Let's talk about Gary Numan's work- 1994-present

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
I love Sacrifice (1994). The mix is muddy but the songs are a clear return to a new creative peak for Gazza. Great to hear Numan returning to the guitar ("Love And Napalm" in particular) and arguably, his best synth work since 'Telekon'. The return of the drawn out emotive "ohhhhh's" that all but disappeared since "Warriors" were the clincher; this was a classic. On the lyrics, I'll take a pass. For Numan it's always been so much more about the icy grooves. This is to be filed next to Replicas, The Pleasure Principle and Telekon. But what IS up with the sound quality?

Now here's where it gets tricky..

Exile (1998) is an obvious continuation of the new Numan era and a pretty good one. "Dominion Day" is sharp and catchy and one of the best Numan album openers ever. But taking apart the rest of it, I have mixed feelings. "Dark" was great but seemed like too much of a rewrite of "Desire" (or maybe that was the point? a-la "Metal/Moral".) Also, the religious (or anti) overtones, for me anyway, were shifting the focus away from the music. I appreciate the messages within, however I must ask, was this album more Gemma then Gary? I just looked at the song title "An Alien Cure" and for selfish reasons, wish that was the title track.

Pure (2000) There are some stunning moments on this one, and some banal ones. The Numan-Sulpher wall of sound was born and I was mostly digging it. "Listen To My Voice" is a fantastic track. A lot of the ideas though didn't sound very fresh. They seemed more about Numan emulating his favorite newer acts. I also thought the artwork was disapointing. As a fan, I was started to feel like Numan had been in this "image" for too long.

Hybrid (2003) I think this was a great idea. Looking at past music in a way other then simply remixing shows Numan was ahead of the curve (see "mash-ups"). This also seems to continue Numan's melting fear of collaboration. Most of this was very interesting and very well-produced. "Crazier" was a powerhouse.

Jagged Halo (2005) The title scares me, but the early versions of the songs sound good. However it comes out, the Numanoid in me will selfishly pick on what I don't like about it, but I'll still like it anyway.

ZionTrain, Wednesday, 4 May 2005 19:03 (fifteen years ago) link

Have to answer this in more detail later. Agreed on Sacrifice through Pure in general, though (I really expected more from Pure in particular). Hybrid I still haven't picked up -- but worth it, you say? Hmm.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 4 May 2005 19:05 (fifteen years ago) link

I stand by Hybrid as being worth checking out on the basis of it's ideas and production. It's not a masterpiece and it should only passively be considered a "Numan album." However, as a Numan fan who has seen a huge share of inferior Numan product being peddled over the years to hardcore fans, I appreciate Hybrid's effort to present something contemporary and interesting. Hybrid isn't magical and it has it's flaws, but it's sure a nice change than releasing another double live disc.

ZionTrain, Wednesday, 4 May 2005 19:29 (fifteen years ago) link

Zion Train, you rock.

Hybrid isn't sufficiently Numanesque for my taste as it has the input of many other producers, but it's satisfyingly big and chunky.

I really want to see more synths and more evil. I especially think that Numan works best with a live band and synths played live. I do believe, however, that those days are over, for cost reasons as much as anything else.

'Jagged Halo' - sounds like more electro rock goth shape throwing to me, which is fine as any Numan is good Numan.

moley (moley), Thursday, 5 May 2005 02:13 (fifteen years ago) link

seven years pass...


There are some really dubious choices here but Numan's explanations are pretty good. The story about Japan stranding him and getting picked up by Queen is amazing!

frogbs, Thursday, 6 December 2012 18:28 (eight years ago) link

I like the Ultravox write-up. Good to see him giving them the credit they deserve for shaping his early career.

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Thursday, 6 December 2012 19:06 (eight years ago) link

I've read a few Numan interviews and it's astonishing how he basically refuses to give himself any credit or respond with anything other than bewilderment that people look up to him. Definitely one of the most open dudes in the music biz.

frogbs, Thursday, 6 December 2012 19:13 (eight years ago) link

Cutest Quietus 13 ever? I love that he had to go asking his wife and his old friends what his favorite albums were. Also this is v charming:

This was '93 and I'd just done an album called Machine And Soul which is the shittest album I've ever made! By quite a margin! I was in a right state thinking, 'Oh, this is so shit!' I didn't know what I was doing, I had no direction, there wasn't anything I wanted to sing about, my career was going down the toilet, I couldn't sell albums and fucking fair enough if you're going to put out shit like that!

my other pug is a stillsuit (Jon Lewis), Thursday, 6 December 2012 19:28 (eight years ago) link

I concur, I may not be into his music from the last 30 years but I'll always respect him for giving props to John Foxx and Bill Nelson!

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 6 December 2012 19:58 (eight years ago) link

this was my favorite part:

I once went to Japan with the band Japan – I was meant to be doing a guest thing with them – and they blew me out and they didn't have the guts to tell me. I went all the way to fucking Japan, yeah, and they'd fucking legged it! I found myself in Tokyo on my own. Japan had fucked off and had left me behind – wankers! – and I noticed that Queen were playing at the Budokan. So I went to the gig and I didn't try to get in on the guest list; I went and bought a ticket. I was in the crowd and some security man and came and got me, 'cause I was quite famous in Japan at the time, and he said, 'You really don't want to be sitting out here. Come backstage' because everyone was standing up and I didn't realise it was because of me!

frogbs, Thursday, 6 December 2012 20:12 (eight years ago) link

The ensuing scene with Freddie and the Big Mac was my fave part.

my other pug is a stillsuit (Jon Lewis), Thursday, 6 December 2012 20:15 (eight years ago) link

ten months pass...

so...new album Splinter coming out soon, it's quite good isn't it?

frogbs, Wednesday, 9 October 2013 16:41 (seven years ago) link

I really like it. I still wish he'd gone for the one-last-push/"riff monster" that he's been promising for years but I'm actually quite taken with the more personal instrospective ballad-y songs.

Doran, Wednesday, 9 October 2013 18:41 (seven years ago) link

I like Splinter a lot... I'd say equally as much as Pure and Sacrifice, and definitely more than Jagged (and the latest NIN album, for that matter!)

Dog Man Star took a suck on a pill... (Turrican), Thursday, 17 October 2013 22:17 (seven years ago) link

I wrote a review for it:


My conclusion - pretty much his best since the early days. On my 10th or so listen I definitely prefer this to his other modern albums - the fact that there's some variety this time makes a huge difference.

frogbs, Friday, 18 October 2013 00:26 (seven years ago) link

eleven months pass...

So er... I guess there was an animated film from 2008 called From Inside (based on a graphic novel) that did the festival rounds with a temporary music score. The movie has now been "finalized" with a new score by Numan. With a soundtrack release about to come out on Lakeshore Records.

Gar Tooth (Jon Lewis), Monday, 22 September 2014 16:03 (six years ago) link

one year passes...

new live album out this month. lots of stuff from Splinter, some tracks from Dead Son Rising (which I hadn't heard before!), one from Pure, plus an assortment of his 79-81 hits. it's a good one!!

frogbs, Monday, 7 March 2016 20:38 (four years ago) link

He should have a new album out this year too, hopefully!

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Monday, 7 March 2016 21:07 (four years ago) link

I'll believe it when I see it..

frogbs, Monday, 7 March 2016 21:37 (four years ago) link

Yeah, me too, although he's been funding it through PledgeMusic and been giving fans regular video updates on how the album's progressing.

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Monday, 7 March 2016 21:40 (four years ago) link

one year passes...

Uh, interesting choice of attire to launch the UK tour for your new record, Gary...

...so music and chicken have become intertwined (Turrican), Sunday, 23 April 2017 19:06 (three years ago) link


frogbs, Monday, 24 April 2017 13:00 (three years ago) link

Hahahaha! Yeah, it does have a Scorpion/Sub Zero vibe to it!

...so music and chicken have become intertwined (Turrican), Monday, 24 April 2017 15:14 (three years ago) link

omg that typography though

a landlocked exclave (mh), Monday, 24 April 2017 15:21 (three years ago) link

four months pass...

So, this is coming out in a couple of weeks...

more Allegro-like (Turrican), Friday, 1 September 2017 15:53 (three years ago) link

two weeks pass...

So, Savage (Songs from a Broken World) is out now... has anyone heard it yet?

more Allegro-like (Turrican), Saturday, 16 September 2017 09:25 (three years ago) link

Bloody awful. Basically the same complaints about organised religion over NIN-esque lite industrial backdrops as he's been mining for a while. There are a few bright spots but not many. I really was willing myself to like it but couldn't.

Dan.S., Sunday, 17 September 2017 22:03 (three years ago) link

What if you liked his last albUm though

frogbs, Sunday, 17 September 2017 22:10 (three years ago) link

If you liked Splinter you'll probably like Savage - it's essentially Splinter II.

But at the same time I do wish he'd shake things up a bit at this stage, but he's probably frightened if he tries to do so it'll be badly received by his current fanbase.

more Allegro-like (Turrican), Monday, 18 September 2017 06:35 (three years ago) link

I liked Splinter an awful lot but somehow it felt more varied. There's something vulnerable about a song called Lost that isn't present on this album. There's a feeling on tracks like Splinter and My Last Day that he's branching out and even the crunchier industrial rock tracks are more punchy and concise. It's sequenced better for the most part too so it's not just a series of identical "quiet verse - explosive chorus" exercises

Dan.S., Monday, 18 September 2017 22:03 (three years ago) link

#2 on the UK album chart apparently.

more Allegro-like (Turrican), Friday, 22 September 2017 19:23 (three years ago) link

The Quietus review calling out the use of the word "Savage" next to a photo of Numan in Middle Eastern garb is kinda funny to me, I doubt it ever occurred to Numan that people might find the cover offensive

I guess it's high time to actually spin this, huh

frogbs, Friday, 22 September 2017 19:34 (three years ago) link

When the artwork was first revealed I seem to remember a lot of "FFS Gary, what are you doing!?" type of comments.

Numan apparently burst into tears when he heard the album reached #2... someone was clearly around to take a picture of this moment and post it on Facebook...

more Allegro-like (Turrican), Saturday, 23 September 2017 09:14 (three years ago) link

But, now that this has happened, I guess if anyone's hoping for any change in approach, I don't think it's gonna happen now!

more Allegro-like (Turrican), Saturday, 23 September 2017 09:16 (three years ago) link

After spending more time with Savage, I do think it's a good record and I prefer it to Exile and Jagged, but it is Splinter-but-not-as-good.

Numan has a habit of doing this, so I shouldn't be surprised...

Exile was Sacrifice part 2, Jagged was Pure part 2 etc.

more Allegro-like (Turrican), Tuesday, 3 October 2017 06:09 (three years ago) link

don't stop there - I always thought Pleasure Principle and Telekon, Dance and I, Assassin, and Warriors and Berserker went together. arguably the two Tubeway Army albums as well.

frogbs, Tuesday, 3 October 2017 13:36 (three years ago) link

You could make a case for Outland being a less good version of Metal Rhythm, too. Metal Rhythm is the most underrated of Numan's wilderness years, IMO.

more Allegro-like (Turrican), Tuesday, 3 October 2017 16:42 (three years ago) link

Anyway, if 2013 was the year of many old school synth acts putting out surprisingly stellar albums, then 2017 has pretty much been the year where a lot of them have followed up those records with good, listenable but not-as-good albums.

more Allegro-like (Turrican), Tuesday, 3 October 2017 16:45 (three years ago) link

Savage is turning out to be an album of two halves for me... I'm finding the back half to be a little on the weak side.

more Allegro-like (Turrican), Friday, 6 October 2017 23:25 (three years ago) link

I didn't know he had 3 daughters!! Good on him. Been listening to Pure on and off and there are a few songs about the miscarriage of his son. Now that I have one of my own it's pretty moving, particularly "Little Invitro".

frogbs, Friday, 20 October 2017 03:34 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

Pure > Sacrifice > Splinter > Savage > Dead Son Rising > Exile > Jagged

Now do something else, Gary!

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Monday, 20 May 2019 18:58 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

by the sounds of this new song...nope


still, can't ding him too hard for finding something that works for him

frogbs, Monday, 11 January 2021 19:39 (two weeks ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.