At the time, Alphaville singer Marian Gold claimed that their debut single, "Big in Japan," was a metaphor for the perils of heroin addiction. Perhaps the idea was lost in translation from Gold's native German, because while the lyrics hint at stylish alienation, they're not easily tied to anything as concrete as a junkie's life. However, the song does feature a memorable, catchy chorus and a nagging quasi-Asian keyboard hook, and Gold is at least as good a Bryan Ferry mimic as, say, Icehouse's Iva Davies. The only problem is that by the time this song came out, late in 1984, the synth pop scene was already dying on the vine, with most bands this side of Depeche Mode either splitting up or turning into more traditional pop/rock groups. Had it come out two years before, "Big in Japan" would have fit perfectly in the new pop zeitgeist; as it was, it just sounded kind of dated even the first time you heard it.