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Released Sep 04, 2015

Cast In Steel (2015)

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When a-ha played the Oslo Spektrum in December 2010 to close the 'Ending on A High Note Farewell Tour', it felt a definitive full-stop on the band's activities. 

As Morten Harket says, it has been a genuine and real disbanding. There has been no a-ha in the sense of the word during that time. For Morten, Paul Waaktaar and Magne Furuholmen, the five-year break has allowed them to explore a rich seam of various creative projects, both musical and artistic.

The return came about in a simple, organic way, as Paul explains: "It started off very easy and low-key with Morten dropping by my studio at various occasions, and I would show him songs that I was working on. He would sing on the songs he felt a connection with and leave the ones that didn't and it just went like that until we had done 10 or 12 songs."

The lack of pressure and deadlines was definitely a bonus, and reminded Paul of when the band first started out: "The beauty of it was that we could do this totally under the radar; there were no deals in place, no contracts, tours planned or deadlines looming, just our shadow endeavours. It was back to exactly how we started in my parents cabin way back when in the 80s. Some instruments, a song, a voice."

That sense of enjoyment and belief in the new material is clear from all three members: "The making of our album has so far been such an uplifting experience", says Paul; "It is a really unexpected pleasure to be writing songs for Morten's voice again", says Magne. "I knew sitting down with Paul and Magne," Morten says, "that this would be a real genuine effort. We have never been ones to look back so you can take for granted all three of us are doing this because we know we can create something new. The songs have to be good: the benchmark is always the same."

As Foot on the Mountain showed, a-ha are a different beast to the vast majority of their contemporaries, still at the peak of their songwriting powers, rather than living off past glories. Cast in Steel picks up where their last studio album left off, this is the sound of band relaxed and refreshed, at ease with themselves and ready to take on the world once more.

Liner Notes:

Mastered by John Davis at Metropolis, London

Photography: Just Loomis

Art Direction & Design: Jeri Heiden and Glen Nakasako for SMOG Design, Inc.

Recorded at: Studio Brun, Atlantis Studios, Buret, Alabaster Room, Real World, Electric Lady, Athletic Sound, Albatross Recorders, Systems Two Recording Studios, Little Big Sound

Recorded by: Peter Kvint, Janne Hansson, Erik Ljunggren, Steve Osborne, Eliot Leigh, Chuck Zwicky, Kai Andersen, Dag Erik Johansen, George Tandero, Max Ross, Even Enersen Ormestad, John Brant, Bobby Shin

Track List

Disc 1 Cast In Steel (2015)

  • 1: Cast In Steel
  • 2: Under The Makeup
  • 3: The Wake
  • 4: Forest Fire
  • 5: Objects In The Mirror
  • 6: Door Ajar
  • 7: Living At The End Of The World
  • 8: Mythomania
  • 9: She's Humming A Tune
  • 10: Shadow Endeavors
  • 11: Giving Up The Ghost
  • 12: Goodbye Thompson

Disc 2 Cast In Steel (2015)

  • 1: The End Of The Affair
  • 2: Mother Nature Goes To Heaven (Original Version)
  • 3: Nothing Is Keeping You Here (Original Version)
  • 4: Shadowside (Demo Version)
  • 5: Start The Simulator (Stereophonic Mix)
  • 6: Foot Of The Mountain (Mark Saunders Remix)

Lyrics Cast In Steel

Meet me at the turnaround
Stop your car and look around
There I will be waiting
Forget for once that everything

Fades
It fades away

I'll never get over what we said
It lingers in my head
I'll always remember what we knew
One hundred percent to be true

To be right
To be real
Set in stone
And cast in steel

We made a pact
Eye to eye
Cross your heart
And hope to die

Can you see the end of things?
Can you see it happening?
Feel the ashes on the wind
Don't you hate how everything

Falls
Just falls away

I'll never get over what we said
It lingers in my head
I'll always remember what we knew
One hundred percent to be true

To be right
To be real
Set in stone
And cast in steel

We made a pact
Eye to eye
Cross your heart
And hope to die

It lingers in my head
I'll always remember what we knew
One hundred percent to be true
Set in stone
And cast in steel
To be right
And to be real
Set in stone
And cast in steel

Words and music by Paul Waaktaar-Savoy
Produced by Erik Ljunggren and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy
Orchestra arrangement by Lars Horntveth
Additional vocal production by Peter Kvint and Morten Harket
Mixed by Cenzo Townshend

Additional Musicians:

Drums: Karl Oluf Wennerberg
Bass: Even Enersen Ormestad
Programming: Erik Ljunggren, Chuch Zwicky
Orchestra: Macedonian Radio Symphonic Orchestra

Lyrics Under The Makeup

This is how it ends
each on our own

Unless we pretend
meanwhile our hearts turn to

Stone
shaped by wind
boulders slowly molded over time
here within

I want to see you
under the makeup
let all the worry
vanish away
I want to hold you
like it's the first time
like you were still mine

If you wanted out
didn't I let you go

If you wanted in
didn't I make it so

It could be
tenderness escapes so easily

I want to see you
under the makeup
let all the worry
vanish away
I want to hold you
like it's the first time
like you were still mine

I want to see you
under the makeup
let all the worry
vanish away
I want to touch you
like it's the first time
like you were still mine

Words and Music: Paul Waaktaar-Savoy
Produced by Erik Ljunggren and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy
Mixed by Cenzo Townsend
Orchestral arrangement by Lars Horntvedt (from the band Jaga Jazzist)

Additional Musicians:

Drums: Karl Oluf Wennerberg
Bass: Even Enersen Ormestad
Theremin: Rob Schwimmer
Orchestra performance by Macedonian Radio Symphonic Orchestra

Lyrics The Wake

Can't change the one you are
Can't change the one you love
Lower your guard

I've made a few mistakes
I'll tell you what it takes
Under the stars

Have you seen the other me at times?
Walking on an ever looser line

Baby this is a wake
You and I will not escape
As time goes by

The world's never been older
Your head on my shoulder
So close your eyes

Stung by normality
Wronged by your family
Conventions aside

Cannot change the one you love
From inside - or from above
Just hold him tight

Walking on an ever looser line
But love has let me over every time

Baby we're on a wake
You and I will not escape
Just close your eyes

The world's never been older
Your head on my shoulder
And time goes by

The world's never been older
Your head on my shoulder
As time goes by

Baby this is a wake
None of us will escape
Who we are

The world's never been older
Your head on my shoulder
As time goes by

Music by Morten Harket and Peter Kvint
Words by Morten Harket and Ole Sverre Olsen
Published by Kvintessential admin by Sony ATV Scandinavia
Produced by Peter Kvint and Morten Harket
Mixed by Simon Nordberg and Peter Kvint

Additional Musicians:

Bass: Peter Kvint
Guitar: Peter Kvint
Programming: Peter Kvint
Keyboards: Peter Kvint

Lyrics Forest Fire

Goes around
Comes around
Doesn't really matter
Something wrong
A false alarm
Doesn't ring that true

Watch it flare up
Where do we begin

We are flames in the forest fire
Rising from within
That's where we begin

We take you far and wide
And always leave
A silver lining scar

The stores in town
Are closing down
And everything's in ruin

Borderline
Just turn around
Out of every ditch, a path

Watch it flare up
Time to reign it in
So let's begin

We are flames in the forest fire
Rising from within
That's where we begin

We fuel desire
And always leave
A silver lining scar

Music by Magne Furuholmen, Morten Harket, Martin Terefe and Peter Kvint
Words by Magne Furuholmen
Published by Kvintessential admin by Sony ATV Scandinavia, West Eight Music Publishing (BMI) / Universal Music Publishing (BMI)
Produced by Steve Osborne, Magne Furuholmen and Erik Ljunggren
Vocal production by Peter Kvint and Morten Harket
Mixed by Marek Pompetzki

Additional Musicians:

Drums: Karl Oluf Wennerberg
Bass: Steve Osborne
Guitar: Steve Osborne
Programming: Erik Ljunggren, Steve Osborne, Florian Reutter
Keyboards: Steve Osborne

Lyrics Objects In The Mirror

You drive down
Your old street
Familiar smiles
From those you meet

You've been around
Been everywhere
But objects in the rear view mirror
Are closer than they appear

Looking back is bittersweet
When the world was at your feet
Love would make your life complete
No one makes it on their own

You've come so far
In your comfortable car
Now objects in the rear view mirror
Seem closer than they are

And looking back is bittersweet
All the world was at your feet
Love would make your life complete

Yeah, love could make your life complete
Teach your heart to skip a beat
Lift your eyes above the street
This is where you once belonged

Come on now, it's not so bad
Thinking back on the fun we had
We can stitch a life together
From the fibres of the past

But you cannot make a fleeting moment
Promise it will last

Been everywhere
And now you're here
And objects in the rear view mirror
Seem to disappear

Words and music by Magne Furuholmen
Produced by Steve Osborne, Magne Furuholmen and Erik Ljunggren
String arrangements by David Davidson
Vocal production by Peter Kvint and Morten Harket
Mixed by Marek Pompetzki

Additional Musicians:

Drums: Karl Oluf Wennerberg
Programming: Erik Ljunggren
Violins: David Davidson, David Angell, Conni Ellisor, Mary Kathryn Vanosdale
Violas: Kris Wilkinson, Monisa Angell
Cellos: Sari Reist, Julie Tanner

Lyrics Door Ajar

I hit my head on the pillow, hard
I heard a noise from the boulevard
And it made me go down

I left the door to my room ajar
Felt the rumble of the street-car
And it spiraled me down

If you could see me
Swallowed by darkness
What would it matter
Would it awaken
Feelings forsaken
Faded and scattered

Would you come running
If you could hear me
Some way or another
That's what I'm thinking
Watching the stars reflect in the gutter

I hit my head on the pillow, hard
I took the words that you said to heart
And it made me feel down

When I awoke it was dark outside
Just a flicker from a traffic light
And it signaled me down

If you could see me
Swallowed in darkness
What would it matter
Would it awaken
Feelings forsaken
Faded and scattered

Would you come running
If you could hear me
Some way or another
That's what I'm thinking
Watching the stars reflect in the gutter

And if you don't want me now
Then I doubt you ever will
There is nothing I can add
To clinch the deal

And if you don't see me now
And you haven't done so far
In case you change your mind

I'll leave the door ajar
Door ajar
Door ajar
Door ajar

Words and music by Paul Waaktaar-Savoy
Produced by Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and Alan Tarney
Pre-production and guidance: John O'Mahony
Mixed by Ren Swan

Additional Musicians:

Guitar: Alan Tarney
Programming: Eliot Leigh, Kurt Uenala, Chuck Zwicky
Keyboards: Alan Tarney
Backing Vocals: Alan Tarney

Lyrics Living At The End Of The World

Some times it leaves me with fear
Never saw the horizon this near
Look to the left then to the right
I tuck you in and I kiss you goodnight

See there is something I know
We are not whom we're told
We are more than we'll never know

And we're living at the end of the world
Forget about all that you've heard
Living our dreams on the highway
It's just another day
No matter what they say or you've heard

We're living on top of the world
We're living our dreams on the highway
No matter what they say
It's just another day

I hear your heart beat in the night
You are like an echo of light
But in times when shallow runs deep
Your golden beauty goes cheap

Still there is something I know
Something yet to unfold
And we are more than we'll never know

And we're living at the end of the world
Forget about all that you've heard
Living our dreams on the highway
It's just another day

No matter what they say or you've heard
We've made it to the top of the world
Building up speed on the highway
We've made it to the end
Living at the end of the world

Music by Morten Harket and Peter Kvint
Words by Morten Harket and Ole Sverre Olsen
Published by Kvintessential admin by Sony ATV Scandinavia
Produced by Peter Kvint and Morten Harket
String arrangement by Mattias Bylund
Mixed by Simon Nordberg

Additional Musicians:

Drums: Per Lindvall
Bass: Peter Kvint
Guitar: Peter Kvint
Programming: Peter Kvint
Keyboards: Peter Kvint
String Performance: Bylund Strings

Lyrics Mythomania

You walked a mile
On broken glass
Through glowing coals
You wore a path

The words on your tongue
A mechanical song
Your face is lined
With disappointment

Oh white matter mind
What have you got to say?
Reasons combine
To force you away

You're moving on
You solved the problem
And who can blame ya
You're safe in here
Inside your castle
In Mythomania

Cold crescent moon
On a red cross
It's happening soon
It's coming for us

Oh white matter mind
What is there left to say?
Reasons combined 
To force you away

No telephone
No television
No news that drain ya
You're safer here
More atmosphere
In Mythomania

You caught belief
Like some disease
No words can save ya
Cuz you're all alone
You're on your own
In Mythomania

Words and music by Magne Furuholmen
Produced by Magne Furuholmen and Erik Ljunggren
Vocal production by Peter Kvint and Morten Harket
Mixed by Cenzo Townshend

Additional Musicians:

Drums: Karl Oluf Wennerberg
Programming: Erik Ljunggren

Lyrics She's Humming A Tune

She's humming a tune
To keep herself from thinking
About all that she's facing
But her mind is racing
Over and over again

And I don't suppose she knows
Everything that's bound to happen
How and where the story goes

And I don't suppose I care
She up tight, not right
What could it matter to me

She's humming a tune
To keep herself from straying
When everything's swaying
And decisions are weighing
Ever so hard on her mind

And I don't suppose she knws
Everything that's bound to happen
How and where the story goes

And I don't suppose I care
I'm bummed out, no doubt
But what does it matter to me

Words and music by Paul Waaktaar-Savoy
Produced by Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and Erik Ljunggren
Pre-production and guidance: John O'Mahony
Mixed by Cenzo Townshend

Additional Musicians:

Drums: Karl Oluf Wennerberg
Bass: Even Enersen Ormestad
Programming: Erik Ljunggren

Lyrics Shadow Endeavors

Why breathe a word
When no one needs to know
Why say a thing
To another living soul
Let us pay no mind
To a world that seems unkind
For here is something to shelter
Now more than ever
Our shadow endeavors
Shadow endeavors
Shadow endeavors
Why leave us open
And naked to the sun
Why draw their fire
That they'll surely reign upon us
Let us pay no mind
To their words and bitter lines
For here's something to shelter
And now more than ever
These shadow endeavors
Shadow endeavors
Now more than ever
Only ever happened to me once
It doesn't come again
I think somebody left me here
Afraid and lonely
A long time ago

Words and music by Paul Waaktaar-Savoy
Produced by Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and Alan Tarney
Pre-production and guidance: John O'Mahony
Mixed by Ren Swan

Additional Musicians:

Guitar: Alan Tarney
Programming: Eliot Leigh, Kurt Uenala, Chuck Zwicky
Keyboards: Alan Tarney
Backing Vocals: Alan Tarney

Lyrics Giving Up The Ghost

Icy road, blinding dark
Rolling hills in the distance
Open wound, a painful scar
Love has left its burning trademark

Off the grid, out of bounds
Further down into shadow
Darkest day and whitest night
In harm's way

We're chasing rainbows

Giving up the ghost
Giving up the ghost
That's what hurts the most

You sever all my heads
You place them on your bed
Some part of your great scheme
To vow me into silence

Giving up the ghost
Giving up the ghost

Frozen lake soon will flow
Frozen ground soon to follow
But hey - everything is in your head
And what you killed was never dead

Giving up the ghost
Giving up the ghost
On what you loved the most

On a coal-black sea, the sky's on fire
Failed attempts at a funeral pyre
Deep as dreams of dark desire
The flames are growing ever higher

You severed all my heads
You placed them on your bed
Some part of your great scheme
To vow me into silence

Giving up the ghost
Giving up the ghost
That's what hurt the most

Words and music by Magne Furuholmen
Produced by Magne Furuholmen and Erik Ljunggren
String arrangement by David Davidson
Vocal production by Peter Kvint and Morten Harket
Mixed by Cenzo Townshend

Additional Musicians:

Drums: Karl Oluf Wennerberg
Violins: David Davidson, David Angell, Conni Ellisor, Mary Kathryn Vanosdale
Violas: Kris Wilkinson, Monisa Angell
Cellos: Sari Reist, Julie Tanner

Lyrics Goodbye Thompson

Goodbye Thompson goodbye
I tape the sign to the door
Here we pinned all our dreams
Now the store is no more

What comes after what was
That was once strangely new
What awaits up ahead
For me and you?
Goodbye Thompson

Goodbye Thompson goodbye
This space is for rent
See my head hanging low
All my energies spent

What comes after what was
That was once strangely new
What awaits up ahead
I wish I knew

Goodbye Thompson
Goodbye Thompson

Words and music by Paul Waaktaar-Savoy
Produced by Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and Alan Tarney
Pre-production and guidance: John O'Mahony
Mixed by Ren Swan

Additional Musicians:

Drums: Joe Mardin
Guitar: Alan Tarney
Programming: Eliot Leigh, Kurt Uenala, Chuck Zwicky
Keyboards: Alan Tarney
Backing Vocals: Alan Tarney

Lyrics The End Of The Affair

"Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist, and into them enters suffering in order that they may have existence." Leon Bloy

Even as the snow is falling...
Dark December nights are calling
Memories of early warning signs
Like a whisper in the mind

I put my brave face on
Robbed of the love I owned

It's the end of the affair
We are not who we once were

Hard to be open when all facts are in
Hard to write endings before we begin

It's the end of the affair
And it seems we no longer care

Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Well I was fond, but now I'm harder
So here we are in somber silence
With no one else but us to blame

Hard to be honest when others pretend
Hard to begin when we already know the end

It's the end of the affair
We are not who we once were
It's the end of the affair
And it seems we no longer care

Words and music by Magne Furuholmen
Produced by Erik Ljunggren and Magne Furuholmen
Vocal production by Peter Kvint and Morten Harket
Mixed by Cenzo Townshend
Mastered by Felix Davis

Additional Musicians:

Drums: Karl Oluf Wennerberg
Programming: Erik Ljunggren

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