The Human League: Holiday ’80 JPN EP 
- Toyota City [long]
- Rock ‘N’ Roll/Nightclubbing
- Being Boiled
1981 was when The Human League got a death-grip on my cerebellum when after knowing about this band for almost two years, I finally heard the music I’d read about. Early in 1981 I heard Virgin’s “Cash Cows” comp with “The Black Hit Of Space” and honestly, I should have been sold at that point. That it took until the Canadian “Sound Of The Crowd” EP for me to actually purchase some of their music was shameful in the extreme. By the time that “Dare” was released on the UK I was kind of frothing at the mouth to obtain it. Within weeks afterward I was on such a Human League jones that I immediately bought the first two non-hit albums to an amazement that continues to this day.
This disc was the deluxe Japanese edition of a UK 2×7″ [left] released a month before the “Travelogue” album hit the UK charts in May of 1980 with a thud that shocks in retrospect, given the ride that Gary Numan was having at that time on the charts. One would have thought that the more esoteric Human League still might have had some impact better than the top 50. Technically the A-side here was a dynamic re-recording [this time in stereo] of their debut single “Being Boiled,” but the first track was “Marianne,” a non-LP B-side.
How ecstatic I was when I heard this song for the first time! This was a bit of patented glamrock stomp executed completely with synths and its loping, white noise backbeat sure beat the crisp, lifeless digital samples of the Linn Drum that were stamped all over “Dare” to hell and back. The arrangement of this one with Martyn Ware’s excellent countrepuntal backing vocals perfectly offsetting Phil Oakey’s sonorous declamations was complex left-field technopop at its finest. The whole affair had more than a whiff of Wendy Carlos mixed with late 60s garage rock. The cold ending on the last “Marianne!” from Ware was a classic league moment and one of my all-time favorite songs by that band.
“Dancevision” was an old instrumental demo from the Human League precursor The Future. It had a brash quality as befitted a song recorded in two-track in 1977, but one day someone will score a film with those old demos and maybe it’ll get a third reissue that I can afford. The next track here was another instrumental, though “Toyota City” only got released on the “Travelogue” album and on this Japanese EP. It’s the one track here missing from the UK “Holiday ’80” 2×7″ and more to the point, the long 5:33 version here only was substantially longer than the 3:22 edit on the “Travelogue” album.
“Rock ‘N’ Roll/Nightclubbing” really should have been a club hit at the very least. The first Human League album had raised eyebrows by their perfect cover version of “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” and it let the world know that Martyn Ware would have a yen for transgressive electronic cover versions of pop hits near and dear to his heart going forward. Here the Gary Glitter UK A-side [not the hit US B-side instrumental version] made a coherent pairing with the Bowie/Pop classic. The glam stomp latencies lurking below the surface of “Marianne” became overtly manifest here. Only the tempo change as the faster “Rock ‘N’ Roll” slowed to the leaden, feline “Nightclubbing” was slightly jarring.
Finally, the last song here was the second version of “Being Boiled” that dominated the first two months of 1982’s music listening for me. As much as I liked “Dare,” it was the preceding album and this song in particular, that gripped me and would not let go. Once I had “Dare” I wanted more…fast! I was certainly not disappointed by moving backward on the group, but the truth was, it was following The Human League after “Dare” that really came up wanting. Their stronger, early material didn’t help matters at all in this regard.
“Being Boiled” played like a YMO electrofunk track that attained that special something extra courtesy of Phil Oakey’s utterly batty lyrics. The white noise handclap explosions® employed here were exactly the kind of lovable sounds that digital drum machines would all but eliminate from the musical landscape for a good twenty years going forward. Sigh. This fine EP was possibly the best single Human League record one might own if you could only own one.
My eternal regret was that when the CD of “Travelogue” was released in 1988, it had all of the tracks here on it… with the exception of the 5:33 long version of “Toyota City.” In 1988, the $5-6 in trade value that this JAPANESE PIC-LABEL EP brought me at Murmur Records clouded my better judgement as I thought at the time that I didn’t need a longer version of a track I had on CD on vinyl! Oh me of little brains! Of course, this has been on my want list for years now and it’s a record hard to own for less than $20. The Human League probably peaked with this EP and the Human League BSOG one day will demand the cash sacrifice for this record.
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