15 September 2017 (released)
03 September 2017
With his 22nd album, Savage: Songs From A Broken World, Gary Numan seeks to take us on a post-apocalyptic blockbuster journey, but gets lost along the way.
In promotional notes for the offering, the album is described as “a narrative that’s set in an apocalyptic, post-global warming Earth in the not-too-distant future.” In this dystopia, Western and Eastern cultures have been merged, human decency is out the window, and technology is a thing of the past.
Numan, sets an isolating and foreboding tone straight from the off, with some imposing industrial strength electronic beats on ‘Ghost Nation’.
The backing track sounds like something you might find on a trailer for the latest Call of Duty video-game. Combined with its artist’s unusual vocal sound, the composition serves to create an imposing, menacing, and robust outlook, all the while managing to excite the ear. Musically ‘Ghost Nation’ is the template for much of the rest of the album.
Thematically, despair and isolation, survival, and salvation (or lack thereof) are the orders of the day.
‘The End of Things’ successfully captures the ominous mood of the protagonist and his surroundings. The listener is dumped in a cold and dark New World, knowing that everything that has been valued and worked for has been for naught.
Meanwhile, ‘When The World Comes Apart’ takes a similarly pessimistic view, seeming to foreshadow the end of a war-torn, global warming affected world."
Numan, dramatically sings:
“do you understand nothing can make it better, nothing can make it go away. If that wasn’t clear enough he further opines:
“and do you understand that we are lost in ruin and this will be your end of days..”
This moody atmosphere persists through all 10 tracks, with very little respite.
When promoting Savage, the 59-year-old promised a narrative in a dystopian future. Unfortunately, while the album expertly hits the bleak and soul destroying mark, narratively it is found wanting.
The lyrics and big synthetic sounds put the listener in the moment song to song, but there’s no sense of story progression. The journey starts in a cold dark dangerous place and ends as such, without any more nuance really being added. This is compounded by the fact that the shortest offering on Savage clocked in at just under five minutes.
To the piece’s credit the longer running time allows the strong musical compositions to audibly give the listener experience of a treacherous, loathsome, desolate vista, but even that gets long in the tooth after a while.
What this artistic decision gains in showcasing musicianship, it loses by failing to tell a compelling story.