dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Yaz Box Set: It's Like Christmas 1982 All Over

In 1982, we got MTV in my house. That Christmas, Santa Claus got me the 12" vinyl for Yaz's (or Yazoo for the rest of the world) "Don't Go" and Musical Youth's "Pass The Dutchie"—two heavy-rotation clips on the music video channel at the time that had completely captured my imagination. I was eight years old.

The following year, my mom was taping songs off the radio, and "Only You," probably Yaz's most well-known song here except for maybe "Situation," made it onto one of her compilations.

But other than "Don't Go" and "Only You," I didn't know much else about Yaz or any of their other music until one Friday while hanging out at the mall in early 1990, I bought Upstairs At Eric's on cassette.

I played and played my cassette until it had pops and cracks between the songs, as well as during a few songs themselves. 1990 later proved to be a year of resurgence for Yaz, as that's when that "Situation" remix started popping up seemingly out of nowhere on Top 40 radio in the U.S.

There was a pretty decent interview with Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet—both now in their mid-40s—in the Los Angeles Times this week, to tie in with Yaz's three L.A. shows and the release of the In Your Room four-disc box set.

I didn't get to see them at any of their concerts here, but I did get the box set. The short film documentary, 2 Albums, 4 Singles and that was it.... was worth the $65 alone.

Plus, perhaps shamefully, I must admit that despite "Nobody's Diary" being one of my all-time fave Yaz songs, this is the first time I've heard the entire You And Me Both album.

Side note: U.S. iTunes misreads the track "Tuesday"—which was left off the American release of Upstairs At Eric's—as "Situation" on the remastered, box set version of the CD. In turn, "Situation," originally a b-side, wasn't initially included on the U.K. version of the album.

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  • At 3:58 PM, Blogger Marti Phillips said…

    When Yaz originally released their albums, I was a mid-teen coming to grips with trying to be myself (a gay boy) in North Alabama. Their music meant everything to me. Hours of listening over and over to their two master works with the headphones on, lying on my bedroom floor. I was lucky enough to catch their show here in the Bay Area, at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland. You could tell that both Alison and Vince were REALLY enjoying being able to play most of these songs live for the very first time and really kind of awe struck at the audience response. It was simply the most magical music experience I've ever had (and I've had a lot) and they did not disappoint in the least. They played every damn song from both albums plus Situation! I was able to catch a few of their songs on video and posted to YouTube if anyone would like to see them just search my user name ladd65.

  • At 8:29 PM, Blogger Thnairg said…

    Excellent post! I only recently found out about this box set and have been seriously considering picking it up ... I think you clinched the deal for me (though it'll take me a bit of time to save up the change). Half of it will be new to me since I've only ever owned or even heard the "Upstairs At Eric's" album.

    Fun reading your comments as well, Marti! ;-)


  • At 12:27 AM, Blogger Yuяi said…

    Love love love Yaz. What's funny is that I bought You and Me Both first after seeing the video for "Nobody's Diary" on a music show on some crazy satellite channel (one that was not scrambled!). I bought Upstairs at Eric's after hearing a "Situation" remix a bit later and fell in love with those songs as well. I, too, had worn the cassette out before too long.

    I was able to score some nice mp3s of Yazoo's first live show back in the day. "Live on the BBC." Great stuff! They only had the Upstairs material, but who cares?! Let me know if you want them or don't have them.

    I ordered the box set from Amazon a few days ago and can't wait to get it and hear all the remastered goodness! Yaz(oo) is one of my all-time fave bands. Their shit will never get old! I'll be bopping to "Goodbye '70s" well into my 70s!

  • At 12:23 AM, Blogger Kenneth Walsh said…

    What do you think of "You and Me Both"? Many feel it's more consistent than the debut, although the U.K. "Eric's" is awfully nice since it doesn't have that pointless "I Before E Except After C." (The U.K. reissue with all of the original songs plus "Situation" and "The Other Side of Love" is the definitive disc.) I'm going to one of the New York shows on Thursday and cannot wait.

    P.S. I totally love that your mom taped shit off the radio!!!!! She's the original Napster ...

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