When Gary Numan’s daughter Persia was 11, she presented him with a poem. Simply titled “Earth,” her youthful poetry examined a much starker natural sentiment, questioning what the earth would say if it could speak to the other planets and explain its sadness and how horrible people have treated it. “I thought it was lovely, and I shamelessly stole it and made it into an album,” admits Numan. This notion, fueled by Numan’s own consumption with incessant environmental depletion was the core of his Intruder, a look at climate change from the point of view of the planet.
“If the earth could speak, what would it say?” asks Numan. “The sense of betrayal must be enormous, for what we were, from when we first crawled out the ocean to what have become—the ingratitude, the abuse, the self-serving greed. We’re all awful creatures.”
Continuing on a different perspective of global warming from Savages in 2017—exploring what humans would become and how they would survive during a climate-related apocalypse—Intruder, Numan’s 21st release, shifts the attention off the doers, humanity, and back to nature and its “thought process.”
“If the planet could speak, how would it explain the emotions that it must be going through because of us,” Numan tells American Songwriter. “The betrayal and the disappointment and disillusion, the anger? Is it fighting back?”
Deliberately leaving time in between albums to avoid a continuation of the human plight of Savages, most of the Intruder album was coincidently written prior to the pandemic, but resonates completely with the occurrences of 2020. “It was a weird, bizarre, and unfortunate coincidence that I’m writing this album about the earth fighting back and how it feels, just as COVID comes along,” says Numan. “It just sort of fell into maybe that’s the earth fighting back. Maybe that’s the mechanism that it employs.
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