Solid State Survivor

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Solid State Survivor
Studio album by Yellow Magic Orchestra
Released 25 September 1979
Genre Electronic, synthpop
Length 32:23
Label Alfa Records
Producer Haruomi Hosono
Yellow Magic Orchestra chronology
Yellow Magic Orchestra
(1978)
Solid State Survivor
(1979)
Public Pressure
(1980)
Singles from Solid State Survivor
  1. "Technopolis"
    Released: 1979
  2. "Rydeen"
    Released: 1980
  3. "Behind the Mask"
    Released: 1980

Solid State Survivor was the second album by Japanese electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra, released in 1979. Solid State Survivor was never released in the United States, but many of the songs from this album were compiled for release in the States as the US pressing of ×∞Multiplies (1980), including the tracks "Behind the Mask", "Rydeen", "Day Tripper", and "Technopolis".[1] Solid State Survivor is only one of a handful of YMO albums in which the track titles do not have a Japanese equivalent.

The album was an early example of synthpop, a genre that the band helped pioneer alongside their earlier album Yellow Magic Orchestra (1978),[2] and it also contributed to the development of techno.[3] Solid State Survivor won the Best Album Award at the 22nd Japan Record Awards,[4] and it sold two million records.[5] Several songs from the album have continued to be widely covered and sampled.[6][7]

Overview[edit]

Solid State Survivor contains some of Yellow Magic Orchestra's best-known songs, including "Rydeen", which combines Eastern and Western musical styles,[8] in addition to drawing from animal sounds, particularly the rhythms of a running horse.[9] "Rydeen" was often sampled or covered in early chiptune and video game music, including Sega's Super Locomotive (1982),[6] Rabbit Software's Trooper Truck (1983),[7] and the Martin Galway soundtracks for Ocean Software's Daley Thompson's Decathlon (1984) and Superior Software's Stryker's Run (1986).[6]

"Rydeen" drew from animal sounds, specifically the rhythms of a running horse. It was often sampled in early chiptune and video game music.

"Behind the Mask" sample. It was originally produced in 1978 for a Seiko commercial. Cover versions were later performed by artists such as Michael Jackson and Eric Clapton.

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Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[10]
All Music Guide 5/5 stars[11]

The album is also known for "Behind the Mask", which YMO had first produced in 1978 for a Seiko quartz wristwatch commercial.[12] The song has had numerous cover versions produced by other artists, most notably Michael Jackson.[13][14][15] Alongside Quincy Jones, Jackson produced a slightly more dance-funk version of the techno classic with additional lyrics, originally intended for his best-selling album Thriller (1982). Despite the approval of songwriter Sakamoto and lyricist Chris Mosdell, it was eventually removed from the Thriller album due to legal issues with Yellow Magic Orchestra's management. Nevertheless, various cover versions were later performed by Greg Phillinganes, Eric Clapton (with Phillinganes as part of his backing band), Orbital, and The Human League, among others, before Jackson's cover version eventually appeared on his posthumous Michael album in 2010.[13][16] Brian Eno also produced a remix of YMO's original version in 1992.[17]

"Technopolis" is considered an "interesting contribution" to the development of techno, specifically Detroit techno, as it used the term "techno" in its title, was a tribute to Tokyo as an electronic mecca, and foreshadowed concepts that Juan Atkins and Rick Davis would later have with Cybotron.[3] "Technopolis" was later sampled in Robert Hood's "Rhythm" from his debut minimal techno album Minimal Nation (1994),[18] and in Electric Youth's "Replay" (2008).[7] Techno-pop artist Aira Mitsuki pays homage to this track with her single Sayonara Technopolis, and her music video for "GALAXY BOY" is heavily inspired by that of Technopolis.

The album's title song "Solid State Survivor" is a New Wave synth rock song.[8] The popular anime series Dragon Ball Z later paid homage to the song and the album with the song "Solid State Scouter" as the theme song of the 1990 film Dragon Ball Z: Bardock – The Father of Goku.

This was YMO's most successful album in Japan. It was the best selling album in the Oricon LP Chart for 1980, beating Chiharu Matsuyama's Kishōtenketsu (起承転結?) - Godiego's Magic Monkey (西遊記 Saiyūki?) was best seller for 1979. In 1980 the album won a Best Album Award (ベスト・アルバム賞 Besuto Arubamu Shō?) in the 22nd Japan Record Awards.[4] The album went on to sell two million records worldwide.[5]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Music Length
1. "Technopolis"   Ryuichi Sakamoto 4:14
2. "Absolute Ego Dance"   Haruomi Hosono 4:37
3. "Rydeen"   Yukihiro Takahashi 4:26
4. "Castalia"   Sakamoto 3:31
Side two
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Behind the Mask"   Chris Mosdell Sakamoto[19] 3:36
2. "Day Tripper"   Lennon–McCartney Yellow Magic Orchestra,
Lennon–McCartney
2:40
3. "Insomnia"   Mosdell Hosono 4:57
4. "Solid State Survivor"   Mosdell Takahashi 3:58

Personnel[edit]

Chart history[edit]

Year Release Chart Peak
Position
Weeks Total Sales
1979 LP Oricon LP Chart[20] 1 82 766,000
1979 Cassette Oricon CT Chart[20] 1 65 255,000

References[edit]

  1. ^ Xoo Multiplies at AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
  2. ^ Solid State Survivor at AllMusic
  3. ^ a b Dan Sicko & Bill Brewster (2010), Techno Rebels (2nd ed.), Wayne State University Press, pp. 27–8, ISBN 0-8143-3438-5, retrieved 2011-05-28 
  4. ^ a b http://www.jacompa.or.jp/rekishi/s1959.htm
  5. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Rock (2 ed.). Macdonald Orbis. 1987. p. 476. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "Covers of Yellow Magic Orchestra songs". WhoSampled. Retrieved 21 July 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c "Tracks that sampled Yellow Magic Orchestra". WhoSampled. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Denise Sullivan (May 13, 2011). "What Makes A Legend: Ryuichi Sakamoto". Crawdaddy!. Retrieved 2011-05-31. 
  9. ^ YMO - Rydeen 2 (2003 television interview) on YouTube
  10. ^ Allmusic review
  11. ^ All Music Guide review
  12. ^ "Yellow Magic Orchestra: UC YMO". Discogs. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  13. ^ a b Aimee Heckel (2011-01-15). "Chris Mosdell, quirky Boulder lyricist, wrote lyrics for newly released Michael Jackson song". Daily Camera. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  14. ^ David Browne (December 10, 2010). "The New Michael Jackson Album: Not Bad, but Pretty Good". Time. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  15. ^ "Behind the Mask - Michael Jackson's rarest recording?". MetaFilter. Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  16. ^ Adrian Thrills (9 December 2010). "It's not Bad, but not good either! A track-by-track review of the 'new' Michael Jackson album". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2011-05-30. 
  17. ^ YMO – Complete Service at Discogs
  18. ^ Robert Hood – Minimal Nation at Discogs
  19. ^ Takahashi was listed as a composer before because Sakamoto wrote song's melody in collaboration with him.
  20. ^ a b "Yellow Magic Orchestra" (in Japanese). Yamachan Land (Oricon archives). Retrieved 2011-06-01.  (Translation)