Track of the Day: 'Forbidden Colours'

By Jay Ferguson

Past Tracks As a young teen in the early 1980s, the nouveux romantique UK group Japan were the kind of band you might graduate to after listening to Duran Duran's Rio 10 times too many and seeing that your best friend's little sister had Nick Rhodes's name, surrounded by red hearts, lovingly scrawled across her textbook covers. Both bands appeared to have similar record collections filled with Roxy Music, David Bowie, and Klaus Nomi, but Japan translated with a bit more icy "cool," so crucial to the 14-year-old's psyche and pin collection.

But where could a brooding teen turn to after Japan prematurely took their final bow (and Seven and the Ragged Tiger just made no sense at all)? Well, this sparse solo single from lead singer David Sylvian would have been the place to start. Written for the Bowie film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, "Forbidden Colours" builds upon the template of moody, late-era Japan tracks such as "Ghosts" and adds a darker orchestral swatch. Listening to this song in 2012, the recording feels like an early genetic grandparent to the dubstep genre's current interest in more melodic aspirations. It should be noted that while admitting to being a young teen in the early 1980s makes me sound old, writing the word "dubstep" makes me feel even older.

See web-only content:
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/05/track-of-the-day-forbidden-colours/257265/

new track button.png

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/05/track-of-the-day-forbidden-colours/257265/