Gary Numan - The Pleasure Principle (1979)

Gary Numan is a laser. Gary Numan is TRON. Gary Numan is the villain in Terminator 2 who can liquefy, all metallic and silver. The Pleasure Principle suggests that the future was in 1979, so where are we now? This record set the standard for the 80s, when synthesizers were the new plague.

“Airplane” menaces with erratic synths. “Complex” is tender like a lonely robot, each sung syllable succinctly pronounced: “Please/ Keep them aw-ay/ Don’t let them touch me/ Please/ Don’t let them lie/ Don’t let them see me”. “M.E.” has that muddy baseline that was lifted by Basement Jaxx for their hit “Where’s Your Head At?” years ago.

There’s no guitar on the record, just bass and violin. The rest is all electric, fluorescent blue and green and purple.

The Pleasure Principle has endured excellently. It’s technologic, disconnected and cold. It’s the 21st Century. One could argue that the tracks are indistinguishable; 10 songs, all of them synthetically saturated. However, that would be missing the point slightly, this album was produced by a mechanical life form: “And I want your lines/ And I want your time/ And I want your face/ And you can have mine”. There’s nothing human about the repetitious phrasing in “Tracks”, it’s artificial, but purposely so.

“Cars” went to #1 on the UK Charts. How funny that such a large population should embrace their predictable and pedestrian behavior: “Here in my car/ I feel sa-fest of all/ I can lock all my doors/ It’s the only way to live/ In cars.” Maybe in the future future bell towers will be replaced with synthesizers.

You are robot.



Anonymous said...

Paul Sutton said...

Yes, it's truly a fine album.