Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Human League 'Tell Me When'

Chart Peak: 6
Originally formed back in 1978, the Human League's ingenious marriage of pop sensibility and synthesiser technology spawned numerous 1980s hits... 'Tell Me When' saw them return with a Top 10 smash in January '95.
Third act in a row with their last Top 10 hit, although unlike the previous two tracks this isn't a final Now appearance. Despite the rather defensive tone of the Wikipedia article on this song, 'Tell Me When' has some strong claim to be a comeback hit, their highest-charting track in the UK since '(Keep Feeling) Fascination' way back on the first Now album, albeit assisted by release in what was then the "dead" week between Christmas and New Year. It was also the first fruit of their new contract with Eastwest, and their first single as a trio. Remarkably, it even went Top 40 in the US "after the early-1990s grunge movement had essentially eliminated their genre from the mainstream," as that Wikipedia article puts it.

So, an eventful single in the band's history. Not that eventful to listen to though, as it's a pale rewrite of 'Love Action' with anything that was distinctive about that track in favour of a very slick production and some boringly competent singing - even the rough edges that were once the most interesting thing about them have been sanded off. I don't hate this track but only because it provokes no reaction at all beyond recognition.

Also appearing on: Now 1, 8, 13, 31, 32
Available on: Octopus

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