The Human League: Dare

Another musical departure today as we have a look at Dare by the Human League. And no, it’s nothing to do with Dan Dare!

This album actually came out over a year earlier on the 16th of October 1981, but I’ve been waiting to cover it for another reason…

As you’ll have seen yesterday, Sam Slade, Robo-Hunter: Play it Again, Sam! has now started in the progs, and the antagonists for this story? An anti-robot terrorist organisation called The Human League! That’s not the reason for this blog post though. In among the ten tracks, beyond five singles released is a song called… I am the Law.

Is this song about Dredd though? According to this semi-official fan website: “It’s specifically from a policeman’s point of view. It’s very easy to run the police down until you require them. There’s often a very sudden change of opinion when you get you car stolen.” Phil Oakey, Smash Hits 1981. As Phil had been seen wearing a Dredd T-shirt in the video to Together in Electric Dreams (exact moment the T-shirt appears) I suspected he was just being using the generic term for a law enforcer for the Smash Hits readership. Around the time of the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Dare, Phil had this to add: “There really wasn’t a Judge Dredd element. It was Judge Dredd, There was nothing else. It’s some bits of Judge Dredd being sung at you.” (interview by Simon Price for Dare 2007 tour programme).

Being an album track there’s no music video for it, but it’s available quite easily – some claim to be officially uploaded too. When I wrote this blog post, this link worked. Until I did the research for this blog post, I’d assumed it was a song about obsessive relationships using Judge Dredd’s catchphrase, but as I now know it’s more to do with actual law enforcement in Sheffield in the early eighties (using Judge Dredd’s catchphrase). My take on the song itself? I always think the verses are a little forced (in fitting the lyrics to the melody) but when it gets to the chorus they fit more closely. Guess they’d used most of the best tunes on the five hit singles from this album.

Grailpage: it’s a very minimalist package with the only graphical elements being extreme close-up portraits of the four band members (though Phil makes the cover). As this blog isn’t a beauty contest, I shall decline from picking which one is ‘best’.

Grailquote: Oakey / Wright, Judge Dredd: “I know rules are a bore but just to keep you from danger I am the law”.

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