July 16, 2019

Howard Jones - Human's Lib (1984)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Pop, Synth Pop
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)


© 1984 WEA/Elektra Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Human's Lib is an unintentionally revealing title for Howard Jones' debut album. What first seems like a play on words reveals itself as something of an empowering manifesto, a shift that mirrors his music. Upon first glance, Human's Lib appears to be state-of-the-art synth pop circa 1984: a record where every element outside of the human voices appears to be electronic. While that may well be true, Jones isn't a futurist the way such peers as Depeche Mode or Eurythmics are. At his core, Jones is a reconstituted free spirit, preaching the power of positive thinking and advocating universal love. His dedication to synthesizers does camouflage Jones' innate hippie, which gives the album an appealing dichotomy: underneath his electronics and stylish haircut, he's singing about subjects better suited to acoustic guitars and tie-dyed T-shirts. Still, Human's Lib benefits from Jones' complete immersion in synths, giving the album a glimmering sheen that remains emblematic of the dawn of MTV. In particular, "New Song" is quintessential post-New Wave synth pop, all percolating blips and analog washes held together by a massive melodic hook. Throughout Human's Lib, Jones usually relies on texture, a move that makes the album an ingratiating artifact, but there are moments where his songcraft surfaces. Usually those are on singles, such as "Pearl in the Shell," which flattens a Tamla/Motown beat for the music video era. But it's the searching "What Is Love?" -- the album's biggest hit everywhere outside of the U.S. -- that points the way toward Jones future: it's a big, soaring ballad that hints at the adult contemporary he'd later embrace.

tags: howard jones, humans lib, 1984, flac,

1 comment: