One Track Mind: Gary Numan, “I Am Dust” from Splinter (2014)

The transformation of Gary Numan from detached nihilism toward something just as dark but far more emotional — at once bathed in cynicism but desperately searching for connection, anyway — is made complete on this newly released video for “I Am Dust.”

Arriving on the heels of his return-to-form album Dead Son Rising, “I Am Dust” cried out for this kind of visual treatment. Directed by IAMX, the portent-filled clip makes clear all over again how far Numan has come since the humanoid groove of “Cars,” even as it makes clear how far we all still have go in making lasting connections with one another.

Numan’s up close here, where he used to be at arms length. He’s exchanged proto-goth black-nailed dystopia with something that shows the light behind those famously empty eyes. Numan’s also pushing his voice to previously unheard depths of feeling, even as he creates a decidedly modern pastiche of groaning grooves, scronky asides and swerving cadences.

If there is still no small amount of fatalism running just beneath the surface, “I Am Dust” makes it abundantly clear that Numan isn’t ready to give up. On love, maybe. On his career, certainly. He’s never been more vital, more engaging, and maybe more scary. It’s like discovering a statue that’s stood nearby for decades had something profound, something devastatingly candid, to say all along.

Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at