This is a cover of the Spector, Mann and Weil classic. I'd always loved The Human League - and Dare is probably the seminal new romantic album. But it wasn't until a friend of mine bought Reproduction in the late 1980s that I discovered the early, darker side of The Human League.
Reproduction is often slated for being too doomy and too pretentious. But there's some real gems on there - and Empire State Human and Blind Youth bounce along nicely.
The real killer is track 7 - which effectively blends electronic lament Morale with the League's cover of You've Lost That Loving Feeling. It's a beautiful, slow version - a totally electronic lullaby and it's totally essential.
Although a thick line has long been drawn connecting disco to the '90s techno scene, few have bothered to connect the dots between the more modern genre and synth pop. The Human League didn't need to fret about such things, though; they intuitively understood those relationships, having explored virtually all the influences over their career — industrial, funk, R&B, synth pop, new wave, and disco itself. And when the wheel turned again, the band was back on top with a sound that hadn't really changed, but just refined. With a few minor alterations, 1995's "Tell Me When" could have come from 1983, slotting nicely between "Fascination" and "Mirror Man." Of course, the drum programming would need to be changed (there were no jungle rhythms back then!), but the funky bassline can stay, along with the bubbly synths. In fact, the real difference is found in the vignette-esque lyrics and the more complex vocals. And these slight changes make all the difference, turning synth dreams into techno club success. A taster for the group's forthcoming Octopus album, "Tell Me When" hit on both sides of the Atlantic, landing just outside the Top 6 and Top 30 in the U.K. and U.S., respectively.
Although far removed from the adventurous group that had long ago dabbled in minimilist, almost avant-garde electronics, all these years later the Human League continued to take its pop seriously. "One Man in My Heart" could have been a total throwaway, a gloopy little love song without a single redeeming quality, beloved by grannies and tweenies, gag-inducing for those outside those age parameters. But the band obviously gave the number time and attention, and thus ensured that it can't be so easily dismissed. Inserting a much sampled electro effect into the intro, creating an intriguingly intricate rhythm, counterpointing swelling, lush synths with a palpitating '70s-styled organ, layering on vocals and harmonies, and conjuring up a romantic milieu flushed with delicate atmospheres, the group produced a love song unlike virtually all typical pop fodder. The work, effortless as it sounds on disc, paid off, and this 1995 single swept into the U.K. Top 15.