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Romantic? (1990)


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The Human League
Credo
Biography 2011

The Human League are so credible it’s incredible. In fact, they’re probably more highly regarded in 2011 than they were in 1981 when they released their landmark album Dare!

They’re used to everyone from Madonna to Moby, Pet Shop Boys to Robbie Williams, citing them as an influence. Now the dubstep generation – ... Read more in Amazon's Human League Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Import
  • ASIN: B000092A3F
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,956 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marcin De on 8 July 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's been 4 years since the last proper studio album, Crash, a piece of work, where their popularity underwent a certain metamorphosis. Some estranged fans, seeing the 1986's album's R&B influences and only a handful of the band's original tracks, must have felt the band was finished. While having a US top one hit with "Human" (which was a Top ten hit in the UK), the style changed, Ian Burden and Adrian Wright left following creative disagreements. Phil Oakey was alone with Joanne and Susan, and the band clearly needed a new direction.

Virgin was also hardly interested in the band (although it was the Virgin which made a big mistake with a second single from Crash, which flopped badly), and believed their once most profitable act was over.

Phil joined forces with Russel Dennet and Neil Sutton, and the five-piece band started working on a new album, which for many was a come-back album, although it's been only two years since the band's last release (a Greatest Hits compilation).
The restructured Human League came up with a total of ten tracks which form this album, the title of which casts an ironic eye on the band's past in the New Romantic wave of the 80s.

As for me the album has some great moments, but it also suffers from a lack of strong numbers. The kick-off, the messy Kiss the Future, is somewhat enjoyable, but slightly too weak for an opener. It segues rather clumsily into A Doorway, where we have Susan on vocals. And it is actually one of the better tracks here. Produced by Mark Brydon (who would later form Moloko) it has nice clubby feel and a driving melody. Not a big blockbuster, but fair enough. This song stays in my mind and is enjoyable.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Wilson on 15 May 2009
Format: Audio CD
When I bought the vinyl on release I found it a very mixed bag (even the group have later commented there were too many producers involved)."Heart Like A Wheel" was an ok single, and produced by Mr Rushent ofcourse, but actually not an Oakey song atall so didn't quite cut it. As things had moved on a lot from their early 80s heyday for other groups, the League floundered by trying to produce a less American version of "Crash", with a new line-up but few new ideas. "Soundtrack To A Generation" was the incredibly camp second single, and although the William Orbit 12" mix is very strong, the "Holy Cow" and "Oh Wow" lines didn't stir the listening public, so any third single was shelved ("Kiss The Futrure" made it to a promo career sampler, so there may have been an intention there).

Earlier this month I bought the CD, so I could get rid of my crackly vinyl copy, and was pleasantly surprised at how some of the tracks sound better now, in the context of what the group had been, and what they would then later release (the excellent "Octopus" and credible "Secrets"). Unlike some reviewers I love "Kiss The Future", it's a bit messy in places but could've been remixed successfully, even if on the album it segues extremely poorly into "Rebound" (same producer, Fon Force). The two Susan vocal tracks are ok now, as we all know she's not the best vocalist, but they are quirky and Phil is present enough on "Doorway" to keep the momentum. "Get It Right This Time" (the other Rushent production) still sounds cheesy but a very worthy revamp of the "Mirror Man" style - bright and breezy. There are some other good solid tracks here too, and in retrospect it was probably unfair to expect this would be their "Dare" of the 90's.

The cover artwork is, well, a bit naff, to be honest (looked faded even on a pristine new LP sleeve) but this chapter in the League's history isn't half as bad as it may have seemed at the time!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Silas on 11 Feb 2005
Format: Audio CD
In the 27 year career of The Human League 1990 was a low point. The single "Heart Like A Wheel" , meant to launch the much talked about League comeback, barely charted and "Romantic?" itself was also a commercial flop. It looked like the end of the road for Phil and the girls. Fortunately it wasn't and their true comeback came 5 years later with the release of "Octopus" and the hit single "Tell Me When".
In retrospect though this album is certainly one of their best. Its got some great full on pop songs with "Heart Like A Wheel" and get It "Right This Time" and some tracks for electro enthusiasts like "The Stars Are Going Out" and "Rebound".
The album also sees Susan-Ann Sully take the lead vocals on "Rebound" and "A Doorway", laying the foundations for 1995's brilliant "One Man In My Heart".
Admittedly there are a few flops, "Kiss The Future" is a disaster and "Lets Get Together Again" is amazingly cheesy.
Nevertheless I would say that this is necessary in any elctro-poppers collection. If you're new to The Human League I would recommend this in conjunction with Travelogue, Dare and Secrets
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album was the end of Human League as far as Virgin Records were concerned. It was an almost total failure, peaking at number 24 in the UK and only delivering the minor hit single Heart Like a Wheel (# 29 in the UK in late 1990). Follow up single Soundtrack to a Generation (actually one of my faves from this album) flopped totally (# 77), causing Virgin to drop HL. The sound if Romantic? is a little dated tis true, but it is still a fantastic album with great songwriting, fab musicianship, loads of singalong choruses and hooks that stick in the brain all day long. Personally, this is in my Top 3 HL albums and I wore my cassette version out with repeated playing, so thought it was time to get the CD and stick it on my iPod. Favourite tracks here are Kiss the Future (rumoured to be an aborted third single - should still have been released as it is so catchy and a great album opener), Heart Like a Wheel, Men Are Dreams, Soundtrack to a Generation and Rebound. Such a shame this album was panned and remains so underrated. Would love to hear HL play more songs from Romantic? in their gigs. If you're an avid fan, it is a must for your collection. If you're new to HL, I highly recommend getting a copy of this album, it's fab!
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