Gary Numan

Are 'Friends' Electric?

Song Review by

"Are 'Friends' Electric?" finally got Gary Numan going as far as singles action and pop stardom went, despite the fact that the spoken sections of the song were almost incomprehensible due to a mix of Numan mumbling and rushing through the words. Making it more difficult were obscure terms -- it was only years after the fact that "SU" (as in "all the girls and SU's") was revealed to be the initials of an ex-girlfriend of Gazza's. Still, the song has a steady beat, tends to swell dramatically (with great big guitar chords accompanying), and appeals to the aching adolescent and post-adolescent trying to make sense of a world of oppression. The song also has a few paranoid touches, of course -- there's the wonderful image of "a man in the hall, long coat, grey hat, smoking a cigarette" -- but the song is really about growing up lonely and having no clue about how to change that condition. Unfortunately for Numan's narrator here, all that results from the effort to understand and cope is the realization that those around him have no humanity. Ouch. A song that should have been included on the soundtrack to Steven Spielberg's A.I..

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1979 Intercord Klassische Diskothek
No Image 1987 5:21
Collection 1989 Castle Music Ltd. 0:00
Selection 1989 Beggars Banquet 0:00
Asylum 1 1990 Alfa 0:00
No Image 1990 Alfa
'78-'83: The Best of Gary Numan 1994 Beggars Banquet 5:17
Premier Hits 1997 Beggars Banquet 5:23
Industrial Madness 1997
Various Artists
Cleopatra 4:58
Future Wave 1998
Various Artists
Cleopatra 4:58
The Mix 1998 Cleopatra 4:58
Burning from the Outside: Retail Slut 1998
Various Artists
Cleopatra 3:40
Down in the Park: The Alternative Anthology 1999 Castle Music Ltd. 6:36
Essential Goth Masters 2001
Various Artists
Big Eye Music 4:58
Darker Shade of Goth 2001
Various Artists
Big Eye Music 3:40
Atomic 80's: The Definitive Eighties Album 2001
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 5:18
Exposure: The Best of Gary Numan 1977-2002 2002 Universal International 5:22
Rip 2002
Anthology 2002 Silverline Records 0:00
Disconnection 2002 Sanctuary 6:34
Hybrid 2003 Artful Records 5:41
Kill the DJ 2003 Hypnotic / Cleopatra 2:08
Mutate 2003 Psychobaby Records / Jagged Halo 5:41
Charts Pur: Pop & Wave 2009
Various Artists
ZYX Music 5:14