The surprise element of last year’s Billboard Music Awards was the appearance of Norwegian pop/rock trio a-ha‘s magnetic frontman Morten Harket on stage alongside Cuban rapper Pitbull and Christina Aguilera to perform a bit of a-ha’s timeless hit single “Take On Me”. The appearance undoubtedly revived memories in America of a band that had practically vanished from the American radio airwaves many years ago. In an interview at the award show, Morten Harket claimed to be working on the best material he has ever worked on. 10 years ago, that would not have been a source of excitement since his solo ventures were stylistically within the realms of Adult Contemporary fare – pleasant but far from earthshattering. This time around, it actually was a source of excitement – solely because of his much needed stylistic reinvention as a solo star on his last album “Out Of My Hands” (released in the summer of 2012). This album saw Morten working with co-writers and producers to deliver a pure pop album that had some great up-tempo moments including a revamped and reinvented cover version of “Scared Of Heights” (a folksy pop song originally performed by hit songwriter Espen Lind). The album had an electronic flavor that blended well with Morten Harket’s stellar vocals. Some might even say that there were songs on this album that could have made great a-ha tracks. The question remains as to whether excitement was justified. Sadly, the answer is “not really”.
It appears that with “Brother”, Morten Harket has returned to his MOR adult contemporary flavor that has dominated almost all of his solo material. “Brother” does not build on any of the elements that made “Out Of My Hands” a great album. The song opens with an electric guitar intro which slowly flows into the first verse. On this song, Morten strays away from his trademark “high notes” and instead sings in a lower register (which he only moves away from on the song’s chorus). The song’s relatively unremarkable lyrics are aimed at a special person that Morten refers to as his “Brother”. Morten expresses remorse for the misunderstanding that caused the rift between him and this person. The song ends with an electric guitar outro that is similar to the track’s introduction.
An album’s lead single and follow-up single are intended to be a representative sneak preview of the album they are featured on. They give listeners a sense of the flavor of music that can be expected on an album. We believe Morten Harket is without a doubt one of the greatest male vocalists in the music industry and the last thing we want to see is him fade from the limelight but we simply do not see “Brother” igniting interest outside his core fanbase (which includes us folks here at Radio Crème Brulee). We can only hope that the rest of his album sounds very different from its first two singles that unfortunately are quite lackluster. Here is a full-length video clip of “Brother” below:
STAR RATING: 3 STARS (out of 5)
We are an American internet radio station that broadcasts worldwide. The station features an eclectic mix of current pop and rock music from both sides of the Atlantic alongside hits, forgotten gems, and rarities from the last three decades. The music of a-ha (both old and new) is a regular staple on our radio station. The music (both old and new) of a-ha is a regular staple on our station – including songs from the “Cast In Steel” album. We also play plenty of newer music by bands that rose to prominence in the 80s. Noteworthy examples include Tears For Fears, Duran Duran, Camouflage, Spandau Ballet, George Michael, INXS, Depeche Mode, Johnny Hates Jazz, Simple Minds, and Culture Club.
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