- 2 Promotion and release
- 3 Reception
- 4 Track listing
- 5 Musicians
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
Lyrically, Pure was seen as continuing the composer’s attacks on Christian dogma but in a somewhat more personal fashion than on Exile. Many critics[who?] considered it Numan’s most aggressive album musically, with its prominent guitar work, as well as one of his strongest vocally. The recording featured an expanded group of collaborators after the largely one-man efforts of Sacrifice (1994) and Exile. The Sulpher team of Rob Holliday and Monti contributed guitar and drums, respectively, as well as keyboards and additional production.
The opening/title song was typical of most tracks on the album, beginning with ethereal strings and piano effects that gave way to an industrial metal guitar riff before breaking into a thunderous chorus. It was described by Numan as an attempt to explore the mind of a rapist and murderer. "Walking With Shadows" started with a scenario similar to the early Tubeway Army song "The Life Machine", that of a man in a coma, but one who, rather than wishing to return to his loved ones, wanted his loved ones to join him. "My Jesus", "Listen to My Voice" and "Rip" expanded upon the atheistic/heretical themes that were introduced onSacrifice and which dominated Exile. "I Can’t Breathe" inhabited a world similar to Sacrifice’s "Deadliner", that of a waking nightmare. "Fallen" was the composer's first instrumental in a number of years, full of distorted effects. "A Prayer for the Unborn" and "Little Invitro" were relatively gentler numbers inspired by personal tragedy, specifically the recent miscarriages suffered by Numan's wife Gemma and the couple's many unsuccessful IVF attempts up until that time.
Pure's style was compared to that of other industrial rock acts, such as Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, who had themselves acknowledged Numan's earlier influence on their own music. Whilst some critics and fans professed themselves weary of a third record apparently obsessed with (anti) religious themes, others such as The Sunday Times described Pure as Numan’s best album since his classic 1979/80 period.
Numan toured extensively in support of the new album, captured in the Scarred live recording issued in 2003. A number of the tracks were also remixed for theHybrid collection, released the same year. Unlike the three previous albums, no 'Extended' version of Pure was ever officially made available, though a bootlegof dubious authenticity exists. However, a 2CD numbered limited edition 'Tour Edition' was released in 2001, containing a poster and a bonus CD with screensaver, live tracks and two remixes. The album artwork was also extensively re-worked. The only single, "Rip", was released 18 months after the album; it reached number 29 in the UK charts, making it Numan’s first new single to hit the Top 40 since "No More Lies" with Shakatak’s Bill Sharpe in 1988.
Pure has received mixed reviews. Writing in NME in October 2000, music journalist Noel Gardner described the album as "Pure [...] ends up a mere testament to Numan's bloated vanity; impeccably produced, yet wincingly self-important and wholly charmless". Darryl Sterdan, when reviewing the album for Canoe.ca, wrote that Numan's style copied Marilyn Manson and Trent Reznor and described Numan's singing as "whispering like Marilyn Manson and yelping like Reznor about pain, isolation and sacrifice". Sterdan went on to say, "Numan admits these brooding electro-goth pouts and tantrums were inspired and influenced by U.S. electro-metal. He gets one point for honesty, but none for originality or even timeliness -- Rip, Torn and Fallen sound like the cliche dreck Trentoids were churning out en masse in '96. It didn't work then, and it doesn't work now. Especially for a guy like Numan who can do so much better."
Writing in The Guardian, Maddy Costa also described Numan as sounding like Manson and Reznor, but said "nobody quite emulates him". Liana Jonas, reviewing the album for Allmusic, says, "Pure is good, dark mood music, seasoned with menacing basslines, electronic crashes and spikes, and slow-grinding guitars. It's an effective pairing -- ghostly voice coupled with industrialized music; often this genre features scream-singing." PopMatters review of the album written by Wilson Neate said, "Pure is Gary Numan's richest, most powerful and most aggressive work in years."
Pure failed to make an impression on the UK Albums Chart where it only reached number 58 and only stayed on the charts for one week.
In 2013, Pure was remembered by Jamie Halliday of Audio Antihero Records in a "Paint It Back" retrospective article for the GoldFlakePaint music site, praising the album and calling it Numan's "21st century masterpiece."
All songs written by Gary Numan, except where noted.
All timings are approximate and will vary slightly with different equipment.
- "Pure" – 5:08
- "Walking With Shadows" – 5:52
- "Rip" – 5:06
- "One Perfect Lie" – 4:35
- "My Jesus" – 5:45
- "Fallen" – 2:31
- "Listen to My Voice" – 5:12
- "A Prayer for the Unborn" – 5:43
- "Torn" – 5:10
- "Little Invitro" – 4:28
- "I Can't Breathe" (Numan, Rob Holliday, Monti) – 5:45
Same track listing as original release.
- "Pure (live)" - 6:43
- "My Jesus (live)" - 5:52
- "Rip (live)" - 5:09
- "Cars (live)" - 3:22
- "Replicas (live)" - 5:13
- "A Prayer For The Unborn (Greyed Up Remix)" - 8:35
- "Listen To My Voice (Greyed Up Remix)" - 8:01
- The live tracks later appeared on the 'Scarred' live album. 'A Prayer For The Unborn (Greyed Up Remix)' later appeared on the 'Exposure' compilation album.