“Take On Me” by A-ha: Understanding the Phrase

Take On Me by A ha Understanding the Phrase
Take On Me by A ha Understanding the Phrase

"Take On Me" is a popular song by the Norwegian band A-ha, released in 1985. The song topped the charts in several countries, including the United States, and has remained a classic of the 80s era. However, the phrase "take on me" in the song's title and lyrics has caused confusion among many listeners. In this article, we'll explore the meaning of the phrase "take on me" and its significance in popular culture.

The Lyrics of "Take On Me"

The first verse of the song begins with the line "Talking away, I don't know what I'm to say." The following lines introduce the phrase "take on me" with the lyrics, "I'll be gone in a day or two." The chorus repeats the phrase "take on me" with the lines "Take on me (take on me), Take me on (take on me), I'll be gone, In a day or two."

At first glance, the lyrics may seem confusing, but upon closer inspection, they reveal a deeper meaning. The phrase "take on me" can be interpreted as an invitation to a romantic relationship or a challenge to face a difficult situation. The lyrics suggest a fleeting encounter that may not last long, hence the line "I'll be gone in a day or two."

The song's lyrics also touch on themes of longing and yearning, as evident in the lines "In a day or two, We're all gonna fade, And I don't want to change your mind." The chorus's repetition of the phrase "take on me" reinforces the idea of taking a chance on love or taking on a challenge despite the uncertainty of the outcome.

Understanding the Phrase "Take On Me"

The phrase "take on me" has its roots in the English language, where it means to undertake a task or responsibility. The phrase is often used to express a willingness to take on a challenge or a difficult situation. In popular culture, the phrase has taken on different meanings, ranging from a call to action to an expression of romantic interest.

The use of the phrase in the song "Take On Me" is an example of how language can be used to convey complex emotions and ideas in music. The phrase's repetition in the chorus gives the song a catchy hook that is easy to remember and sing along to. The phrase's ambiguity allows listeners to interpret its meaning in their own way, making the song more relatable.

The Structure of "Take On Me"

The song's structure follows a classic pop format, with an intro, verses, a chorus, and a bridge. The intro features a catchy synth riff that sets the tone for the song. The verses build on the intro with a subdued melody that gradually builds up to the chorus. The chorus is the song's centerpiece, with its repetition of the phrase "take on me" and its memorable melody.

The song's musical elements, such as the synth riff and the falsetto vocals, add to its distinct sound. The music video for the song, directed by Steve Barron, is also a standout feature, with its use of animation and live-action footage.

The Legacy of "Take On Me"

"Take On Me" has had a lasting impact on pop culture, with numerous covers and references in TV shows and movies. The song has been covered by artists such as Weezer, Reel Big Fish, and Pitbull. The song's music video has also been parodied in various forms of media.

The song's success has also earned it critical acclaim. In 1986, "Take On Me" won six MTV Video Music Awards, including Best New Artist in a Video and Best Concept Video.

The Importance of Language in Music

"Take On Me" is a prime example of how language can be used as an art form in music. The lyrics of the song, with their use of imagery and metaphor, add depth and meaning to the music. The use of language in music can also convey emotions and ideas that are difficult to express through words alone.

Misconceptions about "Take On Me"

One common misconception about the phrase "take on me" is that it should be "take me on" instead. However, the lyrics of the song use the phrase "take on me" intentionally, and it has become a defining feature of the song. The phrase's ambiguity allows for multiple interpretations and adds to the song's appeal.

Another misconception about the song is that it is a one-hit wonder. While "Take On Me" remains A-ha's most popular song, the band has continued to release music and tour to this day.

The Evolution of A-ha

A-ha was formed in Oslo, Norway, in 1982 by members Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen, and Pål Waaktaar-Savoy. The band's unique blend of synth-pop and rock music, coupled with Harket's distinctive vocals, set them apart from other bands of the era.

"Take On Me" was A-ha's breakthrough hit, but the band's other songs, such as "The Sun Always Shines on TV" and "Hunting High and Low," also achieved success. A-ha's music continued to evolve over the years, incorporating elements of acoustic and alternative rock.

The Impact of "Take On Me"

"Take On Me" remains a beloved song to this day, and its impact on pop culture cannot be overstated. The song's catchy melody and memorable chorus have made it a karaoke staple and a go-to song for cover bands.

The song's music video, with its blend of live-action footage and animation, also had a significant impact on the music industry. The video's innovative use of rotoscoping, a technique that involves tracing over live-action footage to create animation, influenced countless music videos and movies.

The Enduring Appeal of "Take On Me"

"Take On Me" continues to resonate with audiences of all ages, thanks in part to its universal themes of love and courage. The song's catchy melody and sing-along chorus make it a timeless classic that is sure to get stuck in your head.

In a world where music is constantly evolving, "Take On Me" remains a testament to the power of a great pop song. Its enduring appeal is a testament to the skill and creativity of A-ha and the timeless quality of their music.


"Take On Me" is more than just a catchy pop song. Its use of language, memorable melody, and innovative music video have made it a beloved classic that continues to inspire and entertain audiences to this day. The song's themes of love, courage, and the power of language make it a timeless masterpiece that will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.


Is "Take On Me" A-ha's only hit song?

No, A-ha had several other hit songs, including "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." and "Hunting High and Low."

What other bands were popular during the 80s?

Some other popular bands during the 80s included Duran Duran, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and U2.

Who directed the music video for "Take On Me"?

The music video was directed by Steve Barron.

What is the meaning behind the music video for "Take On Me"?

The music video tells the story of a young woman who is transported into a comic book world and falls in love with the main character. It symbolizes the power of imagination and the ability of music to transport us to different worlds.

What is A-ha doing now?

A-ha is still active and continues to tour and record music. They released their most recent album, "Cast in Steel," in 2015.