Friday, October 7, 2011
Credo by The Human League
After I had reviewed the Le Kid album last month, I was thinking about what other albums I bought this year that I liked. And I remembered getting The Human League's new album Credo before I started this blog. I've been listening to Credo a lot recently, and I love the album. It just became available in the US in August, so I thought I'd review it.
In case you don't remember the Human League, you should first take one of your hands and slap your other hand and say "Shame on me!"
The Human League are electronic music pioneers. They made songs and albums with computers and keyboards before it was hip. Granted, they have used guitars and even dabbled in R&B, but the essence of the band is with the keyboards. The group is made up of Phil Oakey, Susan Sulley and Joanne Catherall. Over the years, there have been many band members, but the line up of the three singers are what most people identify with.
From left to right: Joanne, Phil and Susan
You most definitely should know the Human League from their hits in the 80s like "Don't You Want Me", "Love Action", "(Keep Feeling) Fascination", "Mirror Man", "The Lebanon" and "Human".
The 90s weren't as commercially successful as the 80s, but they still had some great songs like "Heart Like A Wheel", "Tell Me When", "One Man In My Heart" and "Filling Up With Heaven".
In 2001, they came back with an amazing album called "Secrets" with the fabulous lead single "All I Ever Wanted".
Unfortunately, the band stopped making music and only focused on touring for the next decade. Even though they toured regularly, they didn't make new music.
At the end of 2009, fans heard that there was new music being made. Unfortunately, it would take until November of 2010 for the new single to drop. It was called "Night People."
To be quite honest, I wasn't sure what to think of it when I first heard it. It was weird. However, it became sort of an ear worm that I would get stuck in my head. It's a song that has a lot of elements, even at times different melodies. It's a song that I think most people wouldn't like. But the more I listened, the more I loved it. At the time, we also had a foreign exchange student from Germany who liked the song quite a bit. Even our 11-year old son loves it.
A huge let down with the release of "Night People" was that the Human League were not in the video. Fans felt cheated. Yes, we know that band members aren't as young as they used to be. But fans love Phil, Susan and Joanne. I would have been nice had they been in the video.
The video for "Night People"
The second single was released in March. "Never Let Me Go" is amazing pop affair, and what is most interesting to me is that both Susan and Joanne take the lead on this. Susan has definitely taken more of a lead on vocals in the past. Joanne hasn't done as much. In this song, Susan sings the verses and Joanne sings the bridges. Phil chimes in quite often throughout the song. I think it is brilliant. It is my favourite song on the album.
Thankfully, the video features Phil, Susan and Joanne with a whole bunch of other people and … an octopus, which was the name of their 1995 album. I like the video. I think Joanne's bangs are bit too fierce. But they are lovely!
The video for "Never Let Me Go"
The second single in Germany was "Egomaniac." It's a fun little song with Phil on lead vocals. It has a catchy little chorus, too.
No video was made for "Egomaniac." However, the band did perform the song on German TV.
A German TV performance of "Egomaniac"
The current single is called "Sky." Unfortunately, no video was commissioned for it. The song is a story song, telling the tale of how he met a girl named "Sky." I love it.
On the album, "Sky" and the next song "Into The Night" blend together like one long song. "Into The Night" has music that always reminds me of the movie "Willie Wonka and Chocolate Factory", not to be confused by the less magical remake with Johnny Depp.
Fan-made video for "Sky"
Fan-made video for "Into The Night"
Another stand out track on the album is called "Electric Shock." The band played this at a few gigs before the album was released and fans we able to hear the live version on YouTube. I thought it would be the second single. A great track.
The first live performance of "Electric Shock"
The songs "Single Minded" and "Get Together" are fun little pop songs. The chorus to "Single Minded" is easy to remember. I find that I can't remember the tune to "Get Together" but every time I hear it, I like it.
Hear "Get Together"
I guess the one song I don't really like on the album is called "Privilege" as it is dark and heavy. The girls don't have much of a strong part, but when they chime in it sort lift it up a bit. Having said that, I don't completely dislike the song. It's just not one of my favourites.
"Breaking The Chains" is a song that I absolutely love. I find it so uplifting for some reason.
Hear "Breaking The Chains"
The album closes with a wonky track called "When The Stars Start To Shine." At first I wasn't sure what to think of it, as it sort of sounds like two songs in one. It is indeed wonky, but I like it. I like it a lot.
Hear "When The Stars Start To Shine"
All in all, this is a great album. It's got plenty of hooks, bleeps and lyrics to remind you of their past, yet it sounds very modern. They don't sound like what's popular. And that is precisely what I love about them. I hope it isn't another 10 years for their next album.
Credo is available on iTunes and Amazon.