Monday, 2 April 2012

Dance Dance Dance

Having written about how much I like Gary Numan's early, punk-inspired work, I've become increasingly obsessed with 1981's laidback, jazz-funk outing, Dance (pictured). It features Japan's Mick Karn on bass, two of the first four tracks are nearly 10 minutes long, it only really gets going at the start of side two - with She's Got Claws and Crash - and if you're after any obvious singles, you're best off looking to the the following year's I, Assassin album, and numbers Music for Chameleons, We Take Mystery (To Bed) and White Boys and Heroes.

After Replicas, The Pleasure Principle (both 1979) and Telekon (1980), Dance - the last thing you're likely to do to this album - represented something of a sidestep, artistically and financially. In his 1997 autobiography, Praying to the Aliens, Numan notes that he'd made something like £4.5m by this point. 'Although experimental and atmospheric, commercially speaking, Dance was the wrong album to release at a time when I badly needed to pick momentum,' he says.

The book, written with Steve Malins, recalls in a naive tone Numan's fascination with flying, and other fan-boy activities, alongside long-remembered run-ins and petty feuds. Maybe there's something in the musician's claims of having mild Asperger's. There's quite a lot about the songs' lyrical content but very little on the music itself, though there are some great, double-take lines.

'I think I saw a UFO once on my way home from one of those Dance sessions,' Numan says. And, later: 'The subject matter of the [album's] new songs was full of reflections on the previous two years, but one or two in particular were inspired by a relationship which turned very bitter. In 1980 I had gone out with a particular girl for a few months. She gave me three different names while I was with her, so to this day I'm still not sure what her real name was...'

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