Veteran musician/singer/songwriter Gary Numan is scheduled to release his latest album, Intruder, Friday. His 24th (yes, 24th) album, this 13-song record will come more than three years after the release of his then most recent album, Savage (Songs from a Broken World) appeal strongly to Numan’s established audience base as well as most fans of electronic and industrial rock and metal. That is proven in part through the musical arrangements featured throughout the album. They will be discussed shortly. The lyrical themes featured alongside the album’s musical arrangements will make for their own share of interest. They will be addressed a little later. The album’s production rounds out its most important elements. It will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make the album another engaging offering from one of the rock and metal world’s most respected figures.
Despite its title, Gary Numan’s forthcoming album Intruder will not be viewed by audiences or critics as an intruder. Rather, it is a presentation that most audiences and critics will welcome. That is proven in part through the album’s collective musical arrangements. The arrangements in question are largely everything that audiences have come to expect from Numan, with their electronic/industrial style approaches. The same brooding, keyboard-driven sound and style presented in Savage (Songs from a Broken World) and its predecessor, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) are present here, too. Though, a close listen reveals that even with that stylistic similarity, the arrangements are not just copy and paste works. There are subtle variances in the songs between this record’s compositions and those of the aforementioned records. The arrangements here are even more controlled and “softer” for lack of better wording, than the heavier but equally intense works in those albums. That is really what listeners will catch in their close listens. This aspect of Intruder is certain to keep the noted audiences engaged and entertained throughout the album. It is just one part of what audiences will find appealing in the presentation. The record’s lyrical content adds its own touch to the album’s interest.
The lyrical content featured alongside the album’s musical arrangements is of note because of their heavy nature. This is an album that lyrically is not just an everyday listen. Case in point is the lyrical content of ‘I Am Screaming.’ This song comes across as a person trying to comfort someone who is in a dark place, emotionally speaking. That is inferred right from the song’s lead verse and chorus, in which Numan sings, “Do you regret the words you never said?/Do you feel lost like I do?/Do you regret the things you never did/As if time waited for you?/Can you see me?/Can you feel me?/Can you hear me?/I am screaming” As the song progresses, the subject’s reassurance to the second person comes into play as Numan sings, “Do you regret the songs you never sang?/A love betrayed and broken/Do you regret the life you never lived?/A thousand dreams unopened/You’re welcome to walk with me/You’re welcome to walk alone/You’re welcome to stand with me/You’re welcome to stand alone.” The song’s third verse follows in similar fashion. To that end, what audiences get here is a song that touches so well on the deep emotions that people feel when they reach that “dark night of the soul” but reminds them that they are not alone and can get through things.
‘A Black Sun’ is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content. In this case, Numan seems to the so-called loss of one’s influence. In this case, that loss of innocence happens not through any criminal act, but through another existential crisis of sorts. That is inferred in part in the song’s lead verse, in which Numan sings, “When I was a child my life seemed endless/Too far to see/When I was a child the world was waiting and called to me/And everyone I loved would live for eternity/And everything I dreamed would all come true for me/But now I feel the end come/My childish dreams are undone/I cry under a black sun/And every song is unsung/You will hear me when the wind sighs/You will feel me beside you always/You won’t see me but I’ll be with you.” The song’s second verse plays out in similar fashion, so there is no need to continue there. This is a state of mind in which everyone has found themselves. To that end, it makes the song’s lyrical theme here that much more accessible. The fashion in which the lyrics are delivered adds even more to that accessibility. Keeping that in mind, audiences see even more here why the album’s lyrical content is important to its presentation.
‘Saints and Liars’ is one more example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content. In the case of this song, it comes across as a commentary about religious fundamentalism. In this case, it indicts those most pious individuals who claim to be anything but self-righteous. This is inferred early in the song’s lead verse, which states, “Can you see your fallen God?/He’s standing next to me, far from home/Can you hear your broken promises?/I am what you’ve been waiting for.” The seeming indictment continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “Can you feel your righteous anger?/It’s like a poison that feeds the soul/Can you hide from Saints and liars/When every word is the death of me?/And this is who you are.” Between this seeming message, those presented in the album’s other noted works and those in the rest of the album, the whole makes clear why this album’s deep, heavy lyrical content is so important to its presentation. It will grip listeners just as much as the album’s musical content with its ability to so richly translate so many familiar thoughts and feelings that people go through. Numan is to be commended for all of this. Even with this in mind, the album still has one more item to examine, its production.
As already noted, the arrangements featured throughout the course of Intruder are familiar for Numan’s established audience base. The electronic/industrial sound that he has used for such a long time is present throughout the album. Also noted is the controlled presentation of each arrangement here to make the songs distinguishable from those in Numan’s existing catalog. That control is a tribute not only to Numan and his fellow musicians, but also to those behind the boards. The keyboards and drums had to be balanced out just right with Numan’s vocals in each song. The same is to be said of the guitars. The attention to detail within song leaves the arrangements fully immersive from one to the next. Each instrument and each vocal line is expertly balanced with its counterparts to make each song that strong even in their more subtle presentations. This is a testament to the work put in to ensuring each presented arrangement. The impact, along with that of the album’s overall content, makes the album in whole that much stronger.
Gary Numan’s latest album, Intruder, is a presentation that will appeal easily to any of his established audiences. It will appeal just as much to fans of electronic/industrial music. That is proven in part through its musical arrangements. The arrangements prove familiar in comparison to the arrangements featured in most of Numan’s existing albums. Of course there are subtle differences here that make the arrangements different from his other works, in terms of their sound. The lyrical themes featured in this record add their own interest to the record. That is because they touch on topics that are familiar to any listener. They are deeply emotional and heavy statements, too, which adds to their impact. The production of the record’s songs rounds out its most important elements. It ensures that each song presents audiences with the fullest impact there, too. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make the album another successful offering from one of the most respected names in the hard rock community. Intruder is scheduled for release Friday through BMG.
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