On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Yazoo – Situation (1982)
We’re staying in the UK, dear reader, but head south back into England and to Basildon in Essex for our guests today. Yazoo were formed in 1981 when Vince Clarke responded to an ad in a music magazine from Alison Moyet. Clarke had just left Depeche Mode despite being their early creative force but instantly sought a new challenge. He and Moyet were from the same town and had been in the same school but did not know one another well prior to starting Yazoo. When we join them in 1982 they have released a single, Only You, which hit no.2 in the UK charts but 1001 Songs are more interested in the B-side, Situation.
Situation is open to interpretation with online suggestions pointing to a destructive relationship or even the perils of drug addiction. I lean more towards the relationship idea with Moyet seeming to be singing about an individual they are intoxicated by but at the same time this person is doing them no good so they use the refrain of “move out” to try and be rid of them. I can also see the drug interpretation here though in some of the lyrics. Maybe the truth is that this individual the narrator is describing is a sort of drug in themselves and one that may prove deadly if they have too much of them .
Initially overlooked being a B-side, Situation soon gained traction especially in the US where it was considered an influential dance track. The song is actually more notable for the dance music feel, coupled with Moyet’s laugh at the outset, which has been sampled by many artists including Los Del Rio who used it in their hit song, Macarena. Remember that one? Yazoo’s future looked promising but by 1983 they had split up with Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet citing a breakdown in their relationship and a lack of communication between them. Moyet would pursue a solo career while Clarke formed The Assembly (1983), another brief act, before finally finding comfort and longevity with Erasure which he formed with Andy Bell in 1985 and who continue to this day.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Doors – The End (1967)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)
The Police – Message in a Bottle (1979)
Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart (1980)
Ultravox – Vienna (1980)