Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Computer Game" by Yellow Magic Orchestra

Song#:  0030
Date:  02/02/1980
Debut:  92
Peak:  60
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Pop, International, Electronic, Synthpop

Pop Bits:  How in the world did I miss these guys? They are a Japanese group who were hugely influential in the development of electronic pop music. Taking a cue from Kraftwerk, they took their electronic sound and moved it out of the German techno toward a more melodic pop sound. Their work would go on to inspire groups like Ultravox, Human League, and a lot of other synthpop artists. At one time, they were the most popular music artist in Japan. One band member, Ryuichi Sakamoto, became a noted film score composer and won an Oscar for "The Last Emperor" in 1987. This song, which was a combo of the first two tracks on their debut album, was their only US chart entry.

ReduxReview:  It's weird that with my love of synthpop I never ran across YMO. Not that I'd be blown away, but knowing their influence and impact on electronic music is something I should have known. The song itself is quirky fun at best and it probably sounded really cool back in the day. But I can hear and appreciate what they were doing and how it played a part in the development of electronic pop music.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot! 1) Their song "Behind the Mask" from their second album was covered by several artists including Michael Jackson (with addition lyrics of course). Recorded during the "Thriller" sessions, it was eventually released on the posthumous "Michael" album. 2) YMO's "Firecracker," which is the main part of the "Computer Game" single, was a source of controversy between Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez. Carey had commissioned the rights to use a sample in her song "Loverboy," but allegedly her ex Tommy Mottola, who had just signed Lopez, knew of its use and quickly got his own rights and used it on Lopez's "I'm Real" and got the song released before "Loverboy." Carey then had to discontinue use of the sample and it was replaced with one from Cameo's "Candy." Nasty!



  1. I think it will be interesting to see what the last instrumental of the 80's will be. That particular song had a lot of Japanese traditional influence to it. Rather interesting - I hadn't listened to any YMO either. - M

    1. Yes it will be. I believe the 80s had about 50+ chart instrumentals. I think the 90s had about 23. But since 1999 there has not been a single Top 20 instrumental hit.

  2. Chart Run: 92 - 83 - 79 - 78 - 68 - 64 - 60 - 60 - 64