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Essential Record Guide: Synth Pop

Dismissed by rock chauvinists as a trendy haven for fops, wimps,

Dismissed by rock chauvinists as a trendy haven for fops, wimps,geeks, and cyborgs and beloved by fops, wimps, geeks, and cyborgsas a computer-world improvement on punk, disco, and soul, synth pophas endured and mutated for more than two decades. Though largely asingles format in its ’80s heyday, it’s also produced some prettybrilliant albums

GARY NUMAN THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE (Atco, 1979)Numan gave us “Cars,” a Beach Boys song idling on Kraftwerk’s Autobahn,and the rest of his debut is a study in droll futurism. “Metal,””Airlane,” “Engineers,” and “Complex” all deadpan the same routine-abored machine hums rudely over a parodic, sterile groove until you justgive up and admit it’s kinda funky. Basement Jaxx thought so-theysampled “M.E.” on “Where’s Your Head At.”

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