Thursday, September 15, 2005

My '80s Remastered - Hysteria

The Human League faced a daunting challenge in 1984 - how to follow up their chart busting world wide smash Dare. That album is pretty much pop perfection, with a handful of huge hits and a lot of other good tunes - pretty much no filler. In the years following Dare the band grew, adding musicians Jo Callis (one time member of The Rezillos) and Ian Burden. These two brought a new dimension to the band that had prided itself on using only synths to create music - real guitar and bass. The follow up album was called Hysteria. It was no Dare. It has it's moments of greatness - Louise, The Sign and Life On Your Own, but to me it just felt more labored, like they were trying too hard. Of course this is all in retrospect, because at the time I though it was the tits. Last week Caroline Records reissued it, remastered and expanded, and of course I had to have it. Johnny over at Lost In The '80s will tell you that it's lacking the songs from the Fascination EP - stuff that's never been on CD before - and he's right. But I'll get over it. In the meantime enjoy this version of James Brown's Rock Me Again And Again And Again And Again And Again And Again (Six Times). Sure, it doesn't hold a candle to the original, and a lot of people will say that it really sucks, but I have always dug it - something about Phil's yelling and straining to hit the notes gets me every time. I mentioned The Sign as another of my fave moments, and one of the bonus tracks is the remix - The Sign (Extended Version). I dig the chunky bass, the cool scratchy guitar bits and the prototypical League melody, as well as the vocal interplay with Phil and the girls. Sure, none of it is as good as Love Action or Don't You Want Me, but it remains dear to my heart.

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