Friday, 24 May 2013

Cassette experiment day 80 - The Human League 'Romantic?'

Here’s an interesting parlour game for you nerdy music types – pick a classic album, choose which three tracks you’d like to drop from it, then choose three tracks from elsewhere in the artist's career that you’d replace them with.
You can play it on your own, or with friends – the latter is much more likely to descend into furious ‘disagreements’ though, so beware.
Go on, give it a shot! Which three tracks would you drop from ‘Abbey Road’? How about three from ‘Hunky Dory’? ‘Born to run’? ‘Sign ‘o’ the times’? ‘Grand Prix’? And which three would you replace them with?
Today I popped The Human League’s 1990 album ‘Romantic?’ into the player and absorbed the first two tracks and thought, uncharitably, ‘there’s not one single track on this album that could hold its head up on ‘Dare’’*. The first track, the clumsily funky ‘Kiss the future’ even chooses, in a low-point in a career capable of veering between the poignant and the clunky to rhyme both ‘uproot ya’ and ‘suit ya’ with the track’s title.
But then, slowly and surely, things improve. Side 1 track 3, ‘Heart like a wheel’ (one of only two produced by Martin Rushent) turns out to be pretty darned good. Side 1 track 4 ‘Men are dreamers’ may very well be one of the group’s best lesser known tunes.
Side 2 track 1, ‘Soundtrack to a generation’, with the infectious ‘Holy Cow, you do it to me now’ chorus is also good, but track 2, ‘Rebound’ is better still and sounds as though it would be much more at home on The League’s before and after cusp albums, ‘Travelogue’ and ‘Dare’.
So all in all a much better album than the first two tracks suggest, and there are three or four here that wouldn’t necessarily be out of place on ‘Dare’.
So, let’s kick off the discussion –
Three tracks to drop from ‘Dare’;
‘Darkness’, ‘Get Carter’, ‘Seconds’
Three tracks to replace them with;
‘Men are dreamers’, ‘Heart like a wheel’, ‘Rebound’
Label – Virgin
Year – 1990
* Is ‘Dare’ the best ever album recorded in Reading?