The Human League

1984: Virgin CDV2315

  1. I’m Coming Back
  2. I Love You Too Much
  3. Rock Me Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again (Six Times)
  4. Louise
  5. The Lebanon
  6. Betrayed
  7. The Sign
  8. So Hurt
  9. Life on Your Own
  10. Don’t You Know I Want You

Because of the way the band’s name is split across this album’s gatefold cover (see below), my brother and I would often refer to them as “Hulea Mangue” (pronounced “HOO-lee-uh MAN-goo”); I still do, actually.

Hysteria is a pretty weak record full of stuff that just wasn’t quite “there.” What’s confusing about it (and it was confusing back then, I remember) is that Hysteria actually came out a year after the Fascination EP, which was not only considerably better but also had a much stronger sound—in fact it included “I Love You Too Much,” which appears here, but this version is absolutely gutless and vague while the Fascination version kicks ass and has power to spare.

So what happened? Was this just the remnants of the drawn-out recording processes as they lost two producers and the wind died in their sails? It sounds like stuff that was tossed out in favor of Fascination’s tracks. “The Lebanon” is the only track here that sounds like the group actually finished working on it and got a satisfactory mix, while at the other end of the scale is the almost-unlistenable “Louise” and the nearly-as-excruciating “Life on Your Own.” In between are a bunch of near-misses (well, a little further away than “near”) such as “Don’t You Know I Want You” and “I’m Coming Back,” and “The Sign” probably could have been beefed up in the mix to become something more like what they came out with on the overlooked Romantic? of 1989.

But “Louise.” Oh my god, “Louise.” WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???