Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Human League - Dare/Love And Dancing (1981/1982)

Note: Dare! was received as a gift as an LP, later replaced by the 2002 CD reissue.

As summer begins, it's time to pull out the CDs that I consider to be "summer listening."  I consider Dare to be one of said summer albums.   Even though it was released in the fall of 1981, the hit single Don't You Want Me hit #1 on the US singles chart in July, 1982 which means it was all over the radio that summer.  My buddy Jim gave me his copy of this album and I was immediately drawn to it not because the musicianship was good (it isn't) but because I had never heard anything like it before.  (I wouldn't hear Gary Numan's 1979 album, The Pleasure Principle for several more years although I can now hear its obvious influence on Dare.)

For me, Dare ushered in the synthpop era and started a lifelong love affair with the genre.  In other words, that free album has cost me a lot of money.  As I listen now, I'm fighting the urge to pop this disc in the car player and ride around with the windows down, forcing classic synthpop on my unsuspecting (and, I would imagine, unappreciative) neighbors.  Brilliantly produced by Martin Rushent, this is a stiff, cold collection of accessible, mediocre pop songs that are pushed over the edge and into legend by technology and a classic '80s #1 single.  No guitars, no drums, just analog synths and drum machines.

In 1982, Rushent would take the Dare tracks, rework them using delays and phasers, then release Love And Dancing under the name The League Unlimited Orchestra, nod to Barry White's disco-era Love Unlimited Orchestra.  It's a techno dance experiment and if you grew up in the era of 12" dance singles, you'll love hearing the variations on familiar songs.  I can't believe I didn't own Love And Dancing when I was 16. 

Ironically, Don't You Want Me is the band's biggest hit despite the fact that its producer and writer thought it was rubbish and didn't want to release it as a single.  They should know better - just because a song is rubbish doesn't mean it can't be a hit.  Ofttimes, quite the opposite.

Musican, May 1982

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Dare #3, Love and Dancing #135
Peak on Cash Box album chart: Dare #5, Love and Dancing #117

Tracks:  For Dare, my picks are The Things That Dreams Are Made Of, Open Your Heart, Darkness, Seconds, Love Action, I usually skip Do Or Die and I Am The Law.  For Love And Dancing, its full of fun trashy dance remixes so why would you want to skip any of that?

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  In June of 1982, I went on a trip to Florida with my high school band.  I remember Don't you Want Me being everywhere we went, from bus stations to hotels to theme parks.  30+ years later, it is still fairly ubiquitous.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Original Remixes & Rarities (2005)
Secrets (2001)
Greatest Hits (1988)

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