Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Human League 'Human'

Chart Peak: 8
Charted at No. 19 on 19th August, made No. 8 on 2nd September becoming the group's 11th Top 20 hit in Britain.
Another Jam & Lewis production, though in this case it was also written entirely by the producers with no input from the group themselves, whereas Janet Jackson had contributed to her own single. Although this was recorded immediately after the Jackson album (and therefore before it had been success) the American duo had already made a bit of name for themselves with the likes of SOS Band and Alexander O'Neal so it's obvious why the League would have wanted to work with them. In practice, though, they apparently fell out in the studio, with the group walking out before the production was even finished and largely disowning it. Well, at least until this got to Number One in America anyway.

In the previous post I mentioned the contrast between the heavily programmed production and a human vocal, and whilst this is already an inferior song it could have worked fairly well in a similar production. The trouble is that, as Spin magazine noted at the time, the Human League don't really do that, they're more about emotional detachment and self-conscious straightfacedness. When Phil Oakey croons, "I'm only human," you don't totally believe him. It doesn't help that Joanne Catherall can't decide what accent to use for her brief spoken section either. They certainly made worse records than this but it's a right-place-right-time sort of hit.

Also appearing on: Now 1, 13, 30, 31, 32
Available on: The Best Of

1 comment:

  1. The spoken section comes across very detached. I didn't like it at the time but it grew on me after hearing it again on their 1988 Greatest Hits album.