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Tin Drum

JapanAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Price: $16.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 12 Songs, 2008 $7.99  
Audio CD, Original recording remastered, 2007 $12.52  
Audio CD, 1991 $16.95  
Vinyl, 2014 $25.30  

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Tin Drum + Gentlemen Take Polaroids + Quiet Life
Price for all three: $43.21

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 13, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Plate Caroline
  • ASIN: B000000I00
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,409 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Art Of Parties
2. Talking Drum
3. Ghosts
4. Canton
5. Still Life In Mobile Homes
6. Visions Of China
7. Sons Of Pioneers
8. Cantonese Boy

Editorial Reviews

Japan Tin Drum Import New

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of Japan's material. August 9, 2007
Format:Audio CD
Tin Drum" was the album where Japan finally hit their stride-- the two strongest forces in the band had found their own voices-- David Sylvian's compositions combined drastically separated influences like Roxy Music, Erik Satie, and Eastern Asian traditional musics to form something wholly other, supported in large part by the unique, rubbery fretless bass playing of Mick Karn. Even at this early point in his career, no one sounded like Karn. And with the departure of Rob Dean, there was little concession for guitar playing-- when its present, its more atmospheric and tasteful-- a radical departure from the N.Y. Dolls glam of their first album, which came out just three years prior.

But taste and atmosphere and arrangements are really the key here-- consider the album's standout-- "Ghosts". Steve Jansen (a master of understatement at the percussion chair) plays a simple marimba line, under which Sylvian and synth man Richard Barbieri play simple hazes. While Sylvian's voice had not yet finished developing, his passionate croon is emotional and effecting. Contrast this piece withe the traditional Chinese sounds of "Canton"-- which could have been written (and for that matter performed) centuries before were it not for the squeaky presence of Karn's bass.

Much of the rest of the album is dancey rhythmically, with Jansen maintaining understated pumped up beats and Karn digging way deep into a groove and producing several stunning bass lines ("Talking Drum", "Still Life in Mobile Homes", "Visions of China"). But to my ears, the other standout on the record is "Sons of Pioneers"-- similar in mood and feel to "Ghosts", cowritten by Karn and Sylvian, this one is driven by a haunting bass line and tribal percussion and again shows the band has mastered this dark mood.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghostdancing May 6, 2000
Format:Audio CD
On hearing Mr Sylvians latest album, that wonderful but flawed master piece Dead Bees on a Cake, I had to trawl back thru my Japan catalogue. I needed to gorge myself on some luscious music for dessert. So, he has moved on, but oh what wonderful music he was making way back then. Tin Drum was a commercial success and richly deserved although one can argue that Gentlemen Take Polaroids had stronger songs. It is such an exotic album containing a melange of soul/techno/electric/asian influences. Ever present is the moody sensual voice of Sylvian but perhaps just as importantly, the wonderful bass and drumming of the highly underated Mick Karn and Steve Jensen. Standout on the album is the heavy use of pre-recorded sounds, samples and specially programmed synthesisers. From the glorious Visions of China, the eerie Ghosts to the rythmic tableau of Talking Drum this is an album to be savoured. Way ahead of its time like everything Sylvian was doing in the 70's and 80's, its a testament of the creative genuis and bravery that pushed them to test the limits of their unique genre by producing a record that is at the same time style setting, while retaining its artistic integrity. These boys were more serious about their music than adulation although they were among the best looking bands on the planet at the time. Sylvian would go on to great things in his solo career with Brilliant Trees and Secrets of the Beehive but unfortunetly this wonderful piece was the full stop for Japan. The album was a clear progression from their earlier work, containing a unique style of song construction and arrangement. Sylvian abandoned this musical style when he broke up Japan, did not resume it with his solo career and never attempted to re-create it with the dismal reformation album Rain Tree Crow. Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Japan's finest moment July 18, 2001
By k-e-v
Format:Audio CD
Japan should have been massive - they had all the right ingredients but reached their peak just as Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet et al were hogging the limelight. Tin Drum was their magnum opus - a veritable cornucopia of hook-laden oriental electro-pop. Tin Drum isn't a particularly long album but in this instance quality reigns supreme over quantity. It's one of those rare albums where the mix is so deep and intricate, woven like a fine tapestry, that the more you listen to it the more subtleties you detect. It's also a timeless album - sounding more original and exciting than a lot of today's contemporary music.
David Sylvian's distinctive voice blends beautifully with the rich layers of finely-crafted synth, underscored by the wonderfully complex percussion. Add to that Mick Karn's unique fretless bass playing, and the result is sheer ear candy. Karn has an unparalleled ability to play bass like a lead instrument - bending notes in all directions and skipping octaves with ease. This talent is used to excellent effect on Tin Drum enriching the overall sound.
There are no weak tracks on the album although Sons of Pioneers is a little slow getting started. For me the highlight is Visions of China - this one stands out as it competently showcases the creative skills of the band members, the end result being an absolutely fantastic track.
I used to think it's a shame that there was no successor to Tin Drum - but maybe it's just as well as Japan would have been hard pressed to better it. Tin Drum is a gorgeous album - born of a time when creativity was still more important than the sales sheet.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This album has been a favorite since it came out
This album has been a favorite since it came out. It's a brilliant mix of new wave, new romantic, and jazz with David Sylvian's baritone voice the icing on the cake.
Published 20 days ago by Mr. Bong
1.0 out of 5 stars Buyer beware, don't buy vinyl from Amazon.
Album is one of the best in 80s. However, Amazon sent me the vinyl in which the sleeve is badly tear off. Returned and waste of my time. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Files
5.0 out of 5 stars Great buy!
Wonderful album. Awsome group. They were a very underestimated group. Right on the cusp of the wave of a generation.
Published 3 months ago by Weygand
5.0 out of 5 stars Japan's Best Album Now In MLPS Format!
Fans of Japan's best album are in for a real treat here as this mini-lp replica sleeve (mlps) version while not the best mlps release that I've seen is still very good and is... Read more
Published on December 26, 2011 by Frederick Baptist
4.0 out of 5 stars Tin Drum
Oh, how I hated Japan in 1981. The make-up! The stupid clothes! David Sylvian's irritating vocal affectations! The screaming girls! The copy cat boys! Read more
Published on October 10, 2011 by Brian Mayor
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange, spare sound; confusing, but original.
This is a weird-sounding album. It is easier to understand if you first listen to Remain In Light by the Talking Heads; it has the same kind of rickety, rattling percussion as the... Read more
Published on July 22, 2010 by Angry Mofo
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Everytime I play Tin Drum, I hear something new. There are so many subtleties and nuances to the music and to Sylvian's voice that it makes it exciting to listen to. Read more
Published on June 26, 2010 by miaomiao1
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best 80s albums
Simply put, one of the best albums of the 80s and (perhaps more crucially) a record you can listen to now and not seem dated at all. Read more
Published on May 31, 2010 by David Garvin
5.0 out of 5 stars IMMACULATE JAPAN
this was the first japan album i ever heard and it blew me away. it still blows me away. this sounded like nothing else when it came out and in my opinion has stood the test of... Read more
Published on December 29, 2009 by Proppa
4.0 out of 5 stars Tin Drum Review
Tin Drum has been classified as the pinnacle of Japan's career. Despite of a short career for a mainstream band is without a doubt a colorful album that clearly defines this era. Read more
Published on April 14, 2009 by ghostdiving
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