SD 38-120 The Pleasure Principle
Produced by Gary Numan
Released on September 7, 1979
UK CHART POSITION #1 . . . US CHART POSITION #16
Find it at GEMM
SD 38-120 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 3.0: FOR YOUR PLEASURE. The third album, billed simply as Gary Numan, contained an international hit with “Cars.” No longer a UK phenomenon, the name of Numan now reverberated across the entire globe as a poster boy for the new, cold synthetic revolution. Which is all nice and fine, but The Pleasure Principle still pales alongside the more evolved work of Ultravox, Kraftwerk and David Bowie. Listening to this album today, you may wonder what the fuss was all about. The music evokes some of the stateliness of Ultravox, no surprise given the involvement of Billy Currie. And despite a reliance on simplistic riffs, Numan’s vision of robot rock succeeds on songs like “Metal,” “Conversation” and “M.E.” In a sense, The Pleasure Principle is a realization of the icy and antiseptic vision of the future delivered by sci-fi pulp magazines since the 60s. Robots supersede their creators, emulate their emotions, reveal all emotions to be a matter of wires and energy, et cetera. The novelty of synthesizers in popular music helped elevate the dramatic effect of The Pleasure Principle in 1979, but today this sounds more like novelty music than a sustainable vision for the future. Frankly, the music of Kraftwerk, Ultravox and Tangerine Dream has aged better in part because the synthesizers were a means rather than an ends. For Numan, the pleasure of hearing synthesizers stomp out robotic beats equates to infinite joy. He has handed over the future to robots, perhaps too quickly, without giving them a suitable soul. It’s a superficial apocalypse, lacking in artifice, yet still charming in its innocent presumption that earrings, eye makeup and a synthesizer could change the world. Then again, as Marilyn Manson has shown, it may simply depend on who’s doing your makeup.

TRACK LISTING

  1. AIRLANE    3:17
  2. METAL    3:31
  3. COMPLEX    3:10
  4. FILMS    4:07
  5. M.E.    5:32
  6. TRACKS    2:49
  7. OBSERVER    2:53
  8. CONVERSATION    7:33
  9. CARS    3:57
  10. ENGINEERS    3:58

    1998 CD reissue bonus tracks
  11. RANDOM
  12. OCEANS
  13. ASYLUM
  14. ME, I DISCONNECT FROM YOU (LIVE)
  15. BOMBERS (LIVE)
  16. REMEMBER I WAS VAPOUR (LIVE)
  17. ON BROADWAY (LIVE)

    Tracks 1-10 written by Gary Numan

CREDITS

GARY NUMAN -- vocals, keyboards, synthetic percussion
PAUL GARDINER -- bass
CHRISTOPHER PAYNE -- keyboards, viola
CEDRIC SHARPLEY -- drums, percussion
Billy Currie -- fadeout violin (6,8)
Garry Robson -- backing vocal (8)
Rikki Sylvan -- engineer, mixing
Harvey Webb -- engineer, mixing
Malti Kidia -- art direction
Geoff Howes -- photography
Patti Burris -- make-up
Tony Escott -- illustration
Su Walthan -- calligraphy

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK/CAN September 7, 1979 Beggar's Banquet LP/CS BEGA/BEGC-10 lyric sleeve
US September 1979 Atco LP SD 38-120 lyric sleeve
AUSL 1979 Atlantic LP 600049  
UK June 1998 Beggar's Banquet CDX BBL-10CD w. bonus tracks
UK September 21, 2009 Beggar's Banquet 3CD BBQCD-2063 30th Anniversary Ed. w. two bonus discs

 

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