Complex

Album: The Pleasure Principle (1979)
Charted: 6
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song deals with paranoia and isolation, with the "complex" being a mental complex. Numan has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, and had a hard time relating to other people. He explained to the San Francisco Chronicle in 2006: "When I was younger, there were a lot of misunderstandings because I didn't know how to deal with people. I'd do something that was perfectly understandable to me, but people found it offensive. Finding out I had a condition let me focus on what I was doing that annoyed people and helped me change the way I relate, even if I had to learn the new behavior in a mechanical manner."
  • The follow-up single to "Cars," this was part of Numan's classic album The Pleasure Principle, which was innovative in its use of synthesizers. Numan, however, is not in love with that instrument, and much prefers the guitar. In our 2010 interview with Numan, he told us: "Most people think of me as synthesizing, electronic bass and so on. But I started out in a punk band. I didn't know anything about electronic music in 1977. I put my first proper band together, which was a 3-piece punk band, and we went out playing guitar, bass and drums. It was only going into a studio to make what should have been my first punk album, I stumbled across a synthesizer that was laying about in a corner, and had a go of it and loved it, and kind of changed there and then from being guitar based to being electronic based. But apart from Pleasure Principle, strangely enough, the guitar has been in every album I've ever made, and yet the only instrument that I've still got that I've had since I was a kid is my guitar. It's the same guitar I've had since I was about 17."
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