Quiet Life

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Quiet Life
Japan-Quiet Life.jpg
Studio album by Japan
Released December 1979
Recorded 1979
Studio Air Studios, London, England
Length 44:33
Label Hansa
Japan chronology
Obscure Alternatives
(1978)Obscure Alternatives1978
Quiet Life
Gentlemen Take Polaroids
(1980)Gentlemen Take Polaroids1980
Singles from Quiet Life
  1. "Quiet Life"
    Released: August 1981
  2. "All Tomorrow's Parties"
    Released: February 1983

Quiet Life is the third studio album by English new wave band Japan, first released in December 1979 in Japan, Germany, Canada and other countries, then in the UK in January 1980 (due to a delay in manufacturing the album) by record label Hansa.

The album was a transition from the glam rock-influenced style of previous albums to a synthpop style. Though sales were initially slow, Quiet Life was the band's first album to chart and was later certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry for sales in excess of 100,000 copies.

Background and recording[edit]

In 1979 Japan collaborated with famed disco producer Giorgio Moroder for the one-off single, "Life in Tokyo", which featured a dramatic stylistic shift away from the mostly guitar-driven glam rock of their first two albums into an electronic dance style, prefiguring their work on Quiet Life.[citation needed]

Recorded in 1979 and released at the end of that year, Quiet Life was the last of the three albums the band made for the Hansa-Ariola label. The band switched to Virgin Records in 1980. However, Hansa later issued a compilation album (Assemblage) of singles and album highlights from the band's time with the label.


Quiet Life has been described as one of the first albums of the New Romantic movement, though Japan always flatly denied they were New Romantics.[1]

In a retrospective review of the band's work, The Quietus characterised the album as defining "a very European form of detached, sexually-ambiguous and thoughtful art-pop, one not too dissimilar to what the ever-prescient David Bowie had delivered two years earlier with Low".[2] The album is notable for being the first album where singer David Sylvian used his newfound baritone vocal style, which became one of the band's most distinctive hallmarks.


Though initially unsuccessful upon its release in the band's native UK (where it peaked at No. 72 in February 1980), the album returned to the charts in early 1982 after the commercial success of 1981's Tin Drum and the Hansa Records compilation Assemblage. It then peaked at No. 53, two years after its original release,[3] and was eventually certified "Gold" by the BPI in 1984 for 100,000 copies sold.[4]

The title track, "Quiet Life", was released as a single in Japan in 1979 and in Germany in 1980. In other countries, including the band's native UK, Hansa chose to promote the album with the standalone single "I Second That Emotion" with "Quiet Life" as the B-side. Neither single was commercially successful. Eighteen months later, in line with the band's increasing popularity and media profile, Hansa released "Quiet Life" as an A-side single in the UK and Ireland in August 1981 (with the instrumental "A Foreign Place" as the B-side). The single reached No. 19 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Japan's first UK Top 20 hit.[3]

A second single, "All Tomorrow's Parties", was issued by Hansa in February 1983, two months after Japan had permanently disbanded, and three years after the original album release. It peaked at No. 38 in the UK.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[5]
Trouser Press positive[6]

In its retrospective review of the band, AllMusic wrote: "Quiet Life is the album that transformed Japan from past-tense glam rockers into futuristic synth popsters, though they'd been leaning in that direction for a while. It's also a solid proto-New Romantic synthesizer record".[5] In another retrospective review, The Quietus called it "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]


The album appears in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[7]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by David Sylvian, except for "All Tomorrow's Parties", written by Lou Reed. All songs arranged by Japan.

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Quiet Life" 4:53
2. "Fall in Love with Me" 4:31
3. "Despair" 5:56
4. "In Vogue" 6:30
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Halloween" 4:24
2. "All Tomorrow's Parties (Reed)" 5:43
3. "Alien" 5:01
4. "The Other Side of Life" 7:26

The band originally intended for the track listing to be 1) All Tomorrow's Parties, 2) Fall in Love with Me, 3) Alien, 4) Quiet Life, 5) The Other Side of Life, 6) Despair, 7) In Vogue, 8) Halloween, 9) A Foreign Place, and the notes in the CD cover booklet of the 2006 remastered edition suggest that the listener should try listening to the album in that order.


Additional personnel
  • John Punter – production, engineering
  • Simon Napier-Bell – production
  • Colin Fairley – engineering
  • Keith Bessey – engineering on "All Tomorrow's Parties"


  1. ^ Rimmer, Dave (October 1981). "Japanese Boys (an interview with David Sylvian and Mick Karn)". Smash Hits. Vol. 3 no. 22. EMAP Metro. pp. 42–43. 
  2. ^ a b Burnett, Joseph (July 9, 2013). "The Quietus | Features | Anniversary | Thirty Years On: Japan's Oil on Canvas Revisited". The Quietus. Retrieved May 7, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "Japan | Full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  4. ^ British Phonographic Industry online database
  5. ^ a b Farley, Keith. "Quiet Life – Japan | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  6. ^ Robbins, Ira; Aswad, Jem. "TrouserPress.com :: Japan". TrouserPress.com. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 
  7. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5. 

External links[edit]