“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’
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
I Am Screaming
Is This World Not Enough
A Black Sun
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