Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Maybe for you, as well as me, 1984 was a pretty great year for music. If you were listening to the same stuff that I was. It was really like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet joint. The list of what album you were going to buy was endless. It was exciting, new and fresh. The synthesizer ruled the pop music world. I know you had a local record store that you went to. And I know the store had a name with the words "blankety blank Records and Tapes." Mine was "Numbers Records & Tapes" located in Jackson Heights. Last time I was in Jackson Heights, maybe a year ago, the shop was still open. I had gone in but something felt wrong. The records were gone and my record buying pal was not with me.


There were some artists who were very well known for using only synthesizers and drum machines as their only instruments. And some wanted to get away from that. One of them was The Human League. Though Hysteria was recorded using a lot of synths and drum machines, they did incorporate guitars and live bass for the first time. It was an unexpected surprise to me. Remember the days when you had to buy the album to know what it sounded like?

So last weekend I put on my headphones, lied down and listened to Hysteria all the way through and was really enjoying it. Had 24 years already gone by since the first time I listened to this? That in itself saddened me but at the same time remembered how much happiness it brought me when buying albums those days were so much more pleasurable and they were never so discarded too quickly. We listened to our albums over and over. Some of us made tapes of them so that the vinyl wouldn't be too used up or scratched.

Hysteria didn't do too well. It kinda bombed. But for me, it's one of my favorites alongside Dare. The album was a gate fold. See that's another thing that has gone out - The gate fold album.

The first track, I'm Coming Back is one of the better songs on the album, it hooks you in and want to hear more. The guitars come in during the chorus. I think I had to do a double take on this when I first heard and said to myself "wha...?"

The second track is one I've heard before called I Love You Too Much. If you hunted down Human League albums like I did, then maybe you came across the "Fascination EP" which I found much later on that it was erroneously released. It included a version of I Love You Too Much which I've been trying to find since the beginning age of the CD and have not found it yet. I liked that version better. It was faster, more synthier and louder. Gone, gone, gone... someone find it for me!

Then came Rock Me Again (and again) and I don't remember appreciating this at first listen. It was after a few more listens that it sunk in and got into this part of The League that would take them into that worldwide success of Crash.

Louise - Ah Louise. It's like their version of Soft Cell's Say Hello, Wave Goodbye. I bought the 12" single of this and it came with a lovely poster and a remix of The Sign which I prefered. But now I have to re-buy the Hysteria CD to get this extra track. It never ends. Louise had a great bass track. I listened to this track quite a bit and it was included in many a mixed tape.

The Lebanon - Possibly the only track that Hysteria is known for. I don't know how popular this song became but the radio stations did play this for a while. It had a very smart bass line and lots of guitars. Also, the only pop song ever written about Lebanon, a big plus for me.

Betrayed - This song sounded like it could have been a part of Dare. Good synths, non-dance track. I liked this song a lot.

The Sign - Good pop song and even better in the remix as I mentioned before. Everything will be fine... I saw the sign. Yep.

So Hurt, was O.K. While I was listening to this last weekend, I remembered this not being a favorite. But hearing it again, I was able to go through it with a smile only for nostalgia reasons.
Life On Your Own - Another single. This song I really loved. Loved the synth bass especially towards the end.

Don't You Know I Want You - Is this the sequel to Don't You Want Me? It's a great exit and sums up the album and you can hear a little of Crash in here - a prequel to what's to come from The Human League.


I can't find this in today's pop music. Perhaps it's age and maybe the mirror ball has stopped turning for me. Sometimes an album comes my way and I'll exclaim "this is it!" But it fizzles out too quick. I have blogger friends who write a lot about today's pop music and see how excited they are with some of today's releases. I'm jealous. I don't know what's happened to me these days but I don't find it relative to my life anymore or perhaps it's some sort of phase. I think maybe Goldfrapp has been the best out of them all. My favorite bands still release new albums today, but they don't bring me the same excitement and pleasure they did in their previous efforts. It does excite me in the beginning but then.... whatever. I hear that Grace Jones is about to release something new and I've heard one of the new songs. That excites me, but let's see what happens. Also, Depeche Mode is in the studio for another release. So I'll hope for the best.

What was your definitive 1984 release? For me, it was Depeche Mode's Some Great Reward. Sampling in the mainstream. That album was a goldmine and out shined pretty much everything else I was listening to. Sadly, 1984 was also the last time Visage produced an album and even sadder was that the album was not that good. Beat Boy will only be remembered as the album that gave us the title track and Love Glove.


Yuяi said...

Wow, 1984 was a fantastic year for music. I hadn't realized how many great albums came out that year. Thompson Twins' "Into the Gap", Madonna's "Like a Virgin", Cyndi Lauper's "She's So Unusual", Depeche Mode's "Some Great Reward", U2's "Unforgettable Fire", and the Band Aid single. Great post, and I totally agree that music has become very disposable and too immediate. Back in the day, I would listen to a cassette forever before buying a new one.

V said...

I know, right? And the list goes on and on. If only I was living in London at the time.

Phil said...

Oh my! The League were my absolute favourites at the time and could do now wrong. Even though Hysteria wasn't as sucessful as Dare!, it still did really well here. The singles were all over the radio...

BTW, I have BOTH the tracks you've been hunting. I'll email you.