Yellow Magic Orchestra, Solid State Survivor

Anticipating Kraftwerk's Computer World by years were those wacky guys in YMO who embraced the technomusicological possibilities of early electronic synthesis early and often, and Solid State Survivor is by far the best work they've ever done. Unlike many albums trying to push the boundaries of musical styles, YMO doesn't forget (at least on this album) to ground it in what came before. "Technopolis," its vocals growled and shouted through a speech synthesizer, maintains some of the funkiest funky funk this side of Funkadelic while making its cuts minty fresh and ultra groovy. "Rydeen," which I remember from computer games and arcades, is even better in its original form, a deliciously sugary pop track that blends galloping horses and thumping beats over its ringing, sparkly melody. Other standouts include "Behind The Mask," recently resurrected as a long-unreleased Michael Jackson cover with its vocoder vocals adding spice to the R&B backing, and a truly insane cover of "Day Tripper" whose breathless Engrish vocals and electroboopy backing bring the Beatles classic into the wacky computer age. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but the solid grooves and innovative stylings make this an outstanding fusion of future and past at the dawning of an incredible new era. (Content: no concerns.)