Gary Numan ‎– Savage: Songs From A Broken World

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I signed up to the Pledge music campaign for this album, and it was late, but to be honest the deadline that was set for completion wasn’t very realistic so that was expected. Numan did a lot of bits and pieces for the ‘Access Pass’ bit with regular updates and videos, which is good as this is supposed to be the added value bit and a lot of artists don’t really seem to bother with it as much as they should, Zola Blood being an example, a few messages over the period of a year and that was about it. Numan really did fulfill his side of the bargain with his access pass involvement.

I signed up for the double vinyl in a gatefold sleeve and that is what I got, along with a badge and a postcard that I wasn’t expecting, which was a small but nice addition.

I saw Numan, with Dave (Hi Dave) earlier this year and heard a lot of the tracks live before they were released, and they sounded really good in a small venue, however, there is a slight sense of sameiness (that can’t be an actual word) about the album when you listen to it through from start to finish, a lot of which is to do with the repeated use of sounds, particularly the deeper bassy bits (apologies if that was a bit technical there).

The single, ‘My Name is Ruin’ is a highlight in this set, and was undoubtedly the correct choice as lead single from the album. It features Persia Numan on backing vocals and this works really well, it’s pretty catchy as well and bears repeated listening. To be honest, there aren’t any bad tracks on the album and it does feal like a logical extension from the last album ‘Splintered: Songs from a broken mind’ which looked inward, with ‘Songs from a broken world’ looking outward.

“My Name Is Ruin”

When they called me broken, I knew
When they called me evil, I knew
When they called me ruin, I knew
I would always find my way to you

When I beg forgiveness, they knew
When I beg for mercy, they knew
When I beg for nothing, they knew
I would always find my way to you

My name is ruin, my name is vengeance
My name is no one, no one is calling

My name is ruin, my name is heartbreak
My name is loving, but sorrows and darkness
My name is ruin, my name is evil
My name’s a war song, I sing you a new one
My name is ruin, my name is broken
My name is shameless, I’ll tear you wide open

When I called you poison, you knew
When I called you shameful, you knew
When I called you a liar, you knew
I would always find my way to you

I’ll show you ruin, I’ll show you vengeance
I’ll show you no one, and no one is calling
I’ll show you ruin, I’ll show you heartbreak
I’ll show you loving, and sorrow and darkness
I’ll show you ruin, I’ll show you evil
I’ll sing you a war song, I’ll sing you a new one
I’ll show you ruin, I’ll show you broken
I’ll show you shameless, I’ll tear you wide open

Tracklist

A1 Ghost Nation
A2 Bed Of Thorns
A3 My Name Is Ruin
B1 The End Of Things
B2 And It All Began With You
B3 When The World Comes Apart
C1 Mercy
C2 What God Intended
C3 If I Said
D1 Pray For The Pain You Serve
D2 Broken
D3 Cold

 

The main concept of the album is of an environmental dystopia brought about by global warming, and that seems quite on the money right now. However, even though I know that there was no offence intended by the cover art, apparently some folk have taken offence to it, with Numan in seemingly Bedouin garb alongside the word Savage. It is not the best cover ever.

There do appear to be three more singles from the album, but only one video has been made, for the fourth single, which is ‘When the world comes apart’, which isn’t anywhere near as good a video as for the first single.

I think a certain amount of credit has to go to Numan, who, unlike many other bands/artists who first came under the spotlight at the end of the 70’s and the begining of the 80’s, he has not rested on his laurels, living off past glories and producing nothing new. He has regularly produced new music and for a very long time refused to play many of the old tracks for which he was best known. This changed in recent years as he has now toured the old albums, ‘The Pleasure Principle’ and ‘Telekon’ in particular, but while still creating new music. I believe he has become more comfortable with the old tracks and sees them as less of an issue as, while he prefers to keep looking forward, you can’t deny the past.

You can go back as far as 1997 and find really good albums that were mostly overlooked, ‘Exile’ for example, is an excellent album that explores the concept that God and the Devil are different sides of the same coin. ‘Pure’ from 2000, another excellent album, as was the last release, ‘Splinter’.

For a few of his earlier albums Numan has taken the general concepts and themes from stories he has written, but which are seemingly never published, and turned them into songs, the first of which was ‘Replicas’ and I suspect that we have a similar method here. I’m pretty sure that ‘My Name Is Ruin’ is about a father hunting down his daughter who, in the dystopian future setting of the album, has been abducted.

Following the album’s release, it was revealed that, in spite of it being predominantly recorded with electronic instruments, it had been excluded from Billboard’s dance/electronic music chart, with an executive from Billboard advising BMG that “Sonically, the Numan album just does not fit in” with Billboard’s perception of electronic dance music. The Billboard dance/electronic chart’s number one position for September 15 was held by Calvin Harris, whose album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, sold approximately 600 fewer copies than Savage. So. fuck Billboard I say. More importantly, it reached Number 2 in the UK album charts, kept of the top spot by the Foo Fighters with ‘Fire & Gold’ and reached Number 1 in the UK indie chart.

Because I can, here is ‘My Name is Ruin’ again, this time from the gig that Dave and I were at in Leamington Spa.

I am going to give this album an 8.3, which is a pretty decent rating I think, a little more variety (at least as far as my ears are concerned) and it would have been rated a bit higher, but like all new albums, sometimes these things take time to bed in and it could be revised either way in the future.

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