Friday, March 16, 2012


This week's edition of Retro Friday features the band Yaz, and the song "Situation."

The band Yazoo (known as Yaz in the United States) is a British synthpop duo from Basildon, Essex. Formed in late 1981 by former Depeche Mode songwriter Vince Clarke on synthesizer, and Alison Moyet on vocals, Yazoo was signed to Mute Records in the United Kingdom and as "Yaz" to Sire Records in the United States.

Yazoo's debut single "Only You," followed by the hit "Situation", was released on 15 March 1982 and rose to number two in the UK charts. Yazoo released two successful studio albums, Upstairs at Eric's in 1982 and You and Me Both in 1983. Shortly after their second album, Moyet and Clarke decided to break up. Moyet pursued a solo career while Clarke went on to form Erasure, another synth pop duo. Yazoo reunited in 2008 with a tour in Europe and the United States, accompanied by the release of a four-disc box set.

The band's songs have appeared in a number of films and television shows. In 1988, "In My Room", "Ode to Boy", and "Only You" were used in the film The Chocolate War (the adaption of the book of the same title). "Only You" was used in the film Napoleon Dynamite, the BBC television series The Office, and the film Can't Hardly Wait; a cover version of "Only You" by Joshua Radin was used in 2007 in a J. C. Penney commercial; "Don't Go" appeared in the BBC series I'm Alan Partridge and was used in the film Tango and Cash. The song "Situation" was used in the 1990 TV movie Exile and was also used in a Nintendo commercial highlighting the classic edition of the Game Boy Advance SP and the classic NES games ported to it. In 2007, "Bring Your Love Down (Didn't I)" was used in The Sarah Silverman Program episode "Not Without My Daughter".

Their music has a definite 80's, "synth pop" flare to it, and you can absolutely see how their sound morphed into Erasure. Yaz had several excellent songs, but the one I have chosen to highlight today is "Situation."

"Situation" was released as a single in the U.S., and the song peaked at number 73 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. However, it became Yazoo's first song to top the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart in the late summer of 1982, and it remained in the top spot on this chart for four weeks, and even crossed over to the R&B chart, peaking at #31 there. The song features a memorable synthesizer hook by Vince Clarke (similar to the work he had done with his previous band, Depeche Mode) combined with the vocals by Alison Moyet (including her signature laughter at the beginning of the track, which has since been sampled in countless other songs including the international dance hit "Macarena").

And now for your listening pleasure ... "Situation"


1 comment:

  1. I've never heard of the band Yaz before, but now have :) As always, thank you for enriching my knowledge of music. I always look forward to Retro Friday.