Japan - Were they EVER good?

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Someone gave me some Japan discs to listen to (Tin Drum & Gentlemen Take Polaroids.)

In spite of being VERY dated, I tried to listen for some redeeming qualities.. There were some redeeming qualities, but still I couldn't stand listening to any of it... And I'm sure I would have hated it in the 80's also.

But I know they had a following... Anyone? Did you like them at one time? What do you think of them now?

Dave225, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

.. and what do you think of Thomas Dolby and the Thompson Twins? Because that's what Japan reminds me of...

Dave225, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

On the whole, I found them to be more form than substance. "Ghosts", in particular, has to be one of the dullest Top 10 Hits EVER.

That said, I could still enjoy listening to "The Art of Parties" and "Visions of China" - they ROCK! Ish.

Zanny G, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Erik Digibeet asked this question a couple months ago. Anyway, their first two albums are awesome, noisy glam rock.

Sean, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Japan = good. Oh yes.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I like Japan. I like the Thomson Twins too. Thomas Dolby I'm less sure about. Why is it bad to sound dated?

Tom, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

If a band was ever in need of a decent re-issues program, and a box- set, it's Japan. For some reason I only have 'Quiet Life' on lovely old vinyl, and it is the biz. Gloopy bass-lines, plenty of warm synth, just the right amount of preening from Sylvian, and GREAT arrangements. And a great atmosphere located somewhere near the mid- point between Berlin and Shanghai. They *should* come across as a horrid post-glam, pre-new romantic mess, but they absolutely work.

Dr. C, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Lush pop...nothing wrong with that, even if it's dated a bit. I still pull out my Exorcising Ghosts compilation every so often to give it the ol' spin-ho.

Sean Carruthers, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Funny how 'dated' these days is generally a term used for something from the '80s or early '90s. I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to anything from the '60s using the same term. And yet when you hear something from the '60s, you generally know it's from the '60s. Same goes for most records from the '80s, yet music from the later decade is much more likely to be called 'dated'.

Andy K, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

I got 'quiet life' and 'tin drum' on vinyl from a charity shop and still had enough change out of a fiver for a pint - a snip!

leigh, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

I only know "Ghosts" and I like it. What should I get next?

Ian, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

As the 80s revival keeps growing the same thing will happen as happened to the 60s and 70s and you will hear - "It's incredible how MODERN it sounds".

Tom, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

"Oil On Canvas", the (mostly) live album, is very nice and doesn't sound particularly dated at all.

dan, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

I got 'quiet life' and 'tin drum' on vinyl from a charity shop and still had enough change out of a fiver for a pint - a snip!

See - I think I would have preferred two pints...

..And it isn't the fact that they're dated that I don't like (I think not, anyway) - because I still dig the Gang of Four LPs with that jive bassin' (Songs of the Free, Hard) - As I said, I think I would have hated Japan in the 80's also (just my taste...) Sylvian's voice is annoying - almost as bad as Dave Gahan's (which should give you a benchmark for what type of voice I just plain don't like.) Although the work Sylvian has done with Fripp is less annoying - but I think that's due to Fripp's contribution.

..And I kind of like Dolby and the Thompson Twins (in very small doses.)

Dave225, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

I see where you're coming from David - I think the datedness is actually kind to Sylvian in that respect, because that time was the only time singers were really able to get away with that kind of poised pseudo-profundity. It goes quite well with the rather precious music. Sylvian's more organic solo work, though, I find pretty irritating for the same reasons you don't like Japan.

Tom, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Ok, now that this discussion is really going, I have to say that Sylvian totally changed his vocal style when the band changed theirs. You've gotta check out his shrill, mincing style on "Adolescent Sex" and "Obscure Alternatives".

Sean, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

i have all the Japan LPs, they're good but tend to lack stand out songs. It's more about the atmosphere really, there is something attractive about the sound if not "catchy"

g, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

sylvian on his own is far better, far mroe complex and interesting.

Queen G, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

To each his own, David Gahan has a great voice it's obvious when the Mode is seen live.

Micheline, Wednesday, 27 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Most people hated them in the 80s, though I was a big fan in highschool back then. And most people hated me for liking them.

I recently discovered their Sean-rock albums from the late 70s, which I regularly play especially the Adolescent Sex song of course.

erik, Thursday, 28 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

They never stopped being desperate. Very 80's they were in that respect. Poetry was not their strongest side: Their lyrics never interested me - it was the synths. But after 1 album (most definetely quiet life) you knew what they were up to. To answer the question: I don't think I ever listened 1 single album as a whole...

Bas, Thursday, 28 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

They used to give the five nations teams a good runout in the seventies. But these days they couldn't even beat Wales.

Snotty Moore, Thursday, 28 February 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...
ah, come off it... they were good stuff in the 80's precisely when you did have crud like the Thompson Twins and the mighty appalling Big Country doing the toilet circuit rounds. I would recommend 'Oil on Canvas' 'cos they seemed to rock their stuff much better live.

shizuko, Friday, 15 March 2002 01:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
i have to throw in some more good words for oil on canvas from 1983. the only album i have. i just put it on and it does not sound dated at all. sylvian doesn't overuse his voice, everything is flowing just fine in a post jazz-rock way with some world elements. probably a talking heads influence. karn's great bass is dominating the sound. and there is lots of percussion. maybe they really were better live.

alex in mainhattan (alex63), Friday, 15 October 2004 17:54 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Not sure if it counts, but I still quite enjoy the Rain Tree Crow album.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 15 October 2004 18:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

All great.

Atnevon (Atnevon), Friday, 15 October 2004 20:38 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I'm a big fan of the song 'Night Porter'. Even if it is a shocking steal from Satie, and a piece of 'poised 80s pseudo-profundity'.

There's something odd about Sylvian's lyrics, which is that they consist almost completely of titles from Sartre, Cocteau, Picasso, etc etc. His songs are just knots of references to the (somewhat 'coffee-table') art that he admires. They're super-meta in a way I've rarely seen outside of western pop-besotted Japanese artists. I don't know if this is something conscious -- his tribute to Warhol, post-modernism, or something -- or something which shows his desperate feeling of being 'outside glamour' and remote from a creativity he nevertheless values above everything else.

Sometimes I feel with David Bowie that his whole career has been based on wanting so much to be 'an artist' that you just give it to him for the effort alone, irrespective of the fact that most of his work consists of schizoid impressions of artists he admires. So, if Sylvian was desperate to be Bowie, and Bowie was desperate to be Lou or Iggy or Mick or whoever it was that year, the whole thing starts to get dangerously meta and empty, and a bit sad.

A few circumstances might be mitigating, though:

1. Originality is the gap between your copycat intentions and the actual results. In other words, Bowie copying Lou Reed sounds like Bowie, not Reed, and Sylvian copying Bowie sounds like Sylvian.

2. If 'in the end soul itself is the longing of the soul-less for redemption', maybe being an artist is nothing more than the very strong desire to be an artist.

3. Collage and pastiche and even theft have to be seen as acceptable modes of composition.

4. Bowie and Sylvian never claimed to be 'real'. They're both the sort who'd much rather perfect an impersonation of Andy Warhol than get in touch with their true selves. And when, later in their careers, they both did that, the results were predictably disappointing.

Momus (Momus), Friday, 15 October 2004 21:21 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Japan are absolutely truly really, really, really great.

And, btw, I love Thomas Dolby and Thompson Twins too. But Japan were even better ;)

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Friday, 15 October 2004 21:24 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Btw. Saying that early 80s synthpop sounds dated is soooo 90s ;)

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Friday, 15 October 2004 21:26 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

5. It's possible that Sylvian's real artistry is in his singing, which is very good and doesn't sound like anyone else at all.

Momus (Momus), Friday, 15 October 2004 21:26 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

True. I found though that when Japan broke up I was very interested in what the rest of the band were going to do, especially Mick Karn. David S was a good frontman (I especially liked the way his voice beame oddly robotic when he tried for low notes - Still Life in Mobile Homes), but it was the rather unique and personal style of the others that really grabbed my ear. I did like the way the whole band advanced in originality and musicianly skill from one album to the next. They were amazingly refined and pretentious, in the best sense.

the music mole (colin s barrow), Friday, 15 October 2004 21:48 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

While I agree with Momus that David Sylvian's singing is indeed unique, he still had imitators. Simon Le Bon, for instance, clearly must have had Sylvian as an important influence on his vocal style.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Saturday, 16 October 2004 15:31 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I totally disagree — for all the things about Duran that ripped off Japan—the keyboards, the beat, the fancy-pants stylizations(this was the band who attempted to get Sylvian to produce their first album after all)—stealing Sylvian's vocal sound was not one of them.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Saturday, 16 October 2004 19:28 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Then, listen to "The Chauffeur"

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Saturday, 16 October 2004 20:15 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Oh, I'd definitely agree that Simon Le Bon tried to steal Sylvian's vocal sound. Unfortunately, because Simon Le Bon has no voice worth mentioning, it was the only steal that came out sounding like a barking warthog.

Still, it wasn't a bad deal, because Nick Rhodes got Sylvian's hair and Barbieri's keyboard settings.

Vaughan, Saturday, 16 October 2004 21:09 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Just relistened to "The Chauffeur" (itself, an utterly hilarious title, btw -- just in how it suggests high society through the lens of a punter). And ok: I'll concede that he nicks Sylvian's style a bit (which is what you said, Geir), but not his sound (which is what I interpreted it as) -- if only, as Vaughan suggests, because he couldn't.

Part of me would love to hear Sylvian actually sing this, though.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Saturday, 16 October 2004 21:41 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Of course he comes nowhere near Sylvia (being a good songwriter, he still managed to come up with 2-3 good albums, although of course not quite as good as Japan)

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Saturday, 16 October 2004 21:41 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Of course, Sylvia had Mickey...

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Saturday, 16 October 2004 21:48 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I guess Japan were a bit of an acquired taste - and it really mattered at what point they invaded one's life. Unlike Duran, they were hardly teen material, their songs were more sculptures than music in the conventional sense - so if you came across them too early, there's a likely chance you'd have dismissed them. Luckily, I was just old (and wise ?) enough to find them fascinating, though I remember initially disliking both "Tin Drum" and Sylvian's very personal "Brilliant Trees" - which now, alongside "Gentlemen Take Polaroids", ranks as my favourite record of all time.

Racking my brain, I can't think of another band - apart from Talk Talk, perhaps - that evolved as much musically. Japan were the most original and exotic mainstream group in the 80ies that you could take seriously (we're not talking Classsix Nouveaux!), marrying tradition with the avantgarde and still enjoying some degree of chart success. Most importantly, all four of the core members were school friends and shared the same vision - now compare that with the public and state school visionaries of today - Busted, McFly...

As for Sylvian, though I prefer his solo vocal style, I've always found his dramatic and emotional voice perfectly suited to Japan's haunting atmospherics. Comparing him to non-voices such as Simon Le Bon or Dave Gahan is clearly an insult. As is the erstwhile review of "Ghosts" from Melody Maker, which nonetheless manages to raise a smile: "The sound of the dying Bryan Ferry in a malfunctioning dishwasher." Now that's what I call poignancy.

Michael Ludes (ludesse), Sunday, 17 October 2004 10:49 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

with electro italia, pop-disco, and all this this nostalgia loving why don't we have a Japan knockin' rip-off yet?? Can't we just get a band together who wants to do Quiet Life/Life in Tokyo type Assemblage era. Sorry, I'm gettin' tired of Cure crap, yet VHS or BETA are quite good?

cs appleby (cs appleby), Sunday, 17 October 2004 20:29 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The "Romo" craze was partly ripping off Japan, I guess. Not that they succeeded artistically...

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Sunday, 17 October 2004 21:36 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Orlando weren't too bad...

Ludesse (ludesse), Sunday, 17 October 2004 22:09 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Orlando rocked, limp wrists aside. And Plastic Fantastic, Viva!, DexDexTer, and Sexus all had great singles.

Atnevon (Atnevon), Sunday, 17 October 2004 23:07 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Official End Of It All...

Ludesse (ludesse), Sunday, 17 October 2004 23:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Orlando????

cs appleby (cs appleby), Monday, 18 October 2004 01:37 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Japan is wicked awesome. I really got into their first 3 or so records a few months ago, and the only time I didn't feel it was when i was sleepy. Don't listen to this music if u are tired unless u feel like taking a nap. Slightly too slow to dance to.

Adam Bruneau (oliver8bit), Monday, 18 October 2004 16:27 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

In the early 70's Japan started as a New York Dolls kinda thing (even stealing the Dolls names) but in the same way as The Clash used influences other than punk to change the way punk sounded, Japan did the same to Glam Rock.

Bowie's Lodger, Low and Heroes were all coming along nicely and early Roxy Music was probably a help.

In a time when popular music had become so stale and boring, leading to the reactionary evolution of the Sex Pistols and the punk rock revolution, Japan stood out as not conforming to any trend, but sticking to doing something different in the midst of punk rock nihilism, in the same way bands like Magazine did. Incredibly brave or foolish at the time I guess.

They were the first ‘Band’ to use Giorgio Moroder as a producer, beating Blondie too it, and you can defiantly can dance to em. Adolescent Sex is as funky as Chic, with a Glam/Punk sneer (with something nice and immature about it), and Life in Tokyo is classy as hell analogue disco genius – I think they grew up a lot in public, and were lucky the music industry allowed them to do so. I don’t think this could happen to an artist now.

From this teenage glam rock funk thing of the first two (maybe three) albums through european disco they evolve into a very original art house machine of fantastic musicians, releasing objects as bizarre as uk chart topping single ‘Ghosts’ (can you imagine something as odd and abstract as that in the charts today??). For a minute I thought they were going to turn into Can, but it sadly wasn’t to happen. I think they dropped all the rock and roll out of the band, and I kinda missed it.

Not everything they have done is good (a fair bit is dodgy), but some of it is sublime, other bits fun, and they are indeed unique. If your looking for a pop band like a pre-cursor to Duran, then Japan are not it. There albums are not easy listening, and take a while to get into, but I think it’s worth it.

Sylvian’s voice may have borrowed heavily from Ferry and Bowie, but even that took on a tone all of his own, and seemed to carry this deep inner sadness, with a very English reserve, the like of which will never be heard again. Sometimes it still makes me cry when I listen to it, even on the solo stuff.

Steve Jansen managed to produce some of the most breathtaking rhythmic structures, and I think is a totally underrated drummer – more importantly my girlfriend recons he may even be better looking than brother David.

I don’t think Duran wanted to be them, only Nick Rhodes and Stephen Tin Tin Duffy from the original lineup did. Duran had a different agenda (pop starts) compared to Japan’s yearning for artistic credibility. Duran actually begged Japan to produce them at one point, but in retrospect I bet Duran are glad they didn’t.

As for the ‘Romo’ scene Orlando were a terrible hi-nrg stage school pet shop boys band wagon jumpers (previously signed to indie label, got all electronic and make-up when it was trendy) and shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same thread as Japan (or the pet shop boys for that matter), so stop it.

20JazzFunkGreats.blogspot.com, Monday, 25 October 2004 12:53 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, this was a very silly question to begin with. Absolutely CLASSIC.

Jay Vee (Manon_70), Monday, 25 October 2004 13:20 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Ooops, forgot to answer the question.

I was too young to like em at the time and got into them in the late 90's through the solo stuff with Can and Fripp.

Nope, don't like Thomas Dolby or Thompson Twins, even in really small doses.

Yep they sounds dated.

20JazzFunkGreats.blogspot.com, Monday, 25 October 2004 13:41 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

As for the ‘Romo’ scene Orlando were a terrible hi-nrg stage school pet shop boys band wagon jumpers (previously signed to indie label, got all electronic and make-up when it was trendy) and shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same thread as Japan (or the pet shop boys for that matter), so stop it.

That's not quite a fair analysis...compare the Reproduction Is Pollution EP to Passive Soul (the former release was put out under the name "Shelley" on Sarah Records and wasn't quite by the same band, but I assume that that's what you're referring to). Baroque sensibilities tie it together. With the possible exception of Just For A Second (which is admittedly quite Hi-NRG, though I'd say that it's far from terrible), I can't detect a discernable lipgloss/mascera aesthetic any more readily with them than I can in a Scott Walker or Divine Comedy album. And JFAS's B-Side (Something To Write Home About) dispells even the idea that that single was a bandwagon-jumper; it could scarcely be farther removed from the "vapid" RoMo aesthetic.

This has done little to argue that Orlando belongs in a Japan thread, but that was never my assertion anyway. I rarely decline a dismissed soapbox.

Atnevon (Atnevon), Monday, 25 October 2004 19:54 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Ghosts", in particular, has to be one of the dullest Top 10 Hits EVER.

Couldn't disagree more..

billstevejim, Friday, 1 October 2010 00:17 (eight years ago) Permalink

What top 10s are weirder than Ghosts, except O Superman, of course...

iago g., Friday, 1 October 2010 00:40 (eight years ago) Permalink

I marvel at UK pop culture, such a mash of MASSIVE artists and (presumably) inaccessible artists, completely different than the US mainstream. Never change!

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 1 October 2010 00:55 (eight years ago) Permalink

"Ghosts", in particular, has to be one of the dullest Top 10 Hits EVER.

Couldn't disagree more..

Yeah no kidding, this song is fucking incredible.

ilxor has truly been got at and become an ILXor (ilxor), Friday, 1 October 2010 02:34 (eight years ago) Permalink

amazing!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGcteC2_H2c

Kim, Friday, 1 October 2010 02:54 (eight years ago) Permalink

I am so big on Tin Drum, Gentlemen Take Polaroids & Quiet Life...I tried their first two albums over five years ago & they didn't hit me in the same way. I am thinking I should try them again.

Mormons come out of the sky and they stand there (Abbbottt), Friday, 1 October 2010 02:56 (eight years ago) Permalink

I am thinking I should try them again.

Eh, I'm in the same camp as you. Their first two, which I revisited last year, are simply a different band, and not one that I particularly like.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 1 October 2010 03:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

You have to approach their first albums as a diff band, basically. "Adolescent Sex" is pretty bratty, but has a few standout moments if you like glam rock. I like a lot of "Obscure Alternatives" - its all over the place, its quite an odd little number.

I'vbe had a Japanese original pressing of AS since I was 16, I feel like I grew up with this band even tho they'd broken up before I ever found out about them.

cathedral-sized jellyfish in your mind (Trayce), Friday, 1 October 2010 03:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

Haha xpost!

cathedral-sized jellyfish in your mind (Trayce), Friday, 1 October 2010 03:02 (eight years ago) Permalink

Yep, that's the right perspective.

Meanwhile, don't forget the reunion-that-wasn't-quite album as Rain Tree Crow. It's haunting.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 1 October 2010 03:27 (eight years ago) Permalink

i've never heard a japan song in my life other than "ghosts" but that song more than justifies their existence for me

teledyldonix, Friday, 1 October 2010 04:09 (eight years ago) Permalink

obscure alternatives is a great record. I prefer it at times to gentlemen take polaroids which can sound bland to me, compared to tin drum (which is texturally interesting) and quiet life (which still has some swagger to it). obscure alternatives is weird. I think it's weirder than polaroids.

akm, Friday, 1 October 2010 07:04 (eight years ago) Permalink

Its quite weird! It has this strange harsh vibe to it. "Communist China" is such a Roxy rip, but it's great for it.

cathedral-sized jellyfish in your mind (Trayce), Friday, 1 October 2010 08:06 (eight years ago) Permalink

early 80s synth based music hasn't and will never date

I love 80s synth-pop but this is a crazy statement. Certain voguish sounds were already dated a couple of years later.

Haunted Clocks For Sale (Dorianlynskey), Friday, 1 October 2010 08:10 (eight years ago) Permalink

The sound of the 80s was intermediately dated during the 90s, but has been reinstated during the 00s. The 90s was a very different decade that will remain different forever and have little relevance on music beyond the 90s.

Tied Up In Geir (Geir Hongro), Friday, 1 October 2010 08:52 (eight years ago) Permalink

Amazing.

Haunted Clocks For Sale (Dorianlynskey), Friday, 1 October 2010 08:53 (eight years ago) Permalink

Some of the sampling/FM based synths of the late 80s sound dated now though, and always will. The trademark bass sound of the DX7 will never ever be trendy again.

Tied Up In Geir (Geir Hongro), Friday, 1 October 2010 08:53 (eight years ago) Permalink

wow i agree with Geir, whats the world coming too

On sounding dated i think its to do with digital synths in the 80s and cheap sampling in the late 80s/early 90s

X-101, Friday, 1 October 2010 09:48 (eight years ago) Permalink

Yes, it is. But also some of those DX7 sounds that were being used way too often.

The DX7 (and the FM synths that followed) was a strange creature. Technically, it was a synth and not a sampler. But the sounds it made sounded more like badly sampled samples than like synth sounds. Avoiding the most cliche-liked sounds (also the el piano sound) FM synths can still work nicely together with analogue synths to create more varied sounds though.

Tied Up In Geir (Geir Hongro), Friday, 1 October 2010 09:50 (eight years ago) Permalink

But, well.... Better keep to Japan here. And they did not use DX7 or samples. :)

Tied Up In Geir (Geir Hongro), Friday, 1 October 2010 09:51 (eight years ago) Permalink

I have to agree with Geir here about early 80s synth before everything got all poopy. However Japan are so depressing! Were then and are now! Am happy to be reminded of this.

Party with Your Poodle (u s steel), Friday, 1 October 2010 10:04 (eight years ago) Permalink

It's Sylvian's Ferryesque croon on the Japan records that I have a hard time coming to terms with. Thankfully he mostly dropped that affectation when he went solo. I love "Ghosts" and (even more) "Nightporter" but he should have redone the vox on those songs later.

margana (anagram), Friday, 1 October 2010 12:16 (eight years ago) Permalink

I always thought "Burning Bridges" felt like a sort of practice run for what they wanted to do on "Ghosts," except with a saxophone instead of some crushingly bleak lyrics.

Mormons come out of the sky and they stand there (Abbbottt), Friday, 1 October 2010 17:15 (eight years ago) Permalink

Sylvian re-recorded the vocals for "Ghosts" on the "Everything & Nothing" compilation.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 1 October 2010 19:03 (eight years ago) Permalink

Is that worth checking out? FWIW I *love* the vocals on original flavor Ghosts.

Mormons come out of the sky and they stand there (Abbbottt), Friday, 1 October 2010 19:04 (eight years ago) Permalink

it's a good compilation that criminally doesn't include any version of forbidden colors. the re-recordings and remixing isn't super noticable unless you are the sort who a/b tests versions of songs obsessively. I'm not sure why he did it.

akm, Friday, 1 October 2010 22:32 (eight years ago) Permalink

Partly because early 80s synth based music hasn't and will never date.

"I still like it" doesn't mean it hasn't dated. I like a lot of music played on the harpsichord but guess what it's dated. I know it is useless to argue w/you but I feel it is my duty to tell you you're wrong.

aerosmith: live at gunpoint (underrated aerosmith albums I have loved), Friday, 1 October 2010 22:46 (eight years ago) Permalink

Except for the drum machines being more advanced these days, current chartpop sounds like early 80s synth based music.

Tied Up In Geir (Geir Hongro), Saturday, 2 October 2010 20:47 (eight years ago) Permalink

(And, well, today's chart pop is dominated by female singers whereas male ones dominated in the 80s - but it would be a bit weird to claim that the idea of a male lead singer is dated)

Tied Up In Geir (Geir Hongro), Saturday, 2 October 2010 20:48 (eight years ago) Permalink

Oh man akm thank you for reminding me of "Forbidden Colors"! I had been trying to figure out what it was for the past couple months, playing "Every Color You Are" and getting sad when it wasn't the song I was thinking of.

Mormons come out of the sky and they stand there (Abbbottt), Saturday, 2 October 2010 21:54 (eight years ago) Permalink

People who dislike Japan just have no...taste.

Ain't Gonna Play Sim City (King Boy Pato), Saturday, 2 October 2010 21:57 (eight years ago) Permalink

Speaking of taste:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mxr3B1rNHGc

Ain't Gonna Play Sim City (King Boy Pato), Saturday, 2 October 2010 21:59 (eight years ago) Permalink

One of my fave bands evah...Probably the only band I would pay good money to see if they reformed...love the early stuff...Adolescent Sex is so funky...Karn and Jansen are one of the best rhythm sections this country produced...if they were American I reckon Miles Davis would have picked them up...

sonnyboy, Saturday, 2 October 2010 22:50 (eight years ago) Permalink

So sad about Karn's cancer :(

cathedral-sized jellyfish in your mind (Trayce), Saturday, 2 October 2010 23:35 (eight years ago) Permalink

eight years pass...

"sometimes i feel so low" is GOOD

reggie (qualmsley), Monday, 7 January 2019 14:36 (two months ago) Permalink

The sound of the 80s was intermediately dated during the 90s, but has been reinstated during the 00s. The 90s was a very different decade that will remain different forever and have little relevance on music beyond the 90s.

― Tied Up In Geir (Geir Hongro), Friday, October 1, 2010 1:52 AM (eight years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i love this post

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Monday, 7 January 2019 16:42 (two months ago) Permalink

You love that post because its terrible?

I always had this band down as the worst example of New Romantic pretentiousness/preciousness/ponciness but "gentlemen take polaroids" and "tin drum" are excellent albums

Like Eno if he stayed with Roxy Music and a bit of Bowie coke mirror art-funk thrown in for good measure. the musicianship is incredible

"art of parties" is my jam lately

. (Michael B), Monday, 7 January 2019 17:38 (two months ago) Permalink

the Mao chic is a bit much

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 7 January 2019 17:46 (two months ago) Permalink

Doesn't Sylvian look like Sally Jesse Raphael on that cover?

he really does

. (Michael B), Monday, 7 January 2019 18:02 (two months ago) Permalink

“The Art of Parties” is GREAT. One of my favorite songs on the entire Just Can’t Get Enough New Wave Hits of the 80s series.

Mr. Snrub, Monday, 7 January 2019 20:40 (two months ago) Permalink

Love Japan, especially Quiet Life and Tin Drum which are all time favorites.

Recently acquired the 2xLP reissue of the ambient albums Sylvian did with Holger Czukay (which I'd somehow never heard before this reissue) and it's pretty much all I want to listen to right now. You can really hear in this the tracks being laid for the Sylvian solo records that follow

Paul Ponzi, Monday, 7 January 2019 23:06 (two months ago) Permalink

Abbot's Yes related dn name from 8 years ago just made raspberry ginger wine come out of my nose.

MaresNest, Monday, 7 January 2019 23:26 (two months ago) Permalink

Why does Japan have such a horrible reputation? It's primarily outside of England that this is the case. I remember Blender mag foolishly declaring them one of the worst bands of all time in the early 2000s. Look at this thread title: YES, of course they were. The most innovative band in the world for a short while in the early 80s. And they were popular at the time!

When did the backlash happen? Was it just that the band had a very new wavey 1980s aesthetic and was subsequently misjudged and tossed in with the more processed bands of the time?

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 00:02 (two months ago) Permalink

https://i.ibb.co/vZc91pF/viz.jpg

visiting, Tuesday, 8 January 2019 00:20 (two months ago) Permalink

Why does Japan have such a horrible reputation? It's primarily outside of England that this is the case. I remember Blender mag foolishly declaring them one of the worst bands of all time in the early 2000s. Look at this thread title: YES, of course they were. The most innovative band in the world for a short while in the early 80s. And they were popular at the time!

When did the backlash happen? Was it just that the band had a very new wavey 1980s aesthetic and was subsequently misjudged and tossed in with the more processed bands of the time?

― Totally different head. Totally. (Austin)

uh well they had no American reputation at all unless you read Trouser Press or some shit

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 00:40 (two months ago) Permalink

Japan didn't have a particularly great reputation in the UK on their first couple of albums, as it happens. In fact, it took them until Gentlemen Take Polaroids to finally get the recognition they deserved in the UK. They were completely out of step with what was going on at the time in the UK on Adolescent Sex. On the other hand, Quiet Life was a little ahead of its time - it performed poorly on the chart and the title track was only a hit when it was reissued about a year and a half after the album had been out. It sounds like proto-Duran Duran now, but the UK hadn't caught up with what they were doing yet. By the time they'd truly cracked it critically and commercially with 'Ghosts' and Tin Drum, they were finished. To the casual observer in the UK, it must have seemed like they were here today and gone tomorrow, even though they were big in Japan from the beginning. You have to remember, the Quiet Life to Tin Drum period wasn't really that long a period of time, and by the time Japan called it quits, Duran Duran had arrived with a far more accessible (although admittedly not as good - bar Rio) take on what Japan were doing - and they were better looking and more willing to play the fame game.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 01:16 (two months ago) Permalink

It's true that Japan's reputation has only increased with time, though - I still remember seeing the video for 'Visions of China' on MTV in the '90s! There was a lot of "the '80s were crap and the music sucked" talk in the '90s, which I basically put down to that natural thing of there being nothing that seems as uncool as things from the previous decade. That kinda perception got readjusted in the '00s, and then further this decade.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 01:24 (two months ago) Permalink

I was reading pro-Japan articles in the early '90s, in the throes of my Ferry obsession.

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 01:27 (two months ago) Permalink

Yup. Japan seemed more immune to the '90s backlash against "'80s music" than most. They'd also got back together to do the Rain Tree Crow album in '91, which I'm really glad didn't come out as a Japan album because it's a different thing.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Tuesday, 8 January 2019 01:33 (two months ago) Permalink


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