‘The Light We Lost’ is the second single to be issued from ‘White Xmas Lies’, the third solo album by a-ha co-founder and keyboard player Magne Furuholmen.
The single is released in a week when Furuholmen has been vocal in his criticism of a re-election video for Donald Trump that appeared to borrow the rotoscope look from a-ha’s iconic video for their 1985 hit ‘Take On Me’. When Trump shared the video on Monday, Twitter users immediately evoked the clip. Asked what he thought of it, Furuholmen simply replied, “Even blind pigs can find truffles,” before going on to criticise the divisive politics of the Trump administration. Ironically, the first single to be released from his new album, ‘This Is Now America’, was a protest song about exactly that.
As its title suggests, ‘White Xmas Lies’ is an album with a different take on Christmas. A melancholic winter album, it consists of fifteen original new songs and two surprising cover versions. Furuholmen states that he wanted to make an album as an antidote to the
“schmaltzy Christmas music which is spewed out every year…a seemingly never-ending stream of cheesy versions of existing songs. I am ashamed to be part of a Christmas which these days seems to be mostly about buying more and more shit that no one needs or even really wants…a tacky, superficial celebration in stark contrast to the original message of hope, charity and compassion.”
“I am lucky to have a family around me, but for many people Christmas is a rough time and a harsh reminder of loss, longing and crippling loneliness. I wanted to try and make an album which would also be meaningful to those who fall outside our commercial Xmas frenzy – an album which looks at the more melancholic, darker sides to Christmas: broken family ties, things we sweep under the rug, resentment hidden behind fake, jocular smiles – an album for holiday contemplation, not just sentimental decor.”
The result is a rich blend of unusual and thoughtful Christmas material, ranging from brooding introspection and piercing observation to hopeful and uplifting songs. There is an urgent sense of yearning running throughout the record, with the lyrics at the centre of the project. At times cutting (‘…family and friends, we lie and pretend, that nothing will come between us’ – ‘White Xmas Lies’) and at times profoundly sad; (‘…for every Christmas Rose we’ve had, the heart has grown a thorn’ – A Wintry Silence’), they are also interspersed with surprising, dark humour (‘…out comes the Christmas Punch, and you just take it on the chin’ – ‘The Season to be Melancholy’). The album is littered throughout with Furuholmen’s trademark wordplays (‘A Punch-Up On Boxing Day’).
As a member of the iconic 80’s band a-ha, Magne Furuholmen has had an illustrious career in music spanning over 35 years, sold more than 70 million records, toured the world over multiple times, and co-written many of the band’s hit songs, including the decade defining monster hit ‘Take On Me’. He has also been awarded an Honorary Doctor’s Degree in Fine Arts (D.F.A.) at The University of Agder in Norway, and in 2012 received a Knighthood from the Norwegian King for ‘Services to Mankind’. He currently lives in Norway and divides his time between music and visual art.
Magne will be performing on the following dates with a-ha on the ‘Hunting High and Low Live in Concert’ tour:
29.10.19 DUBLIN 3 Arena
30.10.19 BELFAST SSE Arena
01.11.19 GLASGOW Armadillo
02.11.19 LEEDS First Direct Arena
05.11.19 LONDON Royal Albert Hall
06.11.19 BRIGHTON Brighton Centre