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L - M
The Last Man On Earth
 
Surely the longest track ever associated with The Human League, this piece by Martyn and Ian lasts around 25 minutes. Interestingly, the phrase "the last man on Earth" would crop up again in Philip's original introduction to Circus Of Death.
This excerpt revolves around a gentle, descending looped sequence, around which various incidental effects and harmonies appear at random. The overall effect is generally quite serene - ambient even - although variations in the looped sequence and some of the extraneous sounds are occasionally unsettling.
Released on Dance Like A Star and The Golden Hour Of The Future
Life Kills
 
An urgent, dramatic number by The Human League, concerning the stress of working life.
Travelogue, the album on which this song appeared, was criticized in some quarters for its reliance on rock 'n' roll influences, and this track is a prime example of just that. Some of the synthesizer sounds could easily be treated electric guitar, and the chorus owes much to the football terrace chant style of certain 1970s rock acts. While Life Kills is not by any means a bad song, NME's Chris Ryan made some valid points in his review of the album:
"Hey! Hey! Rock 'n' Roll! Back into the future, reverse into tomorrow with The Human League... the Gary Glitter/Mike Leander axis is the unseen force at work - the endless commercial potential of the handclap, the stacked heel footstomp, the clenched fist.
"The band thrash around with [Philip K] Dick's transcendental autobiographical style and [J G] Ballard's subjective sci-fi, but on cold vinyl it becomes more like The Members' Solitary Confinement / Sound Of The Suburbs songbook (Life Kills)... more significantly, they have fashioned nothing on this album that could not be played as effectively by the boring traditional line-up of three guitars and a set of drums. Why bother with synthesizers when all you wanna play is Johnny B Goode?"
Harsh, but not entirely unfair...
Lyrics
Released on Travelogue
Living On A Bombsite
 
This Human League demo would form the basis of Marianne. Although the instrumentation of the two tracks is almost identical, the vocal melody differs significantly in places, and many of the lyrics were altered before this track became Marianne. However, the lyrical theme did not change.
Lyrics
Unreleased
Looking For The Black Haired Girls
 
A strange track by The Future. Opening and closing with the screams of a woman, the content between is no less disconcerting; each member contributes demented spoken parts, and pistol shots ring out over the nightmarish music.
The track is available in MP3 form on this site's Futuristic Sounds page.
Released on The Golden Hour Of The Future
Marianne
 
Based on the music of an earlier demo, Living On A Bombsite, this song finds Philip exploring one of his favourite early themes, the father / daughter relationship. In this song, the lyrics are written from the viewpoint of a father disappointed by his favourite daughter.
Although the League thought this to be one of their better songs, it seems Virgin had little faith in it; when the Holiday '80 double single it headed failed to chart, the label were quick to re-package the EP without this track, taking the safer option of the Rock 'N' Roll cover version as the a-side. When the group produced an alternate version of Marianne, they were unable to persuade Virgin to release it as a single in its own right.
Lyrics
Original version released on Holiday '80 double single and Travelogue (CD only)
Alternate version released on Australian Travelogue LP
The Martyr
 
This is simply an early title for Austerity.
The song was still known by this title when the League recorded their debut album, as it is labelled on the original master tape's box as 'The Martyr / Girl 1'.
Released as Austerity on Reproduction
Morale...
 
This slightly unsettling track, originally titled My Morale, relies heavily upon Philip's vocal performance, as there is only minimal instrumentation involved.
Before it came to serve as Reproduction's prelude to You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling, this song had existed in two other instrumental forms.
The first version sounds more like a rough sketch than a completed track (some of the keyboard playing was noticeably out of time in places), but the overall effect is generally quite peaceful and sedate; there are even neoclassical elements in evidence.
The second version uses softer sounds and its arrangement is slightly less complex. The third has much in common with the second version, but has one or two additional layers. The master tape for this version also features Philip singing an early draft of the lyrics (ending with the line, "I'll always be stuck here in this foul little room with a view of the curtains"), using a noticeably different melody to the Reproduction version.
Martyn and Ian also produced a cover version of Morale... for Hot Gossip's 1981 album, Geisha Boys And Temple Girls - see Miscellaneous releases (part one). This version had very slightly different lyrics.
Lyrics
Second demo version released on Dance Like A Star (mis-labelled Treatment)
Final version released on Reproduction
Other early versions unreleased