JapanGentlemen Take Polaroids

Label:Virgin – V 2180, Virgin – V2180
Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo, Strawberry Etched Runout
Genre:Electronic, Pop
Style:New Wave, Synth-pop


A1Gentlemen Take Polaroids7:06
A3Burning Bridges5:20
A4My New Career3:54
B1Methods Of Dance6:53
B2Ain't That Peculiar4:40
B4Taking Islands In Africa
Written-BySakamoto / Sylvian*

Companies, etc.



℗ 1980 Virgin Records Limited
Made in England

Recorded at Air Studios and The Townhouse Studios, London. Published By Chadwick Nomis Ltd/Virgin Music (Publishers) Ltd, except for track B2 Jobete Music Co Ltd.

This pressing was mastered at Strawberry Mastering with 'STRAWBERRY' stamped into runout.
Another pressing which was mastered at The Town House also exist with 'TOWN HOUSE' etched into the runout groove.

Note: First edition pressings had track A3 printed as 'Some Kind Of Fool' on the back of the sleeve. An erratum sticker listed that track A3 would be replaced with 'Burning Bridges'.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Side A label): V 2180-A
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B label): V 2180-B
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, stamped): STRAWBERRY
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, etched, variation 1): V2180 A2
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, etched, variation 1): V2180 B3
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, etched, variation 2): V2180 A2 D Ü 0 [D Ü 0 stamped]
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, etched, variation 2): V2180 B3 F 3 [F 3 stamped]

Other Versions (5 of 121)

View All
Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
Recently Edited
Gentlement Take Polaroids (Cassette, Album, Stereo, Dolby)Virgin, VirginD-402.968, D 402968Spain1980
Recently Edited
Gentlemen Take Polaroids (Cassette, Album, Durations, Black Text, Grey Cassette, Textured Border)VirginTCV 2180UK1980
Recently Edited
Gentlemen Take Polaroids (LP, Album)Virgin202968France1980
Recently Edited
Gentlemen Take Polaroids (LP, Album, Stereo)Virgin, VirginV 2180, V2180New Zealand1980
Recently Edited
Gentlemen Take Polaroids (LP, Album, Stereo)VirginVIL 12180Italy1980



  • Crijevo's avatar
    Edited 6 years ago
    It isn't hard to mistake David Sylvian's portrait on the cover for a certain Nick Rhodes, the resemblance between the two is striking indeed, not just for the make-up but an overall appearance that managed to confuse me for many years earlier on, every time I'd see this album's cover. Japan's fourth studio album is now a fully realised affair. Closer to "Quiet Life" (both albums released in 1980), "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" is their debut for Virgin - released rather quickly after the group's acrimonious parting with Hansa who in return prevented the group from touring with any of their earlier album material on that label.

    It didn't stop Japan though, "Gentlemen" making it all a whole new starting point, adding further more tranquillity, a sophisticated mix of ambient and melancholy. Like with previous records, one spot here is reserved for (sort-of) a cover version of theirs - that of "Ain't That Peculiar" (a Motown-penned classic), given a whole new shape with the group's established exotic touch.

    With the remaining list of songs, Japan indeed found a solid new ground, reducing the sound palette in order to make it more spacious, rich and vibrant. There is not a weak track on this album - the opening title song, "Swing", "My New Career", "Methods Of Dance", the optimistic closer done in collaboration with Sakamoto - "Taking Islands In Africa" and two beautifully dormant pieces, the Satie-esque "Nightporter" (by many, already echoing in the group's earlier piece "The Tenant") and "Burning Bridges", a masterpiece intermezzo halfway down the first side of the album, Eno and Bowie would simply kill for.

    Interesting note about this particular track - also appearing as a b-side to "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" on a 7" single, many still guess if there's a difference between the two versions. The answer is yes but only a slight one - "Burning Bridges" in its 7" version (popularly credited as "Sylvian mix") is actually nothing that special, except a bit more muffled and shortened in the mix, rid of the gorgeous intro that complements the original album track. The Steve Nye remix for "Taking Islands In Africa" on the other hand does give a little more to the already astonishing album version (despite it's also not that radically different).

    And yes, for collectors' perversity, the mystery behind "Some Kind Of Fool" misprint - if you really want to collect the LP just for the sake of this misprinted oddity and pay a fortune, then you really are a fool. While the re-recorded version (appearing years later on Syilvian's compilation "Everything And Nothing") is as every bit worth having, "Burning Bridges" fits in much better and including the latter on "Gentlemen" was a wise move. "Some Kind Of Fool", when you listen closely is a rewrite of "The Other Side Of Life". Nothing bad about that, but not really fitting into the "Gentlemen" story.
    • gullgrey's avatar
      Not all versions seem to have the 'Strawberry' stamp. Mine is exactly identical to the above, but without the stamp.


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