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The Human League / Dare & Fascination! 2CD deluxe edition

The Human League / Dare & Fascination 2CD reissue

Dare by The Human League resurfaces for another reissue, and whereas the 21st Anniversary re-release in 2002 combined the album with its instrumental remix partner Love And Dancing, this time across two CDs we get Dare and the EP Fascination! with a fair few bonus tracks thrown in for good measure.

The Sheffield band’s 1981 album has long since established its reputation as a synth-pop classic – best known for the transatlantic number one Don’t You Want Me – and it still sounds as fresh, vibrant and essential as it was over 30 years ago. With producer Martin Rushent, The Human League ushered us into an era of vibrant club culture with their pulsing synth constructions and Phil Oakey’s rich booming vocals. Crucially, Dare remained melodic, commercial pop, with your Mum just as likely to be singing along to the likes of Open Your Heart as you were, while you prepared for a Friday night out on the town.

The Human League / Dare & Fascination! EP reissue

The white booklet sits in front of the two CDs, with postcards in the foreground

CD one in this package adds twelve-inch versions of The Sound Of The Crowd, Don’t You Want Me to the standard Dare album, as well as instrumentals of Open Your Heart/Non-Stop and The Sound Of The Crowd. This disc ends with an ‘alternative version’ of Don’t You Want Me which sounds like an early mix of the standard album/seven-inch version.

Fascination! was something of a stop-gap between Dare and the follow-up Hysteria. The six tracks from the EP are all repeated here save for the seven-inch of Hard Times. That track does make an appearance, but only as in instrumental form fused to the instrumental of Love Action (I Believe In Love). The Dub version of  I Love You Too Much is included (in addition to the standard version), having been a 2008 bonus track on the digital version of the Fascination! EP. Total Panic at the end sounds like a dub/instrumental mix of an early version Don’t You Know I Love You (a track which ended up on Hysteria).

The Fascination! EP has so many strong tracks – You Remind Me Of Gold, Mirror Man and (Keep Feeling) Fascination (in both extended and ‘improvisation’ versions) that it ultimately works better with Dare than the Love and Dancing remix release, even if the later obviously shares DNA with the album proper.

The reissue is packaged in a ‘lift off lid’ box – this will be familiar if you have bought any of the Duran Duran, Radiohead or David Bowie reissues in the last few years. Inside are the two CDs in card sleeves, plus a series of postcards with single cover art and a disappointing booklet which lacks any real detail about the tracks and could have been more extensive.

The Human League / Dare & Fascination! EP reissue

This ‘deluxe’ packaging is starting to feel very generic, and we have reservations about these boxes where you have to tip out various bits of content. When a real effort is made with the format, such as the recent glossy Smashing Pumpkins reissues, or the textured, stickered box used for David Bowie’s Live Santa Monica ’72 back in 2008, it works, but for this Dare box there is no spot varnishing, or a gloss finish and ultimately it looks a bit flat and boring.

There is no denying however, that this is the best all-round Dare package released to date. Although it appears something of a hodge-podge of remixes and album/EP tracks, it is, in the end, fairly comprehensive, apart from omitting a few seven-inch versions.

Order Dare/Fascination! by The Human League here

The Human League / Dare & Fascination! EP reissue

 

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8 responses to The Human League / Dare & Fascination! 2CD deluxe edition

  1. Daniel says:

    I think this is very disappointing – only one unreleased track – what a shame.
    Martin Rushent said in an interview ( a few years ago )
    that there are “hundreds of editings” from the several “Love & Dancing”
    remix project. Why are not some of them here on the 2nd CD. For example: PWL Hit Factory started 2010 with some of ther 80’s acts digital releases at I-tunes. So the fan can purchase instrumental versions, alternate mixes
    and backing vocal versions of single and album tracks.
    That is really satisfying! Is there a chance to ask Human League
    or the management
    to decide this way to give the fans the massive back catalogue
    of “Love & Dancing” mixes ?
    Am I the only one who is interested in those things ?

  2. Bigarbel says:

    I was hoping that some if the work Martin Rushent was doing on remaking/mixing the album before he died would have featured. Not sure if anything was completed or is in a listenable state but it definitely would be a much better and more valuable reissue than this one, which is really just more of the same that was already found on other releases.

  3. Ron says:

    I finally bought it over the weekend and the mixes are just a bit too much for me. The quality is very good and I like the packaging, but all these mixes are just ‘meh’. The Fascination EP bothers me since they suffled too much with the tracklisting. Leaving a track off and re-suffling the rest is not done in my opinion.
    Still I am happy I have added it to the collection :)

  4. Ian Harris says:

    It’s a terrific set loved the booklet(s) and the sound is superb.

    Just been very impressed with the 6 disc version of Tears For Fears’ Songs From The Big Chair. This is the one album that I still wish was done ‘properly’ with all related mixes, b-sides, edits in one place. It’s been through so many half-hearted reissues, a multi-disc box like the TFF one would be very welcome. I’d even extend it slightly backwards to include Boys And Girls / Tom Baker (as with the inclusion of The Way You Are on Songs…). I had a bootleg once with early versions of both tracks and for a Human League obsessive like me it was a fascinating listen building up from basic instrumentals to the addition of vocals.
    Leavnig aside any unreleased demos / alternative versions you should add:

    Boys And Girls
    Tom Baker
    The Sound Of The Crowd (7″ Mix)
    The Sound Of The Crowd (Add Your Voice)
    The Sound Of The Crowd (Complete 12″ Mix)
    Love Action (7″ mix)
    Hard Times (7″ mix)
    Hard Times / Love Action (segued 12″ mix)
    Hard Times / Love Action (segued instrumental 12″ mix)
    Open Your Heart / Non-Stop (segued 12″ mix)
    Open Your Heart / Non Stop (segued instrumental 12″ mix)
    Non-Stop
    Don’t You Want Me (12″ Extended Dance Mix)
    Don’t You Want Me (Video version with extra chorus and alternative ending)
    Do Or Die (Dub) (longer version from Methods Of Dance compilation)

    Then add Love & Dancing, but this would duplicate the Hard Times / Love Action instrumental medley.

    It was a shame the SACD version of Dare didn’t include a 5.1 mix.

  5. Trash says:

    Hi Paul –

    Just wondering if you have any info on a forthcoming HL anthology/retrospective called:

    The Human League – A very British synthesiser group

    Seen it listed on Amazon (UK) but no information has been given. I’ve seem a rumour that it might include a couple of CDs and a DVD…

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