Take On Me Meaning: Understanding the Lyrics of A-ha’s Hit Song

The 80s hit song “Take On Me” by A-ha has been a favorite among music enthusiasts for decades. The song’s tune and music video have made it an iconic piece of pop culture. However, many fans have wondered about the meaning behind the song’s lyrics.

According to Song Meanings and Facts, “Take On Me” is about a man trying to win over a woman he is interested in. The lyrics suggest the woman is shy, but the singer is sincere in pursuing her affections.

While the song’s meaning may seem straightforward, there are various interpretations of the lyrics, and we’ll explore that and other facts in this guide. Let’s get on!

Origins of ‘Take on Me’

norwegian band a-ha

‘Take on Me’ was written by the Norwegian band A-Ha, which consisted of members Magne Furuholmen, Morten Harket, and Pål Waaktaar. The song was first created during Waaktaar’s and Furuholmen’s previous band, Bridges. One of the tracks they rehearsed at this time was called ‘Miss Eerie,’ which was initially titled ‘Panorama.’

The song was later reworked and became ‘Lesson One’ in 1982. It had different lyrics but contained the basic keyboard riff. The band then re-recorded the song with the new title ‘Take on Me’ in 1984, which became their breakthrough hit.

The song was initially released in Norway and did not receive much attention. However, after the iconic music video’s release, the song became a global hit. The video used a technique called rotoscoping, which involves tracing live-action images and rendering them to look like literal moving drawings.

Lyric Interpretation

A-ha’s “Take On Me” is a classic 80s song interpreted differently by different people. We’ll explore the meaning of some of its lyrics below to give you a better understanding of its meaning.

Verse One

The song begins with the lines,

“We’re talking away, I don’t know what I’m to say, I’ll say it anyway.”

These lines suggest that the singer is trying to start a conversation with someone but is unsure what to say. He then says,

“Today’s another day to find you, shying away, I’ll be coming for your love, okay?”

emphasizing that the singer is trying to pursue someone he likes, but the person is hesitant and is shying away from him.


The chorus of the song goes,

“Take on me, take me on, I’ll be gone in a day or two.”

These lines suggest that the singer is asking the person he likes to take a chance on him, to give him a chance to prove himself. He continues,

“All the things that you say, is it life or just to play my worries away?”

This line suggests that the person he likes might not be serious about him and is just playing around with him.

Verse Two

The next verse of the song goes,

“You’re all the things I’ve got to remember, you’re shying away, I’ll be coming for you anyway.”

These lines indicate that the singer cannot forget the person he likes and is still pursuing her even though she is hesitant. He then says,

“Take on me, take me on, I’ll be gone in a day or two,”

further suggesting that he will not give up on dating someone he likes.

“Take On Me” follows the singer’s pursuit of someone he likes, asking her to take a chance on him. And while the lyrics suggest that the person is hesitant and shying away from him, the singer will not give up.

Music Video Narrative

take on me music video narrative

The music video for “Take on Me” by A-Ha is one of the most iconic music videos of the 1980s.

The video tells the story of a young woman pulled into a comic book world by a handsome young man. The video was directed by Steve Barron and won six MTV Video Music Awards in 1986, including Best New Artist in a Video and Best Concept Video.

The video begins with the young woman reading a comic book in a café. She notices the handsome young man on the comic book’s cover and begins to daydream about him. Suddenly, the young man reaches out of the comic book and pulls her into the comic book world.

The comic book world is black and white, and the young woman is drawn in a realistic style while the young man is drawn in a more cartoonish style. The young man and the young woman go on a series of adventures together, running from villains and solving puzzles.

As the video progresses, the young woman begins to fade away, and the young man realizes he is losing her. He reaches out of the comic book and pulls her back into the real world. The video ends with the young woman in the café, looking at the comic book and smiling.

Cultural Impact

“Take on Me” was a massive hit in the 1980s and continues to be a classic today. The song’s unique blend of pop, rock, and new wave influences helped it stand out from the crowd, and its catchy melody and memorable hook made it an instant favorite.

But beyond its musical qualities, the accompanying music video, which features a mix of live-action and animation, has become an iconic piece of pop culture.

The video’s animation style was innovative and groundbreaking at the time. It inspired countless other music videos and films and helped establish the music video as an essential art form in its own right.

Likewise, the music video’s storyline, which follows a young woman’s journey into a comic book world, has become a cultural touchstone. It has been referenced and parodied in numerous other works of art, from TV shows to movies to music videos.

Artistic Influence

The music video for “Take on Me” by A-ha is widely regarded as a masterpiece of artistic expression.

The artistic influence behind the video is often attributed to the work of Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger, who were responsible for the animation. Patterson and Reckinger were trained in traditional animation techniques but were also influenced by the emerging field of computer graphics, allowing them to create the video’s distinctive look.

In addition to their technical skills, Patterson and Reckinger were influenced by various other artistic styles and movements, including pop art, comic books, and film noir. This eclectic mix of influences helped to create a video that was both visually stunning and thematically complex.

By combining traditional animation techniques with cutting-edge technology and diverse artistic influences, Patterson and Reckinger created a video that has stood the test of time and continues to inspire artists and audiences alike.

Legacy and Awards

take on me legacy and awards

A-ha’s “Take on Me” has left a lasting legacy on the music industry.

The music video, directed by Steve Barron, has won numerous awards, including eight MTV Video Music Awards. The video’s most significant victory came in 1986 when it won Best Concept Video and Viewer’s Choice at the MTV Video Music Awards.

It also won six other categories, including Best New Artist in a Video, Best Special Effects in a Video, and Best Direction in a Video. The song has also been inducted into the Music Video Hall of Fame.

In addition to its award-winning music video, “Take on Me” has also been recognized for its impact on pop culture. The song has been featured in numerous movies, TV shows, and commercials and has been covered by countless artists. The song’s iconic chorus has become a staple at sporting events and remains a favorite among karaoke enthusiasts.

Cover Versions

“Take On Me” has been covered by numerous artists over the years. Here are a few notable covers:

  • In 1996, British band a1 released a cover of “Take On Me” that became a hit in the UK, reaching number one on the charts.
  • In 2000, Reel Big Fish covered the song for the movie “Baseketball” and released it as a single.
  • In 2013, Weezer covered the song for their album “Death to False Metal.”
  • In 2019, Pitbull covered “Take On Me” for the movie “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.”

Each of these covers brought a unique interpretation to the song. Some stay close to the original, while others put a new spin on it. Despite the variations, the catchy melody and memorable chorus remain intact.

It’s worth noting that the original music video for “Take On Me” also inspired many covers. The video’s distinctive animation style has been parodied and recreated in numerous ways, from music videos to commercials.


‘Take on Me,’ a catchy synth-pop melody with high-pitched vocals, describes a man’s desire to pursue a woman who is initially hesitant to enter into a relationship with him. The lyrics convey a longing and the desire to break down barriers and take a chance on love.

The song is filled with metaphors and imagery that describe the man’s journey to win the woman’s love. Its music video, which featured a mix of live-action and animation, was an instant classic, winning several awards and helping to make the song a huge hit.

‘Take on Me’ has become one of the most recognizable songs of the 1980s and has been covered and parodied in various forms of media. The song’s success demonstrates the power of persistence and the importance of taking creative risks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the meaning behind the lyrics of ‘Take On Me’?

‘Take On Me’ is a song about a man’s desire to connect with a woman he sees in a comic book. The lyrics describe his desire to escape his mundane life and enter the world of the comic book, where he can be with the woman he loves.

Why did ‘Take On Me’ become such a popular song?

‘Take On Me’ became popular due to its catchy melody, unique sound, and memorable music video. The song’s use of synthesizers and falsetto vocals set it apart from other songs of its time, making it a standout hit.

What is the story behind the ‘Take On Me’ music video?

The ‘Take On Me’ music video tells the story of a woman who enters a comic book and falls in love with the main character. The video was groundbreaking for its use of rotoscoping, a technique that involves tracing over live-action footage to create an animated effect.

What inspired the creation of ‘Take On Me’?

‘Take On Me’ was inspired by the comic book art of band member Magne Furuholmen. The song was originally written as a ballad, but was later reworked into the upbeat, synth-driven hit that we know today.

How did ‘Take On Me’ compare to other songs of its time?

‘Take On Me’ was a unique song that stood out from other hits of the 1980s. Its use of synthesizers and falsetto vocals set it apart from other songs on the charts, and its memorable music video helped it gain widespread popularity.

What is the cultural significance of ‘Take On Me’ today?

‘Take On Me’ remains a beloved song and cultural touchstone today, over 30 years after its release. Its catchy melody and iconic music video have made it a favorite among fans of 1980s pop music, and it continues to be covered and referenced in popular culture.

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