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Morten Harket - "Heaven's Not For Saints"

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Harket took on this big ballad for the opening of ESC1996 in Norway. 

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Sigh. More than 25 years after he first appeared with his torn jeans and big hair, Morten Harket still has a deep effect over a lot of women, and yours truly. When Morten was the lead singer for a-Ha, Norway's biggest export since Neutrogena, I had posters of him and his band all over my room. My father looked in one day and said, "But Rick, don't you want some posters of girls?" I replied, "But Dad, you don't understand. It's a-Ha." It made coming out a few years later that much easier. Nevertheless, when ESC 1996 opened in Oslo, Morten was hosting and of course he had to sing something. So he appeared in all his glory with "Heaven's Not For Saints". Not an entry, but something that will for me always be tied to that particular contest.

Here's the result of the 12points jury: did we go for heaven, or hell?

Song/Lyrics - 10/12
In the mid 1980s, Morten Harket could have sang an instruction manual for a blender and I would have loved every word. Ten years later, I was just a bit more discerning. The killer here is the chorus, it comes up very quickly and punches you in the gut. But the lyrics... what are they on about? It's like a bunch of random phrases glued together. 

Performance - 12/12
The thing about Morten Harket is he always made hitting those high notes seem so easy. He also has a very distinctive voice - if you heard it without knowing the song, you would know he was singing it. Plus, throw in some dry ice smoke and a hint of swagger, a few horns and you've got a winner. 

Choreography (including Arm-ography and Hair-ography) - 4/12
A ballad like this doesn't call for much. But just after the guitar break towards the end, check out Morten's kind of clumsy twirl and stumble. I suppose that counts as some kind of choreography.

Camp Factor - 6/12
This song's message is kind of sad, and with a hint of machismo throughout the whole performance, it loses a few points in this category. However there are a few camp flourishes. Witness the sudden reveal of the orchestra and this interesting look at the end of the song:


Would My Mother Like it? - 12/12
Abso-smurf-ly. Anything with a hot, somewhat feminine guy singing gets an automatic 12 points. My father wouldn't like it but his points don't count here.


TOTAL: 44/60.  Not bad, Morten. And I'm a sucker for a guy in a tuxedo.

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