Human League – Don’t You Want Me

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.

This entry was posted in 1982, A good song and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Human League – Don’t You Want Me

  1. Robert Berman says:

    This song is the 80s. Well, the early 80s, anyway. There’s a whole ‘nother thing going on in the late 80s with Great White and Paula Abdul. But if I wanted to explain to a Martian what New Wave was about, this is the song I’d play him. The hooks. The cool synth textures. That incessant 16th note ostinato on the 3rd. The he said/she said Rashomon lyrics, economically painting the inevitable power reversal in the relationship between a celebrity (Pat Benatar? Farrah Fawcett? Bo Derek? It doesn’t matter which branch of the entertainment media this is about.) and her now-redundant manager.

  2. Pingback: The Human League – Human | We Are Number Ones

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