This album blazed a trail in the Eighties for future bands and set the blueprint for the era. The minimalist but striking keyboards and atmospheric vocals are imposing, not least the moody 'Get Carter'.
This album still stands up today and will stand the test of time.
Love and Dancing was an interesting album but in truth, Dare is best listened to as a stand-alone piece.
When it was released 1st time around, Dare was a huge seller, the album that made The Human League. The pity is they never followed it up with anything of note. The occasional Pop classic like Mirror Man, or Fascination, but too often bland music that never really caught the imagination. Not here though, track after track, the League stomp out a pop classic, one that in its first incarnation sold over 6 million copies, spawned a classic number one in the UK with Dont You Want Me, and generally wrote this band from Sheffield into the vaults of history. Twenty one years later this music does sound a little empty and dated, but thats fine with me. I like my music to have that lived in feeling. It opens with "The Things That Dreams Are Made Of" which opens with a thumping beat, tearing synths and Oakey spouting his usual lyrical guff. "Takes time to see the wonders of the world" he says, by the end of this track you feel you just have. Open your heart, Love Action, Sound of the Crowd were all UK singles and are great tracks in themselves. Do or Die was good enough to be a single, just proving what a great pop album it was in its day. Seconds is a wonderful song, I am the Law haunts you as does its preceding track Get Carter. Top Drawer stuff from one of the leaders of the early eighties. The Love and Dancing addition is really just a remix/instrumental album, not really of great note compared to Dare, but nice to listen to once in a while. This album belongs in any collection, even if its just for the opening track!
This reissue combines the original 'Dare' album with the 'Love and Dancing' instrumental remix album, all on one CD. As such, and at the price sold, it represents an excellent bargain. My only criticism is of the packaging. The album comes in a hardback 'book' style package that looks and feels nice from the outside, but the content and presentation inside is somewhat scrappy in my opinion. The photographs are not reproduced well, and the text, which includes the lyrics of the songs, credits, plus a retrospective comment by Phil Oakey, is not stylishly presented. It doesn't really bother me because I bought the album in order to listen to the music on it, not pore over the sleeve notes, but nevertheless it spoils this resissue. Perhaps there will be a more 'de luxe' 30th anniversary remastered edition to come.
The Human League are going under a bit of a renaissance of late, despite the terrible advert that quotes Don't You Want Me?; their sound is evident in the electroclash scene (see Futurism) and the sound of Love Action is found not only in George Michael's oblique protest single Shoot the Dog , but Kylie Minogue's classic Can't Get You Out of My Head. Added to that the excellent album they released last year and we can almost forgive atrocities like Crash! and the terrible album from 1990 which had Soundtrack for a Generation on it. Here we have Human League's finest moment reissued- Dare! extends on the dark early sound of the League- tracks like Do Or Die, I am the Law and Seconds are as SF as JG Ballard or tracks like Life Kills and Circus of Death (and Seconds refers to the great John Frankenheimer film). But following the departure of Ware and Marsh to BEF/Heaven 17 (see the as great Penthouse & Pavement), Oakey drafted in producer Martin Rushent and singers/dancers Joanne Catherell and Suzanne Sulley. Here we could have a kind of futurist Abba, add in a little Chic and Moroder and we would have one of the most ambitious and succesful pop albums of all time (which operated in a realm populated by similarly ambitious albums like New Gold Dream, The lexicon of Love, Tin Drum, Sulk, Songs to Remember, A secret Wish, Non-Stop erotic Cabaret). The cover of the theme to Get Carter is as good as the later version by Stereolab; while singles Sound of the Crowd, Open Your Heart, Love Action and Don't You Want Me? are as fine as pop singles can be (and only Timbaland and the Neptunes are making singles as consistent as this these days...). The greatest song is These are the Things That Dreams Are Made Of- which moves in just a few minutes from the synth familiar to Reproduction/Travelogue fans to the greatest pop song of all time, namechecking The Ramones and Chic's Good Times... As a bonus to this key album, you get Love & Dancing from the League Unlimited Orchestra- where Rushent overhauls the songs of Dare and Hard Times into lush extended instrumental versions. This as great as Moroder's E=Mc2 or Kraftwerk's Trans Europe Express. Plus, it's quite revolutionary- excepting reggae/dub artists and Spandau Ballet, there were few bands making records suited to clubbing like this. Dare! is one of THE albums of the 1980's, it has dated wonderfully and this reissue with Love & Dancing make this one of the best reissues of recent years. Roll on new versions of Reproduction and Travelogue, don't bother with Hysteria or Crash though!
I just bought this after not hearing it for years as only had it on vinyl. The quality of the production is great. It's great to hear songs like Seconds and The Things That Dreams Are Made Of again. The remixes sound a little dated but the Don't You Want Me remix stands out. Well worth it.
Words cannot give justice to this CD which is one of the best albums you will ever be lucky enough buy. The Human League's core members Phil Oakey, Suzanne Sulley and Joanne Catherall still tour and 20 years on they sound as fresh and vibrant as they do on this CD. Put it on your player and you will be humming the tunes for weeks afterwards. I cannot rate this album highly enough and it is a must for anyone who has a pulse.