure

In a recently announced hiatus to take care of his mental health, Shawn Mendes is another who has shown he listens to a lot of A-ha and other danceable 80s sounds. The Canadian singer completes “When You’re Gone” with synthesizers and effects reminiscent of what you heard on the radio until the early 90s. Since 2015, when he caught the eye opening for Taylor Swift concerts, Shawn has released four studio.

There are a lot of releases in a short time, but Shawn has built his own repertoire in search of more original sounds and speech. “When You’re Gone” is one of the idol’s most inspirational career moments to be released on the Vine app. Before, it only took him six seconds to make young girls sigh. Today, it has gained more time and a more diverse audience.

Morten Harket knows well how strong is “Take on me” by A-ha. “It’s not just a song, it’s an icon,” the singer told g1. For him, music “means different things to each person”.

“More than any other song I sing, it has a strong connection with everyone. It’s a pop icon. It takes me three minutes to sing it… So I sing it because it’s something something most people want to hear.”

A-ha at the Rock in Rio Lisbon

Morten Harket and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy of A-ha performing at Rock in Rio Lisbon — Photo: Disclosure/I Hate Flash

In this year’s edition of Rock in Rio Lisboa, A-ha showed why he will always be a reference when it comes to synth-pop. The Norwegian band revisited their 1985 debut album “Hunting High and Low” in a warmer show.

The mood only increased in the final half thanks to hits like the title track, “The Sun Always Shines on TV” and “Take on Me”, the final song on the setlist.

On “Hunting High and Low”, Morten Harket sang the chorus only with the audience twice at the end in one of the show’s finest moments. In the end, he sent kisses to the public for the happiness of many fans who have dreamed of an idol for four decades.

After Salvador and Recife, the group plays the following shows:

  • July 18 and 19 – São Paulo – Espaço das Américas
  • July 21 – Rio de Janeiro – Qualifying
  • July 22 – Belo Horizonte – Expominas
  • July 25 – Curitiba – Athletico Paranaense

Elmer Hayward

"Pop culture fan. Coffee expert. Bacon nerd. Infuriatingly humble communicator. Friendly gamer."

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