the human league – dare

don’t you want me?
you know i don’t believe you when you say that you don’t need me

to take it down a notch, culturally, we have the human league. oh yeah. i’m being facetious when i don’t really mean to. though this was never really up my alley, it has been in my subconscious mind since i was a little tacker.

an important piece of information about this album is that it was released in 1981. while more than a few bands were straying into electronic territories before and at that time, supplemental mostly (except for the most experimental), this is almost exclusively artificial pop. the keyboards and drum machine really do teleport you into an 8-bit graphical world that means something equally emotional. then, it was futuristic; now it’s retro.

it’s actually a bit depressing that their contribution to a changing era of music, on which so much has since been based, is mocked or diminished. contemporaries such as depeche mode and even new order saw not only greater longevity and popularity, but also a better memory and recognition (though the video below has enjoyed over ten million views… maybe i’m wrong).

while there are two memorable songs here for me (noting that i was only three when it first came out) – love action and don’t you want me – the rest of the album is variably good and somewhat mediocre at times. there were obvious limits to the tools that were employed. or creativity.

an example of the less convincing moments are the sounds that imitate pan pipes and sometimes japanese flutes. some sound effects are pretty amateur, like b-grade science fiction film, but perhaps that was purposeful.

in the end, it’s a great transportation device. you really do see other worlds when you listen to this album. times past when things seemed simpler; different appreciations of quality and sonic meaning; actual parallel universes.

a lot of music cannot lay claim to such effect. it may not be anywhere near the best album ever made, but its value is in more ironically humble achievements.


One response to “the human league – dare

  1. coincidentally this weekend I was given a stack of post-punk/pre-new wave records, The Pogues, Gang of Four, Danny Elfman; etc. one LP was a compilation from 1980 of English punk bands, early demos from Gang Of Four pre- entertainment!, The Mekons, Flowers, Scars, a great 2 tracks from a band called 2.3 that as far as i can tell is all they released, and two tracks from the Human League recorded in 1978: Being Boiled and Circus of Death. It really is amazing to hear The Human League’s early start compared with that of Dare. It’s blood filled macabre in the form of electronic experimentation. more on the path of Nick Cave than Boy George, and really worth a listen. to say it sounds like a different band altogether is fair, given that HL underwent a major line up change between these early recordings and Dare.

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