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4.6 out of 5 stars28
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Thirty years old. Yep, let me say that again, this is thirty years old. VIrgin have finally given us a "deluxe" version of one of the best albums of the 80s. The whole thing comes in a nice box with the two CDs in replica vinyl sleeves for Dare and Fascination. Also included are a thin booklet with lyrics, etc and replica prints of the Dare-era singles, which is a nice touch.

Before I tell you what I think of the Deluxe edition, here's a quick history lesson; four blokes from Sheffield were (along with the four blokes from Dusseldorf) your reviewers' heroes. The Human League MK1 were tremendous, a band who were "The Untouchables" (pun intended) in their originality and their craft.

I saw them once at Tiffany's in Coventry as a fourteen year old with my mate. A great night. Several years later we saw them on the Dare tour at Coventry Theatre, though for some reason Susanne stormed off half way through a song. Not sure why. I remember a great version of Destination Venus that night.

I was pretty devastated as a 15 year old when they split up, with Philip and Adrian keeping the name and releasing the fantastic "Boys and Girls".

Then, something special happened. Apparently (in other words, just what I've heard) they'd listened to Pete Shelley's fantastic "Homosapien" and decided that Martin Rushent was their man. The rest is history, of course. Out popped the first single from the partnership "The Sound Of The Crowd" and the League never looked back; they were established. They've had their ups and downs over the years and released albums of various quality, but really they have never equalled or bettered Dare.

The album has a single at more or less every turn, obviously "Love Action", "Open Your Heart", "Don't You Want Me" and "...Crowd" WERE singles, but "Things That Dreams Are Made Of", "Do Or Die" and "Darkness" could easily have graced a seven inch piece of plastic. Only really "I Am The Law" lets the side down, but that's being cruel. Ok, so that Linn can grate sometimes, but really that's being overly critical. This album is a masterpiece, easily up there with "Trans Europe Express" and other giants of the electronic medium.

Now onto the meat of the deluxe edition, the music. Now, I'm the kind of bloke who can't really tell if stuff has been remastered or not and this album sounds no different to the 2003 Dare/Love and Dancing: 21st Anniversary Edition to me, but there you go.

Most of us are probably interested in the extras and it's nice to get the extended versions of "Sound Of The Crowd", "Don't You Want Me", etc along with the superb instrumental of "Open Your Heart/Non Stop". However, there are some glaring omission - where's the excellent "Do Or Die" dub mix that appeared on the "Methods Of Dance" LP? Or the vocal version of "Hard Times"? And why include "I Love You Too Much"? Maybe, I'm being picky but not including that great dub mix is such a shame. It seems odd not to include the 7" version of "Fascination" too.

This is an album that admittedly I don't play very often any more so it was a nice surprise to hear those tracks again. I was surprised how well they have stood the test of time, particularly the album tracks such as "Darkness" and "Seconds". With the extras, it was nice to hear "You Remind Me Of Gold" again. I'd forgotten just how good that track was, along with the instrumental version.

Anyone remember the band playing "Do or Die" live on the Saturday night "adult" version of Tiswas? Can't remember the name of the programme, but it was a great performance. I seem to recall the superb Fashion were on that once too.

Obviously, I'm fairly pleased with this deluxe edition; the packaging and detail are nice, but the whole thing is tempered for me by the omission of one of their best tracks. Still, stick it on and rejoice at Phil and Adrian at the top of their game.

Whilst I still prefer the original Fab Four material rather than the post-split albums, this is a million times better than any album they have released since. There have been some highlights obviously on each album, but really the quality of Dare has never been bettered or even equalled on Hysteria, Crash, Romantic, etc.

I wonder if those albums will ever get the Deluxe treatment? Virgin, can we have some China Crisis deluxe editions now, please?
55 comments11 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 June 2012
Dare is unquestionably one of the pivotal albums of the early 80s, and I even have the original deluxe cassette version somewhere as it was the first album I bought! I also have the 2002 Anniversary issue on CD so any comparisons will be made with that later on. Most of the music here is great and pure 5-star territory, but the review is for the item you buy....

Another reissue, with only one unreleased track (the alternative/early mix of DYWM), is this really worth it? In one way, definitely yes, the box and inserts are very nicely done, and you get all the vinyl only/MP3 extras from Fascination/Mirror Man era (well, almost, Hard Times vocal doesn't get included, though the arguably better dub/instr mix does). On paper this looks great, and the box comes stickered with "2012 Remaster..." so we can assume it's going to have been done with the due care deserved, as this is surely the last re-release of this album we'll see!

I could not find the name of the remastering engineer anywhere, but as some fonts used are very small maybe someone else will. I also recall some recent listings stating the album itself is taken from the 2002 Remaster, but the sticker on the box implies a revamp for 2012, as did the inserts on the pre-release promo copies. For those who dread very loud remasters/transfers this is unlikely to be the reissue you were hoping for though:

1) Everything is very loud - however disc 2 and the album proper seem to survive ok (I listened through decent headphones)
2) The left-hand drop-out on the first line second verse Open Your Heart "And So You..." is still there, but seems to have been looked at. It's a lot less noticable than on my 2002 CD, so nice to see someone may have tried to clean it up a bit!
3) All tracks have been set to similar (albeit very loud) volume levels on both discs, so you don't have to keep adjusting when it comes to bonus material. The compilers have done a good job here.
4) Through headphones the intro beats, and breaks, in Sound Of The Crowd 12" sound awful! There are also some parts of the Instrumental of the same track that don't sound clean. Initially I thought it was a manufacturing fault on my copy, but as all the surrounding tracks, and the album version, are fine it appears this may be down to the source material used. At times the extra noises make it sound like these two tracks are taken from some mis-tracking 12" vinyl, or a degraded master. The beats on the RHS are accompanied by some rather nasty echoes, and to a lesser degree on the LHS, which for me spoilt the intro and other breaks totally. This seems inexcusable as they delayed this release so many times, and the sound on "Original Remixes" compilation, whilst not remastered, is far cleaner (though there is a bit of extra noise in the intro, but it's much quieter). The 12" version also appeared on an early 80s/12" compilation, so something odd appears to have happened on this release. However, once these tracks get going the sound is ok, as the beats are deep in the mix. It'll be interesting to see if any other reviewers have the same problem on their copies.

The track order on CD2 is a little unusual as it doesn't follow the vinyl EP, but tracks have been shuffled so you don't get two versions of the same song side by side, and it does include the great You Remind Me Of Gold instr/dub!

I found the liner notes a little disappointing, and the lyrics almost unreadable due to font size/colours, which seems a shame.

Sorry guys, I love this album, and nearly everything the various HL incarnations have done, but this reissue is not quite what it should've been. Still worth the entry price though.
77 comments25 of 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Some albums, it seems, are destined never to get the re-issue treatment they deserve and "Dare", thus far, is one such record. Partially, this may be down to luck as certain record labels are better at the retrospective treatment than others, Polygram being about the best. Not that this is a bad effort mind (I have given the release 5 stars after all), but there are just a few, mainly presentational issues, that leave me thinking it could have been done slightly better.

THE PRESENTATION: This edition is two CDs in a matte finish card box which are themselves housed in card inner sleeves. Also contained within the package are six 5"x5" cards, replicating the sleeves of the corresponding singles from the period (nice!) and a booklet. It is a shame that the record label, presumably for reasons of cost, did not see fit to make the packaging high gloss - as was the original LP cover. This is especially so since, we are told in the sleevenotes, Phil Oakey insisted that Virgin dispose of several thousand record sleeves before the album was first released because their "gloss" was of insufficient quality(!) It would therefore have been good if the "Virgin Deluxe" sheen of the original could have been retained. So good a quality of finish was the first vinyl issue that you could smell it (I miss that physical aspect in these days of downloads). Note to the record companies - if you're going to produce a hard copy you may as well do it the highest standard and charge a little bit more as dudes like me will always buy it. Anyway, overall the presentational standard of the previous 2002 hardback book-style deluxe issue was probably better (or at least more in keeping with the overall design aesthetic) than this. Also, as previous reviewer M B Wilson has commented, there is a disappointing lack of information given in the booklet. That said - this is still a nice-looking set for the money.

THE REMASTER: "Dare", like its only very marginally superior and also classic counterpart (also released in 1981), Computer World was one of those albums whose flaws were all too clearly exposed by the CD format. The aforementioned 2002 re-master did little to correct that problem. Nevertheless, when this 2012 release was first announced it was billed as the 2002 re-master plus extra tracks. Subsequently, its release date having been put back several months, the CD is NOW stickered "2012 Remaster". This is intriguing since the producer Martin Rushent was rumoured to have been working on a remaster around the time of his death. However (and again, as another reviewer has pointed out) there is no mention of who is responsible for the mastering. Whoever it was hasn't done a bad job though. To my ears it has been given a smoother, though perhaps less well defined, sound that in the process removes some of the technical glitches audible on the previous edition.

THE ORIGINAL LP: Well, as I say one of the all-time classics - whether by accident or design this was light years ahead of its time, with only Kraftwerk and Throbbing Gristle maybe a par or two sec ahead. Compare "Dare" to Movement (Collector'S Edition) (yet another 1981 release) and see what I mean. New Order were, of course, pioneers, but in 1981 they had some catching up to do on the strength of this. "Dare" predicted bedroom techno: "Get Carter" is played on the flute/high octave setting of Casio's "pocket" VL-1 (non-polyphonic) keyboard - that is the only instrument on this track! Not even Richie Hawtin is that minimalist. "Do Or Die" is the "club" track, predating "Blue Monday" by two years. It's difficult to guess what the band's influences might have been around this time - I'm guessing mainly Giorgio Moroder and Cabaret Voltaire (I don't hear much Kraftwerk on this) - but the Human League managed to take what was at the time an extreme form of music and turn it into pop. Perhaps the LP should have been called "Alchemy"

THE BONUS TRACKS: Not bad - whilst (and this applies as much to the Human League as anyone else), pre-Blue Monday it was generally the 7", rather than the 12" version of a song that was considered to be the definitive one, HL's extended versions stand up OK if a little uninspiring. They wisely avoided dub mixes (such 12" mixes have, for me, ruined many a deluxe re-issue by otherwise great artists in the past). The omission of the companion proto-remix album "Love and Dancing" (which WAS included with the previous deluxe edition) is perhaps surprising but then again "Love and Dancing" was intended to stand as an LP in its own right AND some of the material on that record is still included here.

IN CONCLUSION: Overall this is probably the best CD edition of "Dare" yet to be released. Newcomers to the album may see the extra tracks as a bit unnecessary but the improvement in sound quality over the previous editions, coupled with decent-ish packaging makes this, for my money, the one to buy. 4.5/5.
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on 25 September 2012
Well first the plusses:
The presentation of this edition of "Dare" is stunning. It comes in a nice cardboard box and has replica postcards of the original singles picture covers.
The bonus tracks include the 12" instrumental version of "Open Your Heart/Non-Stop, which to my knowledge has never previously been released on CD.

The minuses:
The startling omission of the classic 12" 'A' side of "Hard Times/Love Action" (the one that segues from "Hard Times" into the vocal version of "Love Action"). Completists may be interested to know that this version is thankfully included on the Various Artists compilation "12"/80s Electro:pop".
The Alternative version of "Don't You Want Me" has a (mistakenly?) double tracked, out of time vocal on Susan's verse, which sounds terrible and ruins the whole song.
Audiophiles should be wary of this 2012 remaster of "Dare". Loudness and bass seem to have been given priority here. Treble is poor, particularly on "Love Action" where the integral tinkly sound is barely audible. My advice to anyone who wants to hear this album the way it was meant to be heard is to buy "Dare/Love And Dancing: 21st Anniversary Edition" instead. That version, remastered by Simon Heyworth, uses transfers from the original master tapes using Direct Stream Digital technology to retain the integrity of the original.
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on 6 April 2013
I have read lots posts on concerns about the sound of this collection. I think both discs sound great. I already have the DARE/LOVE & DANCING version but picked this up for the Fascination EP and some of the bonus tracks. The collection still gets 5 Stars. Cool box with some cardboard sleeves inside. The * comes into play on my 5 star review because, I would have liked to have seen Virgin put out the Fascination EP with the tracks in the order as they appeared on the original EP; with the bonus stuff not on the original EP at the end. Not a big deal, but for people that had the original vinyl or cassette when it came out- that's how our brains remember it and it would be fun to revisit this the way we remembered the songs appearing. I also noticed that the "Hard times" that appeared on the oroginal EP is not on this CD. I have it on a Love Action 3", and I believe it is on the rarities CD that came out a few years ago, but would have loved to see it on this Fascination EP. The "Fascination" disc comes in its own sleeve as if it is the original Fascination EP, but it is not. All in all a great collection to have- and it is recommended for old fans and a good starting point for new fans. I became a fan when the fascination EP came out and went backwards to DARE, and then followed the band's releases up to Octopus.
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on 5 March 2014
I loved this band from when they released Reproduction. This iconic album [DARE] was a treasure in it's self when released. But with this nicely packaged 2 disc box set, I not only get to hear an album that I ain't heard for donkey's but also To get to rediscover the long lost and forgotten 12 inch singles. They're all hear, versions I had long forgotten about until now. The booklet is good, with a nostalgic reminder of the vinyl version towards the rear and it also comes with 6 cards which replicate the cover sleeves of their single releases. Thank you Amazon, thank you Virgin, thank you THL! Well put together and well presented.
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on 8 June 2012
When I saw this re-issue of Dare was going to be released i was pleased to see so many remixes included.The one track my collection was missing was the 12 inch mix of Open Your Heart/Non-stop, the b side to the original 1981 12 inch single. It's great to find it included here along with all the other 12 inchers from the Dare period.Some nice touches to mention: the original white record label for the label side of the Dare cd,6 colour postcards of the original 12" covers and the Fascination remix album with Mirror Man and Keep Feeling Fascination extended mixes!! All housed in a lovely presentation box. I found no real issues with the sound quality as Dare is the 2002 remaster,only the remixes have been remastered in 2012, and they sound perfectly ok.A great addition to any Human League fans collection.
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on 27 September 2013
I missed this album when it came out ('81?), coming to it half a year late (the 7" and 12" of Fascination hooked me in!). But what a collection of hit songs it turned out to be, although my favourite, Darkness, never got a single release..that song is still the best on here. Presumably 'cos it didn't get a release, it never got an instrumental on 'Fascination' - but that disc has been made even more essential by the inclusion of those 'Red' and 'Blue' extended 12" mixes! Love Action, anyone? Open Your Heart - You Remind Me Of Gold, you know!? ;-) Weren't the League just amazing! Still are...there really has been no movement in music to rival those days, has there? RnB, hip-hop, grunge, what-have-you, who will remember that stuff in 30 years time, eh?
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on 16 July 2012
I've been waiting for an expanded version of Dare ever since the trend for extra tracks on CDs started. There was always Love and Dancing but that contains cut down versions of certain tracks and stands up in its own right. I am so pleased to now have the full versions of The Sound of the Crowd, Open Your Heart, Love Action and Don't You Want Me. The addition of the tracks from Mirror Man and Fascination makes the release almost perfect, and the packaging is great, including several cards of artwork for the original 12" releases. The only thing missing in my opinion is the full instrumental mix of Do or Die originally released on a Virgin compilation LP at the time, the name of which escapes me!
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on 14 July 2014
Anyone who has been trying to get hold of the fascination EP look no further as this album set comes with it.
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