Quiet Life

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Quiet Life
A photo of a man dressed up stylishly, waving at the camera, in front of a white background. "Japan" is written in bold text at the top of the image with "Quiet Life" in smaller text underneath.
Studio album by Japan
Released December 1979 (see Release and reception)
Recorded 1979
Studio Air Studios, London, England
Length 44:33
Label Hansa
  • John Punter
  • Simon Napier-Bell
  • Japan
Japan chronology
Obscure Alternatives
Quiet Life
Gentlemen Take Polaroids
Singles from Quiet Life
  1. "Quiet Life"
    Released: August 1981 (1981-08)
  2. "All Tomorrow's Parties"
    Released: February 1983 (1983-02)

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

Recording and content[edit]

Recorded in 1979, Quiet Life was the last of three albums the band made for the Hansa-Ariola label (they switched to Virgin Records in 1980), though Hansa would later issue a compilation album (Assemblage) that consisted of non-album singles and album highlights from the band's tenure on the label. The album is also 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.

Musical style[edit]

Musically, the album was a significant departure for the band as their previous two albums had been more in the vein of alternative glam-punk (much-influenced by The New York Dolls), as opposed to the new wave leanings exhibited on this album.[citation needed] Quiet Life is often listed as one of the first albums of the New Romantic period, though Japan always flatly denied they were New Romantics.[1]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[2]

Though initially unsuccessful upon its release in the band's native UK (where it peaked at #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 #53, two years after its original release,[3] and was eventually certified "Gold" by the BPI in 1984 for 100,000 copies sold.

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 #19 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Japan's first UK Top 40 hit.

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 #38 in the UK.


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

Track listing[edit]

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

Side A:

  1. "Quiet Life" – 4:53
  2. "Fall in Love with Me" – 4:31
  3. "Despair" – 5:56
  4. "In Vogue" – 6:30

Side B:

  1. "Halloween" – 4:24
  2. "All Tomorrow's Parties" – 5:43
  3. "Alien" – 5:01
  4. "The Other Side of Life" – 7:26

Bonus tracks on the 2001 UK CD reissue

  1. "All Tomorrow's Parties" (12" version) – 5:17
  2. "A Foreign Place" – 3:12
  3. "Quiet Life" (12" version) – 4:50
  4. "Life in Tokyo" (12" version) – 7:05
  • "A Foreign Place" was the B-side for the "Quiet Life" 12" single; the rest are remixes.
  • "Life in Tokyo" written by David Sylvian/Giorgio Moroder, produced by Giorgio Moroder.

Bonus tracks on the 2004 remastered UK CD reissue

  1. "All Tomorrow's Parties" (12" version)
  2. "All Tomorrow's Parties" (7" mix)
  3. "A Foreign Place"
  4. "Quiet Life" (7" mix)
  • Also includes the video for "Quiet Life".

Original planned track listing

  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"
  • As described in the notes that accompany the 2004 reissue. This original track listing was intended to form a travelogue, but was rejected for something more commercial. The band ultimately dropped "A Foreign Place" from the track listing, but it was released on the 1981 UK single of "Quiet Life", and then on the 1984 compilation Exorcising Ghosts (although it was dropped from the CD version apart from on Japanese pressings). At one point, the band intended "European Son" and "Life in Tokyo" to be part of the travelogue (evidenced in their lyrics), but they were not included on the album.


Additional personnel


  • Produced By John Punter (also engineer), Japan & Simon Napier-Bell
  • Colin Fairley - engineer
  • Keith Bessey - engineer (B2)


  1. ^ Rimmer, Dave (October 1981). "Japanese Boys (an interview with David Sylvian and Mick Karn)". Smash Hits (EMAP Metro) 3 (22): p42–43. 
  2. ^ Quiet Life at AllMusic
  3. ^ Japan albums Official charts