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The Human League


back in stock 1981's 'dare' captures a moment in time perfectly the moment postpunk's robotic fascination with synthesizers met a clinical bowiesque infatuation with fashion and modern art including pop culture plus a healthy love of songcraft the human league had shown much of this on their early singles such as 'the lebanon' but on 'dare' they simply gelled as their style was supported by music and songs with emotional substance that doesn't mean that the album isn't arty since it certainly is but that's part of its power the selfconscious detachment enhances the postmodern sense of emotional isolation obsession with form over content and love of modernity for its own sake that's why 'dare' struck a chord with listeners who didn't like synth pop or the new romantics in 1981 and why it still sounds startlingly original decades after its original release the technology may have dated synths and drum machines may have become more advanced but few have manipulated technology in such an emotionally effective way of course that all wouldn't matter if the songs themselves didn't work smashingly whether it's a mood piece as eerie as 'seconds' an antianthem like 'the things that dreams are made of' the danceclub glow of 'love action i believe in love' or the utter genius of 'don't you want me' a devastating chronicle of a frayed romance wrapped in the greatest pop hooks and production of its year the latter was a huge hit so much so that it overshadowed the album in the minds of most listeners yet for all of its shining brilliance it wasn't a pop supernova it's simply the brightest star on this record one of the defining records of its time

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