Gary Numan Songs Ranked

Gary Anthony James Webb (born 8 March 1958), better known as Gary Numan, is an English singer, musician, songwriter, composer, and record producer. He entered the music industry as the frontman of the new wave band Tubeway Army. After releasing two albums with the band, he released his debut solo album The Pleasure Principle in 1979, topping the UK Albums Chart. While his commercial popularity peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s with the No. 1 singles “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and “Cars”, he maintains a strong cult following.
Numan is considered a pioneer of electronic music, with his signature sound consisting of heavy synthesizer hooks fed through guitar effects pedals. He is also known for his distinctive voice and androgynous “android” persona. In 2017, he received an Ivor Novello Award, the Inspiration Award, from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors. Here are all of Gary Numan’s songs ranked.

Don’t miss out on the music of Gary Numan below! Click to enjoy songs that made him the pioneer of electronic music!

20. Your Fascination (The Fury, 1985)

“Your Fascination” was the first single released from Gary Numan’s The Fury album.  While Numan went through an exceptionally weak musical phase during the mid-’80s, this song was actually halfway decent.  A long way off from “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?”, but certainly better than much of the other horribly ‘dancey’ stuff he did in the mid-’80s.”

19. Love Needs No Disguise (For Future Reference, 1981)

“Lyrically, it’s a quite touching piece of nostalgia for the Numan glory days, which were, by 1981, already beginning to fade. ‘And if the park gates are closed, remember we toured the skies, and if the ‘friends’ all go home, you know love needs no disguise.’ Such sentiments can be equally applied to anyone approaching middle or advanced years, looking back on the good old days.”

18. One Perfect Lie (Pure, 2000)

“‘One Perfect Lie’ is about the death of Numan’s dog. Anyone who has had a beloved pet will know that losing them can be every bit as painful as losing a human, and here Numan is wracked with doubt over whether he let his friend go ‘too soon’. ‘I kneel down by your grave’ has a poignancy that everyone knows or will know and the anguished refrain of ‘torn and guilty’ is almost too much to bear. That’s what makes lasting, meaningful music as opposed to throwaway dross.”

17. Dead Heaven (Exile, 1997)

“Musically dark and moody with touches of techno and goth, it’s the lyrics here that truly set the tone.  A friend of mine once said if you could go to Hell for listening to an album, this would be the one.”

See more: Gary Numan Albums Ranked

16. Down In the Park (Replicas Redux, 1979)

“The B-Side ‘Down In The Park (Piano Version)’ has little more than novelty value, but at least it has the distinction of being hard-to-find as it didn’t turn up on any albums.”

15. Music for Chameleons (I, Assassin, 1982)

“The song is mainly atmosphere here, with the muttered/sung lyrics even more obtuse than normal for Gary – “A dream of Siam, we could leave in the morning, old friends and shy”? They end up taking a backseat to Pino Palladino’s bass work and the great “woah”s that come after both choruses.”

14. All Across the Nation (Radio Heart, 1999)

“Great to hear Gary on the upswing again after the very touch and go period post telekon. Still, not as great as anything from his first few records.”

13. Warriors (Warriors, 1983)

“Awesome. A superb opening single to an otherwise appalling album, ‘Warriors’ is unusual in that it doesn’t actually mention the title anywhere in it’s lyric. Show-casing the type of bombastic synth that made the Berserker album so enjoyable, the track stalled at number 20, his third single to do so. Incredibly, aside from reissues and a Sharpe & Numan single, it was to be his last top 20 appearance for a full 20 years.”

12. An Alien Cure (Exile, 1997)

“The music sounds industrial: the rhythm metronomic, the guitars buzz like mechanised insects, the vocal virtually indistinct. But then the production has blurred the sound even more – like water being dripped onto a painting making the different colours run into one another.”

11. Absolution (Exile, 1997)

“Strangely, the first time I heard this song, it was in the form of Amanda Ghost’s cover version on the Random tribute album (not so strange, actually, considering I had never found the original 1995 single for this and only heard his version when it was included on the Exile album, which wasn’t released until 4 months after the tribute album).  The downside to this is that now whenever I hear Numan’s version, I can’t help thinking of it as the cover version; despite the fact Ghost did it well, he is certainly better – I would likely rate it higher if I were capable of hearing it without being thrown off by the tribute thing.  A great single, though, and one I wish I had heard when it was first released, rather than hearing Ghost’s version first.”

10. M.E. (The Pleasure Principle, 1979)

“M.E. is another great dark song, and you’ll recognize the music as it was later sampled by Basement Jaxx on Where’s Your Head At.”

9. She’s Got Claws (Dance, 1981)

“It was the only single released from the 1981 ‘Dance’ album, and even today, it’s difficult to see what could have been issued as a follow-up. Dance was a difficult and challenging album, certainly not the commercial material that Numan required to prevent his inevitable career spiral.”

8. We Take Mystery (To Bed) (I, Assassin, 1982)

“It’s no wonder We Take Mystery (To Bed) was the most successful single from I, Assassin: it’s a simple, yet catchy dance tune that has a really cool feel to it. Maybe it’s the icy synths reminiscent of his machine era? Or Pino Palladino’s funky bass playing on the whole thing? Or Numan’s low voice singing such abstract lyrics? In the end, all these elements join together in complete harmony to create a great song I could dance to any day.”

7. Metal (The Pleasure Principle, 1979)

“Metal in particular evoke this powerful Blade Runner like vibe of neon cityscapes stretching endlessly onward, not really like the clearer pop intentions on Cars.”

See more: Robert Palmer Albums Ranked

6. Change Your Mind (Automatic, 1989)

“For something so experimental and risky, the clarity of the artistic goals is remarkable. The lonely echo of the synth is well suited to the themes of alienation and depersonalization”

5. Complex (The Pleasure Principle, 1979)

“‘Complex’ is a pleasant, if rather forgettable track from ‘The Pleasure Principle’, and while releasing it may have been a ‘brave’ move, it was pretty much guaranteed to deny him the the hat-trick of number one singles that he managed with the accompanying albums.”

4. We Are Glass (Telekon, 1980)

“The song We Are Glass itself is a masterpiece, and for the people who mostly like Cars by him, this is your new song to listen to. The b-side provides us with a cover of a classical piece and it’s just beautiful. Definitely a recommendable thing!”

3. Are ‘Friends’ Electric? (Replicas Redux, 1979)

“One of my absolute favourite songs of all time. His most successful song (as tubeway army), number one for 4 weeks in 1979”

2. I Die: You Die (Telekon, 1980)

“Lyrically, it’s heartfelt, bitter, and vaguely threatening — ‘they crawl out of their holes for me and I Die You Die.’ For a man in his early 20s, it illustrated both an impressive lyrical dexterity and a worryingly wounded and sensitive persona, something which was to haunt the singer for much of his career.”

1. Cars (The Pleasure Principle, 1979)

“Good song to listen to while you’re actually in a car. It’s surprising something this cold and futuristic became a huge hit on both sides of the atlantic. You can still hear it on oldies/”rewind” stations, and it still sounds incredibly out of place even among other synthpop songs. Also, check out the cover! 1979 Gary Numan had a high volume of sartorial swag.”