Oh yeah. Yello. If you’ve heard of Yello at all, those are the first words that will pop into your head: Oo-oo-oo-ooh yeah. And then: Chick. Chicka-chickaaah. But the signature hit by the Zurich, Switzerland-based studio duo of Boris Blank and Dieter Meier – the one you hear as Ferris Bueller frantically scrambles to get home to bed before either of his parents or the school principal realize he was ever gone – was really sort of the beginning of the end of Yello’s awesomeness. They’d put out three ridiculously inventive electronic dance records, often satirizing the culture of consumption and celebrity with both the oversold charm and the unabashed cynicism of an election year politician, but with later records like One Second (1986), Flag (1988), and Zebra (1991), their music started to compliment the culture of excess more than critique it, sort of internalizing the expensive emptiness they had always represented the opposite of.
No longer satire, Yello’s music became the soundtrack – literally – for late 80s trash culture, showing up in movies like She Devil (the Rosanne Barr vs. Meryl Streep divorce-revenge dark comedy, which I actually love), Nuns on the Run, and – oh gawd, no – The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. No question their later records are stylish and they sound really good (I actually like Flag a lot), but they’re missing a lot of the impish fun of their early singles, like this one from their third full-length You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess: “I Love You”. (I know.)