Human's Lib

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Human's Lib
Studio album by Howard Jones
Released 5 March 1984 (UK)
12 June 1984 (USA)
Recorded 1983
Genre Synth-pop
Length 42:58
Label WEA/Elektra
Producer Rupert Hine
Colin Thurston ("New Song")
Howard Jones chronology
Human's Lib
The 12" Album
(1984)The 12" Album1984
Singles from Human's Lib
  1. "New Song"
    Released: August 1983
  2. "What Is Love?"
    Released: November 1983
  3. "Hide and Seek"
    Released: February 1984
  4. "Pearl in the Shell"
    Released: May 1984

Human's Lib is the debut album by the British pop musician Howard Jones. It was released in March 1984 and entered the UK Album Charts at the no. 1 spot, spending a total of 57 weeks in the charts.[1] The album has been certified 2 × Platinum by the BPI for sales in excess of 600,000 copies.[2] The album went Gold in many European countries and the US.

Four songs from this album were released as singles in the UK, all of which reached the top 20: "New Song" peaked at #3, "What Is Love?" at #2, "Hide and Seek" at #12, and "Pearl in the Shell" at #7.[3] "New Song" and "What Is Love?" also made it into the Billboard charts in the US, both reaching the top 40.[4]

"Equality" was released as a single only in South Africa, as a commentary about the policy of apartheid there at the time.[5]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[6]
Robert ChristgauC-[8]
Smash Hits6.5/10 stars[9]

Writing in Smash Hits magazine at the time of the album's release, Neil Tennant commented that Jones had "a neat talent for writing melodic pop songs with clever hooks and real 1970s singer-songwriter lyrics. A must for all Supertramp fans."[9] In a review for the website All Music, Mike DeGagne enthusiastically stated that Human's Lib " fueled by the nonstop synth-pop hooks and brightly textured melodies that went on to be a trademark of Howard Jones".

In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau panned Human's Lib as a "revolving self-help manual" marred by Howard's "ressentiment" and unadorned synth-pop.[8] NME said, "It's as hard to distinguish his music as it is to distinguish it from your carpet; conveniently, though, the lyrics are printed on the inner sleeve so that we may fully appreciate the complete lack of any novel observation in the songs... What's so amusing about Jones' songwriting is the glib manner in which he brandishes threadbare platitudes as unique insights."[7] Mike DeGagne of AllMusic was more favorable in a retrospective review and wrote, "the tracks on Human's Lib are energetic and colorful" and that "the album still holds well".[6]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by Howard Jones unless indicated otherwise. Track timings are taken from the original UK LP edition.[10]

Side One
1."Conditioning"music: Jones, lyrics: Bill Bryant4:32
2."What Is Love?"music: Jones, lyrics: Bryant, Jones3:45
3."Pearl in the Shell" 4:03
4."Hide and Seek" 5:34
5."Hunt the Self"music: Jones, lyrics: Bryant, Jones3:42
Side Two
6."New Song" 4:15
7."Don't Always Look at the Rain" 4:13
8."Equality"music: Jones, lyrics: Bryant, Jones4:26
9."Natural"music: Jones, lyrics: Bryant4:25
10."Human's Lib"music: Jones, lyrics: Bryant4:03

Some CD editions substitute the 6:32 extended mix of "What Is Love?" for the 3:45 album version and add "China Dance", an instrumental B-side from the "Hide and Seek" single, as a bonus track (track 11).[11]


  • Howard Jones – synthesizers, keyboards, vocals, drum machines
  • Davey Payne – saxophone on "Pearl in the Shell"
  • Stephen W. Tayler – engineer, mixing; saxophone on "Pearl in the Shell"
  • Ben Rogan – assistant engineer
  • Colin Thurston – producer and engineer on "New Song"
  • Rupert Hine – producer on all other tracks
  • Stuart Fowler – photography
  • Steg – artwork


  1. ^ "Human's Lib - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  2. ^ "Certified Awards Search". Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "Howard Jones - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  4. ^ "Howard Jones > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 August 2009. 
  5. ^ "Howard Jones Discography – Singles". Archived from the original on 31 August 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  6. ^ a b DeGagne, Mike. Howard Jones – Human's Lib > Review at AllMusic
  7. ^ a b Watson, Don (17 March 1984). "Review: Howard Jones – Human's Lib". NME. London, England: IPC Media: 33. 
  8. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (12 June 1984). "Christgau's Consumer Guide: Turkey Shoot". The Village Voice. New York City, USA. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Tennant, Neil (1 March 1984). "Album Reviews". Smash Hits. EMAP Metro. 6 (5): 37. 
  10. ^ "Howard Jones – Human's Lib (LP, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "Howard Jones – Human's Lib (CD, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 30 June 2010.