Hackskeptic’s 500 Greatest Songs: Japan – Quiet Life


237 – Japan – Quiet Life (1979)
Written by David Sylvian
Produced by John Punter, Simon Napier Bell and Japan
Label – Hansa

“Quiet Life” was a critical song for Japan. It saw the five piece move from glam rock to sophisticated synth pop and thrust their progress from minor league to the heady heights of pop stardom. I always feel that the bands’ image conscious projection actually detracted from their reputation. They were leaders in a musical style that would dominate well into the next decade, and in leader David Sylvian, a writer who is still revered right up to the present. Online music magazine The Quietus gave a glowing review of the corresponding album that this song was pulled from, stating that “Quiet Life” was “an album that pushed the elegant, improbably-coiffed Sylvian into the limelight, aided and abetted by some of the band’s best songs. Quiet Life deserves to be placed alongside Travelogue, Mix-Up and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark as one of the key early British synth-based pop/rock albums.

2 responses to “Hackskeptic’s 500 Greatest Songs: Japan – Quiet Life

  1. I love the Roxy era Japan, with their lovely female vocalists, David and Sylvia. You’re right, Japan were never truly lauded as they should’ve been, in an era of both innovative and embarrassing bass playing Mick Karn was uniquely jazzy, florid and very funky when required, the ideal propulsion for early 80’s quality pop, he’s a genius on Numan’s Dance LP by the way. Synth pop was a magical confectionery but whilst Duran Duran caught the Kit Kat mass market, Japan always had more cocoa per bar, a luxuriant Lindt indulgence to savour. Top stuff Hackskeptic and you should be hailed from a suitably lofty rooftop for paying tribute to a marvellous toon.

  2. Great spot for hailing the sadly departed Mick Karn. His bass playing was always unique and added an extra dimension to the songs he played on. I love Japan from this era, “European Son”, “Life In Tokyo” and an excellent version of “I Second That Emotion” wouldn’t have been out of place in this countdown. Pity I’m only counting down 500.

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