Yaz / Yazoo

Only You

Composed by Vince Clarke

Song Review by

By some distance Yaz's most commercially successful song (it even belatedly became a minor hit in the US, where the original 1982 single had been a chart stiff, when it was revived in a TV ad in the mid-'90s), "Only You" is one of the most charmingly emotional ballads in the entire synth-pop genre. As a whole, the first wave of British synth-pop bands of the late '70s and early '80s (including Vince Clarke's earlier work with Depeche Mode) tended to deserve their critical rep as being cold and bloodless, simply because the synthesizers readily available at the time were still fairly primitive machines played with a punk-influenced DIY spirit that didn't lend itself to getting much past page two of the operators manual. Although "Only You" is played on the same generation of synths, Clarke's melody has a sweetly yearning quality, elegantly arranged by Clarke and producer E.C. Radcliffe in a fashion that links several different monophonic synths together to give the tune more depth and melodic substance. Most important, however, is Alison Moyet's perfectly understated vocal performance, soulful yet dignified in the manner of '70s soul star Ann Peebles, of Clarke's gentle and romantic lyrics. The song is so pretty, in fact, that both easy listening piano avatar Richard Clayderman and ex-folkie Judy Collins (in her adult contemporary phase) both recorded covers.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Upstairs at Eric's 1982 Rhino / Warner Bros. 3:16
blue highlight denotes editor's pick