GARY NUMAN Works Dark Magic on SPLINTER – Songs From A Broken Mind

RATING    ***** out of 5 Stars            Electronic, Synth-pop, Industrial, New Wave, Darkwave

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The first time I heard “I Am Dust” from SPLINTER I was hooked!

Normally, I’m a pop/rock girl with a tendency toward good ol’ 70s-80s music. The industrial-techno-electro strains of SPLINTER touched my soul so much so that I bought the CD a few days later. Gary Numan’s music calls to me today as it always has.

SPLINTER is Numan’s 74th album. His first American hit was “Cars” in 1980, which helped mark Numan as a pioneer in electronic dance music. The cutting-edge sounds and performances on SPLINTER are Numan the Innovator at his best!

The term Darkwave aptly describes the musical offering embodied in SPLINTER. The bass lines are heavy, sometimes ominous, but never conventional. The driving beat and syncopation are uniquely Numan. The melodies are woven of intricate and well-crafted patterns. The classically rendered sound waves within each composition meld into colors that draw the listener deeper into the imagery of the song. No two songs on SPLINTER sound the same.

I greatly appreciate the space Numan leaves in his compositions. I can never anticipate where the breaks will be or how precisely they will affect the lyric lines. Numan is a master of using a break as a composition.

The overall theme of SPLINTER – Songs From A Broken Mind is deeply spiritual – dealing with God, man and lost love that can never be restored.

The lyrics brazenly sing the unasked questions religious dogma fears. SPLINTER expresses doubts about God, while acknowledging the insidious, destructiveness of man. In “Splinter,” Numan pens the lines, “I don’t believe a word of ‘The Word” is true, I don’t believe in the goodness of people like me, I believe everything bleeds from the fear of man.”  Deeply scriptural.

One of my favorite cuts is “We’re The Unforgiven.” It speaks to the vanity of once perfect beings who crossed a line that sealed their fate – eternal separation from God. The line “Once there was life and we were strong, full of pride…now we’re just a ruin.” reminds me to be weary of my prideful self lest I, too, fall into eternal ruin.

I would love to have tea with this untrained musician of a man who says he is “just good with sounds.” I want to hear about the images of the mind that form the amazing dark magic that is Gary Numan in SPLINTER.



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