Solid State Survivor

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Solid State Survivor
YMO SolidStateSurvivor.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 25, 1979
StudioAlfa Studio "A", Shibaura, Minato, Tokyo
GenreElectronic, synthpop
LabelAlfa Records
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
  3. "Behind the Mask"
    Released: August 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 by LP and cassette, also in 1992 in the United States by CD, 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]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[6]
The Guardian4/5 stars[7]
Smash Hits7/10[8]

The album is also known for "Behind the Mask", which YMO had first produced in 1978 for a Seiko quartz wristwatch commercial.[9] YMO made use of synthesizers for the melodies and digital gated reverb for the snare drums.[10] The song has had numerous cover versions produced by other artists, most notably Michael Jackson.[11][12][13] 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.[11]

"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]

The album's title song "Solid State Survivor" is a new wave synth rock song.[14] 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 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
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[15]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[16] 1 82 766,000
1979 Cassette Oricon CT Chart[16] 1 65 255,000


  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 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-19. Retrieved 2007-09-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Rock (2 ed.). Macdonald Orbis. 1987. p. 476. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  6. ^ Bush, John. "Solid State Survivor – Yellow Magic Orchestra". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  7. ^ Sweeting, Adam (9 January 2004). "Yellow Magic Orchestra, Solid State Survivor". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  8. ^ Black, Johnny (4–17 March 1982). "Yellow Magic Orchestra: Solid State Survivor". Smash Hits: 29.
  9. ^ "Yellow Magic Orchestra: UC YMO". Discogs. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
  10. ^ Tanaka, Yuji (November 11, 2014). "Yellow Magic Orchestra: The Pre-MIDI Technology Behind Their Anthems". Red Bull Music Academy.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ David Browne (December 10, 2010). "The New Michael Jackson Album: Not Bad, but Pretty Good". Time. Retrieved 2011-06-19.
  13. ^ "Behind the Mask – Michael Jackson's rarest recording?". MetaFilter. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
  14. ^ Denise Sullivan (May 13, 2011). "What Makes A Legend: Ryuichi Sakamoto". Crawdaddy!. Archived from the original on May 15, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-31.
  15. ^ Takahashi was listed as a composer before because Sakamoto wrote song's melody in collaboration with him.
  16. ^ a b "Yellow Magic Orchestra" (in Japanese). Yamachan Land (Oricon archives). Archived from the original on 2007-11-11. Retrieved 2011-06-01. (Translation)