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Electronic/Dance - Released May 29, 2019 | Sony Music Direct

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Pop - Released November 12, 1978 | Sony Music Direct

Leading off with their only British hit, the Top 20 entry "Computer Game," Yellow Magic Orchestra's debut album launches the group as a Japanese novelty act in keeping with Kraftwerk. "Computer Game" is about what it sounds like, while "Firecracker" and "Cosmic Surfin" drift along with Oriental melodies playing over the top of an unobtrusive synth-pop backing. The disco bass on "Yellow Magic (Tong Poo)" shows that YMO were beginning to expand their base, but for the most part Yellow Magic Orchestra never strays from its influences. ~ John Bush
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Pop - Released July 25, 1979 | Sony Music Direct

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Dance - Released November 9, 2018 | Sony Music Direct

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Pop - Released September 25, 1979 | Sony Music Direct

The trio hit their stride with second album Solid State Survivor, a brisk and confident set of synth-disco-pop that continues along the line drawn five years before by Kraftwerk. Fun-loving and breezy where Kraftwerk had been ponderous and statuesque, the album sets out YMO's template for electronic pop with less minimalism and a more varying use of synthesizer lines. The English lyrics, written by Chris Mosdell but sung by YMO themselves, make for hilarious listening especially on a cover of the Beatles' "Day Tripper." ~ John Bush
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Electronic/Dance - Released November 28, 2018 | Sony Music Direct

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Pop - Released June 5, 1980 | Sony Music Direct

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BGM

Electronic/Dance - Released May 29, 2019 | Sony Music Direct

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Dance - Released January 22, 2003 | Sony Music Direct

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Pop - Released November 21, 1981 | Sony Music Direct

Widening their vision of synth-pop to include the darker strains of urban/R&B as well as a few vocals indebted to Roxy Music, 1981's Technodelic proved a high-quality album that showed Yellow Magic Orchestra had the talent and inspiration to grow beyond Kraftwerk-derived electronic pop heavy on the novelty but a bit light on bending genres. Though they aren't exactly melancholy, "Neue Tanz" and "Pure Jam" distinguish themselves through a clever use of synth and effects rather than through the simplistic melodies of previous work. There are some acknowledgements to acoustic music (such as the piano on "Stairs"), but for the most part YMO pursues a new direction with the same synthesizers they'd been using previously. ~ John Bush
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Electronic/Dance - Released May 29, 2019 | Sony Music Direct

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Dance - Released November 9, 2018 | Sony Music Direct

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BGM

Pop - Released March 21, 1981 | Sony Music Direct

BGM stands for "background music," and one could be mistaken for thinking that this is an album of ambient-sounding tracks. Instead, it's a continuation of YMO's techno aesthetic, focusing more on Takahashi's distorted vocals and similarly liquid synth sounds, which give much of the album a melancholic air. There's also the sense of a group rushing to put out another album (close on the heels of Xoo Multiplies). One of Sakamoto's efforts ("1000 Knives") comes from his 1978 solo album, revisited here as a twisted blurp of an instrumental; the other ("Happy End") is all atmosphere and no substance. And YMO's attempt to understand rap ("Rap Phenomena") is as plodding as it is embarrassing. However, there are some standout tracks on side two: "Cue" by Hosono and Takahashi is a very assured ballad, given sufficient frisson by its galloping synth line and strangely programmed drums; "U•T" is a Kraftwerk-ian instrumental charged with menace and speed; and "Loom" finally gets to a calm resting place of dripping water, floating electronics, and a Eno-esque atmosphere. If only the first half was a good as the second. ~ Ted Mills
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Pop - Released December 14, 1983 | Sony Music Direct

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Electronic/Dance - Released November 28, 2018 | Sony Music Direct

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YMO

Pop - Released June 15, 2011 | Sony Music Direct

Sneer at it because there are already way too many Yellow Magic Orchestra comps in the bins already, but the plainly titled YMO does serve a purpose. Plus, raising money for the Japanese Red Cross Society's relief fund for the victims of the 2011 Japan earthquake is one great purpose, but this compilation is also one of the few to feature the Japanese trio's post-YMO project HASYMO, represented by the closing number, "Tokyo Town Pages." Otherwise, this is the usual mix of hits and fan favorites, from their debut album version of Martin Denny's "Firecracker" to late-era songs like "Light in Darkness," where things got deeper and more demure. Stuck in the middle is the ridiculous and ridiculously fun cover of Archie Bell & the Drells' "Tighten Up," while "Tong Poo," "Day Tripper," and "Key" are all offered in live versions. Nice set, great cause, and an iconic synth pop band. ~ David Jeffries
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Pop - Released November 9, 2018 | Sony Music Direct

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Electronic/Dance - Released February 27, 2019 | Sony Music Direct

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Electronic/Dance - Released November 28, 2018 | Sony Music Direct

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Electronic/Dance - Released October 17, 2018 | Sony Music Direct