First Hit #1: July 3, 1982
Any discussion of ’80s pop has to involve discussion of synthesizers. I’ve argued that Hall and Oates used synths as a thematic device, but they were also part of an aesthetic all their own, and one which has been slowly coming back as more artists discover them and the unique sound they offer. As a result, the Human League sounds modern again, as groups like the Chromatics are starting to do that synth heavy sound again.
That’s good, because Don’t You Want Me is one of those songs that is ripe for rediscovery. The song is about a strange relationship with complicated power dynamics and two people who are struggling to assert their own spin on their strained relationship, and it’s a rare song about the messy reality of the way people view their relationships. It’s slick and, for lack of a better word, cool, but it’s also a song that offers a dark underbelly to its gritty neon-laced atmosphere. It’s a song about flawed people in a broken relationship who are in denial about what exactly went wrong. Most of the misunderstanding comes from the male singer, who doesn’t understand why the female one isn’t interested in him anymore and is confused about what to do with this new lack of control.
There’s a lot more than just a simple pop song here, but the catchy chorus and electronic atmosphere also make it a catchy pop song.