This post is part of a ten-part series showcasing my top 10 albums. Certain obvious legends (Beatles, Queen, Rolling Stones, etc.) are not in the list, these are albums not everyone knows or picks.
Gary Numan came onto the music scene globally with his 1979 hit, “Cars”. His most successful song to date, you’ve no doubt heard it – it’s been used in numerous commercials and television shows. It’s everywhere and one of the most famous “one hit wonders”.
However, Numan is no one-trick pony by any means. He has quite the extensive catalog spanning various musical styles, not just synthesized music. “Cars” ushered in the machine phase, with The Pleasure Principle album, and the follow-up Telekon. Numan supported both of these efforts with an extensive stage production with futuristic lighting and props.
He poured all his finances into these tours and “retired” from the machine phase in 1981, releasing Dance, a sonically rich record with horns and fretless bass, Roger Taylor from Queen played on “Moral” a revamped version of “Metal” from The Pleasure Principle.
Numan would continue to reinvent himself over the years. He is the inspiration for so many bands in the industrial realm – most famously, Nine Inch Nails – Trent Reznor took sparks of Numan’s dark industrial realm and added it like pepper to NIN. The interesting part is Reznor inspired Numan back, turning his output toward the darker edges that Numan began to push with 1997’s Exile.
Smack in the middle of all this output is my favorite album, Warriors. It has rich imagery both in the product itself and the music – a good bridge between what was and what is to come. Numan subtly works his love of flying into “My Centurion”, the machine phase in “Sister Surprise”, and the beautiful bass textures into the title track, which to date, is Numan’s last British Top 10 track.
It’s hard to pick a favorite from Numan’s catalog, I suppose this stands out because it wasn’t overplayed, is not culled for compilations very much, and stands up over time – even the bonus singles (especially “My Car Slides I & II”).