April 1, 2020
Todd plays "Oh Yeah" on the piano.
YELLO - OH YEAH
A one-hit retrospective
Todd: Chick, chicka chicka. Welcome to One Hit Wonderland, where we take a look at bands and artists known for only one song. Folks, I am not a sophisticated man.
Clip of Katy Perry - "Firework"Todd (VO): I listen to and review pop music, the most popular and accessible of musics.
Todd: I am a lazy listener.
Live clip of Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - "Steal Softly Thru Snow"Todd (VO): I just don't have the patience or interest in any of that artsy, experimental crap.
Todd: Yet sometimes, [song starts] in defiance of my limited taste, the two will intersect anyway.
Clip of Yello - "Oh Yeah"
Dieter Meier: Mm, oh yeahTodd (VO): Yeah, you know this one.
Todd: A bunch of you didn't think you knew it, but you do.
Yello: (Bow bow) oh yeah (chick, chicka chicka)Todd (VO): Once upon a time in the middle of the most pretentious, [gif of SNL Sprockets sketch] black turtleneck and sunglasses-wearing part of Europe, two conceptual artists started a musical project. [picture of the band] They called themselves Yello, and they were not particularly looking to become popstars or have a hit song.
Todd: And you could argue that they never did, at least in this country.
Todd (VO): Their best-known single, "Oh Yeah", never [shot of Billboard Hot 100, with "Oh Yeah" at number 51] quite cleared the bottom half of the Hot 100, so technically it wasn't a hit song.
Todd: Arguably, it's not even a song exactly.
Todd (VO): It has none of the structure of a pop song, no chorus, no verses, not even really a riff or a musical phrase. It's just a clattering assortment of beats, bass, catchphrases and random mouth sounds.
Yello: ...chicka, doo bow bowTodd (VO): We're well past the [brief live clip of Martin Garrix] EDM revolution now so we're used to it, but...
Todd: ...imagine how...
Todd (VO): ...weird this must have sounded in the mid-'80s.
Boris Blank: Chicka chickaTodd (VO): And yet, thanks to a couple key placements in a few hit films, this eclectic collage of sounds is one of the most instantly recognisable songs of the entire 1980s.
Todd: And in a supreme irony, this band that had zero interest in commercialism...
Clip of Ferrari scene from Ferris Bueller's Day OffTodd (VO): ...became the soundtrack of yuppie '80s materialist hedonism.
Todd: Anyone who has ever...
Clips of people adjusting their sunglassesTodd (VO): ...lowered their sunglasses to better demonstrate their sheer, unchecked selfish desire has had this song playing in their head.
Clip of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
Mac and Charlie: Day bow bow
Charlie: Chick, chicka chickaTodd (VO): The fact is that Yello were a [clip of Duffman from The Simpsons] lot more than one overused soundtrack joke. [clip of Yello performance] Their work is so wild and varied across multiple media [cover of Yello: Boris Blank und Dieter Meier by Daniel Ryser] that several books had been [cover of Dieter Meier Works 1968-2012 and the Yello Years] published about their works.