Take On Me was a #1 hit for a-ha back in the mid ’80s. With a beyond-catchy synthesizer hook, drum machine background, peppy beat and incredible soaring vocals, it was a ear-worm of epic proportions. It’s got a 2 1/2 octave vocal range — much greater than that of most pop songs.
So, not being synthesizer-based and not having incredible soaring vocals, I thought this song would make a good challenge for me. Plus, I love the song.
Take a listen…
I decided to use an obvious drum-machine sound, in keeping with the original. I also chose a synth bass sound to preserve the flavor. I kept the same tempo. The half-time thingy in the chorus — I kept as well.
Having a much lower voice than Morten Harket, I transposed the key down a fourth (if I remember correctly). I chose to use a driving guitar sound to amp up the intensity and I changed the break completely (except for the chord pattern). It’s a much a more guitar oriented arrangement.
I have no idea where the inspiration for the break arrangement came from. I just sat down and started generating one idea after another. Most of them didn’t work. I kept coming at it from different angles, eventually finding little pieces that worked. I found ways to fit those pieces together until I felt they worked. I had to add a couple of bars here and there to make it fit together.
It was so much fun doing this song! I can listen to it over and over again (if I do say so myself). It probably took me about 35 hours to complete, from start to finish.