Savage (Songs From A Broken World) is Gary Numan’s 21st album and the follow up to 2013’s Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind). In many ways, it feels much like a spiritual sequel to that album, at least conceptually. This feels like it could be the second part of a loose trilogy that may possibly be followed by a third maybe called Salvation (Songs For A Broken Future)?
Whereas Splinter was a more personal album that saw Numan working out a lot of his issues and inner demons, Savage takes a more outward approach and looks at the state of the world in which we live today and where we may end up in the future. This is a very desolate album that is reflective of the aesthetic that has been built around the albums release. There is a huge middle eastern flavour that runs throughout the album that provides an interesting undercurrent underneath the icy synths and industrial rhythms that when combined creates a compelling and engrossing listen.
It’s clear that Mr Numan has something to say and has never been shy when it comes to his art. There are moments that reference politics and bring that to the forefront which is understandable given the current state of the government all over the world, and it’s clear that moving to America and seeing things unfold over there first hand has clearly had an influence on this album and his life in general. There are also moments on Savage that are comparable at least from a narrative standpoint to the Nine Inch Nails album Year Zero which is no bad thing, expect here the themes are handled in a way that is left to more open interpretation than with NIN.
I think the biggest accomplishment with Savage, much like Splinter before is just how fresh everything sounds. For an artist who has had a forty year career to still be producing some of his best and most interesting is quite something. Take a track like Bed of Thorns for example, a slow stark track that is filled with haunting keys, and evocative ethereal vocals that will send a chill down your spine and that is on the second track. ‘My Name is Ruin, the album’s first single feature’s Numan’s daughter Persia on backing vocals, which adds an altogether different dynamic in the mix, whilst also providing the album with a dance floor anthem in the process. When the World Comes Apart is one of the most upbeat and dare I say it more mainstream tracks on the album and one that you will find yourself wrapped up in for days, it’s a sublime stand out track amidst the albums darker moments.
On a different note, It All Began With You sounds like it could have been ripped straight out of Blade Runner and is very reminiscent of Vangelis’s work on that film’s score. It sounds inhuman but also very deliberate and fragile at the same time, like the realization that the end is coming. It’s a beautiful song that will stay with you for so many reasons after it’s gone.
This is a multi faceted album that really explores everything that Numan has built up to this point and it feels like at least musically it touches on so many parts of his career. There are callbacks to his earliest works, as well as the artist he is today. Showing once again that in order to know where you are going you have to know where you came from. Gary Numan is a timeless artist that transcends genre and here on Savage he proves once again to not only be someone who is still innovating but he is also still learning and still trying to push himself forwards. There are so many little things tucked away inside this album whether it’s in the lyrics or the music itself that you will find yourself hearing new things with every single listen and as such your appreciation for this album will grow even more.
Savage is yet another chapter in an already legendary career and an album that you should seek out as quickly as you can. In a year already crowded with top quality releases Gary Numan has come in and just dropped one of the years best albums.
Savage (Songs From A Broken World) is out now through BMG Rights Management.