Fighting A-ha in the cargo bay

I was in the car yesterday when the 1984 hit “Take On Me” by A-ha came on the radio. It’s one of the few 80’s songs I listen to but don’t sing along with in the car. Partly because I can’t understand many of the words, but mostly because I can’t sing high enough to crack the windshield. (Disclaimer: Kids, do not sing high enough to crack the windshield and drive!)

However, the words that I do understand bring up some issues that should be addressed. (Disclaimer: I’m going to bring them up whether they should be or not.)

1) I’ve never really gotten the point of the refrain. Perhaps this is really clear in the singer’s native Norwegian, but I can’t tell whether he’s asking her to “take on me” as one would take on passengers or cargo, or “take me on” in an adversarial manner, like the Rebel Alliance took on the Empire. Moreover, I’m not sure which is a better sign in a relationship. Continue reading