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Pop - Released August 28, 2020 | Polydor

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Yello is above all the story of a hit: Oh Yeah released in 1985 which did extremely well thanks to its feature in a series of teen movies, from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to American Pie and above all thanks to the Simpsons character, Duffman. Enough to keep Dieter Meier and Boris Blank fresh in the public memory; it must also be said that the Swiss duo shows no sign of fading as they release this sixteenth album dedicated to the sounds of the late 80s with a slightly modern twist. Such is more or less the concept of the album which is all over the place: “It’s part spy film, part Dali-painting, part strobe lit dance floor, part 4D car chase and part deep space torch song.” There are twelve tracks which sound very much like machines from the 1980s, from Way Down, a nod towards Funkadelic, and the epileptic and pithy house explosion Arthur Spark. Forty years later, Yello seem to still be with it. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Toy

Pop - Released September 30, 2016 | Polydor

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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Polydor

It makes perfect sense that Yello have lasted longer and aged better than any other synth pop outfit. When the Swiss group started out in 1979, the bandmembers were already older and wiser than most of their peers -- singer Dieter Meier was already in his mid-thirties back then, and Touch Yello finds him a sultry, smoky-voiced sexagenarian. He has effectively become the Leonard Cohen of European electro-pop, with a touch of Paolo Conte's Continental class and maybe a dash of Serge Gainsbourg's genteel sleaze, and the comely female guest vocals that pop up throughout the album make for a perfect Gainsbourg/Jane Birkin kind of contrast. On what is only Yello's second album of the last ten years, the duo of Meier and synth wizard Boris Blank has taken a somewhat schizophrenic route; roughly half of Touch Yello is based around the kind of pulsating, electronic dance-pop grooves that have been the group's strength for three decades. On the other half, they venture too far into moody, downtempo pieces full of chillout atmospheres and bathtub jazz. By the end, one wishes the contributions of German trumpeter Till Bronner would have been left in trash can of Blank's laptop, as his parts take things entirely too close to smooth jazz territory. Thankfully, the funkier, more dance-oriented cuts where Meier's deep, dusky voice is right up front pretty much save the day. Listening to tracks like the disco-drenched "Part Love," where Meier comes across like some fever-dream combination of Barry White and the guy from Trio, it's hard to imagine why anyone would want to mess with such a winning formula. Still, when you've been around as long as Yello have, you should be allowed to take a few detours, even if some of them wind up leading you down the occasional blind alley. © J. Allen /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 3, 2017 | Polydor

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Pop - Released January 1, 2003 | Polydor

When Swiss experimental duo Yello first broke onto the scene in the early '80s, their brand of adventurous but danceable pop music was pretty unique; most experimental music wasn't quite so accessible, and most music considered "dance" music wasn't quite so...odd. In the 23 years between that first album and 2003's The Eye, it's no surprise that a lot has changed; unfortunately, Yello hasn't changed enough to stay ahead of the times, and consequently all of the electronic experimentalists who owed a debt to this innovative band have since shot far past, bringing far more bizarre sounds into the mainstream. Most of the material here is undeniably Yello, with keyboard-driven atmospheric backing and Dieter Meier's unmistakable (and occasionally oddball) vocals on top. It's a pleasantly familiar listen for those who grew up enjoying Stella and One Second's more mainstream numbers, but that's all it is: the band rarely dips into the more experimental aspects of either of those earlier albums, and sonically there's very little here that couldn't have been done in those earlier days. The one real exception on The Eye is the opening cut, "Planet Dada," which adds a cut-up feel to the vocals even while keeping the music frustratingly familiar. The frustration is underscored all the more with the remixed version of "Planet Dada" that closes the album out; digital manipulator Akufen's chopped and spliced version of the track is a vast improvement on the original track, and far more in the spirit of early-'80s Yello than anything the band itself has done in nearly two decades. © Sean Carruthers /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1985 | Polydor

Yes, Stella is the album that includes Yello's biggest hit, "Oh Yeah." It's also their best single LP, an excellent production throughout by Boris Blank, from the theatric instrumentals "Stalakdrama" and "Ciel Ouvert" to the frenetic pitched percussion on "Let Me Cry." As well, Dieter Meier proves he's at his best vocally, whether it's the seamy side of life on "Desert Inn" or an exaggerated leer for "Koladi-ola." Both hit their peak on the same album, and Stella is a complete joy for fans of the vocal or production side of the group. © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1992 | Polydor

Essential is a fine 16-track compilation that features all of Yello's best-known Eurodance hits including, of course, their signature song, "Oh Yeah" as well as earlier material like "Bostich," "Pinball Cha Cha," "Tied Up" and "Vicious Games." © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1987 | Polydor

One Second expands the Eurodisco approach of Stella, and while it's considerably less adventurous than Yello's earlier works, it's engaging dance music, highlighted by some clever uses of Latin rhythms and vocal cameos from Billy Mackenzie and Shirley Bassey. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1988 | Polydor

Flag was a watershed album for the group. On one hand, it is a refinement of all the ideas the band had been following through the '80s, on the other, in the wake of their high-profile success with "Oh Yeah," Yello had reached the point where ideas turned into self-parody -- the cover art of Deiter Meier and Boris Blank pulled together into a human knot is horrifically appropriate. Nothing is a surprise here, apart from how "The Race" is a Xerox of their own 1981 song "Bostich." Tracks like "Of Course I'm Lying" are empty exercises in suave, like late-period Roxy Music without the pedigree. Billy Mackenzie returns to provide backup vocals on the more romantic tunes. This isn't to say that the album is a dull listen -- "Tied Up," repeated here three times on a nine-track album, is a fascinating collage of Afro-Cuban rhythms, rain storm effects, drums nicked from a Broadway revue, monkey chatter, basso-profundo lyrics, and screams. Similar thick, eclectic production dogs each track like cologne on a lounge lizard -- too much of a good thing. Yello saw the decade out with Flag -- they haven't found their way back since. © Ted Mills /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1991 | Polydor

The Swiss act Yello began as an avant-garde electronic trio, releasing two critically acclaimed albums (1980's Solid Pleasure and 1981's Claro Que Si) before scoring major U.S. club success (and MTV exposure) with 1983's more accessible You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess. Following the departure of Carlos Peron, founding members Boris Blank and Dieter Meier toned down the more experimental touches while successfully keeping Yello's quirky danceclub sensibilities intact. In 1985, Yello released the more pop-oriented Stella, which included the song that would be a major turning point in the group's career. "Oh Yeah" became a sensation, appearing in major motion pictures and countless commercials before belatedly hitting the U.S. pop chart in 1987. With the release of 1988's Flag, Yello achieved its greatest commercial and critical success. Baby, the 1991 follow-up to Flag, predictably sounds quite similar to its predecessor. With Flag, Yello began to heavily incorporate Latin rhythms into its signature sound, and Baby continues this approach, although with less success. Baby is not without its share of strong tracks, however. "Jungle Bill" and "Who's Gone" are as delightful as anything on Flag, and the wonderfully weird "Rubberbandman" proves Yello definitely has a sense of humor. With Baby, however, Yello faces the task of following its strongest album, and the material is too slight to scale the heights of the complex and often brilliant Flag. But Baby is, for the most part, frothy and fun, and definitely a worthy addition to the Yello catalog. © William Cooper /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1999 | Polydor

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Pop - Released January 1, 1983 | Polydor

The seeds of Euro-dance sown on Claro Que Si reached fruition on Yello's next record, naturally titled You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess. There are fewer novelty synth tracks than before, those being replaced by a series of sleazy, deep-throated vocals on "I Love You," "Lost Again," "Heavy Whispers," and the title track. There are also a few exercises in worldbeat synth pop, with heavy percussion on the title track as well as the closing number, "Salut Mayoumba." Though Blank's production doesn't sound as consistently innovative as on the first two Yello records, that's probably due more to other synth pop groups catching up than any comedown on his part. © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1994 | Polydor

The quirky synthesized noises of Swiss duo Yello have been dance club staples since the early '80s. Early recordings such as Solid Pleasure and You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess were experimental but tuneful synth-pop experiments, combining Dieter Meier's bizarre vocals and Boris Blank's gurgling synthesizer effects to create distinctive, strange, yet compelling dancefloor anthems like "Bostich" and "I Love You." By the mid-'80s, Yello began to incorporate Latin rhythms into its sound, finding a larger U.S. audience along the way; the immortal "Oh Yeah," by far the duo's most recognizable song after being featured in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Secret of My Success, and countless commercials, even crossed over to the U.S. pop chart in 1987. By the 1990s, Yello was still churning out a number of albums; though the experimental synth effects had long become passé and Yello was becoming more mainstream, Blank and Meier continued to find success throughout the world, even though U.S. success was limited to the dancefloor. 1993's Zebra found Yello continuing with its signature sound of combining Latin rhythms, Meier's distinctive vocal approach, and contemporary dancefloor tastes. Yello began to incorporate house music into its sound; the energetic single "Do It" exemplifies this approach. Yello's sense of humor is still intact on Zebra, especially on the faux-Latin-jazz tune "How How." "Tremendous Pain" and "Move Dance Be Born" are also effective dancefloor fillers. Despite its high points, Zebra (as with most of Yello's later recordings) lacks the daring and adventurous nature of the duo's early output. Zebra certainly isn't lacking in quality, nor is it a bad album. But Zebra continues a trend that began with Yello's 1985 release Stella; as Yello's sound became more commercial, it also became predictable. Zebra is a pleasant listen and it proves Yello has been able to incorporate contemporary dance music trends into its sound. And therein lies the problem. Yello's early albums influenced those trends; by the time of Zebra's release, Yello was struggling to keep up. Most synthesized acts would be lucky to release an album as good as Zebra, but compared to Yello's influential, trend-setting early-'80s output, Zebra just doesn't measure up. © William Cooper /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1997 | Polydor

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Toy

Pop - Released September 30, 2016 | Polydor

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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Pop - Released January 1, 1980 | Polydor

The most varied and accomplished of any synth pop debut, Yello's first album presents a few irresistible pop songs (the hit "Bostich," plus "Bimbo" and "Eternal Legs"), Boris Blank's synthesizer interpretations of several different forms of music ("Downtown Samba," "Bananas to the Beat," "Rock Stop," "Coast to Polka"), and even a three-song suite of atmospheric industrial music that functions as a miniature invisible soundtrack. The dark lyrical concerns and futurist electronics immediately lifted Yello above the rut of Kraftwerk imitators. © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1981 | Polydor

Another leap in musical sophistication made Yello's second album another high point in the development of synth pop. The future of Euro-disco and dance-pop are easily audible from the opening "Daily Disco" and other tracks like "Pinball Cha Cha," "The Evening's Young," and "Cuad el Habib." Though Claro Que Si is slightly more pop-oriented than the group's debut, with Boris Blank's electronics just as innovative and obtuse as before, that's hardly a step backward. © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 19, 2020 | Polydor

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Pop - Released November 3, 2017 | Polydor

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Pop - Released August 28, 2020 | Polydor

This 14th studio album from the Swiss electronic duo follows 2016's Toy and 2009's Touch Yello, both of which reached the number one spot in their homeland. Dieter Meier and Boris Blank once again conjure an inventive stew of jazz and synth pop. The lead single, "Waba Duba" is featured. © TiVo