I’ve rediscovered an old friend. Gary Numan, the 80’s New Wave pioneer who had a break out hit with his 1979 song Cars. Most people’s knowledge of the man and his music ends there, relegating him to the world of one-hit wonders.
I was more tenacious than some, but not most. I followed his career for a while into the mid-eighties, three or four albums, but when he moved from synthesizers to guitars, I lost interest. He was just another three cord wanna-be rock and roller I thought. Striving for mainstream acceptance with conventional tools. He fell off my American radio stations and it it was natural to relegate him to the back of my cassette case and forget he existed as I followed other experimental bands.
But, whereas I gave up on him, he never gave up and his new album crossed my internet browsing and I gave i a listen.
It was very cool.
I brushed off my old albums and gave them a new listen and then dug into the decades of work he’d put out without my knowledge. Like binge-watching a career I saw his evolution and growth. He never stopped his experimentation. He built upon his moody vibes and throbbing dance songs that made me wiggle in my seat the first time I heard them.
He’d had changes in his life. He’d touched a nerve in politics before it was normal for artists to have and voice political opinions. He’d married, had kids and never stopped writing music. He was successful. He was under the radar, the mainstream had their new flash in the pans, but he’d found an audience and had kept them. They’d allowed him to continue creating.
He stayed dark and brooding, echoed the theme bands of his birth, Flock of Seagulls and the like, live shows with costumes and trippy lights, How'd I miss all this? I asked myself. Oh, yeah. Wrong continent.
Now, I’m digging on the new album. Now critics are re-evaluating him as well. Musicians are commenting on his influence on their careers and he’s been named “the Father of Dark Wave.” Pretty damn cool that he has a sub-genre of his own. What artist can hope for more?
I love this. Not only because it’s like meeting an old friend and falling in love again, but as an artist it thrills me that he kept at it. I was too quick to dismiss me, but luckily for everyone, he didn’t listen to me. He had his own path and every album I download and listen to is a picture of progress, a gem and joy. He inspires me.
O,h and his new album is charting.
Check out Gary Numan, Savage (Songs from a Broken World).