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Yello|Toy

Toy

Yello

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Most North Americans seem to believe Yello's career began and ended with "Oh Yeah," the 1985 tune from their album Stella that became unavoidable in movies and television for years afterward. But the truth is, Yello have been a presence in international pop music since 1980, and with their 13th album, 2016's Toy, they've reminded us that they're still making smart, well-crafted, and politely subversive electronic pop more than three decades after their biggest hit. Stylistically, Toy doesn't sound radically different than the work Yello did in the '80s and '90s, though their touch has grown a bit lighter with time. These tunes are pop that exists somewhere between crisp EDM-influenced rhythms and witty ambient music. Boris Blank (who handles the group's music and production) moves back and forth from upbeat numbers with tuneful hooks and dance-friendly percussive effects to low-key soundscapes that, despite their playful edge, communicate a mood far more than a melody. Vocalist and lyricist Dieter Meier was 71 when Toy was released, but his gruff, smoky instrument fits the clean, polished surfaces of this music remarkably well, like Leonard Cohen's eccentric cousin from Switzerland. Toy wisely front-loads the catchier numbers, especially "Limbo," "Cold Flame" (featuring guest vocals from Malia), and "30,000 Days," while the set closes with more abstract and free-flowing tracks such as "Magma" and "Toy Square." Toy doesn't sound especially innovative, but it certainly demonstrates that Yello haven't been resting on their laurels, and at its best, the album applies new thinking in electronic pop with the melodic and production approaches that have always been part of Yello's music, for a set that's fresh but unmistakably their work.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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Toy

Yello

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1
Frautonium Intro
00:01:10

Boris Blank, Composer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

2
Limbo
00:03:22

Dieter Meier, Author, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Malia, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Boris Blank, Composer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

3
30'000 Days
00:04:05

Dieter Meier, Author, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Jeremy Baer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Boris Blank, Composer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

4
Electrified II
00:02:50

Dieter Meier, Author, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Malia, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Boris Blank, Composer, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Maria Chamley, Author - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

5
Cold Flame
00:04:02

Malia, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Boris Blank, Composer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Maria Chamley, Author - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

6
Kiss The Cloud
00:03:14

Boris Blank, Composer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Fifi Rong, Author, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

7
Starlight Scene
00:03:17

Dieter Meier, Author, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Malia, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Jeremy Baer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Boris Blank, Composer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Maria Chamley, Author - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

8
Tool Of Love
00:03:12

Dieter Meier, Author, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Malia, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Boris Blank, Composer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

9
Give You The World
00:03:32

Malia, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Boris Blank, Composer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Maria Chamley, Author - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

10
Dialectical Kid
00:03:18

Dieter Meier, Author, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Boris Blank, Composer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Heidi Happy, Author, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

11
Dark Side
00:04:15

Dieter Meier, Author, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Boris Blank, Composer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Fifi Rong, Author, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

12
Pacific AM
00:03:23

Boris Blank, Composer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

13
Blue Biscuit
00:03:36

Boris Blank, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

14
Lost In Motion
00:03:32

Boris Blank, Composer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Fifi Rong, Author, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

15
Magma
00:06:27

Boris Blank, Composer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

16
Toy Square
00:03:08

Boris Blank, Composer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

17
Frautonium
00:04:21

Boris Blank, Composer - Yello, Producer, MainArtist - Ursli Weber, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Yello

Album Description

Most North Americans seem to believe Yello's career began and ended with "Oh Yeah," the 1985 tune from their album Stella that became unavoidable in movies and television for years afterward. But the truth is, Yello have been a presence in international pop music since 1980, and with their 13th album, 2016's Toy, they've reminded us that they're still making smart, well-crafted, and politely subversive electronic pop more than three decades after their biggest hit. Stylistically, Toy doesn't sound radically different than the work Yello did in the '80s and '90s, though their touch has grown a bit lighter with time. These tunes are pop that exists somewhere between crisp EDM-influenced rhythms and witty ambient music. Boris Blank (who handles the group's music and production) moves back and forth from upbeat numbers with tuneful hooks and dance-friendly percussive effects to low-key soundscapes that, despite their playful edge, communicate a mood far more than a melody. Vocalist and lyricist Dieter Meier was 71 when Toy was released, but his gruff, smoky instrument fits the clean, polished surfaces of this music remarkably well, like Leonard Cohen's eccentric cousin from Switzerland. Toy wisely front-loads the catchier numbers, especially "Limbo," "Cold Flame" (featuring guest vocals from Malia), and "30,000 Days," while the set closes with more abstract and free-flowing tracks such as "Magma" and "Toy Square." Toy doesn't sound especially innovative, but it certainly demonstrates that Yello haven't been resting on their laurels, and at its best, the album applies new thinking in electronic pop with the melodic and production approaches that have always been part of Yello's music, for a set that's fresh but unmistakably their work.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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