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'm wondering 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
Like a white lie that night
Or a slight 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 candle lit a shadow on a wall near the bed

You know I hate to ask
But, are `friends' electric?
Mine's broke down
And now I've no one to love

So I find out your reason
For the phone calls and smiles
And it hurts
And I'm lonely
And I should never have tried
And I missed you tonight
So it's time to leave
You see this means everything to me


Lyrics submitted by [inactive account], edited by scott10823

Are 'Friends' Electric Lyrics as written by Gary Anthony James Webb

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Are 'Friends' Electric? song meanings
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26 Comments

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  • +5
    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
  • +3
    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 14, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentJust to correct the last line, he says "you see you mean everything to me".

    I also think that he says "S.U.s" and not "issues". There's some debate as to what S.U. is. Some say it's the initials of a girlfriend, but I think it could be "screw ups" or something like that.
    spenny69on June 24, 2005   Link
  • +2
    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
  • +2
    General CommentThe album replicas is loosley based on an idea for a novel numan had in mind as a teenager, some of the songs are direct references to the book like down in the park, are friends electric is a bit of a mix of ideas from his story but also draws heavily on do androids dream of electric sheep(Bladerunner) by philip k dick, it's mostly an imagined scenareo he places himself into like he is placing himself in the shoes of the character sebastian the genetic engineer who surrounds himself with macanical toys and befriends the replicants. Bloody Genius he wrote the songs on replicas way before the films came out and philip k dick was unheard of, he read those books age 14!
    gummybitson February 04, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

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

    youtube.com/…
    Julzy20032000on March 30, 2010   Link
  • +2
    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
  • +1
    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
  • +1
    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
  • +1
    General CommentIn live versions of this song, Numan puts another lyric line over the six-note descending sequence that repeats at the end (it fades out on the record, but live he plays it four times). Anyone know what that lyric is?
    MartinCon October 20, 2004   Link

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