Gary Numan – Intruder

A pitch black point of view

Gary Numan - Intruder (Album cover)

Album facts

Release Date: May 21st, 2021
Label: BMG
Genre: , , ,
Discogs: Not avail­able yet
Partially sounds like: Depeche Mode
Final score: 4.09 stars
Matching album cliches: 0 / 7

"Intruder" is Numan's 18th solo album and the fol­low-up to 2017's "Savage: Songs From A Broken World". It reached #2 on the UK album charts and became his biggest com­mer­cial suc­cess in 40 years. While "Savage" por­trays the Earth as a bleak waste­land where human­ity and cul­ture have been mostly anni­hil­ated by the effects of glob­al warm­ing, "Intruder" tells an altern­at­ive story. It is a philo­soph­ic­al explor­a­tion of a pos­sible future apo­ca­lypse: the plan­et can only sur­vive by wip­ing out its residents.

Doesn't that already sound like a fant­ast­ic found­a­tion for a dark, elec­tron­ic album by elec­tron­ic pion­eer Gary Numan?

Welcome to the wasteland

The intro is like some­thing out of an 80s sci-fi movie with cyborgs and waste­land scenery. Lyrically, you should feel affected right away, because a bit­ter­sweet accus­a­tion is blown in your face. The open­er 'Betrayed' is very calm and without acous­tic pres­sure, but the words hit you like a knife.

'The Gift' searches for the right fre­quency in the intro! Followed by wob­bling synths and an ori­ent­al sound, the song slowly builds up with what feels like a thou­sand dif­fer­ent sounds. With the onset of the chor­us, I feel the con­nec­tion to the pre­de­cessor 'Savage (Songs From A Broken World)' for the first time. In oth­er words, 'Gary Numan' has not rein­ven­ted the wheel with the album 'Intruder', which is a good thing. There is enough new devel­op­ment in the album, but we remain at home in learned and suc­cess­ful song struc­tures and soundscapes.

The lyr­ic­al inter­rog­a­tion in the track 'I Am Screaming' begins with a car­ried, mel­an­chol­ic melody. A fant­ast­ic song that sounds clear­er and there­fore more access­ible than most of the songs on the album 'Intruder'. Maybe a recom­mend­a­tion if you are look­ing for an "easy entry".

Do you regret the words you nev­er said?
Do you feel lost like I do?
Lyrics from 'I Am Screaming' by 'Gary Numan'

We are doomed (and deep in your heart you know it's true)

Very subtly, in the first 5 seconds, the song title 'Intruder' hums out of the speak­ers with a dis­tor­ted machine voice. Just super cool integ­ra­tion and only aud­ible if you listen intently. The struc­ture of the intro is like a threat­en­ing scene in a sci-fi film. The concept of the album is the earth's view of man­kind and the title track makes it clear to the listen­er lyr­ic­ally that we are the intruders and the earth does not need us to live. And even pray­ers will not save us.

I could listen to you scream
Pretty music to my ears […]
You can whis­per your Lord’s Prayer
And pre­tend that it matters
But don’t you wish you’d just listened more?
Lyrics from 'Intruder' by 'Gary Numan'

Gary Numan (Press photo 2021)
Gary Numan (Press photo 2021)

The song 'Is This World Not Enough' is also not an easy listen. By the way, if you're look­ing for a catchy Synth Pop song like 'Cars' on 'Intruder', let me spoil it for you: there is none! Here, dis­tor­ted syn­thes­izers and elec­tric gui­tars dom­in­ate in a mid-tempo and determ­ine the gloomy basic mood. The only thing that bright­ens up the song 'Is This World Not Enough' is the angel­ic, female chor­al singing in the fant­ast­ic bridge.

The track 'The Chosen' bangs out of the speak­ers with a nice, filthy Industrial touch. With a lot of dynam­ics and tempo changes, the song scores in terms of vari­ety. The bridge is an ener­get­ic and rather stress­ful part after the rather quiet songs so far, but "No pain, no gain" I would say here. The song climbs slowly to the chor­us, full of pres­sure. I would clas­si­fy the chor­us some­where between extremely impress­ive and intense.

The track 'It Breaks Me Again' is for me one of the weak­est tracks on the album 'Intruder'. Means: The song is gen­er­ally not bad, but it doesn't elec­tri­fy me either.

The brightest black

In terms of ton­al­ity and struc­ture, the song 'Saints And Liars' is abso­lutely remin­is­cent of the great hit 'My Name Is Ruin' taken from the pre­de­cessor 'Savage (Songs From A Broken World)'. Recycling a good song or sounds is com­pletely legit­im­ate and in this case fant­ast­ic­ally and uniquely real­ised. I love the syn­thes­izer sounds and the crisp drums. The track is also pleas­antly com­pressed to just 4 minutes and there are no unne­ces­sary lengths. 'Gary Numan' gets to the point here with a simple and catchy melody and chor­us. Releasing this song as a pre-release Single was an excel­lent choice.

Can you feel your right­eous anger?
It’s like a pois­on that feeds the soul
Lyrics from 'Saints And Liars' by 'Gary Numan'

The track 'Now And Forever' begins cold, metal­lic and threat­en­ing, like straight out of a Terminator movie. This is the last ele­ment of the puzzle for a dysto­pi­an soundtrack on the album. As bru­tal and raw as the verse parts may sound, the chor­us comes close to redemp­tion. The line: "I'll be in your heart forever", in the chor­us sends shivers down my spine. The song moves in the low-tempo range, but is in itself well tidy, clean and varied.

The last track on the reg­u­lar ver­sion of the album 'Intruder' just barely slips past the cliché of the last piano bal­lad. The afore­men­tioned piano pas­sage already occurs for a good length in 'The End Of Dragons', but is then sup­por­ted by vari­ous synth sounds in quite a var­ied way. Until the end, 'Gary Numan' has a fant­ast­ic selec­tion of var­ied songs ready, and in a remark­able quality.

A gloomy and sinister concept for the discerning listener

I can rather describe what the album 'Intruder' is def­in­itely not. It is not an album to dance to and cer­tainly not to be happy and cheer­ful to. Moreover, it is not an "I'll have a quick listen" album, it demands so much more from the listen­er. Listening to it at work or in the car doesn't work either. 'Intruder' requires the listen­er to occupy him­self con­sciously and exclus­ively with the con­tent and the soundscapes.

If you are will­ing to con­cen­trate only on well pro­duced bleak, elec­tron­ic music and love deep lyr­ics, then I can only recom­mend 'Intruder' by 'Gary Numan' to you. Then it is a beau­ti­ful and pitch black album that takes you into a par­al­lel world and lets you see dif­fer­ent perspectives.

Track by track rating for: Gary Numan – Intruder

Gary Numan - Intruder (Album cover)
Gary Numan – Intruder
The Gift
I Am Screaming
Is This World Not Enough
A Black Sun
The Chosen
And It Breaks Me Again
Saints and Liars
Now and Forever
The End of Dragons
Saints and Liars
(Nothing to report here)

Typical album cliché list for: Gary Numan – Intruder

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The Gift
I Am Screaming
Is This World Not Enough
A Black Sun
The Chosen
And It Breaks Me Again
Saints and Liars
Now and Forever
The End of Dragons
Final Score