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Adolescent Sex

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Editors’ Notes

Before Japan frontman David Sylvian carried himself with a Brian Ferry élan, before the funk-inspired trysts with Robert Fripp and acoustic and jazz-intoned solo steps—in other words, before he truly became David Sylvian—he led the teenaged version of Japan, a quintet that was far prettier than The New York Dolls. This 1978 debut album finds the band’s fascinations with Tamla-Motown, glitter rock, funk, and reggae wrapped into concise rockist blasts, mixing disco backbeats with distorted guitars and raw synths. It’s an astounding glam-dance slam, like what you’d imagine blaring from an Indonesian whorehouse in some lost Martin Scorsese film. Sylvian’s fragile, feminine mien only adds weight to his purposely art-school trashy vocals, and that places him firmly down on the seedy avenues, whether he’s one of the “Lovers on Main Street” or a jaded tourist in “Communist China” or the disconnected practitioner of “Adolescent Sex” or the singer helping to sleazily deconstruct “Don’t Rain on My Parade” into a perfectly detached song of existential indifference.

Customer Reviews

A Beautiful Work of the New Romantic Period

Granted, New Romantic is used in reference to fashion, but it also applies to music. Adolescent Sex doesn't necessarily fit the cliche of synthpop, new wave, or other broad categories.The album is a unique mesh of tracks that create a hypnotic playlist that haunts your day. If you enjoyed the eighties, you cannot pass up this album.

A true gem

One of the best bands that ever recorded music is Japan. This album harkens back to their Glam-Rock days - before they embraced New Romanticism and arty ambient music. The cover of Streisand's Don't Rain on my Parade is fantastic - but to single that out as a favorite on the album would do the rest of the wonderful songs a disservice. Buy this and all the rest of the Japan albums on iTunes - they definitely deserve a place of honor in any true music lover's library.

Why did they stop

Why they stopped writing these types of tunes is beyond me. This album still sounds great and holds up today but for 1978 is was an amazingly original sound with David’s killer voice and band to match. By the way did you know the keyboard player is now the keyboard player for Porcupine Tree. Great Album!


Formed: 1974 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Japan's evolution from rather humble glam rock beginnings into stylish synth pop (and beyond) made the British group one of the more intriguing and successful artists of their era. Formed in London in 1974, Japan began its existence as a quintet comprised of singer/songwriter David Sylvian, bassist Mick Karn, keyboardist Richard Barbieri, drummer (and Sylvian's brother) Steve Jansen and guitarist Rob Dean. In their primary incarnation, the group emulated the sound and image of glam rockers like David...
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