When David Sylvian, Mick Karn, Steve Jansen, Richard Barbieri and Rob Dean began production on Quiet Life in the middle of a hot and sticky 1979 summer, none of them could have known how incredible the finished product would be. Up until that point, Japan had been a very, very good post-punk outfit inspired in equal measure by the emergence of new wave, and the recently-deceased glam rock of their youth. With Quiet Life, they became something else entirely – something new, and with their new sound and their stunning looks, the boys set about laying the foundations for the next decade of elegantly coiffed, sharply dressed androgynes to emerge and thrive.
Before they became synonymous with heady, ethereal synth pop, Japan started out under the sway of Bowie and Bolan. On their first two albums, Adolescent Sex and Obscure Alternatives, both released in 1978, singer/guitarist David Sylvian affected a nasal sneer while the rest of the band (drummer Steve Jansen, bassist Mick Karn, keyboardist Richard Barbieri, and guitarist Rob Dean) backed him with icy, funk- and glam-infused rock. They even had the cheek to cover the decidedly unhip "Don't Rain on My Parade," a song from the 1964 Broadway musical Funny Girl.