Tubeway Army (album)

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Tubeway Army
Studio album by Tubeway Army
Released 24 November 1978
Recorded Spaceward, Cambridge July–August 1978
Genre Post-punk
Length 39:11 (original release)
77:59 (CD reissue)
Label Beggars Banquet
Producer Gary Numan
Tubeway Army chronology
Tubeway Army
(1978)
Replicas
(1979)
Alternate cover
The original 1978 'Blue Album' cover art for Tubeway Army, resurrected in 2004 for a Japanese reissue
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]
Smash Hits 7/10[2]

Tubeway Army is the debut album by Tubeway Army, released in 1978. Its initial limited-edition run of 5000 (known unofficially as the Blue Album due to its coloured vinyl and cover)[3] sold out but did not chart. When reissued in mid-1979, following the success of the follow-up Replicas (1979), the more commonly known cover art featuring a stylised portrait of Numan was introduced.[4] This release made number 14 in the UK album charts.[5]

Overview[edit]

Although only the band's debut, Tubeway Army has been seen as a transitional record, linking the punk flavour of early singles "That's Too Bad" and "Bombers" with the electronic music and science fiction imagery of Replicas. The lead-in track, "Listen to the Sirens", borrows its opening line from the Philip K. Dick novel Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, while "Steel and You" contains references to androids ("Just my steel friend and me / I stand brave by his side"). These and a number of other tracks feature primitive synthesizer effects, the legacy of Numan chancing upon a Minimoog in the recording studio one day.[4]

Elsewhere the album’s lyrics generally inhabit a seedy world that has been compared to William Burroughs, an author whose influence Numan has acknowledged. "Friends" concerns male prostitution. "Every Day I Die" is about teenage masturbation. "Jo the Waiter" references drug addiction. "The Life Machine" is told from the perspective of a comatose man on life support who can only "watch from somewhere as the loved ones come and go".[4]

Sonically the album ranges from hard rock with punk overtones, such as "My Shadow in Vain", "Friends" and "Are You Real?", through the post-punk of "Listen to the Sirens" and "The Dream Police", to the predominantly acoustic "Every Day I Die" and "Jo the Waiter".

While the song "Steel and You" is a spirited re-write of "Return to Zanzibar" from the 1977 debut album by San Francisco sci-fi obsessives Chrome,[citation needed] other major influences cited for this album's overall sound include David Bowie (both 'Ziggy' and 'Berlin' eras), early Roxy Music and Brian Eno, Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, and early Ultravox.[4]

Gary Numan has regularly performed tracks from this album since early on in his career, including "My Shadow in Vain", "Something's in the House", "Every Day I Die" and "The Dream Police". Others that have made their way into his live repertoire in recent years include "Listen to the Sirens", "Friends" and "Jo the Waiter".

Live at the Roxy[edit]

The 1998 CD reissue of Tubeway Army includes a live concert, originally a bootleg called Live at the Roxy and now retitled Living Ornaments '78 - a retrospective reference to Numan's official live albums Living Ornaments '79 (1981), '80 (1981) and '81 (1989). It includes early versions of "My Shadow In Vain" and "Friends" ("Do Your Best") as well as a cover of The Velvet Underground's "White Light/White Heat".

Cover versions[edit]

On the Random Numan tribute album in 1997, Pop Will Eat Itself covered "Friends", The Orb "Jo the Waiter" and Dubstar "Every Day I Die". Terre Thaemlitz recorded a piano version of "Friends" on the Replicas Rubato Numan tribute album in 1999. Crust Punk / Death metal band Deviated Instinct covered "Listen to the Sirens".

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Gary Numan except "White Light/White Heat" (Lou Reed)

  1. "Listen to the Sirens" – 3:06
  2. "My Shadow in Vain" – 2:59
  3. "The Life Machine" – 2:45
  4. "Friends" – 2:30
  5. "Something's in the House" – 4:14
  6. "Everyday I Die" – 2:24
  7. "Steel and You" – 4:44
  8. "My Love Is a Liquid" – 3:33
  9. "Are You Real?" – 3:25
  10. "The Dream Police" – 3:38
  11. "Jo the Waiter" – 2:41
  12. "Zero Bars (Mr. Smith)" – 3:12

CD bonus tracks

  1. "Positive Thinking" (live) – 2:56
  2. "Boys" (live) – 2:13
  3. "Blue Eyes" (live) – 2:03
  4. "You Don't Know Me" (live) – 2:28
  5. "My Shadow in Vain" (live) – 4:13
  6. "Me My Head" (live) – 4:10
  7. "That's Too Bad" (live) – 3:26
  8. "Basic J" (live) – 3:03
  9. "Do Your Best" (live) – 2:40
  10. "Oh! Didn't I Say" (live) – 2:31
  11. "I'm a Poseur" (live) – 2:30
  12. "White Light/White Heat" (live) – 2:49
  13. "Kill St. Joy" (live) – 3:46

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

Production[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Prato, Greg. Tubeway Army (album) at AllMusic. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  2. ^ Starr, Red. "Albums". Smash Hits (Sept 6–19 1979): 25. 
  3. ^ "Bitz". Smash Hits (August 9–22 1979): 7. 
  4. ^ a b c d Steve Malins (1998). Tubeway Army 1998 reissued CD liner notes
  5. ^ Everyhit.com

References[edit]

  • 1998 CD reissue liner notes