Song in Focus #4

Stay on These Roads

By A-ha

First up, I want to say that this group is one of my favourite bands. I was captivated by Take on Me from a young age, loving the clever video and catchy hook the song provides. Out of all of the videos I grew up watching on the music channels, that was by far one of the ones that made the biggest impression on me.

But this post is not about that single, we will save that for another day. I think it was with the dawn of YouTube I decided to look up what else the band had put out and of course I found a treasure trove of singles and album tracks.

Today we are focusing on Stay on These Roads, a song I love, and was released the year I was born, 1988. It is an extremely melancholy track which suits lead singer Morten Harket’s vocal perfectly. His voice is one of the most unique, powerful and I would say, beautiful, in pop. Those high notes his famous for are used to wonderful effect here.

And this is a beautiful song, atmospheric, searching, and moving. Whenever I listen to it, it always transports me somewhere-even if I’m not exactly sure where that is-which I find all the best songs do!

Take a look at these lyrics.

Lyrics

Stay On These Roads
a-ha

The cold has a voice
It talks to me
Stillborn, by choice
And it airs no need to hold
Old man, feels the cold
Oh baby don’t
‘Cause I’ve been told
Stay on these roads
We shall meet, I know
Stay on, my love
We shall meet, I know
I know
Where joy should reign
These skies restrain
Shadow of your love
The voice trails off again
The voice trails off again
Old man, feels the cold
Oh baby don’t
‘Cause I’ve been told
Stay on these roads
We shall meet, I know
Stay on, my love
You feel so weak, be strong
Stay on, stay on
We shall meet, I know
I know!
I know, my love, I know
Feel the cold
Winter’s gone, I’m on my own!
Stay on these roads
We shall meet, I know
Stay on, my love
We will meet, I know
So, Stay On!
I know
Stay, my love
Stay on
We will meet
I know, I know
Oh!
My love, I know

There is a lot to unpack there, but we can see the potential central theme that someone is wanting to meet their love again, perhaps by ‘staying on these roads”.  To me, the song sounds like a heartfelt warning.

And as well as the great song, we have another great video that fits the song perfectly.

To get that melochonly, almost haunting sound,  a Synclavier, Sequential Circuits Prophet 5, Yamaha DX-7, Roland D-50, and Roland Juno-60 or possibly a Roland Juno-106 synthesizers were used in the recording of this track as well as the album as a whole., and drums were taken care of with a Yamaha RX-5.

You can purchase the excellent album here:

Stay on These Roads [2015 https://amzn.eu/d/b6aFElL

(purchasing through my affiliate link will result in a commission for me, but I only recommend products I believe to be of high-quality!)

Cover Versions

Now, I haven’t heard a cover of this song before so this should be fun. There were quite a lot to choose from but I thought I would highlight this one:

Really nice, right? Strong vocals, beautiful voice and great keyboard playing.

What do you think of Stay on These Roads?


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