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on 24 September 2003
I bought the original in 1982 on cassette so was compelled to see if, over 20 years on, I, Assassin still held it's own.
It does to some degree, but is undeniably a product of it's time. Numan returned to thefore having spent a year in America as a tax exile. He "retired" from live performances with a bang, putting on three consecutive sell out extravaganzas at Wembley Arena. Unsurprisingly, for someone who now professes to love touring, he toured I, Assassin in 1982 in North America, having assembled a new band.
It's a rich album, full of warm anlaogue synths and showcasing the talent of a previously unknown bassist called Pino Palladino. Palladino is now one of the most coveted session bassists on the circuit and has played with some of the world's biggest artists on some of the world's biggest stages. On this album, Numan gave him the freedom to explore using the fretless bass as almost a lead instrument. Palladino developed a fat trademark bass sound that is probably best remembered not on this albunm, but on the following year's Paul Young track, "Wherever I lay My Hat".
So, if you're not a fan of fretless bass, you won't like this album.
I, Assassin proper only has eight tracks, three of which were singles, Music for Chameleons, We Take Mystery, and White Boys and Heroes. This remastered edition contains all the additional tracks that were on the flip sides of the singles and the 12"s. (Remember the days when a 12" single was an event because you got extra tracks?) The additions are all good. As a whole though, the album is fairly one dimensional but that's not necessarily a bad thing. There is some strong song writing here especially if you look at the electronic music he was releasing only a couple of years before.
I, Assassin is probably best appreciated when looked at in conjunction with the ablums it's sandwiched between - 1981's Dance and 1983's Warriors. When you look at these three and realise that he wrote these before he was 24, it does show you what a versatile talent he had at the time.
So, if you like your 80s music, like Japan and like your fretless bass, this should be on your list.
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on 5 August 2003
I always remember this album in particular for two of Gary Numan's best singles, `Music For Chameleons' and `We Take Mystery To Bed' (his last Top 10 hit). `I, Assassin' followed on from the mighty `Dance' and while it is not really anywhere near it's predecessor in terms of experimentation and overall musical quality it is still a pretty fine effort nonetheless. It could almost be classed as `Dance-lite' as Numan continued with the fretless bass and sax but in a much more upbeat, commercial manner.

There aren't any real bad tracks on this album as such; for me only `'War Songs' really stood out as an average track while stuff like the aforementioned singles and the magnificent `This Is My House' are the tracks which left the most lasting impression. Where Gary Numan really slipped up with `I, Assassin' is only evident when you get to the B-sides and bonus tracks, as some of them are MILES better than the album's original tracks, which as I said earlier weren't half-bad themselves. Considering that `I, Assassin' only had 8 tracks on it's original release it seems baffling why songs like `War Games', `The Image Is', `This House Is Cold' and the classic `Noise, Noise' were only used as B-sides or 12" extras. These tracks really do enhance this album even further making `I, Assassin' an even more attractive purchase now than it was in 1982.
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on 7 February 2012
After the stylistic left-turn of the previous album `Dance', Gary Numan returned to more familiar territory on `I Assassin'.

The catchy tunes were back, along with Numan's trademark Vox Humana synth-lead and a slick `funk' groove courtesy of this album's ace card, the incomparable Pino Palladino, whose complex and fluid fretless basslines drive every track.

The album features mostly mid-to-fast tempo songs with very little light and shade, although `A Dream of Siam' and the blusey curio `The 1930's Rust' do provide some relief from Chris Slade's (later of AC/DC!) relentless dry rock drumming.

`I Assassin' sired three great singles, `Music For Chameleons', `We Take Mystery' and the utterly brilliant `White Boys And Heroes'. If the album is a masterclass in fretless bass, then `White Boys And Heroes' is surely the final lesson, and is still one of my all-time favourite Numan tracks.

This release also includes the B-sides of those singles, which are a remarkable set of songs in their own right. There is the instrumental `Glitter and Ash', the shimmering `War Games', fan-favourite `Noise Noise', an interesting early version of `We Take Mystery' and `The Image Is', which joins `White Boys And Heroes' as a personal fave.

Only the unappealing nonsense of 'Bridge? What Bridge', with the hideous guests Dollar clearly taking the p*ss, lets the side down. No matter.

Finally, for completists there is also a superb outtake from the sessions 'This House Is Cold' which sits very neatly with the similar 'This Is My House' and the dark, jarring title track.

In summary then, I love this album and expect you will too.
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on 4 December 2002
'I, Assassin' has always been one of my favorite Gary Numan albums. It mixes well crafted soundscapes with groovy fretless bass and punchy synth bits. If I had to put this in a genre I'd call it 'electro-funk', but Numan's brilliant music generally defies labels. The attention to detail on this album separates it from Numan's earlier works. One can really hear his command of the studio and his excellent production techniques on every track. The lyrics shift from his previous styles too. The science fiction obsessions of "Replicas" are not present on this album at all. He focuses on personal relationships and oddly quixotic commentary on human nature. His attempt here is not to pose serious questions about these subjects, but to use entrenched irony to discuss them. The album is intellectually sophisticated, sonically impressive and quite danceable as well.
"White Boys and heroes' begins the album with one of the best, funkiest bass grooves of all time."War Songs" features impressively powerful grimy synth melodies and a wicked chorus. "A Dream of Siam" slows it down with a chilling set of sounds and a menacing bass part. The mumbled, light vocal work on this track is particularly nice. "Music For Chameleons" is perhaps one of the most well structured songs. It begins with a fiery diso/jazz style rhythm and builds to a heavenly strong chorus but then fades into atmospherics. It picks up near the end to add to the drama. "This is My House" is my favorite track. Imagine James Brown merges with pale white British boy and you've got a good idea for this one. The bass is funky, the lyrics are hiccupped and the synth effects add gorgeously to the timbral diversity of the song. The title track is somewhere between a fast paced dance song and a meditative lounging track. "1930's Rust" represented a bold move for Numan. Harmonica, fretless bass, saxophone and Numan's own deranged voice present this as a twisted homage to Frank Sinatra. Just as things are seeming quite a-Numan, he comes back with a massively awesome dance track. "We Take Mystery (To Bed)" takes depressing lyrics about a failed, seedy romance and puts them to a swinging set of quick synth bits and chunky bass lines. It is impossible to not dance to this track. The rest of the tracks are B-Sides and end up making some of the best tracks of the album. "The Image Is" is my favorite Numan track of all time and "This House is Cold" represents Numan's prowess at intelligent rock music. Overall, this album is definitely worth buying. If you didn't like "Cars" or "Are Friends Electric?" don't worry. This album is a more mature and sophisticated set of timeless tracks.
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on 15 February 2012
Getting your head round Gary Numans music over the years can be a task. I Assassin was at the end of a run of albums, which even some 30 years on still sounds really fresh.I really think this album is cool today in 2012, in fact better than when it was first released, before a low period started for Numan. Not to say all that followed was bad because it isn't. I Assassin however has power,good tunes,nice base and has a place in anyone's CD collection who likes a broad spectrum of music and doesn't necessarily have to like Gary Numans other music. A great gem of a CD.
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on 4 March 2004
Although others may have you believe otherwise, this is a great little album. I've owned it for many years and keep going back to it again and again. The songs are excellent all the way through, from the poppy approach of "White Boys and Heroes" and "This is My House" to the atmospheric "Music for Chameleons". Pino Palladino's brilliant Fretless Bass is outstanding on every track. Gary Numans Vocals,Synth and choppy Guitar work is as emotional and captivating as on all his other greatest works. Numan also shows a great sense of humour here, particularly on "War Songs" with lyrics like...."Old men love War songs..Love Vera Lynn...Now I,m Vera Lynn"..."I like my sunbed but it burns me alive" and a brilliant reference to his then recent flying exploits..."Don,t like to crash, climb, CLIMB". More surprises come as the Blues/jazz influenced "1930's Rust" opens with bright Rimshot Drums,a walking Bassline and Harmonica licks, and for all you old cynics who think Numan has to lean heavily on electronics,there's not a Synthesizer in sight, and when that wonderful Sax solo bursts into the middle eight it really is one of the albums highlights. Then there's the danceable gem "We Take Mystery" complete with extended rhythm arrangements and even a funky James Brown chick'a'lickin' Guitar. Despite all this, Numan still indulges into some brilliant Analogue Synth throughout, especially by stretching out "A Dream of Siam" and the title track "I,Assassin" to great electro-effect. Gary Numans Self-Production on this album is clear and punchy with as much attention to bringing out hooks as fine detail.If you haven't guessed it yet I love this album, although I wouldn't go so far as to say it's his very best,I do feel it's been somewhat underated .It sounds great in the car too.
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on 13 March 2013
I, Assassin was reasonable album by Gary, making it his last top 20 hit in 1982 with two of his singles with Music for Chameleons and We Take Mystery (To Bed)(which was also his last top 10 hit) Certainly one one of his all time best compared to Replicas, The Pleasure Principle, Telekon and maybe some of his more recent work but certainly not terrible, but still it is a underrated album of his and ignored over last 25 odd years. Gary always made his albums a lot different to each other and this is a perfect example. 6.8 out of 10 for me.
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on 5 December 2013
Epic Pino Palladino bass, some excellent hooks and typically powerful synth work. Should be an essential part of any Numan collection.
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on 21 April 2007
Gary Numan - I, Assassin Review

During the early 80's the last Numan album I bought was "Telekon". Then,

as far as I was aware Gary Numan disappeared off the

musical scene. Yes, there were the singles which followed, but for

some reason Numan's profile as far as albums went was non-existent for me.

Just probably my own ignorance, but I feel that other "big players" were

dominating the album charts and I just didn't notice Mr Numan's work.

Until recently, I thought that "Telekon" was his final album release -how

wrong I was!

Numan delivers the goods with "I, Assassin" once again. This time it's a

much easier listen than his previous "Dance" and contains no fewer than

3 hit singles in the shape of "White Boys And Heroes", "Music For

Chameleons" and "We Take Mystery". Incidentally the remastered edition

also contains the alternate version of "We Take Mystery" which is

completely juxtaposed to the pacey single release version and well worth

a listen.

One of the reasons I like Numan is because of his odd quirky lyrics

which leave you scratching your head as to what they mean and yet are

strangely catchy with the often vague vocal delivery which makes not so

much of what he's saying sound good, but rather the sounds of his subtle

vocals which make for a great hook to his choruses. For example, in "War

Songs" the chorus goes:

"Old men love war songs, love Vera Lynn"

"Old men love war songs, now I'm Vera Lynn"

Okay, it's weird, but it works!

The track "I, Assassin" has a great melodic rhythm and is a fine namesake for the album. I am really glad the

remastered version of this album includes tracks like "Noise, Noise" with

its compelling rhythm and deliciously strange lyrics and "Bridge, What

Bridge?" with Gary and some friends basically mssing around whilst the

real deal is in the background song which I have no idea what Numan is

singing, but because of his unique vocal style and sound just sounds

great!

As Numan albums go, this is one that I've found an easy listen. There's

basically not much to dislike on "I, Assassin".

If you're interested in Nyman'Numan's music and don't have this one, then why not?
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on 15 May 2014
for me the this marks the the end of his best works, after this album i lost it and picked-up again with "Sacrifice'
I much prefer the first 3 albums but got to appreciate this album again only recently. There are some enjoyable tracks on it like
the single "Music for Chameleons' and 'A Dream of Siam' but the others are just average and for me already a bit to funky. Still a must have for the fan and vinyl is of course the most beautiful format to enjoy lyrics and photos.
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