Sunday, May 2nd, 2010
"Take On Me"
A.C. Newman covers a-ha
sheandhimfan.comAs New Pornographers mastermind Carl Newman – operating under his solo guise of A.C. Newman – begins his contribution to last year’s Starbucks Valentine’s Day-themed Sweetheart covers compilation, you get the sense that maybe he’s taking the easy way out. The signature opening keyboard lines of a-ha’s “Take On Me” are represented by some background pads before Newman comes in on acoustic guitar, strumming and singing coffee house-style. Which would be fine, I suppose, as stripping down any ’80s synth-pop tune to six strings and voice would qualify as a reinvention.
When the chorus arrives, however, so to do the synths return with some reverb-laden strings in tow and they remain through the remainder of the song, adding a ghostly majesty to the proceedings and perhaps giving Newman the wherewithal to not only attempt but hit those signature Morten Harket high notes – Newman has many talents, but massive vocal range generally isn’t one of them so it’s quite a feat. And then the signature riff does arrive in the bridge, sounding Casio-powered and string-assisted, and with that checked off it’s just riding the chorus through to the end whilst letting the strings off the leash to up the grandeur.
And that, kids, is how you do a cover.