Tag Archives: Human League

Review 17: Waitress in a cocktail bar


The Human League
Nominated by John Bergman

The Human League were my first taste of glamour. I remember watching Don’t You Want Me aged 11, and thinking the women singers were just so cool. Fascinatingly, frighteningly cool.

That waitress in a cocktail bar knew she’d find ‘a much better place, either with or without you.’ So dismissive! So brave! Being ready to do without one of those ‘men’. But so dangerous… ‘You’d better change it back or we will both be sorry,’ (sounds a bit childish now). A brilliant psycho-drama for a pre-teen to get stuck into.

Phil Oakey was a bit ‘fanciable’ too, though I remember being unsettled by his fringe. I was a strange child.

It is deceptively simple music. It sounds sparse and simple to pick out on a keyboard. A few synths, a drum track.  But the effect is impressive. Oakey’s voice creates the drama and tells the story. Easy when you know how.

There are deserving hits on this album – Open your Heart, Love Action, Don’t you Want Me – and the other tracks are interesting too. I am the Law and Seconds stand out.

And it’s got another one of my very, very best lines, in Open you Heart. 

‘But if you can’t stand the test, you know your worst is better than their best.’

And you can catch them at the Hammersmith Apollo on 6 December! Phil still looks fanciable, and better without the fringe I reckon.

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