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4.6 out of 5 stars
Dare!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 25 October 2007
Some sounds are locked away in a particular time in music history, and will forever be a certain year; the sound of 'The Human League' are one such group that will forever be 1981!

Their album 'Dare' plays almost like a 'greatest hits' compilation - it has so many hit singles! The unique sound of those girls with Phil Oakey will always be recognisable and part of pop history. Considering the girls had no formal training (and this was long before the numerous reality and talent shows of today) almost puts the present so-called 'talent' to shame! Even the album material is great here - with tracks like the supreme 'Darkness'.

Back in 1981, 'The Human League' could not go wrong, and whatever they released, they had another hit on their hands!

Five stars!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2000
I had this on vinyl in 1981 and when I obtained a CD player 11 years later this was the first CD I bought. From the opening beats of "Things that dreams are made of" to the fading bars of "Don't you wan't me?" for 45 minutes you are gripped by what simply is one of the greatest discs of all time. Every song has a whistleable quality (or hummable if whistling ain't your thang). The only downside here is that you don't get video with your audio- the band's then trendy hairdo's and dress sense then now makes them look a right bunch of slappers. Ah well can't have everything!
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Aside from 'Thriller' by Michael Jackson, 'Dare!' is probably the album most would cite as the best album of the 1980's...

Not only is it a perfect record from start to finish of fantastic songs, catchy melodies and memorable lyrics, its THE album that really sums up all that the 80's synth pop/electronic music was about. With his distinctive hair style and baritone voice, Phil Oakey was as much of an inspiration to the identity of the youth of his generation as Steve Strange or Boy George. Visage had some awesome songs as did Culture Club but neither ever produced an album as strong all the way through as this. To think that the opening track, 'The Things That Dreams Are Made Of' was and still remains only an album cut is astonishing! It was as sure a No 1 smash as 'Don't You Want Me' then and remains every bit that songs equal today. 'Do Or Die' is another song that could so easily have been a hit and the brilliantly dour, sternly sung, "I Am The Law' has all of the political and emotional impact it had back in 1981. In fact, in our current world of terrorism, horror and sadness I would say the song is even more relevant now than it was back then. That's to say nothing of the equally relevant 'Seconds'!

Then of course there are the 'hits'...

I remember loving 'The Sound Of The Crowd' when it first came out! With its danceable beat and irresistible synth riff It was so much more commercial than anything the League had come out with before and from that moment on I was a convert. 'The beautiful melodies and lyrics on the soaring 'Open Your Heart', the equally glorious 'Love Action (I Believe In Love)' oh, it does not get better than this!

As many here have stated, The Human League never quite reached the dizzy heights of 'Dare!' again but there are a wealth of 'wonderful scattered moments' to be discovered throughout their later discography so it certainly was not all downhill.

Whatever, if you loved the 1980's, had any connection to music in that era or are simply looking to discover what all the fuss is about you MUST own a copy of this album.

Forget any remastering this one is best served as was.
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on 27 July 2011
The Human League have had many member changes over the years and after all this time are still together and performing with only Philip Oakey as the original recognised band member left along with Joanne Cathrall and Susan Ann Sulley to make the current group line-up.

The Human League has sold over 20 million records worldwide and as such have influenced many other electro-syntho-pop acts like Moby. The group has released nine studio albums since 1979, but there was one album above all the others that made their career, the one album they will always be remembered for, the one album that became the hallmark for all others to follow in regards to sound, influence and development, the one album that changed your perception of music forever.

Dare!

It was 1981 (a good year); this was the year where four albums were to help influence my musical tastes (there were others of course later on, but these four were a strong starting point) in the 1980's and beyond: 1] Duran Duran, 2] Time, 3] Dare! and 4] Tonwelle, Tonwelle is one of my personal top 10 albums of all-time. There are other albums and groups which I will not go into here; needless to say by 1981 my musical journey was well underway.

Let's continue, 1981-82, this was the Human League's most successful period in their musical history when they released their third album Dare! Under a new direction from veteran producer Martin Rushent the first single from the album was `The Sound of the Crowd', and reached number 12 in the UK charts. But that was just a taste of better things to come. The next single `Love Action (I Believe in Love)' went to number 3 in the UK charts, the first and second singles were released before the album Dare! and it was because of their success that the album was commissioned by Virgin at the time, to this end once the album was completed a third single was released `Open Your Heart' and did just as well.

Dare! was released in October of 1981 and headed to the top spot-number one in the United Kingdom, and stayed there for four weeks and remained in the charts for 77 weeks between 1981-82 giving the band their triple platinum status. Due to the success of the album a fourth (controversial*) single was released `Don't You Want Me' in December 1981 and went straight to number one; the single became the Human League's biggest hit with over 2 million copies sold worldwide. Dare! was also released in the US and the single `Don't You Want Me' also hit the number one spot in 1982.

* Virgin executive Simon Draper, wanted `Don't You Want Me' to be released as a fourth single but Philip Oakey was against it believing that the song was weak and it could damage the band's success of Dare! but Phil was overruled, and the rest as they say is history.

In 1982 the Human League received the Best British Newcomer award at the annual British Music awards and producer Martin Rushent also gained the Best Producer award for his involvement on Dare!

Now having said all that, let's look at the other songs on the album:

`Things That Dreams Are Made Of'

The electro-drum beat is unmistakable in this song (the band became notorious because they did not use a human drummer, but a computer (tape machine) to record and play synthesizer drum beats) as well as being a slow tempo tune; again we hear the classic almost sterile sound of the early electronic music which became part of the `Romantic Movement' sound (directly or indirectly in various forms according the individual band tastes) in the early 80s.

`Darkness'

An ambient almost Gregorian sound at the beginning of this song with Phil's voice giving an added surreal chant; this song is probable the darkest of all the songs on the album, again we can see how versatile this album is in sound and composition.

`Do Or Die'

This song seems to reflect an anti-government/society, anti-social/system type of awareness on a personal level as an individual, I maybe wrong but that's the impression I get when listening to it. Good musical mid-break within the song which could have developed as an added instrumental to the album all on its own.

`Get Carter'

A simple electro-introduction instrumental to the next song. (Could the title be a reference to the movie and to Michael Cain's character?)

`I Am the Law'

A slow song with Phil's unmistakable voice sounding on occasion lower to reflect a deeper meaning about authority's darker (seedy) side (cover-ups), which is appropriate as this song blends into the next.

`Seconds'

As with the above explanation we see how the law (authority) deals with world events such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy as this song implies. On a subconscious level the distinctive singular repetitive electro-drum beat throughout the song reflecting the bullet sound as it is fired over and over again to enforce the gun shot (or shots) taken on that day in 1963.

All in all this album was ahead of its time, perhaps that's why it was unique and bold in concept, so totally different which is why, Dare! was a hit for the Human League. The album may seem dated now in regards to its music, but one must remember in 1981-82 it was avant-garde in its musical presentation and innovation; that is why, Dare! is considered a classic album, and why the serious collector has a copy in their collection.

The album itself seems to be a mix of many emotions I feel, and one needs to peel back the layers to understand the true meaning the group are trying to express, in events and or situations, possibly about themselves, their experiences or their thoughts of the moment.

On reflection the Human League were to never again have success with any of their future albums of the magnitude of Dare! Over the years they have had a flourishing musical career, but never to the scale during 1981-82, their best period in music as a group. That said the Human League is still around and performing if not for themselves but for the benefit of their fans-who wish to remember a better time when things in the world were so uncomplicated.

Special thanks to Wikipedia for additional information for compiling this review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If you ever have a definitive 80's electro album to use on your desert island, Dare is it !
I first heard it in 1981, but as I was into a different sound then, never gave it too much notice.
Obviously, Don't you want me was a monster track back then, so I really liked that, but it was only when my mate bought the album and I had a chance to hear it through, I thought WOW, I love it !
The ultimate electro album. Period.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2014
This I bought this CD here from Amazon UK in June 2014 -- I'm glad I found it, there are not many copies of this original version of Dare! around.
The sound quality is much clearer less dynamically compressed than the 2003 and 2012 remasters of this album. (I know -- I bought them also a few years back).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2014
The five stars is for the seller who I have purchased from several times and are brilliant. The vinyl record however is possibly the worst modern vinyl release I've heard in terms of the pressing quality. It was very noisy on side b and generally sounds flat, lifeless and totally lo fi. Nothing like the mfsl vinyl of yazoo or yaz upstairs at erics which sounds awsome as modern vinyl should. I have an original copy of dare which blows the new one away in every respect. Luckily the seller refunded me in full.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2006
After not having heard for several years (after having stored my vinyl copy away and switching solely to CDs)I finally got round to buying a copy after my partner heard me singing along to 'Open Your Heart' one day on the radio. Being 16 years younger than me (born in '81) he never had the benefit of growing up to this album and the sounds of the time. Only having ever heard 'Don't You Want Me' I brought the CD for his benefit. On playing, not only does it still sound fanastic but it brought all those memories flooding back in vivid detail (was I the only man in the world who wanted to wear black stilettos after seeing HL on ToTPs?? - how cooooool was Phil O back then??). A fantastic album that will get played to death in our house this summer. Buy it, play it max, dye your hair black, slip on thosee stilettos you always wanted and pose away to one of the best British pop albums ever made - classic!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 December 2012
Captures the Human League between their avant-garde beginnings and their pop future. Kraftwerk inspired minimalist pop classics. This was their peak.
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on 21 May 2011
Dare was the third studio album from this British synthpop band and first released in the UK in 1981, then subsequently in the U.S. in1982. Dare became critically acclaimed and has proved to be a genre-defining album, whose influence can be heard in many areas of contemporary music today. This is one of my all time favourite albums; if only the Human League's other albums could have been as good. A masterpeace
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