Since 1979, Gary Numan has been introducing us to his unique sound time and time again. The innovator has never stood by what was popular or selling in music at any time. He has always stuck to his personal preferences when it came to music he was releasing.
Some artists stick to the sound that they began with even years down the road of their musical career, as it is what first attracted an audience, but Numan has avoided that, as well throughout his career; his music has taken many different forms as the years have passed. One commonality among it although, is the innovation of his sound and the obvious lack of care for what others who were making “popular music” were doing at the time. AKA what musical artist should be doing! Doing what you love, producing content that you love, and sticking to your guts instead of taking what others have done successfully (and mooching off of it for your personal benefit) is the way of true artists, and the ever so obvious way of Gary Numan!
Savage is a continuance of the dark and curious sound that he has been pursuing in the recent years, much like in his previous album Splinter, but it has its own uniqueness. Right off the bat with the first track Ghost Nation, you get very strong Muse vibes; as the song has a futuristic sound brought on by sound effects. It also has a strong rock sound to it which blends well with the futuristic effects and creates that Muse-like sound, but in a unique way. This is not Muse. This is Gary Numan. And it shows! The beats are a slight bit harsher, more defined, and less rock-oriented than Muse. He also speaks of chaos and destruction which matches well with the sound of the song.
Moving on to the track Bed Of Thorns, the song starts off much slower, with a lingering beat that gets the listener begging to hear where the song will be going next. He starts of with a quiet and subtle tone of voice building up to the chorus, but as soon as the chorus hits, not only does the level of passion in his voice rise dramatically, but so does the intensity of the music. This song is unique because both the soft and hard tones go together to create a contrast that stays with you after you listen. The best songs are the ones that leave you thinking “every part of that song is exactly what it needs to be”, which is rare, but exactly what this song does!
As the album goes on, things get shaken up a bit with a harsh guitar rhythm to start off the track My Name Is Ruin. This song has an extremely strong “I am who I am” message to it, as throughout there are lines like “When they called me evil, I knew” and “My name is ruin. My name is vengeance” he confidently proclaims what seems to be who he feels he is in this “perfect storm” of a world in this song which I think speaks a lot to his entire career as he has always been himself, and not who the masses wanted him to be.
The music only gets more intriguing as you listen on. And It All Began With You is mesmerising, the music is slow and lacking of the more intense and electronic rhythms that the songs previous have so much of, making the song a gorgeous change of pace. Songs like Mercy and What God Intended are also extremely necessary for the album to feel complete, as they bring so much to the sound of the album, and are both executed flawlessly. Mercy begins with what sounds like a missile being shot and flying through the air, and then there is the sound of the missile landing and exploding which flows right into the beginning of the actual song…SO COOL!
What God Intended is haunting with it’s opening line “Save me from the world”. With a name like What God Intended and lyrics like that, it causes you to think about the times we live in when listening to this song. The passion of it all is very intriguing and very well done!
It’s clear that Gary Numan has got the whole music as a career thing down pat; as he gives the world his own sound that’s clearly the sound that he loves, and is also something that his listeners love as well. Nothing is more respectable than that in a world where it is so common for artists to sell themselves out in favor of money and fame. Not to mention, he has been doing it for almost forty years now! True respect for this one-of-a-kind artist.