CD Review

Gary Numan – “Jagged”

By Mike Ventarola

JaggedDuring the late 70’s, Gary Numan burst upon the newly formed MTV generation with his only U.S. hit, Cars. Once the New Wave era disappeared Numan continued to create music which now contains an overwhelming voluminous back catalog of songs spanning more than 20 albums. While the mainstream was rather quick to toss away future works from Numan, he nonetheless maintained a foothold among his acquired fanbase, some whom have been with him since the outset of his career.

Ultimately, Numan was never given his proper due by the mainstream media or record producers. It seemed as though each release caused record label executives to shake their heads, not quite knowing what to do with his music much less how to market it appropriately. Undaunted, Numan maintained his heart in the punk rock roots from whence he sprang, utilizing the electronic medium to capture the sounds, alienation and scenarios of his many robotic-like characters.

Jagged is the first release of Numan’s after a five-year absence to attend to personal family matters. In the back of his mind, the follow up to Pure was never far behind. Once again Numan set out to capture the soundtrack of a stark and bleak world. Like Pure before it Jagged is sure to become a classic among Goth music fans across the globe. The inspiration for Jagged initially came while Numan was watching a television program about a serial killer. This set things in motion where he questioned the events that would make one person go down a road towards death and madness while another would seek out a creative outlet.

Pressure opens with a sense of malevolence with an infusion of Middle Eastern horn rhythms that haunt the listener. Lyrically, we are brought to the introspective portion of a mind that feels totally betrayed and lost. The track could easily become an anthem among anyone who has ever had their heart broken. Fold continues with the sense of oppressive atmospherics with unique electronic intonations. Here, we are brought to that place where compassion turns involutionally toward vengeance, reasoning is lost to the start of madness.

Halo indirectly points a finger at religious hypocrisy and Slave, when taken in the context of the madness of a serial killer, can be quite frightening indeed. Haunted shows a tortured soul unable to let go of malevolent obsessive thoughts which lead to unspeakable deeds. Clearly, someone has lead our protagonist towards this sense of disconnection . Melt is the final residue between faith and disbelief. Our protagonist has crossed the border between madness and reality and has made the summation that everything is really an empty hell to endure.

Jagged was produced and engineered by Gary Numan and Ade Fenton. This collaboration clearly has assisted Numan to create one of his finest masterpieces. Musically, Numan and Fenton have managed to create a hybrid of sounds that incorporate goth, industrial and rock elements, largely enhanced by the electronic medium. Jagged is a dark musical masterpiece that should not be missed!

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