The first album ever released from the Human League was "Reproduction", it was released in 1979 and although it didn't gather an audience of large numbers it did have some VERY memorable songs.
You should try to listen to Phil singing the old "You've lost that loving feeling" (written by Spector, Mann & Weil), HE'S really really good, one can almost hear his feeling's dripping from the loudspeakers.
That song is (as far as I know) one of ONLY 7 songs, that the Human League has borrowed from other people, ALL later material has been their own.
"Circus of death" and "Empire state human" are also worth lending an ear to.
For those of you (out there) that remembers the early days of electronic music, you will LOVE this album, it's VERY experimental.
1980 saw(heard) the release of yet another League album, this time it was "Travelogue". Between "Reproduction" and "Travelogue" you can almost feel the "League's sound" growing, it's very distinctive.
Memorable songs from the album are "The black hit of space", "Only after dark", "Dreams of leaving", "Toyota city", "The touchables", "Being boiled" and "WXJL tonight".
This album is also still very experimental, the band had not yet acquired their "sound", but it was getting there AND fast too.
(Picture from the deluxe edition)
Let he who doesn't know this album, step forward and be STONED..... The year is 1981, a really Human Leaguis year, the FAMOUS album of "Dare" saw the record shops and were ripped away before you could say "League unlimited" backwards.
This album was/is PACKED with hits and GREAT lyrics. Memorable songs from this album is....... ALL the SONGS as listed here :
"The things dreams are made of", "Open your heart", "The sound of the crowd", "Darkness", "Do or die", "Get carter", "I am the law", "Seconds", "Love action (I believe in love)" and "Don't you want me".
This was (need I say it) the Human League's breakthru, although it should be duly noted that several of the songs from the "Dare" album had been released BEFORE the album was collected. "Sound of the crowd" among others.
This (in my opinion) is also the only album the League has made that functions as "one" unit, it's like all the song's were written in sequence, and not as individual tunes.
Later that same year, Virgin decided to try a totally new concept, they stripped "Dare" for all Phil's, Joanne's and Susan's wonderful singing, and released "Dare" as an instrumental album called "Love and dancing" performed by "The League Unlimited Orchestra". I myself am very glad for this album, it gives a unique opportunity to just listen to the music, but I'm also quite sure that Virgin just wanted to make some more money on the "Human League" machine.
People interested in purely electronic music, might very well love this album as much as I do.
1983 and "Fascination" was released.
If there's one album I had to pick and say I didn't like, then it would be this album. Even though there was some memorable songs on this album "(keep feeling) fascination", "Mirror man" and "Hard times", I always get the impression every time I hear it, that there's something wrong with the sound of this album, it's like it was never really completed and only made half.
You'll have to judge for yourself.
1984 and finally the League's back on track, "Hysteria" turned out to be a TRUE Human League album, the sound was just right and the lyrics were SUPERB, just you try listening to "I'm coming back", "Louise", The Lebanon", "Betrayed", "The sign", "so hurt" and "Life on you own".
In "Louise", "So hurt" and "Life on you own" you can almost feel the pain in Phil's voice, while he sings the songs.
Almost all the songs on this album is worth listening to. In 1984 Phil also made an album together with Giorgio Moroder, which turned out to be an okay album, perhaps you remember the song "Together in Electric dreams" ?
"Crash" was released in 1986 in co-operation with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
THAT was one of the biggest mistakes ever made in the League's long lifetime. This album was NEVER a true release from the League, although Phil, Susan and Joanne lessens some of the catastrophe, this album was never good and in my opinion should never have been made. The hit "Human" is on this album, but just to enhance the failure it was written by Terry and Jimmy, NOT by the League.
"Greatest hits" (the first from the League) was released in 1988, there's not much to say about this album, except that as the title suggests, this album is truly PACKED with all of the League's finest.
If your looking for a record that contains the most of what The League is capable of, then you could do far worse than buy this album.
4 long years we had to wait, before the League made their next "real" release. "Romantic?" came in 1990. "Romantic" was different in the "sound", although it was definitely still a "League" sound, I'd say the sound (and feel) of this album shows a substantial "maturity", which hasn't been seen before in the League, except maybe the jump from "Travelogue" to "Dare".
Songs like "A doorway?", "Men are dreamers" and
"The stars are going out" are CLEARLY produced in the new sound. It's different, BUT it's still in the League's wonderful "Sound and Spirit", great album.
1995 was to be the year for the next release, "Octopus" was the first album produced under their new contract with East West records.
Great songs like "Tell me when", "One man in my heart" and "Filling up with heaven" should have made this album go to the top, but due to LACK of promotion from the record company, this never happened. Even though East West didn't do their job properly, this was still a good album, full of more joy and fun, than the last 3 albums put together.
A SUPERB pearl in my collection, the
"Human League interview CD" was released in 1995, the interview is mostly about the (then) new album "Octopus", but Phil and Susan also talk about how the Human League was founded and some of the history about the League's past.
Phil tells about how he writes those FANTASTIC lyrics and so on.
Yet another "collected" works hit the streets and in my opinion it really wasn't necessary to release it.
The only reason one could have for buying it would have to be because of track number 14, which is an audio track starring Phil and Susan.
There's nothing new on this album except for track 14.
NOW this was something new ! The year 1997 saw the dawn of this "Trance League Express" tribute album, with a lot of great songs. Although all the songs are cover versions made by different people and there's absolutely no new HL material on it, it's actually VERY very great.
1998 and Dutch "Disky" releases this (Soundtrack to a generation) album, which is actually very nice to have, but the number of "collected works" CD's are getting bigger and bigger !!!
There's nothing new on this album.
1998 and an almost identical album with the "Best of" called "The very best of" album is released from ARK21. If you got the "best of" album, then you really don't need this one !
30 July 2001 and "Secrets" is released.
I never thought I was gonna say this, but "Secrets" could VERY well be as good as the "Dare" album !
It has rhythm, it has baselines, it has LIFE but MOST of all it has Phil Oakey, Susanne Sulley and Joanne Catherall.
Songs like "All I ever wanted", "Love me Madly", "Never give your heart", "Sin city" and "You'll be sorry" will all (I hope) hit the charts and bring back the Human League to everybody's lips and hearts !!!!.
2002 it is and Virgin Records release this "collected" edition of dare, containing both the "Dare" album and the "Love and dancing" instrumental album. This release is formed as a little book and is quite a pearl in any freak's collection (like mine)!
In the year 2003, The album titled "The very best of" (No. 172 by that title hehe) is released, but this time (thank god) new material is included.
But before you get TOO excited I must tell you that the ONLY new stuff are other peoples remixes of old League songs. When that is said and I have said that it's a double CD then I most also say that I like it very much !! So nice to hear the League's "evergreens" with a new "ear".
Remember to check out the Blondie albums.
Last revised: 11 dec 2003.