Look, everyone – techno! Kraftwerk had laid meaty foundations, of course, but Gary Numan really made them rock. This is synth as instrument of dance, not evocation of stark futuristic landscape and death of tangible human emotion. Ok, a bit of that too.
Numan had dispensed with his Tubeway Army and was ready to step into the limelight as glamorous, pouting, ladies-love solo star. Granted, he may have missed that mark, but he was a beguiling artist in a cold, otherworldly kind of way – an object of fascination who gave little away, and perhaps there was little to give. ‘Cars’ was the sound of tomorrow, hi-tech and dispassionate, and may still be. From the comfortable safety of his human-shunning machine, Numan croaks a few cyborg lines before buggering off barely halfway through the song, allowing the less-credited Army to unleash a vast, layered synthscape that should by rights extend forever. Monumental.
No-nonsense Junior cut to the chase: “Why’s he singing about his car? He’s silly, isn’t he?”