Wednesday, May 2, 2007

video #05: Ah-Ha - Take On Me

What more can be said about "Take on Me" that hasn't already been said? I know I said the same about "The Genius of Love," which is just as worthy of being the definitive animated video of the MTV age as this is, but since this is maybe the most covered song and parodied video of the last 25 years, it's not really a contest. It's probably not very surprising that most people would prefer this to the art-damaged, Sesame Street squigglevision of "Genius of Love." It's aging pretty well, too, at least compared to how most high-concept 80s videos have.

A few things I've always liked about it that tend to go unnoticed:

1. I love coffeeshops. Not coffee houses, but coffeeshops. Ones with stainless steel fixtures, glass cases, and ashtrays and bottles of Heinz on every table. Ones with angry waitresses that don't have time to drop your stuff off in the lost & found box, especially if it looks like you just stiffed them on the bill. Ones with constantly running fans to help move the cigarette smoke up to the ceiling (soon to be a memory of the past here). So even without any of the rotoscoping, this would still be one of my favorite videos.

2. The "Nice Cold, Ice Cold MILK" sign above the booth. I WANT this.

3. The "Surprise, motherfuckers!" look that Morten Harket (Ah-Ha lead singer, and of course I had to look that up) gives his attackers when he suddenly flashes a wrench of his own at them. The "Oh shit!" look on their faces right before that sudden reveal is great. To this day, no one knows where he obtained this weapon, especially given the featureless, empty hallways that he was trapped in. One of the great video mysteries of all time.

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