Sunday, June 12, 2016

Japan - Quiet Life - 1979

So here's why Duran Duran made it big, and Japan really didn't.

1.  -  They both played New Wave music - BUT - Japan was too Disco oriented, while D2 took it to the next level and created the New Romantic sound.

2.  -  They both wore makeup.  Hell, Nick Rhodes looks like he ripped off David Sylvians look.  - BUT - All the boys in D2 were handsome pretty boys, but, Japan...  Well, they were all ugly.  Sorry, but just a fact.

3.  -  They both had great, singles full of pop hooks.  -  BUT - Japan's album tracks and b-sides were pretty poor, and didn't carry the magic that the singles had.  Japan even reused album tracks from previous albums instead of putting something new on them.  Whereas every track D2 had on their albums were fantastic, and their b-sides and remixes were also terrific.

4.  -  Timing.  Japan came out about 3-4 years too soon.  They missed the MTV exposure that D2 received. 

5.  -  They both had videos for their songs.  -  BUT - D2 put a lot of time and effort and money into making revolutionary and visionary videos.  Japan's videos sucked.

6.  -  Japan split up way too soon.  Had they stuck it out, they could have done better and more.  D2 could have stayed together longer, but that's another story....

Regardless, Japan put out some good music, and they definitely sound like a precursor to D2, or even ripped off by D2.  That conspiracy has been argued for decades, though.  It's best just to enjoy what Japan gave us and groove to the Quiet Life...   again.


  1. Nick Rhodes asked David Sylvian to produce the first Duran Duran record, and Sylvian refused. Japan fans were coined Japannies a play on Japanese and Duran Duran -fans of Japan- were called Durannies. The opening notes of of Girls on film is a play on Gentlemen Take Polaroids. Close but so far away. David Sylvian essentially sabotaged their career breaking up the band at the height of their fame at the time New Romantic music broke, face it even David Bowie, who incidentally inspired their name from a line in Ziggy Stardust, "like a cat from Japan" was taking fashion queues from them. Later a potentially successful reunion album in the late 80's was sabotaged by an odd name change. What Japan had was pure art, what Duran Duran had was swagger and sex appeal and a little art, and the ability to say yes, please, thank you.

    1. I believe DD had a bit more going for it than what you listed, the videos had people focused more on the image and video, and they worked hard to create something unique to them to their credit, but they could also do it live and that was everything and I don't think they got the credit they deserved in that area, which is a shame, but unlike everyone else DD is still here and recording original music, not just living off of what they did in the 80s which would have been too easy, but they were more ambitious and committed than that. They also had very distinctive R&B based influences, which played a great deal in their success here in America, DD had a Black audience due to their musical styles being something we automatically could identify with and John, Roger and Nick have spoken about this a great deal, my community had never even heard of Japan or the genius of David, which is too bad, but DD also had a FOCUS and DEDICATED vision, which is seemed David lacked or he just wasn't that interested and got bored and wanted to do other things, which is a shame, because this band was incredible.

  2. Noooo, I have to again respectfully disagree with you about David Sylvian! This man is definitely NOT ugly. See?

    I also like their videos -- but then, I'm a sucker for atmospheric songs like "Ghosts," and the video for that fits the song so perfectly. I LOVED this band when I was in high school, though I have to admit that I wasn't all that mad about the Rain Tree Crow or Nine Horses albums, and Sylvian's solo work has always been a bit hit and miss for me. Sadly, now that Mick Karn has passed away, there will never be a Japan reunion again, either. But at least we have the great albums they made when they were together!

  3. Japan was the literature of The New Romantic movement and Duran Duran was the action. If that makes sense. Japans music had depth and beauty where as Duran Duran's music put people on the dance floor.

  4. 'Sylvian was the very coiffed, sexually ambivalent poster boy of the genre, voted among the world’s “most fanciable” stars by the readers of Smash Hits (Britain’s answer to Tiger Beat magazine).' So he was surely not ugly by any standard.

  5. Totally disagree !
    To summarize, let's say Japan made music for people with good taste and Duran Duran ugly shit for teenagers.

  6. This post is four years old but I have to speak up HOW can you think they were all ugly 😨😨 I can't even.