Gary Numan’s follow-up to the flawless The Pleasure Principle was 1980’s Telekon. Numan experimented with funk for the first time in his career (“Remind Me to Smile”), but there were still plenty of chilling synth excursions to keep the Numan faithful satisfied -- “This Wreckage,” “The Aircrash Bureau,” “I’m an Agent,” and “I Dream of Wires” are all choice cuts. It debuted at the top of the UK Albums Chart in September 1980, making it his third consecutive No. 1 album.
The most popular of all the Gary Numan albums is undeniably 1979’s The Pleasure Principle. The reasons are simple -- there is not a single weak moment on the disc, it contains his sole U.S. (number one worldwide) hit, “Cars.” The Pleasure Principle is also one of the first Gary Numan albums to feature true ensemble playing, especially heard within the airtight, killer groove of “Metal” (one of Numan’s all-time best tracks). Starting things off with the atmospheric instrumental “Airlane,” the quality of the songs gets stronger and stronger as the album progresses -- “Films,” “M.E.,” “Observer,” “Conversation,” the aforementioned “Cars,” and the U.K. Top Ten hit “Complex” all show Numan in top form. If you had to own just one Gary Numan album, The Pleasure Principle would be it.
By the release of their second album, Replicas, Gary Numan was the undisputed focal point and leader of icy electro-punkers Tubeway Army. And the move proved to be massively successful back home in the U.K., where both the album and the single “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” topped the charts. The band had made a conscious effort to streamline the sound heard on its 1978 self-titled debut -- the distorted guitar riffs were played on Moog synthesizers instead, and Numan had perfected his faux-space-age persona. And the paranoia that is very evident in the lyrics and vocals on Numan’s next release, The Pleasure Principle, can be detected on Replicas. Another near-perfect album by the band, highlights are many -- “Me! I Disconnect from You,” “The Machman,” “You Are in My Vision,” and the chilling ballad “Down in the Park.”
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