“Midnight” by Yazoo
There are many female pop singers nowadays that could take a lesson (or a few) from Alison Moyet (this song specifically). So, Alison was something like 21 when she and Vince Clarke put down this track. And she killed it. She killed it, then slayed it, then buried it in the backyard.
So, I’ve always dug Upstairs at Eric’s. Haters, hate. It’s a good record. But Midnight is killer. It’s pop perfection. No, it doesn’t mess around with perfection. It burns it up. It’s like a raging fire in a heat wave. And it’s all the vocal. Without that performance it’s just a mediocre pop tune with cheesy pleading lyrics. But the vocal performance takes it where few could have. This is the way to record this kind of pop song. And I don’t think many singers these days could do this.
And this album was how she BEGAN her music career! C’mon. A 21-year-old beginner tearing out this vocal? Amazing.
“Playing with fire gets you burned. And I’m still burning.”
She’s delivering it whole-heartely from the start, bringing all the emotion the song can handle. But when she kicks in a higher gear from around 2:17 on, it explodes the song. It’s no longer some synth-pop, electro-dance tune, it’s Alison pouring, spewing, singing her heart out. And I can’t imagine that it would be easy to get your heart back once you do something like that. After this take, everyone in the studio must have been stunned.
Anyway, yeah, Midnight isn’t just my favorite track on Upstairs, it’s a whole textbook on how to sing a pop song.