Here are some video's from the group, Japan.
This is Japan in 1978 abouts. In this video, "Adolescent Sex", you can see that they don't know if they are too late for the glam rock movement of the early seventies, or too early for the hair metal of the eighties. David Sylvian (lead vocals) looks just like Duff from Guns and Roses! Awesome song. I would classify this under the New Wave genre--stuff that immediately proceeded the British punk movement of 1977-78. Japan got smart, or dumb, depending on your tastes, and changed their look and sound in 1979.
This song, "Quiet Life", kicks ass and Japan are retaining a bit of edge still. By 1980, they are transforming into this:
"Gentleman Take Polaroids" is now a full on transformation into something that is truly different from new wave: it is now new romantic. Duran Duran are so having to service Japan in the afterlife.
Well, I love post punk and new wave, like Wire, The Jam, Joy Division, Cure, Gang of Four, some Split Enz, some Human League, and some Ultravox (with Mr. Fox, not Midge Ure on vocals). Japan spawned the big hair and multi-colored dye and makeup that would dominate the '80s. It is TIGF, and most of it's spawn, I can't stand. But, I can listen to Japan and enjoy something that was slick, but not empty, arty, but not too serious. However, later on a band took the synth pop garbage that followed and then evolved into a band that would do some rather important stuff that hardly anyone listened to: Talk Talk. Yeah, we all know the "It's my life" song, because No Doubt covered it, but have you ever listened to their albums "The Colour of Spring" and "The Spirit of Eden"? They are that movement away from vapid, soulless, synth pop and into experimental progressive music.
All along there was a better group of kids coming out of the inititial punk and new wave movements, in the alternative rock of Echo and the Bunnymen, U2, The Smiths, and etc. But, I will not hang a TIGF tag on them, good, bad, or otherwise. I love those groups, but who are we really to thank? Try these big names: Roxy Music, David Bowie, Brian Eno, The New York Dolls, The Ramones, Television, The Velvet Underground, The Sex Pistols, and on and on with those groups. They took the music of the 60s and turned it up on its ear. Someone benefited from all that experimentation and put synths to it, making lots of cash.
This is in no way a history, but my meandering musings/ramblings on some TIGF group, Japan, and a bunch of subsequent and prior music that surrounded this short-lived, yet really influential band.
4 years ago