The Human League/The Very Best Of [2003]

Very Best ofThe Very Best of the Human League is a greatest hits compilation by British band The Human League. It was released in the UK on September 15, 2003, and went into the UK album charts at #24.

Don’t You Want Me—-Perhaps one of the defining songs of the 80’s, mention this or Devo’s Whip It and anyone knows what decade you are talking about. This has glorious layers of synth pop that are delivered with a masterfully emotionally removed vocal and the sweet combination from the ladies in the band that together created a sheer moment in time. This was magical…and remains wonderfully magical even today.

Love Action [I Believe In Love]—-Throughout their career, The Human League has a certain synth sound that set them apart from the many other generic bands that were everywhere in the 80’s landscape. This song remains a prime example of that…you know when you hear the opening strains of this song who the band is…when the deep baritone of Oakey enters you know for sure, but you can tell just from the synth alone. This is wonderfully electronic, poppy and innovative. Great!

Open Your Heart—-To this day, this remains my favorite Human League song ever. The sentiment is everywhere on the song, the vocal is pout of tune and quaint…the synths drive the entire thing and you are left with a surprisingly emotional song that any person with feelings can relate to. Who could ever ask for more…this is exquisite history!!!

The Sound Of The Crowd—-Perhaps one of the most fun songs that the League has ever produced, this just breathes of New York post-disco nightlife. The downbeat swirl of the synth line sucks you into the fun lyrics of the song. This is post club 54…where people were dying for a place to ‘belong’ to…that is where Michael Alig stepped in and made a career of Party Kids that thrived on this type of hyped synth that seemed to have no place to go.

Mirror Man—-The Fascination EP seemed to take the new relationship between Phillip and the girls a bit further…he seemed to depend on the relationship and inclusion of their vocals even more than ever…seemingly to create a whole new band. This is a masterful track…the swirling synths are incredible…the joining of the vocals add a level of texture to the songs that makes it even more legitimate. and the most remarkable thing is the emotional quality of Oakey’s vocal…he seems more engaged than ever. This is magnificent.

[Keep Feeling] Fascination—-Many people though that the League would never be able to top the mastery of Don’t You Want Me….those of us who stuck with the band realized that they did this on the very next recording and many times over. This song has a remarkable melody…the Girls are much more integrated into the sound of the band and the synths are literally huge. This is a gigantic, fun song that is still fresh and electro today…those of you who jumped ship…you really missed out. This is not a one hit wonder band.

The Lebanon—-The band returned with a new release that had severe political leanings and opinions…such as this song. The tale is heart wrenching and really over looked by people. This has a history lesson written right into it and the song never suffers despite that. The synth lines are fantastic, the baritone more emotive than ever…and the overall result…a huge track that at this point many people never heard because of narrow-minded listening habits.

Life On Your Own—-This is another really favorite song of mine…this speaks to me on just about every emotional level that I posses. The synth lines on this track are much heavier and laced with a dark feel that is not like the bright and poppy, breezy sounds of the earlier material. even the baritone seems deeper and more monotone. Slight inflections of the voice allows for some emotional quality, but overall the song is remarkably dark. The girls enter and add a remarkable DARK harmony that is just literally magnificent. This is damn brilliant.

Together In Electric Dreams—-This soundtrack recording is a nice excursion between Phillip and Disco Giant Giorgio Moroder. This is another of those songs that I have listened to perhaps a thousand times over the years. This is brilliant…the synths are unlike most human League recordings, the hand print of Moroder is all over the place. When the synth really kicks in, you are enveloped in an almost ecstatic feeling that gives you energy and the mindset that you could dance for hours to this stuff. This is huge in sound, intense in emotion and even includes the Girls on the chorus…this is historic!!!

Louise—-With a heavy, bass driven synth line and one of the deepest vocal deliveries I have heard from Phillip, this is an emotional song that is about lost love and the longing for renewal. You know that feeling…right? This is a nice track that has a remarkable down shift of the musical delivery…it seems to fit the stalemate of emotions that the song speaks of…this is further proof that machine-made music can convey the same human emotions that guitars and drums can. This is remarkable!!!

Human—-I was never a fan that embraced this track like the masses did. This Jam & Lewis produced track was a bit too radical of a change from the organic synth sounds that the band began and continued with. This is top 40 music without a purpose..this is don’t You Want Me remade with different words and different angles. To me, although this was huge and a new life for the band, was a big disappointment. This is as it is!

Heart Like A Wheel—-Striving for relevance and a chart position in the 90’s, this is a track that was built on the back of the masterful remixes that accompanied this. I like this track…I find no fault with it…but the updated rave sound did not so the band justice. This band built it’s following on the organic electro sounds that delivered it to us in the early 80’s…straying too far makes them almost cheap to me. I love this…expecially the Utah Saints mix of this i have…but, again….it is old school 80’s sounding!

Tell Me When—-Combining the more old school sound of the band with the more emerging Acid House movement of the time, this is a pretty damn good rave mania styled track that fits right in with the ecstasy fueled culture of the 90’s. Which only proves to me, that despite prolonged absences Oakey still has his brain tuned into the relevant sounds that are playing out in popular music NOW. I still look for relevance in the future. It’s not over till it’s over!!!!

One Man In My Heart—-Beginning with a remarkable Reggae three beat, the song is also special because it is driven by the female members of the Band…this is the first I can remember them having the complete spotlight. This is remarkably friendly, reminds me of Ace Of Base and play very well even now. This was a risk that for those of us who heard it really paid off. Fantastic!!!

All I Ever Wanted—-With a much deeper synth sound and a baritone delivery that reminds you of the early days, the girls enter the song and gives the entire thing this huge orgasmic harmony that will leave a smile on your face for days. This is a driving synth beat…different from the sometimes lazy and relaxed versions of many of this bands songs. This is remarkably fresh and energetic…with just enough distorted synth to give everyone a thrill. Spectacular!!!

Being Boiled [Fast Version]—-Travelling back to the very first proper recordings from the band, this song never really found a firm place in my heart. This version allows me a free range of interpretation….the synths are bare and basic…allowing fans to see that the band started with the bare minimum of technology but still managed to produce a masterful sound. this is deep, dark and reminiscent of the emerging sound of misplaced punk bands that were discovering new synth machines. This song is remarkable simply for the groundbreaking and raw sounds that comprised it.

Empire State Human—-this is masterful Human League music that comprises new sounds and the most classic and basic sounds of the earliest beginnings of the n=band’s career. This is addictive, complimentary to modern sounds, retro enough to grasp the 40 somethings and fresh enough to fill a 2010 dance floor….who could ever ask for more?

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]


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