80's hit "Human" by The Human League is rated, (True-ish)
Updated: Oct 13, 2020
We start our deep look into the lyrics of popular songs with the all-important decade of the 80’s as it is not only the best decade in terms of influential music, but it also represents a formative decade for readers today and thus, it is important for us to be aware of any possible misleading or damaging lyrics that may have been bred into our malleable young minds.
The song, written by the eponymous titled band The Human League hailing from Sheffield England, was released 1986 as its follow up hit behind the more popular, and way better rhetorically named hit, “Don’t you want me.” Irrespective of “Human” being of lower caliber, it was, nevertheless, a hit single and used a melodic low tempo to lull would-be young ladies into forgiving their scoundrel boyfriends for their infidelities and homewrecker ways. Despite this ethically questionable premise, we at the Morning Rag have found the song and its message to be ambiguously …….mostly true.
Let us have a look: The chorus of the song contains its most declarative statement and therefore is most in question when determining the validity of its message. “I’m only human, born to make mistakes” is the line most people remember about this lazy excuse for the singer’s mistakes. Is it TRUE, that he or we are ONLY uman? I consulted with the book Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, widely considered the only entertaining book to read if you're super interested in Human science stuff, and found that human, or homo refers to the Genus for which we all belong, even those who have paid for their DNA tests and found a little Neanderthal DNA lurking around in their eyebrows. Thus, we ARE only human in a scientific sense. This part is true despite the sheer number of people that continue to cut in line at public accommodations. True
Following the well-known tagline is the perhaps thematically modifying assertion that we are “flesh and blood, born to make mistakes.” This idea of being hopelessly tethered to an existence wherein mistakes are not only probable, but that we actively seek them out, has some merit. Darwin posited that the most fundamental element of the evolution of a species is the never-ending game of winning and losing in the gene pool. Mistakes, therefore, are not mistakes but rather opportunities for growth and advancement. The question in the song then becomes, “Is the scoundrel boyfriend making the mistake, or is the implied naive woman about to make one by allowing him back in her loving arms only to pass on his lecherous genes. We rate this fatalistic mistake-driven human condition as mostly true.
Next, we looked at the body of the lyrics accompanying the chorus for which the singer lays out his plea to have the unnamed woman take him back from whatever misdeeds the mere human male has found himself committing. The singer suggests, “Nothing could change the way I feel; No one else could ever take your place” What a load of shit! This guy literally just cheated on his girlfriend and then has the nerve to say that no one could take her place? Did he not just swap bodies and do exactly that? This part of the song is obviously false.
Finally, we need to consider the juxtaposition of the previous two paragraphs that have come to opposite conclusions. Does being Human make a person a liar and a scoundrel? And did our respectively massive brains give us the ability to communicate the language and idea of love through vocal crooning whilst prancing around in acid washed jeans? This is where things get a little tricky and we had a fight in the office here at the Rag over how to proceed. First, Human nature is not singular and the complexity of the human condition suggests that human beings are not just capable, but biologically geared towards reproduction in such a way that we propagate our species at a rate that is in concert with our mortality rate and life expectancy. Does this mean that men and women are predisposed to lie and cheat for the purposes of procreation? If so, what then is the purpose of the heartbreak that soon follows? It turns out…..we aren’t prepared to answer this question. It’s not that we aren’t able to, it’s just that the answers are uncomfortable..... and so is my couch, and so this is where the investigation ends. I could write more, but I'm only Human.