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The Pleasure Principle

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iTunes Review

Gary Numan's third album, The Pleasure Principle, was not only the most influential synth-pop album this side of the Kraftwerk discography, it was also one of the key albums of the entire new wave era. While Numan found fame in the U.K. with his first two releases, this was the one that broke him on the other side of the Atlantic. Numan played some guitar on the earlier albums, but here he switches to strictly synths. Crucially, he retained his bassist and drummer instead of going all electronic, lending a visceral rock feel to his sound. The sharp, lean single "Cars" became an international smash, but the rest of the record packs an equal punch. The crunching, concise riffs and rhythms of tracks like "Metal" and "Engineers" perfectly echo Numan's technophile/sci-fi image. They also represent the next logical step David Bowie could have taken if he'd continued pursuing the electronic-oriented direction of his late-'70s albums with Brian Eno. Fortunately for all, Numan was on hand to pick up that stylistic thread.

Customer Reviews

Underrated Masterpiece

This is one of the most under appreciated albums ever. It bridges Goth, Industrial and Rock. Total minimalism. Excellent.

Layers upon layers of synth pop cake...YUMMY!

A VERY melodic and hypnotic effort by the venerable godfather of the genre...lots of gems in this one... and that doesn't even count the 7 (SEVEN!!) extra tracks. The lyrics are Numan at his best; simultaneously very personal and isolationistic. Sometimes accuse of being unoriginal, here Numan blends the influences of his reading and music to yield a unique compote of freshly stewed angst and estrangement. The driving beat has influenced countless musicians in it's wake, and has been sampled and mimiced by Snoop Dogg as well as the Intel corporation. You have to admit that something is UP when you can count a no. 1 hit, a gansta hip hop song and a computer commercial soundtrack as your legacy. Not without reason....absolutely worth every penny. So good I was happy to buy my 3rd copy in 20 years, this time as a download. Thank you Mr. Webb. Thank you.

An Amazing Synthpop Release

"The Pleasure Principle" (named after one of Freud's psychoanalytic terms) is an amazing retro synthpop album. The AMG review says "there is not a single weak moment on the disc," ad it's absolutely correct. Some highlights are "Metal", about the fusion of man and machine, and "Cars", the endlessly catchy 80s hit.


Born: March 8, 1958 in Hammersmith, London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the founding fathers of synth pop, Gary Numan's influence extends far beyond his lone American hit, "Cars," which still stands as one of the defining new wave singles. That seminal track helped usher in the synth pop era on both sides of the Atlantic, especially his native U.K., where he was a genuine pop star and consistent hitmaker during the early '80s. Even after new wave had petered out, Numan's impact continued to make itself felt; his dark, paranoid vision, theatrically icy alien persona,...
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