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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Dare!

The Human League

1981

Buy At Rough Trade
Dare!
Album Summary

Dare (released as Dare! in the United States) is the third studio album by English synth-pop band the Human League, first released in the United Kingdom in October 1981 then subsequently in the US in mid-1982. The album was recorded between March and September 1981 following the departure of founding members Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, and saw the band shift direction from their previous avant-garde electronic style toward a more pop-friendly, commercial sound led by frontman Philip Oakey. Dare became critically acclaimed and has proved to be a genre-defining album, whose influence can be felt in many areas of pop music. The album and its four singles were large successes, particularly "Don't You Want Me". The album reached number one on the UK Albums Chart and has been certified triple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). A remix album based on Dare, Love and Dancing, was released in 1982.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.04

Votes

9839
Genres
New Wave

Reviews

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Wed Feb 03 2021
4

Listening to this album reminds me that if I had embarked on this musical journey a decade ago, it would have gone far differently. And by differently, I mean worse. Generally my attitude toward listening to music has been the same attitude that I have about eating at restaurants: when I take the time to leave the house, drive somewhere, and pay all that extra money for restaurant service, I want to be absolutely crazy about that food. And if I am going to purchase music, and listen to it when I could be listening to literally anything else, it ought to be damn good. Is there anything worse than a $15 burger that’s dry, or a record with one hit and nine forgettable tracks? The difference between “current me” and “10 years ago me” is that now I recognize that there is another tier of music that, while not my favorite, can be very enjoyable in certain settings, primarily those settings where the music is in the background (like during a game night with friends). So what does all this have to do with The Human League’s album Dare? Well, there was a time where I absolutely hated all music that even had hints of an 80’s feel. Synthesizers, that 80’s drum sound (I looked it up and it’s called gated reverb), all of it made me cringe. Nowadays I am better at appreciating a good pop song despite its particular textures, and so I’m actually able to get some enjoyment out of a record like this. This is early 80’s synth-pop with a sinister flair to it, with a good amount of dark lyrics. I think the sound of both vocalists really goes well with the music, and I’m always happy to hear a vocalist sing in lower registers. Like probably everyone, I was familiar with the song Don’t You Want Me, but I was surprised that there weren’t many other monster choruses here. 80’s pop will never be my favorite, but overall I didn’t hate this, and its inclusion on this list seems pretty obvious to me. My personal enjoyment: 3/5 Did it belong on this list: 4.5/5

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Fri Jul 22 2022
2

This list really loves low-stakes 70s and 80s one hit wonders that are all but forgotten outside of classic rock radio stations that play on an endless loop in the workplace as bland, inoffensive background noise. Not. Fucking. Essential.

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Thu Mar 25 2021
4

Electronic pop from this era is like pizza to me. It nearly always hits the spot. I prefer the human league lineup with ware and marsh but this is definitely choice synthpop. There is something about the relative flatness/stiffness of the delivery style that I find endlessly entertaining. An evolution from Kraftwerk that even members of Kraftwerk appreciated.

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Sun Sep 11 2022
4

A synth-pop 80s purgatory is a better place to be than a 80s post-punk hell.

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Thu Jun 30 2022
2

Just ok. It was clever of them to put the best song at the end, so you'd listen to the rest of it first

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Wed Apr 07 2021
4

This is kinda like Devo meets Bowie imo (but with a more pop vibe), I dig it!

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Fri Apr 09 2021
5

WOW!!! What a surprise! Incredibly synth-heavy pop, I had never heard of this band and was ready to write it off seeing that they're responsible for "Don't You Want Me," which is a fucking crime because that song slaps! Seriously, incredible album, it's immediately going into the rotation. I'll be listening to a lot more of this band going forward. Favorite Songs: 1. The Things That Dreams are Made of 3. The Sound of the Crowd (HOLY SHIT THAT SYNTH!) 4. Darkness (Incredible, seriously) 8. Seconds 9. Love Action

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Sun Sep 11 2022
2

I think Purgatory was just the 80's.

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Thu Aug 24 2023
2

If you took the entire recorded output of Yes, King Crimson and ELP, added it together and multiplied it by 3, that level of pretentiousness would still be less than that of the morose, navel-gazing catalog of synth-pop bullshit contained in the 1001 Albums list. In closing, let me sing you a portion of the “Don’t You Want Me?” x 1001 Albums Generator parody song I’ve written: [synth sounds] I was bored of working at my nine to five When I met you I got online, I signed right up You told me that you Would turn me on to something new Now one year later on you've got me losing my mind Assigning albums has been so easy for you But don't forget it's me who put you where you are now And I can put you back down too? Don't Don't you want me? You know I can't believe it when I get another synth pop record Don't Don't you want me? You know I don't believe you when you say that it’s the last one You think that this is fine? You think that I don’t mind? One more OMD album and I’ll be leaving here for good this time… Don't you want me, baby? Don't you want me? Noooooo! Don't you want me, baby? Don't you want me? Noooooo!

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Sun Aug 15 2021
1

No, I don’t want you. Never did

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Mon Oct 12 2020
5

Absolute classic 70s synth pop This shit hard as fuck

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Mon Aug 02 2021
5

Love it, seminal new wave, can hear the influence on so many later electro-pop bands. Sparse, melodic hooks, great beats. So many hits here, favourite is probably Love Action.

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Mon May 03 2021
4

Seminal synth-pop record with a dark flair which recalls their previous albums or even Ultravox's. A few of them are best songs of the genre

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Mon Sep 27 2021
4

minimal, clean synth sounds, cool production but still warm to hear. Surprisingly good tunes beyond just the singles, especially 'The things that dreams are made of' and 'The Sound of the crowd' and 'Get Carter/I am the law'.

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Fri Nov 05 2021
4

Having learned recently about the evolution of electronic music and the early prominence of this album in the synthpop movement helped me appreciate this album. It definitely has that 80s synthpop sound, but I didn't realize previously how influential this album was in creating that sound. There are some aspects of this album that sound dated now, but given the technology that they were working with and the uncharted territory that they were moving into, this is a really cool album 4/5

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Sun Sep 18 2022
4

I didn't think I was going to enjoy this all that much but this synthy, new wave shit is pretty fun. "Don't You Want Me" is the big hit for a reason. What a jam. The first couple songs I kept thinking, if it weren't for Kraftwerk...

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Thu May 20 2021
2

So 80s 😂😂 the frontman can't sing for shit, so there's that 😂. Love Action is a good track and Don't You Want Me is a banger, but still, can't base the whole album off that. Prob worth a 2 as an album.

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Fri Aug 18 2023
2

It's crazy how much they rip off Kraftwerk's general sound while making it sound stupid.

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Fri Apr 23 2021
1

really quite shite. all sounds the same. like he got a casio keyboard for christmas.

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Tue Jun 08 2021
5

This barely made it onto my favourite list, I just can't deny it's catchy as hell and great whenever it pops up on the radio

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Sun Nov 28 2021
5

I never owned this album in the 80s, but I wished I had. Given the large number of albums where the non-hit tracks weren’t great, I think I would have liked most of this album then. Still, better late than never. My favorite Human League song (“Don’t You Want Me”)appears on this album. How surprising that the lead singer thought it the weakest track on the album and buried it at the end of side B. It is still my favorite song on the album, but I’m glad to have some new candidates for the position after listening to this album. “The Things That Dreams Are Made Of” is a great song! I’m not sure how I missed it all these years (I think it was released as a single?) but glad to know it now. “Open Your Heart” was a single in the UK (not sure about the US) that I also missed. I quite like this song as well. “The Sound of the Crowd” is really fun and catchy and makes me want to go to all the 80s clubs. So much 80s fun! By the third listen I liked all the songs on this. Amazed to hear a Casio VL-1 as the sole instrument on “Get Carter”. Too cool! Great album!

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Fri Jan 21 2022
5

I am very familiar with THE HUMAN LEAGUE and the DARE album. I have it and I’m a casual fan of the band. The early material is interesting but not up to their more poppier efforts. The band has some hits and misses on their other albums, but DARE is one of those perfect albums. After re-listening to DARE, my opinion has not changed this is a really great album. Every single song is catchy and extremely enjoyable to listen it. It is the most popular HUMAN LEAGUE album and in this case the best one, deservedly so. Pop wins out on this one. In 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, DARE is the only album included. Rate Artist: THE HUMAN LEAGUE (4.0) Rate Album (Year): DARE (1981 Original) (5.0) Ranking of THE HUMAN LEAGUE - DARE songs 01) The Things That Dreams Are Made Of 4:15 10.0/10 02) Open Your Heart 3:56 10.0/10 03) The Sound Of The Crowd 4:05 10.0/10 04) Darkness 3:59 09.0/10 05) Do Or Die 5:25 10.0/10 06) Get Carter 1:02 08.0/10 07) I Am The Law 4:08 10.0/10 08) Seconds 4:59 10.0/10 09) Love Action (I Believe In Love) 5:00 10.0/10 10) Don't You Want Me 3:57 10.0/10 Original 1981 Release 97.0/100 = 97.0 / 2 = 4.85

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Wed Mar 30 2022
5

Brilliant. Soooo 1980s but who cares? Catchy tunes, all excellent - not a bad track on the album.

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Fri Jul 01 2022
5

The 3rd HL album, for some strange reason the first two albums are not universally liked but Dare is one of the best albums from the 80s, must be the perfect pop album ever.

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Fri Sep 09 2022
5

Silly 80's album like I love

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Wed Sep 28 2022
5

Used to listen to this on my Walkman at college during lunch time playing the 1942 arcade machine in the leisure centre across the road. Good times. A cracking album btw. One that’s often mimicked, but rarely bettered.

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Sun Oct 02 2022
5

Pre-listening thought: YES, I’ve been excited to get this. Post-listening thought: HELL YEAH!

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Wed Nov 16 2022
5

It took me a bit, but I'm really getting into this record. The first songs to really catch my attention were "I Am The Law" and "Seconds." Those slower tracks seem stranger to me. More weird soundscapes and bizarre little accents crafted with the synths. (There's a fantastic LCD Soundsystem cover of "Seconds" that is worth checking out!) Those strange, early-synth/electronic Kraftwerk-inspired elements are evident elsewhere in the record. But, coming to this record from 2022, it was hard for me to get into the sound which (A.) has been parodied and mimicked to death, (B.) reeks distinctly of chart-topping pop music from a decade I don't particularly care for, and (C.) sounds cheesy and dated in the same way proto-CGI work in a film always feels cheesy and dated. But, as with those film effects, such knee-jerk aversions to early technology in art are best looked past as they really have very little to do with the music. It's just the unfortunate effect of perspective. So, now that I'm into it, I'm digging it. I think the second half of the album, from the instrumental "Get Carter" through the immortal "Don't You Want Me," is seriously fantastic stuff. The front half still feels a little single-focused to me, and a bit less cohesive. But it doesn't take at all away from the album's flow. I think that kind of pro/faux-commercial wink is a very important part of the band's identity, as it was many other bands of the era from Devo to Frankie Goes to Hollywood and even some 80s Bowie. The band name as well as the album title and art—such weird stuff going on with typeface and that cropping haha—certainly supports that. Overall, it's an amazing, essential album buoyed by what is quite possibly an even more amazing backstory behind it's creation. (Seriously, has no one made a movie about this yet?) I've had a great time jamming to this today and an incredible turn around with it. I went in thinking it would be a 3. But honestly, think I'm going to give it a 5! I can't think of any good reason why I shouldn’t.

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Fri Jan 06 2023
5

Right up my street. Catchy melodies, luscious synths, smart lyrics. The 80s in a single album.

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Mon Mar 13 2023
5

This was really, really good.

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Sun May 21 2023
5

и это тоже, знаем, любим

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Wed Jun 21 2023
5

Was going to say very 80's but instead it's defining 80's. some may hate it but it's such a strong statement of what music was and could be at this time. 5

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Sun Jul 23 2023
5

10/10 one of the best New-Wave albums I’ve ever heard — endlessly creative

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Sat Aug 05 2023
5

One of my favorites! Standouts: Don't You Want Me, The Things That Dreams are Made of, The Sound of the Crowd, Love Action, Seconds, Open Your Heart, Get Carter/I Am the Law, Do or Die, Darkness and Hard Times (Bonus). Yes. It is an amazing album. Start to finish, it is absolutely perfect. This was one the first albums I ever bought. It will always be special to me. 5/5

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Mon Sep 11 2023
5

It took quite a long time for this album to click for me, but boy, when it did, it was a minor revelation for sure. Before listening to that record I thought that none of those synth pop acts form the early eighties had been able to create full-length masterpieces, contrary to the skills and flair they often displayed for singles (still hate that ABC LP from this list, for instance...). So when I first listened to *Dare* I was highly skeptical--I thought I was in for another instance of Duran-Duran-like overrated drivel. Turned out I was wrong. If you have the right amount of mellifluous earworms, it doesn't matter if your style is dated or not. This what happens in *Dare*. You won't find a single dud in this record, because there is the sort of combination that usually makes an album great, and this in any style. And the equation is this: instant catchiness + imagination + layering + dynamics. The slow songs always have something intense to them, and the livelier numbers remain classy and enticing--avoiding the sort of vulgar flourishes that often turned synth-pop hits into a cheesefest. Not that this class-act nature prevented The Human League to find memorable melodies, as I said earlier--the sort of melodies a recent act like The 1975, painfully trying to harness similar eighties aesthetics, is notoriously unable to write, for instance. Choruses and hooks are stellar in *Dare*: "The Things That Dreams Are Made Of", "The Sound Of The Crowd", and--of course--"Don't You Want Me", first come to mind here. But each and every song has its own share of wonderful moments. And the instrumental parts between those choruses are also great, with catchy arrangements that are often surprisingly subtle (see that minor chord-major chord modulation in "Darkness", for example). With this LP, The Human League also used interesting textures that still sound fresh today, against all odds. Take those "flute" sounds in "Open You Hear" or "Get Carter". As for the drums sound, it is actually quite restrained, mostly avoiding that gated reverb that pestered most pop acts during that decade. Synth basslines owe a lot to Kraftwerk of course, but The Human League also bring their own pop drive to the whole thing, making this music unmistakably theirs. Add the evocative lyrics to this recipe--drawing from eighties concerns about jobs and fame and love and money and travelling, with some empathic angles about the whole thing, yet still keeping the gently sardonic touches of The Human League's previous LPs--and what you have here is an essetial album, no doubt about that. In a way, the productive compromise that gave birth to those lyrics is the same sort of compriomise that gave birth to the music itself. Digging further into The Human League's discography, now I know that their first two full-length records, before the line-up change, had been slightly more experimental--and that records after *Dare* would be far more "commercial". But with this particular LP, you just have a perfect middle ground between those two extremities. So it's no wonder you can find it in many music anthologies and lists similar to this one. 5/5. Number of albums left to review: 443 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 260 (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 132 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more essential to me): 168

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Thu Sep 14 2023
5

It didn't invent electronic music but for a lot of people it might as well have. And when you have Open Your Heart, Love Action and Don't You Want Me it's not surprising. What a run of singles. Pure pop in the best of all possible ways.

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Wed Oct 18 2023
5

Highly groundbreaking and influential synth pop release that helped change mainstream pop music at the time and it's easy to see why with synth sounds as warm as this.

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Fri Oct 20 2023
5

'Don't You Want Me' makes this a 5 for me!

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Fri Nov 03 2023
5

Loved the 80s vibe of this. Want to listen again for sure.

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Fri Nov 17 2023
5

It’s the album that killed Lester Bangs! I’m all seriousness, it’s a genre-defining album, and it’s my favourite musical genre. A full five star-rating was never so easily given.

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Wed Nov 22 2023
5

Perfect! Great! Love it! Standouts: Don't You Want Me, These Are the Things Dreams are Made Of, Love Action, Open Your Heart, Sound of the Crowd, I Am the Law, Doe Or Die, Darkness, Hard Times (Bonus)

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Wed Nov 29 2023
5

On the surface, it just seems like a fun synth-pop album that sounds like someone snorted crystallized 1980s and sat down at a keyboard. But when you see that it was released in 1981, you realize that it wasn’t a distillation of the 80s—it was the catalyst! Though some of it sounds goofy by today’s standards, there’s a lot of bravery in an album as sparse, experimental, and synth-driven as this. For most of the album, every element is very plainly heard, nothing hiding behind lush production. And of course, it ends with the anthem “Don’t You Want Me,” an unforgettable and contagiously catchy song. Though it isn’t a perfect album, the “daring” behind it and its legacy earn it a 5/5.

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Sun Dec 31 2023
5

Part of the soundtrack for the eraly 1980s. So many great tracks on this album: "Open Your Heart", "Love Action (I Believe in Love)", and the Xmas 1981 number 1 "Don't You Want Me".

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Wed Jan 17 2024
5

Oh my gosh. Banger, absolute banger!

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Mon Feb 19 2024
5

I loved it. Totally my 80s music. Well known song . Don’t you want me

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Thu Jun 10 2021
4

Is sort of a generic 80s synth-pop album (which isn't a bad thing) until the last track. "Don't You Want Me" is quite possibly one of the best (if not THE best) pop songs from the 80s, that song alone bumps this album up a full star from 3/5 to 4/5 for me. Such a banger of a song.

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Thu Jul 01 2021
4

Synths. Synths everywhere. And I loved it. The Sound of the Crowd is SO SO good - I could have that on repeat for hours.

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Mon Jun 14 2021
4

Das good shit. Funky, part disco, poppy, just a classic and more

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Thu Mar 25 2021
4

This band is funny in a Kraftwerk and Devo sort of way. Hard not to like it, it's weird and friendly. Oh, I actually know "Don't You Want Me", that was a surprise. I like that song. This was a good listen.

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Thu Jun 17 2021
4

Another 80s album with great synthesizers and off-putting vocals, but this one quickly grew on me. I still think the vocals are kind of kitschy and camp (and I don't know if they were intended to sound that way or not), but they work fairly well here.

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Sun Jan 24 2021
4

Esa cancioncita de entrada qué cursilería y el álbum es un poco eso, pero qué disfrutable. Sus sintetizadores (algo que disfruto tanto de la música) y los beats son algo a lo que puedo regresar con un mood específico. "Do or Die" quizá fue mi preferida, con ese motivo que se repite en ciertas partes de la canción. Y ni cómo negar el hitazo "Don't You Want Me", aunque me parece desigual respecto al álbum... con todo y que creo que es similar a la primera. Quizá el problema que tengo con el álbum es que de pronto, me esperaba más en ciertas canciones. En fin, 8.5/10

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Sun Jan 24 2021
4

8/10 ta gueno y don't you want me es un rolololololon.

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Sun Apr 04 2021
4

really good album. wasnt sure if i was going to like it but it does work well and i do indeed like it a lot

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Wed Jul 14 2021
4

I've always enjoyed this. Has some slower and darker album songs, but six of the 10 are outstanding.

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Mon Jun 28 2021
4

Great 80’s pop. Catchy and fun

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Mon Jun 28 2021
4

Don't you want me baby! Don't you want me oooooohhh! Great album, think I'm learning that I generally like 80s pop?

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Sat Apr 10 2021
4

Großartiger Synthie Pop / New Wave. Don't you want me - Smash hit!

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Wed Apr 28 2021
4

Classic synth-pop album with some all-time great songs from the genre. The lead singers voice might get grating though on repeat listens.

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Wed Jun 16 2021
4

Fun to listen to, had only heard "don't you want me" before, was happy to hear some more from them.

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Tue Jun 01 2021
4

Really cool album Most songs have an interesting sound and speak to me. Cool use of piano and guitar 4.5/5

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Thu Jul 22 2021
4

Synth-tastic! Paved the way for the shit I listen to today.

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Fri Jul 23 2021
4

Loved it. So funny and clever.

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Fri Jul 30 2021
4

This is very 80s. Like the most 80s thing imaginable. I liked it though. The Sound of The Crowd and I Am The Law are highlights.

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Thu Sep 16 2021
4

Rating: 7/10 Best songs: The things that dreams are made of, The sound of the crowd, Seconds, Don’t you want me

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Fri Sep 24 2021
4

A classic early 80s synth pop album, a lot of fun to listen to. It was one of the first cassettes I owned, so it saw a lot of play in my house. Coming back to hear it now, I'm struck by the simplicity of it. The sound is crisp, the arrangements deliberately flat and cold. Phil Oakey's commanding baritone vocal is a centerpiece of this music, another instrument in its own right. The songwriting is simple but sophisticated, touching rather poetically on themes like alienation and sexual politics. And surprisingly for such a aloof sounding band, Phil Oakey for the most part comes off as an optimist, someone who still believes in love, who still believes we hold the power to find what we need in this life... if we dare to look for it. "Don't You Want Me" is incredibly catchy, a perfect pop song and a stone cold classic that belongs in any time capsule of this era. Funny to find out it's the last song on the album because Oakey didn't particularly care for it. Fave Songs: Don't You Want Me, Darkness, Love Action, Open Your Heart

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Fri Oct 01 2021
4

as with so many other albums on this list, this one was a distinct moment in time. it happens that this was a moment i was there for, and remember pretty well. i didn't know what any of it meant at the time, but i was very happy to hear disco's influence fading, and to see whatever new wave was going to bring. it felt, in the best possible way, like living in the future - and a future that was full of possibility and all that stuff, even if it knew it was a weird future. that said, love action was a nice surprise. i'm sure i've heard it any number of times, but this was the first time i really paid attention. seconds was a good surprise, too. and naturally, the big hit is always cool to hear.

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Thu Oct 28 2021
4

I’ve listened to a lot of the tracks on the album individually but never as an album. This was released just before I came of age musically but the tracks have always been there in my life. I enjoy the synth and electronic sounds of the new wave/romantics it has aged a bit but it was the start of a new musical direction. I didn’t realise that seconds was a homage to JFK, quite an interesting song

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Fri Nov 19 2021
4

Very good formative synthpop album. The opening track is almost "violently" 80s. The rest is a little same, but still very enjoyable. Best tracks "These Are The Things" "I Am The Law" "Don't You Want Me"

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Thu Nov 25 2021
4

So many sounds, would sound amazing on vinyl. 80s overload. WILL BUY.

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Sun Nov 28 2021
4

This is good, synth-y 80s pop. I don't think I'd ever heard the whole album. I liked Don't You Want Me well enough when it was released but I think I've heard it enough in the last 40 years. I really liked the songs on this album that were less familiar to me, especially The Things That Dreams Are Made Of and Seconds.

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Sun Nov 28 2021
4

I am familiar with The Human League, but not this entire album. This is authentic synth-pop of the 80s. I enjoy being taken back to this time in music from time to time.

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Sun Nov 28 2021
4

Oh how excited I was for this. Early 80s English synth-pop was my jam back in the day, and one of my favorite songs ever is "Don't You Want Me." The first couple of listens through, it seemed like too much of the same thing, and I got a little bored. Philip Oakey's monotone, so cool in each song on its own, gets a bit much over ten in a row. This is not to say that I didn't enjoy it! I did! But maybe I had my expectations too high. Maybe sometimes it's okay to love a single more than its album. I will keep listening to this one, though, until I know for sure.

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Sun Dec 12 2021
4

“Chock-full of precise, memorable melodies delivered with style and humour.”

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Thu Dec 16 2021
4

Saved Prior: Love Action (I Believe In Love), Don't You Want Me Off Rip: The Things That Dreams Are Made Of, Open Your Heart, The Sound Of The Crowd, Do Or Die, I Am The Law, Seconds Cutting Edge: Darkness Overall Notes: Despite the large quantity of songs saved (all but 1 were at least on my Cutting Edge playlist) and Don't You Want Me being one of my favorite songs of all time, this album was simply above average. It's good and most of the songs have multiple good elements to them, but they rarely come together to form a truly transcendently great song (Don't You Want Me being the only exception good lord is that song good). I liked it better than the Eurythmics album for sure, but nothing close to Depeche Mode. Lots of good songs, a couple very good songs, one incredible one.

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Wed Dec 29 2021
4

Songs for my wife to be. Fabulous album full of memory.

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Fri Jan 07 2022
4

This is the proudest I've been to be from Sheffield, apart from when "The Full Monty" was screened on a flight I was on and I ran up and down the plane singing "You Can Leave Your Hat On" with nothing but a sick bag over my jaffas, all the way to Bangkok. "Seconds" is the best song about an assassin since Peter Gabriel's the year before.

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Mon Jan 10 2022
4

4/5. Don’t You Want Me is an all time banger, album is kinda inconsistent tho

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Thu Jan 27 2022
4

very 80s.... kinda sassy growing on me tho!

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Wed Feb 02 2022
4

classic pop, with really human synths, and great tunes.

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Wed Feb 23 2022
4

Quite uneven, but the hits are classics

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