Solid State Survivor

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Solid State Survivor
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 25, 1979
RecordedMarch 2 – June 1979[1]
StudioAlfa Studio "A", Shibaura, Minato, Tokyo
GenreElectronic, synth-pop
ProducerHaruomi Hosono
Yellow Magic Orchestra chronology
Yellow Magic Orchestra
Solid State Survivor
Public Pressure
Singles from Solid State Survivor
  1. "Technopolis" / "Solid State Survivor"
    Released: October 1979
  2. "Rydeen"
    Released: June 1980

Solid State Survivor is the second album by Japanese electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra, released in 1979. Later, Solid State Survivor was released in 1982 in the UK on LP and cassette, also in 1992 in the United States on CD, but many of the songs from this album were compiled for release in the US as the US pressing of ×∞Multiplies (1980), including the tracks "Behind the Mask", "Rydeen", "Day Tripper", and "Technopolis".[2] 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 synth-pop, a genre that the band helped pioneer alongside their earlier album Yellow Magic Orchestra (1978),[3] and it also contributed to the development of techno.[4] Solid State Survivor won the Best Album Award at the 22nd Japan Record Awards,[5] and it sold two million records.[6] In 2020, Jonathan McNamara of The Japan Times listed it as one of the 10 Japanese albums worthy of inclusion on Rolling Stone's 2020 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[7]


Professional ratings
Review scores
The Guardian[8]
Record Mirror[9]
Smash Hits7/10[10]

The album is also known for "Behind the Mask", which YMO had first produced in 1978 for a Seiko quartz wristwatch commercial.[11] YMO made use of synthesizers for the melodies and digital gated reverb for the snare drums.[12] The song has had numerous cover versions produced by other artists, most notably Michael Jackson.[13][14] 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]

"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.[4]

The album's title song "Solid State Survivor" is a new wave synth rock song.[15] 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 television special Dragon Ball Z: Bardock – The Father of Goku.

This was YMO's most successful album in Japan. It was the best selling album on the Oricon LP chart for 1980, beating Chiharu Matsuyama's Kishōtenketsu (起承転結)Godiego's Magic Monkey (西遊記, Saiyūki) was the best seller in 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.[5] The album went on to sell two million records worldwide.[6]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Technopolis"Ryuichi Sakamoto4:14
2."Absolute Ego Dance"Haruomi Hosono4:37
3."Rydeen"Yukihiro Takahashi4:26
Side two
1."Behind the Mask"Chris MosdellSakamoto[16]3:36
2."Day Tripper"Lennon–McCartneyLennon–McCartney2:40
4."Solid State Survivor"MosdellTakahashi3:58


Guest musicians


Chart history[edit]

Year Release Chart Peak
Weeks Total sales
1979 LP Oricon LP Chart[17] 1 82 766,000
1979 Cassette Oricon CT Chart[17] 1 65 255,000


  1. ^ "YMOクロニクル (YMO Chronicle)". コンパクト YMO (Compact YMO). Tokuma Shoten. April 20, 1998. p. 63 - 110. ISBN 9784198608316.
  2. ^ x∞Multiplies (Media notes). Yellow Magic Orchestra. A&M Records. 1980. SP-4813.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  3. ^ a b Bush, John. "Solid State Survivor – Yellow Magic Orchestra". AllMusic. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Sicko, Dan (2010). Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk (2nd ed.). Wayne State University Press. pp. 27–8. ISBN 978-0-8143-3438-6.
  5. ^ a b "第1回日本レコード大賞" (in Japanese). Japan Composer's Association. Archived from the original on February 19, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  6. ^ a b Hardy, Phil; Laing, Dave, eds. (1987). The Encyclopedia of Rock (2nd ed.). Macdonald Orbis. p. 476. ISBN 9780356142746. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  7. ^ McNamara, Jonathan (2020-09-30). "Ten Japanese albums that Rolling Stone missed on its '500 Greatest Albums of All Time' list". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2021-01-03.
  8. ^ Sweeting, Adam (January 9, 2004). "Yellow Magic Orchestra, Solid State Survivor". The Guardian. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  9. ^ Reid, Jim (March 20, 1982). "Yellow Magic Orchestra: Solid State Survivor / Yukihiro Takahashi: Murdered by the Music". Record Mirror. p. 14.
  10. ^ Black, Johnny (March 4–17, 1982). "Yellow Magic Orchestra: Solid State Survivor". Smash Hits. Vol. 4, no. 5. p. 29.
  11. ^ UC YMO: Ultimate Collection of Yellow Magic Orchestra (Media notes). Yellow Magic Orchestra. GT Music. 2003. MHCL 295-6.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  12. ^ Tanaka, Yuji (November 11, 2014). "Yellow Magic Orchestra: The Pre-MIDI Technology Behind Their Anthems". Red Bull Music Academy. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Heckel, Aimee (January 15, 2011). "Chris Mosdell, quirky Boulder lyricist, wrote lyrics for newly released Michael Jackson song". Daily Camera. Retrieved June 19, 2011.
  14. ^ Browne, David (December 10, 2010). "The New Michael Jackson Album: Not Bad, but Pretty Good". Time. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  15. ^ Sullivan, Denise (May 13, 2011). "What Makes A Legend: Ryuichi Sakamoto". Crawdaddy. Archived from the original on May 15, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
  16. ^ Takahashi was listed as a composer before because Sakamoto wrote song's melody in collaboration with him.
  17. ^ a b "Yellow Magic Orchestra" (in Japanese). Yamachan Land (Oricon archives). Archived from the original on November 11, 2007. Retrieved June 1, 2011. (Translation)
Preceded by
Eikō e no Dasshutsu: Alice Budokan Live (Alice)
Ten Numbers Karatto (Southern All Stars)
Yume Kuyō (Masashi Sada)
Japan Record Award for the Best Album
Succeeded by
We Are (Off Course)
Mizu no Naka no Asia e (Yumi Matsutoya)
A Long Vacation (Eiichi Ohtaki)