Gary Numan / Archive


Archive

Gary Numan (born Gary Webb on 8 March 1958) is an English singer, composer, and musician, most widely known for his chart-topping 1979 hits “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” (with Tubeway Army) and “Cars“. His signature sound consisted of heavy synthesizer hooks fed through guitar effects pedals.

Commercially unsuccessful for many years of his career, Numan is nevertheless considered a pioneer of commercial electronic music.[1][2] His use of themes from science fiction, and his combination of aggressive punk energy with electronics, have since been widely imitated.

The Analysis:

Are ‘friends’ Electric [Live]—-Still one of the crowning moments of Numan’s career and best experienced live, this song , recorded in 1978 still manages to sound fresh and invigorating to me. Even now, with the much heavier Industrial delivery that Numan gives the song, it still leaves you with a cold and detached feeling that speaks to those who are disenfranchised and lost….this track never gets old, never sounds dated and never makes me think of old days..because it magically remains relevant. For me, this song has always spoke of the fragility and passing of human friendships…the availability of people to take that ‘best friend’ status and Numan’s idea that you have friends that are available just when you need them…you only need to plug them in to get what you need from them when you need it from them…just my impression.

Me! I Disconnect From You [Live]—-Continuing his tales of alienation and Sci-Fi ideals, Numan gently reminds us how nice it would be to end a relationship by simply disconnecting from another and moving on….perhaps that is a bit romantic!!! This is stale, sordid and delivered in a classic Numan monotone that allows you to feel cold and unconnected. Masterful!!!

U Got The Look [Live]—-Numan attempts to bring the ‘funk’ in this cover of the Prince/Sheila E. cover….to me, this is abysmal and is one of those rare missteps the man has made in his career. But, I try to accept the good with the bad.

Berserker—-One of those songs that Numan released when he was experimenting with a mass of background female vocalists…it was never heard by anyone except for me…I love this because it has an exceptional energy… while Numan seems to take a back seat and delivers a vocal that is as cold as a deep January night. This is remarkable…the emotion that runs through the music is undeniable…all the while Numan seems to be standing two rooms away and delivering his vocal…this is magical!

The God Film—-With a much deeper and plodding bass sound to the song, there is still an air of the jazz experimentation that Numan went through in the early 90’s. Although this was not a favorite ‘period’ of mine, the curators of this collection was careful with the song selection on this release….issuing tracks that were more accessible than most for the fans. For me, the highpoint of this song is only when Numan reaches high into that register of his…this delivers an emotional component that is undeniable.

We Are Glass [Live]—-Yes, this is a classic…Yes, this is a song that reeks and almost screams of human frailty and emotions. but I really have never cared for this song…I’m not sure why….there is just not much genuity and/or melody involved….sorry….

Poison—-This is remarkable….delivering a slight Depeche Mode Industrial sound with the laden female vocal in the backdrop, Numan delivers a vocal that is very much in the front of the mix and very accented. I love the cold and detached feel…I hate all of the added extra vocals..they were never needed. This is nice, but so many other things could have been included in its place.

Creatures—-Wow, this is so full of magical atmosphere at the onset of the song, but it losses almost all of the genuity once the bass falls away. The track has a remarkable chorus though…this is a song that can magically pop in my head based on my stress level or a certain feeling that I get at any point in any given day. This has a melody that is undeniable…Numan delivers the coldest and most detached vocal..only the female back drop singers warm the song…perhaps I would love this even more without all of the pretense. This is a secret favorite though!

Cars [Live]—-A song that will have a life as long as human beings are alive, this was the beginning of the Numan catalyst for me, so I can’t hate too bad. I would be happy never to hear this song again…but in this live setting it has a nice renewed energy that I can live with. an undeniable piece of Pop Music history.

Call Out The Dogs [Live]—-This compilation seems to be heavy on material from the string of 5 releases that no one in the US bought except for me….I like this song quite a bit. The natural progressive bass line is natural rather than machine made…the drums are very present and the vocals..aided by female backdrop singers come together to produce a really great sound. This has real high points and remains another of those songs that pops in my head from time to time with no reason!

God Only Knows—-This has a really nice epic musical sound that really appeals to me. Numan seems even colder and more detached than ever on this track. This was back in the days when Gary would stand in front of a microphone with a spotlight and never move through the entire show…this was cold, robotic and more mechanical than you could imagine. Superb!

Down In The Park [Live]—-Another of those crowning career moments that most people in the US are oblivious to. Covered by dozens of bands since it’s release, this has been cited as an influence more than even Cars. This is a cold, calculated story that if given the chance to read the lyrics will send shivers down your spine…beore the God Complex of modern-day Numan, there was a fascination with Robots and pure Science Fiction!

We Take Mystery [To Bed]—-Although this is not listed as ‘live’. indeed it is and in the process picks up far more energy than you get on the regular recorded version. Numan manages to talk/sing his way through songs..keeping his attractive accent in full form. This is a fantastic, energetic track that causes me to sit here and smile like I never thought possible…I love this cold. detached incredibly in tune man!!!

My Shadow In Vain—-Originally recorded with his quasi-punk band The Tubeway Army, Numan still delivers this song live in his most current sets. This is energetic and in its original form damn raw and electric!!! This is another uncredited live track….but the live setting allows this song to be noisy as hell and delivered with a raw energy that reminds me of how abrasive the first record actually was….now this..as opposed to Cars…is historic!!!

Love Isolation—-This piano based track…full of pre-ambient sounds that almost bring you to tears is incredible. Numan sounds more lost and lonely than he has ever been…seeking direction, love and a filling for the emptiness that his music transports. This is intense as hell…hard to adapt to after the energy of the previous track…but more telling than any other song on this record! When Gary sings the line “I’ll die for you….” you damn well better believe it.

Generator—-Wow….whatever….I know that I must have the orginal version of this track around somewhere, but it is obvious I did not like it then either because I sure can’t remeber this kind of disappointment. This is just sloppy filller that I’m convinced Numan recorded in order to relieve himself of contractual agreements…right before he started Numa Records. This is wasteful!!!

**** out of 5

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One Response to “Gary Numan / Archive”

  1. Hello there marky7235, I have my very own blog (where I assume the alias `cars2scrap’) and I liked this blog post to the extent that I’ve urged my readers to read it. (See the latest post on my weblog for details.) Thanks for taking the time to write it! Yours,

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