The Human League
Reproduction


4.0
excellent

Review

by Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (139 Reviews)
April 14th, 2011 | 9 replies | 6,453 views


Release Date: 1979 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The birth of a child, never as dark and cold as he was here, in his baby steps.

Before The Human League re-branded themselves as chart storming, synth-pop giants (female backing singers and all) upon the release of the critically lauded 'Dare' in 1981, they released a pair of albums that were perhaps the most cold and dehumanised form of synth-pop ever heard. It’s almost so unfamiliar that some listeners may doubt the robotic beats of 'Being Boiled' or the eerie dirge of 'The Path Of Least Resistance' could have ever come from the same band who; a few member changes and a stylistic rethink later; produced enduring, pop leviathans like 'Don't You Want Me' a couple of years following.

It’s just so dark. Throughout the record there’s a lack of hope for the world and apathy for humankind strewn across the futuristic electro warbles and detached vocals and lyrics heard on virtually every track. On paper, that sounds unpleasant, but in reality it’s a well formed brand of synth-pop that doesn‘t care for commercial approval. It has its own flavour; it’s own sense of style and a clear idea of what it wants to be - cold futurist music, deployed using (at the time) cutting edge synthesisers to create a danceable, yet moody form of electronic music for those outside the realms of pop’s rose-tinted glasses.

Sure, 'Dare' is a masterpiece and, when it comes down to it, it’s probably a better record than 'Reproduction'. But just because their debut didn’t aim for the charts, doesn’t mean it’s worthless. Whilst the music isn’t as hooky or digestible as it would grow to be; it is infinitely more interesting and thought-provoking. The opener 'Almost Medieval' pounds along with it’s despair filled beat and subtle background melodies to make one of the tensest tunes on the album, and despite the overall tone, one song managed to find its way onto the UK charts back in the day ('Empire State Human') - almost unbelievable considering its odd chorus: "Tall, tall, tall, I wanna be tall, tall, tall, as big as a wall, wall, wall".

Really, it’s a matter of taste. People who mainly enjoy, easy-to-stomach pop hooks and generic lyrics won’t see the appeal, and would be better off sticking with 'Dare', but those with a penchant for darker and more challenging music will find themselves a groundbreaking record they might actually prefer to the pop-leaning tendencies on later 'League' albums. It’s best to approach these songs with an ear for curiosity. If your looking for a simple pop fix like you’d get with 'Dare', you’ll be disappointed, but if you’re looking to hear The Human League at their the earliest and most artily inventive, 'Reproduction' might just delight more than you expect.



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user ratings (26)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
iFghtffyrdmns
April 14th 2011



7047 Comments


Tom I'm pretty sure the kid who wrote the review right below this one on the front page stole the username that you wanted.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 14th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Haha, i saw that earlier and i thought "Bastard!!! Why didn't i use that?" Although, this album is from '79 so it's not all 80s, lol.

iFghtffyrdmns
April 14th 2011



7047 Comments


ah damn almost haha

"It’s best to approach these songs with ear for a curiosity. "
That sentence reads a tad bit oddly, you might wanna just tweak it a tiny bit. Other than that, another nice review. Doesn't at all sound like a record from the DONTCHU WANT ME BAY BAY Human League that I've heard haha

Meatplow
April 14th 2011



5524 Comments


yeah I need to hear their early minimal synth stuff

do you like Absolute Body Control or Thomas Leer & Robert Rental, by any chance?

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 14th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

iFghtffyrdmns - Thanks. Yeah, small error there, words got jumbled a bit. Edited now, thanks for pointing it out. Yeah, you're right, it is completly different to don't you want me and all their later stuff, just give the first track a try, you'll see what i mean.

Meatplow - Never heard of those bands, mate. Any good?


Kaleid
April 15th 2011



710 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Another one you beat me to, I was gonna review this album sometime. Good to see it get a shoutout on this site. Everyone thinks of Dare when you mention The Human League; this is their best one IMO. The cover of 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling' is one of the best I've ever heard, it's so icy. 'Blind Youth' is great too

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Hey, its cool that you like this album more than dare (i love it too). I can't decide if i ilke this or dare more, they're both so different and brilliant in their own way.

schubert
December 5th 2013



4 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review, i love this album.

schubert
December 5th 2013



4 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review, i love this album.



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