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First off, its very "of its time". Numan had jealously watched the rise of the Pet Shop Boys and the all conquering Frankie Goes To Hollywood at a time when he couldnt get his own records played on the radio. This (new) anger propels not only the lyrics but the sound as well. Its a mix of early 80's synth pop, high energy disco, Trevor Horn inspired slabs of percussive synth and Numan's own brand of sci fi dystopian gravitas. A heady mix that just about hangs together due to the quality of the songwriting throughout.
The title track in particular is a guargantuan disco stomp that sounds so of its time it could be an artefact in an 80's museum. But its also got a chorus to die for and a great verse hook that spins the song into another dimension in a way dullards like Dead Or Alive couldnt even dream about. The Bill Sharpe collaboration attempts to do a West End Girls and pretty much suceeds. The Blade Runner sampling opener (My Breathing)is a winner as well.
So, all in all, I think this album has been abit unfairly treated. Added to the fact that this remastered edition contains a slew of extra tracks I would recommend a purchase. It has alot more going for it than its predecessor (The Fury) and the albums that followed (Metal Rhythm and Outland - more one dimensional than Strange Charm).
Give it a chance...you just may be pleasantly surprised.
Only a recent discoverer of Numan despite being aware of Cars (etc.) for many years. I was amazed to find albums like this. It's sad that Gary doesn't like this period, perhaps because it wasn't so successful for him. However, it didn't stop him creating a masterpiece of 80s production work.
I think the songs are very good on this album, far more 'catchy' than, say, Berserker, which appeared to be the start of this kind of production. Not that Beserker isn't good, this is far better. Metal Rhythm, to my ear, possibly has better 'pop' songs, and also fabulous production, but this one has the most atmosphere.
Numan obviously knows/knew how to pick the right engineers, programmers etc. I can't imagine it sounding better if Trevor Horn produced it.
If you like moody albums that are laden with reverb and big, effective use of dynamics (very rare these days), you'll love it. Think of a CD equivalent of Blade Runner.
I should note that I've only heard this remaster so don't know if previous releases were as good. The remastered itself should be given lots of credit, dynamics and sound quality have clearly been the priority, so don't expect it smashed to today's levels, the volume control is your friend :o)
In the absence of a track listing i assumed that since all other reviews attached to this product don't seem to impy that it is not in fact that album and coupled with the actual product description that mentions that it includes the 12" remix of "New Thing from London Town" it appeared to be what i was looking for (incidentally the aforementioned remix does not appear on this compilation at all).
Simply put it is just a compilation of tracks from differing periods and should not be associated with the original album at all.
I feel that the product description and associated reviews are misleading and certainly do not related to this particula item at all.
On Strange Charm, Numan tackles a few of these issues head on and when he does, boy does it work. My Breathing has irresistible airy eastern atmospheric effects over a situation in which he describes he will "pick up the pieces" after the "assassination by the radio". "I can't stop for all your stories" he states on the soaring chorus of I can't stop. Fighting stuff and the power is transfered straight to the listener. He really bears his heart over the industrial minimalism of The Sleeproom, "this isn't evil,this is a sound", "this is uncertain,this is unsound...". Really haunting. As is the bonus ballad, Time to die, where he takes a glimpse at a possibly bleak future and references what it would be like with no more concerts or recordings: "no Exhibition, no screaming War Song, no Conversation, no more opinions here". But unfortunatly these are among the few of the albums highlights.
Elsewhere the struggle is all too evidently eating away at the creative juices. The all out attack of Unknown and Hostile is oversmothered by sax and girl vocals. I can't stop is overstretched into it's 5 min version and oversells its girl vocal at the price of the original single issues impact.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like the music, I'm a big Numan fn and have been for years, this is not about the music.
Has anyone else noticed the drop outs in volume levels on several of the tracks on... Read more
By Gary Numan's high standards, `Strange Charm' is a pretty rum affair and when I listen back through his catalogue this is one of the albums I look forward to the least. Read morePublished on 10 Feb. 2012 by Pink
My Breathing is at the same time shamefull and saving. This was the first "trashy" Numan-Record with the last hit on it. And it fits well with the record. Read morePublished on 12 Aug. 2010 by Jo day
Before you ask, i'm not a numanoid. So i'm not just saying this because i "can't say a bad word against Gary"
Speaking to you as a fan of 80s music, this album is truly... Read more
The orginal vinyl had just eight tracks- a major insult at the time. Ideas completely gone and the same old tired synth chords and overstretched vocals- this quite simply is one... Read morePublished on 15 April 2008 by ndb_master
Strange Charm is an album that seems to have been dismissed by critics (and a lot of Numan fans), probably as it came out at a low point in his career when a lot of his music was a... Read morePublished on 4 Jan. 2008 by M Evans