I think that the professional and amateur reviewers just spend too much time on occasion trying to place a given work within a larger context. How about just taking a record at face value? I think this is a great collection of songs, regardless of the fact that the songs are culled from a rather dysfunctional 18 month period of Numan's career. So what? I never knew that. All I hear is the music, and "Machine and Soul" is a real rocker. The themes developed revolve around a fairly jaundiced view of love as corruption in a technological, industrial age. "Generator" has an interesting, funky sound that features a chanted "Hey, hey, hey." In this song there are wonderful, atmospheric interludes, which tell of delights to come on this disc. The song ends with a sample from "2001: A Space Odyssey."
"The Skin Game" is spectacular, with a great chorus that sings: "One more question: Am I in danger?" "Poison" is a relief after this energetic introduction, with a shoop-dee-shoo beat, very quirky and fun. I should mention that the production values are, as usual, sky-high. The recording is crystal clear. It's just great stereo.
"I wonder" is a gorgeous Numan ballad, heart on the sleeve stuff, beautifully atmospheric. The follow-up is "Emotion," another driving song with an original beat. "Cry" is another flawless rocker that features nice chimes in the percussion. "U Got the Look" has a reverberant band accompaniment, a grand sound. Numan sings: "I never saw a girl who looked so tough." The song is a great deal of fun, very much tongue in cheek. "Love isolation," a very low-key meditation on love lost,brings the original album to a close.
The twenty minutes of bonus material are great. The first is a grim, atmospheric piece that features a monstrous sounding voice and echoing glissandi. This piece, "Hanoi," seems to blend into the next, "Dark Mountain," where the echoing atmospherics continue. "The Hauntings" is more of the same, so these three pieces give the impression of being a larger-scale composition.
Numan's cover of "1999" is a good change from the contemplative pieces, lively and competent. "Cry Baby" is a welcome reprise of "Cry," a bit less frantic with a more deliberate beat. "Wonder Eye" is a slower version of the lovely "I Wonder," bringing the disk full circle essentially.
In short, I cannot imagine that Numan fans would be disappointed.