1985, Music

Stella (1985) by Yello

What the hell do I do with this?

If you’re my age, or within 10 years of me either way, I suspect, you’ve seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And if you haven’t seen it, you’ve likely seen another movie “Oh Yeah” was in. Wikipedia tells me it’s an “’80s cliche” at this point, so I guess I should expect everyone to know it, at least everyone who was alive in the ’80s.

“Oh Yeah” is one of those profoundly dumb songs that also manages to be extremely creative., incorporating a huge amount of voice sounds (many of them manipulated) into synthpop in a really creative way. But it’s basically a novelty track, right? And guess what the rest of the album doesn’t sound like?

You’re right, this album doesn’t sound at all like its biggest hit. The biggest issue for me with this record is probably also its biggest virtue: whatever you want to say about these guys, they certainly manage to sound diverse. (A little confessional singer songwriter with synths here, a little disco there.) If you played a digital version of this album for someone who doesn’t know Yello and asked them to guess who was responsible for each track, I’m not sure they would come up with the same artist for each track. Sometimes that’s a great thing, when a band is able to pull that off while also still sounding like themselves. The issue for me, perhaps because I only know them from their novelty hit, is I don’t really know what they sound like. (I get that this record is their fourth album and fans likely knew what to expect, whereas I didn’t.)

But though I don’t like this record – it’s all very European and very ’80s – very much I guess I have to give it credit for the fact that it is far more interesting than your average synthpop record. Maybe, if I gave it time, I’d eventually come around to it. It certainly is catchy.


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