I still remember the first time that I ever heard Yaz. My cousin was driving me and my brother back home from my grandparents' house. It was 1982 and I was 8 years old. She was playing the Upstairs at Eric's cassette on her tape player. I immediately fell in love with the album even though I had never heard of them before. I had to ask her what it was. Luckily I was only 8 years old and didn't yet get embarrassed about not knowing the name of a band. I think I made my mom buy it for me as soon as I could find it. I really wasn't old enough to have seen them in concert anyway, but they never came to the U.S. for a tour anyway. Yaz put out a second album, You and Me Both, in 1983. They broke up before they even had a chance to tour the UK with that album, so the world has really been waiting 25 years for this reunion! A couple years later I became a huge fan of both Depeche Mode and Erasure. I soon realized that Vince Clark was in all these bands and he quickly became one of my musical heroes. Not only did he help to create Depeche Mode and their debut album Speak and Spell, but he also went on to help create all of the Erasure albums with Andy Bell. I will go so far as to say that the world of new wave and electronic dance music might be a bit different if it were not for Vince Clark. He influenced tons of Industrial and electronica artists, even if they may not want to admit it.
So the rumors are true. No, Alison Moyet is not a man...although a couple of my friends did have me convinced that at one point she was. But it is true: Yaz has reunited! Yazoo, if you live in England. They just played a show at the Paramount in Oakland which I most definitely would have been at if I still lived there. I love that theater and it is the perfect place to see them. I will be seeing them tonight at the Orpheum in Los Angeles, which is just as great. I really can't wait. 25 years of anticipation. I am also curious to see the crowd. I imagine that I will be one of the youngest there. I expect a mostly mid to late 30s and early 40s crowd, but maybe a whole new generation of younger people will be there. I hope so. In celebration of their reunion, Mute has just released an amazing Yaz 4 disc box set. I am assuming that reissues of the single albums will soon follow. This box set includes remastered versions of both their 2 solo albums. It also includes a disc or remixes and b-sides. The 4th disc is a DVD that includes a new short film with interviews with both Alison Moyet and Vince Clark. It also includes videos for "Don't Go," "The Other Side of Love," "Situation," "Nobody's Diary" and "Only You." I am excited to see the videos. I seriously can't even remember any of these videos.
Both Yaz albums have been a part of my life since they first came out. Even after 25 years, they still remain fantastic albums. They don't even sound outdated at this point, at least to me. I still know all the words to all the songs. And they remain albums that I own on cassette, CD, and vinyl. With this new box set I now own these albums in 4 different formats-- 5 if you count the digital files that I have of both of them. But I need all these formats just for the memories attached to them. I also just got a car so I now have a reason to listen to the cassettes again. This is how I first heard these albums so it is only appropriate to listen to them this way again. I still also remember hearing their song "Situation" used in the 1990 TV movie Exile. I remember being so excited to hear the song used in the movie. This was before I became cynical about hearing the same 80s songs used in movies over and over again. I guess it is a different situation when talking about actual movies in the 80s using songs from the 80s. And we all know that 1990 was still really part of the 80s. Exile was way before Lost, but I think show like Lost might owe something to this movie. It starred Corey Feldman and Kiersten Warren. It was sort of like the D-list brat pack. It was about a group of teens on a study abroad program that crash on an island. They are forced to live off the island in "exile." I was obsessed with Lord of the Flies and Swiss Family Robinson as a kid, so I already had a great "lost on an island" fantasy. This movie just helped develop it. Unfortunately Exile is not yet out on DVD, but for all you Corey Feldman fans out there, Lost Boys 2: The Tribe is coming straight to DVD on July 29th.
Just in case you forgot, Upstairs at Eric's includes the songs "Situation" and "Don't Go." It was sort of hard to avoid these songs in the 80's, but I never got sick of them. They were for sure picked up by alternative radio in the U.S. but were also played all over the clubs. I love this whole album. The album also includes "In My Room," "Too Pieces," "Bad Connection," "Midnight," "Goodbye Seventies," "Winter Kills," and "Bring Your Love Down (Didn't I)." It also includes the tearjerker "Only You." Like "Somebody" by Depeche Mode, this was the song that all the girls absolutely loved -- which of course included me as well. "Only You" remains one of my favorite songs of all time. I know some people think of the new wave songs of the 80's as a period in music that should be forgotten. It is sometimes thought of as music that is sterile and mechanical. Still, this music had such a deep effect on me and many others. Even though the music was all very electronic and futuristic, it somehow spoke to me and helped me develop my feelings about myself and life. I do love my new wave. And the 80s would not have been the same without some Yaz. I am just so glad that they have decided to give back to their fans and finally come to share their live show with us.
Here is the video for "Don't Go," which is included in the box set...
and here is the opening scene of Exile with Corey Feldman...you know you want to watch it...
also out today...
Skeleton by Abe Vigoda
Modern Guilt by Beck
Como Te Llama by Albert Hammond Jr.
Nude with Boots by The Melvins
Turn by Alison Moyet
LP3 by Ratatat
Coral Sea by Patti Smith and Kevin Shields