The Human League
Dare!


5.0
classic

Review

by Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (139 Reviews)
April 21st, 2011 | 22 replies | 4,321 views


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dared to change...

Are you aware of the product 'Marmite'? The tar-coloured food spread had a unique taste that led to it gaining the tagline: "You either love it, or you hate it." due it's ability to gather almost equal amounts of lovers and haters. At this point you're probably thinking to yourself: "Is this guy on crack? WTF is he chatting about Marmite for?", but let me assure you - I'm not (well, apart from on the weekends, but that doesn’t count does it…?). The real reason for my Marmite-based analogy is because it's a simple way of articulating what 'Dare!' represents. To the late 70's futurist kids that discovered the 'League' through the bands first two icy-cold, detached, robotic records, 'Dare!' was a betrayal. It completely removed itself from the sound it nailed so well and replaced it with straight ahead, chart-leaning synth-pop tunes like 'Don't You Want Me'. To the aforementioned group it was a betrayal. To everyone else it was a revelation.

It comes down to an argument of artistic merit vs. commercialisation. For most true music fans, artistic value trumps commercialisation any day because the latter can often spell the death of integrity and uniqueness. But in the case of 'Dare!' an exception to the rule can be made. Sure, it lost face a little and became less intriguingly prophesised, lyrically; but when the pop hooks of 'Don't You Want Me' and the sheer energy of 'Sound Of The Crowd' are the replacement, the call for an argument begins to seem a tad futile. The newly recruited teenage backing singers must’ve seemed a rather brash and coarse fame-hungry move upon the surface, but when coupled with the youthful optimism and clear aim of Phil Oakey, The Human League proved themselves to be just as focused and compelling as they were before the commercial leap.

'Dare!' is just a synth-pop album done right. It arrived at the perfect moment in time in 1981 (a time when the genre was peaking) and backed up its contemporaneous intelligence with a set of brightly-coloured, energetic pop tunes that are, quite simply, an uninhibited delight to hear. Whether it's the churning synth melody behind the chorus of the opening number, 'The Things That Dreams Are Made Of', or the superb, fearful paranoia of 'Darkness', 'Dare!' showed the world synth-pop was a genre to be reckoned with (if only for a short while) with The Human League's most famous song, 'Don't You Want Me' achieving number 1 chart positions on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Human League would never reach this height again as, due to numerous problems, it took them 3 years to release their next album, and 3 years in the 80's was equivalent to a lifetime in terms of music releasing schedules. They were never truly able to capitalize on the success of this record, but to end on a happier note; perhaps the band can take some solace in the fact that they've produced one of the most enduring and excellent synth-pop albums ever, that still stands the test of time 30 years on. Groundbreaking and sublime.



Recent reviews by this author
Metronomy Love LettersTemples Sun Structures
Bombay Bicycle Club So Long, See You TomorrowOasis Dig Out Your Soul
Oasis Don't Believe the TruthOasis Heathen Chemistry
user ratings (67)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
IAJP (4.5)
Disposable, cheap, and throwaway. All words that do not describe the Human Leagues 3rd album, 'Dare'...


Comments:Add a Comment 
NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2011


7041 Comments


Mar-mite? Like Vegemite?

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I don't know what Vegemite is... ; P

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2011


7041 Comments


Yeast filled spread for toast/bread. Not an aussie then?lol. Some people describe the taste as 'like ass'

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

After a quick Google Image search the tubs look almost identical, so it's possible they are similar.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2011


7041 Comments


Now with that out of the way.... Pos.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks, dude : )

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2011


7041 Comments


I'm pretty sure it's an Aussie invention too.

Kaleid
April 21st 2011


711 Comments


'Love Action' is my favourite from this. Random fact - 'Don't You Want Me' was only the fourth single from this, Phil Oakey thought it was crap and didn't want it released o_0

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Kaleid - Wow, didn't know that. Maybe he's not as perceptive as we think...

starry
April 21st 2011


552 Comments


I didn't actually like Don't You Want Me much at the time. I think the chorus was slightly annoying for me, the verse and bridge are ok though and the song is decent. Best song off this very good album for me is Open your Heart.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

My fave is probably 'Darkness'. Love it. Sound of the Crowd and Things That Dreams Are Made of are excellent too.

iFghtffyrdmns
April 21st 2011


7047 Comments


Hey Tom, I would modify the first paragraph a bit to this:

"Are you aware of the product 'Marmite'? The tar-coloured food spread had a unique taste that led to it gaining the tagline: "You either love it, or you hate it." due it's ability to gather almost equal amounts of lovers and haters. Marmite, though in no obvious way related to English electro-rockers The Human League, still provides a simple way of articulating what 'Dare!' represents. To the late 70's futurist kids that discovered the 'League' through the bands first two icy-cold, detached, robotic records, 'Dare!' was a betrayal. It completely removed itself from the sound it nailed so well and replaced it with straight ahead, chart-leaning synth-pop tunes like 'Don't You Want Me'. To the aforementioned group it was a betrayal. To everyone else it was a revelation."

The few sentences about the reader thinking you were a crackhead kind of threw me off and weren't as funny as I think you intended... I think that this reads more cohesively as a whole.

Other than that, another great write-up :]



Oh, and...

IN B4 DONT CHU WANT ME BAYYYBAYYYYYYYYYY

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Cheers, iFghtffyrdmns.

Maybe i'll edit it. Hmm, perhaps I "better change it back or we will be both be sorry" ; )


iFghtffyrdmns
April 21st 2011


7047 Comments


I'm failing to catch the reference, if that's what the quoted text is.... haha

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Haha, It's part of the song the song but nevermind : )

Don't, don't you want me?
You know I can't believe it when I hear that you won't see me
Don't, don't you want me?
You know I don't believe you when you say that you don't need me
It's much too late to find
You think you've changed your mind
You'd better change it back or we will both be sorry

iFghtffyrdmns
April 21st 2011


7047 Comments


Wow I guess I suck that much to quote one line of a song's chorus and then to not be able to recognize another fairly obviously quoted line from same said song.

haha oh well

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Haha, the 'DONT CHU WANT ME BAYYYBAYYYYYYYYYY' is the important bit, anyway : )

KILL
April 21st 2011


71743 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

my dads got this record

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

KILL - An original vinyl copy? It's probably worth quite a bit of cash if it's in good condition.


bloc
April 21st 2011


34848 Comments


A 5...How did I know...

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy