HOLIDAY 80

Back in 1980, this was the review penned in Sounds which was then one of the main weekly music UK papers:-

Too much, too late, but too good to be missed. Eighteen months ago The Human League stood on the brink of altering the course of British pop music. Their humour and conviction combined to create an aura of (until then) unknown commercial excitement. Had the Sheffield funsters swallowed their hip pride and attacked the singles charts, they would have created a devastating impact on the British pop music(k) scene.

But as always seems to happen to the originals, they failed because of their own foolish move towards dignity and ‘below ground’ obscurity. They stood back for a moment allowing the empty and dull Gary Numan to ruin their market with his one and only flash of excellence. As soon as ‘Are Friends Electric’ hit that number one spot it became clear that The Human League had lost the gamble. And the stakes were high.

So, now in the midst of ska silliness, the finest electronic band of all time finally release the goods. A double single that clearly defines to all four angles of synthesised madness. The soft beauty of ‘Marianne’, the weirdness of ‘Dance Vision’, the perfect semi-harsh statements of ‘Being Boiled’ (new version) and finally the absurd pap-poppity of Gary Glitters ‘Rock And Roll’ and Iggy’s ‘Nightclubbing’. To be taken in large doses. To be played to life.

Nobody then could have predicted that within 12 months, The Human League would be the band to redefine British music in a way that no-one else had done since the era of The Beatles as synthesisers replaced guitars as the instrument of choice on the attack on the pop charts. Listening to Holiday 80, which is as excellent a release as the Sounds critic indicates, it really is hard to imagine what would unfold in the months ahead:-

mp3 : The Human League – Marianne
mp3 : The Human League – Dancevision
mp3 : The Human League – Being Boiled
mp3 : The Human League – Rock’n’Roll/Nightclubbing

But 37 years ago???? Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

JC

PS : This is an apt posting as I’m off to Lanzarote for a few days with Mrs V.  The rest of the week will be guest postings of a far higher quality than the rubbish that’s been here in recent times.

6 thoughts on “HOLIDAY 80

  1. Yes, enjoy Lanzarote, but don’t put yourself down JC. Small posts are equal in quality to large posts when 1: They are on TNVV and 2: feature The Human League.
    Have a great time.

  2. Ah, the finest 16 minutes of The Human League in an attractive, easy-to-love package! If this was the only thing they ever released, it would still have been massive enough to have made me a foaming-at-the-moouth- cult fan for yes, nearly four decades. I spent most of 1981 obsessively playing “Being Boiled 2” since it was the hardest, daftest cut of Post-Punk synth-funk I’d ever heard. “Marianne” is one of the greatest non-LP B-sides ever, by anyone. Thanks so much for digging up that amazing review from “Sounds.” At least Bowie rated them up front.

    Ironically, they hugely superseded the “empty and dull” Gary Numan [who’s day in the sun was over by then] by the end of 1981 and were the spark that ignited modern synthpop with their last stab at greatness, “Dare.” But modern synthpop is a double edged sword. By that time, making pop music with synthesizers was an established music career gambit being undertaken by people who weren’t necessarily the sort of loony outsiders who’d naturally gravitated to synthesizers ca. 1977-1980. Much to my disappointment.

  3. Reminds me of how great the UK music press’s writing was, and how devastatingly cruel and dismissive.
    37 years!? Time indeed for a holiday — have fun Villains!

  4. Holiday 80 is a perfect bridge between Reproduction and the more “Pop” Travelogue. Marianne is an immense piece of electronic pop.
    I’ve always thought there was a nihilistic commentary on making it big in music built around the release. So much was expected of Human League, yet it was their brains that kept them from competing with the likes of Gazza Numan, who ended up being lauded for “opening the doors” to the new sound of Pop.
    In less than a year’s time, this Human League, Mk.1, would be history as that search for a hit an acceptance would tear the band in two – with “the help” of their manager Bob Last.
    The end result was a chart topping album of some depth, in Dare, from one camp and one which managed a respectable Top 20 placement and kept the HL lineage in tact in the form of Penthouse And Pavement.

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