his previous three studio releases, Gary Numan has
taken on one of life's bigger targets: God. An outspoken atheist in terms
of his lyrical content, Numan has honed his dark, industrial-based
sound to perfection on his latest CD, Jagged. Although the topic
of God isn't directly confronted in the same personal and direct fashion
of 2000's Pure, Jagged still
finds Numan firing off such lyrics as "I think it showed me Heaven and
now I know why I'm scared to die."
Numan - Jagged
Release Date: March 21, 2006
Label: Metropolis Records
Numan had been affected by the death of his unborn child due to a miscarriage.
This horrible and unfortunate event resulted in some extremely personal
lyrics crying out against God and his supposed divinity. With Numan now
a father of two healthy children, one could possibly expect the lyrics
on the new album to be somewhat lighter in tone. Definitely not the case
Jagged. The lyrics remain dark and gloomy, albeit much less
personal in nature.
big surprise on Jagged is the production. Numan's last few releases
had been more or less self-produced. While re-recording some of his bigger
2003's Hybrid, Numan got a chance to work with producers who
were able to give his sound the kick in the pants that it had been needing.
Originally slated to work with Andy Gray, who has worked with Paul Oakenfold,
Numan eventually found the sound he wanted with DJ Ade Fenton, who brings
new presence. The choruses soar with power and the atmosphere is brutal.
Still, the whole thing sounds like a Numan CD but now with extra balls.
Who'd have guessed it would take a techno producer to bring this kind
of power to Numan's sound?
a wonderful surprise is the return of live drums to the mix. Numan had
regularly used them in his early career, but had recently moved to the
use of programmed loops that gave albums like Sacrifice and Exile a "samey"
feel in the percussion department. With regular touring drummer Richard
Beasley contributing to most of the songs, the drums power tracks that
would probably have fallen flat with the use of loops or pre-programmed
fills. Jerome Dillon (ex-Nine Inch Nails) also pounds the skins
on a few tracks as well.
"In a Dark Place", the first single, Numan sings, "Something
knows me /
It whispers my name /
And I'm losing my faith" over what fleetingly sounds like the old
analog synths that powered the 80s version of his musical vision. Is
Or is it something else? Whatever "it" is, it's not nostalgia
because, moments later, he launches into a chorus that sandblasts into
submission any thoughts
that he was resting on his old "Cars" laurels. Jagged finds
Numan powering through songs that sound completely unlike anything he'd
fact, that's probably the best thing about Jagged. You can
hear that Numan has "found himself" after being lost for so
much of the 1980s.
While he'd found the right direction in the 1990's with Sacrifice and
Exile, it's on Jagged that Numan has perfected his new sonic
attack. Welcome back, Gary.