The Human League

Tell Me When

Song Review by

Although a thick line has long been drawn connecting disco to the '90s techno scene, few have bothered to connect the dots between the more modern genre and synth pop. The Human League didn't need to fret about such things, though; they intuitively understood those relationships, having explored virtually all the influences over their career -- industrial, funk, R&B, synth pop, new wave, and disco itself. And when the wheel turned again, the band was back on top with a sound that hadn't really changed, but just refined. With a few minor alterations, 1995's "Tell Me When" could have come from 1983, slotting nicely between "Fascination" and "Mirror Man." Of course, the drum programming would need to be changed (there were no jungle rhythms back then!), but the funky bassline can stay, along with the bubbly synths. In fact, the real difference is found in the vignette-esque lyrics and the more complex vocals. And these slight changes make all the difference, turning synth dreams into techno club success. A taster for the group's forthcoming Octopus album, "Tell Me When" hit on both sides of the Atlantic, landing just outside the Top 6 and Top 30 in the U.K. and U.S., respectively.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Greatest Hits 1988 EMI Music Distribution 4:43
Octopus 1995 EastWest 4:53
Warning Dance Boom 1995
Various Artists
5:08
High on Dance [Quality] 1995
Various Artists
Quality 4:43
Dance Tip 95 1995
Various Artists
BMG
Dance Mix USA, Vol. 3 [Box] 1996
Various Artists
Quality 0:00
The Best of the Human League 1998 ARK 21 4:42
The Very Best of the Human League 2005 Caroline Distribution 4:13
British Legends 2006
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music 4:43
90s: The Collection 2012
Various Artists
Rhino 4:43
A Very British Synthesizer Group: The Anthology 2016 Virgin EMI 4:09
12 Inch Dance: 90s Remix
Various Artists
Rhino / WEA 5:10
90s [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino 4:51
90s: 60 Definitive Hits [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino
Return of the 90s
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music 4:43