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"Underpass!"
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Metamatic is the first album by British musician John Foxx, after he signed to Virgin Records. Released in January 1980, although the songs were recorded in 1979, it is a stark departure from Foxx's work with his previous band Ultravox. While that band's work with Foxx fused conventional rock with varying degrees of synthesizers, Metamatic for the most part is completely electronic, bar some bass guitar parts. It is a cold, detached Synth-Pop album, with six of the tracks referencing automobiles and motorways (including the album's Signature Song "Underpass").

Two of the songs on the album, "Touch & Go" and "He's A Liquid", originated from Ultravox during their final tour with Foxx in the United States in 1979. The former would be recycled by Ultravox into "Mr. X" on their album Vienna, and the latter sounded more reggae-ish as performed by Ultravox compared to Foxx's version.

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Tracklist

Side A
  1. "Plaza" (3:46)
  2. "He's A Liquid" (2:54)
  3. "Underpass" (3:48)
  4. "Metal Beat" (2:55)
  5. "No-One Driving" (3:37)

Side B

  1. "A New Kind Of Man" (3:33)
  2. "Blurred Girl" (4:08)
  3. "030" (3:10)
  4. "Tidal Wave" (4:06)
  5. "Touch & Go" (5:22)

Tropes:

  • Car Song: Six of the songs on Metamatic involve cars or motorways in some form or fashion, including "Plaza", "Underpass", "No-One Driving", and even the non-album single "Burning Car". Foxx was influenced by J.G. Ballard's Crash, which seemed to be every late 1970s-early 1980s post-punk, synth-pop and new wave pioneer's writing influence.
  • Robot or Spaceman Alter Ego: The album utilizes Foxx's "Quiet Man" persona, a detached, not-quite-human variant of this trope, the most of his 80s albums.
  • Silly Love Songs: Averted; Foxx was inspired by Pete Townshend saying that he'd never write love songs, so he intentionally wrote Metamatic without any.
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