Sunday, 21 October 2012

Desert Island Discs 109 - Dare by The Human League

109 - Dare by The Human League 1981

Has pop music ever been so bright and shiny? I'm not really sure what to say about an lp that I guess you'll all know as well as I do.

I can distinctly remember the day I bought it. That morning on the school bus someone brought the lp into school ,  I remember him getting it out of his bag and us all marvelling at the whiter than white cover , the Vogue inspired photos and the bight blue and pink. Even the explanation mark after the title seemed like a challenge. The impact was doubled by the fact it was a glorious gatefold. It was about as far away from the fens with its weird obsessions with C and W and speedway as you could get.

Just as importantly there wasn't a pork pie hat, pair of Doc Martins , thin tie or black and white chessboard pattern to be seen..

I rushed out that dinner time to Boots and spent my weeks dinner money on the lp (starving for Phil Oakey!)

Playing it at home bought the world of top of the pops into my bedroom.

Over time the light has dimmed with over familiarity (Don't You Want Me especially) and my favourite track today is Seconds (about the JFK killing) however the recently released special edition took me back to a time when their singles were genuinely exciting

And can a truer sentiment exist in any other pop song

Everybody needs love and adventure
Everybody needs cash to spend
Everybody needs love and affection
Everybody needs two or three friends

Things That Dreams Are Made Of - The Human League

Could it last? Well at first I thought so with 2 cracking singles but then what seemed like an age and Hysteria. Great songs but missing Martin Rushent a slightly stodgy production before I lost faith for a while with the Jam and Lewis produced Crash

You can buy Dare here , but I'm sure you already have it


  1. Bright and shimmering, but somehow still very working class. There was a paradigm shift in pop happening in 1981. Synths, funk, fractured rhythms. HL Mk1 sowed some very rich seeds. Not only would we see this amazing pop triumph, but BEF would produce it's edgier (probably not even a descriptor being used back then) half brother.
    It's really a shame that Human League had to live up to as much as it did. Hysteria is a textbook example of sophomore jinx.

  2. and one of those forever what might of been because there is a great lp in there somewhere

  3. Agree about the working class undertone Echorich; a bit like Culture Club; you knew there was stubble beneath the 'slap' and that they were more 'fook' than 'fuck'. It somehow made it easier to put their records in your satchel...
    I remember being bowled over by 'Don't you Want Me Baby'.
    At that time it seemed like the most perfect pop music possible... all part of the arc the eventually led to Joy Division's 'Love Will Tear Us Apart; that particular gem has aged a little better than DYWMB...
    My 109 is Calexoco's 'Feast of Wire' but then you already know that don't you?

  4. I remember being really shocked at how good Dare was when it came out. I mean, the two 'real' musicians had left Oakey with a projectionist and a name. So, Oakey went out and hired two locals girls he met dancing in a club. The odds weren't looking good for him conquering the charts!
    I saw them live on the tour they did before Dare was released and they were fantastic. It was in front of a couple of hundred people at York Uni.
    As coincidence will have it ,my #109 is from 'the other two',Marsh and Ware with Heaven 17's 'Penthouse and Pavement'

  5. Hi Trev

    agree re love will tear us apart although i think that has been helped by the never ending supply of bands who wished they were joy division which keeps that "sound" more current

    Hi Phil - H17 just missed out for me , although I'm a bit peverse in loving How Men Are!

  6. #109 - Lucksmiths - Warmer Corners (2005)

    Tim (from Daytona Beach - Surf's up!!!)

  7. How's the haven hunting going TT?
    I hope I'm first on the list for house warming party...


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