100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s #18 The Human League – Love Action (I Believe In Love)

Released : 1981

1981 was the decade’s most turbulent year, gut punched in the middle by a series of riots across the nation’s cities as racism, high unemployment and poverty led to an eruption of violence lasting several weeks.

And yet watching Top of The Pops, Britain’s weekly flagship music entertainment program, you’d have been hard pressed to realise there was much wrong in the country at all; the game was still pretty much the game, punk’s anger still dissipating with every new movement launched in it’s wake.

Music snobs will tell you that the original Human League were far more interesting, the incarnation which produced Being Boiled and Empire State Human and constituted something much more arty and purist satisfying. The second version however, formed when singer Phil Oakey recruited a pair of teenage girls to dance and sing occasional backing vocals, went on to sell over 2 million copies of Dare, their synth pop opus which hooked up ABBA with both Motown and Kraftwerk, dragging the production of electronic music away from raincoated sociopaths in the process.

If so much of Dare was perfection and Don’t You Want Me the intended centrepiece by which it’s chiefly remembered, Love Action (I Believe In Love) was still it’s more approachable, intimate superior. This was due to Oakey confiding with listeners, hamming it up whilst the elastic, synthetic Nile Rodgers on bass provided the disco buzz, as strangely futuristic lyrics reminded us that even if we’d put men on the moon, we could still all be brought to our knees by Cupid’s arrow. For a few minutes the burning cars and Molotov cocktails were just things happening in another world.

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