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The Pleasure Principle (album)

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Last Updated: 12 November 2020

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The Pleasure Principle (album)

Studio album by Gary Numan
GenreSynth-pop, new wave
LabelBeggars Banquet (UK), Atco (U.S.)
Length41 : 07
ProducerGary Numan
RecordedMid-1979
Released7 September 1979
StudioMarcus Music AB, London

The third album by Gary Numan, and first under his own name, is 1979s cult classic Pleasure Principle. This is an album with the song Cars on it, but we will get to that in a moment. Gary Numan was carving his own path in the late 70s with a total synthesizer approach accompanied with a robotic Thin White Duke appearance. His style seems to ape David Bowie very closely and it gets to a point where both butt heads and become rivals for a while. Similarities really stop there though, because Numan and Bowie go in separate directions on their craft. Numans previous album, Replicas, jump-start his career in those early days of proto New-Wave and Goth Rock. His vocals sound like they were part of the same machine he was playing and the use of a real band blends music all together quite well for a studio-focused album. This was all relatively new back then and sort of mind blowing I suppose. This still holds up today in a charming simplistic way. Airlane is a nice album opener that is all instrumentals. The use of synths and progression of the backing band make the song have a nice driving force that I can imagine being fun to dance back in the day and probably still now if you go to the right club. Metal is a nice follow-up track that ushers in Numans nasally vocals. Repeating rhythmic music is repetitive almost in same way that Kraftwerk were doing at the same time, but in this case, it feels a bit more alive than what those German musicians were doing. Kraftwerk are still awesome though. Songs like Complex and track show melodic use of synths that try to replicate more classical music feel but all do through primitive electronics. Numan also sings with a more mellow tone and accentuates it with moody, downtrodden lyrics, thus highlighting gothic undertones. They are nice paring of Tracks but where the album really shin is in the more aggressive songs. The films have this subtle, dark, foreboding synth that builds up track while bass guitar keeps pulse throughout. It is a nice piece of music and one of the best tracks here, but top immediately by the song ME Listen to ME and think back to the year 2001 and the song Wheres Your Head At? By Basement Jaxx. Their sampling of repeating crunchy synth was a wise decision that made for a very catchy single from their album Rooty. I took notice back then and did not know it was from Numan song. Observer is another hard hitting song with that ever-present synth just melting across the record. There is a reason why Numan is considered king of synth base Rock. The The other acts I would compare him to are, of course, Kraftwerk, Human League and underrated Ultravox.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Composition and release

Master android Gary Numan's pioneering synth-pop sounds more relevant than ever in 2010, which is why his schedule set at this year's retro-focused Coachella Festival was so anticipated. Unfortunately, certain Icelandic volcano named Eyjafjallajokull had other plans for Numan, who was one of eight international artists unable to travel to the fest due to unsafe, ashy flying conditions. But this week Numan finally airlaned it to Southern California for two Los Angeles makeup-dates, during which he performed his recently reissued1979 masterwerk Pleasure Principle in its entirety. And it was worth the wait. Because honestly, gothically black-clad Numans robot-rock revue was more suited to dry-ice-fog, crimson-lit, nocturnal venue like Hollywoods El Rey Theater than some sun-bleach Festival field of hackeysacking hippies. The Gig begins with El Rey going pitch-black save for one utilitarian spotlight and single strident synth note echoing ominously, after which after 52-year-old Numan struts out audaciously-all jutting wax-mannequin facial angles and leather riding boots and Electric-socket-shock blue-black hair-and rakes his black-nailed fingers across his keyboard while his sidekick bang along on octagonal drums. And it was actually amazing how fresh and state-of-The-art Numans disaffect monotone and clinical, computerized compositions from Pleasure Principle come across, 31 years later. Ironically, it was only when Numan played his newer tunes-sort of generic Nothing Records cybermetal fodder, with roar of belligerent guitar more reminiscent of Linkin Park than his trademark cybernetic sinewaves, and his voice bringing down untold number of octaves from its trademark eunuch-yelp to Cookie Monster croak-that he sounded cringe-inducingly date. But Pleasure Principle tracks, along with choice Tubeway Army cuts like Are Friends Electric and Down in Park? That material was as principled and pleasurable as ever.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Tour

Numan toured throughout the world in support of the album with a huge stage set including banks of neon lights and twin pyramids which move across the stage via radio control. The live show was captured on record as Living Ornaments 79 and on video as Touring Principle. The support act on the UK leg of the tour was Orchestral Manoeuvres in Dark. An expanded version of Living Ornaments '79 was issued on CD in 2005, and the final show of Touring Principle was captured on CD by Engineers in 2008. Numan performed a 16-date mini-tour dedicated to the album across the UK and Ireland during November and December of 2009, similar to Numan's previous tours for Replicas and Telekon, performing the album in its entirety. Numan had been scheduled to play the 2010 Coachella Festival in Indio, California but was forced to cancel, due to the Icelandic volcano eruption that disrupted air travel. To make up for this, Numan embarked upon another 16-date mini-tour of the US that August, in which he again performed Pleasure Principle in its entirety.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Reissue

Of bonus tracks later included on CD reissues, Random and Oceans were instrumental outtakes from Pleasure Principle sessions, originally issued on vinyl with other previously unreleased tracks in 1985, while Asylum was instrumental B-side of Cars vinyl single. Live versions of ME! I Disconnect From You and Bombers, which appear as B-sides of Complex, were recorded on tour and later made available in their original context on the expanded Living Ornaments '79 CD, along with Remember I Was Vapour and on Broadway. The latter two tracks were first released as promotional singles shipped with early pressings of the album Telekon in 1980; Numan's cover version of the classic on Broadway was dominated by a characteristic synthesizer solo by then-former ultravox band member Billy Currie.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Reception

Professional ratings

SourceRating
AllMusic
Classic Rock9/10
Mojo
Pitchfork8.2/10
Q
Record Collector
Smash Hits7/10
Spin8/10
Uncut9/10
The Village VoiceB

V iewers of BBC4's Synth Britannia would have see Gary Numan's peers virtually queuing up to heap praise on Middlesex's foremost purveyor of dystopian pop electronica. Which was something of a surprise: at the height of his fame, one of Numan's weirder characteristics was his ability to attract hatred from other musicians. His hero, David Bowie, had him thrown off television show, then wrote a song about how much he disliked him. I've never met guy, chip in Mick Jagger, but he's one of those people you absolutely loathe. Listening to him perform his biggest album, 1979's Pleasure Principle, it's difficult to see why anyone was so upset by him, unless they had aversion to choral-sounding synthesizers and songs about alienated robots: Engineers and Conversation bear the mark of a man adept at balancing commerciality with more avant-garde concerns. That's not to say there aren't problems here. In more recent years, Numan has reinvented himself as the godfather of industrial rock. Occasionally, Pleasure Principle's songs sound awkward, resting on top of the genre's standard-issue distorted bass guitar and pummelling drums, something that, to his credit, doesn't seem to pass Numan by. That was a bit rubbish actually, he offered between songs. Indeed, he seems more comfortable performing newer material. So do his fans: weirdly subdue even during Cars, they get more excited when he breaks out distorted guitars, which must be gratifying for man on stage: perhaps uniquely among his 80s contemporaries, Numan's fans seem less interested in his past than his present. Headbanging, synthpop's former whipping boy looks like a man enjoying his last laugh. At Sub 29, Cardiff tonight, then touring.

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* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Track listing

To celebrate the 40 Anniversary of the release of Pleasure Principle, special edition of the album, Pleasure Principle: First Recordings was released on 11 October 2019. Release on 2 LP colour vinyl and 2 CD editions. CD 1 cars films complex random ME conversation tracks cars metal airlane trois Gymnopedies No. 1 observer conversation engineers Asylum oceans photograph CD 2 airlane cars films conversation tracks complex ME engineer airlane cars

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

AllMusic Review by Greg Prato

CD

No.TitleLength
1." This Wreckage "5:26
2."The Aircrash Bureau"5:41
3."Telekon"4:29
4."Remind Me to Smile" (CD intro is different to vinyl one)4:03
5."Sleep By Windows"4:58
6." We Are Glass " (originally issued as a standalone single)4:47
7."I'm an Agent"4:19
8."I Dream of Wires"5:10
9."Remember I Was Vapour" (CD version of this track is different from the original vinyl version, which contains an additional synth melody)5:11
10."Please Push No More"5:39
11."The Joy Circuit"5:12
12." I Die: You Die " (Alternate Version)3:47

The Most popular Of All Gary Numan Albums is undeniably 1979's Pleasure Principle. The Reasons Are Simple-There is not a single weak moment on the disc, It contains his sole US hit, Cars, and new drummer Cedric Sharpley adds a whole new dimension with his powerful percussion work. Pleasure Principle is also one of the first Gary Numan Albums to feature true ensemble playing, especially hear within airtight, killer groove of metal. Starting things off with atmospheric instrumental airlane, quality of songs gets stronger and stronger as album progress-films, ME, observer, conversation, aforementioned Cars, and UK Top Ten hit complex all show Numan in top form. If you had to own just one Gary Numan Album, Pleasure Principle would be it.

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Chart positions

ChartYearPeak position
UK Albums Chart19791

Professional ratings

SourceRating
AllMusic
Pitchfork Media
Rolling Stone
Smash Hits7/10
Spin

Side one

No.TitleLength
1." This Wreckage "5:26
2."The Aircrash Bureau"5:41
3."Telekon"4:29
4."Remind Me to Smile"4:03
5."Sleep by Windows" (replaced with " I Die: You Die " on overseas releases)4:58

Side two

No.TitleLength
6."I'm an Agent"4:19
7."I Dream of Wires"5:10
8."Remember I Was Vapour"5:11
9."Please Push No More"5:39
10."The Joy Circuit"5:12

Table

Chart (1980)Peak position
UK Albums Chart1
US Billboard 20064
* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Structure and release

Standard black vinyl that has been cut from high-resolution digital files by award-winning engineer John Dent At loud mastering. 'The Pleasure Principle' is Gary Numan's third studio album and marks the point where he became a huge international solo star, reaching the Top 10 in the US with 'Cars' and the Top 20 with the album itself. Give conservative nature of the music scene in America at that time and the fact that LP didn't even feature any guitars, let alone conventional song structures, this is one of those special moments in pop music when new ideas break through all boundaries. 'The Pleasure Principle' pioneered electronic pop music on a new scale, becoming a much bigger hit worldwide than Kraftwerk or anything from the Bowie / Eno Berlin trilogy. And the fact that it was so different and had such a major impact in America meant that there was direct link from 'The Pleasure Principle' to new musical forms that were born in the USA over the next decade-namely hip hop, industrial and techno.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Sources

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

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