Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Situation" by Yaz

Song#:  1178
Date:  09/18/1982
Debut:  90
Peak:  73
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Synthpop

Pop Bits:  This UK duo of Alison Moyet and Vincent Clarke formed after Moyet's previous band broke up and Clarke left Depeche Mode. Moyet placed an ad looking for new band mates and Clarke, who was looking for a voice to record a demo, was the only person to respond. Clarke was hoping to retain his recording contract with Mute Records and he thought a demo of Moyet singing his song "Only You" would do the trick. It did. The label called for a proper single followed by an album. The song was issued in the UK and it was a major success reaching #2 on the chart. Their follow-up single "Don't Go" reached #3 while the proper album "Upstairs at Eric's" was a #2 platinum smash. Unfortunately, their start in the US wasn't so good. Much to their protest, their first single in the US was this song, which was originally the b-side to "Only You" in the UK. A remix of this song had gone to #1 on the US Dance chart and so the label chose to make this song Yaz's US debut single. Although the dance crowds loved the remix, pop radio wasn't that fond of it and the song spent a short couple of months on the chart.

ReduxReview:  I can't blame them for being pissed that this would be their US debut song. It doesn't matter that it was a dance hit (in a remix version). There are plenty of times where #1 dance songs could not crossover (or were even meant to). Why the label thought this one would hit is a mystery. It just does not have the makings of a good pop song. It has long instrumental sections and barely the hint of a real chorus. In fact, the song title is only said in the opening line. I do like the song, but I'd have to agree with Yaz - what on earth was the label thinking? Moyet is pretty terrific though.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The duo originally named themselves Yazoo. Moyet was a blues aficionado and was fond of the US label Yazoo Records, which featured many early blues artists. So she used that for the duo's name. Well, Yazoo Records didn't like that very much and threatened a major lawsuit. Also in the mix was the fact that there was already a minor US band called Yazoo. The double dose of trouble led the duo to shortening their name to just Yaz for the North American market. Elsewhere, they remain Yazoo.


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