Album #489 – Dare!
The Human League started out as an experimental avant-garde band. But, after the other two original members left, lead singer, front man and creative force Phillip Oakley decided to go in a new direction. The two former members formed Heaven 17. Oakley recruited two female vocalists after supposedly seeing them in a disco, dancing the night away. The group though became strictly Oakley’s band. He sings lead vocals on almost all the tracks. The only exception is Dare’s biggest hit single, Don’t You Want Me in which Oakley and Susan Ann Sulley trade vocals. The song was an instant hit, propelling the group to #1 and starting the Second British Invasion, which with the help of MTV, would have British acts dominating the charts and pop culture. Dare! as an album is one of THE best pop albums I have ever heard. I can see why the Human League became so successful. The songs are catchy and served an the inspiration for many of the synth pop groups that followed. The lyrical content shows a myriad of influences: the death of JFK, comic books and bad relationships. Dare! is actually the group’s third album. I can’t imagine if an artist would be given the same opportunity today. Pop music in 2014 is about instant success and the pressure to follow-up the first album. I don’t know if as a musician, I could ever live up to that. For the Human League, a change in sound gave them success. If you want to define the sound of the 80’s, it starts with this album. Other highlights include: The Things That Dreams Are Made Of, Open Your Heart, Darkness, Do or Die, I Am The Law, Seconds and Love Action (I Believe In Love). Overall, I give Dare!, 7 out of 5.
Next: Fire of Love by The Gun Club