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Adolescent Sex
Steve and David
Hong Kong
Back of LP sleeve
Magazine pose

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Adolescent Sex

Adolescent Sex album release 30th Anniversary (2008) - Your Views: Thankyou also to members of the japan-pioneers Yahoo! Group and japansylvian.com:

I bought it some time after it had come out - I wasn't a Japan fan till
1983. But when I did buy it I had already reached the stage where I
HAD to have everything they had done.

Both then and now I think that the first two albums were a great 'foil'
to the last three, I just liked them in different ways, so I certainly
played AS a lot and still do.

After your post, Paul, about working out to Suburban Love I have to say
it's become a bit of a highlight for me! I also always loved
Television although that may have had something to do with the use of
the F word - very attractive when you're 13.

A fellow student of mine when I did A levels said that her uncle had
designed the Japan logo as it appears on AS, OA and QL. I don't know
his name though and somehow I doubt he's on the Internet as 'Nicola
Biggs' uncle'!


>> I also always loved
> Television although that may have had something to do with the use of
> the F word - very attractive when you're 13.

Same here - one of our friends was from a stricter Catholic family and
we tooks disks around to listen to while abusing his Sinclair
Spectrum. He didn't want THAT album taken round due to the (discreetly
placed) title on the back cover and the nature of songs like Television
and Adolescent Sex. I remember on a couple of occasions slipping the
disk into an Eric Satie or another clasical sleeve so that I could get
it to his turntable and play it LOUD!
Rob Dean gets some of best lengthy guitar pieces on this album which
gives my vote to Suburban Love and Television.
Paul, I think some mention should be made to the missing tracks (on the
77 demo) as a few were remakes or discarded from their first album.
Diamonds is as sleazy Glam as Don't Rain - another two I love.


eep , bring out the day glo hair


Hi to everyone..All Japan and David fans....
I was fifteen when I discovered Japan...Im 43 now!!!
I was browsing through a second hand vinyl store in Norwich my home city when I found an L,P.(remember them?)..It was Quiet Life..Interesting cover I thought...I was a new romantic,it was 1980 I looked great!!!!
Needless to say I have been a fan for years,saw Japan live at Norwich U.E.A...and David live around the country several times..
I have Adolescent Sex on enhanced c.d.and I love it,people who dismiss it or any art form should try and do better themselves..Japan and Sylvian introduced me to lots of other artists and for that I`m eternally grateful....Love to all........
Simon Bailey..............

hi paul
a friend in his forties posed the question would anyone go and see japan if they reformed?
i disheartedly said i didnt think many would now due to the passing of time-mainly due to the knowledge they never will perform live again-but
he though thought many people still would- if they did i wondered what sort of venue they would play?
perhaps the astoria or forum-
and in the world of fantasy if they did play one last gig my three favourite tracks from adolescent sex would be transmission for the great intro and catchy melody, suburban love - its just a great track and wish you were black-another great track-plus these 3 tracks i remember loving as a 13 year old in 1981
incidentally i remember aged 13 playing "performance"-not in my top 3 i think its a bit crap really- on my dads new bang and olufsen hi fi at home-i remember my mum walking in and saying"and what kind of performance is he talking about?!"-

i much preferred obscure alt though and the tenant still stands out as a true classic japan sng as well as the title track and rhodesia

so there were some good bits to the 1st two albums and they are NOT TOTAL SHIT mr sylvian

now wheres that japan tribute band playing all these tracks-is there one????

It seems strange to think that it's been 30 years since I bought this album (with some birthday money as I recall) and even stranger that I still have it in all it's glory complete with insert with the rest of my Japan collectables. Let's be fair, it is a crap album but at the time it was something different to punk and metal and anything else really and it started an interest in artists who to this day are genuinly brilliant in my opinion. In hindsight, thank god I bought it at the tender age of 15 as Japan have been a major influence on my interest in art, music and religion ever since.
Ian Longman

I think David's problem with the first two albums is not so much the music, it was his
voice. He hadn't found it. Listen to the version on the live in japan e.p. and you can hear
how he would have approached the first two albums with his later vocal styling.

By the way, I first heard Japan when radio 1 was playing 'Don't Rain On My Parade' just
before it was released. I bought AS on the day of release, and my copy had the poster with
the hand slipping into the flies of a pair of trousers. Did all the releases have this poster
does anybody know ?


Always had a soft spot for this LP
David's screeching & Mick still learning his bass! Youthful enthusiasm!
Better things would of course come but this one still had it's undoubted charms.
I still feel The Unconventional is a cracking tune GREAT skanking rhythm....still kick ass in my house!!

For me the first album has no redeeming features. I can listen if I have to and
am curious as to where the band i love came from but that is about it !
Obscure Alternatives is much the same but for 3 tracks Suburban Berlin,
Rhodesia (Yes I still call it that) and one of my favorite Japan tracks
The Tennant. For me it goes into a bag with The Experience of Swimming
and The Sound of Waves. Three very special tracks .


I always loved 'Sex', side one being pretty dancy and funky, side two
darker, harsh and at the time more in tune with postpunk than rock or
metal. Some of the production has dated though. How tight is the band
though, the lovely Rob Dean specially. My faves 'Lovers...'cos the backin
vocals sing my name "Deeeeeeeeeee" at the end! Adolescant' album version
cos the playing is dead tight like cut glass, and I really
like 'Stateline' (not on the album i know, purists!) cos it drags and
sweats in a very hot and bothered way, Sylvians voice very sexy on that


AS was the last the Japan album I bought, it must have been about
September '82, possible Easter '83.

Why the last of the five "proper" albums? Because I was scared of the
sleeve. Japan were the business for me back then, I'd only found them
around the time of Tin Drum and had been picking off the older albums
as I could afford them but I wasn't all that rushed to get AS. The
think was, it might have only been 5 years after it was release but
the sleeve was from a different age altogether. Gordy graphics, long
hair, crass titles, this was the age of Peter Saville sleeves, post
punk/new wave/new romanic images, tasteful glamour ... but AS wasn't
any of this (to a teenager) back then. OA was obviously following the
same vain but slightly more tastfully done (it appeared to me at the
time) and I even liked the live versions of Deviation and OA so I was
a bit more open to that, but it was still the last but one "proper"

Anyway, picture the scene, I'm on holiday on the Isle of Wight, I
have some money off vouchers for Wollies burning a hole in my pocket
and there in the "J" section is AS, all red and OTT. I buy it. The
down side of buying vinyl on holiday is an obvious one, no record
player, so it's another week before I can listen to it. So jump
forward a week, we're at home, the car is unpacked and we're having a
treat for tea, a cream cake. I slip the record on and ... 30 seconds
in it jumps. After wiping the creamy finger mark off we have another
go, no jumps this time and ... it rubbish! Oh well at least it
completes my collection I think the much younger I.

It sounds like the cover and I was right to be less than confident
about buying it, AS the song is OK but not a patch on the single
version, Don't Rain On My Parade is a song five years too late,
Television has it plus points and the best of a bad job (for me) was
Communist China.

25 years on, I've got the CD reissue (you've got to have a complete
sun on your shelf haven't you) and I still don't like it. It was the
first step on a (very quick) journey that got to QL, GTP and Tin Drum
but I still can't stand glam-pop! never could, never will I suspect.

Even after all these years the most enduring memory of AS is wiping
that creamy finger mark off it and hoping I have bought a copy that



As for Adolescent Sex I'm afraid I think it's basically rubbish (with the exception of the odd decent riff and some endearing dodgy soul ambience on things like Wish You Were Black and Performance). And to be honest must I don't think Obscure Alternatives was much better (other than the excellent The Tenant; Suburban Berlin was pretty good too). Those two albums do make me smile though and, to use a now much devalued phrase, cause me to laugh out loud (not something you can say about much of David's work). I also like owning them as they are part of the story, and how David went from something like Communist China to say Despair in such a short space of time represents one of the most fabulous transformations in pop history - never mind how he subsequently ended up pottering around Naoshima...


Adolescent Sex was not my first Japan record: I started listening to their music with the late Oil on Canvas, in 1986, I believe (after reading something on the Arcadia So Red The Rose album, saying it was somewhere near a forgotten band named Japan)...

I Think I bought Adolescent Sex vinyl edition along with Obscure Alternatives in 1987, after "Polaroids" and "Quite Life". I remember listening to it late at night on earphones - what a shock ! For a few minutes I thought I confused two different bands : the music and especially the voice were so different from the other records!
I remember to have shuffled through the songs (yes, even on vinyl this was possible ;-) and to have put it aside for a later hearing...
After a few listens, surprisingly I was really into it! Don't ask me why or how, it just got to me! I think the guitar riffs and the sound of the drum are the reasons why... The Unconventional, Wish You Were Black and above all Suburban Love became real favorites! I also remember listening repeatedly to Television, years later...
The title track was never a song I enjoyed, until I discovered the single version on Assemblage, which I find amazing.
Nowadays, Suburban Love is still for me the highlight of this record and one of my 'all-time songs', but what I'd like the most would be to hear Mr. Sylvian re-recording some of the songs in a 'Beehive style', just to hear if it can work!
Anyway, this record is still enjoyable for me and I thing it is aging quite well ! Happy Birthday !
P.S. : I still can't understand how Sylvian switched from this nasal voice to his warm (and so beautiful to my hears) tone...
Fred, from Paris, France

I know within a few years of it's release, most of the band had virtually disowned this album - but I love it and always have. It deserved to do much better than it did. First albums are always important and as debuts go - I think this one was pretty good.

Yes, David Sylvian did sound like a cross between Marc Bolan and Steve Harley - but his voice was right for these songs at the time. Many of the tracks are classics like "Suburban Love", "Performance" and "Television". Japan's first offering has really stood the test of time - and whilst it sounds nothing like their later output; they still HAD to make this album in order to progress the way they did.


Tony Elliott
A fan for almost 28 years

Of all five Japan albums, Adolescent Sex was the last one I purchased.  Assemblage was a record that I half-loved, with side two being played over and over and side one leaving me feeling somewhat half-hearted.  It wasn't that I thought the songs were bad, they just sounded like a completely different band.
I decided to dip a toe in the water with 'Obscure Alternatives' and thought 'hmm, this isn't as bad as I thought' which then prompted me to complete the collection with 'Adolescent Sex'.  I remember playing it through for the first time with my mother in the kitchen baking a sponge cake.
"Is that a Barbara Streisand song he's singing?" my mother said as 'Don't Rain On My Parade' blasted out.
I can still recall getting to the end of side two as the smell of the baking cake became much stronger and the strong sense of having wasted six quid of my paper round money started washing over me.  I've never played the album all the way through again and it's just dawned on me that the 2004 CD reissue has never even made it onto the stereo, the PC or my iPod.
It's like the unlikeable older-brother of a really great friend that you try to avoid each time you go and visit your pal.  Once I'd finished playing 'Television' I had to put 'Quiet Life' on to remind me of the David that I adored.  As for 'Adolescent Sex', thirty years on it still sounds half-baked to me, unlike that cake of my mother's which was half-eaten by the time I got to the end of 'All Tomorrow's Parties'.

30 years. Amazing really. I am still a big fan of Japan's first album. I bought it in 1978, after my brothers and me saw Don't rain on my parade on TV. In Australia the album was not titled "Adolescent Sex" so for me this record was Japan's self titled album. We actually bought the album semi-seriously, being amused with the Lisa minelli remake. Then we played it, over and over and said - hey this is great!!

I bought OA next, but because publicity was so poor about Japan back then, I bought GTP next. I did not know Quiet Life existed until after GTP! So I jumped from OA to GTP - it took me quite a while to get used to it. I thought Japan had a new lead singer!! Very soon after I bought GTP I found QL, and realised that there was a kind of transition.

So favourite tracks - these days, Suburban Love, Performance, Lovers on main street.

So to me a special album - I grew into what Japan became, a very enjoyable journey (hmm including being a dedicated follower of fashion). Enjoyable enough for me to be a part of this group all these years later. Not for nostalgia but to make sure I don't miss out on current news unlike in those days!

Paul perhaps as a suggestion for Nightporter we could collect some stories from those that saw Japan live in those days.

All the best, Peter

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