"Are 'Friends' Electric?" as written by and Gary Anthony James Webb....
It's cold outside
And the paint's peeling off of my walls
There's a man outside
In a long coat, grey hat, smoking a cigarette

Now the light fades out
And I wonder what I'm doing
In a room like this
There's a knock on the door
And just for a second I thought
I remembered you

So now I'm alone
Now I can think for myself
About little deals
And issues
And things that I just don't understand
A white lie that night
Or a sly touch at times
I don't think it meant anything to you

So I open the door
It's the 'friend' that I'd left in the hallway
'Please sit down'
A candlelit shadow on a wall near the bed

You know I hate to ask
But are 'friends' electric?
Only mine's broke down
And now I've no-one to love

So I found out your reasons
For the phone calls and smiles
And it hurts
And I'm lonely
And I should never have tried
And I missed you tonight
It must be time to leave
You see it meant everything to me


Lyrics submitted by Karl

"Are Friends Electric" as written by Gary Anthony James Webb

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Are 'Friends' Electric? song meanings
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26 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentone of the greatest songs ever written. i love gary numan's style- isolation, paranoid, and a cold desolate heart. anti-religious, etc...gary numan is the greatest !!!
    xl5ronon May 25, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI worship that injection of HEAVY GUITARS placed during the breaks between choruses. Listen for it! You won't be sorry.
    hidispenseron September 29, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOne of all time greatest songs ever written.

    This explanation does no justice to the haunting emotion of the song, but:

    In G.N.'s world, (based on a sci-fi book he started writing during adolescence) "Friends" are machines that look like humans. Other machines ("Machmen", I believe) are running the world. But "Friends" are machines that humans can call on to do things for them/ provide services.

    Pretty sad when a hired machine is the last thing you've got in this world to love.
    ladylizzieon November 13, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLadylizzie, the Machmen weren't the machines, the machines were totally different. Friends were rented robots who were used to entertain, and the machmen were a race of robot/human types living amongst the humans in Replicas.
    PtolemyKittyon March 25, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentS.U. is a reference to Su Wathan, his girlfriend at the time. There is another reference at the beginning of this part, where the official liner lyrics read '7.4', which is a reference to the 7th and 4th letters of the alphabet, ie G and D. It is believed this refers to Gail Deal (a woman Su tried to set the young Gary up with at the time), hence also the line "About little Deals and SUs".

    It was a very confusing time for the 21 year-old Gary who had quickly gone from working at WH Smiths to having millions of pounds as a pop star. Having to deal with Su and Gail, two very older women (mid-30s, I think) was very confusing.
    ellitanthalason March 29, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis has to be one of the greatest songs ever written.

    Long Live Gary Numan.
    Queenbrandyon June 15, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit is...

    This song reminds me of how I knew this dude for 3 years and we always had these conversations but they were really one sided, it was like talking to a wall.. one day i got mad about it. he said he didn't care if I died. it really upset me, since I don't have any friends and I thought I had chance with him. Even though he was an online friend.. Brilliant song, I like the bass..
    DJgifon July 13, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMeaning? It is about someone who is lonely, desperately so, despite the friends he has, who he doesn't entirely trust or understand. He seems paranoid, but it may be that he is right to be.

    And this is a phenomenal song/tune. The utter bleakness of a world without "real" friends, and the passion and intensity that he shows through the music ( although he keeps his dispassionate voice and demeanor ) are unrivalled.

    And with so many people having only virtual friends these days, it is so not dated.
    Schroedingeron October 02, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    An interview from 1979 with Gary explaining his meanings of these particular songs.

    youtube.com/…
    Julzy20032000on March 30, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is about android humanoid lookalikes called "friends" that could be hired for company, sex, friendship, kinda like a robot escort,
    also (sorry) its "little deals and S.U's :)
    emjay946on August 10, 2010   Link

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