452. Gary Numan - The Pleasure Principle (1979)
Gary Numan comes up with a distinctive sound here that is actually a mix of distinctive sounds and attitudes, there is something of the good glam of the early 70's Roxy Music and David Bowie and a lot of the Kraftwerk. It is "what if Kraftwerk made pop songs".
If they did it would have been pretty cool. This is a great album, and unfortunately unlike anything else by Gary Numan. This is the peak of a career which looks very much like a needle, a sharp climb followed by a sharp drop. This is not to say that Gary was a one hit wonder, because this whole album is a hit, even if the only song most people will recognise immediately is Cars. Then you think about it and ME is where Basement Jaxx got Where's Your Head At From, Metal had incredible influence on the hip hop scene and the whole album comes together in a crescendo of goodness.
This is also a herald to some of the cool things expecting us just around the corner in the 80's, Soft Cell and the Human League for example owe their existence to this album. And let's not talk about Gary Numan himself but this album, this was his epiphany and this is what he should be remembered for. And that was enough Mr. Numan, you should be happy with yourself.
Notable tracks included "Airlane", the lead-off instrumental; "Metal", sung from the perspective of an android longing to be human and covered by Nine Inch Nails on Things Falling Apart, Afrika Bambaataa on Dark Matter Moving at the Speed of Light and used as backing for Planet Funk's "Who Said"; "Films", acknowledged by Bambaataa as an important influence on the U.S. hip hop scene; "M.E.", told by the last machine on Earth and later used as backing for Basement Jaxx’s "Where’s Your Head At?"; the electronic ballad "Complex", a UK number 6 single; and "Cars", a worldwide synthpop hit recently covered by Fear Factory and sampled for Armand Van Helden’s "Koochy". "Cars" reached number 9 in the U.S., helping make The Pleasure Principle Numan's strongest Stateside showing, but lack of a strong commercial follow-up meant he was tagged a one-hit wonder there.