9 60346-1 Human's Lib
Produced by Rupert Hine
(track 6 by Colin Thurston)
Released on March 1984
UK CHART POSITION #1 . . . US CHART POSITION #59
Find it at GEMM
9 60346-1 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

H uman’s Lib is regarded by many as an important work in the annals of synth pop, adding Jones’ name to a short list of DIY personalities alongside Thomas Dolby, Phil Collins and Matt Johnston (The The). That the album included two hits in “What Is Love?” and “New Song” helped propel Jones into the spotlight, a situation he took full advantage of on his next album, Dream Into Action. Here, Jones’ open odes on love, self and society are a little too static for the music around them. Like Johnston, Jones is overly earnest for a pop musician; eventually, there would be a whole cadre of contemporary pop stars singing about their relationship with the world around them as adults (Mike + The Mechanics, etc.), so perhaps you see Howard Jones as a pioneer. I see him as a wet blanket, albeit one capable of delivering a serious static charge of energy when the mood strikes him (“Equality,” “Pearl In The Shell”). The most intriguing aspect of Human’s Lib is its philosophy: life is good, things could be worse, accept the world as it is. It’s a transparent ideology that borders on innocence. Vocally, Jones doesn’t have a powerful voice but it is engaging in a gauzy way like a reedier version of Simon Le Bon. Musically, he’s quite clever at fleshing out the songs with different synthetic sounds while still emitting warmth. I don’t agree with the opinion that Human’s Lib is a great album. The songs just don’t stay with you the way they do on his next album, and nothing here is as powerful as a “Things Can Only Get Better” or “Like To Get To Know You Well.” On his debut album, Jones is still shaking off the obvious influences, from Ultravox (“Human’s Lib”) to Devo (“Pearl In The Shell”). You can hear the hint of good things to come on this album, but it wouldn’t make my list of Top 100 Albums from the ‘80s.

9 60346-1 back cover 9 60346-1 lyric sleeve
9 60346-1 back cover 9 60346-1 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. CONDITIONING    (music: Howard Jones, lyrics: William Bryant)    4:32
  2. WHAT IS LOVE?    (music: Howard Jones, lyrics: Howard Jones/William Bryant)    3:45
  3. PEARL IN THE SHELL    (Howard Jones)    4:03
  4. HIDE AND SEEK    (Howard Jones)    5:34
  5. HUNT THE SELF    (music: Howard Jones, lyrics: William Bryant/Howard Jones)    3:42
  6. NEW SONG    (Howard Jones)    4:15
  7. DON'T ALWAYS LOOK AT THE RAIN    (Howard Jones)    4:13
  8. EQUALITY    (music: Howard Jones, lyrics: William Bryant/Howard Jones)    4:26
  9. NATURAL    (music: Howard Jones, lyrics: William Bryant)    4:25
  10. HUMAN'S LIB    (music: Howard Jones, lyrics: William Bryant)    4:03
  11. (CD bonus track:) CHINA DANCE

CREDITS

HOWARD JONES -- vocals, instruments
Davey Payne -- saxophone (3)
Stephen W. Tayler -- engineer, mixing, saxophone on (3)
Steg -- painting
Simon Fowler -- photograph

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK March 1984 WEA LP/CS WX1/WXC1 lyric sleeve
US 1984 Elektra LP/CD/CS 60346 lyric sleeve
CAN/GER 1984 WEA LP/CD/CS 240 335 lyric sleeve
JPN 1984 WEA LP P-11469 lyric insert

 

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