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Your mastery of two dimensions will take you far, but attention to a third might take you farther.

In MTV's infancy, a dash of good looks and a head of interesting hair were enough to launch a synth-pop act to stardom, but by 1985 we demanded more from our Casio-wielding idols -- we demanded special effects! Enter a-ha, who caught the last ride on the dying New Wave thanks to the video for a catchy, unidiomatic muddle of a song called Take On Me, in which lead singer Morten Harket was transformed from just another pretty face to just another pretty face rendered in jumpy crayon squiggles. The effect was an aesthetic and technological astonishment at the moment of its unveiling, but the trip from innovation to cliché is startlingly short in the age of video, and predictably enough, the F/X gimmick that fueled your Birthstar's rise was soon showing up in ads for minivans and maxipads. Unwilling or unable to wow us with greater feats of visual wizardry thereafter, your Fresh but Forgotten Birthstar retired, popstrologically speaking, to the lonely Norwegian pavilion in the constellations Casio and Eurosomething, from which position they impart upon you a certain sulky but undeniable sexiness, a susceptibility to seasonal affective disorder and a tendency to rely on bells and whistles, even when conditions call for guitars.
Birthsong
Take On Me  Oct 13-19, 1985


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