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The feeble-minded among us may have trouble distinguishing one of the above bands from the other. Superficially, there are many common elements: both groups are trios, with names that suggest otherwise; both are synth-based; both feature male singers with face-obscuring hairstyles. However, they produce totally different vibes. Human League’s signature tune, “Don’t You Want Me,” depicts a world full of sexually confused male stalkers and emotionally dead female cokeheads. Thompson Twins’ defining song, “Hold Me Now,” a plea for healing in a codependent relationship, is somehow a hundred times more uplifting.
Of course, like most New Wave acts, HL and TT are both more and less ambitious than their biggest hits suggest. The former had a late-career success with the adultery-themed slow-jam “Human,” but was this an improvement over maniacal earlier records like “Love Action” and “(Keep Feeling) Fascination”? Thompson Twins destroyed countless adolescent brain cells with their addictive – and lazy – “King for a Day,” but it’s a strangely bland offering from a group who had earlier sent people crashing into discotheque walls with the lyric, “Lies! Lies! Lies! Yeah!” As we see so often in life, idiocy is the true genius.
There may be an actual use for analogies, those standardized test questions everyone but me seemed to despise (for the record, they have been removed from the latest version of the SAT). Human League is to Thompson Twins as:
– French is to Spanish
– Tiger is to elephant
– Purple is to orange
– Vodka is to gin
– Girlina is to RuPaul
It’s all in the nuances.