Thursday, July 4, 2013

Yazoo/Yaz - You and Me Both

Following up on their 1982 Upstairs at Eric’s (click here for that review), Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke returned to the studio to record the second Yazoo (Yaz here in the US) album. The result was You and Me Both, which today (July 4th) celebrates its thirtieth anniversary.

The July 1983 album charted at number 69 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 33 in Canada, number 15 in Germany, number 4 in Sweden, and number 1 in both New Zealand and the UK.

Side one opens with the instantly catchy synth hook of “Nobody’s Diary”. Moyet portrays someone so in love and yet is betrayed by a lover who has decided to cast her aside. I owned a copy of the twelve-inch single for this one; it charted at number 22 in Belgium, number 18 in Germany, number 17 in Australia, number 14 in both Italy and New Zealand, number 9 in Sweden, number 5 in Ireland, number 3 in the UK and number 1 on the US Billboard Dance charts.

“Softly Over” logically follows the previous track as the heartbreak sinks in. The combination of the pain in the vocals and the sorrowful synth riffs is very powerful. Admittedly, it took me a number of years to warm up to this track; back in the day I found it kind of a big downer.

The first thing that jumps out to me on “Sweet Thing” is the rolling electronic percussion; it punches and pounds in all directions. This one always puts me in a mood to dance.

Even though “Mr. Blue” is full of sadness, the music by Clarke keeps this one for being too much of a downer for me.

After the last track, “Good Times” bounces me right back into a great mood. The music has a funky groove to it that is great to dance to. The song ends with some laughter which repeated in the ending groove on the vinyl release until you picked up the needle.

Side two begins with “Walk Away from Love” and features backing vocals by the Sapphires. I love the synth opening rhythm on this one as well. In some ways, it reminds me of Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough” from the previous year.

“Ode to Boy” is a soulful expression of desire that was written by Moyet. In 1994, she would record an acoustic version for her album Essex.

“Unmarked” tells of a young man who goes off to war, is killed, and ends up in an unmarked grave. The song features a chanting, hmyn-like refrain and a modified march strand.

“Anyone” is probably my least favorite track on this album; I do not connect to it as much as I do the other ones.

On the US release, the next track was “State Farm”. It appeared on the B-side of the single in the US and thus got a lot of club airplay as a result. As with other earlier tracks, this was another solid dance tune for me. The chorus asks “don’t it make you feel good?” and my response is a resounding “YES!”.

The final track was “And On” with its various out-there synth samples that end up playing amazingly well off one another.

You and Me Both was the final album by the duo; they actually split up on the eve of the album’s UK release. Moyet would go on to a successful solo career while Clarke would move on to form the synthpop duo Erasure.

I was a huge Yaz fan during my high school years, thanks to the local college deejays that played a lot from their two releases. To this day, both of these albums (which I owned first on cassette and later on CD) are favorites of mine. As such, for me, that break-up was rather tragic as that meant a very finite collection (just under two dozen) of tracks by them to be enjoyed. Still, as this album shows, they left us teens of the 80’s a number of great songs to fill our dance mix tapes. And for that, I am very thankful.


HERC said...

Great stuff. Checked another one off my list.

It was a tiny dancer named Vicki that first turned me on to "Situation" and while she's no longer in my life, the music of Vince and Alf remians.

I'm guessing you haven't listened to their Reconnected live reunion album so I have included a link below.

Also a link to Alison's latest, the mintues. It's been getting a lot of plays here at The Hideaway.

Reconnected - Yaz

the minutes - Alison Moyet

Have a safe and happy Fourth - looks like your neck of the woods might get some flooding. We're watching a fire on the mountain - NOT caused by fireworks, it's been burning since Sunday.

Martin Maenza said...

Herc, thanks for the links. I had not heard either of these albums. Great stuff.

If I could send you some of our rain, I would be more than glad too. With all we've had, that fire would long been out.