The Human League – 1999 Demos

The Human League were in a difficult position in 1999. Long since having passed legendary status, they found themselves without a record company and with relatively little reputation to rely on besides being “the ones who sang Don’t You Want Me Baby.” Now, I don’t know how they leaked, but three demos from what would ultimately become Secrets (2001) are floating around. They offer an interesting insight into the band’s recording process.

The set opens with The Snake, which is not dissimilar to the exceptional final album version. There’s a certain rawness, and some of the edges were smoothed off for the final release, but otherwise it all sounds pretty familiar. It’s even quite fun as an eighties-style extended version.

The second track is called New Start, but of course you’ll know it better as All I Ever Wanted. To be brutal, it goes on way too long, it’s very raw, and it’s entirely lacking a chorus, but you can hear that they’ve already worked out what the hooks are and how the rhythm will work.

The last of the three is Nervous, which confusingly is really Love Me Madly, and after the “You know you’re making me frantic,” line has a wonderful gap, which could only be really improved if Phil Oakey continued to sing “Mna mna mna mna mna romantic.” Otherwise it’s a fairly well polished vocal with a drum beat, a bit of acid squelching, and not a whole lot else, but somehow it’s really compelling.

Another year or so, and they would have turned into three of the best tracks on one of their best albums Secrets, so it’s quite a fun and worthwhile listen. I’m afraid I can’t see an obvious way to link to them, so here’s the final version of All I Ever Wanted:

1 thought on “The Human League – 1999 Demos

  1. Pingback: Beginner’s guide to The Human League | Music for stowaways

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