Gary Numan

Gary Numan


Beggars Banquet

Critics suck. They saw the cover of this album (which, admittedly, DOES make Numan look like a Road Warrior wannabe) and decided that the music within was attempting to emulate the look. This is so far away from the truth that it had to dial “011” when attempting to even say hello to the truth. All Warriors is is a great Gary Numan record, which means that it’s a great record full stop.

Warriors is packed with great songs, none of which mention Thunderdome, but it suffers from an identity crisis: Numan hired Be-Bop Deluxe guitar man Bill Nelson to co-create the songs with him, but then fought Nelson all the way and ended up only using some of his work and erasing others and generally (say the notes) losing interest in some of the songs altogether. This was stupid of Numan, because Nelson was a GREAT choice, and some of these songs sound fab because of his twangy guitar heroics. But you can only really hear what might have been on the bonus tracks: “My Car Slides (1)” is frozen nightmare shit with some really screwy-beautiful chordwork by Nelson, and “My Car Slides (2)” turns all kind of Yakety-Sax on the same idea.

As for the real originally release album itself (fall of 1983, actually), the songs are hard-edged plodding stubborn I’m-trying-not-to-be-human-because-it-hurts-too-much Numan funk. The title track bumps along nicely, but it’s probably the most boring thing here. Much much better are songs like the sci-fi narrative “I Am Render” and the stomping eight and a half minute “Sister Surprise.” Numan flirts with cabaret stylings on the metronomic “Love is Like Clock Law,” and the last song, “The Rhythm of the Evening,” has everything from Bootsy-like bass and wailing saxophone to James Brown chicken-scratch guitar.

Best of all, though, is “My Centurion.” It’s terrifying, it’s confusing (are they dying? is their relationship ending? who the hell is his centurion?), and it rocks harder than you might think. It’s not the centerpiece of Warriors, but it’s the best song from the ’80s that none of us ever heard.

Beggars Banquet:

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