Yes

Celestial masses with heads up their asses.
* special introductory paragraph!
* Yes
* Time And A Word
* Beyond And Before
* The Yes Album
* It's Love
* Fragile
* Yesterdays
* Close To The Edge
* Yessongs
* Tales From Topographic Oceans
* Relayer
* Going For The One
* Classic Yes
* Tormato
* Golden Age Demos
* Yesshows
* In The Round
* Drama
* 90125
* Leave It 12" Single
* 9012Live-The Solos
* Big Generator
* Highlights: The Very Best Of Yes
* The Word Is Live
* Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe
* ABWH Dialogue Demos
* An Evening Of Yes Music Plus
* Yesyears
* Union
* Symphonic Music Of Yes
* Affirmative: The Yes Solo Family Album
* Talk
* Endless Dream
* Keys To Ascension
* Keys To Ascension II
* Open Your Eyes
* The Ladder
* House of Yes: Live From House of Blues
* Magnification
* Remixes
* Symphonic Live
* Live At Montreux 2003
* The New Director's Cut DVD
* Fly From Here
Nah, just kiddin'. Truth is: For most of their career, no matter who was in the band, Yes time and time again delivered creative, complex, often challenging, and always flaky classically-influenced pop rock that sounded like nobody else - not even King Crimson, ELP, or Rush (three weaker bands that they are often compared to). From the beginning, Yes possessed three special qualities that were bound to bring them equal amounts adoration and derision from warring rock audiences worldwide. First and foremost, singer Jon Anderson is a high-pitched goofball elf obsessed with mysticism, religion, and silly middle eastern philosophy. His lyrics make little sense, and his sissyish voice annoys a lot of perfectly decent people. I, however, love him like a brother. A GIRL brother, that is!!! Next and secondmost, Yes always followed a philosophy of putting the music above the players, which is a nice way of saying that they tended to replace anybody that they felt was holding them back creatively. Musical integrity or corporate-minded cold-heartedness? Your call. Sure did make all the albums sound different, though! Last and rearmost, although they began as a fairly normal psychedelic rock band, they soon developed a taste for extended pieces, at one point releasing three albums in a row with no songs under nine minutes long on any of them.

As you might expect, this sort of behavior turned off many fans and every critic alive. I think it's pretty cool stuff, though! And after the '70s died away, they somehow managed a surprising Top 40 comeback that lasted about four years before they fell apart, reunited, fell apart, reunited and replaced Jon Anderson with some guy they found on YouTube. And what were they doing on YouTube? Learning how to get more YouTube views than their archnemeses Emerson, Lake and Powell, of course!

Reader Comments

lindaleed@earthlink.net (Linda Dachtyl)
Quit picking on Jon!

sbachini@uk.mdis.com (Steve Bachini)
For me, Yes produced some of the best progressive music going. It was creative, entertaining, and of course, at times damned difficult. Top musicians in full flight, the music driving on with each member coming to the fore at different times. The thing I love is that you can listen to Yes and follow one of the musicians, then re-listen focusing on someone else.

strider@redrose.net (David Straub)
I thought I was the only person who could claim to own most of the discographies of both Yes and Bad Religion.

Yes were great (WERE meaning pre 1980) but personally, I feel some of the longer (over 15 minutes) "songs" try my patience. Give me "South Side Of The Sky" and "Starship" any day, though.

And yeah, stop pickin' on Jon! "like a girl brother" yeeeesh.

(However,) no way is Crimson weaker than Yes. KC's personnel changes and stylistic left turns make Yes sound positively dull to me. I'd never be able to take a Yes record seriously after a run through Red or Larks' Tongues. Or even Beat.

Still, I like (most) Yes; I just think there's no match here.

Blppt@aol.com
First of all, how can you possibly say that Yes are better than Rush- it isn't even close! Neil Peart is the most talented drummer of all time. Geddy Lee is the best bassist, and Alex Lifeson can kick the shit out of 98% of the guitarists who ever lived, including Yes's guitarist. I will agree that Geddy's singing voice is probably not for everyone, but it is totally unique. Take Permanant Waves, Signals, Moving Pictures, 2112, or even the new Test for Echo, and they will kick the crap out of any Yes album.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
In the introductory sermon, you pick on Jon 'bout his suave (feminine?) manners. Maybe he's a girl brother to you, but for me he's a master and deserves my (and everyone's) respect. I met him some four years ago, by the way, and he seemed to me a clear and straight happy man, though not so kind when you talk about certain matters (the Drama album, among others). Nice guy.

electric_nl@yahoo.com (Jeffrey Kas)
Yes is also a group I like,but the comparison with Rush or King Crimson isn't fair, they are all doing their own stuff and they doing it well.

Yes have their unique approach of composing songs and the music needs more listening time then others because of the complex material.

The personel from King Crimson and Yes has common members like Bill Bruford who played in both of the groups during the 70's and 80's.

I think that three of the groups: Yes,Rush,King Crimson are good musicians who deserve a closer look then a ridicul comparison.

imoss@northernlight.com (Ian Moss)
Y'know, most of my favorite bands--the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin--are pretty mainstream. Time-tested, fan-approved, and critically recognized. Then there are others, like BOSTON, Rush, etc., that I love, but I know deep down they're kind of silly, and I will not defend attacks on their musical integrity too loudly. But Yes--Yes is a different story. What these guys were doing in the early-to-mid 1970s was nothing short of revolutionary, and it is my (reasonably) firm belief that this is the direction in which music not only should, but must go in order to thrive as a legitimate art form. OK, that's a pretty bold statement and let me try to explain why it makes sense to me. See, I grew up listening to the bands that I mentioned in the first sentence there, loving rock 'n' roll and supremely disdainful of all other musical genres. Then, about a year before I went to college, I got heavily involved in this "music theory" business and it introduced me to a whole bunch of classical music. Y'all have to understand that classical music, basically since it came into being, has been an elitist sort of thing--first it was the sole province of the Church, and then the European courts made it a high-class-only affair. You had to take years of training in order to even understand it, let alone perform or (gasp) write it. There was always this huge gap between "high" art (including classical music) and "low" or popular art (which included folk songs and what would now be called world music). As we came into the twentieth century, the "low" music started to receive a lot more exposure, and a form that had been driven by word-(or song)-of-mouth became driven by commercialism. But still the distinction remained.

The reason I think that Yes was revolutionary is that, directly or not, they were trying to converge high art with low art. They weren't subscribing to the elitist notion that notated, stuffy, difficult music was the only music worth making; yet they recognized the potential held by rock music when in the hands of well-informed, classically trained musicians. They tried to combine, often successfully, the finesse of classical music with the raw power of rock music. To my knowledge, no other rock band or classical musician has had as much success as Yes with this kind of fusion.

Their efforts came at a particularly auspicious time for classical music, too. I took a music composition class this past year, and I got to listen to a whole lot of 20th-century classical music. Let me tell you something: it's not fun. These guys were into serialism, atonality, "chance" music, all manner of far-out, weird stuff. And it sounds like shit! I mean, it's interesting and all, and there are certainly moments and individual pieces that stand out, but when I'm cruisin' down the highway in my 1987 Chevy Nova, I'm not exactly achin' for some Anton Webern, ya know what I mean? By the '60s, classical composers in America were finding themselves locked into this ultra-intellectual, ultra-academic mentality that shut out nearly all possibility for music that had feeling or music that had a groove. And that's why, as far as your normal housewife is concerned, classical music basically dropped off the face of the Earth after about 1905. There needed--still needs to be a change. It seems to me that classical composers would do well to try harnessing the cultural power of rock music, as well as its technological sophistication. I don't know for a fact that Yes has influenced a new generation of classical composers, but I wouldn't be surprised in the least if they have--they've certainly influenced me. I do know that there's a substantial movement now (itself divided into several sub-movements) in the composition community to bring classical music more in line with popular music.

So that's why Yes is revolutionary. Of course, they suck now, but that's beside the point.

Nick.Walford@nettec.net
jon anderson sings like a guy with his nuts in a vice. geddy lee sings like a man with his nuts up his nose.

Dan804935628@aol.com
YES?? Gimme a friggin' break ,man! Just give me the chance to strangle their lead singer! This is plain and simple fucking garbage,I don't see how you could sit through an entire YES album,praise them,and not give a real rock n' roll band like KISS the respecy they deserve.I meanreally ,are there that many YES fans out there? I think the fact that KISS is still selling out shows says it all! Wonder what Jon Anderson is doing these days? Gimme a fuckin' break Mark,YES is a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!

RAZachi@aol.com
OK- I don't really feel like spending a ton of time on this, though Yes has always been one of my favorite bands, but I had to respond to the dumb fuck that said Rush's Test For Echo, one of the all time worst records I've ever heard, could possibly hold a candle to anything Yes did before the Drama album. And no, Mr. Dipshit, Neil Peart is NOT the best drummer of all time. You've obviously smoked too much dirty brown swag in your lifetime not to recognize that both Bill Bruford and Alan White drum rings around his over-rated, cowbell-playing ass. Mr. Bruford, especially.

blppthome@aol.com (Pat D.)
Actually, i deserved that last guys comments, and i apologize for even submitting that post. I think that was one of the days when i was arguing with my Yes fanatic and Rush hating friend Jim and then happened upon Mark making fun of Rush. Or it could be that i was just naturally an asshole around that time. Geez. I am so embarrassed at that post that i cannot even muster up a reply to that other guys' rant. But i still think that Peart was the best rock/prog drummer who ever lived, and a lot of people (including the editor staff at Modern Drummer) agree with me. So i beg to differ when he says Alan White and Bill Bruford could drum circles around Peart's "Overrated" ass. I dont believe either one of them were voted by the editors into the top 25, while Mr. Peart was #4. Now, that is not the be all and end all of drumming, but they sure must have more experience with drumkits than me or that other guy. At the very least, you cannot say either one of them would drum circles around him. Nor would i say the opposite since ive actually listened to a couple of Yes albums since i wrote that comment (it was a VERY long time ago, gimme a break :-) ) and was quite impressed with Bruford's playing. But he's still no Peart in my humble opinion.. Which i guess was what i was trying to say rather crudely before. ;-)

jeffreykeefe@netscape.net (Jeffrey Keefe)
No problems with Jon Anderson’s voice. On the contrary (or, au contraire, to take his nous sommes du soleil lead), it works well as a musical instrument, carrying the melody in an agreeably unpretentious and technically unimpeachable manner while the rest of the band revel in the munificence of Apollo.

The lyrics are the thing. In no sense – be it real sense, dream sense or schizoid sense - are they any good. Nor are they redeemed by being euphonious. Compare, say, to Beefheart (The Dust Blows Forward ‘n the Dust Blows Back):

There’s old Gray with her dove-winged hat
There’s old Green with her sewing machine
Where’s the bobbin at?
They’re totin’ old grain in a printed sack
The dust blows forward ‘n the dust blows back.

Which makes all three kinds of sense and, phonetically, responds to itself like so many alzheimic rabbits frantically thumping the pellet-peppered turf at the approach of an infamously rapacious fox wearing a rabbit-skin hat. In other words, it’s poetry.

Now Jon Anderson:

A seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace And rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace And achieve it all with music that came quickly from afar Then taste the fruit of man recorded losing all against the hour

Which reads like it’s come off an arse-spewed tickertape. What’s more, no Word spelling and grammar check underlinings have appeared - a sure sign of literary mediocrity. Try this spell/grammar check test on a little Shakespeare or Pynchon, for instance, and swoon to the superabundance of that red-green contrast so beloved of Matisse.

One of the reasons, I think, I get up I get down is lauded (it’s also a beautiful passage of music) is that the lyrics (for the most part) actually mean something.

In the end, however, it doesn’t matter. I haven’t got much German – only a smattering picked up from Captain America and Nick Fury comics (‘Achtung! achtung!’ and the like) – but I still get the horn listening to Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. Likewise Close to the Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans.

Why no Beefheart, incidentally?

FAstronaut@aol.com
YES SUCKS! I can't believe you people are serious. Prog-Rock sucks except for some kraut rock and beefheart. This stuff really sucks. It's like the same as Genisus and Journey and Styx. It's like they are all the same evil band. It sucks.

joseph2145@home.com (Joseph P. McFarlane)
I apreciate everybody's opinions, but Yes has gone through alot of changes that pissed some people off, but also created new audiences, but over all they have bonded new and old audiences toghether. My conclusion is this is a very universal band and they should be treated that way through the individual thinking of the audience listning to the band.

Nabbs
I'm getting REALLY pissed off at all the American muzo's(?) who are forever slagging off a band that have never hurt anyone and yet just keep doing the things they believe in! AND playing to sold out audiences all over the world. I get the opinion that you lot think you can slag off anyone who isn't "hip or trendy" yet you go and vote a complete fucking nerd to run your overblown country!

Yes are English for Christs sake! So of course their music has more refinement and sheer brilliance than the copycat bands like KISS ( weird shit) and those Canadian lightweights Rush.. You only get these guys over there 'cause our tax system bleeds people dry. If it wasn't for that we would be keeping them here and treating them with respect!

I cannot for the life of me see what ANY American band has done that's been original ( and not copied from the UK), so if you don't like class music then go and pester The Grateful Dead or some other dried up bunch of second hand retards!!

briggsh@pacbell.net (Timothy Herrman)
YES is a buncha flowing robe wearing limey buck toothed faggotty elves. It was Rick Wakeman that was part of the boycott against A&M records if they signed the Sex Pistols.Geddy Lee is a ten times better drummer than Alan White any day. Why was Bruford ever in this schmaltz waltzing band anyway? Being at YES concert is like being in the mall with your mother(yours, not mine)RUSH suck too;except" Fly by night".

Crimson shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence with either of these lepruchan bands. Though they did let that hobbit sing on one of their records--their worst record, of course.

(later)

I meant, "Anthem" not "Fly By Night"; which sucks buffalo dick.

hobnailboots@hotmail.com (FC Prates)
Before I go into Yes, lemme just address this obvious piece of written manure, which couldn't obviously be said by anyone else but a person who actually wastes their time reading these magazines--I've used to read them until I smelled something quite disturbing on them. No, I have TP on my house, thank you very much. And if you're gonna consider Modern Drummer, Bill GOD Bruford has been voted number one drummer for 34546745467454 times before, mind you--not that he gave a shit to them.

"At the very least, you cannot say either one of them would drum circles around him. Nor would i say the opposite since ive actually listened to a couple of Yes albums since i wrote that comment (it was a VERY long time ago, gimme a break :-) ) and was quite impressed with Bruford's playing. But he's still no Peart in my humble opinion."

Ahem, I have a BIOGRAPHY of Rush where Neil Peart ADMITS that he rips off Billy. The biography was written by the members of the band, mind you.

And let's also put forth a lil timeline in here:
1- Bill, a classically trained drummer, wants to play jazz and enters a rock band named Yes. But he wanted to play jazz.
2- Bill, tired of the lack of challenge that Yes proposed to him, took off and met a jazz drummer who was also millions of years ahead of his time and played a plethora of percussive instruments on a band called King Crimson.
3- Bill, after that drummer split up with King Crimson had to take the task of TWO drummers, therefore adding a bunch of percussive paraphernalia to his drum kit.
4- Neil, back then in 1973 was in a WHO cover band, and when he joined Rush, for the first two albums he played he sounded exactly like a Keith Moon/John Bonham hybrid. Props to him, but unlike Bill, who always had his own style, he didn't.
5- So after KC is over in 1974, two years after, there you go: Neil starts adding lots of percussions to his drumkit. Hmmm...
6- Bill kept progressing and started adding electronic drums to his kit, not to mention exploring different ways of playing in HIS OWN style, and thus, he formed his own band in 1978.
7- With the return of King Crimson in 1981, Bill kept innovating, avoiding the usage of cymbals and using boo-bams instead of a hi-hat--that being just ONE of the new aspects of his playing.
8- Suddenly, there goes Mr. Neil Peart in 1984 adding electronic drums to his kit. Hmmm....

I'll say no more. If you're gonna compare Bill to any drummer, do me a favor and listen to jazz drummers like Elvin GOD Jones, but not prog rock drummers--or any other drummer for that matter.

I'll review my fave Yes albums later on, but one thing, Mark: I PITY Yes if you're gonna compare them to King Crimson.


Yes - Atlantic 1969.
Rating = 9

Early in their career, the most impressive aspect of this band was the force and talent of bassist Chris Squire. Clearly a guitarist relegated to bass duty, he fills this album with an extremely heavy, note-happy bottom that just pounds away at your little brother even though the songs themselves are more folky than rocky, for the most part. Three-part vocal harmonies are all over the joint (as are the band members, I'd bet a dime), and the singer sounds kinda personality-less; it's obviously his first time making an album.

But the songs are fantastic - as the liner notes say, they're full of "life, virility, and musicianship." Especially musicianship. Even here in their first incarnation, every musician sounds like a seasoned pro. The guitar is thick, with assured solos and jazz noodling sharing the cabana with confident rock-heavy chord-pounding. Drummer Bill Bruford also demonstrates a familiarity of jazz technique mixed in there with the usual rock cliches. And the organ? Well, that's a mighty '60s-ish organ they had there. No dazzling solos a la Rick Wakeman, but it adds a vibrant throb to the proceedings nonetheless. And incredibly loud, strong, crisp, clear production allows you and I, the listeners, to hear everything, and whether it's the pretty piano balladry of "Yesterday And Today," the improvisational jazz rock of "I See You," the mid-tempo psych rock of "Every Little Thing," the upbeat pop of "Looking Around," or any of the million other influences tossed into the musical stew they've cooked up here, it all sounds alive, exciting, and - man, you'll wish YOU were in the band! I know I did; at age eleven, I taught myself the kickbutt intro to "Survival" on the keyboard. Along with "The Little Drummer Boy," it's one of the very few songs I still remember, and still enjoy playing.

Every song on here is worthwhile; the originals mix lots of different musical styles, and the covers might as well be originals considering how far Yes has taken the ideas. But I should warn you. Most of the songs are pretty slow. No "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" here. Sorry.

Reader Comments

Peter Bambakidis
Being a long time Yes fan, I must say that Yes is one of their worst albums. Let's see, no Rick Wakeman or Steve Howe! Secondly, most of the songs are written by other bands (i.e. the Beatles). It's called unoriginality. Let's face it: the best albums by Yes were undoubtedly from '71 to '72.

rlewisj@ibm.net (Tom Tebalt)
"Beyond and Before" is one of their best songs, and "Every Little Thing" and "I See You" are unique and interesting covers.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net (BOB'S)
Hey man, don't rock the boat. Yes was a good beginning for them. I loved the song "I See You". It has that jazz beat into it. This album is obscure like the others. IT ROCKS.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
The Yes album is a hell of a good album, more so if it was the first recorded by the band. As you said, all of the guys seemed real pros. Kaye's now underrated playing certainly shone and Banks' inventive guitar work (see I just said "inventive") had a sense of freedom sometimes missed in the band's career. Someone said that with Peter Banks and Bill Bruford in the fold a band could easily interwave rock and jazz. I agree. Although the first single, "Sweetness", wasn't a terrific one, the B-side and non-LP song "Something's Coming" was a great recording. Listen to it and you'll find five very creative and talented musicians in their prime. 9 out of 10? I totally agree with you.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
I totally agree with the 9/10. Though I don't think there's any question that Howe is a completely superior guitarist to Banks, this album still manages to rule. My fave, surprisingly, is Looking Around. Survival also kicks ass.

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
I think that it's no slight accident that the question of Jon Anderson has been raised in the opening paragraph. Now me, I don't have anything against Yes in particular, having underwent a serious Yes-training during the last two months, but I gotta confess: Jon's voice is the thing that really spoils the picture for me. When I try to get something out of bombastic, overblown prog tunes, I'm only able to do that when the bands that do them make them outstanding - leading me on to some kind of different world, transferring their emotions (be they fake or genuine), maybe even 'putting a spell' on me. With his high-pitched, emotion-free, intonationless singing, Jon Anderson isn't able to stir even a single thread in my soul. Their overlong, grandiose twenty-minute suites don't move me in the least - just because I don't know what is it I'm supposed to feel about them. It all seems like robotic, mechanic, soulless melody-making to me. You're perfectly right that Yes put music above the players. For me, it's not a compliment. They put music above everything that makes up true art. They made it complicated, entertaining and awesome, but they also made it cold, meaningless, and illusionary. And above all stands Jon Anderson's voice. That said, I enjoy 'Sweetness' very much.

stoo@Imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Well ... I guess I can understand the complaint about Jon's voice. I guess. Still, as you put it, they made the music "complicated, entertaining, and interesting" and for me that is enough. I for one am quite _glad_ that I'm not transported to the fantasy world where Mr. Anderson resides, as it would probably scare the crap out of me. Besides, I think you're making a mistake if you look for only one set thing or things to get out of Yes music; just make up something to get out of it, and let it work for you. Besides, the lyrics and the singing really aren't the most important part of the music; rather, they are a fifth instrument, a counterpoint to the guitars and keyboards, and should be treated as such. Most of the time, I focus on the keyboards or the guitars instead, and even when I sing along I have no idea what's being said, nor do I really care.

Also, Jon's voice is sometimes entertaining to me. Like when he struggles to hit the "low" notes in The Ancient, or when he sings "the preacher travels, ASKing to be shown the same"

Whatever. I just like Yes music. It appeals to me.

cynderelli@techline.com (TAD)
Haven't heard this whole album, just the parts included on YESTERDAYS and YESYEARS (the 2-cassette short-version of that 4-CD best-of package I'd like 2 grab someday), but these tracks DO have a nice fresh feel 2 them. My favorite is "Looking Around," which I think would've had a real chance as a hit single. This early work is also a little silly -- "Survival" is pretty cool: the guitar, keyboards & vocal harmonies grow on ya, sorta Yes at their embryo stage, if U will. But "Every Little Thing" is a HOOT! U can tell the guys know it's all just silly fun -- the giveaway 4 me is the guitar riff from Lennon/McCartney's "Day Tripper" that Peter Banks throws-in right at the beginning. It's like, how DARE they cover a Beatles tune, yes? & then they wink at U & ask U 2 join in the comedy of it. The afore-mentioned (by another reader) "Something's Coming" is equally silly & inappropriate (it's from WEST SIDE STORY) -- & yet, the guys sound like they're having a great time with it.

So, high marks for the fresh sound & light feel. This stuff is miles away from the heavy, ponderous, long-winded, overly-complicated Yes stuff some folks get tripped-up by (including me, sometimes)....

huckcherry@hotmail.com (Xavier Fabriano)
This would be a great debut if it weren't for one thing - Pete Banks. All over this album he fumbles on sub-Wes Montgomery jazz noodling and electrified solos that are worthy of, say, Jorma Kaukanen. He was a three chord wonder and Yes' music would never be this repetitious again. Forget what you heard about the "pointless" self indulgence on Tales, the solos here are some of Yes' longest and most boring.

He wasn't the WORST guitarist, and got in a couple clever bits here and there, but he was still a dime-a-dozen acid rock guitarist and definately wasn't worthy of this band. They made a wise move on the third time 'round! That said, the rhythm section is in good form here and carry the heft of the instrumental weight. It's definately what gives this album a "progressive" edge. They (especially Bill) never sounded so powerful again. Jon Anderson's vocals had a pleasant (and quite unique for the time) jazz sound. And for the overall sound? They've outfudged Vanilla Fudge with the weighty psychedelic sound. The covers were interesting, and not TOO predictable. I'll give it a seven. It's just that guitarist...

rderby@erols.com (Robert Derby)
I've waited a long time to quote anything about Yes' first two albums. But now I'm sure where I've heard this kind of stuff before: Prepare...and don't laugh, but Yes' harmonies sound like...The Association"! Granted the playing is far more adventurous than anything done by The Association, but don't those lovely vocals sound like them? Maybe they should have covered "Never My Love" or "Up, Up and Away"! I'm not knocking these albums mind you. Whereas I don't like The Association as a rule, they did have wonderful harmonies. I'll bet a million ducats the Mr. Anderson and Mr. Squire modeled the vocal approach upon the icky sweet band. "Survival" is way cool, and the best indication of the great things to follow.

imoss@northernlight.com (Ian Moss)
Good but not great, worthy of an 8. If this was the first Yes album I had ever heard, I might have dismissed them outright, to be honest. It sounds VERY young, and while the musicians are clearly talented, they are not a cohesive unit at all at this point. Songs like "Beyond and Before" seem kind of all over the place. Also, their songwriting had a ways to go: "Looking Around" and "Harold Land" are rather annoyingly poppy. That said, there are a couple of songs on here that are precursors to later styles and REALLY kick ass. I'm thinking mainly of "Survivor," which started the whole "epic reflections on life" trend that would become their trademark; and "I See You," an awesome jazz rocker that foreshadowed several songs on the second album. Those two tracks get better and better each time I hear them. I also like "Yesterday and Today" a LOT: its simplicity and sincerity are very infectious, and that little against-the-rhythm piano riff is just perfect! Anyway, it's definitely worth checking out, just not one of their best.

ka_lundquist@yahoo.com
i used to love this album, i was ten the first time i heard it. they got progressively worse after this one, prog rock sucks, if it is over three minutes long, i dont want to hear it. stuff like this drove me into the hardcore camp which is where i hope i stay. go amrep r&d

oh, & mark, check out the play guitar in ten minutes with nashville pussy thing on youtube. make you want to play chuck berry for the rest of your life.

Add your thoughts?

Time And A Word - Atlantic 1970.
Rating = 7

A weak follow-up. It's the same line-up as the first one, but, in hopes of creating a fuller sound, they've added orchestral arrangements, a rotten idea considering how talented the band members are. Piling on strings just makes it hard to hear what Tony, Chris, Peter, and Bill are doing, darn it! Also, I must admit that the songs are a little dopey. The ones on the first record sounded mature; these sound like Sesame Street singalongs ("There's a time! And the time is now and it's right for me! It's right for me! And the time is now!"). The covers tear, though. Richie Havens's "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" is converted into a bass-driven acid pop thumper, and Stephen Stills's "Everydays" is a punk-speed free jazz smash-up (well, the middle part is)! Okay, I've never heard the originals, but I'm confident that there's no way in Hey that they're as rousing as Yes's versions.

This isn't a bad album, but with silly minor-key tripe like "The Prophet" and "Astral Traveller" making up the bulk of the album, where were they gonna go?

Reader Comments

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
In my opinion, however tragically warped it is, Peter Banks is not a very unique or talented artist - at least it doesn't show on this album. There also seems to be a lot of half-baked orchestration that doesn't quite fit the blues/jazz tone behind some of the songs, nor does the voice of Jon Anderson. The album seemed to lack originality, and suffered from a critical lack of outstanding talent. However, there are sparks of life behind the album, such as Chris's bass, and the good, but not overly-impressive, drums of Bill Bruford. One track I like perticularly was "Clear Days," a song that fit Jon's vocal style, and serves as almost a preview of Yes songs to come, or in some of your cases, a warning of Yes songs to come.

keio@usa.net (Keio Sandvik)
Well, perhaps by making mistakes, we find out how to do it right the next time. See following record. Really strange to hear brass on a Yes track though.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net
This album was also decent for Yes's beginning. I wouldn't get this album right away. For one thing because I don't like orchestral music but I do like pianos and organs. And another reason why I wouldn't get this album is because copied off of other bands. "Clear Days" was a total remake of "Eleanor Rigby". But I do like the angelic sound of Jon's voice. I also liked Kaye's organ sound on the 6 minute track "Then". I loved the opening music of "The Prophet", then the singing began. Enclosing my review I give this album a 7.

john67@erols.com (John E. Kolata)
Time and a Word is an exceptional second effort. Style is consistent and the melodies are strong. The part writing also holds up and can be analyzed to show how it stands up as a complete work. If you know anything of music consider all the senses within the sense of sound. Most would think that hearing is limited to sound but there are colors, and other sensations that can be sensed by ear.

I believe Time and a Word is Silver. The keys used within the album dictate this as well as guitar tones (very silver) and orchestration. This predominant color runs through the whole record and is consistent. All the emotions are wrapped in a shroud of Silver. The next time you hear the album think of this.

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
Being a Yes fan since 1990, I've had the advantage (disadvantage?) to listen to almost all records long after they were released. I've been able to compare the records regardless of what state of mind or stage of life I was in when they were released (I bought them all within a year). The only thing mattering has been the music. Because of this, I question some of the "truths" in Yes history, at the same time saluting some things which are generally regarded as "flops".

One of those "flops" is Time and a Word, which in my eyes is a wonderful record. Not a dull moment! I agree that the orchestral arrangements are unnecessary, but they can't hide the very high class of the songs. The chorus of the title track may seem silly, but it's a strong song, which is still alive on the live disc of Keys to Ascension 2. My two other favourites on the album are "Then" and "Astral Traveller", two masterpieces of the postpsychedelic pop-rock. I can't understand how someone can ditch "Astral Traveller". It includes some of the mosty ever heard on record! Maybe this is blasphemy in the ears of older Yes fans, but I listen to Time and a Word much more often than The Yes Album and Fragile!

tomr@ix.netcom.com (Tom *****)
Kudos especially on ""No Opportunity..." However, I disagree with your opinion on "The Profit" and "Astral Traveller". Bruford really shines on "Traveller". One of his finest contributions on any Yes Album.

I'd like them to try this album again without the orchestal backing. I like the version of the title track on Keys II. So they already have a good start. Many of these songs have been included on unnecessary compilations. How many times do they think they can sell those songs? Try re-mixing the whole album. Now that wood be interesting.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Time and a Word may not be the most popular Yes album, but it is actually a good one. 7 out of 10, maybe 8, is what it deserves to me. Sure, the orchestra didn't fit well at all (its very inclusion was a mistake in some extent, but put Yes in the then-selected list of the (prog) bands that recorded with a symphonic orch). But the first track, the Richie Havens one, gave Chris much of his reputation 'cause Eddie Offord (who didn't like Banks much in the first place) put all the volume on the bass and ignored much of the guitar. Is not Pete's fault that he showed little skills with the axe, it's just that between the orchestra and the engineer he hadn't had much chance (check on "Astral Traveller" and "Everydays" and you'll find that Pete and Tony were second to none). Curiously, the Squire favourite "Dear Father" was relegated to a B-side (and I can't hear Pete in there, by the way). Another fault of this record was the presentation: an ugly paint in the Brit edition and a ridiculous photo with Howe instead of Banks in the US one. If you want to hear these boys playing -without the orch- then hear the new released Something's Coming (BBC) album. It makes a difference.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Kinda mediocre. I don't really even like the title track that much, as I much prefer the KTA2 live version more. But MAN, that opening track KICKS ASS. The opening organ throb is like starting up the ignition for just a terrific song. And that bass! That song alone makes this album worth it. 7

cynderelli@techline.com (TAD)
"No Opportunity Necessary" is ... bizarre. The orchestration is probably the most melodramatic, overblown use of strings since an orchestra ruined Barclay James Harvest's "Mocking Bird" (a decent little song til the orchestra came in & thrashed all over it). But even without the strings, Yes covering a tune by Ritchie Havens is ... pretty strange, ya gotta admit. The Yes guys R about as far as U can get from what folks would call "soul." & what Jon Anderson gets to sing -- "Can tell ya mama/she'll only tell ya/that she told ya so...." It's all gotta B a joke, I don't know how else 2 take it. But it sure gets yr attention, & the guys sound like they had a great time ... except 4 Bing blown off the stage by the orchestra.

As 4 "Time and a Word" itself, well, I like it. Cute, catchy chorus. Coulda gotten em some AM radio airplay. & the cleaned-up version included on the YESSTORY cassette doesn't make the strings 2 loud. Gives the band a little more punch, like they shoulda had in the beginning -- & highlights the great organ work by Tony Kaye, specially at the end. So, overall: Modest, simple, but OK. Haven't heard the live version....

imoss@northernlight.com (Ian Moss)
Oh gosh, do I really have to disagree with just about everyone here? Yes, yes, I believe I do. When I bought this album a few years ago, I had pretty low expectations. It was my first "risky" Yes purchase (i.e., not The Yes Album, Fragile, or Close to the Edge), and I basically got it onlybecause I liked the song "Time and a Word" which I had heard on Highlights: The Very Best of Yes. I'm going to come right out and say that this has got to be one of the most underrated albums ever put out there. The orchestral arrangements are perfect! The songs are perfect! (Well, okay, except for "The Prophet.") The playing is excellent! Let's get back to the orchestral arrangements for a sec. Everyone seems to be saying that "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" is a kick-ass song. And I agree! But it's the orchestration that MAKES it kickass!!! I mean, come on, are you trying to tell me that your butt is tingling from the "Can't tell your mama" part? No, no, no--it's that opening wall of strings and brass that is so striking and so COOL. But that doesn't even begin to scratch the depth and wonderfulness of this record. Let's consider the second and third tracks, shall me? "Then" is a great song that evokes equal parts mystery, bombast, and grooviness. The flow of this song is just incredible, the way it seamlessly flits back and forth between different moods. "Everydays" is even more groovy and mysterious, and another example of the orchestration helping. That string quartet at the beginning making the weird noises? Very cool. Then you got the "well well well...another day" part which is just smoother than smooth, and all of the sudden it breaks into this incredible jazz-rock-improv-craziness! More about that later. My other favorite song on this album is "Astral Traveller," one of the least orchestral and most far-out tracks. The chorus is very exciting, and I love that doot-doot-doot-do-do guitar figure in the beginning and especially at the end when it's TOTALLY out of rhythm with the bass (I can't even figure out what the hell kind of time signature they're using there!). Even the poppy crap on this album ("Sweet Dreams," the title track) is awesome poppy crap. Aaah, it's SO GOOOD!!!

OK, here's something to think about. One reason that I love three of these songs ("Then," "Everydays" and "Astral Traveller") is that they each feature these jam-breaks. But they're not just guitar solos, see, like a NORMAL band would do. These are WHOLE BAND solos--everybody's soloing at the same time!!! Now, in modern rock music, you generally have everything pretty much moving at the same time; or most often, you have a rhythm section that plays a chord sequence, over which you hear a melody, and maybe variations on that melody. But you almost NEVER get the bass and organ and guitar and everything else acting COMPLETELY independent of each other! You only get that in two places: Baroque classical music, and free jazz. Baroque music too often sounds staid, and free jazz too often sounds like warring clans of pregnant raccoons. The very reason that I love Yes so much and that I think they were revolutionary is that they could do weird-ass, daring shit like this and PULL IT OFF! Listen to the solo in "Astral Traveller." That's THREE SEPERATE LINES going on! (I apologize for my excessive use of capital letters...) There's no way that wasn't planned out beforehand, but it's so intricate! Now listen to "Everydays" again. That might have been improvisation, but it's so tight, so cohesive that it makes me wonder.

I think I'm going to restrain myself and still give the 10 to Fragile. After all, there's nothing on here that can quite compare to "The Fish." But this record comes damn close. I mean DAMN close. Anyway, you should seriously check it out. I can see how it would maybe piss some people off, but there's no way in hell that it's "weak."

Add your thoughts?

Beyond And Before - Purple Pyramid 1998.
Rating = 9

About three decades after he got his ass kicked out of the band for being too shitty, guitarist Peter Banks bitterly released this collection of awesome BBC Sessions, TV appearances and such from his years in the band. It's got 18 great tunes (though six are featured twice, so that really only makes 12 tunes), no orchestras and a cool song you've probably never heard called "For Everyone". The Time And A Word tunes minus orchestration are unfortunately not the revelation I'd hoped they would be, but they're still really cool. Just...man, the SONGS were so cool! And you'll get a major kick out of "For Everyone," as it features a classic Yes bit that would later be resurrected in a different tune. Hear it for yourself!

In summation, Beyond and Before features alternate versions of a ton of great early Yessongs, as well as hilariously scathing liner notes from pissy old Banks (who delicately pens such heartfelt lines as "My successor, Steve Howe, may delude himself with the myth that Yes started and ended with his involvement; I know that he does not shake hands with people and in his case, I would certainly endorse his policy" and the classic "With critical hindsight, I would say that most of the early compositions were definitely group composed and I will not pretend that this is not a sore point with me. I stupidly assumed that it was all Yes music and the Great God of Royalties would smile benignly on us all in equal measure"). Whatever, Pete. It was half a lifetime ago. Grow the fuck up. And where could Yes go after tossing out the bitch?

Reader Comments

John Sieber
Why no love for "Something's Coming"? It's not just you, Prindle - Yes hasn't played this monster of a song in over 40 years! As I've re-discovered their classic albums, and fallen in love with this track, I've come to realize just how much of a travesty has been committed in the rock world, that this upbeat, harmony-driven showtune be thrust into the dark cellar of Yes' history and locked away forever. I mean, they started playing South Side of the Sky, Tempus Fugit and even We Have Heaven again, why not Something's Coming? I smell a conspiracy, Alex Jones style!

Add your thoughts?

The Yes Album - Atlantic 1971.
Rating = 9

To a new guitar player, that's where! Peter Banks was no slouch, but he didn't come close to matching the ungodly talent of self-taught, bad-toothed classical virtuoso Steve Howe, who scatters amazing riffs, sounds, and solos all over this here six-song release. The guitar tone isn't as thick and satisfying as Peter's was, but man does Steve play the crap outta that poor wooden thing! Just listen to his acoustic solo piece, "The Clap." Recorded live? ONE guitar? NO overdubs? That's pretty darn impressive pickin' there, homey! And the rockers? Fantaaaa! The songwriting is much stronger than on the last album, and the emphasis is on creating longer songs with several different overlapping melodies that complement and contrast each other under the high-pitched flowery vocals. Grand stuff.

You see, this is a band that thinks. The chord sequence to the "Speak to me of Summer..." section of "Starship Trooper," for example - it sounds obvious, but it's simply not! Nobody has ever played that sequence before! It's unique but perfect! And what about that weird part near the end of "Perpetual Change" where all the instruments start playing that same exact herky jerky melody so it ends up just sounding like one big weird electronic instrument? That's creativity and talent and practice and all those other important qualities that so many bands, both then and now, sorely lack. Yeah, punk is cool, but so is genius. And this stuff is pretty genius. Certain parts are simple and poppy, sure, but most of it is so wonderfully unique that - well, you don't hear of too many bands doing Yes covers, do you? No. And there's a reason for that. Nobody can play Yes songs.

My only complaint is this. It's a little too happy? Is that okay to complain about? I just feel like I'm dancing in Fairyland at certain points. That's all. Maybe that's why I like the dark, jazzy, largely ignored "A Venture" so much. Maybe that's why I like you so much, you dark, jazzy, largely ignored cutie. So! Now that they've got Steve Howe, and their songwriting is at its strongest ever, where are they gonna go now?

Reader Comments

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
I enjoyed Steve Howe's guitar work and marveled at his live solo track. The songwriting was excellent, and ALL the songs were great, no matter what people say about "A Venture." Tony Kaye came a long way in a short time. His organ solos were excellent, and his use of moog synthesizers amazing. It's hard to tell how far Kaye could have progressed and how good he might have actually gotten if he had stayed with the band. Jon Anderson is excellent on this album, and the tone is NOT too light. The lyrics take some getting used to, but can still be enjoyed. Good music, good band, good album.

sbachini@uk.mdis.com (Steve Bachini)
This album got me into Yes, one listen at someone's house and I had to have it. Need I say more? It sounds so fresh, was it really recorded in 1971? The perfect album to start with, just look at the number of tracks that remained in the live repertoire. And I love the much underrated "A Venture."

strider@redrose.net (David Straub)
I'm with Steve B., this is the stuff the really got me into them, or at least the things from this on Classic Yes. The frenzy that Howe works himself into when doing "The Clap" on the Yessongs film is a thing to behold. And I like "A Venture" too!

sod1995@ix.netcom.com (Stephen Odell)
This was my intro to Yes hearing these songs for the first time at Gaelic Park in The Bronx, N.Y., in July 1971. Yes was the 3rd act to Humble Pie and Mountain. Had never heard of them,(I was really there to see Mountain), but never paid so much attention to a warm up act. They played virtually the entire Yes Album and blew me away. I purchased the album the next day, and it stayed on my turntable uncontested for 6 months.

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
I agree with your review completely on this one. It's a bit too happy, but I love it anyway.

pcahill@eniac.seas.upenn.edu (Patrick Cahill)
This is the beginning of true Yesmusic. With the addition of Howe, I think they really solidified their trademark sound and writing style. I'm not a big Kaye fan, but he did what needed to be done on this particular record, and whatever lacked in keyboards was more than made up by Steve Howe. "The Clap" is an unbelievable performance! Good rating. I think this album is a bit raw and jagged as opposed to later albums, but that doesn't detract from its place as a classic Yes work.

wallison@pnc.com.au (Warwick Allison)
I agree, "A Venture" is a good (very good) song , but everyone keeps saying it's "under rated" so much that I'm beginning to think it's a bit over rated.

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
A fine collection of progressive music. Boy that Chris Squire could play a mean bass. And what a soprano on that John Anderson.

jsmartin@rocketmail.com (Jon Martin)
This has to be the best Yes album of all. Each track is very original and shows how well they can all play. Of all the tracks "The clap" is slightly tedious after a while and the overated/underated "A Venture" is outshone by other tracks. "Wurm" in "Starship Trooper" has to be one of the best bits of Yes music ever. Overall all the tracks are good and you never seem to tire of them.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net
WOW!! One of the greatest albums in early Yes. Chris really has control over that bass. Steve Howe can really play that guitar considering the fact he was only 23 years old. A great opening 10 minute track called "Yours Is No Disgrace", Steve's kick ass solo track "The Clap", the awesome stereo sound of "Starship Trooper", the spectacular sing a long of "I've Seen All Good People", or take a mystical "A venture", I don't know why "Perpetual Change" didn't make the Top Charts. That had a lot of good quality put into it. My favorite bands are Yes and Pink Floyd. If anybody doesn't agree with me speak up now.

dembones@pond.net
A little opportunistic at times, but no one can argue its importance to the band OR to rock music. The cover used to freak me out as a little kid.

CMBurns104@aol.com
The Yes Album is incredible. But Tony Kaye sucks. A lot.

tomr@ix.netcom.com
After several (I mean like 20!) of not listening to Yes. (A much needed vacation after 8 years of total Yes immersion) This was the first album I re-bought. Small wonder. It has always been one of my favorites. There isn't a weak moment on the entire record. I especially like Chris' bass on "Starship Troopers". But so far I have seen no mention of "I've seen all good people" The Band really jams towards the end of the song both on the original and on the YESSONGS version. And yes, I like "a Venture" too. I'm not sure why...

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
The Yes Album was the groundbreaking record for the band (hence its title). By this time Tony Kaye showed noteworthy progression as a musician and key figure in the band, as the big central photo in the vinyl album shows. I think the fact that all songs were original was another sign (they left aside a cover of "Eight Days a Week" among others). "Clap" is OK, totally unexpected between the longer and much complex songs Yes ever produced up until then. And yes, "A Venture" is an underrated jewel (showing again good playing by Kaye). Howe fitted completely and Squire's role as composer is bigger this time. Is one of the very best Yes (and rock) albums. 9 out of 10 is fine.

markwendt@hotmail.com
Bands often name their first major label LP after themselves. But their third? Why? Perhaps because Yes realized that not only were they still introducing themselves to the marketplace, they were also just beginning to discover their definitive sound and direction.

'Perpetual Change' aptly set the stage musically for what was to come in later years. Ironically, the title forshadowed the infamous revolving-door line-up policy that continues within their ranks even unto today!

'The Clap' made crowds want to everywhere they went!

Wonderful record!

But too positive? No way. Am I sure about that. Why of course, I'm positive!

tabasco@worldnet.att.net
Well i finally got Beyond and Before: the BBC Sessions. It's good. I never heard Yes live in the 60's. They sound pretty good. Some of the songs are on twice say like "Somethings Coming" and "Everydays". "Everydays" sounds crappy without the orchestra. "Every Little thing" sounds the same. Has any body ever heard of the track "For Everyone". Damn it's good. It surprises me a lot. Sounds like something The Beatles would write. Plus it has the "disillusion" part of "Starship Trooper". Plus it includes liner notes by Peedy Banks. So Yes if you're reading this tell peedy and Tony to get back here ok. Later men

TwoPax@aol.com (Nathan Lowe)
Hey, buddy, we finally agree on this one! I think you gave a PERFECT review for The Yes Album. This for me was the album that really got me started on Yes (along with Fragile). Like others have pointed out, this album shows the seeds that had finally sprouted in their work. Sure, their first and second album were great, but I don't think it was the YES sound that we all think of when we speak of the "classic" Yes sound. This album really was the first to display the qualities that we love so much about Yes: the deep, progressive melodies, the GENIUS chord progressions, the incredible playing of Steve Howe, and the strange, mystical lyrics that Jon wrote when he was floating in space. These are just some of the many; I do not need to point that one out. I may disagree with your reviews of the later albums, but I think this one is right on. Hey, we all have our own opinions right? That's why it is so great when we find something that we agree upon.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Terrific, terrific album. Side one is almost perfect. All Good People irritates me a bit, but only slightly, and is more than made up for by A Venture and Perpetual Change. Definite 9.

Oh, and about the Kaye/Wakeman comparisons, here is my 2c. I believe that at this point in the history of Yes, Kaye's keyboards were not a negative effect on the band. They weren't a huge positive either, but they didn't hurt the band, and if anything forced Bruford to grow and Howe and Squire to do their thing. But, it was necessary for them to acquire Wakeman if Anderson's true vision of merging classical and rock was to come true. What truly distinguishes the next few Wakeman/Moraz albums is their ability to, if you will, "cast a spell upon me," but that only happens for me to full effect when the keyboardist is flaunting his stuff. And Kaye lacked the ability to that, imo. I'm sure he had sufficient technical chops to make it sound almost as good, but he had no _flare_, no style. He just played what he was asked to play, rather than writing his own solos for the most part. Now, in some bands, that would be optimal; I've believed for a while that Kaye would have been a perfect fit for the Moody Blues when Pinder left, as he would have been perfectly willing to stay low key and play what was asked of him, as opposed to Moraz who would do his flashy sleazy keyboard thing in an entirely inappropriate manner during their shows. But Yes is another matter; Yes needs every member to have some sort of panash in order to be its best.

michael.blume@gte.net
I'm with you 100% on this one. THE YES ALBUM kicks off with a great song called "Yours Is No Disgrace" and the track, "A Venture," definitely deserves full attention from Yes fans because of the dark melody and pretty-damn inspired lyrics that makes the song so god-damn unique, but it's totally underrated. "Perpetual Change" serves as a loyal, perpetual closing for the album. Indeed! This album is also one of the most sophisticated and complex albums that tends to be pretty-damn jumpy. Oh yeah, one more thing. This is one of the many Yes albums in which Steve Howe is at his best. This album deserves a 9 out of 10. Superb, awesome, mind-blowing, rockin', and one of the most fun albums ever!

cynderelli@techline.com (TAD)
This should start an argument: "Your Move" was the 1st Yes track I ever heard, over the radio at age 12, & it always sorta ticked me off that they took this perfect miniature piece, a gorgeous combination of music & not-quite-meaningful lyrics with a perfect ending ... & spent the next 4 minutes slamming people over the head with that "I've seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I'm on my way" riff. & yes, there's some good stuff there, 2, great Howe guitar, 4 1. MayB it's the heavy contrast with the overly-delicate "Your Move" that makes the combination work 4 so many other people. But I always thot it was stupid, & I own half a dozen of these guys' albums....

dchetson@iname.com
Okay, guy. Great site, interesting reviews (if sometimes too wordy). But what's with the Prog-rock fetish? Will we be seeing Marillion (sp?) reviews up there soon, too? God help, if we do.

Here's my view of things, which relates to your page on Yes (and other prog-"rock" groups). Bands should have a really compelling reason to craft songs longer than 5 minutes and definitely longer than 9. Example: Jane's Addiction's Three Days. They get away with it because the bass line drives the whole song to furious crescendo that has a point.

But rambling songs filled with lyrics about dwarves, magic, evermore, xanadu, "mystical" places and dungeons and dragons-type bullshit don't work. And that's the problem with prog-"rock" - these guys are all dorks who would be playing D&D if it hadn't been for corporations which in the 70s knew they could make beaucoup bucks off these bands. (And when I was 11, I played D&D, so I know what I'm talking about)

Now, that's not to say that Yes didn't have one or two catchy songs. But, giving 9 stars to an album that has "Yours is no disgrace", a boring, go-nowhere, tinny-sounding, "Battleships confide in me and tell me where you are/Shining, flying, purple wolfhound, show me where you are"- what da?

This is dried-ice, corporate rock. This is crap. This is not what Mr. Berry and Mr. Holly had in mind. This is why Mr. Lydon thought he was killing rock n roll when, in fact, he was reviving it. Rock is rebellious dance music.

Also, if you don't move up your rating on Give Em Enough Rope... Tommy Gun? Come on, guy. The greatest post-Beatles band.

richbunnell@home.com
You know, reading through this page, I'm getting the impression that had Jon Anderson never written the lyric "Shining flying purple wolfhound, show me where you are" he'd be regarded as a lyrical genius, but that ONE lapse completely destroyed his credibility. Also, how come people who don't like Yes absolutely despise Jon Anderson's guts and wish his rotting carcass would be torn apart by hungry, rabid vultures? I mean, I can understand not liking the band, but unlike when people normally don't like a band, the dislike I've seen towards Anderson has just been complete and utter HATRED, like the fact that his voice is an octave higher than normal (and still about 500,000 octaves lower than Geddy Lee's) is a crime punishable by torture or something.

Anyway, I like this album quite a bit and I agree that it's definitely 9 material. In fact, I like every song EXCEPT for "The Clap"-- scoff at me if you will, but I'm just not the kind of person who's completely dazzled by listening to someone's great guitar technique; I need some MELODIES, perhaps an actual SONG to showcase those techniques. I agree that Steve Howe can play the thing and play it well, but I'd much rather appreciate it in the context of "I've Seen All Good People" and "Yours Is No Disgrace" and all of the other great complete SONGS on here. Everything else is perfect in every possible way imaginable. I agree that "A Venture" is excellent, even though after the praise it's gotten on here it can no longer be called "underrated" in any way.

matt43561@yahoo.com
Just for the record, I'm from New York....probably whoever might read this could care less. Anyway, I am by no means a Yes fan. In fact I don't like a single thing thing they've ever recorded, except for "Yours is No Disgrace". I LOVE that song. I mean I actually own one Yes album, (The Yes Album) just to listen to that one song. My favorite bands of all time are The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Nirvana to give you an idea of where I'm coming from. I think "Yours is No Disgrace" has three great qualities: first, excellent musicianship, second, the lyrics are strange and mystical but not pretentious and nonsensical, like most Yes lyrics (the few I've heard, to be fair). Lastly, there is an earnest, very seventies/sixties kind of soulful humanity to the song. I later read that the band said the song was about the boys who were forced to kill and die in Vietnam...basically it wasn't their fault that they had to fight. They had no choice, really. A very melancholy, soulful masterpiece from a band I don't normally like at all. I imagine other people have similar feelings about a song or two from a band they normally dislike.

RichardMelchior@aol.com
Who cares about the damn "purple wolfhound" line? I couldn't give a rat's ass if Jon was singing the lyrics to Mr. Roger's Neighborhood - Yours Is No Disgrace would still be the grandest, most glorious song ever written. If this song had existed 30 years earlier, our boys would have kicked Hitler's sorry ass a lot sooner just by being pumped up by THIS SONG. And that's the magic of Yes, really. Yeah, the lyrics are a horrible read, but they're really just another element to drive the song - a fantastic journey beyond this depressing mortal coil. And if liking them makes me a D-and-D playing (which I never have, by the way) dweeb, then send me my patented Yes pocket protectors.

ratkinson@epicrealm.com (Ryan Atkinson)
Man, I hate Yes and I still like this record as much as a chocolate covered Oreo. If there's any of you folks trying to finger out where to ease into prog rock without getting too much chest hair in yer beer (visual: cover of ELP's Love Beach heheh) this is definitely the way to go. Very impressive songs here, most of them rock in a real solid way, and the end of 'Starship Troopers' gets me giddy like I just won front row seats to a Spiritualized/Radiohead double bill.

imoss@northernlight.com (Ian Moss)
Surprisingly, half of the tracks on The Yes Album don't do very much for me. I agree with Rich about "The Clap," "I've Seen All Good People" has always vaguely annoyed me (and actually, before I got into Yes I thought it was a Boston song), and "Perpetual Change" has a little too much pomp, circumstance, and repetition for me to take it that seriously. I remember reading a comment somewhere (I had thought it was this page, but I guess not) that "Perpetual Change" "certainly lives up to the first part of its name." But the other three songs are just unbelievable! "Venture" is very cool, and the twin 9-minute epics, "Yours Is No Disgrace" and "Starship Trooper," are exceedingly well constructed. The "Wurm" part from "Starship Trooper" ranks as one of my favorite musical moments (well, if four minutes can be called a "moment") in existence. The rest of the song is pretty awesome too. And I love that bass line with the lilting melody in "Yours Is No Disgrace." An undisputable classic, even if side 2 is a little weak.

poulos1949@email.msn.com (Lou Poulos)
The Yes Album is a landmark recording. Strong songwriting, muscular rhythm section, beautiful harmonies - what more can you ask for? Highlights? How about "Your Move?" Who doesn't love that?

Sure, Tony Kaye is no Tony Banks, but he plays solidly. Squire redefines electric bass sound, Bruford changes the way a snare is recorded, Howe reintroduces guitar to the rock world. I've listened to this record a million times and it makes me feel great after each one. Sure, it's got a happy tone to it, and that's great. Want something darker and more serious, try Close to the Edge. And turn it up!

tommy_chuck@hotmail.com (Tom Marshall)
In a way this is Yes in their raw brilliance: no Wakeman and no underlying concepts (I think!): just Yes. I think this is Steve Howe's best album. There was no really brilliant Keyboards about (Tony Kaye: wonderful organ sound, but a joke next to Wakeman or Moraz!) and so he dominates here. I also think that Anderson sings at his best here ("Speak to me of summer" - beautiful!) and that 'Yours is no disgrace' is probably Yes' finest song after 'Close to the Edge' and 'Gates of Delirium'. A 9/10 because 'A venture' does nothing much for me.

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Robert Chaundy)
Kind of pointless to swim against the tide, but this one really isn't THAT good. Good naturally, but just, well, not THAT good. Side one is indeed a revelation, the satisfying sound of potential being fulfilled: the two long 'uns are just brilliant, and 'The Clap' is some well-sequenced light relief. And as for that shining, flying, purple wolfhound chap... surely the inspiration for the winged dog in 'The Neverending Story'? I like to think so.

But side two is just ponderous. I may be the only person in the world who dislikes 'All Good People', but so be it. Likewise, 'Perpetual Change' just refuses to stick; it would remind me of 'On the Silent Wings of Freedom', if I could ever remember how that goes either.

And can I say a word in support of Mr Tony Kaye? He, like Banks before him, was not an egomaniacal virtuoso - he was a team player, and in a band like Yes that often makes the difference between a Starship Trooper and a Topographic Ocean. Yes were at their most musically dazzling between Fragile and Going for the One, but their bouncy, heavy crunch - pretty much the last thread connecting them to rock 'n' roll - went out with Tony Kaye and only really reappeared with Geoff Downes. In between there was just no one there to lay down a groove. Such a shame the dazzle and the crunch never really crossed paths.

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
Oh man. What an album! A highlight in the progressive genre. "Yours Is No Disgrace" and "Starship Troopers" are real gems. And great melodies, too. You won't be disappointed by this album at all, even if you aren't into 'prog' music. Sure it's a nine. Get it.

njames@nustats.com (Nathan James)
Finally a review i agree with(notice i wont even entertain the ridiculous 'frank black was more creative in the pixies' conversation). 'a venture' completely rules and nobody is ever nice to it. im saving the remaining yes reviews for tomorrow. if you actually give 'tales from topographic oceans' the high score it deserves i will temporarily convince myself you understand good music sometimes.

alexmortland@hotmail.com
"I've seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I'm on my way":

I think that this lyric is about how relieved the rest of the band are when Jon leaves the room.

7/10

munsey3@comcast.net
Um, just as a side note here, as to "nobody can play Yes songs" One of the bands I was in back in my college days -- a band called Snydus -- did actually play a few Yes songs, and we did so reasonably well. You know it was reasonably well by the great success we eventually attained. Wha? you never heard of Snydus? Anyway, Roundabout comes immediately to mind cuz it was a bitch to play for all involved. For anyone attempting this in the modern age please be advised we did have a female singer who sang most of the Anderson vocal parts...

Preston Camp
This is my favorite album by Yes. I think it's the perfect mixture of complexity and melodies. Also, it's possibly the best "guitar album" I've ever heard. What's so amazing about Steve Howe is not his skill, but his tastefulness. People go on and on about how technical "The Clap" is, but the real amazing thing is the composition. Think about it: I bet you only had to listen to the song twice and you could remember most of the melodies, right? I can conjure them up in my head right now, and I haven't listened to "The Clap" in like a year! That's the definition of a good song, innit? One of them, anyway.

I really like that you mentioned the chord progression in the "Speak to me of summer..." part. You are right, and I never would have noticed it without your help! You just deepened my appreciation of this song. Cheers, sir!

P.S. "Wurm" is probably my favorite piece of Yes music ever.

Add your thoughts?

It's Love - Bootleg 1971
Rating = 5

Announcer : Hi there and welcome to Gaelic Park. We'd like to welcome some very unique talent from Britain, please welcome Yes.

(*band performs "Yours Is No Disgrace"*)

Steve Howe : Thank you!

Jon Anderson : Thanks a lot, thanks a lot. We'll do a little bit of change of scenery. Steve's going to do a quick tune-up and then get on with the vachalia, which is like a Portuguese monstrosity for thrashing with your bare hands and uhh, we're going to do a song - it's a song for that young lady that I was speaking to before, bless her. Right on. It's nice to be here. Our..our light man's got a real easy job tonight. Yes, beautiful. We're happy to play outside -- we haven't played outside for so long. Here's a song called "Your Move" and the second part is "I've Seen All Good People".

Mark Prindle : You just used the phrase "Right on" in your stage patter.

(*band performs "I've Seen All Good People"*)

Jon Anderson : Thank you! Thank you.

Steve Howe : We've really got some competition tonight with the wind here.

Mark Prindle : From the sound of it, it blew your drummer and organist clear off the stage! Are you sure this whole set isn't just you, Jon and Chris having a jam session in a closet?

Jon Anderson : Uh, we've been thinking about this next few minutes where - for the last couple of hours in fact, and, uh - it's just about the time that we're going to introduce Steve to you here. Yeah, the twelve minutes past eight train is going to back up here, gotta do and uh... Steve's going to play some acoustic things for you. So, alright. Yeah, here's Steve. Yeah. Here's a few things called "The Clap".

Mark Prindle : You're high, aren't you?

(*Steve Howe performs lengthy guitar solo incorporating "The Clap" and Mason Williams' "Classical Gas"*)

Jon Anderson : There you go folks.

Steve Howe : Thank you!

Mark Prindle : That's awesome that you played a live rendition of a song that appears on The Yes Album in a live rendition. Having said that, "Classical Gas" was a nice surprise. You won't find THAT anywhere in the legitimate Yes catalog!

Jon Anderson : There you go. Steve Howe.

Steve Howe : Well, we might have one more to do this evening. It's bit of a long song, so hopefully it keeps you satisfied. This is another track. Right on, yeah. We're just checking a few, uh, funny things like this synthesizer deal. It really is nice to be playing like, you know, this kind of side of the country again - really fine. Thanks especially to Howard Stein, somebody we like very much; he's promoting us tonight. We'll carry on with... uh, another track from our current Atlantic album we've got going tonight. This is the last track on the whole album, if you've, uhh, bought it. If you haven't, you should do and listen to this particular track on the record. This one's called "Perpetual Change".

Mark Prindle : Okay, now both of you have used the phrase "Right on" in your stage patter.

(*band performs "Perpetual Change" and then launches into a stultifying 'jam' and boring-as-dick drum solo*)

Jon Anderson : Thank you. Take it easy! Have a nice time!

Steve Howe : Thank you very much. We have to go now so we'll see you soon. Thank you very much. And thanks for coming to the capital too. So long.

Chris Squire : Yeah, thank you all.

Mark Prindle : Where'd you come from?

(*band goes backstage and makes the crowd wait for an encore*)

Mark Prindle : "Starship Trooper"! "A Venture"! "Teakbois"!

(*band comes back onstage*)

Mark Prindle : "Time And A Word"! "Man In A White Car"! "Dangerous (Look In The Light Of What You're Searching For)"!

Jon Anderson : Thank you! I don't want to give you any bullshit, but we've had fucking good time while we've been over here. Yeah, we hope to see you all very, very soon. We're gonna do a boogaloo and get up and rock 'n roll. We're going to do something called -- an old Rascals number, do you like The Rascals? Whoo! It's called "It's Love."

Mark Prindle : No no, cuss some more. It's hilarious.

(*band performs a muffled, rhythmless funk rocker that ultimately gives way to the jaw-droppingly stupid spectacle of Chris Squire performing a bass solo while scat singing all the notes he's hitting -- for like FIVE MINUTES!*)

Mark Prindle : Do you realize how many more actual songs you could have performed had you not wasted half an hour on shitty jams and solos?

Tony Kaye : Hey, lay off fagit.

Mark Prindle : You're about to get fired.

Tony Kaye : FUCK!

Add your thoughts?

* Fragile - Atlantic 1972. *
Rating = 10

To a new keyboardist, that's where! (Read a few reviews back to find the question I'm answering here. Sorry about that) Long-haired classical virtuoso wizard Rick Wakeman takes over and suddenly the keyboard isn't just for background noise anymore! This guy can dang play. I mean, that beautiful middle piano bit from "South Side Of The Sky"; Tony Kaye couldn't have played that thing on a record!!!!!??? Sure, Tony had a groovy '60s vibe goin', but if Yes wanted to enter the '70s as an unstoppable superforce, it was time to move on. And how! And Howe!

This is the best album Yes ever made. All the giddy cheer of The Yes Album has been condensed into one minute-and-a-half multi-tracking vocal celebration called "We Have Heaven," and the rest of the album is darker than Hell. A Hell with no fire, that is. A dark Hell. And it's impossible to ignore the individual talent of these guys now; in addition to the four perfect group efforts, each band member gets a solo piece here. Jon's is the aforementioned positiver than goodness itself "We Have Heaven," Wakeman plays some Brahms on a sizzling organ or four, Bruford contributes a super jaunty 35-second eruption than should have been 35 minutes, Howe kicks out the heavenly acoustic piece "Mood For A Day," and Mr. Chris Squire gives us the unspeakably amazing "The Fish," which begins as a harmonics piece sprouting from the guitar echoes at the end of the FM classic "Long Distance Runaround," and, over the course of two-and-a-half minutes, develops more and more until by the end of the song, he has piled six completely different bass melodies on top of each other! There is no lead guitar in the song; it's ALL bass! Do you realize how friggin' cool that is????? Am I the only one??????

And what about "Heart Of The Sunrise" and "Roundabout"??????? Listen to those weird breaks! Listen to how tight this band has become! Ladies and fellas, it's now 1996 and there isn't a single band alive, including Yes in its current incarnation, that comes close to matching the brilliance exhibited here on this forty-minute slab of shellac.

Okay, it's not shellac. It's really good, though. See how good you can be if you fire people? Buy this album today, and listen to it three or four times so it all sinks in and you can appreciate why Alanis Morrisette just doesn't interest me very much. Complexity + sensitivity = Yes at their best. Or some crap. Great melodies. God, I'm bleeding admiration.

Reader Comments

yescomm@worldaccess.nl (Gert Bakhuizen)
Although I agree that this is one of Yes'greatest albums I think it's also the start of that what I dislike the most .... the soloing stuff. You could see it again in 1991 during Union. As far as I'm concerned I would have rather liked it if they would have done more songs such as "South Side Of The Sky" or "Long Distance Runaround". Never the less, "The Fish" is still a classic piece and then I'm not even talk 'bout "Mood for a Day" which I think is even better than "Clap". Therefore I still have different feelings 'bout this album and I wouldn't certainly rate it with a 10 but maybe with a 7!

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
Huh! Fragile a dark hell? One word: "Roundabout." The most annoying radio heavy, piece of light-hearted garbage YES ever made. I have heard the song so many times, it has driven me to insanity, and pushed me to hold elven people hostage in a radio station for three days with a rifle. How can anyone say that this is the best Yes song? Rick Wakeman hadn't even begun to display the talent he had at the time, and everything about the song was mediocre compared to how good Yes was on the remaining tracks on the album. "Heart of the Sunrise" was superb with a combination of great Jon Anderson vocals and excellent music by the band. Each member was good, and some, like Bill Bruford and Jon Anderson, made their best music ever.

candle@wax.com (The Candle Master)
Fragile definitely is a great album with songs like "Heart Of The Sunrise," "Mood For A Day," "Roundabout," and "The Fish," but IMHO, it doesn't carry a strong conceptual theme like some of their other albums (Relayer and Close To The Edge come to mind). This is probably due to the members' individual contributions. Still, I wouldn't give this album a 10; more like an 8. BTW, I think bands like Rush, Pink Floyd, and Miles Davis' group have several great albums simply because they were able to bind their songs together, while retaining the freedom to explore new musical boundaries. Maybe if Yes didn't change their lineup so much...

eef@acsu.buffalo.edu (Erin Ferguson)
Excellent review. I wouldn't give it "10" - but I see why you do. I'd switch this rating with CTtE's (below, a"9"-what's with you people?-FRAGILE is only worth SEVEN!? Come on!). And,yes, I do understand how difficult (and utterly amazing) "the FISH" is. ALL parts are ALL bass! Sometimes, after tons of listening, I still find it hard to believe (but I still believe it). Again-it's worth a "9" or "9+1/2".

sbachini@uk.mdis.com (Steve Bachini)
Can't fault the marking so far. Another stupendous effort with the great idea of letting each member try something of their own. I wonder what Alan White would've done if he was there then? Another album of 'hits' which went into the live listing but I've seriously heard "Roundabout" and "Heart Of The Sunrise" enough times now.

And we've never had the pleasure of Yes on radio over here in the UK (except for one weekly rock show years ago). If there's one thing that I would criticise, it is the predictable live track listing, same with Pink Floyd though.

strider@redrose.net (David Straub)
I'd say "Roundabout" has survived heavy heavy rotation better than "Stairway To Heaven" or "Won't Get Fooled Again." The place to be on this record, though, is the final 2 or 3 minutes of "South Side". Howe's little fills during the verse and the outro jam help this song end perfectly.

fermitl@geocities.com (Ryan)
I can totally see why you gave this album a 10. "Mood For A Day" rules!!! "Heart Of The Sunrise" kicks ass!!! But the best song has to be "South Side Of The Sky". I only wish that some more modern-day bands could show the musical influence we all have because of YES.

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
DARK!! I wouldn't have quite given it a ten. I think the "We Have Heaven" bit is kinda dumb, and I don't too much care for Bruford's solo thing, but I love everything else on this album. "Roundabout" and "Heart Of The Sunrise" are cool. I think that "South Side Of The Sky" sounds a lot like the sick weird stuff that Queensryche puts out. Especially the piano part in the middle. I think it'd fit in perfectly on a horror movie soundtrack.

pcahill@eniac.seas.upenn.edu (Patrick Cahill)
Of course this record will receive high marks as it is the hallmark Yes album. Of the nine tracks, I can't say I dislike any of them (How can you hate something that's 35 seconds long??). But the cohesion of the album suffers because of the 'solo piece' idea. I mean, what would Fragile be like if it were an album consisting solely of group pieces of the caliber of the ones that appeared on the album? "Roundabout," despite the incessance of playing, is a great song. "South Side of the Sky" is absolutely amazing, "Long Distance Runaround" is catchy (Squire provides one of the best bass lines ever here, you have to admit!), and "Heart of the Sunrise" is both powerful and beautiful. However, I would take it down a notch to 9, because, like others have said, it lacks the thematic/conceptual unity that would make the next three albums masterpieces.

Peter Bambakidis
Let's face it, "Roundabout" is definitely overrated. It really doesn't do anything for me anymore. Here's a song that the first time I heard it, I loved it!!! But after 4 or 5 listens, it really starts getting annoying. It's basically a melody being repeated over and over again. That isn't Yes' STYLE!!!! Take a good listen to "AWAKEN" and you'll never be bored!!!

James@jpb-s.demon.co.uk
A tad overrated and it sounds really dated now.

TempsFugit@aol.com
In response to YES fans who feel that "Roundabout" is misrepresentative of Yes's work--although it is not my FAVORITE YES song, I think it's arguably the best rock song EVER. By that I mean that if you sit someone down to listen to it (someone who is a "rock" fan) i think it would be impossible NOT to like it. Even tho' it's been played a million times, there is so much going on that every listen offers something new--from the classic guitar intro, pumping bass line, "rockin" chorus, progressive bridge, Wakeman's solo, end vocal harmonies, etc.)

keio@usa.net (Keio Sandvik)
Any elaborate waffle from me would be superfluous. This album is an absolute classic, whatever genre you are into. Try the Mobile Fidelity re-mastered version. It's amazing!

gbittar@ix.netcom.com
I couldn't give it a 10, because it is emotionally vapid.

First_last@studio.disney.com
Well it's certainly clear that this is a special album. I was converted one rainy Saturday (1972) after listing to this album and have been a loyal fan up to today (1997). I do think "roundabout" is/was played too much, but that is a fact that radio should accept the blame for. Oddly I don't really mind hearing it on the radio but if I heard those harmonics sounding for a Yes encore, I was on my feet and out the door. My gripe I guess is that I would have preferred a more obscure song for an encore (how about that nice rework of "America" for example?). This record does have a very atmospheric effect though possibly amplified by the rainy day but still it vastly outdistances its contemporaries in technical skill. This is a "rock" band I kept asking myself!

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
I agree with those people who say that Fragile is a bit disoriented. The only solo thing which really works is "The Fish", being sort of a second part of the brilliant "Long Distance Runaround". I like "We Have Heaven" and "Mood for a Day" too, but they seem to be a little out of place. "Cans and Brahms" is not very exciting, and 35 MINUTES of "Five Percent for Nothing"!!! What a nightmare! The "real" songs, though, are great, but "Roundabout" is very overrated. All the other songs are better, especially "South Side of the Sky". Few other Yes songs paint such pictures as "South Side of the Sky".

tabasco@worldnet.att.net (BOB's)
Another spectacular job of another Yes album. "Roundabout" is a really good song if you haven't heard it before. Wakeman and Howe open the track with the Mellotron and the acoustic guitar. "Cans and Brahms" was a good symphony. I have never heard an E Minor symphony before. "We Have Heaven" was not even a song, it was noise, Jon goes tell the moon dog, tell the march hair constantly. That really started getting annoying. Then the closing of the song, someone closes a door and runs away, that was very exciting. Then the blizzard began, it was now time to enter the "South Side Of The Sky", a great 8 minute track performed by the band and Wakeman with his grand piano symphony, and the bands La, La, La, La, then the song was more exciting at the end. The song kicked ass okay. "Five Per cent For Nothing", I didn't like it, but "Long Distance Runaround" was cool, it even made the top charts, then "the fish" came on with Chris's bass solo which was also cool, then another great, great, great solo with Steve Howe's "Mood For A Day", I know someone who can play the song backwards and forwards, it was cool as "The Clap". Then "Heart Of The Sunrise", the 11 minute rocking, exciting, butt kicking song of the album. It opens with the bands hard rock extravaganza, then the soft music of Jon's voice, when the songs over do not shut it off, wait for a minute, and the conclusion of "We Have Heaven" comes on. Enclosing my review I give his album a big 10.

dembones@pond.net
It was hearing "Long Distance Runaround" as a 12 year old that inspired me to become a bass player. Genius stuff, but in agreement with other comments, the lack of cohesion makes this an album in which the whole was much greater than the sum of its parts. 9 of 10.

tomr@ix.netcom.com
Once again, after 20 odd Years, I can finally listen to "Roundabout". No it's not the best song on the album but I really like Rick's performance on this one. Yes it's a bit "Popish" but everyone's entitled to go for a hit every now and then. I've seen the band many times over the years and I have yet to hear them do a good live perfomance of this song. Any suggestions.

The rest of the album is excellent. I could listen to it a thousand times and I always come away with something I hadn't noticed before. And I do like "We have heaven"

So there!

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Fragile is one of the classic Yes albums, but I don't give it the "best one" spot. It lacks something of a big bang!, maybe 'cause the solo experiments are uneven. Bill's interesting but its shortness is the main part of its strength, though ("Five per cent For Nothing" was its original title). Wakeman had to store "Handle With Care" for his first solo album (renamed "Catherine of Aragon") and put instead an arrange of a Brahms Concert that appeals to some but is a definite filler. Now, Rick was excellent but not in top form yet. As for "South Side of the Sky" being the true gem I respectfully disagree but I like the song anyway. As for Tony not being capable of playing (or creating) the piano part in the middle of that song I remind you that much of the songs on Fragile were composed, rehearsed and recorded when Tony was in the group, Chris teaching Rick the keyboard parts when the blonde virtuoso was rushed in for the final sessions. I give this album 9 out of 10 (never on top of The Yes Album).

tabasco@worldnet.att.net
I'm calling to talk about Yes Fragile. Damn I love that cd. It kinda sounds like the soundtrack to a horror movie such as the Wall. It all starts out with a great top chart song called "Roundabout". I loved that tune. I'm telling you it has a lot of fun music and a lot of fun lyrics in that song. I hear it on the radio a lot. Next is "Cans and Brahms". I love it. Wakeman can really play that keyboard well. He should have made a cd like that as soon as he was done with Fragile. All E Minor symphonies that sound like mozart. Next is a very weird Anderson song called "We Have Heaven". I bet some Yes fans don't even know that song exists. Very weird with Jon saying tell he moondog now tell the march hair constantly, Steve paying the same guitar note all the time over and over and remixed with some sound effects do u know if n the backround u know when it sounds like girls singing right if thats girls or Jon Anderson. An old man saying here is here, a girl saying Yes, another girl saying he is here, anothewr woman saying to look around, brudford banging on those snare drums, then at the end was a good way to close the song by closing the door, i pocture me closing that door and running away. You know what it sounds like someones lost in a castle than when they get out a huge snow storm begins. Then it's time to enter the "South Side Of the Sky". A great hard rock Yes song with some painful lyrics but very adventurous. Than in the middle was a cool piano symphony by Wakeman what did u think of that then comes the band practicing their vocal notes with the La La part. Then after that u can here the angry fan of that synthesizer then the real part of the song starts again. And part 2 is even angrier. DAMN GREAT SONG. After the best song on the cd is a crappy brudford solo called "5% for Nothing". Sux. Than comes another top chart song called "Long Distance". I hear that song on the radio. After that is a Squire song called" the Fish", he can really play that bass a hell of a lot. COOL!!! Than afer that is a beautiful guitar solo performed by howe himself. I know someone who can play that song backwards and fowards. He played it at a talent show at my summer camp. Than the next best song "Heart of the Sunrise". COOL HARD ROCK EXTRAVAGANZA. Then it goes into a soft calm Anderson song. 11 minutes of pure exitment. I love the artwork also they should make a weird movie on this cd. Just call it Fragile. Email me ur opinions and tell me what u think ok. LATER!!!!!!

seo@total.net (Stephane Ouimet)
I would'nt put a ten on this one, but it sure is a hell of a record. The 10 would go for, say, Close to the edge or Topographic oceans: in these albums, the band really push those brilliant musical ideas to the fullest. But "South side of the sky" and "Heart of the sunrise" are still fresh and surprising. I personnally don't see why everybody picks on "Roundabout" so much though: the vocal harmonies at the end still have put a chill down my spine when I saw Yes in Montreal, on the 19th of june, 1998.

"Five per cent for nothing", a crisp, jazzy and fun snippet, is far more interesting than "cans and Brahms" (or: "Listen! I know my classics to the rote and I can play 4 moogs and 3 mellotrons at the same time") . Wakeman is such a friggin showoffy, ten notes a second, classically trained bastard... But he's really nice to listen to. I like Patrick Moraz better, but hey...

That's right, Mark, you hit the bullseye when you said that Yes music is impossible to play. Me and my mates have tried, in those garage days, Gawd knows we tried, but failed miserably, managing to fiddle around the easy bits, and then being down and depressed about that whole music thingie... I suppose these guys are specially endowed and it's fine with me. I still find new interesting things everytime I play the records.

ssvsoft@online.no (Snorre Serigstad)
Great! Superb! Some of the best things Yes ever did. What else is there to say?

WyldLash@aol.com (John)
A fine album. Overplayed though "Roundabout" is, it contains the single most meaningful/hilarious snippet of zen perfection I've ever heard. "Mountains come out of the sky and they STAND THERE!" 'Cause, that's what they do, man. Take that Donovan.

michael.blume@gte.net
I beg to differ. It's less consistent then THE YES ALBUM, and there's a good reason why, the solos. Yes sir, some of the solos are not for me, BUSTER! They should have work more on group songs like the fantazzimo "SOUTH SIDE OF THE SKY", the boppin' and sockin' "ROUNDABOUT", or the lengthy, but pleasant "HEART OF THE SUNRISE". They should have made the solos a minute longer too by the way. However, I just love how that Jonny Boy jam-packed a bunch of overlapping tenor harmonies of his own voice for "WE HAVE HEAVEN". That's pretty damn mind-blowing, for a solo! I just wish it should have been combined with "SOUTH SIDE OF THE SKY" as an intro as well. That would have been cool. Plus I love that really wicked Chris Squire solo ("THE FISH"). Dig? How the fuck can you beat that kick-ass bass vibe kinda shit!? Huh? With no lead guitar added to the mix? COOL!!!! I dig it a lot! Finally, I love that spanish-style acoustic playing of Steve Howe's "MOOD FOR A DAY". Just lovely! Even lovlier than "THE CLAP" (or is it just "CLAP"). Awwwww!!!!!!!! FUCK!!!! I still like the album a lot, though. I just wish that Bill Bruford's "FIVE PERCENT FOR NOTHING" and Rick Wakeman's "CANS AND BRAHMS" were a bit longer, but they're too damn short to do the album a bit of justice. Rick Wakeman's solo track was interesting enough, but still should have been either dropped, or been re-worked. That's all. Overall, it's an 8/10. Their next album would be their best work of all-time. No doubt about it, or should I say "No Doubt" about it (Get it? No doubt, the phrase? No Doubt, the band led by Gwen Stefani? Awwww, man!!!! You're missing a pretty damn impressive joke I just came up with. DAMN IT!!!!).

That's the end of my review, but I should go on for a lil' while, at least. "ROUNDABOUT" is one of their finest lead-off tracks of any Yes album, starting off as a fine, normal rocker, and then that jungle-like drumming excerpts erupts with the line: "Along the drifting cloud/The eagle searching down of the land", and along with the rest of the verse. Then, it's peaceful for a few seconds with it's wonsplendid acoustic arrangement that was used for its 30-second intro, and out erupts an impressive solo break courtesy of Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe. The end of the song becomes normal again, and you have those "do-dah"'s done nicely in perfect harmony. Finally, the song ends well with a very quick acoustic chord sequence. All that done in 8 minutes. That's dang magnificent! "SOUTH SIDE OF THE SKY" begins silently w/ winds creeping in, slighty blowing peacefully for less than 20 seconds.

And out erupts one hell of a rocker that seems similar to "A VENTURE" in some ways, but much better, due to the moody "la-la-la-la-la-la"'s, Steve Howe's idiosyncratic, bitchin' guitar work, Rick Wakeman's darkest, fast-playing piano break, and Jon Anderson's boastful, confident , and feisty vocal outcry that sounds more like singing than an outcry. I should probably stop for now. Pheww!!!

richbunnell@home.com
Not to be confused with the Nine Inch Nails album of the similar title, as if it's possible to mix up Reznor and Anderson. A bit too fragmented to get a 10; more like an 8 for me, like many of Yes's albums. I really love the four complete songs, and I don't care at all about the massive airplay which "Roundabout" has received. "The most annoying radio-heavy light-hearted garbage Yes ever made"? Excuse me Mr. Moore, but have you heard of a certain song called "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" produced by the band known as Yes?

The individual pieces besides the bass-driven frenzy of "The Fish" are less interesting but they're all really short and tolerable, even "Five Per Cent For Nothing." Good album even though I can't call such an incoherent album a "masterpiece."

j.bornhofen@worldnet.att.net (John H. Bornhofen)
For those interested, "Heart of the Sunrise" is used frequently and to great effect in a movie w/cristina ricci called "Buffalo 66". Check it out. Made me pull out all my old Yes.

imoss@northernlight.com (Ian Moss)
Ahhh, yes. Yes! So I asked for this album one Christmas, and much to my surprise I got the "gold" collector's edition which featured a really weird and badly-designed jewel case, among other things. But anyway, it also had a very long set of liner notes that were written by some guy named Bob Mack. Mack offers nuggets of wisdom such as "[Roundabout's] salsa-fied percussion break prefigured arch-rival Led Zeppelin's 1979 track, 'Fool In The Rain,' by years" and "The only difference between ['Heart of the Sunrise'] and Metallica is that Jon Anderson can sing." Anyway, just thought I'd share.

As for the album itself, there's very little not to like. Even the solo pieces, with the exception of "Cans and Brahms" (I was never a big Brahms fan), are wonderful. I agree with the general opinion on "Roundabout," though--a good song, but undeserving of the disproportionate exposure that it has received. "South Side of the Sky" is much cooler. I also think the return of "We Have Heaven" at the end of the album is cooler than words can express.

guppyslayer@msn.com (Ben Henderson)
I looked up schindleria praematurus one time, and it's a tiny prehistoric fish. Just thought some of you might like to know that little piece of useless trivia...

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
Well, Mr. Prindlesticks, we had an email exchange about Yes a couple of years ago, and here I am, back at your site, to yak more about Yes. And why? Because they STILL remain originals, nobody has done what they have, no one has copped their sound, and hiphop bands still aren't stealing their shit. Which, at this point, is probably a good thing. Or maybe not. I don't know. Do you?

ANYWAY--Fragile is overrated. Classic rock radio has absolutely killed, and I mean killed, Roundabout for me. It's not Yes' fault, I know. But still, facts are facts, and when we have those facts, well, Fragile is overrated. South Side is absolutely killer, yes (um, er, Yes!), and Heart of the Sunrise is better on the live album, and The Fish is totally rad, but the rest is, well, I dunno, how do you say, something like, you know, overrated! Overrated? Overrated. CTTE is a ten, or if not that one, then GFTO is a ten. Relayer is better than Fragile, too.

I'm surprised that after all these years, you haven't revised this rating. I mean, foockahontas, you should be seeing the light by now!

BTW, glad to see you are back to writing reviews: your Neil Young reviews are good, much more insightful than your Pere Ubu reviews, which are good, but not as inspired.

tommy_chuck@hotmail.com (Tom Marshall)
Wakeman makes this a much more exciting affair than the Yes album and his virtuostic talents finally balance out Howe, but there's something in this record's feel that just doesn't match up to its predecessor. Still, it's THE Yes album to buy first if you're new to them and no one can fault Heart of the sunrise or Roundabout... 8/10

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Robert Chaundy)
Fragile is not worth ten. The actual songs are fine, but the solo pieces, whilst perfectly fun and listenable, just don't cut it. Too easy. They're closer to 9012Live than truly classic Yes (1972-80), and drag this record down to a seven or an eight. Why didn't they write a few more SONGS when they were this creative?

And doesn't the fellow in the CD booklet look suspiciously like a certain Metallica frontman we all love so well? Come to think of it, have YOU ever seen Rick Wakeman and James Hetfield in the same room? Very suspicious...

benalto@benalto.com (Rocket Robin Hood)
I really do like the classic Yes trilogy, but this is the only album that really leaves me wanting more. If there was a bootleg featuring outtakes from these sessions, I'd get it in a second. Oh, and anyone notice the amazing thudding riff from "Heart Of The Sunrise" was shamelessly ripped off by Rush for the instrumental section in "The Necromancer"?? Mark's dead on - 10/10!

munsey3@comcast.net
First things first, Fragile is about as good as it gets, anytime, anywhere, with the possible exception of Close to the Edge being even better.

Now here's a little story for you all: So it was uh 30 years ago and I was in college and we happened to go to Denver to see Yes, who happened to be opening for the Allman Brothers. Now who the fuck thought up that pairing? Well it was early '72 so it must have made sense to someone, but jeez loooeeez could you pick a worse double bill, not just musically but for the SOCIALLY dissonant crowd it would attract? I mean, let's get a bunch of drunken stoned Confederate flag-waving bikers together with a bunch of acid-addled rock-opera going folks and see what happens. How about a Motorhead/Pavarotti double bill anyone?

So I run into an acquaintance at said concert, who sez yo boy have a little orange sunshine, which I promptly ingest, it being a Yes concert and all. Then he sez by the way, that's a 4-way hit. Oooo jeez, now I'm in some trouble cuz it's down the gullet. No prob though, cuz in about 45 minutes Yes takes the stage and starts just flat out rocking. The albums do not do these guys justice by the way. Steve Howe KNEW distortion. Yeah Wakeman was kinda a wimp (compared with E of ELP). Jon Anderson is tolerable. Then there's the rhythm section of Squire/Bruford, best in the bizness at the time. So we're left with a fine power trio (Howe,Squire,Bruford) the likes of which t'aint been heard since. Said sunshine is starting to kick in and Yes becomes pretty much a religious experience, as in I've never heard anything like this in my sorry life to that point, and then the sunshine REALLY starts to kick in, I'm not sure where I am, not that it matters, and here comes Yours Is No Disgrace and Roundabout and Long Distance Runaround and the absolute finest song ever recorded by anyone, i.e., Heart of the Sunrise. Listen to the first two or three minutes of this song, and you will understand why there has never been nor ever shall be a finer drummer than Bruford. Shit, he totally revivified Fripp's career for a couple decades! Just listen to him and Squire totally lay down the rules for what a rhythm section should do. In any case, concert-wise, at this point my mind was actually outside of my skull, where it remained for the rest of the evening. What a band.

So then Yes is done, sorry to say, and we gear up for the Allmans. They eventually take the stage and whip into Statesboro Blues, which gets said Confederate-flag waving bikers up in the aisles. Did I mention we're sitting in row 11? And some biker chick is up dancing some southern-fried boogie directly I mean directly in front of my boy Wolf, blocking his view, and he's had just about enough and brings his knee up squarely into her crotch and sez 'sit down bitch'. And I'm still hearing SHARP DISTANCE etc being not entirely aware that Yes have decamped but I did wonder what that offal noise coming from the stage was. Neither she nor her squeeze is happy about the crotch shot, fer sher, there is offense taken. But we manage to get outta there with no external bleeding anyhow. No loss in missing the rest of the Allman's set, the point being, after Yes, the Allman Brothers sounded flat-out pedestrian (and this was in their heyday, before Duane squished hisself ona truck).

So Fragile is a 10 outta 10. Anyone who was lucky enough to have seen them during this time knows this to be a fact.

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
A great album, although the solo pieces are sometimes annoying and "South Side Of The Sky" is really overrated. A nine.

AgnesAyres@cableone.net (Melanie)
Munsey3, I must be schizo,because I love both YES and the Allman Bros,LOL.But then I love the Clash too.It's all about the music-what sounds good to my ears.I don't invest my life into it or draw my design for living from it. YES are progressive rock geniuses,and Allmans are blues/country-rock geniuses. To everything there is a season,turn turn turn.

Anyhoo,from what I understand, Rick Wakeman had to record the somewhat mundane if pretty "Cans and Brahms"(or some variation of music other than his own) because of some previous contractual obligation of which he was awaiting the end.

The much-maligned Roundabout was the first YES music that I ever heard,and from there I jumped in head first to CTTE,and then TFTO,with nary a breather.I loved everything that I heard so much,that I had to hear more. I'm a firm fan for life,and "Fragile"is a little gem of an album,to me,solos included.It's interesting to hear the different and varied parts of the sum that was YES,and hear where each guy's head was at when making his contribution(ie, Bruford's decidedly jazz orientation-not to mention the fact that the song was titled in honor of a former manager who was somehow still entitled to 5% of the band's royalties or something,even though he no longer had any responsibilities to the band. I might make a short little ironic-sounding jazzy ditty about that too, if I was Bill Bruford and immensely talented on percussion-he considers himself a percussionist,as in jazz,rather than a drummer-and had a chance to express myself musically regarding it).

I give "Fragile" a 10,also-it was great in its heyday,and it's stood the test of time.I'd say that calls for a 10.

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
"Roundabout" and "Long Distance Runaround" are among the best of them, and the individual pieces are all great in their own individual ways ("Tell the moon-dog, tell the march hare" is a lyric that gets stuck in my head all the time), but I cannot condone this awarding of a 10. For one thing, "South Side of the Sky" and "Heart of the Sunrise" both bog things down. I dunno, maybe I need to listen to the LP more, because a CD playing all the way through without having to stop after "South Side..." doesn't have the same feel to it. But that doesn't change the fact that "Heart of the Sunrise" is blemished at around the 3:40 mark when the vocals kick in and the song kinda sucks for a couple of minutes before getting back to the awesomness displayed during the song's opening movement. The other problem is the fact that these 9 songs don't flow together as cohesively as, say, the 6 songs on The Yes Album, or even the 3 on Close To The Edge. The way an album flows from start to finish means the world to me. Apparently I make good mix tapes.

thedude37@hotmail.com
You know, when I first read your review of Yes' "The Fish" I thought you were an idiot because you raved on and on and on and on and on about its' awesomeness. But I was wrong - it is aweome, and you're still an idiot.
Psych!
Now I get why you love that track so much - I finally listened to it on a pair of high-end Koss headphones, and it just sprang to life! Every one of those bass lines has a life of its' own. While one is panning left to right, another will pan the opposite way. Also, each line has its' own role - like classical counterpoint for acid freaks.
Damn I love these headphones. Okay I'm out - gonna enjoy Heart of the Sunrise now
p.s. Got to see them last December on their recently canceled tour in St. Louis. Never thought I'd hear Yes play Tempus Fugit AND Astral Traveller in the same night!

Ben
Not to be Benny Buzzkill or anything, but I think this album is overrated. Sure it's good, but not only is there better prog, but better Yes. To get the bad things out of the way, "Cans and Brahms" and "Five Percent of Nothing" do nothing for me and "We Have Heaven" (which is on this album twice unfortunately) is too repetitive. On too the good things (which end up overshadowing the bad). "Roundabout" and "Heart of the Sunrise" rank among my favorite Yes songs, while the majestic "South Side of the Sky" ended up becoming my second favorite (after "The Gates of Delirium"). As much as I like "Long Distance Runaround" and "The Fish", the live versions on "Yessongs" are better.

Add your thoughts?

Yesterdays - Atlantic 1974.
Rating = 7

A dumb release. Half of Time And A Word, 1/4 of Yes, a ten-minute mostly boring Paul Simon cover, and a pretty good B-side called "Dear Father." I guess they were assuming that nobody wanted to buy the first two albums. Dumb. It's still good, of course, but why does it exist?

Reader Comments

yescomm@worldaccess.nl (Gert Bakhuizen)
Couldn't agree with you more as I still hate sampler albums!

sbachini@uk.mdis.com (Steve Bachini)
Hmm, what is the point of this album you ask. "America" is the point. Maybe I love it so much because I heard it before the original version (well I was young). It just rocks, Chris, Steve and Bill blast away for a very memorable ten minutes.

keio@usa.net (Keio Sandvik)
Mystery compilation. Perhaps a flash of record company genius (!?!) Lights went on in some Atlantic execs head. Well, the bulb must have been faulty. But who's to stand in the way of making a dollar, eh? Sounds like the boys had fun putting together "America". This has to be the definitive re-interpretation of any song. Ever. "Dear Father" is great too. Look at the cover though...is someone taking the piss?

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
A greatest hits album with no hits on it? What a novel idea.

rderby@erols.com (Robert Derby)
ummmmm, "America" is great (my wife has an amusing viewpoint on this song I'd like to share: she says, "Paul Simon sounds like he got off a bus in middle america wrote and played this song on a street corner whereas YES got off that bus, hired an orchestra and played it at the nearest arena!) the rest of the album gives us highlights of the Peter Banks era which are not real high. I think Peter is a good guitarist and I think it would be interesting if he had the chance to record with a much more mature Yes. Jon's worst performance is here in the person of "Dear Father"!!!!ughhhhhhh.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net (BOB's)
It was just a sampler of Time And A Word and the full version of "America". I bought this album before I got Time And A Word, I did wrong. I should have gotten Time And A Word first. At first I liked "Sweet Dreams", "Astral Traveller", and "Then". They were cool, with orchestral moments they are okay. "Dear Father" rocks too, what happened to Jon's father, did he write this song for him? Who Knows!!!

dembones@pond.net
I once foolishly bought a maxi-single in the bargain-bin called "Close2theHype," a creation of Jon's son Damien, and featuring Jon Anderson himself. After hearing the crap contained on this disc, I was then convinced that there was indeed an album that had less reason for existence than Yes' Yesterdays. Nice Roger Dean, though.

tomr@ix.netcom.com (Tom Russell)
Lets see.

Take two albums, pick a few songs from each, and then throw in a couple of extras. What a novel idea. I wonder if they'll try this idea again?

Were they under some contactual obligation to release an album every so often? I think the blue boy is trying to make a statement...

Having said all that, "America" is one fine recording.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Yesterdays came after Relayer but maybe you didn't know. Now its release seems an unworthy idea but in those days this record (a) gave Yes something to put on the market amidst the solo stuff craziness and (b) reminded the US people that Banks and Kaye ever existed in the group as well as the two first albums. It's a fine compilation, actually, but I would rather put "Something's Coming" as the opener instead of "America", sticking to tracks recorded by the original lineup. Even now I don't know why they included a photo of Alan White (if there was a reason, why not include one of Patrick also?). It deserves 6/10 (could be a 7, but "America" is a point down). The sleeve (that included a wink of the Time and a Word English cover) made Dean target for dumb critics just for showing nude kids.

cynderelli@techline.com (TAD)
The "America-Looking Around-Time and a Word-Sweet Dreams" side is solid entertainment, mayB 1 step down from Yes at their very best, but still no slouch. & "Survival" definitely grows on U. Guess I'll have to wait on the rest.

"Something's Coming," "Every Little Thing" & "No Opportunity Necessary" might have been nice additions, but then it woulda been a 2-record set....

I've Cn worse best-of or here's-R-early-stuff packages. Back in the days when this came out, 1 good side was nothing 2 sneeze at....

bigfunchy@databasix.com (Russell B)
A "ten-minute mostly boring Paul Simon cover"? A "ten-minute mostly boring Paul Simon cover"? That's all you have to say about Yes's reworking of Simon & Garfunkel's "America"? A TEN-MINUTE MOSTLY BORING PAUL SIMON COVER?

Erm...sorry. My keyboard is a little dirty at the moment, and it causes me to type in all-caps from time to time, and to repeat myself excessively for emphasis. That's called "epizeuxis," by the way; epizeuxis, epizeuxis, epizeuxis. I can't emphasize this enough. I really, really, really can't.

Really, though--"America" was the bomb-diggety if for no other reason than that the Yesmen took a three-minute-long, strummy acoustic folksong, embellished that three-minute-long, strummy acoustic folksong with wonky-ass jazz noodling/countryesque fretboard sliding/weird military drumbeats/a bunch of other trippy shit until it became a ten-minute-long nonacoustic prog pileup, and...in the course of building this epic remake, somehow managed to...(wait for it)...to DISPENSE WITH THE THIRD VERSE OF THAT THREE-MINUTE-LONG, STRUMMY ACOUSTIC FOLKSONG ENTIRELY. On PURPOSE, man, on PURPOSE.

Sorry. Dirty keyboard. Dirty, dirty, dirty keyboard. Dirty.

rindle@nyc.rr.com">Add your thoughts?

Close To The Edge - Atlantic 1972.
Rating = 9

The Fragile line-up tries their paw at epic-length songcraft. Although there are only three songs on the record, all three are gooder than a mason bee. Every flabby pound of skill and cleverness that went into the last two are back again with something like a kickboxing vengeance. I'm about to use the word "although" again, even though I just used it. I just wanted to warn you.

Although the "short" tracks cover well-trodden territory in wonderful and novel ways ("And You And I" is a pleasant, mostly acoustic happy song that keeps erupting into an orchestral celebration like some guy named Bruce, and "Siberian Khatru" alternates between silly nerd groove and really messed-up bass-heavy drug music), the nineteen-minute title cut creates its own territory. It's the cut creator - the master of rap. When it walks by, homeboys tip their hat. Easily the least accessible song they've ever done (before or since), it opens with a burst of guitar racket and doesn't go much further for about three minutes, until the mean and entirely unpleasant "melody" finally reveals itself. Later, of course, some pretty bits pop up ("I Get Up I Get Down" is positively majestic with those vocals-on-vocals and that throbbing church organ and all - like most men, I generally don't much enjoy throbbing church organs, but at least I don't wear sweatpants any more), but the main melody is not something that you and your special girl will probably be itching to slowdance to. By 1996 standards, it's not that strange, but this is pre-punk 1972 we're talking about; loud free-form electric guitar acid rock was not at the top of everybody's salad menu. But you're bright and American; you can handle it.

A swell record, this is. It's not as mind-blowing as Fragile, nor should we expect it to be, but it's still complicated, beautiful, and very smart. Enjoy it now. This was the best line-up Yes ever had, and Bill Bruford was about to quit.

Reader Comments

yescomm@worldaccess.nl (Gert Bakhuizen)
I'm not going to argue 'bout this album. For me it's one of the best Yes' ever made so, 10+!!!!

Limbeck@sprynet.com (Cody Barrow)

I agree that was drug music, but no music has ever painted a picture for me like that album! It was like traveling through a fantasy, even a visual experience without drugs! I don't see how anybody who even likes Yes can't think this is their best album! Just because Fragile was so groundbreaking, doesn't mean they could never outdo it!

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
This is the true groundbreaking album, and I agree that it is an excellent visual experience that captures the listener and places him in a virtual fantasy world, and yes, no drugs involved. It was a step that was almost too much for top 40 radio heads hooked on Yes from the catchy "Roundabout" tune. This is what I meant when I said Rick Wakeman had not even close to have reached his height with Yes in Fragile. Steve Howe was excellent, and Jon Anderson's vocal experience combined with excellent drums from, possibly, the BEST YES DRUMMER EVER. The best work from the best Yes band up that time and possibly up till now.

ZTHW56A@prodigy.com (Donald T. Cassidy)
This is the best Yes album ever!!! 5 musicians working as one creating au unbelievable album. The title track is the best cut the band has ever recorded. "And You and I" is a majestic masterpiece. "Siberian Khatru" is so good they opened up with it for years in concert. Wakeman and Squire at their best!!

fcrane@idirect.com (Frank Crane)
Close To The Edge is by far and away the very essence of what Yes was all about. For anyone interested in checking out this great band, CTTE would be the very first album I would recommend they add to their collection. It's the most Yes sounding album they have ever recorded.

yancyd@pacificnet.net (Yancy Duncan)
It is the MasterWork of the 70's. A band in near disarray, joining together to produce a work that has never again been matched. Oh, the splendor and the glory. I never tire of it, not a single track ever wore on me (like "Roundabout" eventually did). To misjudge it as anything but their best is a tragic mistake. Listen again my friend and the power shall be yours. Bill left because in his own words, "I'd played my ace up my sleeve. I couldn't imagine myself playing any better. That was all I had to offer."

DougS@aol.com
Bill Bruford did leave because he felt he couldn't do any better than he did on Close To The Edge. He joined King Crimson, or rather, was allowed to join. He once said that he was talking to Robert Fripp and Fripp told him "I think you're now ready to join us". There's a great documentary that aired on PBS about the Union shows and it does a great job discussing the history of YES in detail. A must see for YES fans....

sbachini@uk.mdis.com (Steve Bachini)
I can hardly fault this album, a 9 or a 10 surely. The title track is about as close as you'll get to a musical religious experience. I can remember a painful week's holiday away from it. I admit to tiring of "Siberian Khatru" over the years - could be live overexposure of course. I think it's the weakest track as well though. I used to mourn the leaving of Bill. But then he went on to work on the three most stunning King Crimson albums (Larks' Tongues, Starless and Red); three more favourites. Coincidence? No way. Funny how they went from a drummer that used a metal biscuit tin to one that sounded like he was playing next door.

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Bought this one after reading your review. I really like it. The opening track is unbelievable. "Siberian Khatru"? What kind of title is that? I think the song's a bit cheesy, but it's still fun to listen to.

aomurphy@braznet.com.br (Ayrton Murphy)
What means "Khatru"?

pcahill@eniac.seas.upenn.edu (Patrick Cahill)
When I was about 13 years old, The Yes Album and Fragile were the only records I owned by Yes. I was impressed with their sound, so I bought what I thought were their most "accessible" (and famous) records. I wanted to delve deeper into the Yes sound, so I bought Close To The Edge. It absolutely blew me away. It was the beginning of my love for epic-length tracks, as it was for Yes creating them. You can really lose yourself in this album; it takes you to other worlds and dimensions and sometimes you never want to leave. I won't discuss details of the individual tracks: listen to the whole album in one sitting and let it all soak in. An unbelievable musical journey.

ata5d@virginia.edu (Arthur T. Andrews IV)
The essence of progressive rock and a showcase for some of the greatest rock technicians. The most impressive compositional talent blends classical elements with incredible rock intrumental passages. The album is actually in classical Sonata-Allegro form, with three movements: fast - slow - fast. And take the title track fits the mold:- thematic material - development - recapitulation. This is Yes. Distinctive vocals, fluid scalar guitar, rumbling bass, precision percussion, and ethereal synths. It doesn't get much better than this.

acetes@layer4.com (Archeocetes)
Close To The Edge is by far my favorite YES album. The title track and "And You And I" are absolutely brilliant, both musically and lyrically. The harmonic phrases of "Close To The Edge" are so subtle, yet lead perfectly into the haunting chorus. The soft-sung, inspiring break, "I Get Up I Get Down" is so lifting I wish it would go on for at least another 5 minutes. If only YES had made other recordings like this. Fragile and Going For The One are great albums, but this is their definitive work. "Heart Of The Sunrise" would fit perfectly in this album. A solid 10.

James@jpb-s.demon.co.uk
This is Yes at its creative peak and there is nothing quite like it. Just the bass and drums on the title track set it in a class of its own. "And You And I" is also magnificent. The best album ever.

TempsFugit@aol.com
Two quick points: "I get up, I get down"--the most beautiful few minutes of rock and roll EVER. and--Confirms my belief that YES recorded this album on another planet.

mortimer@unbsj.ca (Paul Mortimer)
The album rates an 11. Absolutely a trancendent work of art. The first time I heard the song "CTTE", (in 1973 at the age of 16) I was stunned. I had heard birds chirping and then all the world changed and I was left with the birds chirping. I wasn't sure what had happened,and I didn't even know what the plants on the cover of YESSONGS were.

keio@usa.net (Keio Sandvik)
A crowning triumph. Uncategorisable and beautiful. Has aged well..and so have I.

First_last@studio.disney.com
All I remember is that tingling sensation during "Close To The Edge". Not too many pieces of music can do that to me anymore (just turned 40 oh my gosh!) but a recent relisten did just that. I wish I could explain it to those twenty-somethings but I guess you had to be there. . .

stever@empower.com.au
Further evidence that the 70's was the greatest decade for popular music as far as originality, musicianship, showmanship and emotion are concerned.

akdxmy@hotmail.com (Andrew Davis)
The digitally remastered versions of Fragile and Close To The Edge are essentially 'perfect!' Close To The Edge, though (after several listens) now outranks the five other favorites. Although Tales is still my favorite Yes studio cd, Close To The Edge is the best sounding cd, therefore it gets the 10/10 rating! Fragile, Tales, Keys To Ascension, Yesstory, and Going For The One are close behind, anyway all 6 cds should get a 5-star rating!!!!

fossil@iol.it
CLOSE TO THE EDGE IS ALCHEMIC MUSIC BOTH MASTODONTIC AND COMPLEX IT KEEPS NOWADAYS THE STRENGTH OF IT IDENTITY AND OF IT FASCINATION IS A BLEND OF CHAOS WELL ORGANIZED AND ARCHITECTED AND MUSIC DANGEROUSLY PLAYED. PROBABLY "CLOSE TO THE EDGE" BEGINS WHEN "SIBERIAN KATHRU" ENDS. FOR IT OWN PROPERTIES IT CANNOT BE FREQUENTLY PLAYED.

rlewisj@ibm.net (Tom Tebalt)
Add me to the long list of peple for whom this is the ultimate Yes album. I've been listening to this album for 20 years, and it still moves me. If "Awaken" had been on this album, it would have been the best album ever. PERIOD!

dajones@bigtex.ci.dallas.tx.us (Doug Jones)
Both FRAGILE and CTTE are so core to an appreciation of Yes, the band that defined progressive rock, that it's very difficult to choose one over the other. FRAGILE is obviously more accessible, primarily because of the musical sampling allowed by shorter and more numerous songs. The abstract nature of Yes lyrics is well represented on both albums ("Call it morning driving through the sound and in and out the valley," indeed). This is a central beauty of Yes, indeed of most effective art, that for every person that experiences it, the music may take them to different places and mean dramatically different things. In this regard, however, CTTE holds a slight advantage for Yes purists. Whereas FRAGILE takes the listener on a series of wonderful jaunts, CTTE packs you up and takes you on an extended trip that doesn't return you until the end of Khatru. It is a perfectly planned vacation, you can bet you've never been to a place like it each time you go, and no aural provision has been left in the closet at home. You are covered. And it's not a trip like TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS where, quite honestly, you kind of begin to miss home after a couple weeks. No, CTTE is the perfect getaway. After over 20 years, I never tire of going. Twenty years from now, I can't imagine saying that about anything released in the past couple of years.

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
In general I agree, but "Close to the Edge" is NOT the least accessible Yes song. The least accessible one has to be side three of Topographic Oceans or the middle "battle" part of "The Gates of Delirium". There are a few live versions of "And You And I" which surpass the studio original, and the ultimate version of "Siberian Khatru" can be found on Keys to Ascension.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net (BOB's)
My thoughts of this album is a good thought. Very well done, very, very exciting. "Close To The Edge" is my favorite, a good 19 minute track, four parts to it so it doesn't get boring, "I Get Up I Get Down" had a nice pipe organ into the melody and the synthesizers. "And You And I" was good too, two 10's for two tracks, enclosing the album was a cheesy song called "Siberian Khatru", I didn't even know that song exsisted on the album at first. But on the other hand it was very mildly okay. I give this album an 8.

rderby@erols.com (Robert Derby)
In a word, MAGICAL! I've recently been listening to the album again and I wonder how anyone could construct anything as PERFECT as CTtE! Check the title opening, the interlude of "Siberian..." and the absolute grace of the "Eclipse" passage( I actually transcribed this piece to organ for my wedding!).

dembones@pond.net
Oooo... Close To The Edge, a beautiful, beautiful album. "Siberian Khatru" almost grooves, while the majestic "And You And I" runs the gamut of emotions. Words can't describe "Close to the Edge," although I can't help but feel that the studio version is indeed the weakest version, the finest of which is found on the new Keys II, beating the Yessongs version mostly because of Yessongs' horrible production. The Live ABWH rendition is great, but Jeff Berlin, while technically superior to Squire, is certain no replacement. Squire's voice is also sorely missed.

tomr@ix.netcom.com
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

What more need I say?

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Close to the Edge is one of the (if not THE) best albums ever made by a (prog) rock band and arguably Yes' finest. The title track blows any mind now as did it before. And the melody you disdain so easily (introduced by Steve's guitar) is simple and beautiful, as any worthy melody must be. Rick is at home this time with the keys. But regardless Chris' excellent job on the bass, I prefer the live version by ABWH. The other two tracks are also classics, including the now underrated but clear 70's favourite "Siberian Khatru". The simpler sleeve was another plus, though Eddie Offord's picture must have puzzled many people not so familiar with the band. I missed anyway a booklet as the one included in the original Fragile package. I give this album 10/10. Need no say more.

wlucas.robinson@utoronto.ca (Lucas Robinson)
It is now 1998, I'm 19, and "Close to the Edge" has to be the greatest song I have ever heard. I should have bought the record today so I could hang it on my wall. That keyboard solo coming back into the action has to be one of the best musical moments anyone can have. This is the best YES album. Screw FRAGILE.

trailer@mail.essex2.com
Without a doubt, Bill Bruford's drumming on this particular album is nothing short of spectacular. It has taken me almost three months of intense listening to each song on the album to properly learn Mr. Bruford's chops. The way he incorporates the odd timing to the rest of music is very creative and exciting. This album is my favorite. I just wish Yes would pretend it was 1972 all over again and make another album of that genre.

dolphin@vfr.net
This is one of the most creative albums. Very intelligent lyrics and a lot of complex arrangements and I think that "close to the edge" is the best song on it. Rick Wakeman s playing is very smart and great. I especially love the organ solo in "I get up,I get down". "Khatru" is a guitar masterpiece. I also like the harpsicord solo on it. All in all, it is up there with Topographic Oceans and Relayer. I hope they can do another album just like this.

academy@cyberus.ca (Bob Deeks)
Close To The Edge is the definitive soul of YES music to date. As for earlier comments in this section, regarding Yes music being directed to the drug-induced,... I most respectfully disagree (although there might be a certain satisfaction for those drug-inclined). YES music was creativity at it's finest.

YES music, especially CTTE is, as I see it, virgin music. YES speak of basic truths and emotions, via complex melodies, rhythms, and lyrics - a true and honest reflection of life itself.

As far as "CTTE" (the track) is concerned, I believe it to be a very prolific piece of music/lyric, with many references to Christ's crucifiction and ressurection. IE. "I get up... I get down...", a most remarkably emotional piece of music. This recording is one of the best. I'd recommend it to anyone with an open ear... and heart.

TwoPax@aol.com
It seems that SOME sort of appreciation has been given by our reviewer, here, to this amazing album. However, like several of the others whose views are represented here, I would not have given CTTE anything less than a 10. And the first two songs on the album alone are enough to warrant that ten. I do not understand how he calls it "not as mind-blowing as Fragile." To me, it's the opposite. Close To the Edge, a nineteen minute masterpiece marrying progressive rock with devastatingly beautiful and haunting symphonic/electronic instrumentation, has more complexities alone than the entire Fragile album. Don't get me wrong, I am a TREMENDOUS fan of Fragile, but I fail to see how it can even compare to this one. It was 1973, when bands like Pink Floyd were doing things like Dark Side of the Moon, which WERE incredible, but not for their REVOLUTIONARY qualities, rather for their sheer captivating melodic power, that Yes did CTTE. A song like Close To the Edge was simply unable to be classified. It was NOT rock and roll, by any standard, and not really anything else. Instead, Yes went out of the popular boundaries to create what THEY felt to be real music, a direct product of their combined musical talents and taste. Not until the 80s did Yes turn to a writing style that was based more upon it's public audience, sadly enough. These are reasons why Yes is still so HIGH on my list of GREATEST ALL TIME BANDS. Because they transcended rock, pop, and everything else to create a new kind of music that NO ONE has been able to copy since, not even Rush, Phish, or any of the other progressive rock bands. THIS is why I see CTTE as such an incredibly bold, revolutionary album, because it was with THIS album, in my opinion, that their true musical genius began to surface, and not before. I believe that this and Tales From Topigraphical Oceans are the best things this band has ever recorded, and I sincerely hope that one day they will abandon their current 80s influenced, cheesy pop sound that has been around since 90125, and go back to the music that came from their soul, and not from the public's expectations for them.

gwu.edu (Steven A. Sullivan)
"Khatru", says Yes, is supposedly a Yemeni word for "as you will", according to Yes biographer Dan Hedges, but even he doesn't seem very convinced.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Man, this is a tough call.

I mean, if you could give more than one ten, both Fragile and Close to the Edge would get them hands down.

However, and just barely, I'd have to give the nod to Fragile. When I listen to CTTE, I marvel at these spectacular sounds we call music, and wonder how any band could produce such a magnificent album. When I listen to Fragile, though, the question is answered, thanks to the solo work. They sounded so good together cos they all had such ridiculously good chops.

What a band...

Melodie83@aol.com (Joe)
The best Yes album of the 70's.great singing,playing,songs.And You And I is one of the best love songs ever written,the title track has incredible singing by Jon and Chris and the final song has great druming and guitar.A 10 rating If your a Yes fan a must!

michael.blume@gte.net
Make no mistake, dude. This is THE BEST YES ALBUM OF ALL-TIME!!!!!!!! No doubt about it, and for five reasons: Complexity + Sensitivity + Consistency + Beauty + Diversity = YES AT THEIR BEST!!!! Don't get me wrong. I like FRAGILE a lot, but it mainly lacked some consistency, diversity, and some sheer beauty CLOSE TO THE EDGE always maintained, and always will. This record was Yes' highest peak indeed. Anyone should buy this record for it was very, very different from all other Yes albums. TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS was very different too, but it lacked some consistency too, not to mention a lot of sensitivity. For those who think TALES is the best Yes album, they should realize that CTTE can kick the crap out of TALES anyday, anyyear, anytime. 'Nuff said. BUY IT TODAY.

John.Holmes@Hayssen.com
Without a doubt..the best of Yes. I've read this list over and over, and I am amazed that nobody has mentioned the incredible energy and life that Siberian Khatru adds to this album, and it's perfect placement following And You and I. A perfect opening for a concert. One more note...I was lucky enough to see CTTE performed live. One BIG problem. This was ABWH, and as you all know..this was minus Squire. I can only imagine how good it might have been.

mphl@cts.com (Z)
How else could a song open that tells you "A seasoned witch could call us from the depths of your disgrace," and that "A dewdrop can exalt us like the music of the sun," but with a ‘burst of guitar racket’. This part of the song is very tense and is aptly reflected by the transition from the sounds of tranquil nature to the explosion into the ‘burst of guitar racket’ that leads us to the opening verse that tells us man is following a misguided path.

"… assessing points to nowhere, leading every single one."

No this is not a song to enjoy in a romantic setting. The ‘mean and entirely unpleasant melody’ (which I do not find entirely unpleasant) is appropriate for the piece. While what is played is some of the least euphonic of Yes music, this is warranted by the edginess (no pun intended) of the message of the song.

This piece of art named Close To The Edge, is a sonic and poetic expression of human existence as reasoning animal with transcendent soul. This tune is chalk full of ‘ism’. And like most isms it is interpretation friendly as to the exact semantics. The opening movement (that’s right, the one with the burst of guitar racket) The Solid Time Of Change starts off by telling us how screwed up we can be (the dewdrop that can exalt us is a symbol of misguided value). And also takes us through the change where "We relieve the tension only to find out the masters name."

Close To The Edge is about the difficulty and joy [I get up, I get down] of being human [There’s you, the time, the logic, or the reasons we don’t understand.] and that it will always be this way [Seasons will pass you by]. But that there is a way to the truth [All in all, the journey takes you all the way.] and that this is not the common way [A constant vogue of triumphs dislocate man or so it seems.]. And that even for the enlightened, there is no getting totally around the human condition:

Now that it’s all over and done,
Called to the seed, right to the sun.
Now that you find, now that you’re whole.

Seasons will pass you by,
I get up, I get down.
I get up, I get down.
I get up, I get down …

Ps. To aomurphy@braznet.com.br (Ayrton Murphy). Khatru is a Yemeni word meaning: as you wish.

richbunnell@home.com
This one I'd give an 8, since I absolutely LOVE the title track, which is half of the album, and "Siberian Khatru" is really catchy too, but "And You And I" is, at best, ponderous and boring, and that's all I have to say about that. Regarding the "I get up, I get down" section of the title track, what is WITH the utter worship that this section of the song gets? Sure, it fits the song perfectly, but I wouldn't go calling the band "aural geniuses" for creating it or the melody "the most beautiful four minutes ever created" since "I get up.......I get down!" could've been written by a three-year-old, both lyrically and melodically. However, it's not bad at all; in fact, it sounds pretty darn cool against the sparse organs, but I wouldn't go rating it above the equally great other under-recognized parts of the song! The jumbly guitar mess at the beginning punctured by Anderson's "AAAAAAAH!"s sounds really really cool! For a three-track album, this is really great, though it helps that the one song which is a length that Yes hadn't attempted as of yet is so darned perfect.

michael.blume@gte.net
Wha!! I gotta respond to the part about "And You And I". Mr. Bunnel, you described the actual song as "ponderous and boring" at best, but that's false. "And You And I" is one of the most thought-provoking and complicated love songs ever written. I'm distressed that you totally disliked it. Come on, let's face it. 1998 was a godzilla-load of crap that had no other purpose than to irritate about more than 3/4 of my brain, mainly because of bubblegum pussies like Backstreet Boys, talentless bitches like Sarah McLachlan, and so on. What does this all have to do with CTTE, you ask? Well, not a whole lot, but my point is that CTTE as a whole is a jillion times better than what was on the radio in 1998. You, however, underrated it as an 8/10. Now for my point on the album itself: IT IS THE GREATEST ALBUM OF ALL-TIME, AND IT DESERVES MORE PRAISE THAN YOU HAVE GIVEN IT!!!!

Sure, Abbey Road was the Beatles' finest hour, and To Our Children's Children's Children features some the most excellent and awfully original material the Moodies had even written, but none of these albums (nor any other) can come close to the melodic invention, thematic elaboration, and harmonic perfection of Close To The (CUTTING) Edge. No one. Thank you, Yes. Thank you.

richbunnell@home.com
Well, first off, my name quite clearly has two L's... Anyway, perhaps I was mean to "And You And I" and under-rated the Close To The Edge album as a whole. Perhaps it actually deserves a nine (not a ten, sorry) and I was just in a non-prog mood at the time of writing that comment...it's really a good album, trust me!

Paul.Corcoron@rbwm.gov.uk (Paul Corcoron)
I am 25 and had never heard a Yes album until last Saturday. I was in the record shop and just got a strange impulse to but Close to the Edge at the knock down price of £6.99. It is quite simply one of the best albums I have ever heard.

imoss@northernlight.com (Ian Moss)
Indeed, while not the most accessible of albums (that opening was pretty damn hard to get into at first), it certainly grows in stature with repeated listenings. I'm not quite ready to put it at the same level as Fragile...not quite sure why...perhaps because I feel that the "other" two songs are not quite as strong as the title track. Frankly, I had expected more out of "And You and I" after all I had heard about it. Not a bad song by any means, but it just wasn't as mind-blowing as, say, "Heart of the Sunrise" (few things in this fleeting life are). "Siberian Khatru" is pretty damn good though.

On "I Get Up, I Get Down": Yeah, when I first saw the title to that section I was somewhat nonplussed--has there ever been a dumber title for anything? Sounds like a frickin' Monty Python song or something, or like it's maybe about erectile dysfunction. But of course, the music is utterly ethereal in its majesty and sheer spiritual power. Which just goes to show ya that lyrics don't matter for shit. I personally feel that the guitar solo that immediately follows the "I Get Up & Down" section is even more climactic.

I think Yes would have been a very different band if they had called themselves "Yeah." Just a thought. Now back to the album.

No, just kidding, I'm done with my review. HAH! Had you fooled there, didn't I? Thought I was actually going somewhere with this rambling? Well, that's egg in YOUR face, Mister (or Ms.), because....oh dear, this isn't funny at all....I mean AT ALL....well, nothing to be done about it now. bye

poulos1949@email.msn.com (Lou Poulos)
Lucas: I can't tell you how great it makes me feel that guys your age are discovering this stuff. A few months ago, I was driving around and was stopped at a light, and I heard "Perpetual Change" coming from a nearby car, and I look over and there's a couple of teenagers totally getting into it. Wow. Congratulations on your musical taste and your open mind.

Close to the Edge is a masterpiece. The title track is like an orchestral work, And You and I is haunting - check out Bruford's sparse, powerful drumming at the end, the way he pounds those punches during the last statement of the theme. Incredible. And the way the bass and kick lock together in that pulse in the beginning, like on "Your Move."

It's their best work in that it's expansive yet concise. It's adventurous without noodling. It would be the last time they'd show this kind of restraint. It's hard to imagine an album with only three songs on it being called concise, but it is. I give it a ten - one of the seminal recordings of the rock era.

bjones04@tampabay.rr.com (Benjamin)
Gee kids I was 19 when CTTE was released. It is indeed T H E Yes album. My comments on both the band and CTTE would only mirror my fellow yes fans' thoughts. Yes has no peers. And yes I too wondered if they were from another planet. And no I had never even smoked my first joint yet. LSD and cannabis is not required in order to journey upon the magic paths which Yes music leads one upon. Its been 29 years now since CCTE for me and in my old age and wisdom. whenever anyone attempts to compare Zepplin. Rush or anyone else with Yes, I no longer get angry or frustrated, or call them ignorant....nope ..I just smile and go on my way knowing that they have never been to 'THE PLACE'

tommy_chuck@hotmail.com (Tom Marshall)
Quite simply the pinnacle Prog moment. Brain Salad Surgery, The Lamb lies down on Broadway and Yes' own Relayer come close but this is just the best. A perfect balance of pomposity and great writing, 'Close to the Edge' itself is the ultimate 20 minute prog venture. The opening, free-form passage and Wakeman's church organ swamping Jon's ascending voice are probably my favorite Yes 'moments' of all. All in all, Yes' definite statement, musically and lyrically. My one gripe: Howe is a bit quiet in the mix, whereas Wakeman is everywhere. Fragile is probably the LP where they got the balance perfect. Still, a full blown 10/10.

pedro_andino@msn.com
1.CLOSE TO THE EDGE: the cosmic journey begins with the sound of birds or pajaritos with a waterfall and glistsening water drips then suddenly KAPOWWWWWWWWWWW! bill buford, chris squire, steve howe, rick wakeman, jon anderson. kicks your ass into high gear

1.THE SOLID TIME OF CHANGE. IT DOES BEGIN WITH A SORT OF JAZZ JAM LIKE MANY SONGS YOU HEAR LIKKE ROUNDABOUT ALL GOOD PEOPLE AND THE CLAP

2.TOTAL MASS RETAIN. JON WANDERS ABOUT ALIENS OR WITCHES BUT THAT'S COOL WITH ME

3. I GET UP I GET DOWN. YES SPACES YOU OUT AGAIN THIS TIME WITH A MELLOTRON AND SOME DRY ICE AND DRIPS EFFECTS IN CONCERTS THE BAND'S HARMONIES RULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FUCK YOU BEACH BOYS! THEN THE ORGAN IT'S JUST LIKE HEARING BACH UNTIL.........

4.THE FINAL CLIMAX A WEIRD JAZZ SYNTH SOUND THAT REMINDS ME OF WATCHING JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS IN OUTER SPACE WITH THE SYNTH PLAYING VILLAN WITH ODD AVANT GARDE SOUNDS IF YOU LOOK FOR MELODY DON'T!

THE SUITE ENDS IN A CALM WAY BIRDS AND WATER DRIPS. IF JON ANDERSON WRITES STUFF LIKE THAT HE WILL WRITE LIKE POISON ARROWS AND GLUED DOWN PENNIES.

2.AND YOU AND I: BEGIN WITH A LONLEY GUITAR INTRO THEN JUMPS YOU INTO A JAMES TAYLOR-ISH INTRO WITH A HAPPY SYNTH SMILING AT YOU AND JON ANDERSON SINGS LIKE HE IS FREE! HEY! HEY! HEY! IMAGINE IF YOU SEE THE POLYPHONIC SPREE THAT'S WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE THEN CAME PAH.... THE MELLOTRON SECTION LOVELY SOUNDS WITH SYNTHS COMBINING AND THE VOCALS! MAN THEN IT SENDS YOU INTO THE LONELY GUITAR INTRO AGAIN THIS TIME IT'S FASTER THEN CAME JUMPY INTRO NUMBER 2 THERE WILL BE NO MUTANT ENEMY LIKE JAR JAR BINKS! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! THEN CAME THE ENDING. THAT IS LIKE A LOVE SONG WITH SOMETHING NEW TO IT

3.SIBIEREAN KHATRU: IT STARTS AS A FUNKY GUITAR ROCK LIKE JAMES BROWN OR SLY STONE

WHO KNEW THAT PROG BANDS CAN BE FUNKY: FLOYD'S HAVE A CIGAR. THEN CAME THE DA DO DADO DA VOCALS WITH THE POUNDING DRUMS.

4.AMERICA: THE COVER OF A PAUL SIMON TUNE WITH A PROG MAKEOVER

5.TOTAL MASS RETAIN: THE SINGLE VERSION NOW IF I KNOW CORRECTLY THE LABEL AND RADIO STATIONS NEED A SINGLE BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THAT THE SONGS WERE WAY TOO LONG

6. AND YOU AND I PART 2: SAME THING BUT AN ALTERNATE VERSION

7.SIBEREA KATRU PART 2. AGAIN SAME THING BUT LIKE A REHERSAL

PRINDLE, YES FANS, I LOVE THE FUCKING CD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I NEVER HEARD YES EXCEPT OWNER OF A LONELY HEART BUT THIS RULED I HOPE I GET MORE!

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
Except for some moments for "And You And I", this has to be a perfect album. 9.5/10 from me.

alexmortland@hotmail.com
"River running right on over my head"

This lyric is about Jon's fondness for golden showers.

8/10

steve.robey@mindspring.com
Although it seems pointless to add my own comments to the vast sea already submitted to this site, I was reminded recently of a funny/stupid revelation a couple of friends and I had about the song "Close to the Edge" about 15 years ago, so I couldn't resist sharing this wisdom learned. I was 22 years old at the time, which is old and wise enough to have such revelations, but young enough for them to be pretty stupid all the same.

As a prelude, let me refer to a reader comment above:

alexmortland@hotmail.com
"River running right on over my head"
This lyric is about Jon's fondness for golden showers.

That realization pertained to "Siberian Khatru"... I have similar insight into the title track.

Simply put, "Close to the Edge" is AN EPIC ABOUT TAKING A SHIT. The four movements (HA! Pun intended) of the piece illustrate this quite amusingly:

I. "The Solid Time of Change" - A rather poetic euphemism for a bowel movement. There's a time...
II. "Total Mass Retain" - Seems our protagonist is having some trouble getting the job done.
III. "I Get Up, I Get Down" - With that obstacle overcome, our protagonist keeps having to "go" just when he thinks he's finished. He gets up, and then....
IV. "Seasons of Man" - Seasons pass... and he's still there.

All right, that was stupid and gross. But it still cracks me up whenever I think of it. Seriously though, I count this among my favorite long songs of all time - up there with "Atom Heart Mother". And the other 2 tracks are great too.

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
The thing about an album that consists entirely of 3 songs is that you don't need much of a flow between songs, so long as the three songs each have their own identity. But Yes made sure to put in the extra effort and made sure the songs had a reason for being where they were. All three songs are just absolutely amazing. They're really really long, but they still leave you craving more. If ever I had to go somewhere far away and had a limit on how many CD's I could bring with me, this would be one of them

iekamede@yahoo.com.ar (Laureano Lopez, 24, composer and dark chocolate addict from Cordoba, Argentina)
I think the first track on this album could have really used some developmental procedures. For the construction of big forms, this band solved a very important issue that ELP, for example, couldn't (at least consistently): a coherent flow between ideas, especially at connection points. Most prog bands used sound tricks for this matter; Yes, usually, preferred logical transitions.

Now, the last tracks are short enough to avoid the band from running out of resources to maintain the energy level, but the first one is not only longer but more rhapsodic, and I think they couldn't fully sustain it. The introduction (I mean the first of the two instrumental sections before the voice enters), though intense and intriguing, stays too much around the same without a significant element indicating a direction: it's a little plain. The energy is at a constant high level throughout, so it becomes inertial to me. But this is a small problem compared to what happens in the first sung part.

This is where I think they could have used some development. The first element ("a seasoned witch...") is very static, both in melody and harmony; the third one ("crossed a line...") is adequately more dynamic, and works as an effective vector to "seasons will pass you by, I get up I get down". Now, the first thing I tend to consider an error is the plain repeat in "my eyes convinced...". The little energy gained by the refrain is thrown down, in a way that makes the repetition look just dogmatic. If this whole part would have been a complete song, it could have worked - in this context, it makes the piece drag. They could have made the repetition shorter and less predictable by cutting some phrases, they could have changed the harmonic or rhythmic context to make it look as a consequence of the level achieved by the refrain; in fact, all procedures by which they constructed the last track, with perfect results. So the repetition, as it is, starts to contradict the frenetic push of the introduction by slowly losing its impulse.

The second moment I consider an error is, predictably, the repetition of the first one. Two times we hear a growing process up to "I get up I get down"; two times the consequence is... nothing. When the minute of plane time (I mean the pulseless section before the part actually named "I get up I get down") comes, the suspicion becomes a fact: the previous part was a long roundabout and, following a general energy curve, it's as if the piece never really took off. It's a letdown: I feel the song starts again, with the first half being a failed attempt. And this has nothing to do with the actual ideas being good or not - I like all the ideas they use; the problem is how they build a whole with them.

All the rest of the song is brilliant, even if the end is a cliché: it's a perfectly exploited cliché, I have nothing to say.

I decidedly don't think they should have used more ideas. The real goal of this album is constructing a convincing wholeness out of the development of three single ideas. When the climax of And You And I is achieved, the effect of greatness is provided not just by orchestration: the weight of the whole song is discharged there - that's why it feels (for me at least) much broader than the final section of Supper's Ready needing much less artifacts to become evident. Most long songs by prog bands deserve the usually given name of "suite": they're rhapsodies with little more interconnection than local transitions (and sometimes even without them). Albums like Selling England by the Pound or Animals use another kind of extension, mainly sustained by long melodies, by continuous lines. Yes and King Crimson attempted an extension sustained by texture, by polyphonic construction on short elements, and this album, even with its defects, is a great achievement in that direction.

(several months later)

oh i'm getting old.

for example, i'm still having opinions about this album when everybody is listening to... hmmm

yes' 70s albums (bar tales) are among the music to which i come back regularly. i mean, every year at least. i have yes phases. i'm on a yes phase right now. just fragile and close to the edge. maybe i'll try relayer again. it's a little messy for this season. and going for the one a little cheesy.

(see, i'm becoming a complainer, sure i'm getting old)

i still think tracks two and three of this album are perfectly round and solid like a new bowling ball. my ideas about the first track have changed a bit. yes they might have developed the reggae/rap/whatever idea. but they didn't. so it's a little long. just a little. formally it's like a song, with longer verses than refrains. but it's not a song. it's a main theme repeated with no variations between little breaks of growing menace. an energetic, pushing plateau. every time the refrains go back to the repeating ideas, i get a sense of restraint. it's not a music that doesn't take off: it's a music that refuses to take off. so when this part dissolves into atmosphere, i've been deceived twice, and i'm a little nervous about it. the idea has grown from cool to insistent. like that scene in family guy where peter takes his foot once and again and again until it gets annoying... and that's why it works. if they did nothing after the middle part, i would be pissed at the end. but they do. the resolution is great, and it can't be isolated: its greatness comes from its relation to the first part - it's a matter of proportions. so the whole... works. i still think: man, they really could have developed that thing a little. but it would be a different work. very different maybe. as it is, the global structure is pretty simple, and it uses the insistent character of the first part to achieve its goal. i still find the first half of the instrumental introduction a little too repetitive or messy or both, and of course the atmospheric break could be shorter for nobody's damage. but these are minor complaints. after listening to the other two pieces, i think: "ok, to go from 10 to 18 minutes they needed over-repetition". if they did because they couldn't do "better" or because they actually wanted it that way, it's not mine or anybody's issue. they did it this way and it works but it's a little insistent and that's all.

great album, by the way =D

hugs!

Add your thoughts?

Yessongs - Atlantic 1973.
Rating = 8

Overkill. A triple live album featuring only songs from the last three LPs, plus two Wakeman fiestas. Of course the songs are amazing, but we've heard them already. Yes doesn't change when they play live, so what's the point of releasing this record? Just to prove that they actually could play like this? Who ever doubted it? There sure ain't no session musicians that can play this way! There's no need to buy this album. Buy the studio ones instead.

Unless you've never heard the band, I guess. Lots of great songs here.

Reader Comments

student@lib.siu.edu (Brian)
I must disagree. To fully appreciate this album, you must have a sensitive ear for live music. Personally, I love to hear a great band like "YES" perform live. One aspect of this album that stands out to me is the performance of "Perpetual Change." The energy that "YES" produced in the live performance far surpassed the mellow beauty created in the original production. Although most of the songs were performed the same as their original recordings, there are intense moments which can't be experienced from any other "YES" album; like Chris' ominous bass solo. If you like live recordings that are a bit misty but open, you'll enjoy this one. I recommend vinyl.

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
If you hate the live experience of Yes, and doubt this album's excellence, listen to "And You And I" for Rick Wakeman's keyboards. Listen to the guitar on "Yours Is No Disgrace," which is better than the orginal. And listen to the end of "Starship Trooper." Yes does not get any better than that.

thutley@e-z.net (Thomas Hutley)
Ask any band, past or present, to stay so true to their original recordings just for one night, and they'd probably pass out from mental exhaustion! It's all fine and good to have each band member blow their own horn in a solo shot or two, but I don't go to concerts to hear new renditions of classic--or even contemporary--tunes. I go to concerts because I liked the original sound so much I was willing to fork out an extra $50 bucks on the band to see them live, and wear them on my chest for about three months until the T-shirt fell apart. You want to extend the bass playing in "The Fish" for a couple ten minutes or so, go ahead. One of the best bass solos I've ever heard, but don't revamp entire songs simply for the sake of making something new. Just hearing it LIVE is change enough for me. I'm still amazed they could create their sound in the first place! So bravo to a band that can at least stay fairly true to it's original musical concepts...

sbachini@uk.mdis.com (Steve Bachini)
Ah, the musical excesses of the 70's. Triple live sets from Yes and ELP. This album is surely a fan's dream come true, excellent live versions from The Yes Album, Fragile and Close To The Edge. Bill's only on a couple of tracks sadly. But most importantly, what about the crap bootleg sound quality? This then brings my star rating down to 6-7/10.

egalvao@brnet.com.br (Enzio Galvao Diniz Torreao Braz)
It is the Yes standard record. I used to recommend it to people who want to taste the band and didn't "venture" to be delighted by the particular type of music the band have been playing for all these years!! I have been listening to it in the last 16 years. I picked it in a Yes shelf after have listened to the Yesshows records (and being captured by)!

pcahill@eniac.seas.upenn.edu (Patrick Cahill)
This is a great collection of songs, but the sound really leaves a lot to be desired. For the money I shelled out for this, I was really let down by the quality. I don't care if it was 1973; I own plenty of '76 live sets that are worlds better soundwise. Still, a must own in my book, because, like others have said, some songs really shine, perhaps better than the originals. I think most Yes Album pieces fit this description. And Wakeman's "Six Wives" performance? AWESOME.

keio@usa.net (Keio Sandvik)
Great playing. Yes really fire up live, don't they? Tasteful and spontaneous improvisational bits. It contains the version of "Starship Trooper" that everybody loves. Rick's mellotron bits with that amazing moog solo is a classic. And it hasn't even been quantized (muso talk). Jon stuffs up the lyrics but who cares. What did they mean anyway? I understand there is a university graduate somewhere who actually majored in Yes-music, or should I say Yes-concepts. Well, now you know what it really takes to appreciate this stuff. What hope do the rest of us mere pleboids have? I don't know. A word about the audio quality: Crap. Remastered version is marginally better. A kind of high-fibre crap. However, the performances make up for any deficiencies.

wallison@pnc.com.au (Warwick Allison)
I disagree, yessongs is tremendous. How can you say it's the same as the others. "Perpetual Change" has a drum solo, "Yours is no disgrace" has huge amount of improvisation and every time Yes play "Starship Trooper" they change "WuRM".

First_last@studio.disney.com
Wow I'm doing a lot of responding today. I bought this record immediately when it was released here in L.A. and played it till my parents were ready to have me committed. By far the best version of "Starship" and "Yours Is No Disgrace", clearly blowing any later bootleg versions I have heard out of the water! Too bad about that sound though. One think I've always remembered about the band live was: 1) the cool lights they used (Close To The Edge mirror disc remember that?) and 2) the good sound. Not a bad album graphically I might add. Still have my original 1973 copy!

tabasco@worldnet.att.net (BOB's)
I thought it was okay at first then I realized it had very poor sound quality, and this was the same year Dark Side Of The Moon came out. This album was bad, it sounded exactly the same as the originals, and I wasted 27 damn dollars to buy it. I give this album a 4.

tomr@ix.netcom.com
Regardless of the poor quality and the fact that Yes can never properly reproduce the harmonies on a live performance, I really like this album. Listen to Steve at the close of "Siberian Khatru" and his solo with the slide on "And You and I" Astounding!

However, I don't care for Chris' rendition of "The fish" Nor do I like Rick's "Six Wive's" monstrosity.

Otherwise it's a definite must.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Yessongs is the recording of great shows with terribly awful sound quality. A pity and a shame. The jacket this time was the most elaborate ever, showing Dean's continuity concept at its best. The original version had a booklet even bigger than the Fragile one. Some of the performances had to be different in sound to their studio counterparts (i.e. the acoustic intro of "Roundabout" became electric) but the band stuck loyally to the original arrangements. What's wrong with that? Bill is missed in most tracks, but Alan was a true newcomer in that tour (don't blame it so hard on him). Some arrangements are even better than the studio ones. Although it was a triple-vinyl it only really had two-record time. I give it 5/10 due to the poor sound. The CD sounds even worse!. One final note: the compositions credit for "Siberian Khatru" include Squire this time but actually Chris did not share the credits in the CTTE album.

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
Yeah, excessive, sure. The Wakeman solo pieces are now unlistenable, but, to give credit where it is due, the live version of "Heart of the Sunrise" here is better than the one on Fragile. Hard to explain why: feel, intensity, mood. All that. And more. Much more.

walrath@gene.com (Erich Walrath)
Better band then the "weaker" King Crimson?!!!

I can't imagine Fripp and company tossing off a line like:

"A seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace,id mental grace..." c'mon!

That said, I love everything about Yessongs - and consider it to be superior to the studio work that preceeded it. It's pretentious as Hell; the Roger Dean graphics are gaudily surreal; the choice of songs are illustrative of the band's excesses and consumate musical skills - which simultaneously places them beyond caricature and makes them supremely listenable.

I even like the (lack of) sound quality - it gives the project a strangely quaint feeling...

PHREEBERD2@aol.com
this and yes shows are probably the two best live albums i have ever heard i dont like you

Donald.Downs@co.orange.fl.u
I don't think I'm alone in thinking that Yes's studio discs, while superb, are somewhat clinical and cold. Despite the lousy sound on Yessongs, you can almost see the joy on the bands face as they played these songs. It's the little things that do it for me, the way Jon holds some notes longer, the way Steve puts a little more bend in a note. The imperfections make it more enjoyable for me.

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Robert Chaundy)
This is quite literally the heaviest album in the world. The thing weighs a bloody ton! Although I don't usually like live albums, Yes is one band whose shows really translate well to vinyl, and Yessongs, although spitefully long, is a classic.

pedroandino@msn.com
I am really glad you loved it but let me ask you. I have now 7 yes albums!

FRAGILE: the single classic. you do not miss out on that one!

CLOSE TO THE EDGE: a towering symphony of sound!

RELAYER: hard deadly heavy metal attack!

GOING FOR THE ONE: MESSY BUT BEAUTIFUL.

TORMATO: BASHED ABOUT BY FANS I SAY IT IS UNDERRATED.

DRAMA: UNDERRATED.

90125: the big sellout!

f like I was sayin' you are funny! ha! anyway yessongs is so long I give tis a ten!.

pdermody@twcny.rr.com
I think the songs really stand out from the originals are Siberian Katru, Prepetual Change, and Yours is no Disgrace. Just listen to the cool drum solo at the end of Prepetual Change. And listen to Howes groovy solo in Yours is no Disgrace.

Add your thoughts?

Tales From Topographic Oceans - Atlantic 1973.
Rating = 7

A double-album with four songs on it, this record is considered a joke by most music fans who've heard of it. Bill Bruford quit during the Close To The Edge tour, so weaker drummer Alan White is in the mix, not adding much to a collection of slow murky dreamy songs that you can either (a) relax and meditate to, secure in the knowledge that if it gets a little dull, you can always throw on some Ray Lynch Deep Breakfast, or (b) scoff at and throw the album at a passerby. I choose (a) regardless of my deep-rooted abhorrence of Ray Lynch and all his sick Windham Hill buddies, and I enjoy the album just fine, thank you for asking.

Yes, it's a hilariously "deep" album (based on a lengthy footnote on page 83 of Paramhansa Yoganada's "Autobiography Of A Yogi," the four tracks are supposed to celebrate the knowledge of God, all of our thoughts and memories, the ancient treasure of knowledge, and the ritual of life, through which pure love defeats evil - and ooh does that come across), but darn it, the music is perfectly pleasant. Not GENIUS by any means, but still well-played and nicely arranged. Better than most other dentist office muzak, anyway. Most people consider it overbearing, but it's really not. The songs are lengthy, but very welcoming - not bombastic. It's peaceful stuff. Take a nap to it if you want to. I prefer to stay awake and enjoy some pretty melodies. Nous Sommes Du Soleil! And the album cover is beautiful. Roger Dean can get a little samey, but that dark blue is just lovely, I think. What do you think, kind sir?

Reader Comments

yescomm@worldaccess.nl (Gert Bakhuizen)
I think your review from this album wouldn't do much good for those fans who were at San Luis Obispo in March and freaked out when Yes played "The Revealing Science of God" after 22 years. By the way, what makes you think Alan White is less good than Bill Bruford? This album is a statue for Yes throughout the years but just because it was different from that what people were used to hear from them it suddenly isn't good. As we say over here in the Netherlands; GELUL! In my point of view it's just a masterpiece which was obvious that it would be released if you read some old interviews with Jon Anderson in that period.

rjohnson@jax-inter.net (Richard E. Johnson)
Tales should have been a Single Album. It just is too much blowing, not enough tight arrangements. Some great melodies are in there and it is worth listening to, but not really a worthy follow up to Close To The Edge. As for the White/Bruford Question ... White was still getting used to Yes and vice-verse, and hadn't quite gelled. Relayer and especially Going For The One are a different story. He was very good on those....

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
Okay, brace yourself, because I feel that this is the best album Yes made up to this time. Anyone who can appreciate the feeling of fantasy, and being placed inside a different world with the clever tunes and vocals, like so many say they were in Close To The Edge, has to be captivated in this album. I don't know what it's about, and I refuse to find out, because I can run any stories I wish through my mind as I listen to the music. Wakeman reached his greatest talent with the band, and finally, shades of his excellent solo projects showed through in his Yes work. This was the album that set Wakeman up for Journey, and the same talent is expression. Jon Anderson's lyrics were excellent, and I don't really care what they mean. I see the album as a whole piece, forming endless stories in my mind, with all the elements of a great tale. The best guitar Steve Howe had ever done, and the best bass Chris Squire had done since his early albums. The White/Bruford issue, after "The Ancient" it is very hard to tell, but Bruford will later show them all up.

DougS@aol.com
This album was Jon Anderson's "fuck you" response to the critics who considered YES' albums too long and too self indulgent and too biblical. His basic feeling was "Oh yeah, you thought that was long? I'll show you long!".

sbachini@uk.mdis.com (Steve Bachini)
This is certainly an album to lose your street cred. "You like Yes, but they did that awful pretentious double album with side-long tracks. You don't like that shit surely?" Go on, stand up for yourself. You love this album. It has parallels with Genesis' Lamb, it's a double with plenty of mellotron and it's completely incomprehensible. But hey, who cares what it's about?

I have to admit that they wouldn't have produced this with Bill on the team! It's packed with ideas that come and go which you could argue could have made great 'songs'. It's pretty laid back overall and 'murky' as you say Mark. Sorry to harp on about sound quality but what the hell happened to the master tapes? (Any hope with the CD re-master anyone?) I heard an almost decent LP version once. When you've got talented guys like this you really want to hear what they're up to! 8/10

pcahill@eniac.seas.upenn.edu (Patrick Cahill)
I'm with Scott Moore. Look, first of all consider the sheer balls of the recording. 4 side-long tracks intertwined thematically and conceptually? You'll not see the like ever again. Agreed, it's hard to spend 80 minutes at one pass to get the feeling for the album, but the individual tracks can actually stand up. "Revealing" and "The Ancient" are the most beautiful Yes songs I've ever heard, and "Ritual" can rock as hard as anything they've ever done. Even though Wakeman couldn't deal with this album, he was brilliant; they all were absolutely brilliant. (I also think Moraz kind of hacked up "Ritual" on Yesshows).

James@jpb-s.demon.co.uk
Side 1 and 2 are magical and I can't help but singing along even if I still don't know the words! They are up there with CttE. However, the amount of shamless padding in side 3 and 4 lets the LP it down a bit.

twonoahs@aol.com (Steve)
I've always wanted a place to spew my thoughts about this album; now I found one!! Here goes: This is an album that you can't just enter into thinking you know it all. People whine about it being only four songs on four sides. Why do people have to only think of it in song numbers? In all honesty, it's more like many little songs inside four anyway? I mean, the little Jon solo in "The Ancient" and the climaxes in "The Revealing Science..."? They're incredible run-on-sentence-songs from a brilliant band. My favorite of their albums. You find something new every time you listen...and no, I'm not Jon's pansey brother :) Tales from Topographic Oceans is an album whose name is the only thing that comes close to catching its essence. Excellent.

Olias@webtv.net (Justin Strohm)
I believe this to be THE best album ever in history. Well, either this or CTTE. I realize that *a lot* of people don't agree w/me at all, but you know something? I DON'T CARE!! My only complaint on this album is the poor sound quality. I've never heard the original discs, but the remasters are of pretty poor, muddled sound quality.

TempsFugit@aol.com
I love this album. I don't care what anyone says about it. I don't care if the band didn't understand it. I don't care if every copy of it in the world was destroyed, EXCEPT MINE! Jon's vocals are beautiful and inspiring. I can't make them out for shit, but I sing along anyway. I just make up my own lyrics. The music itself is wonderful. As far as the length of the tracks goes, I only care if a song is short if it sucks. When I have finished listening I don't know if it's been five minutes or five hours. That is the beauty of music.

seo@total.net (Stephane Ouimet)
I won't argue. I guess it's not the best Yes album ever, since one can spot a few Mahavishnu Orchestra ripoffs here and there on some tracks (by the way, they kick ass and they go ten times further than any "progressive" band of the mid 70's). But it's my favorite Yes record. Maybe I spent too much time in my basement, maybe I had too much imagination, maybe there was too much reefer. Go figure.

As for Yes, I kinda despised them for a few years, their reunions, unions and ABWH reformings bore the Jesus out of me. What's more depressing than a fortysomething art rock musician, wearing a 1000$ Armani suit, babbling on about how good his old band was back in the old days? (see Moody Blues, also). But I listen to Oceans once in a while and there are some good ideas in there. It's interesting and weird. Take away the new-age oriental metaphysical sleeve notes and you've got yourself a perfectly good art rock album, full of quirks and bizarre developments....I still like it a lot.

rderby@erols.com
hey, i love YES music but the guys missed the mark on this one. i agree that this could have been a strong single album because some of these passages are YES'S best! i also realize that without TALES there probably wouldn't be GOING FOR THE ONE. P.S. the live version on KEYS was breathtakingly superb!!!!

keio@usa.net (Keio Sandvik)
An album a lot of people will find (to paraphrase F.Zappa) "difficult to approach due to its statistical density". This is the proverbial. It's a piece of work that surely gave birth to punk...or rather added fuel to the argument. It annoyed the hell out of rockn' rollers everywhere. But could they ever learn to play it? No way. Above their heads, I'm afraid. If it were a dessert, it would be a sperm-whale sized, Black Forest (chocolate & cherry) cake, with sprinklings of unidentifiable granules of something or other. I love it. Please use remastered version for fuller flavor.

Godranek@aol.com
This album has really great conceptual ideas, but I don't think it quite succeeded musically. Sure, the liner notes are interesting, and the artwork beautiful but man does it really drag, especially on the first half. "The Revealing Science of God" and "The Remembering" sound almost identical. Anderson seemed to be at the front of the mix while the other instruments are just plodding away in the background. Where's the instrumental prowess? Where's the melodic consiousness as displayed on the previous albums? The first half is just Anderson rambling on and on about god knows what! Again, this album could have done without the first disc. The second disc picks up much of the pace though. There are some interesting instrumental fluorishes here and there. I like the weird intro on "the ancient" and the awesome drum solo and some great folk guitar on "Ritual". Then at some point, the musicians go ballistic with a big wall of noise for 15 seconds! COOL! I agree with the reviewer, it's great music to sleep to. I like long conceptual albums but here, the whole thing sounds as slow as pouring peanut butter.

wallison@pnc.com.au (Warwick Allison)
You fool, Tales is one of the best Yes albums.

akdxmy@hotmail.com (Andrew Davis)
The issue is over which is the greater album, Tales From Topographic Oceans or Keys To Ascension? Personally, I have enjoyed Tales immensely, in one form or other for the past 16 years. I enjoy "The Revealing Science Of God," the outstanding keyboard work on "The Remembering," the out-of-this-world guitar work on "The Ancient" and the beauty and interesting rhythms of "Ritual." It's a tough choice, Keys makes some of Yes's best music sound even better. "Siberian Khatru" is wonderful, "The Revealing Science Of God" is beautiful, "America" is tremendous, "Onward" and "Awaken" are majestic, "Roundabout" and "Starship Trooper" are much better than their original versions. I really had to consider the two new songs, "Be The One" and "That, That Is," so I listened to them again. "Be The One" is similar to the better pieces off of Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe, namely "Long Lost Brother Of Mine." "That, That Is" has that outstanding Steve Howe introductory guitar piece. There are some parts of "That, That Is" that I am not particularly crazy about, but overall it is a pretty decent extended work.

I forgot to mention another favorite Yes album, Classic Yes. I would have to give that compilation a 9 also. I can understand your appreciation of Fragile. Personally, I could listen to either Rush's Exit... Stage Left or Tales From Topographic Oceans or Pink Floyd's Pulse or perhaps, Fragile or Going For The One or most of The Compact King Crimson or A Young Person's Guide To King Crimson continuously and never get tired of them.

MGeorge57@aol.com
I have to agree that TALES is a very long album, and at first "The Ancient" was never one of my favorite songs, but you have to look at this album as a whole, when it came out in 73 most bands were making concept albums and this one worked. They had so much material for TALES (which they used for Relayer), but a 3 album set was more than the record company could handle. Rick left because he was more into songs with YES than he was long drawn out pieces.

k.smith@pulse.york.ac.uk (Karen M. Smith)
I think this is the best album Yes made; in point of fact it's not really an album per se but a piece of music. Unlike some, I can't see any real connection between the 'big' Yes pieces ("Close to the Edge," "Tales," and "Gates of Delirium"). It seems to me that "Close to the Edge" is still pretty much hide bound to the 'verse/chorus' formula, albeit on a very large scale whereas "The Revealing Science of God" displays a certain leaning towards a more adventurous view of structure: there is a definite feeling of a return to a previously established 'home' key near the end of the piece. I don't want to pretend that its flawless ; parts of the second movement become rather mechanical and I don't really find the bass/drum section in "Ritual" convincing either despite the rationale provided. Never the less, the great advances this work and "Gates of Delirium" demonstrate over say "Close to the Edge" is that the music actually 'travels': it doesn't rely on production methods to induce a sense of 'arrival'.

jwhat@merlin.ebicom.net (SIBERIAN_KHATRU)
This is the best damn Yes album ever, I agree with TempsFugit - "I only want a song short if it sucks". I don't care if the whole thing was one damn song 4 sides long, it would have been the best damn near 2 hour song ever.

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
Alan White is NOT weaker than Bill Bruford. They are just very different. Bill is a jazzboy, while Alan is a rocker. Personally, I think Alan's playing suits Yes better than Bill's. They're actually very exciting together, which was shown during their drum duet on the Union tour.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net (BOB's)
I cannot give this album a good review because there were so many errors in the album. You should hear the beginning of "Revealing Science". You hear a broken synthesizer that does not sound right. These songs sound the same too. It also sounds like a We're Outta Ideas kind of album. The first disk sucked, the second disk was good for a while. I didn't like this album at all that I gave it to my friend. And because it came out in 1973, one good thing happened that year or maybe 2, Dark Side Of The Moon came out and my parents got married. I give this album a 2 and a half.

dembones@pond.net
Definitely a diehard fans album. There are several fine and inspired moments, including some of Howe's finest acoustic work. "The Ancient" and "Ritual" are I think the only tracks that truly work as "songs," and while that may be forty minutes of fine music, that is only 2 out of 4... 2 good songs out of 4 just isn't good enough for Yes standards. Nevertheless, an amazing feat that no other band could match.

jarendo@ibm.net
This is THE ALBUM!.. the best of Yes indeed... Excellent!

tomr@ix.netcom.com
Musical Poetry.

Whenever I needed to "get away" I'd just put on the headphones and crank up the volume. Steve's playing on "Ritual" is nothing short of spectacular.

Chris' bass lines on "Revealing" are so soothing and gentle. And yes, sometimes I would fall asleep. A 3 sided lullaby. I don't care for "Ancient" (Does a lamb cry out before we shoot it dead?) Them's wierd lyrics.

As for the sound quality, have you ever heard of such a thing as vinyl? If not check it out. Much of the warmth is lost on the CD version. (Either that or my ears are gone)

Recommendation? Buy this album. If nothing else than for the cover. Now THAT's a classic.

How could anybody say they "couldn't understand the music?" It's not supposed to be understood. Just enjoyed.

paul.rogers@ait.ac.nz
I'm in total agreement with Karen M. Smith. This album (an inappropriate word if ever there was one) represents the basic Yes idea at its greatest ie the collage of musical and lyrical ideas/concepts. The term "song" could no longer be applied to a Yes piece at this time. Something more like a journey. It really contained much more of an artistic sensibility (fine arts that is) and what still amazes me is that despite rampant public, Wakeman and music industry outcry, Yes repeated and refined the concept (with a Jazz twist to boot!) in producing Relayer. Brave and talented lads eh?

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Tales From Topographic Oceans is the Yes album with most mixed opinions among band members and listeners alike. I agree with you on Dean's cover (I'm proud Nasca lines are painted on it as well). I think the first track (side 1 on vinyl) is the best Yessong ever! And "Ritual" is another classic. Unfortunately, the other two tracks have good musical ideas but lack in the fills. Only Anderson and Howe shine throughout the 90 minute opus. The other three have only some fine moments. Rick's job is excellent in those moments and certainly was ready to record Journey to the Center.... Curiously, the Yesshows version had Patrick on the ivories (outdoing Rick perhaps?), after a short untitled jam. Jon's lyrics are obscure but beautiful. Finally Tony Kaye and Wakeman agreed on something: "Nobody knew what Jon was talking about". So Rick left. Alan was holding on. A critical moment in Yes history. 8 out of 10.

SoulQuest7@aol.com (Nick Kokoshis)
Throughout the comments on your web page for Tales From Topographic Oceans, I read the following words: "Take away the new-age oriental metaphysical sleeve notes and you've got yourself a perfectly good art rock album". Dear, oh dear. If it wasn't for Jon Anderson's spirituality there would be no YES, and certainly no Tales from Topographic Oceans. Because of Jon's ability to give a voice to a religious paradigm shift that occured in America in the late 60's and early 70's, this album became a staple in the record collection of many budding hippie spiritualists throughout the Western world. Painters painted to it, yogis meditated on it, Christian mystics marveled at it, dancers danced to it, and ritual pot smokers used the gatefold cover to clean their weed! And of course, many people just ignored the lyrics and just marveled at its music! And have you actually LOOKED at that gatefold cover? My God, it IS like opening a scripture... the white lyrics shining throught the dark background, the spacious environmental photography suggesting the beauty of a cosmic view of life, and the liner notes and lyrics which celebrate the whole sweep of evolutionary and human history as one big massive attempt to spell the word G----O----D. Nobody but our heroes Jon Anderson and Steve Howe could have propelled a rock group to cover such ground, mowing over a thousand immature critics and challenging even their own fans. And you know something, YES won. While the Rolling Stones-raised critics were still praying for the creation of the Sex Pistols and punk, YES was creating a work that will be enjoyed and studied for centuries, guarenteed. You want melodicism? Then bask in sides one and two. "The Revealing Science of God" is so stunningly beautiful that its resurfacing in YES' 1997 tour (23 years after its realease) caused YES fans nationwide to celebrate by seeing the show as many times as was humanly possible. This composition contains some of the most melodic work to ever come out of an electric guitar; no wonder Steve would eventually go on to be inducted into Guitar Player magazine's hall of fame. And Jon's chant-like intro and outro would lead many to think that he was channeling the poet William Blake. (By the way, that's a compliment.) "The Remembering" is a truly meditative piece, with spacious synthesizer passages, very melodic movements, and a grande, ecstatic conclusion. Jon's nature mysticism comes to full flower during the climax, creating some of the most positive mental impressions imaginable. Side three, "The Ancient", throws you for a total loop by containing a 10 minute passage that is so progressive enough it almost borders on the avante garde. Steve's long, dissonant guitar solo is some of his most challenging work. I'm sure that even fans of jazz-fusion marveled at its unique quality, although it was by no means an imitation of that genre. The percussion in the background was wild, although I'm sure Alan White must have been suffering from culture shock after performing for many years with pop songwriters like Lennon, Harrison, and Joe Cocker. Then again, given his love of Miles Davis, it was probably a welcome change of pace. The concluding passage of "The Ancient", in contrast, is intensely melodic, and contains some amazing classical guitar by Steve as well as one of Jon's most beautiful songs ever, which also was reprised during the current tour. Side four, "Ritual" puts the strengths of the first three sides into one piece. In some ways it is the most "traditional" Yes epic on the album, and it was a concert staple throughout the next three tours that YES undertook with new keyboardist Patrick Moraz, Wakeman having departed after the TALES tour.

As for Wakeman's dislike of Tales, he cannot be held accountable for his words because he was virtually a lush at the time. It is still astonishing to me that he could have performed on an album of such importance, and then dismiss it is as "padded." After over two decades of listening to it, I still can't find any part of it I would like to see removed. Steve Howe, thankfully, has always defended the album, and when the idea of performing an edited version of "The Revealing Science of God" was brought up in 1996, he insisted on the full length version being performed. Jon appeared to have been hurt by the critical trouncing the album took in the press back in 1974, but over the years has come to realize that the work has remained, in fans' minds, as one of their best achievements. It was his lyrics and vision that were attacked by critics who-- being raised on "I can't get no satisfaction"-- couldn't imagine what it's like get not only satisfaction but also ecstasy and love out of life in the 20th century. Jon keyed into a message that was flooding the Western world through the influx of Eastern philosophies that touted universal love as the essence of being, and who taught that this love, being universal, could be experienced through many different spiritual paths. This idea stood in stark contrast to the conservative Christian idea of salvation through Christ alone. And yet Jon knew that even Christianity could not be excluded from a universalist world view, so even this religion received a mention in TALES despite the fact that it was inspired by a footnote from An Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. (Also note Jon's Christmas album, 3 Ships.) This book was, of course, a staple in the library of every counterculture spiritual seeker in the 60's and 70's, and it single handedly helped to topple years of malicious propoganda against Eastern religions. But even more importantly, this book, as well as artworks like TALES, were replacing Christian exclusivism with the inclusivism of Universal Love. The essential idea that was surfacing in the 1960's was that Love with a capital "L" could be used to guide our lives. This "Love" included a generational swing toward such ideas as environmentalism, an end to the violent conflicts between left-wing and right-wing ideologies, and a "personal is political" philosophy that would redefine morality as the way we align our personal behavior with various causes such as human rights, justice, individual freedom, nonviolence, and compassion for all living beings. And this is what the critics were condemning? This is what scared so many people into writing such vicious attacks on TALES? Jon's ideas have basically been the same ever since he sang on YES' second album,"There's a time, and the time is NOW and it's right for me... There's a word, and the word is LOVE and it's right for me..." Ever since then, it's been nothing but one beautiful elaboration on this basic point. Yes was given birth by the counterculture: by explorations with drugs, with alternative and informal religious ideals, by mysticism, by the Beatles' "all you need is love" proclamation. It was a time when people were challenging the notion that to be non-Christian was to be evil. On the contrary, these troubadors claimed, to be non-Christian is neithor good nor bad. And to be Christian is neithor good nor bad. The goal is to be a GOOD Christian or a GOOD non-Christian, whatever your choice. Enlightenment can occur through many spiritual traditions. Goodness is the way to bring validity to your spiritual path. Counterculture spirituality defined "goodness" according to a sort of merger of ecological, humanist, and mystical ethics. The basic idea being that if we all part of one beam of life, we should treat all living things with respect.

"Nous Sommes Du Soleil ("we are of the sun")... We love when we play." These closing words from TALES sum it all up: let us get connected back to the source of all life, let us love. It's a simple, universalist philosophy expressed through four amazing sides of music and lyrics. It's a musical meta-theory for spirituality reflecting the counter-culture of the early 1970's. And that, to me, is TALES.

ShorThing7@aol.com
All I can say after Nick's incredibly accurate, profound, thought provoking analysis is: Any questions? :-)

shotguy@hotmail.com
You don't think this album is genius? What the hell's the matter with you? Pure genius. This is definately Yes's best album, and I believe that once you discover that, you'll give it the "10" that this true MASTERPIECE deserves.

gpenton@echelon.ca (Grant Penton)
Considering the LP in evolutionary perspective, it was certainly an important tangent for the integration of electronic sounds (that were minimal in CTTE apart from "AYAI") as inspired bridging between sequences. Perhaps less rockier than previous efforts and thus seemingly more somnabulistic to some (apart from a few bars in 'Revealing...' and maybe 'Ritual' there are no abrasive Howe licks as can be found on the other LPs), the normally guitar-heavy band proved that it could work as a unit- keyboards and percussion ("The Ancient") sharing the limelight with the guitars and vocals while Squire keeps the pace. The vocals have a marvelous incantation quality to them that sounds like Anderson, Howe and Squire were aware of the significance of the words and had indeed meditated on the richer meanings during the 'lifestyle' recording of the masterpiece.

Yes, I'll admit that I was a bit of a head when I first got it in the mid 70's and found it exceptionally mesmerising in between the headphones while stoned- but while 20 odd years later I've grown out of that phase, TFTT keeps its attraction. I haven't heard the live version yet, but would love to see and hear it anew again...

markwendt@hotmail.com
Admittedly, Jon's optimism and the truth of Love are infectious, powerful, and moving. But I personally don't celebrate some of the social/religious trends of that era. There has always been a variety of religious views within Yes and I sense that Jon's perspective is something Yes band members sometimes politely poke fun at.

But I guess I said all that so I could say this.

You know what? I think that if you take away the new-age oriental metaphysical sleeve notes, you just might have yourself a pretty good art rock album here.

SoulQuest7@aol.com
Markwendt@hotmail.com made this comment: "There has always been a variety of religious views within Yes and I sense that Jon's perspective is something Yes band members sometimes politely poke fun at."

I disagree. I think Steve Howe has always been into spirituality as well. In fact, he seems to fit the hippy stereotype even more because of his practice of Transcendental Meditation and vegetarianism. Squire's lyrics, especially "Parallels" and some of the new lyrics on the Open Your Eyes CD are also very New Age-ish. Alan made a few disparaging remarks about Jon's religious image, but that was during the Drama period when Yes had a vested interest in tearing down Jon. Remember when Squire, during this same period, said that Jon's music was getting "airy fairy"? Rick Wakeman was basically a heavy drinker and chronic joker until he graduated to being a fundamentalist Christian and chronic joker who cohorted with Rev. Pat Robertson on the 700 Club, a televangelist program that once boasted that burning rock albums (including a YES CD) was an act of Christian duty. The 700 Club is also known for attacking all things New Age as demonic, included the New Age's inclusivist message that people from all faiths can reach enlightenment.

I still say that Jon's lyrics on Tales From Topographic Oceans represent a major positive paradigm shift away from 1950's-era fundamentalist Christian exclusivism and intolerance, to a period of universalism, mysticism and open mindedness-- which is a healthy shift for any culture to go through. Trends such as environmentalism compassion for animals, human rights, and natural foods, have remained with us since that time and are more commonly practiced and given credibility as a result of the cultural shifts embodied by artworks like Tales.

markwendt@hotmail.com
Re: TFTO, I wrote - "There has always been a variety of religious views within Yes"

SoulQuest7@aol.com responded: "I think Steve Howe has always been into spirituality as well. In fact, he seems to fit the hippy stereotype even more because of his practice of Transcendental Meditation and vegetarianism. Squire's lyrics... etc"

I never meant to imply that Jon was the only Yes member into spirituality! Far from it! I was only saying that there has always been room for variance of religious perspectives within the ranks of Yes' wide and varied membership!

This is my perspecitve here - but I remember during an interview at the release of Talk when band members seemed to exude a kind of polite humor designed to distance them from Jon's little comments about seeing fairies and such! They don't all think alike and that's okay!

SQ and I differ in our religious perspectives, and on how grand the hippie ideal was/is. I agree with some of them and don't with others. And that's okay!

Yes' membership is the same way! And that's my point.

How great was/is the hippie ideal? Sure natural foods have remained with us - but LSD? Bad stuff man!

Yeah - some hippies burned draft cards and Pat Robertson may have burned some Yes records. I'm a Bible believer and I haven't burned either - so let's not typecast *too* much!

But those are my opinions. The main point I wanted to make was that Yes fan's and even Yes' members come from varied perspectives. Their music doesn't just appeal to one type of person.

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
Yeah, this one is pretty long, and it takes a certain investment to get into it. Personally, though, I find that it bears psychic similarities (not sound, mind you!) to Sandinista by the Clash. Almost has an ambient quality. I find that I play it a lot as I work on my dissertation. It's kinda like jazz and classical, but less demanding, less complex, just less. Like Lite. But not. Sorta. Ya know? So, I'm saying I would up it one star, but serve notice about that investment issue.

TwoPax@aol.com
Let me just say this, folks. The GOOFY ass reviewer we have here who calls the album moronic and NOT genius has probably listened to the album about once or twice, and probably fell asleep in the middle. This album is COMPLETELY ingenious and NOTHING short of revolutionary. I just bought the album a few days ago, and already, The Revealing Science of God has blown me away more than once. Every time I listen to it, I find hidden nuances I missed before. The way you can tell if you have a good album is when you can't get everything out of it until you listen to it aproximately 100 or more times. I am STILL digging things out of Close To the Edge. Let me just say that the reviewer seems to have a VERY narrowminded way of looking at this Album.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Hmmmm.... well, disc one kicks the shit out of me. Absolutely blows me away. Wakeman's keyboards are indescribably fantastic, and I really enjoy every minute of it.

Disc two isn't nearly as good, though, imo. There's something about The Ancient that just, well, puts me to sleep. It's not horrid, mind you, but not up to par with the first disc. Ritual is solid, but not at all on the level of Revealing, though.

Still, I gotta admire the cajones it took to make an album about something as non-mainstream as the shastras. I give it an 8 musically, 9 with the balls factor

Borart@aol.com
This is, by far, my favorite Yes album. Some Yes fans may say it's too much, but for me, it's not. To me, this album takes the listener on a journey showing them all the places and things hinted at and passed through on their previous albums but never fully explored. There's a reason why Steve admitted that this was the most important piece of Yes music a few years ago, and I couldn't agree more. He said that recording this album showed him different ways of playing and twisting songs in different keys, and no where is that more evident than in The Ancient, which I had the pleasure seeing him play live at the Bottom Line in New York City a few years ago. I think that Alan's work on this album is vastly underappreciated because here he is, new to recording with the band and he has to step in and interpret this immense body of musical ideas being presented to him. I also know that Rick has less-than- enthusiastic memories and opinions of this record, but his keyboard work makes side 2 come alive for like no other piece of work he has done. Jon's vocals and Chris' bass are superlative (but what do you expect?), and that's why I think that this record has to be judged as an organic whole, and not just four songs.

PHREEBERD2@aol.com
this is probably yes at their best get a life

Adrian.M.Rush.8@nd.edu
You are MUCH too kind to this album. It is HORRIBLE. It is what gave prog rock its bad reputation. It is what spawned Spinal Tap. Eighty minutes of the most boring, plodding, unfocused waste of musical talent I have EVER heard.

Yeah, there are some catchy hooks and tunes here and there, but as Rick Wakeman once said, it's like wading through a cesspool to get to a waterlily. In other words, it ain't worth the effort. I've been a Yes fan for 16 years and have tried and tried and tried to like this album. I just cannot do it. It doesn't deserve to be liked. 10 to 15 minutes of mediocre (at best) musical ideas stretched across four slabs of vinyl? Sorry. Give me "Close to the Edge" or "The Gates of Delirium" ANYTIME over this monstrosity. As a single album with some seriously heavy edits, it may have at least been palatable. As it is, it's painful to try to listen to.

And this comes from somebody who likes Faust.

Hopper369@email.msn.com (Charles Pious)
It's obvious that Tales has brought out more opinion in this web site than any other album. Tales is AWESOME ! CTTE comes close, but you can listen in your car to side 1,2,3 or 4 and be blown away hearing the music. These musicians were so far ahead of the times, we don't hear anything like it now. The only artist from the era who is still exploring with his music is Bowie. He too could tell every critic where to go. Nous Somme is such a calming set of intertwined thoughts.Do mankind a favor, make some kid take out his limp Bizcut CD and really listen to some great timeless arrangements. When I've had a bad day I crank Tales in my office at work.

If you think tales sucks, I imagine you love the slop that was produced in the last decade. Awaken everyone !!!!

michael.blume@gte.net
You know, I never got around to share my opinion on Tales from Topographic Oceans w/ anyone like you, Mr. Prindle, 'til now. My opinion on the album is that it's not as mind-blowing as CTTE, but it's got some of the most beautiful passages ever composed, especially on "Ritual" and "The Ancient". "The Revealing Science of God" is very nice, but doesn't stand up too well against the title track to CTTE. Probably it's because it's a little bit meandering, though not as meandering as, say, "The Remembering". For now, it's an 8/10 for me. The album, as a whole, isn't as memorable as CTTE, GFTO, The Yes Album, Relayer, Big Generator, and 90125, but at least it's better than Fragile, Talk, and OYE. It's not even bombastic (their most controversial album, actually). Also, I don't believe that it's their most underrated album of all-time. Nope, that would have to have to be Talk. The music, again, is quite pleasant, but it's no CTTE. That's all I'm saying.

RichardMelchior@aol.com
I'm not at all surprised that the vast majority of Yes fans who have responded consider Oceans one of - if not THE - best Yes album of all time, especially ironic considering it's the one critics would have us believe it's our duty to dislike. I honestly believe that this album will stand the test of time, it gains more credibility with every passing year.

Having said that, I can see why people wouldn't like it. If I had been a pot-smoking, Circus-magazine teen in 1973 (rather than being born that year), I probably would have hated it too. Compared to Zep's Houses of the Holy or Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, it would seem pretty lame.

I can only guess that Oceans sounds best when removed from its era. I think the main problem people had with it at the time is that it was a reflection of just how weird hippie culture had become. Listening to it now, it's just a killer album with great musicianship and awesome melodies.

Davidmizell@cs.com
This album is pure self indulgient shit. The worst they ever made. A complete waste of time.

tommy_chuck@hotmail.com (Tom Marshall)
SO underrated! I just hate it when prog or Yes fans lambast this LP; they're stabbing their own genre in the back. Moreover, Tales... is the obvious conclusion to where Yes were heading in the early 70s and a darn brilliant album in the process! I LOVE 'The Revealing Science of God'; that opening chant is so haunting. It's pretenious in places sure, but prog's MEANT to be pretentious, and 'Tales...' is just as overblown as any other early 70s Yes LP. It's one problem is that it's a little overlong; I'd compare it to the 'white album': too much open space. Also, where the hell is Wakeman for half of it?!! I reckon he had a problem with the fact that Howe had written it, and so wasn't going to contribute readily. Still, what he does play is customarily excellent...9/10

Schneider_Dave@msn.com
well, i was supposed to hate totf, right, i mean it was an overblown piece of crap and everyone knows that alan white is not worthy to spit-polish bruford's cymbles, right? so, i decide to download "revealing....." the other day (napster rules) and listened to it once, and again, and again and........ i haven't listened to anything else in 3 days, i want every lick, every nuance, even every alan white drum fill permanently seared in my brain, as every lick in the great, classic 3 yes albums are, this stuff is just fucking awesome, they were operating on a level way above most others, it makes their later abortions almost forgivable

mefoley@cinci.rr.com
For an album dealing with God, this one's very dark and depressing. When ever I listen to the album I don't get spiritual images like I guess I'm supposed to. Instead I get images of concentration camps and people suffering. The only spiritual images I get come from hell, especially during 'The Ancient' where I see the devil and all his demons torturing people. I think the later more light hearted Yes( 90215 and later) would have done a better job getting the material across, at least in making it sound like something joyful to celebrate. But the darker feel of the album is not with out its' merrit. Whilst the joyful mysteries of God are something to celebrate, they can be weird and mysterious as well adding that shade of grey as you venture into the unknown. Plus there's alot of pain and suffering on a spiritual journey. But aside from that the album is too dark for my tastes, and I consider it Yes's Darth Vader.

ian.moss@yale.edu (Ian Moss)
This is a really hard one to rate. Everybody seems to have a different reaction to Tales; I find it especially interesting that every reviewer here seems to like exactly two of the four tracks, but never the same two! For me it's the same story, with a different combination: I love "Revealing Science of God" and "Ritual" the most (although I've come to enjoy "The Remembering" as well). But none of the side-long epics are perfect, and at the same time they all have their moments, even "The Ancient." I'm generally not opposed to pretension, especially in rock music, but if there is a flaw in Tales it is that the form and the length clearly came before and took precedence over the exact content; that is, they worked from the top down instead opf from the bottom up. This approach can work, but unfortunately in this case it led to a lot of filler and three-minute "moments" in which virtually nothing happens. I feel that, although this would have been tough in a CD-less world, they would have done well to make each track approximately 15 minutes instead of 20 minutes. My other complaint is that even at the high points, Tales seems awfully restrained. They FINALLY start to let it all hang out at the end of "Ritual," but it's suddenly cut off and it segues into an ending that's so anticlimactic I can hardly believe it each time I hear it. The whole thing is just a bit TOO mellow at times.

That all said, there's a lot of great music on here and it's certainly not the disaster that the critics would have you believe. Just don't get it first, is all.

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Robert Chaundy)
People get quite neurotic about Tales from Topographic Oceans - it's either a shimmering transcendental gateway to Jon-knows-what or it's the worst album ever recorded. They look at the track listing and immediately seem to know whether they adore it or hate it. All silly, music-critic-inspired games. Listen without prejudice.

I think Mark analyses it pretty well - it's drifty and dreamy, with some very pleasant melodies and some tedious passages. But the mix is a big problem for me - the razor-sharp sound of Close to the Edge turns into a sea of aural treacle and you feel quite pleased with yourself when you can identify an actual instrument. And since Jon dominates the album so much, he tends to get lazy with his voice - slipping into slightly flat, nasal intonation, and chanting and declaiming instead of singing: all in sharp contrast to Close to the Edge, where the band was playing so brilliantly he was singing for his life. Ah well.

And even given the album's extraordinary dimensions, they were not above pulling the oldest trick in the book - putting the best tracks at the beginning and the end. The Revealing Science of God is the most musically satisfying 'song' here, and Ritual the most uplifting. The Remembering is pretty if directionless, and The Ancient is very short on merit indeed. No crap per se, just the rather obvious flaw that they were stretching some of this music a bit further than they should have done.

I don't doubt for one second that this would have been a far better album - possibly their best - if it had been condensed into forty minutes. But on the other hand... people don't go through the pain of being Yes fans so they can listen to normal albums - if you endure the stigma you deserve to be rewarded with this kind of insane fare. They/we need this album - four sides, four songs - as a kind of mission statement, a trusty historical monolith, so that plebs will forever say, disgustedly: 'what? didn't they record... THAT ALBUM?? There's no way I'm listening to them.' The existence of Tales from Topographic Oceans is a vital tool in sorting out the goats from the music-listening sheep, and alienating all the musical fashion victims who believe Beck and U2 to be the twin pillars of God-like genius. You don't actually have to like it.

This album was a natural product of the 1970s - it was always going to be made by somebody, and we should give thanks that fate chose Yes to do it rather than King Crimson or ELP. It doesn't bear thinking about...

danehy@ij.net (Michael Danehy)
Hey Robert, someone had to make an album like this, but it was the wacko Canterbury prog band Soft Machine who beat Yes to the punch with "Third" which has four side-long meandering tracks and came out in 1970.

jean.penichoux@wanadoo.fr (Jean-François, from a small village in the country, Cussangy, in France.)
I guess the battle is over for few months, or years (Mark, i think it could be great to add the date to the mails posted by your readers), but I just discovered your site and Tales is so important to me that I can’t help myself to add my contribution.

As an argument to prove they are right, people who doesn’ like it often say that Wakeman doesn’t like it too. But it was all for wrong reasons ! In fact he was falling appart from his band mates, and not only for musical divergences. He was in heavy beer drinking and meat, they were in macrobiotic and pot. And, perhaps most of all, he was bothered by the mysticism conveyed by the lyrics. But it was a lot more easy to say that the music sucked. And anyway, can you trust a guy who has recorded more than a hundred records, with no more than a small handfull worth of it ? (Even if I think he has always done a wonderful and tasty job with Yes, even on Tales where he seems to be on a backseat from time to time).

As for the Bruford/White topic. You simply can’t compare them. They are not on the same spot. Do you compare a pineapple and a roasted turkey ? Obviously, Bruford is a far more technical drummer, but that doesn’t mean he is always better. Listen to his playing on Symphonic Music of Yes ! On the intro of Owner of a Lonely Heart, he does one of his clever, amazing drum fill on the first few bars. Absolutly ridiculous !. The powerful, straight forward approach of White is far better on this one. And don’t even speak of Relayer ! Don’t misread me. I am a huge fan of Bruford. I think he is one of the best drummer on this side of life, and what he did on fragile or Red can’t easily be matched. On the other hand, I think White never really could do it with Close to the Edge. Too much plodding. But he has always done a perfect job on the material Yes wrote with/for him. He is too often underrated on the basis he took the stool after the departure of the brilliant Bruford.

But all these are only to play your game and for argument’s sake. You have to make a serious job Mark, and it is what you do, hats of for that, but don’t take it too seriously. All your rewievs and those of other guys like Fenrrin or Starostin may be well written and argumented, they are nonetheless only your personnal opinion. IMO as you say in America. What I precisely mean here is that I think that a critical appreciation of an art work, specially for a piece of music, has to be taken being really aware that they are human points of vue, and as such, deeply influenced by the mood in which the writer was in when he listened to it for the first time, or/and the pleasure expected for it, or/and the mood in his relation ship with his boy/girlfriend, or/and maybe even the weather. Who knows ? That’s why a guy like Fenrin can assert to the face of the world that the Moody Blues are the best band ever. And doing this, he perfectly knows he is wrong. But The Moodies was the band who opened his mind to the wonderful world of music when he was a boy. You can’t beat that. Guess we all got a second rate band who did the same for us and that we will cherish until it’s time to go.

In other words, if “this one is better” means : “I think it’s better and I’ll try to explain you why I think this way”, just great. But if it means : ”it’s really better, it’s a scientific point of vue and those who don’t agree with me are just stupid assholes who are not able to see the real truth” as I can feel in some of the mails posted here, well... we’ve got a problem...

Personnally I got Tales as a present from my girlfriend back in 1974. I was merely into Beatles, Elton John and classical music. In sort of a way, I was ready for Yes music : a music that could express all the magnificience and poetry of the past masterpieces and blend it into the power of rock. It was an awesome experience. The feeling you got, i guess, when finding a treasure that’s waiting here, just for you. Then I got the other ones, opened my mind to all kinds of music, from Motorhead to Cure. A wide scren, I guess. But Yes is still my favourite band and Tales has always kept the first place in my heart.

Having said all this, you surely don’t expect me to go into a deep rationnal analysis. Let’s just say that, from the hypnotic beginning incantation of Revealing to the end of Ritual, a so perfect and so moving ending, through the calmer Remembering and its gorgeous grand finale or the hectic moments of the Ancient, I won’t change a thing. Each note is the perfect one, at the perfect place. And that, even if it happens to me to listen to only one or two of the tracs in a row (Revealing and Remembering are my favorites), I always think of it as a whole, a work of umbelievable size and ambition.

IMO this is not only their masterpiece by far, but the best piece of music ever created.

No more no less

smcmahon@madisonmedia.com
This album represents Yes at its pinnacle. True, the band acquired mainstream commercial success in the following decade, but the composition and musicianship exhibited on Tales is rivaled only by "Awaken" from "Going for the One".

elemurs@yahoo.com
Hello... long time reader, very seldom commenter...

That said, while not exactly spot on, your music tastes seem to be very close to mine in a lot of ways. I love Ween, Pavement, the Flaming Lips, the Dead Milkmen, etc.

After a lengthy period of disinterest, revulsion, and possibly fear, I have recently begun to delve into the world of prog music (and I feel kind of dirty for some reason) and to my vast surprise I'm finding I kind of enjoy Yes. And not only that, Tales From Topographic Oceans is a highlight. Now granted, I am often listening to it while falling asleep late at night, but hot damn, is it hitting all the right spots while doing so. I have to quantify this in that labeling something "great music to fall asleep to" is far from an insult. It's not music that makes me fall asleep like James Taylor or something, it's music that somehow synergizes with the weird places the brain goes to when half-awake and actually compliments the going-to-sleep process. And I seem to have more patience for 20-minute long songs while laying in a dark room.

But anyway I've been getting sick of all the over-hyped "hip" new music lately and it's been greatly rewarding to find an older band that's hitting the right buttons. And what's more reading your reviews has been awesome in not only providing insight, but also making me feel like it's "okay" to like Yes. I don't know why this band got such a bad reputation along the way, because the musicianship is amazing and the songs aren't THAT inaccessible. So how about a Genesis review page? They've been hitting me recently as well and I'd love to hear your opinion about them good or bad (especially Peter Gabriel-era Genesis.)

Anyway keep up the good work. I've written you two or three times before and you've always sent back a personal response. I thought that was really cool. We'd probably get along well in real life and I don't think that'd be the case with most music critics.

Madan Mohan
That's a very interesting perspective of this album. Never thought of it in this light, yes, it's actually pleasant rock based stuff that you could play on the speakers and attend to your work. That is, just how I typically don't listen to prog rock. Because analyzing it is a frustrating ordeal. I think Yes are amazing with tracks running to around 10 minutes and these tracks would have worked much better if condensed to that length because I feel it doesn't work so well at such unwieldy lengths. I am a bit disappointed in that I'd have thought based on CTTE, that Yes mastered scope much more than this. Rather than a gigantic magnum opus, this feels like a collection of really long rock tracks and once you are familiar with the central motifs, it becomes tough not to lose concentration and let the music recede into the background. With that said, I do subscribe to a good extent to all the fanboy raving over Revealing Science of God, it IS a great piece, though still imo not as good as CTTE and definitely not far superior which I have heard some devout converts to this album say. CTTE is a marvel of music architecture while Revealing... is a well put together pastiche that holds together so well it feels like a single, unified composition.

On another note, as much as I love music from this era of rock music, I feel so alien and so distant from that ethos when I hear it described as a spiritual gateway for hippies in the 70s. Really, enlightenment vide such breezy, groovy rock music? Sounds a whole lot of fun! 8D

Add your thoughts?

Relayer - Atlantic 1974.
Rating = 8

Plebe that he was, Richard Wakeman just couldn't grasp the high-brow concept of Tales From Topographic Oceans, so he said, "Screw you pansies!" and galloped off to pursue a boring solo career. Perhaps he would have stuck around had they told him that the next record was going to sound like this. The free-form electric acid jazz rock noise is back!

In what might be an attempt to recreate the form of the highly-regarded Close To The Edge, this one has one twenty-minute weird rocker, and two "short" nine-minute dandies. "To Be Over" is the pretty nine-minute lullaby that replaces "And You And I," and, although it's not acoustic (and thus, not as organic), it's still very lovely. The mood of "Siberian Khatru" is here represented by "Sound Chaser," an extremely noisy bass-driven rocker whose rhythm keeps speeding up and slowing down until it seems as if there's no rhythm at all. And the epic is "The Gates Of Delirium," which separates two passages of supreme beauty with a long stretch of loud rhythmic kickbuns noise rock (or what passed for noise rock in 1974 - there weren't no Flipper back then, you understand). Patrick Moraz's keyboard sound is a little cornier than Rick's (though nowhere near as corny as it would become by the time he joined The Moody Blues seven years later), but he still plays pretty well. This isn't dentist office muzak; "To Be Over" is simply the calm after the storm, if I may destroy a perfectly good cliche for a moment. I just want you to understand that this album is underrated. It's the messiest Yes album yet, but that's part of its charm. Noise is hip, dude!

Plus, if you replace the first two letters of the album title with an "S," awww, man, now you're talkin'.

Reader Comments

yescomm@worldaccess.nl (Gert Bakhuizen)
First of all, I don't see this album as a runner-up for Close To The Edge and second ... Rick's solo career wasn't that boring after all! For me Relayer is yet another period in Yes' musical history with yet another sound and therefore the band isn't to place in a certain musical category. I think that's also what so many Yes fans liked about the band in the seventies, the music was unpredictable. Personally I think more Yes fans were shocked by hearing "Sound Chaser" for the first time than with "Ritual". I know I was, as a whole I started to like the album very much but yet again ... I feel it's one of the many highlights Yes had over the years.

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
Okay, I didn't like Relayer at first. AND RICK WAKEMAN'S SOLO STUFF WAS EXCELLENT!!!!! He was right about one thing; he could no longer contribute to the band. "The Gates of Delirium" was truly an explosion of noise that seemed poorly writen and planned, and seemed to be just like a 20 min jam session. While some people worked well in this way, like Steve Howe, who progressed ever further past his former talent in Tales. Alan was good back-up for the band, but there seemed to be nothing but noise to back up, and the melodic Jon Anderson lyrics were replaced with noise, glorious noise. The "SOON" section was almost too little too late, and if Wakeman were there, he could have given it direction, unlike Morez, who offered samples of poorly placed moog that hardly fit in with anything. All in all it is the failed attempt to follow-up Tales, and is indeed a step back.

submarine@netvision.co.it (Aviram Sharon)
Cut the crap - I'm telling all of you that this album is one of the best albums that I have ever heard in my life. "The Gates Of Delirium" is fantastic - perfect - although it is not so easy to get; try and you will not be disappointed.

bjhipp@vm.sc.edu
I have to admit that I also didn't like Pat's musical interpretation. I feel that the keyboard sounded WAY out of place and the album overall just wasn't well produced. It sounded more like a band trying to be yes rather than yes itself. Had Rick Wakeman not have left, i feel the album would have been a lot more appealing. Pat just couldn't do the music justice.

jhmorris@eos.ncsu.edu (John Morrison)
I'll admit it took me a long time to fully decipher all the sounds in Relayer. YES achieve a musical soundscape like none of their other albums. Can't you see the horses riding into battle at the lines "and ride there" that is created by Alan Whites drumming? Patrick Moraz, though not as technical as Wakeman, uses keyboards effectively to represent the rise and fall of the battle scene. The whole album represents a struggle of emotions which is plainly heard in the instruments.

yancyd@pacificnet.net (Yancy Duncan)
Get a clue... If "The Gates Of Delirium" isn't the best the band produced since CTTE I'll eat my concert shirt. The most clear "story"" piece the band ever did. You try a musical interpretation of War And Peace in 20 minutes. The song has clear structure and direction - follow the story - it's all there - revolution-battle-death-remorse-reconciliation. Also, the best lryic Jon ever wrote, "Our Gods awake in thunderous roars and guide the leaders' hands to paths of glory to the cause." I had some Metalhead kids working for me years ago and I made them listen to it - it blew their minds. Trevor Rabin could NEVER write anything like this. Is the production not the best? - well yeah, but who cares? Can you dance to it? No. But if you need to dance break out your Donna Summer records. Get yourself a good pair of headphones lay down and hold on!

sbachini@uk.mdis.com (Steve Bachini)
I was absolutely knocked out when I got this. This is certainly like no other Yes album. I assume that Patrick Moraz was responsible for the massive change. "The Gates Of Delirium" was like another "Close To The Edge" with the quiet 'Soon' section soothing you after the initial musical onslaught. I love the version of this on Yesshows. You can almost hear people in the audience crying and tending the wounded at this point. (This is in fact the only redeeming feature of Yesshows in my opinion.)

I ended up tiring of Relayer unfortunately, sacrilege I know. It's something to do with the nasty sounding production, sort of harsh and gritty. Oh, and sorry, but does tape hiss mean anything to anyone? I'm sure I'll come back to this album one day though. At the moment it's a 7/10.

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
I had to get this one just because Moraz was on it. Call me crazy, but I actually like some of what he did with the Moody Blues. As for this album, you hit the nail on the head. It's an absolute noisefest. "Gates Of Delirium" and "Sound Chaser" are two of my favorite pre-Rabin songs. This one makes up for the Topographic album. I guess someone finally taught them how to rock.

pcahill@eniac.seas.upenn.edu (Patrick Cahill)
"The Gates of Delirium". What can I say? As far as the Yesshows version is concerned, I don't know if I've heard a better concert performance from Yes. I'd spend twice what I paid for Yesshows for that track alone. Alan White kicks some major ass in the beginning of "Sound Chaser". For all of Yes' 70s personnel changes, the people that they had at a given time crafted a unique sound, and it ended up being perfect. Say what you want about Moraz, he was what Relayer required, and he delivered. Too bad we don't see those tracks being performed nowadays. This album is a hard one to grasp, but once you do, you don't let go. "Gates" is the best Yes epic as far as sheer imagery and emotion. You're then taken to the ferocity of "Sound Chaser" and gently brought back to life with the tranquility of "To Be Over". This is the pinnacle of true Yes progressive.

ata5d@virginia.edu (Arthur T. Andrews IV)
If you didn't like Relayer, pick up Yesshows which has a better version of "Gates of Delirium."

James@jpb-s.demon.co.uk
"Gates" is great, but again suffers from excess padding. It really should have been a 10-12 minute. "To Be Over" is a gem, I suspect one of the most underrated pieces. "Sound Chaser" doesn't quite cut it. Still, one of the great albums.

TempsFugit@aol.com
I think YES recorded this on Jupiter. :)

Olias@webtv.net (Justin Strohm)
I think Relayer is one of Yes' best albums.

rderby@erols.com
all i'll say is: give me a RELAYER-type album in the 90's.

keio@usa.net (Keio Sandvik)
One of my absolute favourite things is to play the remastered version of Relayer at full earsplitting high tilt. To relate to my pleasure, use a high-end CD player with a good pair - I mean a GOOD pair of headphones. Not some cheap Sennheisers or crap like that. Mine are Sony MDR-V600 at about $150 u.s.d. Try it! There is a god. p.s. boost the bass a bit though.

wallison@pnc.com.au (Warwick Allison)
This is Yes' darkest album,"burn their childrens laughter on to hell." Must I say anymore.

First_last@studio.disney.com
If you don't like this album you are not a true Yes fan. Sorry, but let's not get mired in the details. Music hits you in a certain way and I've said it before to my friends, pontificating on Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, you either get it or you don't especially with this music.

13ncinf@msn.com (Kenneth Hawkins)
Relayer was always one of my favorite Yes albums and I've not been disappointed by picking up the remastered version and rocking out again after 23 years! what a glorious cacaphony of noise and anger! very unYeslike but nonetheless very evocotive, great drums, guitar, lyrics etc. I agree with the guy who posted that his favorite thing was to put it on at ear-splitting volume! one of my favorite Yes memories: Back at Christmas 1974 my stepsister gave me an Earth Wind & Fire album.... I promptly took it back to the store and traded it in for the new Yes album, Relayer. Shortly after that, when my Dad was out of the house, I put it on at near the above volume and quickly blew the fuses in his (then) ten year old Fisher amplifier!

akeithdavis@mailcity.com (Keith Davis)
Relayer consists of two great songs-"The Gates Of Delirium" and "To Be Over." "The Gates Of Delirium" is great for the first 10 minutes, then the "noisefest" begins, I wonder if "Yes" wasn't operating along the same wavelength as King Crimson when they created Lark's Tongues In Aspic. Actually, the next three minutes sound like a cross between "Lark's Tongues" and "Bytor and The Snow Dog" from Fly By Night by Rush. Interesting music, but extremely noisy!! I have listened to "Sound Chaser" and I still think it contains an incredible amount of noise!! "To Be Over" on the other hand, is mellow and beautiful! Overall, I will have to up- grade my opinion of Relayer and give it an 8/10, vice the earlier 6/10. The sound has improved tremen- dously from the earlier cd; the digital remastering has definitely improved the overall sound.

jwhat@merlin.ebicom.net (SIBERIAN_KHATRU)
Maybe this was a sign that Moraz was "To Be Over".

jsmartin@rocketmail.com (Jon Martin)
"The Gates of Delirium" has to be one of the best songs Yes have ever produced. In my opinion it is very well structured and contains Steve Howe's best work. Okay it does take a while to get into-but it really pays off. As regards the other two tracks "Sound Chaser" is good if a little disorganised. "To Be Over" is nice but not that special. Despite the other two tracks this is one of the best Yes albums.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net (BOB's)
Well I must say it's better than the album before. It shows great improvement, unlike over done, boring, noisy Topographic Oceans. I really didn't like this album either when I first got it, I was also afraid of it. "Gates Of Delirium" was a pretty damn scary song but it had good quality put into it. It opens with synthesizers performed by someone from The Moody Blues. I enjoyed the fight. You actually feel like you're a part of it. Then it all goes quiet, the closing of the song was scary, it must have been the funeral. The song was good and scary. The second track "Sound Chaser" should have been called "The Most Annoying Song Ever Made" because I think out of ideas after the first track, at the end they were fooling around with the tempo, Jon actually tells you how the song will be later. Closing the album was a very good slow dancing, well maybe not dancing song called "To Be Over"; after such a violent album, it deserves a little peace and relaxation. I really didn't like these last 3 albums they made. But something suprisingly did happen, so see my review of the next album.

newsnuts@weir.net (Joe Lawler)
People actually like this album!

I do too, but I have to say it's embarrassing to play in front of your friends because of that horrible Mexican, `cha, cha, cha' part during "Sound Chaser"....

It sounds like Buster Poindexter on speed....

Other than that, though, a great album, especially "Gates of Delirium"...

dembones@pond.net
What a piece of work! I love Bill Bruford, especially in Crimson and U.K. but I always felt that somehow his playing was lightweight within the context of Yes. Relayer convinced me that White is indeed the right man for the job. Powerful stuff! "Gates" is among my five favorite Yes pieces. Although I agree that Moraz' parts are sometimes a little comical, I believe his contributions made Relayer the wonderful work that it is. I love the "Buck Rogers" pre-disco keyboard solo in "Soundchaser" :-) Also, I can't help but feel that Howe sometimes sounds terribly uncomfortable on the electric guitar. This is made especially evident on the brittle, jagged, and frankly, sloppy solo on "Soundchaser," which has none of the characteristic grace he exhibits on the Acoustic.

deitrich@ripco.com
The sad thing about most hardcore Yes fans (i'm one) is their inability, when applicable, to separate particular member lineups from the Yes catalog of music as a whole. Relayer is without a doubt one of the most fantastic, daring, beautiful, out-there, scary collections of music i've ever listened to. The big drawback to the album is Eddie Offerd's clumsy production. "Gates" is not a 20 minute, meandering jam. It makes more sense to me than "Close To the Edge" or "Awaken" for that matter, even though the latter sounds a lot better. Imagine if Brian Lane (produced Going For the One) were around for Relayer. You know, Yes music doesn't really need Wakeman. Sure, he's awesome, but to me Moraz, at least on Relayer, is a much better ensemble player. His solos are hipper and smarter. The keys solo in "To Be Over" has a really wonderful chromatic line about eight measures in. Moraz helped define the next album, too, both compositionally and stylistically It's really too bad that he couldn't stick around for Going For The One. He helped Yes out of their shell, but they were too afraid and naked to see what was happening.

hawkins@alphalink.com.au (Alan Hawkins)
Next to Fragile, Relayer is definitely one of my fave Yes albums - sure, Moraz was a weaker keyboard player, yet that only gave howe more chance to dominate the album with his soaring guitar riffs and melodies. "Gates of Delirium" is truly awesome, in fact (and I know some people will hate me for saying this) but I think it's probably better than the title-track to close to the edge! it's easier to understand (lyricwise) for a start!!! "Soundchaser" is probably the most twisted piece of prog. rock ever committed to vinyl, just listen to how frenetic and insane Howe's guitar playing becomes towards the end!!! "to be over", on the other hand, is a blissful, calming and fitting finale. If Wakeman played on this album it would've sounded just like the previous Yes records! Relayer saw the band moving on into something completely different. Overall, this is one of Yes' most spontaneous, energetic and heaviest records and is well worth a listen.

mrowley@pacbell.net (The Rowley Family)
If you're having a party and you want everybody to leave put on Relayer. I LOVE it. My son was trying to play "Sound Chaser" on tupperware and pots and pans when he was about five. He's turned out to be a good drummer. The musical section following the line "the hour approaches pounding out the devil's sermon" in "Gates of Delirium" is obviously a musical depiction of a battle scene. It's one of the most intense pieces of music I've ever heard. Most of my fellow musicians don't care for it much but I always figured Relayer to be an acquired taste.

tomr@ix.netcom.com (Tom *****)
This one took a while to get used to. At first I hated it except "To be over" which was so mellow and cool. Then for a while, I got into "Sound Chaser". I hated "Gates" when I first heard it. But after time, I have come to believe that it is one of the finest recorings the boys have ever done. The weird time signatures, the cacophany of noise, the jazzie inserts, the heartwarming catharsis, and the spectacular finale`. It's all here.

Accessible? NOT. But it's one of Yes greatest songs.

As long as you have the time to listen.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Relayer was the 70's hard-steel sounding record of the band. The guitar and keys gave the arrangements a metal quality in places. An excellent record, but more of a step back or forward it was a turnaround in the same place. Moraz hadn't much opportunity to prove himself within a band with musicians that were not just geographically but musically foreign to him. As a keyboardist, for me, Patrick is better than Rick. But Moraz part in Yes was just OK on the studio. "Sound Chaser" was his best showcase. For better treatments and Patrick's finest moments go listen to the live versions. This record and the tour that followed were Alan White's best moments also. Dean's best work ever. 8/10 (heavy rock dudes will put 9, I guess).

paul.rogers@ait.uc.nz
Relayer? Is that the one with the snake on the cover?

seafoam@vfr.net
I think this album is one of the greatest pieces of Yes music. Patrick Moraz is an excellent keyboard player. "Sound chaser" is a showcase of the greatest rhythm section in the world. "To be over" is kind of a nice lullaby. You can sing your kids to sleep with it. "Gates of Delirium" is a great epic. Overall I enjoyed it all. I say if they want to tour with the "Classic Yes" lineup, I say to Yes "give Mr. Moraz a call."

prblack@netins.net
'Gates of Delirium' - best Yes song of all. Am I the only one who feels that this should have been the theme song for the Stars Wars Movies??

hotelh@gua.net
Oh yes ! This is by far, the best yes album! There is no other yes album like this. The unrolled tapestry of "Gates of Delirium" is incredible. And for the first time, Jon's lirycs are written with a lot of meaning. It is an old record but in all reality is timeless. Relayer is a real gem. Although it is not easy to ge into, it is worth the try. You will be rewarded. Yes, at its progressive peak! And one more time. The best yes music ever!

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
A fantastic album. Needs to be one notch higher. "Gates" is just fantabulous, and the ebb from the noise section to the "Soon" section is really the invention of ambient. Eno must have been taking lessons, but wierdly enough, Yes didn't even realize what they had done. Took me a long time to get into this one, though. Like Tales, like CttE title track, it requires an investment. But, once done, whoa. Bust down the gates! Simply sublime music.

fergfam@erols.com (Steve Ferguson)
This IS my favorite album! It's great! I think Gates of Delerium, Sound Chaser, and To Be Over are all great songs. Since I listen to industrial music I don't mind all the noise on Gates that you guys seem to be annoyed by.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
High 8, low 9ish. Gates of Delirium kicks way, way too much ass. It scares my brother a bit, but hey ... Sound Chaser takes a while to get used to, but it's good. And To Be Over is wonderful.

Adrian.M.Rush.8@nd.edu
Yes has never done an album like this before or since. And that's part of its charm. It stands alone, and quite apart, in a very good way, from the rest of the Yes canon. For me it's #2, right behind Close to the Edge.

Relayer and Drama were the last two Yes albums I purchased to complete my collection, and I immediately took to both of them. I guess this is one of those records that, right away, either you "get it" or you don't. Same goes for Topographic Oceans, which I abhor. But Relayer clicked for me in a special way. It's brilliant in its uniqueness, and of course "Gates" is easily both Yes' darkest moment and its greatest story-song. The gamut of emotions it runs in its 22 minutes leaves you exhausted at the end, but "Soon"....oh, the beautiful, majestic release of "Soon," the soothing, assuring caress following the epic battle that gives us hope for a better, brighter future--"the sun will lead us." I still get chills every time Patrick's final Mellotron notes dissolve into the heavens. Gorgeous. A true masterpiece.

huckcherry@hotmail.com (Xavier Fabriano)
One word for this album...WOW! Relayer is such a masterfully produced album, and the playing and singing, of course, are beautifully performed. The details of this album sound like they were planned right down to the nanosecond; shimmering, layered keyboard textures clash with combative guitar lines and the music becomes deafeningly loud only to crest and drop away into near silence. In my opinion, this is Yes' most realized and best crafted album at that point, and yet most of it is so reckless...but what's always been Yes' most enduring quality is to sound spontaneous and calculated all at once. They strike a near perfect balance here. On Relayer, they have managed to fuse the otherworldliness of Topographic Oceans and the cohesion of Close to the Edge to come up with an album that is superior than both. Aside from the wonderful playing of Steve, Jon, Chris, and Allen, a lot of the credit for this album should be attributed to newcomer, Patrick Moraz, whose musical and tonal pallete is much broader than that of Rick Wakeman, and whose synth sounds play a much larger role in the overall sound than that of Rick's. As for the other members; Steve Howe's guitar playing here is his most gut-wrenching and carthatic which is what lends this album its immediacy and intensity. Jon Anderson managed to come up with some rather morbid and violent lyrics which give the more weight and matches the violence in the music. Allen proves himself to be just as suitable a drummer for the sound of this album as Bill did with Close to the Edge. The overall assessment of this album is that it is Yes' best fusion of rock aggression and classical complexity and in the perfect world it would be credible to both camps.

richbunnell@home.com
God, I LOVE this album! A ten without a doubt. My favorite Yes album. It's got one of those really long songs that manages to be, well, really long, yet not tedious because it's interesting and multi-parted ("The Gates Of Delirium") and two not-as-long-but-still-just-as-good tunes which really tickle my fancy. What's so bad about that "CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA!" part of "Sound Chaser"? It = funny = cool = nifty break in the song from the fast, clanky melody. I think I'll cut this comment short because it's not flowing at all. It's just sort of broken up into distinct stream-of-consciousness fragments. But hey! That's just like this album! And that's why I love it!

imoss@northernlight.com
I just got this a couple of months ago, and I liked it almost immediately! "The Gates of Delirium" is weird as all hell (I couldn't believe some of the things that Jon was singing!), but it works! The "Soon" section is gorgeous, but I do think that the transition into it is somewhat abrupt. I feel that the main melody is far more unpleasant than that of "Close to the Edge," although it's not so unpleasant as to hinder the song. The comparison to the song structure on CttE is well-taken, however.

"To Be Over" and "Sound Chaser" are good songs too, although again they don't compare to the 18+ minute behemoth. One thing about "Sound Chaser" annoys me a great deal, however, and I'm surprised it hasn't come up yet. Has anyone else noticed that in the middle of the song, during his guitar solo, Steve Howe quotes directly from "Mood for a Day"? Which in itself wouldn't be so bad, but it's so out of context--and then he ruins it with some aimless noodling before the rest of the song gets underway. Bad, bad moment in an otherwise excellent song.

I'm not sure I've heard this enough times to give it a real rating, but if you forced me to produce a number along with a qualifying adjective at this point, I would likely give you a "low 9."

jconlin@leggatchev.com (Jim C)
This album is one the strangest monuments to 70's progressive rock. It is also one of the best. I fail to see how the "punk" movement felt it nessessary to rebel against "dinosaur" bands such as Yes, when this music is way more inventive and groundbreaking then anything say The Clash ever did. I believe that Yes were simply now going over the heads of most people, it was too "tough" for the average listener. This is not an elitist statement, it just simply reflects that Relayer needs to be LISTENED to. It is not background music that you can hum along with. People don't gather around the campfire and sing Sound Chaser. That said, the music itself is brilliant, combining very diverse influences into an extremely chaotic but effective whole. I even like the cha cha's in Sound Chaser. Second best Yes album to Union (just kidding).

slimchandi@hotmail.com (Andy Carter)
Who else wants to say that this album is rubbish? This is awesome material from a band at its peak without Wakeman. And i dont want to hear anything more about Gates thank you. This is the finest piece of music ever recorded, and to cut it down would be sacrilige. It would have been better if it was eve longer!

guppyslayer@msn.com (Ben Henderson)
I slapped on the headphones last night and listened to "To Be Over" again last night. You ever notice how you can listen to a Yes track for the millionth time, and still find something new? I think that's what the critics never understood about the band or it's fans. Yeah, it's overblown and sometimes downright crappy at times, but to my ears, it NEVER sounds the same twice. The thing that struck me was Squire's bass line in that guitar bridge; you know, that section that sounds like George Harrison, only better. The man plays bass with more skill and fluidity than most lead guitarists, yet is can be so subtle that you don't even know it's there sometimes, you know? And how does Steve Howe play that friggin' fast anyway? I couldn't pick strings that fast and play badly, yet he makes it sound so easy and so natural.

tommy_chuck@hotmail.com (Tom Marshall)
A sizzling record! This is the most individual of the classic Yes LPs; I just love it! I think Moraz is the perfect replacement for Rick: just as speedy but with his own, jazzier, wilder style. To me, this has the ambition and musicality of Topographic but, being a single album, realises Jon's dream better. Gates of Delirium is only 2nd to Close to the Edge as their best piece; the storming 'Battle' section justs bursts with creativity and vision! Howe uses a starker, more abrasive sound than ever before; I wonder why he never used it again? Infact, that's the only downside: For me, Going for the One was a step backwards; a slightly blander record. I just wish Moraz could have had one more album to fulfill his potential... 10/10

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Robert Chaundy)
Relayer is good but flawed. The Gates of Delirium contains some of Yes's strongest playing - the elongated riffs in the middle ten minutes are complex and stunning - and Moraz fits the new dirty, unpredictable, jagged sound really well. But as a song it is just shapeless. On Close to the Edge they took a fairly standard, simple song structure and stretched it to near-breaking point on the rack of crazy inspiration, but here they went into the studio, jammed for twenty minutes and as an afterthought threw some lyrical doodlings about a battle over the top. Don't get me wrong - I like it a lot, but I think it needed more work. The world is still waiting for someone to cover it, though. Twenty-seven years and counting.

I would put this delicately if I could... but Sound Chaser just stinks. It's terrible. It sounds like Fly on the Wall, except without the strong songwriting and lyrical flair of that particular oeuvre. Nul points.

To Be Over is a much better finale, making the most of all the corny instrumentation (not just the keyboards - EVERYTHING sounds corny here!). It feels not unlike something off Time and a Word, methinks. Very pretty.

This was the end of Old Yes - punk erupted between this and Going For The One, which sounded as if it came from a completely different world. Bring it on.

todchy@openaccess.org (Todd Lee)
Experimental? Yes. Acid rock/ jazz fusion? Yes. Coulda been better planned, better written and better arranged? Yes. Why does Sound Chaser sound like the mixer was screwing around with the playback speed? Its because he was. This album is the sonic version of The Emperor's New Clothes. Diehard Yes fans say they love it, and feel superior for saying so, while admirers of their more classically influenced early albums were saying to themselves 'What the fuck...?' Yes, To Be Over is gorgeous, and the beginning and end of Gates Of Delerium are good, but Sound Chaser goes nowhere. Look fellas, improv is great if it has a point, that is, if its a tasty piece of music. Sound Chaser is Moraz and Howe playing the "Lets see if you can copy this noise" game. Musical improv that ain't. I bought a 'remastered' copy of this, and I'm wondering why it needed remastering, because of the noises they make during the middle section of "Gates" and "Chaser" could not possibly benfit from it. Yessongs era Yes gets better sounding with age, while the self-indulgence of Tales and Relayer knock the band back into obscurity.

mdenster@yahoo.com (Adrian Denning)
I thought it would be 'fun' to add my comments for this album after only my second listen. I am familiar with Yes, this being the seventh Yes album I've heard at the time of writing. But, I've never heard them quite like this. First impressions? I wasn't at all impressed, 'The Gates Of Delirium' seemed like a mindless jam, 'Sound Chaser' similarly so, and the closing track totally forgettable. I was nearly in tears, I was! Second listen? Wow! Things happen this way for me in Yes-land. They are fast becoming one of my favourite groups. 'Sound-Chaser' is the one song I can comment on the most at the present time. It's furious, then almost beautiful, then descends into cha-cha-cha, fucking shit, this is insane! This is the sound of a band on the brink of something. What, splitting up for three years?! No, that's not what I meant. It's simply astonishing music. 'The Gates Of Delirium' I still don't understand, but all I can say is that it is aptly named. So, after two listens? Another Yes triumph that certainly doesn't repeat anything they've done before, even if it does 'crib' it's format from CTTE.

pedroandino@msn.com
what do yes do after the success and controversy of tales from the topographic oceans? simple. rick wakeman hates this and tormato and union! bastard! even I hated union it sounds like wilson philips meets roxette with a prog twist! relayer is classic yes.

1.THE GATES OF DELIRIUM: BEGINS WITH A CUTE SYNTH INTRO THE BAND STARTS THE ENGINES! ANDERSON SINGS LIKE HARRY POTTER AND RON WEASLY JOIN FORCES TO KICK DRACO IN THE ASS! AND WIN THE LOVE OF A BRAINY BEAUTIFUL GIRL HERMIONE! THEN CAME THE BATTLE SECTION! WHAT THE HELL ARE THOSE SOUNDS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE JAM? OK NOW I KNOW WHY! I READ SOMEWHERE THAT THE BAND POUNDED JUNK AND AUTO PARTS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE JAM! IT SOUNDS LIKE STICKS! CRAZY AND NOISY AND DIRTY THIS WAS THE BANDS ATTEMPT TO SOUND LIKE ZAPPA AND THE MOTHERS! BUT WHEN IT ALL COOLS DOWN SOON IS MUCH BETTER THAN AND YOU AND I MAN NEVER HEARD OF A BAND PULLING OUT PRETTY NOTES! CLOSING THE FIRST SIDE.

2.SOUND CHASER: JAZZ ROCK SOUNDS LIKE SANTANA! THE NOISE FEST IS LIKE A TWISTED VERSION OF KATRU! STEVE HOWE'S GUITAR SHREDS CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA! THE FUCK IS THIS? ANYWAY NEXT IS A SYNTH SOLO LIKE A STARSKY AND HUTCH EPISODE! ANYWAY CHA CHA CHA AND THE FINAL JAM COMES THIS JAM TO CLOSE!

3.TO BE OVER: OOOO YES SWEET STUFF! AFTER THE NOISE I THOUGHT THIS BAND TURNS INTO SANTANA BUT THE SONG IS A BALLAD BETTER THAN CITY OF LOVE! PEDAL STEEL GUITARS! MMMMMM BETTER THAN COUNTRY PRICK TOBY COCK! YES CANNOT BE DISSED AT YOU FUCKING NIGGER RAPPERS GO EAT DICK! ANYWAY IF THE SONG WERE A GIRL O TAKE HER BY THE HAND AND KISS HER!

4.SOON EDIT: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO EVEN THOUGH IT WAS AN EDIT I LOVE IT!

5.SOUND CHASER EDIT: SPEEDY VERSION! CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA! SHUT UP!

6.GATES OF DELIRIUM 2: SUCKED! I CANNOT HEAR ANDERSON! SOUNDS LIKE IT WAS TAPED IN THE KITCHEN!

RELAYER IS THE BAND AT IT'S BEST 10/10

artmuse@hvc.rr.com
Saw LOTR:The Return Of The King for the first time last night, and was floored. But I knew I had seen this war image, somewhere, before. But from where? Tonight, I found it listening to The Gates Of Delirium. That was the battle I was hearing: multi-layered, vast, mercilious. It is such a theatrical composition, one of the very best ever written. I can really see things when I close my eyes. Brilliant. Sound Chaser just is one of the most cubistic songs out there. It has a skewed logic that works. And To Be Over is such a subtle, gives-you-a-glow-all-over kind of song that it is wonderful.

Definitely one of the high marks for YES. I remeber thinking the turntable had turned into chrome when i first heard it. This was one of the most crisp recordings ever.

pedroandino@msn.com
say, didn't I tell you to be over is the most ethereal song by yes? yes!.

Scott.Douglas@PWGSC.GC.CA
The last real Yes album in my opinion.

Moraz was superb.

spacebutlerxiii@hotmail.com
My first Ys album. CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA!

Add your thoughts?

Going For The One - Atlantic 1977.
Rating = 9

I originally gave it an 8, but I finally realized that it's far too complex and interesting an album to deserve anything less than a 9, goddarnit, no matter how darn messy it is at points.

Either Relayer excited him or the solo life didn't, 'cause Wakeman's back, Jack, and that aint no slack! Judging from the non-Roger Dean album cover (their first since The Yes Album), this was an attempt to break out of the commercial doldrums they'd been in since Tales From Topographic Oceans destroyed their career oh so many years ago. But let me tell you something, mister: there wasn't a band alive in '77 that sounded even a Lee Iacocca like this. Because of their constant striving to grow and mature, they insisted on making their songs more and more complex until, by this point, it was completely impossible to predict what was going to happen during the course of any given song.

Each of the five tunes on this record begin in a normal, comprehensible manner, but only the short pretty single, "Wonderous Stories," lives up to this promise. The other four songs take more left turns than a Chinese motorist! Ha ha! Biting ethnic satire! Honestly though, critics who say Yes were trying to simplify and mainstream their sound on this album clearly didn't listen past the first minute of each side. Yes, the title track begins like an awkward hoedown, but it soon turns into one of the most exciting and least sensible chord sequences in the history of The United States of America. And si, "Turn Of The Century" starts off like a normal classical guitar-based ballad, but listen to what Steve and Rick do during these special eight minutes - listen to all the different things they do to the original melody - then try to play the song yourself - then shut the hell up, you talentless knave.

And both "Parallels" and the sixteen-minute opus "Awaken" make no bones about their intentions; the band is purposely screwing with the rhythm, melody, style, and tempo of the songs so many times (just 'cause they CAN) that the songs are almost impossible to follow in a normal record-listening manner. You just have to adjust your foot-tap to match the 6/4 rhythms and crap like that. And, as he has so many times before, Steve Howe continues to demonstrate in "Awaken" that he may be the fastest competent note-player ever to pick up a lightning-powered minstrel box. Like Relayer, this is one messy ass record, but it's impressive as shim. So darn smart, these Yes men! Critics are idiots.

Except me, of course.

Reader Comments

yescomm@worldaccess.nl (Gert Bakhuizen)
Critics are idiots, okay! Except for you? I don't think so! This album has been, and probably still is one of the best they have ever made. The balance in the songs throughout the album is just right with the highlight "Awaken" at the end. So what you mean with messy? Not at all as I see it, it's just another Yes masterwork in yet another Yes period!

rjohnson@jax-inter.net (Richard E. Johnson)
Going For The One is indeed messy, but in a beautiful way. This album Rocks more than any other Yes album, period. But being true Yes, it rocks with lots of chord and rhythm changes. Fragile it is not, but just as good in its own way. This is the best album that both Wakeman and White were on together.

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
RICK WAKEMAN is back! Steve Howe took guitar to yet another new level. Jon Anderson's lyric style changes to become more clear and melodic, in his return from his near disappearence in Relayer. Every member was excellent, and the new sound is amazing, but they do apply the new style to finally do TALES justice and do what I think is the only true follow-up to TALES, "AWAKEN." It showed that Yes was back, and they could truly continue as a band making better and better music, and escaping the trap of music that is pressed so hard to be progressive that it loses direction and appeals to the listener.

jrichter@texas.net (James K. Richter Jr.)
Hey, when did everyone get together and decide "Awaken" is a classic? No one certainly told me. ;-)

thutley@e-z.net (Thomas Hutley)
The music was great, the sound was excellent, and everyone played within the realm of the entire picture. No ungodly one-man solos. No out of place instruments or wholesale classical rip-offs. Just good music. So who cares about which members played on the album? It's what goes on the black circle that counts, and if Roy Clark wanted to sit in pluckin' on a banjo during the climax of "parallels", they probably could of fit him in too! Try not to get too caught up in who's the better band member. It doesn't do the music any justice. If I went solely on musical line-up, I wouldn't have Fragile in my record collection -- and we all know what a shameful thing that would be!

sbachini@uk.mdis.com (Steve Bachini)
This was the first Yes album that I owned (I did actually ask for *The* Yes Album for Christmas!) and I fell in love with it straight away. Nice clear natural-sounding production and excellent tracks that are all so different. It shows that Alan White can do more than thrash. "Awaken" is a 17 minute epic with church organ, the lot. The album was a real return to more accessible music from the complex mid-70's works. Yet again they had come up with something fresh. 8/10.

One thing though, it was certainly strange seeing them on BBC TV's Top Of The Pops 'performing' "Wondrous Stories."

tkcchan@hkucc.hku.hk (Thomas Chan)
Going For The One will remain one of my best ever heard albums. "Turn Of The Century" is not just musically stunning. Listen to the lyrics. I shed my tears almost every time i listen to it.

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Jury's still out on this one as far as I'm concerned. I really like "Awaken," "Turn Of The Century," and "Parallels," but I hate "Wonderous Stories," and the intro to the title track really throws me.

pcahill@eniac.seas.upenn.edu (Patrick Cahill)
I really like this album. I like every song; "Turn of the Century" is a beautiful song, and "Awaken" is a classic. I also think "Parallels" rocks! Another good Yesshows track. I guess some people might think the music is more accessible. I don't. I think after hearing this album right after Relayer, people were taken completely surprise. And that's the beauty of 70s Yes. Compare Close To The Edge, Relayer, and Going For The One, and contemplate how different each one is.

TempsFugit@aol.com
Two images that should never be near each other--"messy" and "Turn Of The Century"--or for that matter "messy" and "Awaken", "Parallels", & "Wonderous Stories." By the way, rock and roll is supposed to be messy.

cos@syrinx.com (Caress Of Steel)
Are you crazy?! "Wondrous Stories" is awesome!!! I listen to it at least three times a week. "Awaken" is ok... something about being based on circle of fourths hinders its tonality. BTW, Steve Howe is awesome on this album.

rderby@erols.com
at first i hated this record, but as i mature, i find myself saying THIS IS YES'S PINNACLE ALBUM!! all the mis-mash on TALES is shed for this beautiful record. "Turn of the Century" is easily the most emotional pieces YES ever did. and "Awaken"........yeah they got that. i only wish ABWH hadn't tried to ape it later.

vicae@afns.vicenza.army.mil
One of my all time favorite Yes albums! I may be in the majority but I think "Parallels" is an under-rated masterpiece. And I love the title track - thank you very much! Those days may be "gone forever" but I can certainly relive 'em when I listen to this album!

jwhat@merlin.ebicom.net (SIBERIAN_KHATRU)
Messy? hmmm. Yes would never get "Awaken" as well as they did here, listen to the end of it. 20 years later they still can't really replicate that shit as well as the original. Messy? you're an idiot.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net
Oh man, the best album Yes has ever made has to be this one. I loved "Turn of the Century", "Parallels" is a great rock track that they should play on the radio. "Wonderous stories", man I have dreams about that song, it was cool as anything. "Awaken" was a real treat. It's very relaxing, mystical, and calm. Enclosing my review I give this album a 9. Does anybody agree or what!!

dajones@bigtex.ci.dallas.tx.us (Doug Jones)
I would agree that this album deserves 8 or 9 out of 10 thangs, but I would also take exception to characterizing it as "messy," because it is in its somewhat unprecedented lyrical and musical focus that I think GFTO is most remarkable. I've never cared for the title track, perhaps put off incurably by that awful, hee-haw guitar intro, and Jon's strained vocals. Ok, IT's "messy." BUT MAN! The ultimate majesty and yearning of "Turn of the Century," the integrity and humility of "Parallels," the spiritual solace of "Wondrous Stories," and the masterpiece of life, "Awaken." This is honest music, and there is no substitute. "...past a mortal as me, where can I be?" There is something terribly liberating in coming to grips with our mortality and admitting that we haven't a natural clue where we fit in.

dembones@pond.net
This is perhaps the finest album of this personel line-up. I'm surprised at the criticism of the title cut, which I think is amazing! It's almost sarcastic in its treatment of the Rockabilly intro, and I think the genious melodies and changes stand right up there with CTTE and Relayer. Horrible production on "Parallels," which I think is weak anyway. Where are the drums in the mix?!? "Wonderous Stories" is both beautiful and irritating after the first listen. I agree with Anderson's statement that "Awaken" is the definative Yes song. "Turn of the Century" is hypnotizing, and the version on the Yes Tribute is beautiful as well.

rburg01@email.msn.com (Roc)
Just for "Awaken" alone, this is my favorite. The "Master of Time" section at the end I feel rivals only the ending of Genesis' "The Musical Box" as one of the most intense moments in progressive rock history.

And let's settle this Alan White/Bill Bruford stuff. You cannot determine quality by degree of fanciness. Bruford is a trick drummer, who has used the same "tricks" over and over throughout his career. Ask any drummer, a lot of what Bruford (and for example Neal Peart of Rush) does to sound "complex" and "fancy" is actually very simple to execute. Alan White plays with soul. In my opinion, there is no match. White is clearly better. It was obvious from his first notes on Tales.

hawkins@alphalink.com.au (Alan Hawkins)
Going for the one, in my view, was clearly Yes at their peak, their music definitely went downhill after this record and I think they should have called it quits at this point. There isn't much else I can say except that this is a well produced, well balanced record, the title-track totally blew my mind when I first heard it, and hey!! what's wrong with Howe's opening guitar riff??? I'm not into country music but that pedal steel guitar is nothing short of groovy!! Being a grown man, I'm proud to say I get a little weepy every time I hear "Turn of the century", especially Howe's gentle acoustic playing at the end of the song, what is less than understandable though is that strange, almost inaudible piece of synthesizer music which leads into the next track, "Parallels", has anyone else noticed this?? The highlight for me though is "Awaken", a magnificent piece which puts seventies punk music back in it's place!!! The last minute or so of that song has got to be the most breath-taking music I've ever heard the band play.

mrowley@pacbell.net (The Rowley Family)
Bought the CD (still have vinyl) simply because "Awaken" is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard. Never tire of it. When they pulled it out during the Union tour I couldn't believe my good fortune in being able to hear it done well LIVE! Some interesting technology used in that recording to get that Pipe organ in there. Must be nice to be able to spend that kind of dough.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Going For the One was Jon's renaissance as a lyricist, but it doesn't necessarily mean it was for good. After being misunderstood on Tales and not predominant on Relayer he went for simplicity Anderson-style. This time the results were good, but afterwards... This album has the distinction of having all its tracks presented on the Yesyears video. The cover was different, but ugly in comparison (at least Dean's logo was kept). Musically, it was Rick's best moment in the band as a player. Alan is OK. "Awaken" is another classic and "Parallels" is Chris inspiration moving to the front. Offord is hardly missed in this one. Why did they spell "Wondrous" without the 'e'?.

tomr@ix.netcom.com
Good, but not great.

"Turn of the Century" is outstanding. Particularly Steve, "Wonderous Stories" is a little hokey but very listenable. I disagree with Jon that "Awaken" is the best piece of music they ever did. Dont get me wrong. It's good. Very, very, very good. But there is an irritating fuzziness about the whole album in general and on "Awaken" in particular. Do you know what I mean? Or am I the only one. I wonder how much better it would have been had Eddie Offord been there to smooth out the rough edges. Look, all of their best work was done with Eddie and the helm. They have never been the same without him and it's a cryin shame.

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
This was my first Yes record -- got it as a cutout for 2.99 in 1978! Or maybe 79. Who knows? I don't. But anyway, to business. This record is a ten. Period. I've read your reviews, and your writing style, witty as it is, often covers a few gaffes. Not many, mind you -- overall you hit that nail on its flatty flatty head just fine. But Fragile is just so overrated, we gots to put that thingy in its place. I simply never want to listen to it, despite a few (the side closers) excellent tunes. "Roundabout" makes me barf; sure, it's not Yes' fault its so overplayed, but facts are facts are facts, jacko. But Going! yea, there is a fucking album! Everything is perfect, except "Parallels", the weakest track, but its still good, and moderately short, so who cares? This and CttE are the only tens. You should recant, before its too late and your critical soul be lost! "Awaken" is just incredible, and I love playing "Turn of the Century" on my acoustic, which should just leave you to imagine the sublime pleasure I get hearing them do it! So, like, recant, prindlesticks, said the ticktockman... no, that's not me. That's a quote. But he would be saying that if he only knew!

gwu.edu (Steven A. Sullivan)
Yes past its peak. A definite letdown, coming after the terrific Relayer. Way too much mid-70's AOR reverb on the whole production; Eddie Offord was missed. The title track and Parallels are weak attempts at rock, Wondrous Stories a pleasant bit of piffle. Only 'Turn of the Century' taps into the former greatness. Awaken (the most overrated song in the Yes canon) always sounded to me like Yes trying too hard to be Yes: too self-consciously 'epic', with material too thin and banal to sustain the conceit -- in other words, all the bad things people say, wrongly, about Tales. Interestingly Jon Anderson has said that Awaken represents the capstone to the Tales cycle of ideas and music. For me, "To Be Over' fulfills that function.

LunarShore@aol.com
What's strange is, the only song I knew from this album before I bought it was "Wondrous Stories," and THAT was what made me want to buy it. I LOVED that song from the very first time I heard it! And now that I have had the chance to really go through the album, I have found other, better reasons than "Wondrous Stories" to like the album. I liked the title track the first time I heard it. And "Turn of the Century"...my God, this track knocked me over! I knew Yes had it in them to pull out the emotion, but this really showed me what Yes-Brand emotion was all about. I didn't even know what the song was about the first time, but it still made me just want to sit there and wallow in its sad beauty for hours. Very few Yessongs will I ever dub "haunting," but this is one of them. And, I am glad that the reviewer here pointed out what a complex song this is melodically. Somebody needed to do it. Almost every time that original gorgeous melody returns there are different chord progressions backing it up. It is a wonderful melody to begin with, but with all of the delicious chord progressions that just melt one into the next, it is divine. Needless to say, "Turn of the Century" is incredible. Next, "Parallels" is a good track. Not great in my opinion, but still very interesting when it comes to chords and melody. Then again, Yes ALWAYS excelled in those two categories, so my repeating that here is a bit redundant. As for "Awaken," I honestly don't believe I have listened to it enough to present an accurate and justified opinion. I need to listen to it a good 30 or 40-some more times before I will feel like I have gotten everything out of this track. However, from the number of times I HAVE listened to it, I have been pleased by the amount of new feelings and revelations I get from it upon each successive listening. As I have always said, a good piece of music is one from which you can draw something new every time you sit down and listen. But that raps my thoughts up for now. Maybe I will return with a good opinion of Awaken in the near future. Give me 30 or 40 listens, and I'll be back to tell you what I think. Overall, a very good album, one which pointed the band in a new direction from the one in which they had been headed. 8/10

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
9 is right. Paralells rules! How can anybody not like a rock song driven by a church pipe organ? Wonderous Stories seems out of place, but it's still good. And Turn of the Century and Awaken get stuck in my head all the time, even if I don't know the lyrics.

michael.blume@gte.net
I'm gonna say this to you, my fellow troopers, that GOING FOR THE ONE is definitely right on par w/ CLOSE TO THE EDGE. Yes, sir. It's probably the second best album Yes ever made in my humble opinion, ma'am. The title track makes a wonderfully fun lead-off track, "Turn of the Century" is a perfect example of what a normal ballad should be without being so fucking banal, "Parallels just rules, "Awaken" is the best track on the album 'cuz it's topographic, and "Wonderous Stories" doesn't live up to the other four, but it's still a pretty good single. Now, here's my Top 5 Yes albums list:

1.) Close to the Edge- Really strong, solid melodies/deeply-inspired lyrical songwriting/bitchin' guitar work/elusive keyboard solos/powerful harmonies/wonsplendid musical ideas constructed professionally. 'NUFF SAID.

2.) Going for the One- Not as mind-blowing as CLOSE TO THE EDGE, but still great. Tighter structures/lots of different musical styles plugged together/clearer, adventurous lyrical songwriting/excellent guitaring by none other than Howe/Wakeman's triumphant keyboard work/another set of beautiful harmonies. That's why it's #2 in my Yes book. =)

3.)The Yes Album- Impressive songwriting/most of the first complex ideas added to the group songs/amazing talent displayed/Steve Howe's hokey, but interesting live solo/loads of fun put into the album.

4.)Relayer- I believe that it's one of Yes' finest records, but the experimental noise brings the album itself down to #4. Never the less, I see it as a true follow-up of CLOSE TO THE EDGE chronologically. "Gates of Delirium" rocks, and "Sound Chaser" is easily the weirdest Yes piece ever done musically. "To Be Over" is pretty nice though. As a whole, the album is more mind-blowing than TALES.

5.)Tales from Topographic Oceans- It's great too, but not as exciting as my remaining Top 4. Instead, it's peaceful, but still complex and interesting. Lots of musical ideas thrown in nicely too. The best track is "Ritual (Nous Sommes Du Soleil)". Some aimless bits from "The Remembering (High the Memory)" ruin the album's glorious moments though.

Anyways, GFTO is terrific. I'd recommend it as a second buy behind CTTE to anyone who wants to start their own Yes collection.

GOOOOOOOOIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNG FFFOOOOOOOOOORRRRRR THHHEEEEEEE OOOOOONNNNEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

richbunnell@home.com
Messy. Not coherent at ALL. Still, this one is massively overlooked, possibly because by this point in critical history, Yes had already screwed themselves over by releasing Tales From Topographic Oceans and were thus looked at as a joke no matter what the song quality on their successive albums was. The title track could just be the best Yes pop song ever, and yes, it's pop. Complex, cyclical, amazing pop! The harmonies are some of the greatest I've ever heard! "Parallels" is so utterly loud and pompous that it works too, and the two softer songs which balance them out, "Turn Of The Century" and "Wonderous Stories," soothe the mind. "Awaken" makes good background music even though too much of the middle section is given to pointless soloing--but maybe I just need to hear that one again. 16-minute songs need more than one listen to digest, as hard as it is to do so. The album? An 8.

jim@guscreek.com (Jim Lang)
I saw Yes at madison square garden on their GFTO tour... only my second concert. I had not heard the album before hand...as they played "Awaken" something really special happened...my heart opened and it has been opening ever since. My spirit soared in a way that I did not know could be precipitated by music. Recently I saw their House of Blues broadcast where the same thing happened when they played "Awaken". And every time in between...

tomid@online.no
I think "Awaken" is the most beatiful song ever made!!

imoss@northernlight.com
I think my main problem with this album can be summarized thusly: too much Wakeman and Anderson, not enough of everyone else. The keyboards in particular just seem to dominate everything on this album, and I miss those funky bass lines! That said, the title track, "Wondrous Stories" and "Awaken" are pretty darn awesome, and the other two ain't bad either. Though "Awaken" is a very strong track, it doesn't quite live up to the standard set by "Close to the Edge" and "The Gates of Delirium" in my opinion. It doesn't flow quite as well, and despite the fact that it is shorter than those two epics, it lacks a certain conciseness that prevented the other two from dragging. I love "Going for the One" though.

This is one of the first albums that I bought on the recommendation of this site, along with Pink Floyd's A Saucerful of Secrets?. Just thought you might like to know.

slimchandi@hotmail.com (Andy Carter)
Ahem....excuse me. This is a masterful album composed by the most masterful musicians i know. This album blows away anything else i have which doesnt have Yes in the title on my shelves. Awaken is a fantastic moody piece, and when the faster second section breaks in wih the fast organ run ups @ 5:10? ohhh i have to crank it up. Turn Of The Century shows Howe on beatiful acoustic with Jon's vocals just soaring. This is beatufil material, which has a more rock presence then CttE or Relayer, or even TfTO for that matter

guppyslayer@msn.com (Ben Henderson)
Going For The One is the finest piece Yes ever recorded in my opinion. Too bad it was mixed so poorly. It sounds like it was recorded behind a brick wall or something.

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Rob Chaundy)
This is my favourite Yes album, because it sounds a bit lively! A bit of energy here and there works wonders, and Steve Howe doing Jimmy Page is a lot nicer than you might expect. Title track is wonderful, the next three perfectly presentable, and Awaken IS a classic - they are NOT trying too hard to 'sound like Yes.' If Awaken had been on Tales, everyone would have agreed that it was the best track, and they would have been right. Try denying it. Howe's demonic scaling about three minutes in is a career highlight. They should definitely have carried on like this a little longer, but I don't really like the naked dude. Or rotten tomatoes, for that matter. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

marc.kreienbrink@gmail.com
Oh, man...go watch a Warner Bros. cartoon. What's the first thing you hear when the theme comes on? A friggin' slide going up on a pedal steel guitar! The first time I heard "Going For The One" (the song, not the album) I thought of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, etc. Steve Howe is out of control on this track, but it ROAWKCS!!! Well, ol' Stevie boy reminds me of a Warner Bros. character anyway (Gollum). Not that Gollum's a Warner Bros. cartoon character, but he is nutty enough to be. At any rate, Steve Howe is a loony tune and someone should have taken his pedal steel and fermented corn squeezins away from him, but I'm glad they didn't.

[i]GFTO[/i] is excellent in every way. I first got into it after discovering that "Wonderous Stories" was on this album, and I first discovered "Wonderous Stories" after I stole [i]"Classic Yes[/i] from my friend's dad (sorry, Zack's dad). "Going...", "Wonderous...", and "Awaken" are three of my favorite Yes songs of all time. They are alternately gorgeous, wacky, and rockin'...sometimes all within the span of a few seconds. The band played as a team of equals and it shows. [i]GFTO[/i] is the album that made me believe that Chris Squire and Alan White are one of the all-time greatest rock & roll rhythm sections. So solid.

9 out of 10. (Good call this time, Prindle)

7headedchicken@gmail.com
Hey, I'm just writing to let you know that what those girls (and gay guys) are saying about me is bullshit from the lowest depths of Lullabel's bowels. They're just trying to use scare tactics to get in my pants, but they don't realize that I don't like evil bitches - only nice girls like you! Oh - uhh, WHOOPS! That thing happened again where I thought I was writing to someone else. Sorry, Mark. Anyway, I just wanted to comment that it's awfully heartwarming to see a music critic appreciating Yes for who they are. Just seeing that one person can get into both Mr. Bungle and, well, any prog band gives me much misplaced hope for society. When I was a youngster just getting into Yes, I didn't buy this album for a while, because, you see, I was raised by stupid redneck pricks who teach their kids that if you buy a record with a naked man's butt on the cover, that that means your gay, AND that that would be something to be looked down upon. Fortunately, my own mind has always told me that you don't have to be a homosexual to have sympathy for the plight of those who are, AND that art is subjective, and often deeply symbolic. Like "Awaken"! What a great track that is. Love that piano intro, not to mention some feelings even more than loving towards that Eastern moogy section in that wonderful time signature that is often mistaken for 3/4. Love the reverb on "Parallels", and, well, every track on here is great. Gotta say, though, that my favorite on here is "Turn of the Century." Something about this song - could be that highly emotional, symphonic key change - surrounds me with the feeling of being in the presence of God. I wish this song would get airplay, but alas, most of the radio has sucked since the 90's, and it's probably safe to say that ALL of the radio has sucked since 2004.

Ben
A 9?! Man. I understand the 8 for "Relayer", but for me when this album is good, it's great, and when it's bad, it's pretty fuckin bad.

The title track certainly came as a surprise to me. After a two year gap between albums, I'm sure people were pretty dumb smacked to be hearing a song like that coming from them. "Awake" is indeed a beautiful song, and "Parallels" has grown on me a lot from the first time I heard it. However, "Turn of the Century" gets boring, and "Wondrous Stories" is too cute.

Add your thoughts?

Classic Yes - Atlantic 1981.
Rating = 9

Awesome compilation. Lots of long songs, and "The Fish" too! It's easy to make complaints about this record (no Tales, no Relayer, nothing from the first two), but for somebody who's never heard the band before and wants to find out what they're like, this is really something else. Every song (all pulled from "the big three," except the more recent "Wonderous Stories") is absolutely incredible. And "Heart Of The Sunrise" is a terrific lead-off track. Interestingly, if I remember my history correctly, Chris Squire (who compiled this CD) originally left off the two biggest hits, "Roundabout" and "All Good People," so they later added a single featuring 1978 live versions of both. I could be wrong about that, but if I'm right and it's true, isn't that funny?

Sure it is! Come on! Don't be such a bleeding pissant!

Reader Comments

pinkles05@hotmail.com
It's a good thing that there isn't a bijillion reader comments below this album, otherwise I probably wouldn't bother, since I have all the regular albums, therefore I don't even own Classic Yes. Anyway, I wanted to point out that I happen to have that live seven-inch single from 1981 you were talking about. I lost the sleeve to it a long time ago but the performances of "Roundabout" and "I've Seen All Good People" still sound as good as ever. I'm sure that everyone is dying to know where the two songs were recorded so I'll share the knowledge: "I've Seen All Good People" recorded at Wembley, Empire Pool, "Roundabout" recorded at Oakland Coliseum, San Francisco.

And the songs are over seven minutes so it's on 33 1/3 RPM.

Add your thoughts?

Tormato - Atlantic 1978.
Rating = 7

I originally gave this a 6, read below to see why. But darn it -- the songs may be corny and the bass effect may be stuck in the 70s, but these are such wonderfully HAPPY tunes -- most of them anyway. Play them for your child!

The biggest problem with this record is that Chris Squire puts some dumbass funk effect on his bass the whole time, giving it an alarmingly stupid tone that interferes with most of the melodies. Also, too many of the songs are boring. "Future Times" is an upbeat exuberant way to begin any listening experience, but "Rejoice" is a dull rehash, "Don't Kill The Whale" is a horrendous ecological disco song, "Circus Of Heaven" is sissy children's music, and the eight-minute "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom" succeeds in hitting about... oh... zero of the ten million different moods it aims for.

This leaves the pretty keyboard-driven ballads "Onward" and "Madrigal" and the fun hyperactive noisefests "Arriving UFO" and "Release, Release." "Arriving UFO" starts off hokey, but jeez does it get noisy when the aliens show up! And "Release, Release" is their spastic attempt to play a normal upbeat rock 'n' roll song. They can't do it! They can't even stay in 4/4! They know it's too boring, so they have to make it as complex as humanly possible. Fantastic and hilarious. Complete with a moronic "live" drum solo. Silly kids. A mostly enjoyable record, but extremely fruity, and completely immature in almost every way. Rick Wakeman's dumbass beard, for example.

Reader Comments

mcknney@is3.nye.edu (Rick McKinney)
Uh... your repetition of terms like "sissy" is starting to grow tiresome. Especially to those of us sissies who also happen to love Yes. Perhaps when you feel the urge to use homophobicisms like "sissy", you can use instead terms like "rock critic" or "up-tight breeder" or even "snobby brit". And "Don't Kill The Whale" is disco?? The last part of that song is the best stoner music I've heard since "South Side Of The Sky".

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
HEY! Both you guyz! The Whale song is admittedly bad, and has a disco feel, that just goes to show that Bill Bruford is missed. Wakeman was excellent as usual, and Steve Howe took guitar even further again. However, Wakeman doesn't seem to connect with Howe's guitar like he did in previous albums. The solo thing that you described happens here - where members are going off into their different directions. Howe's guitar makes the album, "ON THE SILENT WINGS OF FREEDOM." Wakeman's solos are awesome. It isn't so much a step back, as it is a step in a different direction that is even more radio-happy than Going For The One tried to be. Wakeman and Anderson connect for the first time ever to do many beautiful melodic tunes that are a credit to both their talents.

jrichter@texas.net (James K. Richter Jr.)
"Future Times" is a fantastic song! (And I'm no sissy!)

bringer@earthlink.net (Fred)
It's really quite simple: Too much overplaying, Horrific production, Singing that's dry and reaching to stay high piched. "Whale" & "Release" are good tunes though that need to be re-recorded.

sbachini@uk.mdis.com (Steve Bachini)
Well, a poor follow-up to Going For The One I'm afraid. I loved it at the time but looking back, what were they up to? This is their worst album to date. The strangest production sound I've heard on album. I agree it was a lot to do with Chris' funny bass sound but what about Rick's synths? "Circus Of Heaven" is downright embarrassing now. My favourite from the album would be "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom," it really moves. 5/10

pcahill@eniac.seas.upenn.edu (Patrick Cahill)
OK, it is the worst Yes album of the 70s, but still...it's got moments. "Future Times" is a decent song, and I think "Madrigal" is a really nice piece. The SLO "Onward" is great! Glad they dug that one up. But the album is definitely worth "On The Silent Wings of Freedom"; this is eight minutes of sheer force, the chops are just sick.

James@jpb-s.demon.co.uk
I seem to recall from the Union documentary Anderson describing Tormato as a great album that was never finished. The material isn't bad ("Future Times", "Silent Wings") but the arrangements, usually Yes's greatest strength, are atrocious. I imagine that Going For The One sounded as bad before all the final editing was complete. A missed opportunity with a stupid name.

TempsFugit@aol.com
Let me say just one thing: "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom" is one of the most kick ass songs I have ever heard. If you don't like that one, I feel sorry for you.

rderby@erols.com
loved it when i was young, hate it as an adult. "Future Times" keeps the album from being a complete disaster.

keio@usa.net (Keio Sandvik)
Looks like the punk bands had an effect on the Yes camp. Not exactly a punk album, but the songs are shorter, the sound sparser, the lyrics cruise at a slightly lower altitude. Momentary sputterings of magnificence. The front cover is a result of what happens when anarchic elements creep into a vegetarian restaurant.

jwhat@merlin.ebicom.net (SIBERIAN_KHATRU)
Most people seem to put this album down for one reason or another. I love the album. I hate to think that people can't see that Yes has to move with the times, hell we can't expect a Fragile every album. Anyway, it seems to me that we look for different things on Yes albums. I, whom play drums, love Alan above Bill. Chris and Alan have a feel that rocks together. But if you are a guitarist or keyboardist, you will see it in other ways. I did not like Fragile, and hate "Roundabout" except when Alan and Chris play it. Anyway the chorus to "Release, Release" was the best of the album.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net
I think this album was ok mostly due to the fact that some of the music was not exemperly of Yes's former standards prior recording of this album. "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" was not palatable to my musical taste, but it did have a few touches of poetic beauty.

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
I understand that Tormato has generally been regarded as a flop among Yes fans. Maybe they were expecting too much after the masterpiece Going for the One? In hindsight, Tormato is a great album. The somewhat silly and overcute "Circus of Heaven" can't take that away. "Release Release" and "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" are among the best Yes songs ever. The latter one being commonly requested among fans for coming tours. "Arriving UFO" is really exciting and "Future Times/Rejoice" has a very pleasant "old british" feel which could very well be used again. The wonderful ballad "Onward", though, is better on Keys to Ascension.

dembones@pond.net
Strange, strange production. Much too dry. Sounds like Anderson's helium inflated voice is screaming right in your eardrum. Wakeman's flamboyant style is sounding very dated all of a sudden, and his choice of shrill keyboard timbres (Prophet 5?) are NOT at all sympathetic with Howe's guitar tone, which is thin and whiny in itself. Apparently Squire discovered the Evantide Harmonizer and the Envelope filter... Sorry Chris, only Flea can get away with that combination! "Madrigal" and "Onward" are unusually pure and beautiful, and "Silent Wings of Freedom" cooks right along. I HATE "Release, Release" and "Whale." Pure poser fluff.

tomr@ix.netcom.com (Tom Russell)
Fumble!

Even the "good" songs are ruined by sharing the same piece of vinyl. I have refrained from grading any of the previous albums. This needs a shovel. Is 1 too generous? On top of the dumb songwriting, the sound quality sucks. Who mixed this anyway?

Uggg!

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Tormato comprised the words "Tor" (the name of the band's studio in England, sounding as "tour") and "Tomato" (hence the splashed one on the cover). The album comprised poor musical ideas... If the sleeves help sell a record, this one (the ugliest up to this point) should help buyers to avoid this album. Some tracks are fun, but others are just lackluster songs with some little impressive arrangements. Certainly these guys can play, but seemed they had nothing good to play. "Onward" is beautiful but not typically Yes. "Circus of Heaven" finale was a good idea, but the song is silly with some "Lucy in the Sky"-type licks near the end without magic. The "On the Silent" bass intro line was best redone in "Tempus Fugit" two years after. And, oh, yes, Offord IS missed this time. In 1993 Wakeman came to Peru and I met him. He said about this album: "It was a record made by five different musicians, with five different producers in five different studios. That's why one track has nothing to do with one another". Well, his recount was not accurate (with too many "fives") but metaphorically he was right: this record seems a badly ensembled puzzle. A low point. I give it 6/10.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net
Well this is the same email address but it's not the same person who is writing the review. You see my friend wrote the review for this over me and i totally disagree. I didn't believe at first that this cd came after the strong, beautiful Going For the One. Hard to believe but it did. Tormoto is one of Yes's strangest productions. It has a lot of effort put into it. It starts out with "future times" and "Rejoice". I'm not sure what the song is about, probably nothing, it mentions about some mythological people like the boy child Solomon and Dantallion. Yes uses some of the strangest instuments to produce this cd like the polymoog, millitary snare drums, glockenspeil, Alervaz 10 string guitar and more. After "Future times" is "Rejoice". Which is kind of about being happy. Lets do that. "Don't Kill the Whale" is next and it has a really funky disco beat to it. I think there was a video to this song i'm not really sure. Next is a soft song with Rick using the harpsicord, Steve using a spanish guitar, Alan using a Bell Tree, and Chris playing the Rickbanker bass. This song is called "Madrigal", at first i thought it was A Mad Gal. It's another mythological song about a friend of dreams, and about sacred ships sailing the Seventh Age. Pretty neat like from a book. Next is a rocking and rolling song called "Release Release". You can swing to this song. In the middle is a drum solo with a concert. You can hear the crowd screaming in the middle then it goes back to the original song. Next is a very weird funny song called "Arriving UFO". In the wild rowdy part of this song u can hear the ship arriving and the alien talking, it's Steve fooling around with that guitar. After it is the sound of the ship leaving, but at the beginning it's like ur inside the UFO. But your not. After it is a childlike theme called "Circus Of Heaven", it really sounds like ur in a real circus. Step right up to this Midwestern town and experience the Circus of Heaven with Civil wars of two debtifying brothers who killed there friendship in hate, the gigantic dreams of Alexander the Great, the unicorns of magical mystery, the seven lords and the mountains of time. 75 cents to get in remember this is the only time they'll be showing it. So be aware. Gasp that was cool at the end is Jons darling little child ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh IT'S DAMION. OH NO. Just to be safe we'll call him James, anyway he says the Circus was good considering the fact there were no clowns, lions, tigers, bears, candy floss, or toffee apple, none of that stuff but boy this not like any other circus It's Heaven. Next is a beautiful orchestral song called "Onward". I have good dreams about this song, or when i'm in my cousins house I think about this album and GFTO, i'm in my cousins blue room and i think of this song. Very nice. Next is another weird track called "On the Silent Wings Of Freedom", 8 minutes this was. In the middle is a very dark haunting part which u can hear the horror of that mellotrron and the denomic tolling of that bell, Very cool. So my friend says this album was bad I'll have a talk with him, i can't mention his to public. But enclosing my review i give this album a 9 because i don't like "DKTW" that much.

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
You nailed it on this review. Maybe you should even dock it one more point. You know, those red balls you use to grade the records look like tomatoes; maybe we should take that one extra point and throw it at the cover to join all the other tomatoes of protest! I mean, do you think that they had some sorta psychic foreshadowing that the crapola they were proferring on this slabola -- and Going only a year before, jeez -- would be met with howls and jeers. Can't even play in 4/4 -- haha, that was a good one. They must have known it was substandard, but like other great bands, even on the wane they were interesting. I compare it to Never Say Die by Black Sabbath, another strange record by a band on acid trip comedown, some of it good, some bad, some incomprehensibly sublimely so bad that the categories reverse themselves and you get a sick twisted pleasure... well, I'd best stop there...

nanne@citronfilm.se (Magnus Nanne)
Now listen up, you fat grease-balls, don´t go around bad mouthing Tormato, for it is a mighty fine album, better produced than Going for the one and.....well, it´s good. You STINK!! Who the hell is this rat JAP bastard Mark, the so-called reviwer? Does he even like Yes? If he listens to Slayer, he´s gotta be an asshole. Mark, heed this warning: Thou shalt not slander band members whose piss-spot you are not fit to lick. Now if you´ll excuse me, I´m gonna go put Tormato on, because unlike some other creeps, I appriciate quality when I hear it. REJOICE!!!!

Melodie83@aol.com (Joe)
Not a bad Yes album another underated album the first side is great the second is not,you get half a show.the songs ?Rejoice/Future Times is a wonderfull song Jon's falsetto is really cooking here Don't Kill The Whale is also a great song and Release Release is a great rocker but the rest Onward is a good ballad but Arriving UFO,Circus Of Heaven are really boring you could see Jon and Rick needed a break they were burned out and had run out of fresh ideas.a 6 could of been better Drama is a better album than this one

RichardMelchior@aol.com
Yes are about as "sissy" as monster-truck shows and professional wrestling - you can't call guys who strongarm their instruments like this (loudly) "sissy", especially considering this album was released at the dawn of the new-wave movement (Flock of Seagulls, anyone?).

Having said that, I can see why someone would think that after hearing something like "Circus of Heaven". Candy floss? Clowns? Get real. Otherwise, Tormato's a kickass record.

rabarks@hetnet.nl (RP Engelen)
I´m listening to the album right now as I´m writing this. I simply love it. It´s as good as anything they´ve done in the seventies. I don´t understand why anyone would say that songs like Arriving UFO and On the silent wings of Freedom are boring. Maybe they´re the weaker tracks, but they´re a hundred times more interesting than anything you´ll hear on 90125 wich sounds like Foreigner or Whitesnake (no offense)....

richbunnell@home.com
Kind of underrated, though still not great. I don't think that "Don't Kill The Whale" should be called "horrendous" just because it has ecological lyrics and a beat that somewhat resembles disco, because they really managed to pull off an infectious (if stupid) melody. I'm also really fond of "Future Times," "Release Release," "Arriving UFO" and "Awaken." The rest can go to hell for all I care-- "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom" manages to prove that there IS such a thing as a boring Yes-rocker. Still, I'd up your grade to a 7.

RoaryT@aol.com
With our new studio we've restored our vinyl collection to use and have listened to this record again for the first time in years. Overall I agree with your assesment - this record has some great parts and some boring parts and is kind of a mixed bag all the way around. But what great great parts! SHowe's playing is very fine here, the bass sound doesn't bother me a bit, and Anderson's singing on some of the spots is among his best. On the other hand, he does venture into some of his dippiest lyrics ever, and Circus of Heaven is a Death Valley type low-point. I really liked "Don't Kill the Whale" - beautiful guitar and singing, and a fine straight forward type song about an important earthly topic..

RoaryT@aol.com
I'm not an adoring fan type Yes fan - seems they have about as many misses as hits - but I gotta say that Prindles "Introductory Comments" is the most correct summary of Yes I've ever read. (And most of the reviews are right on with a few exceptions like the rave over the incredibly crapoid 90125.) Having said that, I wanted to add my opinion about this relic or a record since so many of youze Yesheads hated it so much. It was found like a siberian mountain mummy in my garage under a pile of paint stuff along with an original copy of the Minutemen's Double Nickels. I put it on as I did some stuff to my house and hey, it really aint bad at all. Now the bad stuff is pretty darn bad, and the JA sissy stuff is pretty extemely silly, but the good JA stuff (Future Times?) is good stuff. Yes strong suit has always been their melodies, and Release, Release; Silent Wings both rocked. And Prindle, I like Dont Kill the Whale with the staccato sung lyrics and the crisp little riff. Now Circus of Heaven is a different matter. And one more thing about Prindles intro to Yes, Rush and ELP did indeed bite and were never in the same realm as these hippies.

guppyslayer@msn.com (Ben Henderson)
Even on a bad Yes album (and this one sucked out loud), I always found something buried in the noise. In this case, it was On The Silent Wings of Freedom and parts of Future Times. Sadly, I think this album was the beginning of the end for most Yes fans.

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Robert Chaundy)
Ease up, folks - all good things must come to an end. Tormato will never be anyone's favourite album, but we can still let it live, can't we? After all, it has an awesome secret weapon in Future Times, which must rank as one of the greatest of all Yes songs (just dig that beat!!). If they had recorded it five years earlier it would have been five times as long and one fifth as good, but it was obviously conceived in the right place at the right time. Sensational.

And I for one quite enjoy Don't Kill the Whale - Rick Wakeman's birotron is the most gloriously obscene-sounding musical instrument of all time, and adds a touch of revolting excitement to this and Release, Release and Arriving UFO.

Madrigal and Onward are possibly - no, definitely - the most beautiful songs Yes ever deposited in the great World Music Bank. There can be no serious criticism of these gems. And am I the only one to detect a little For Whom the Bell Tolls in Onward? Good work Mr Squire!

Silly, juvenile, throwaway - Tormato is all of these things, but still gives us tantalising glimpses of what this band might have achieved if they had always valued the song higher than the track time. And I for one quite enjoy it.

steve.robey@mindspring.com
It's a little odd that I'm just now inspired to comment on this album, insomuch as I first read your review about 2 years ago... but I recently got a copy of a Yes show from 1979, and many of the Tormato songs are featured on it. As such, I feel moved to note the following:

1) The bass effects don't bother me a bit - it's those keyboard sounds WakeyBakey was using were horrible! Perhaps even worse than what Tommy Mars was doing at the time in Zappa's band. And on the live show I just got, it's a soundboard recording with the keyboards WAY UP FRONT in the mix. Can you imagine hearing "Heart of the Sunrise" with those keyboard sounds? Jeezus H. Danzig....

2) "Circus of Heaven" is the fruitiest song I've ever heard.

3) "Don't Kill the Whale" isn't disco. It's actually a decent song. I probably wouldn't include it on a "Best of Yes" collection or anything though.

4) The melody of "Release Release" is a ripoff of Gentle Giant's "Just the Same" from their Free Hand album. And the "fake" crowd noises in the middle are actually stolen from a Gentle Giant performance! Gentle Giant also dated Yes for a while. Anyone smell a conspiracy here? [Warning: sentences 2 and 3 are lies; but dig that sentence 1!]

5) "Onward" is a good song. "Silent Wings of Freedom" isn't quite as good as it claims to be, but it's not bad either.

JCONLIN@CONLINPONTIACBUICK.COM
I have a certain soft spot for this album, though it really is not their strongest effort. (Certainly the weakest of their post "Yes Album" classics). It was, in fact, the last 70's Yes record that I became familiar with, this happening in the fall of 1988 when I was living in residence while attending University. As you can well imagine (in 1988), my frequent listens made me into a dorm hero and quite the chick magnet. Who needed REM and Tom Waites when I could offer the utter hipness of "Arriving UFO"? I got three weeks out of it before somebody stole the album. That said, "Release Release" is cool, as is Future Times/Rejoice". The biggest thing, though, is that there is actually weak material (as opposed to being average or not so inspired) on a Yes album for the first time. "Circus of Heaven" and "Don't Kill The Whale" are, well, just bad.

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Golden Age Demos - Bootleg 1979.
Rating = 4

Say! Did you know that Yes recorded a bunch of demos after Tormato but before John and Rick quit? Well, they surely did kind you! And guess who? That's me! They weren't very good! You can likely hunt them down on ebay, but don't bid too high. The songs feature Chris' obnoxious Tormato bass tone, lots of boring, simplistic keyboard lines and close to no guitar at all. The band was hurting. The songs are dippy like on Tormato but without being CATCHY! And that's a major hurtin' for a bruisin' for any Yes fan. Sing-songy shitcrap like "Flower Girl" and "Tango" should never have happened to any band, let alone the one that created the masterpiece "Awaken" (included in a live version on this bootleg) just TWO short years earlier. It probably says something that they dumped every one of these tracks except "Dance Through The Light," which they fucked up and made into the weird Drama song "Run Through The Light."

Which reminds you -- Bump Drama up to a low 5 for me, if you haven't already. It may not be socket science, but it sure beats this sissified nonsense.

Reader Comments

Billdude
Four of these unfinished songs are now available as bonus tracks on the Rhino expanded/remastered CD issue of "Drama," which I'm sure you can't go to your local music store to pay twenty bucks or something for because no doubt it's already out of print due to the millions upon millions of hyperactive bloodlusty "Drama" fans who lined up three days in advance of its release at every music store in America to pick up a copy and killed each other in the lines and paid $15,000 for copies on eBay when they were all sold out, just like perfectly normal people these days do when trying to buy Playstation 3's. God, I know I did.

Actually I do have the "Drama" reissue, as "Drama" is one of my all time favorite albums (and my third favorite by Yes). This was because in my sophomore year of college I was carrying a humongous load of shit up with me in an elevator while listening to the album on my six dollar portable CD player, and I dropped something and when I bent over to pick it up I dropped the CD player, which crashed to the ground, cracked open, and the CD popped out and fell down the fucking elevator shaft. So a couple years later I picked up the reissue. The best thing about the Rhino reissue is the liner notes, which has a mediocre (but non-fawning, thank God--don't you hate ridiculously fawning reissue liner note essays?) essay written by some schmoe, plus a couple hilarious photos of the 1980 lineup sporting silly new wave era rock star clothes (suspenders, Geoff Downes' silver pants, etc.) In the bonus track department, you get a couple of goofy instrumentals, some crappy demos of the "Drama" songs that nobody will ever listen to more than once, and finally, four of the Jon Anderson 1979 demos you mentioned here. "Dance Through The Light," "In The Tower," "Golden Age," I think were their names. And they completely fucking blow. They're these horrendous pieces of late 70s new wave German keyboard sounding shit crap ass with barely audible vocals by some man who may or may not be "Jon Anderson." AVOID THEM AT ALL COSTS.

Actually I plagiarized/paraphrased that last bit from your "Madonna With Otto Von Wernherr" review, which was hilarious. I'm sure you knew that right away. Who the hell is "Otto Von Wernherr," anyway? Googling him, even in conjunction with Madonna, reveals absolutely nothing about who he is or what he did (your review also turns up; I'm sure you're the only person who's ever reviewed it.) Maybe Madonna ate him.

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Yesshows - Atlantic 1980.
Rating = 8

Good stuff! A double-live collection with NO hits! Unless you count "Wonderous Stories," but really... how often do you hear that one on your local classic rock potato? Four sides, seven songs, a damn fine afternoon. Some feature Moraz, others Wakeman, but NONE of them appeared on Yessongs, and that's the mean feat here. They pull off "The Gates Of Delirium" and "Ritual" like pros (especially the supercool bass solo bit in the latter - bwomp!), and "Parallels" is as fookin' spiff here as it's ever been. Damn but I love that song. Really really good. Basically, it's supercool to hear live versions of so many non-classics. Sure, they could have included "Roundabout" and "All Good People," but why? Why indeed, when their recent work is so fine. The only pre-Tales track here is "Time And A Word," which sounds a bit out of place, but it's okay. Unfortunately, for some reason they chose to include "Don't Kill A Whale," which has to be at least the second or third worst song they've ever recorded ever ever even today in these Union years. I give it a solid 8 though, and recommend it to any fan in need of another Yes ficksx.
Reader Comments

thutley@e-z.net (Thomas Hutley)
Be thankful , ye' merry men, and rejoice! For even though the band that was recorded on this album no longer existed, it still made it to the vinyl stores... and not as a bootleg, either! The production credits go to YES, but we all know it was Squire! Who else would make a track list missing "Roundabout" and "All Good People"? The same guy who wasn't going to put those two on the Classic Yes release as well! And let me second the motion that this song list is prime cut, grade A, USDA stamped beef! No fat. No bone. And none of that hard, black stuff that makes you crave tofu. This is the kind of stuff that makes your hamburgers taste like STEAKburgers! Let me tell ya', these guys really broke out into some killer chops on these ditties! And as for "Whale", I'd take this version over the studio track any day of the year, including "Be Kind to Animals" week, and that's no Balooga! With meat like that, you don't even CARE there's no potatoes! Relish well these recordings, my friends, because most of these forgotten YES gems will never see the strobe-light of stage-day again. But man will this stuff stick to your ribs! And all done by a bunch of vegiterians...

tabasco@worldnet.att.net (BOB's)
What does this really have to do with food? A great concert performed by the real Yes. "Parallels" is a better song live than original. It opens like you're in a baseball game with Rick's keyboard. "Time And A Word" kind of sounds the same as the original. But is nice really. "Going For the One" live is a good hard rock piece of music. "GATES OF DELIRIUM" ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It rocks so cool, the fight is better and I bet those people at the show must have been thrilled. Second disk starts out with "Don't Kill the Whale" is cool. First the song then the intoduction of the stage crew. Than the 30 minute "Ritual", why did they put the same song on two tracks, I really don't get it, but it was so better than the original, I mean much better. "Wonderous Stories" is so heart warming live and not live. I give this album a 9.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Great sounding in comparison to Yessongs. Rick's in all the pics, but Patrick is featured for the most part time-wise. I understand your confusion placing it before Drama, 'cause this live album recollects performances from 1976 up to 1978 (right after Tormato), being entirely recorded prior to The Buggles incursion in Yes history. If one wants to keep a chonological recording (not release) order, then Yesshows must come first. Tell you, Yesshows is 9/10.

paul.rogers@ait.uc.nz
This was my fav. Yes release 'till KTA2 "New Tracks". "GOD" soars. Didn't Chris compile this to satisfy a recording contract? (ditto Classic Yes). Whatever. It must be the most played vinyl and CD in my collection. Right from the first opening strains of "firebird' and into a howling version of "Parallels". Steve should have recieved an OBE for his live work here! What the heck. Give em all one.

gwu.edu (Steven A. Sullivan)
Much better versions of the Relayer and Tales material existed; why Squire chose these is a mystery. His sterile, bass-heavy mix is no help either. For all its roughness, at least Yessongs sounded exuberantly *live*. Yesshows just lays there between my speakers, like a dead fish.

Yesstiles@aol.com
"Ritual" on this album is THE BEST live recording ever done by Yes. It is simply remarkable!

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In The Round - Slipped Disc 1978.
Rating = 9

Really nice bootleg recorded live at the LA Forum on Oct. 16, 1978. Includes great versions of all the usuals, plus lovely run-throughs of "Madrigal," "On The Silent Wings of Freedom" and "Circus Of Heaven." Rick Wakeman is a little over the top on here though. Very Emersony!

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Drama - Atlantic 1980.
Rating = 7

I originally rated this way too low. A 4 or something. It's not bad at all! Two terrible songs, sure ("Into The Lens" and "Run Through The Light"), but the other four are perfectly good! Here's my negative old review.

Get ready to read something pathetic. After Tormato, Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson got sick of the crap and called it quits, so the other guys......replaced them. With The Buggles. Ever heard of The Buggles? "Video Killed The Radio Star?" More like "Talentless New Wavers Killed The Perfectly Good Art Rock Band!" Ha! What a whimsical josh I've penned!

Ha, I tell thee!

Ha! Ha!

This album blows. They try really hard to be a tougher Yes for the '80s, but the melodies are too goofy to pull it off. Oh sure, "Does It Really Happen" is kinda catchy, and "Tempus Fugit" is one of the greatest goddamn songs ever written by mortal man, but "Into The Lens" is what we in the business call "a piece of shit," "Run Through The Light" incinerates a perfectly pleasant melody by applying the patented Yes screw-up-the-tempo formula where it clearly doesn't belong, and "Machine Messiah" sounds kinda like Queensryche, as horrid as that sounds. The guy sounds a little like Jon Anderson, sure, but, seriously, now.... Yes without Jon Anderson? That's hardly Yes, you know. Maybe Yeah or OK or something, but hardly Yes. Silly hobbits. Shits are for Styx!

Look! I've been clever again! Ha!

Reader Comments

yescomm@worldaccess.nl (Gert Bakhuizen)
I simply do NOT agree that Drama wasn't a good album! Okay, it was different and it didn't include Jon's voice, but didn't get Genesis more popularity after Peter Gabriel left the band although Genesis fans at that time turned their back on the band? The whole problem simply was that Yes without Jon wasn't Yes for most of the fans and therefore Trevor Horn never had a fair chance in showing off what he was capable of. Personally I find some great songs on the album as "White Car" and "Tempus Fugit".

By the way, I still find Geoff Downes one of the best keyboard- players Yes has ever had and in that period he maybe was even better than Rick.

rjohnson@jax-inter.net (Richard E. Johnson)
Drama was a great album musically AND vocally. Unfortunately, too many people just don't think its Yes without Jon. It could be argued that Drama is actually one of the best albums Yes ever made. I really think it is strong in every way. Chris and Steve are outrageously good throughout as are Downes and Whites. The Genesis analogy is not really fair since Gabriel's Genesis wasn't as popular as the pre-Drama Yes. If Rick can't do Yes then they should beg Downes to come back; he's the most rounded player Yes has ever had.

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
That's it - the gloves are off now, man. Geoff Downes is an excellent artist who basically blew away Rick Wakeman's music with Yes. Rick Wakeman was always the best keyboardist, and Geoff Downes came into Yes with a unique concept.....actually playing WITH the entire band! Trevor Horn was no Jon Anderson, but for this new band, I can not think of anyone who could sing those songs. And what do you do when you lose the best keyboardist and vocalist ever? You get better! Steve Howe and Chris Squire stepped-up from the shadows that often hid them behind Jon Anderson's lyrics and Rick Wakeman's amazing keyboards. Downes set a new standard for keyboards in a band. All and all it was an excellent album. Every song is well written and well performed. The band achieves its goal of a different sound, and can not be compared to previous Yes, because they are in different classes of music. This would have been the most progressive, New Age, pioneering rock band of the eighties, but...... once again, something happened. And don't EVER DIS THE STYX!

jrichter@texas.net (James K. Richter Jr.)
Face it guys, Drama is a better album than Tormato or Going For The One.

DougS@aol.com
There is one good thing that came out of this record.... Out of the ashes of Drama rose a band who released one hell of an album.... ASIA....

bringer@earthlink.net (Fred)
Good rocker of an album, perhaps it should have been called Yes-ish to avoid the politics!

sbachini@uk.mdis.com (Steve Bachini)
Jon leaving Yes was a real body blow. It was the end of Yes. Then this album turned up. I bought it and loved the production, but it just wasn't Yes. I would have given it a 3 or 4 /10. Years later I re-discovered it. Ignoring the singing, the playing on this album is fantastic. Steve, Chris and Alan are doing some of their best work and moving the Yes sound forward. It's proved to me that Yes wasn't just about Jon's voice. I'd give it a 7 now.

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
What is this crap? "Machine Messiah" has to be one of the worst songs the band has ever put out. And "White Car" is the most pointless thing the band's done since "We Have Heaven." And I must say that I agree completely with your comment on "Into The Lens." "I am a camera, camera, camera . . . " What!! That has to be the most stupid chorus ever written. After that one, I better not ever again hear anyone complain about Rabin's "Chez Nous" line again. I can't quite see how you compare stuff on this album to Queensryche. Q-ryche is a morbid glam metal band. This stuff isn't even close. I can, however see the Styx comparison. There were moments when it sounded like Yes was going to break out into "Mr Roboto." Yuck! "Tempus Fugit" was cool, and I liked the bassline to "Does it Really Happen," but I could throw the rest away.

DrGottliebson@msn.com (Daniel Gottliebson)
Hey! An album with a Roger Dean cover, neat! I'll buy it. Hmm, a group called Drama is putting out an album called Yes. Ha! That's a nice tribute sort of thing. Not bad! I like "Tempus Fugit" a lot. Gee, I sure hope Yes puts out another album soon.

PF90125@aol.com
ok. Drama defense time..i really love the album. despite the loss of jon. i am a major chris fan, and this album brings him to the fore more than any other album. you hear his voice and his bass carrying the torch as if alone. steve found his soon to be asia power. alan finally impressed me with his missing snare hits in "Run Into The Light." i love the sound, texture, vocals, power, teamwork and of course the heaviest bass in quite a while..the gentleman above was correct in saying that chris blew Tormato with a flange...

James@jpb-s.demon.co.uk
I can't believe how badly Drama has aged. I kinda liked it at the time; the final instrumental bit on "Does It Really Happen" is a killer. Nowadays I really don't care for it.

TempsFugit@aol.com
First off: Queensryche is not glam metal--they have made some interesting music. Anyway, "white ca"', "into the lens"--yeah, sure, doesn't sound like the same band that did "heart of the sunrise" or "ritual"--but progressive rock is supposed to progress! It's different, it's unusual, it's...progressive.

rderby@erols.com
some cool sounds. some great playing (and singing). some good songs (and a great song "tempus fugit") hey! i like this record! but why did SPINAL TAP show up on "...messiah"?

FPerdomo@IX.Netcom.com (Fernando Perdomo)
I wish Yes always sounded as tight and heavy as drama was. "Machine Messiah" is the greatest song yes did after Relayer. I also prefer Trevor Horne's vocals to Jon's. Horn's voice has more midrange and more presence, a little more Dramatic and Ballzy. Geoff downes was the best Keyboard player yes ever had, will trade Relayer tour Boot for Drama Tour Boot.

HODGESIII@aol.com
Most of the comments about "Machine Messiah"'s first two minutes being really bad heavy metal are right. And the lyric, "I am a Camera" is a good forerunner for all time worst lyric in any album. BUT, considering the two new band members that were added for the album it's not a total waste. I can listen to parts of "Machine Messiah" and tracks 4, 5 and 6 because they really showcase some good bass and guitar work from Squire and Howe. If you are in the right frame of mind (no-this won't be the Yes album) you can really enjoy listening to this album for what it's worth.

rlewisj@ibm.net (Tom Tebalt)
This, for me was the last great Yes album. I was sorry to see Rick and Jon leave, but the album is still one of my fav's. Drama is better than: 90210 (I mean 90215), Big Loverator (how many times can you use the word 'love' on one album?) and all the other weak albums of the '80's. I'll take Trevor Horn over that other Trevor any day, any time! "White Car" live was one of the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jwhat@merlin.ebicom.net (SIBERIAN_KHATRU)
Well my point made again. People put this album down because of Jon or Rick. Chris and Alan did very well. "Machine" was really good. "White Car" rules...........................

dajones@bigtex.ci.dallas.tx.us (Doug Jones)
Who is the real Yes? I always hate to hear Yes fans trashing DRAMA on the basis that it wasn't the real Yes. Granted, Jon's trademark voice was absent for the first time, but from a roll call perspective, it's as much YES as a variety of other releases. If, as most YES fans do, we view Anderson/Squire/Howe/Wakeman/Bruford as the best, or most representative, of Yes configurations, then we must note not only that that combo was as different from the original group (pre-1970) as DRAMA was from TORMATO, but also that it lasted for about the same amount of time as the DRAMA bunch, about one year. With DRAMA, new members Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn had actually been involved in the production of TORMATO, and it was Horn's influence that ultimately gave us 90125, for better or worse.

DRAMA was made in the context of a major shift in progressive rock, at the tag end of the latter's renaissance. While Yes music had remained most distinctive and truest to the progressive style, it had also begun to lose its impact, with the release of accessible, but decidedly shallower and less salty stuff like TORMATO. Groups like UK were creating more incisive, cutting-edge progressive music, driven by the heavily syncopated, powerful jazz-fusion of former King Crimsonites Bill Bruford and John Wetton. But as intriguing as that music was and is, doggonit, you can't dance to it, and sadly that was much more important in 1980 than it was in 1972. Enter Horn's Yes and the Brufordless Asia. Straightforward rhythms, increased power, and at least a reflection of the depth and mystique of the progressive stuff. Thus, two of the DRAMA Yes (Downes, Howe) joined forces with Wetton (Crimson/UK) to form Asia, while those remaining (Squire, White) reunited with Anderson and original keyboardist Tony Kaye to carry forward Trevor Horn's Yes, 90125. Indeed, Yes fans who embrace 90125 must acknowledge that it is miles closer to DRAMA than TORMATO or previous Yes. Oh yeah, and DRAMA is a good album, definitely superior to TORMATO. With Jon off recording with Vangelis at the time, the alternative to DRAMA is not a pleasant thought.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net (BOB's)
COOL!!! I bought this album 2 years ago and I enjoyed every minute of it. "Machine Messiah" is somewhat alternative. But it never got boring. Trevor Horn is a good singer and Geoff Downes is a good keyboard player. Jon and Rick left and I really don't know why. But I guess they deserve a break for a few years. "White Car" was a short but cool song about a man in a White Car. I've seen a lot of White Cars in these days and I think of this song when I see one. "Does It Really Happen" is a Beach Boys beat song, I mean it has fun lyrics and fun music, Steve can really play that guitar for his last album with the band. "Into the Lens" is about a camera, I take photography and I like this song more than I did before. "Run Through the Light" is a cool but soft song and has its good moments. "Tempus Fugit" which means time flies is a good dance song. Drama is a good album with everything you want. There are 2 songs that never made it to the album and I forget the names of them. I give this album a 9 and I changed my mind about Going For The One, it's a 10.

dembones@pond.net
I am not a huge fan of Trevor Horn's voice, but he did exceptionally well considering the shoes he had to fill. Geoff Downs' work on Drama was breathtaking... A real step forward in terms of playing style (within a group context) and in updating the sound. Squire and White have never played better together, and Howe is begining to loosen up on the electric a bit. "Machine Messiah", "Does it Really Happen," and "Tempus Fugit" are amazing and stand up against Yes' best work. Even the horrible songs like "Into the Lens" and "Run Through the Light" have some brilliant playing and musicianship. I think Drama was simply a product of the times. Listen to Gentle Giant's "Civilian" lately?

CMBurns104@aol.com
I am a camera.......camera...camera

mrowley@pacbell.net (The Rowley Family)
The only reason I would bother to buy the CD (I've got the vinyl still) is to hear "Tempus Fugit" without all the scratches I put on it listening to it over and over again. Great song! I'm an avid Yes fan but I have to admit that this album is pretty yawnable accept for the above mentioned song. Apparently the only drama involved was trying to find out who was contractually available.

tomr@ix.netcom.com (Tom Russell)
One thing that can be said about DRAMA.

It was better than Torsplatto.

Other than that. It's time to call it quits guys. Try again in say....

16 years.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Drama was not as bad as many say. And the US tour was a smash success. It was the English audience that actually "booed" Horn. The songs in this album was pretty fine to very good. "Machine Messiah" certainly has a pop-metal edge, but many yessounds as well. (Hmmm... "Yessounds"... (couldn't it be a great record title?). "White Car" is serious Buugles plus guest Yes members. "Does It Really...?" is well executed and it is the only time Horn's voice was his own and different from Jon's; but just for that it was the low point in Trevor's singing (the vocal line "does it really happen... to- you?" sounds unsuitable for Yes, even for The Buggles). "Run Through the Light" was a pre-Buggles song Yes had but the new ones contributed ideas that didn't improve the already catchy but weaky track. "Tempus Fugit" is as good as near anything ever recorded by the band. Offord returned for some backing production, producing the clearest Yes sound in years. But the vocals added by the group created a spoiling vacuum effect in places. As for the personnel change, I think it was good to dispose of Jon at the time. He was responsible for giving others the boot when he thought someone wasn't pulling his part. If Paris 1979 sessions are any indication, Jon was musically dried so the boot was given to him. Rick just wasn't at home anymore and prefered laziness taking over. Now Downes is a damn good keyboard player, contributing a new approach and technique (including vocoder). Rick wasn't missed at all. Sure, I don't think Chris was right when he said "Geoof is the best keyboard player Yes ever had" but he was right when he pointed to Geoff's actually playing WITH the band and not just putting in some keys pyrotechnics along. The sleeve with the silver logo is another plus. Maybe this line-up deserved a second try to clarify its potential. All in all, it's 8/10 to me.

What's with Classic?. This record was intended as a postcript or an obituary more than a gap-filler in 1981. Again, I would prefer the single version of "America" rather than "Wonderous Stories" for lineup unity sake. The CD version sleeve colors aren't as sharp as the vinyl record (the silver logo is again a nice touch). The two bonus live songs -originally issued in a vinyl single sold only with the Classic album- were excellent versions (I like the introduction of each member made by Jon in the "All Good people" section) and could be included on Yesshows. Maybe they should put out one early version with Tony Kaye instead on "I've Seen All Good People", but the one released is marvelous.

Charles.Carlino@prudential.com
I remember taping this album from a friend of mine back in late '79 or early '80.... whenever it came out.... such a long time ago. Although I haven't heard the album since appx. '81, I do recall it being one of those 'not bad but not great' records. That said, the *tour* was amazing. I saw Yes for the first and last time during the Horn/Downes period (in the 'round' at Madison Square Garden) and they were great.

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
Musically, this is a better album than Tormato. Aesthetically, though -- its not really Yes. You spanked the baby on the bottom with that one. If they had just called themselves Drama, dropped the Yes moniker, and moved on, maybe we would never have had to listen to Asia and that barfbag abomination 90125 or whatever it was called would never have happened either! And wouldn't that have been heaven!!! I exclaim at thee.

cliffnorth@localaccess.com (TAD)
Mark, is it?

Well, I like Yessongs, but it may B cos I learned about these guys sorta backwards -- heard the GORGEOUS "Your Move" & then "Roundabout" on the radio, then got a chance 2 get Yessongs cheap. Never regretted it, don't care about the sound quality, don't even care that U can almost throw away a whole disc & not miss it (the 1 with "Roundabout" & Wakeman's keyboard solos). "Close to the Edge" is so overwhelming, "And You and I" so gorgeous, "Starship Troopers" so intense -- Ghod, I love practically all of it. It's all so ... alive, I guess. No surprise that after this I went back 2 hear their earlier, studio stuff & discovered that I found the original works kind of ... well ... stiff.

Xcept for Yesterdays, which I like the whole 1st side of. "America" is a hoot, "Looking Around" is lotsa fun, I even like the wimpy but catchy "Time & a Word," & of course "Sweet Dreams." But I've never made it thru Side 2....

I also adore "The South Side of the Sky."

Am also a big fan of Going for the One, practically all 5 tracks, but especially "Turn of the Century," "Wonderous Stories" & "Awaken." Hey, Yes wasn't trying 2 imitate those 80s synth-rock bands with Drama, which I think is an OK album -- I'm surprised nobody has brought this up -- they were really trying to turn into The Police! Take another listen to "Does It Really Happen" & "Run Through the Light" & C what I mean. Those bored me, but I thot "White Car," "Into the Lens" & "Tempus Fugit" were all pretty great....

1 last thing: Big Wakeman fans should check out an old 1970 number he did with The Strawbs (he was a member B4 he joined Yes), called "Where is This Dream of Your Youth?" The Strawbs were a talented little band that Rick didn't quite fit into -- this 1 track will show what I mean. It's a bitter song about wasting yr chances in life, and about 3 minutes in Wakeman takes over & just EXPLODES 4 the next 5 minutes -- it's an angry, fiery performance, & I think it's his best work ever. Well worth the trouble of tracking down. The song is great, & Wakeman is pretty amazing....

LunarShore@aol.com
I love Drama. I'm not sure why, but I really like the melodies, chords, rhythms and such. Far better than anything like Open Your Eyes or Talk and other such filth. A lot of people say that Drama "wasn't really Yes," but it is a lot more YES than that crap. Just my humble opinon.

Melodie83@aol.com (Joe)
As a huge fan of Yes I have to say that this album is very underated and one of my favorites,there are some great songs on here.Geoff Downes is a great keyboard player and Trevor Horn has a great voice he does sound like Jon so Jon's not missed to much, at first when i got this album I thought it was Jon.I agree the first track has a nice chorus but is to long, White Car is nice but to short, Does It Really Happen is a killer song great bass lines by Chris great vocals and a killer fade out by Geoff, it does sound like The Police which is great.side two is even better Into The Lens is silly but a catchy song great playing by Steve,Alan,Chris,Run Into The Light is also a good song the final song is as close to a Yes song as you can get it's terrific.this album is better than most of Yes later stuff so check it out if your a true fan i give it a 8

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Ok, this is what I think of Drama, track by track. Machine Messiah doesn't offend me particularly, but doesn't really entertain me; this is a problem when a song is ten minutes long. Then there's White Car, which is dumb. Does It Really Happen is kinda cool, sorta, and at least doesn't hurt things too much. Then you hit side two and WHAM!! the album goes south. Into the Lens SUCKS!!!!!! Anyways, Run Through the Light isn't as bad as the previous atrocity, but still a piece of crap. Fortunately, Tempus Fugit is really cool. Definitely the only reason to buy the album. A solid 4, it should feel grateful for it too.

Adrian.M.Rush.8@nd.edu
One of my personal favorites from the original "Classic Yes" era. It's a toss-up between this and Going for the One, as they both have their weak moments ("White Car" on Drama and "Wonderous Stories" on GFTO). But man, when this record gets good, it really COOKS. I don't miss Jon at all; in fact, I love the vocal interplay between Horn and Squire, especially on "Machine Messiah," which is simply one of the most daring, colorful, HEAVY tracks Yes has ever committed to vinyl. *Perfect* keyboard textures from Geoff on MM, from the piano bits to the staccato "church organ" bit to swirling Hammond organ to the "sighing" synth line. What a welcome relief from Wakeman's ugly sqeaks and chirps that litter Tormato. The interplay of the instruments in the intro to "Into the Lens" is pure genius--"egoless Yes music," as Chris Welch put it (think about it). The acapella section of "Does It Really Happen" foreshadows what's to come a few years later on "Hold On." "Run Through the Light" has some great guitar work by Steve and some wonderful dynamics--as when Alan's forceful triplets slam everything back down to a gentle mandolin section. Everyone who likes this album seems to list "Tempus Fugit" as one of their favorites, but it doesn't work for me. Great bassline, but it leaves me a bit cold. To each his own.

TMiller@globalfoodexchange.com (Terrell Miller)
First a disclaimer: I’m an officer in the Ordo Pantheris, the holy order sworn to defend and sing the praises of Drama. So I’m biased.

But I think this album is so controversial because it poses a basic question that hits Yesfans hard, regardless of how they answer. The question is this: what is Yes?

Is Yes a cosmic, spiritual communal celebration of the wonders of the Universe, or is it a band of young(ish, these days) men who give us different styles of music as they journey through life?

Fans who would answer the former are the ones who hate Drama with a vengeance. They are the ones who got hit hard smack-dab in the soul by the band’s earlier cosmic journeys. And I can see how they would feel betrayed by the almost total change of direction the band took here. Yes are not up there in the clouds anymore, they have come down to earth. Whatever it is the songs on Drama mean (don’t ask me), they most certainly don’t offer any celestial insights. I think that even more than Jon’s absence, the down-among-em attitude that is smeared over every second of Drama royally pissed off a lot of Yesheads who didn’t want their soul brethren to stop soaring.

Other fans are more comfortable with the notion that the band members are just a bunch of guys who play very well and come up with usually sublime, sometimes annoying, always interesting music. Okay, in 1980 they were *here*, that’s fine. While they were there they played their asses off and did some great songs. They weren’t ethereal anymore, but where does it say people always have to be otherworldly?

There are many mansions…

richbunnell@home.com
Don't hate this album just because the Buggles are on it. Come on, admit it, you love "Video Killed The Radio Star," just like everyone else who pretends to hate it but really actually secretly loves it. Hate the album because there is a significant shortage of good material. The way I look at it, the entire first side can just blow off. "Machine Messiah" and "Does It Really Happen" are both alarmingly boring and overlong (and yes, that two-minute metallic guitar workout at the beginning of "Messiah" is awful!!), and that's what? 16 minutes of the album? 16 awful minutes.

The second side is far better, at least to my auditory organs. I actually think "Into The Lens" is really underrated (Yes fans pick the stupidest lyrics to get their panties in a twist about-- ooh, "I am a camera," how AWFUL, it HURTS MY EARS) and "Run Through The Light" and especially "Tempus Fugit" are both really neat. I LOVE the clanking rhythm on "Tempus"-- it's not Yes (no matter how many times they say the word in the song) but rather it's bouncy, jerky new wave heaven! Too bad such a significant chunk of this album is so stupid. I give it a 6.

guppyslayer@msn.com (Ben Henderson)
I will say 2 things: first of all, who the fuck does Trever Horn think he is? A fine producer, but he just doesn't pull it off as a member of this band. There are 3 guys in this band you cannot replace: Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Jon Anderson. Jon especially, because he IS Yes. Second, I have a greatest hits collection from '93, and not a single song from this album made it. But, I agree with the guy that said this album paved the way for Asia, whose self titled album is the best Yes disc that Yes never made.

splatpack@hotmail.com (Martijn Vaassen)
i think drama is a great album. at that time yes really needed some fresh air. i think tormato had some great songs on it and i don´t think that album is a bad one at all. the point with being a progressive band is to make an album which is always something different than previous ones. anderson and wakeman left and the remaining members decided they still were a progressive band who weren´t scared of the experiment. their experiment in this case was adding horn and downes to the band. i think that experiment worked out very well. horn and downes were able to provide the band with the fresh air and new sound that they needed to evolve as a band. the music sounds refreshing and the band is closer and tighter than they´ve been for a while. the lyrics are a little more down to earth and musically they play more like a unity on this album. it seems as if they were listening to each other better and try to make music where the instruments are much more interweaved with eachother. i think this album is a great one. the sound and production is fantastic, the lyrics are a good balance between down to earth and spacey and the music is more accesable yet technically interesting. it seems yes is playing much more with feeling here instead of technique. love it.

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
I wrote about Drama a couple of years ago, and here I am, back again, hey ho and a-way we go, to say that Drama is really alright. It's really good, actually. Different, sure. Very different, in some ways. But the production is good--those drums really kick. And it's got Steve Howe, for yesman's sake!!! It is way underrated. I mean, I listen to Drama more than I listen to Fragile. So, shuddyuppy alreedy, and turn it up, go for broke, watch the night go up in smoke, and rock to Drama... uh, er, what, what the fuckola did he say? He don't know, senior, he don't know, his brain be-en rewired by those dramagrooves, yah man. Play it loud, dudeytoodleoohs.
Uh?
Fah!

Hey, Prindle-mahn, since you be reviewin' again, be sure to review The Scientists. They're this totally un-Yes-like band that all Yes fans should like, playing strange swampy garage rock with totally mesmerizing drumbeats, reptilian and tribal. And they are from Perth, did I mention that, and influenced by just about nobody. Cause they were from Perth, did I mention that already?, and it was the edge of the fucking planet and nobody knew or cared, so they had to be good just to survive. And they were, so we might say, close to the edge. Eh? Eh? yah.

Oh, and their records are so fuckspiritti hard to find. Did I mention that? But you should be reviewing them. Right now. What are you waiting for? Don't you, like, you know, trust me? Or something?

Ptah. Oh, and by the way, Spock's Beard, who are compared to Yes, totally suck. Just wanted to add that.

mefoley@cinci.rr.com
I have to say that this album was an interesting experiment. Taking a funky B-52's type poppy group and blending them in with a serious group like YES. When I first heard about this album I wondered who this Trevor Horn was that was usurping Jon's throne, when I found out it was the lead singer of the Buggles I laughed out loud and had to own this album. The album surprised me. It seems the Buggles didn't populize Yes to much, leaving thier mark subtle and in the background. The only song where the Buggles seem to shine through and show some fusion is on "Into The Lens" which is my favorite song on the album. But this line up of Yes I still have to say pales in the lights of the Anderson lead Yes and I think they wouldn't of gone on much longer like this. A good experiment, but not an idea for a permanent change.

nice.gomes@uol.com.br
My name is Gustavo and I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.I've been a Yes fan since 1999,when I decided to know their songs buying 90125 after hearing "Owner of a lonely heart" and "Hold on" (just for curiosity). Enjoying it,when I noticed their musical power , I couldn't stop! Nowadays, I own 12 of their albums.

Drama is another of these cds. It sounded awkward at first( due to John Anderson's absense).It's 1 of my favourites now. I think it would deserve 8.5 (from 0 to 10). Chris Squire's bass solos in this piece are outstanding (Especially on "Does it really happen?" and "Machine Messiah" ).The chorus in "Run through the light" is very beautiful and catchy, featuring a great work by Downes and Steve Howe. Even without Anderson or Rick Wakeman, Yes managed to maintain their terrific sounds.

Trevor Horn's voice can remember Chistopher Cross's but it ain't a problem. Although "Drama" was like a "hole coverer", it's good anyway.

Best songs: "Machine Messiah", "Does it really happen?" (with creative keyboard parts) and "Run through the light".

One highlight of Drama, is the album cover. I'd put in a wall picture due to its perfection , done by Roger Dean.

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Robert Chaundy)
I like Drama a lot, for several reasons.

a) The cover. Far superior to Tales from Topographic Oceans, comfortably Roger Dean's best album sleeve and a genuine work of art. It is an alienized earth-based landscape but rarely among the genre it has warmth and sympathy; the colour is luxuriant and the detail enthralling. It makes you want to go there dammit!

2) Funky, heavy music, i.e. what Yes were put on this Earth to make. They hadn't sounded this tight or sleek since... ooh, the 1960s, I would say, and when you think about it that's a criminal waste of one of the best rhythm sections in the business. Just you listen to White and Squire going for it on Tempus Fugit or Does It Really Happen. Awesome. There's a lot of pleasure to be had from hearing hoary old proggies playing ultra-slick disco, especially when they do it so well.

And I am prepared to fly the flag for Machine Messiah alone if need be. It is amazing: Howe's solo about seven minutes in is his best this side of Awaken, and the song is a Downes tour de force, as indeed is the whole album. They shoulda hung onto him, you know - he made Wakeman look like the boozy old cove he was.

Run Through the Light is weak though,

III) No Jon Anderson. Don't misunderstand me - the man is the centrepiece of Yes's whole history and I love his work - but a change is as good as a rest and to my mind an album without Anderson is an object of high intrinsic interest, a fascinating historical oddity to be embraced rather than scoffed at. "It's not Yes without Jon," the fools say - WELL WHY NOT? If there was ever a one-man band then Yes wasn't it. Sabbath and AC/DC and Van Halen all changed singers and thrived, and so did Yes, in a complicated sort of way. It is always a good idea to bring in new blood, to stop a band fossilising, which was exactly what Yes were doing in the late 1970s. Could you have stomached another Tormato? Mo you couldn't!

And basing the new line-up around The Buggles was a move of insane genius, a real-life Tapism. Funny as well as cool to listen to!

A proud eight then. Did you know that Drama went to number TWO in England? Well it deserved to. Deep down we all know that this is the last real, REAL Yes album; everything that came after it was pretty contrived one way or another. I think it was a great farewell.

pedroandino@msn.com
I........................ defend this computerized masterpiece in the ochentas! yes I do speak fluent spanish.

1.MACHINE MESSIAH: ...............SSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHS YA! THE DECENDING GUITAR SOLO SOUNDS LIKE THE MATRIX!!!!!!!! AFTER ALL THE BASHING WHOOSH! A SIGHING SYNTH LINE LEADS US TO THE BEAUTIFUL MACHINE MESSIAH! THE INTERGALACTIC WONDER! I SAY THIS SONG IS LIKE SOUND CHASER FROM RELAYER. I PICTURE THIS SONG IN MY HEAD AS THE FUTURISTIC MUSIC RAMBLES ON WITH SUCH GREAT DYANAMIC FORCE THAT IT IS LIKE NEW WAVE MEETS PROG. 2 TASTY TASTES LIKE CHOCOLATE AND CREAM!

THE SONG REMINDS ME OF GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX. LIKE THE MUSIC ITSELF THE CYBORG RACES DOWN THE CORRIDORS AND GETS ON THE BIKE SHOOTS! SHE IS ALSO BEAUTIFUL, TOUGH, AND SEXY. THE RIDE STOPS TWICE WITH CALM WORDS LIKE machine machine messiah as the crashing flames lit up the night. then SHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! FEEDBACK DROWNS OUT THE SONG IS OVER.

2.WHITE CAR: SHORT INTRO. IKNOW YOU HATE THE SONG BUT I SAY IT WAS KIND OF A BRETHER AFTER ALL THE CHASING ABOUT! TRVOR HORN HAS NICE VOICE BUT I SAY ANDERSON WAS BETTER! FUCK RAPPING! WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SANG IN THE FIRST PLACE?

3.DOES IT REALLY HAPPEN? WELL... THE BASS LINE KICKED! SOUNDS LIKE FRANZ FERDINAND AND THE REST OF THE NEW NEW WAVE! DEE DAA DAA DAA DEE DAA DAA DAA! THE SYNTHS SOUNDS LIKE ABBA!

4.INTO THE LENS: OKAY! WHY THE FUCK DO YOU HATE THIS SONG??????????????? I LKIE THE BILLY JOEL PIANO INTRO LIKE UPTOWN GIRL OR SOME SHIT. I AM A CAMERA CAMERA CAMERA CAMERA CAMERA CAMERA CAMERA CAMERA CAMERA CAMERA CAMERA CAMERA CAMERA! ANNOYING HUH!

5.RUN TO THE LIGHT: BEAUTIFUL POP TUNE LIKE A LATER PINK FLOYD SONG!

6.TEMPUS FUGIT: EEEEEEEEE! FAST BASS LINES! KINDA NEW WAVE! OKAY! I'M SORRY FOR CALLING NEW WWAVE GAY AND DUMB! BUT IT IS PUNK AND WANNABE PUNK I HATE! ADDICTIVE SONG.

7.CAMERA SINGLE: HEARD IT.

8.RUN TO THE LIGHT SINGLE: MUCH CLEANER.

9.HAVE WE REALLY GOT TO GO TO THIS?: LONG HUH? GOOD ROCK SONG.

10.SONG 4 SATILLITE: OOOOO BASS LINES! CHRIS SQUIRE IS THE MASTER OF THE BASS! SAMPLE THAT ONE RAPPERS! ADDICTIVE YET NEW WAVEY.

11.TEMPUS FUGIT SESSION: FASTER! FASTER! FASTER!

12.WHITE CAR OUTRO: SHORT BUT CALMING.

13.DANCE THRU THE LIGHT: NOW THIS EP IS FUNNY BECAUSE IT IS SO COOL! ANYWAY THIS IS CUTE WITH THE SYNTHS SOUNDS LIKE VIDEO GAMES WITH A VOCODER IN THE MIX TOO. NO WAKEMAN DOES NOT KILL HIS TASTE WITH THE SYNTHS HE ALSO PULLS A LOVELY BRIDGE.

14.GOLDEN AGE!: HA HA HA HA HA! GALACTIC CIRCUS! THE KEYS SOUNDS LIKE RINGLING BROTHERS! HURRY STEP RITE UP!

15.IN THE TOWER: TIFA I LOVE YOU! THAT'S MY WIFE.

16.BAD SONG. MEH.

LAST GOOD MOMENT. and last good purchase. 10.

Add your thoughts?

90125 - Atco 1983.
Rating = 8

Rick Wakeman, eat your heart out! A reformed Yes with Anderson, Squire, and White picking up young South African guitarist Trevor Rabin and original Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye (whose style has changed with the decades, but hasn't gotten a whole heck of a lot more interesting) manages to take the modern early '80s rock sound and run with it! No less than five radio standards (Did you see that? That's a sharp writer's way of saying "five." Man, I'm the shit.) splotched outta this baby, and with good reason; the songs are pretty basic, but mind-numbingly catchy, well-produced, and tough. Even listening to it today, one is impressed by how accurately they captured that sterile processed sound of the era and yet managed to make the songs so darn well-written and developed that, unlike every other record released in 1983, it doesn't sound dated at all (except maybe those Janet Jackson "shreeek!" noises in "Owner Of A Lonely Heart," but we're mature enough to ignore those, eh?). Quite a feat.

I docked it a couple of points for the simple reason that anybody can play this stuff - the days of dazzling musical pyrotechnics are over, but still.... "Owner Of A Lonely Heart," "It Can Happen," "Changes," "Leave It," and "City Of Love" move me in ways that only small children can see. Slick, loud, crisp, pretty, what other praise can I utter? Doesn't sound a lick like any Yes that came before, but it's really groovy, man. Even the non-hits are super good. "Our Song?" I like it a lot! "Hearts?" Eh... a bit lengthy, but still pretty good! Buy it, guy! And enter the '80s!

Reader Comments

yescomm@worldaccess.nl (Gert Bakhuizen)
'Till this day I'm still happy this album was made as Yes would have probably no longer exist. Concerning the album, it fitted into the eighties but for me it is to popular. It hasn't got the elusive sounds from for instance Relayer and it too much focussed on a hit-single. The biggest problem with record-co.'s these days.

rjohnson@jax-inter.net (Richard E. Johnson)
This isn't Yes, this is Cinema. Poor Trevor Rabin has paid for it ever since. This album wasn't written like the previous Yes albums and doesn't sound or feel like the previous Yes albums. It sounds like a new band with Squire and White as the rhythm section. Having said that - it has some great music on it. It's too bad that Big Generator and Talk didn't even come close...

CClark@aol.com (Cheryl Clark)
I love Yes because they were a great band to listen to on the radio in the early 70's. They made some great music back then. My favorite was 90125 because it had "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" on it.

Limbeck@sprynet.com (Cody Barrow)

Trevor Rabin may be a good addition to Yes, but it's hard to consider him a memeber of the Yes band I've grown up with!

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
I disliked the totally eighties tone of the album, but a lot of the tunes are catchy, and Trevor Rabin's fresh, smooth, electric sound. Cinema made the album, and I wonder what the album would be like if Jon never joined CINEMA to reform Yes. The lyrics were not that great as the band totally ditched prog-rock in order to achieve top forty success. They achieved their goals with this album. Kaye is good, but Downes and Wakeman are missed. It would have been great if Trevor Horn had stayed with Yes to record vocals also, but you can't have everything.

DougS@aol.com
Make no mistake, though the album sports the "YES" moniker, this is a Trevor Rabin album with members of YES doing clean up work. Rabin wrote many of the songs on this album before the band got together. Rabin even admitted that he had to handle the lyrics of several of the songs because he hadn't written them to fit Jon Anderson's "style" of singing. Having said that, this album is still good as a top 40 piece of fluff. But ASIA was deeper and better at the time....

yancyd@pacificnet.net (Yancy Duncan)
I can't help but say it, Trevor Rabin Blows! I saw 9 shows with that guy and I've never seen anyone try so hard to be cool and liked by a group of concert goers. He was a weak and pathetic fill-in for a true master (Steve Howe). The only redeeming quality Trevor had was he wrote the song that kept the band alive- but have we gotten much in return? Little if any real YES music came since they were Rabinized. Plus he thinks he can sing-- please, give me a break. This was never, and will never be his band which is what he wanted "from the beginning" (oh look, an ELP reference). He sucks! The record is great if you are anyone but YES. However, they do have a higher standard. Plus, he brought the most ungodly repulsive groupies to the whole scene.

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
The album that introduced me to Yes. I love every song on this album. I can't help but sing along with "It Can Happen." And "City Of Love" rocks better than anything the band had done up to that point. I'm glad to hear that you liked it also.

J. S. Cardinal
If I was going to be stranded somewhere, and had to choose only ONE album in the whole world, there's no doubt in my mind it would be 90125. I bought this album 4 times! I listened to my first cassette so much that the tape stretched, so I bought it again. Then, when CDs came out, I bought one. Then somebody broke into my car and stole it along with a few others. Yes, I bought it again, and I went to sleep on it yesterday night, as a matter of fact. Of course, I could only actually fall asleep when the album was over... It might not be in Yes' usual line of work, but it's still my all-time favorite!

rderby@erols.com
i am sick and tired of RABIN bashing. how can anyone dispute that this is the single reason YES is still around? yeah, this is CINEMA with Anderson singing on it but who cares?!! it works from beginning to end and YES had been attempting to make a record like this since TORMATO. IT TOOK RABIN TO SHOW THEM HOW(E). as far as ASIA doing it better.....please. step outta Howeland and realize Rabin saved this band from its own excessive weight. P.S. i'd like to see Howe interpret Rabin with the class Rabin did Howe on YES' upcoming tour (i wager he won't even try!)

perth@worldnet.att.net (Peter Bambakidis)
When Trevor Rabin first heard Yes, he must have said to himself "there's a group that I can really wreck!" I would have preferred 90125 to have been by Cinema, with Rabin, Squire, White, and Kaye rather than have it be Yes with Jon Anderson. It would have been better if Yes disbanded until Union, with the merger of Cinema and Yes into one.

First_last@studio.disney.com
I cast a somewhat jaundiced eye back at this record. Though I do admit liking the tour a lot, the record has not aged a well as I had hoped. Some good Anderson vocal moments too if you listen closely!

Zorak143@aol.com
I KNEW you couldn't resist the temptation to say "Rick Wakeman, eat your heart out" at some point during this review thing.

Glenn.Wiener@entex.com
The band successfully moves to more pop oriented numbers.

rlewisj@ibm.net (Tom Tebalt)
Many people are saying that 90210 (I know .....) was the album that kept Yes going, but so what? It paved the way for Big Generator, Union, and Talk. If Yes had stopped at Drama, I could have at least said that Yes never put out a bad album. (Oh well, there's still Peter Gabriel). I'll admit that I bought 90210 and BG, and saw the tours, but it just wasn't the same. My CD collection of Yes skips from Drama to Keys to Ascension.

jwhat@merlin.ebicom.net (SIBERIAN_KHATRU)
"Our Song" is the only thing that saved this album for me.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net (BOB's)
Well Jon and Tony are back in business. And this business will never run out. "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" is the most popular song Yes has ever made. If it wasn't for this album Yes would be gone. They even hired a really good guitar player but not as good as Steve. "Hold On" is a good alternative song, "It Can Happen" is a rocking sing a long, "Changes" is a very sad song but very musical and touching, "Cinema" is a short but breath taking song but there is a long version to it, "Leave It" is a good song with good dance beat and singing from the band, "Our Song" is a very beautiful track, very musical I think about Toledo, "City Of Love" is a kick ass dance song, and "Hearts" is a relaxing long Yes piece of music. Enclosing my review I give this album a 10.

dembones@pond.net
90125 was a truly inspired album. It is certainly not the Yes that we know and love, but it was a damn good rock album, especially considering the horrible music scene at the time. The production is perhaps the best Yes had thus far, and it still sounds remarkably fresh today. As good as the album is, I am not a fan of Rabin. In fairness though, I feel Rabin was sucked into a situation that he didn't want, and he shouldn't have had the burden of trying to live up to the legacy of Yes' past. Kaye's return didn't excite me either, and I truly question his contributions to the album. (Rabin's familiar keyboard work on Talk makes me suspicious of 90125 and Generator.) Regardless, Fantastic record! 9 of 10

windstorm@geocities.com (Robert Reynolds)
This is the first album I ever bought, and it took saving up my lunch money for 2 weeks to finally rid myself of the mono tape recording I made with a 15 pound tape recorder off of the radio eagerly and hastily hitting the record button whenever a song was played. To me, this was Yes. I never even knew anything else existed. Not until many years later did I learn to fully appreciate my growing "oldies" collection of Yes titles. I like them all, but 90125 is still the cream in my bucket.

CMBurns104@aol.com
Trevor Rabin is a disgraceful, talentless bum. I blame him and him alone for ruining Yes. Shame on him, and on you for approving of his shitty debut album.

dlgeer@innercite.com
I have read the discussions about the Yes discography from begining to end. As a long time Yes fan I agree with much of what has been said, and disagree with a lot of it as well . First of all, Yes started out as, continued as, and still is Chris Squire's band. Any contention over the Yes moniker is easily decided by the fact that Anderson, Howe and Wakeman were invited to join after the band's inception. Bill Bruford is the exception here; although an original member of the group, he too became a member at Squire's invitation. Any lineup with Sqire at the helm is Yes if he says it is.

Now as much as I appreciate "classic Yes," if I found myself in the insane position of knowing that I was about to be "beemed aboard" the Starship Enterprise (with a sheet of acid in my coat pocket!), with instructions to bring only one album by each of my favorite recording artists, 90125 would be the Yes album I would take with me. You may all groan, shout obcenities or whatever you wish to do now!

tomr@ix.netcom.com (Tom Russell)
I have never really considered this a yes album. A Yes album needs to be listened to. Put on the headphones, turn out the lights, etc, etc.

In spite of that, I like "It Can Happen" It sounds positively Yessy". I also like "Leave It".

Good marketing. That's the most redeeming thing about this album. Never bought the album. Didn't have to. It was all over the radio.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
90125 had one good point: it kept Yes alive after its announced death, resurrection due mainly to Rabin. The one bad point was that Rabin killed off Yes' musical essence as well. It was like keeping the name but killing the legend. They were the same guys for the most part, but the change in musical style was radical and brought Yes to discos. If this lineup (even without Jon) would have kept the Cinema name and premise it would have been more acceptable to Yes fans. On the other hand, it gave Yes true worldwide recognition and made it popular with kids (and gals). "Owner" put Yes in the number one spot (with the likes of Michael Jackson and Madonna) but certainly with style. It takes more than Trevor Rabin to kill Yes' flavour entirely. Don't get me wrong: Rabin is a top-notch musician, but his style is not Yessy. To put it this way: Bruford is, at least for me, the best rock drummer ever, but he couldn't maybe be as good a drummer for The Beatles as Ringo Starr. It's all a matter of fit in or not.

The other real star of 90125 was another Trevor: producer Horn, shining even more than in Drama. The excellent sound and production was HIS job. The rest just kind of went along: Squire and White kept the pace but didn't do much. Kaye gave "Owner" a distinct (though too industrial) keyboard sound, but he took a front seat only from "Changes" onward (and not matching his earlier Yes presence). Jon sang well and contributed good parts but obviously came a little too late into the proceedings. "Hearts", underrated by many, is for me the best of the pack, sounding closer to the Yes of yesterdays. The "Cinema" track has only two distinctions: being recorded "live" in the studio and being the first totally instrumental independent track conceived and played by the group (thus different to "Wurm", the "Fragile" solo designs and other solo spots). This was a "vocal" Yes for the most part, with more backing voices than ever. The sleeve had a totally new style, which is good (but I doesn't like it, what the hell!). Not Roger Dean, Martyn Dean, Brian Lane or plates by Mansell Litho this time. I give this record 7 out of 10.

Charles.Carlino@prudential.com
Hey "Yancy Duncan," if you hated Trevor Rabin so much, then why on Earth did you *force* yourself to see the Rabin incarnation of Yes 9 times? Are you some kind of moron?

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
Oh, I see. You are one of *those* who like the 80s Rabin-fueled version of Yes. Well, its your karma. But perhaps you should get out Tales every nite and pray, pray, pray to those silly gods Jon invokes. Of course, Jon, for his part on this slab-o-corporate-evil, needs a prayer carpet woven with words from that "lengthy footnote" he be so enamored of to kneel down on twice a day, every day, for the rest of his topographic life... This record is just simply unlistenable. As bad as Asia. Maybe worse.

ssvsoft@online.no (Snorre Serigstad)
Stop picking on Rabin! As if it would be any better if Yes was to remembered as the band who concluded their careers with DRAMA... Yes, most of the tracks are FAR too close to the 80's list pop standards, but "Owner of a lonely Heart" is great. Trevor Horn shows that he actually IS capable of singing, too (backing on "Owner"), and Kaye is great.

Melodie83@aol.com (Joe)
One of the best Yes records since Close To The Edge, a big comeback and it deserved to be.not a bad song on the album.Owner Of A Lonley Heart was the big hit , I first heard it when I was ten when it was released ,It sounded like a Police song cool but a great song anyway,Hold On is also a great song a heavy song but great vocals and great guitar and drums,It Can Happen is a great ballad the first group since The Beatles or Stones to use a Sitar on a single,Changes is okay until it goes on for to long,Cinema is great druming by Alan he should be in the top drumers of all time.Leave It is a great randb song the vocals are incredible Chris really should get more credit for his singing besides being a great bass player,Our Song is good except that the lyrics don't make much sense,City Of Love has great bass playing and the lyrics are pretty corny but the song cooks,the final song Hearts should of been a single jon's voice is great and also great harmony and guitar.for 1980's Yes the best album they recorded can be compared to there past it's that good a 10 rating

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
I had no idea whether I would like this album when I ordered it; half of me said, "hey, the Moody Blues pulled out Long Distance Voyager and The Present during this era" while the other half said "yeah, but they also did The Other Side of Life and Sur La Mer" Well, this is one good album. I agree with the 8. Mind-numbingly catchy is right.

michael.blume@gte.net
This is a great Yes record. Don't let those bastards tell you any different. I'm proud to see that Yes moved on very well to the world of pop music, even if it was just for two studio albums. I believe it should get a 9 out of 10. Rabin proved to himself that he was very worthy as a Yesman. It's still Yes, but in it's own right. Fuck, you can't expect another Tales every wipstitch! Hell, I know a guy named Scott Anderson who runs a Yes fan website, and he totally dislikes '80's Yes, and here are his reasons why:

His first reason is:
"Trevor Rabin brought to the band a roboticized sense of the most overcopied elements of Led Zeppelin's song forms with absolutely none of the subtlety or originality (the best they could do after letting Jimmy Page escape the fold, I suppose), combined with an emotionless, musically vacuous ability to "shred" at blinding speed on his hand-painted "tortured soul on display" Stratocaster." -Scott Anderson

His second reason, also, is:
"YES is not YES without the grumbly, fidgety (in a good way) bass of Chris Squire. (Which, on a side note, is one reason why I don't care much for '80s YES -- Squire lost, or was forced to relinquish -- his distinctive bass sound.)" -Scott Anderson

I almost forgot. His address is http://room34.com/yes/ if you want to check it out. His e-mail is scott@sanderso.org if you, Rabin lovers, want to flame him for those silly comments above that he said on his Yes website. All I can say is fuck him. He should know better to appreciate '80's Yes. Be thankful Yes was still around when the Rolling Stones were sucking ass in the '80's. Even though I perfer to listen to '70's Yes more like Scott Anderson does, it's still no excuse for flaming Rabin. It's also not an excuse to not like Yes' '80's output. I like 90125 as much as you do, Prindle, and the same goes to Big Generator. Good night!

Adrian.M.Rush.8@nd.edu
This is where I came in with Yes. I didn't know a thing about their history when I heard "Owner" on the radio, which, as a 12-year-old Top 40 kid who always loved anything a bit quirky or otherwise out of the ordinary, simply blew me away at the time. It's not as dear to my heart now as it was then, but it was the one song that opened the door for me to Yes, and the the whole prog-rock genre. So I owe it, and Trevor Rabin, a lot of gratitude. And I still think the "Owner" guitar solo is among the 10 best in the history of rock 'n' roll.

The album has held up fairly well over the years, I think. My favorite tfrom 90125 hese days is "Hearts," which has that ethereal feel of Classic Yes--a link to the glory days that at that time had passed. The only dud on the whole album, really, is "Our Song." I'd give it a 7/10.

richbunnell@home.com
"Leave It," as poppy as it is, has got to be one of the coolest songs of the '80s. Listen to it and realize just how complex it is compared to so much of the other pop of the time! Sure, it has those stupid "BANG!" noises at the end of the chorus, but the acapella "doo-doo-doo"-ing, the processed drums and the wonderful chorus harmonies just make this an amazing song, even if the opening is sort of a poppier reprise of the beginning of "I've Seen All Good People."

"It Can Happen," "Changes," and "Hearts" are also quite good, and I guess "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" is catchy, but it's worn off on me-- plus, what kind of frickin' schizophrenic song is that? It starts out like a metal raveup, then goes into rhythmic funk verses, and then the chorus comes in which has those light guitar riffs--and then at the end all of these partyish dancy horns jump into the mix! What does this song want to be?!?!? Still, I give the song credit for being catchy and having a really cool video. Oh yeah, and "Hold On" is one of the biggest crap songs I have ever heard. Sure, this is all pop that anyone could play, but "Hold On" sounds like it was made for those crappy '70s bands like Foreigner or Toto who I hate oh so much. This album gets a low 8.

guppyslayer@msn.com (Ben Henderson)
This is the first yes album I ever bought, and it is a fine piece of work, but as I bought more and more albums, it was less and less a favorite of mine. Trevor Rabin is a good guitarist, and a fine writer, but he's no Steve Howe. I swear to God, the first time I heard Hold On, I thought it was Jefferson Starship. For some reason, Jon Anderson sounded like Grace Slick on that song. Maybe it was just me...

joel.larsson@privat.utfors.se
This is pure 80's dumb. Why should I listen to this?

tommy_chuck@hotmail.com (Tom Marshall)
Nice pop record, with some great songs, but this is NOT a Yes album. Yes is about moving forward, going into the un-known, and playing too damn fast for the sake of it! This just sounds like Def Leppard! I think Trevor Rabin is a wonderful guitarist and a superb writer, but he doesn't compare to Howe. Howe is a individualistic genius; Rabin sounds too much like Van Halen! Completely overrated and sits like a gate-crasher next to revolutionary masterpieces like Close to the Edge...........3/10

mefoley@cinci.rr.com
This album perfectly sets the goal the band set out for in 1968, "Vocal harmony with strong instrumental backing". On previous Yes albums one would seem to compensate for the other. But on this album the playing is perfect and the vocals are perfect. I define this album as Heaven and dub it my favorite Yes album. Trevor Rabin and Jon Anderson play off each other well vocally and once again the playing is perfect.

ian.moss@aya.yale.edu (Ian Moss)
This one arrived in my tape collection straight from the local self-described "music emporium," which generally has a bunch of country albums and about 8 copies of Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. However, this time they managed to sell me a damn fine record, regardless of how much they no doubt wished to dump some Garth Brooks on me. Yes, Yes reinvented themselves with this album. Yes, it sounds terribly dated. But honestly, what else was out there in 1983? Thriller? U2's War? This album was popular because it was halfway decent when little else out there was. (of course, had it been fully decent it probably would have been half as popular. such is the way.)

"Owner of a Lonely Heart" is just the beginning, in so many ways. (Well, at least two.) (Actually, I just thought of a third. Cool!) To me, this song epitomizes the sound of the '80s more than any other song that I can think of. I mean, just listen to that production! The orchestra hits, the strings at the end, the lean rhythm guitar, the ridiculous distortion used for effect only, even the lyrics. Sooooo '80s. But catchy as ! And that's the same with most of the other songs too. Some of them are a mite overlong (ahem "City of Love" ), but they are of surprisingly consistent quality and intricacy for soulless commercial sell-out music.

I'm discovering that consistency is perhaps the greatest convincing agent that an album can have. When all of the songs are good, you just can't argue. It doesn't matter if none of them are great or all that special. On any good album, the dogs stand out more than the insta-classics. And any album with no dogs is worth an 8 to me.

By the way, "Cinema" is mad rad, yo. Don't overlook it.

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Robert Chaundy)
Well, Ian said it. Apart from his sly dig at 1983 that is - there was a shedload of great albums that year! Kill 'Em All, The Final Cut, Madonna, Flick of the Switch, Script for a Jester's Tear - I could go on!

People always say this album is 'dated' like that's a bad thing - well it's not. It's quite nice to listen to a piece of music and instictively be able to put it in its historical context. Yes, timeless music is also pleasant, but if ALL music were timeless then we might as well scrap time, at least as far as music is concerned (it would have to stay for other purposes).

No, you can't play this to your friends. It is hammy. But it has strong melodies, a virtue that can make up for pretty much anything. My personal favourite is Our Song, and Hearts and Cinema are neglected too. Great rhythm work from White and Squire. And it is kind of satisfying to hear Anderson having to sing someone else's songs; working for his money for once, even if his voice isn't really suited to fast disco songs - a character-building experience for him, no doubt.

So yeah - 8!! This is a really good album! It's fun! The songs may not last longer than some Italian governments, but that was sooo 70s anyway... short songs can rule too, you know.

lionswater@earthlink.net (David Woycechowsky)
Nice "Give Me Convenience . . ." ref. Considering "Give Me Convenience" for a second, I always wondered what the point was of picking out Dinah Shore for abuse? Did she do some unleftist thing at some point? Yes fans, do *you* know?

pedroandino@msn.com
fuck 90126!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????????????????????????????????????????? FUCK POP RADIO! GOD ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! HUGGA MABUGGA MA MOTHERFUCKOR ASSHOLE! sorry I had a sezure when I hear shitty overplayed clear channel shite! I am more of an anti singles guy! I do not like fucking hit pop singles!!!!! fuck the florida radio fagwads whtq ORLANDO'S NUMBAH ONE ROCK STACION! NINETYFOR POINT SEVAN! fuck you fagwad! peter cetera likes owner and he killed chicago in the 1984 ronald regan campaign with yer da insparationnnnn!!!!!!!! I am not in a good mood I was taking care of my daughter sorry gustavo but I fucking despise 9012345678919932846586795495067965594304905596594339394909089089767906! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! STILL, MY FRIENDS I LOVE dearly is close to the edge. RELAYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! is NUMBER ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for me! fuck rabin! the real master of the show was none other than mr. STEVE HOWE! he is the faster player and the glue that held yes!

sorry guys 70's yes kills that overplayed I love the ochentas! ha ha ha spanish! that means I love the 80's dog cock! do not call me a linkin park 50 cent loving cock who liked mtv, bet, and connie chung all day! okay I was taking care of my sweet daughter I am a family man. grow up ya cocksucker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! at least I am! dickson, chaundy, you guys are starting to become like me. hey am not here to dis you! yer jokes are funny but mine is far more better! I am not geroge carlin but iam george lopez! HEY (FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFART!) WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHY CAUSE MR. CACA HAD TO GO TO THE BATHROOOOOM! as for this a 2!

lweiner@webmail.co.za
So much for all you geniuses who talk bad about Trevor Rabin,your ignorance is laughable.

He's a genius classical pianest,I bet you didn't know that,and a master musician.

He cant be too shabby if he writes and produces the score to every Jerry Bruckheimer movie.

t_trudeau@tru.ca
Mark,

In the years since you wrote the "Yes" review page, have you ever considered raising the grade of "90215" to a nine? It's been a while, yeah, and the album isn't as complex as earlier albums (from what I gather), but MAN OH MAN is it great. I've had it for six months and I'm still not (completely) tired of it! It's goofy, dated, and ludicrously overblown, yup, but that's what makes it so unique! What else sounds so...geez, I hate to use a word again, but: overblown!

Just a thought.

pedroandino@msn.com
sorry about the rant so do not fucking test me!

1.OWNER OF A LONELY HEART: boom chac boom chac boom cha boom chac boom chac boom chac booom chac boom chac boom chac boom chooka chooka! casey kasim is an asswipe!

2.HOLD ON: AH YEAH! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLD ON HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLD ON. SUNSHINE SHINING THRU! DIG THE CHOURS.

3.IT CAN HAPPEN: SITARS!!!! ADDICTIVE SONG!

4.CHANGES: starts with a tinkly bell sound then the tempo changes. shut the fuck up thomas rickort! faggot!

5.CINEMA:..................................................yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeah boom! great insturmental!

6.LEAVE IT: I CAN FEEL NO SENSE OF MEASURE! NO ILLUSIONS AS WE TAKE! REFUGE IN OUR MAN'S PLEASURE BRAKING DOWN THE DREAMS WE MAKE REAL! ADDICTIVE SONG WITH A DANCE BEAT!. AND ACAPELLA VOCALS.

7.OUR SONG: CUTE.

8.CITY OF LOVE: YES DOING HEAVY METAL???? WHAT THE FUCK! SUCKS!

9.HEARTS: AH MUCH BETTER NOT AS ETHEREAL AS TO BE OVER WITH THAT DANG MELLOTRON!

10.LEAVE IT REMIX: GET THE REMIX!

11.MAKE IT EASY: SOUNDS LIKE JOURNEY! ADDICTIVE!

12.IT CAN HAPPEN CINEMA VERSION: COULD BE A GOSPEL SONG!

13.IT'S OVER: ADDICTIVE JOUNEYISH 80'S ROCK! I HAVE COME TO MY SENCES!

14.OWNER REMIX!: SUCKED!

15.LEAVE IT A CAPELLA MIX: WHAT IS WITH THE REMIXES?!

OKAY I CALMED DOWN I HAVE A WIFE DO NOT FUCK WITH ME! 10!.

edonohue@bu.edu (Eric Donohue)
I love you, if only for putting a Dead Kennedy’s reference in a Yes review.

marc.kreienbrink@gmail.com
[i]90125[/i] is my favorite Yes album. Sure, it's different than all the others, but so what? It rocks, and it still has that Jon Anderson guy singing on it, so it's GOTTA be Yes. Trevor, Chris, and Alan are (crack)rock-solid on every cut. This is classic rock.

The ONLY thing I'd change is I'd NOT turn off the reverb on Jon's voice for the last several words of "Hearts". If I ever meet Trevor Horn that's the first thing I'm going to say to him. Then, I'll lick my index and middle fingers and smear them on his big ol' glasses.

Here's a question: is it "Nine Oh One Two Five" or "Nine Zero One Two Five"?

10 out of 10.

finnbros90ca@yahoo.com
Looks like one of the posters here had studied capitalization in university and is now applying those skills vigorously. Beautiful.

90125 is a very well crafted piece of plastic. The level of skill on display here is quite high, but the epic novel has been ditched in favor of the novella. Still action packed in places, but with no MSG.

On a sad note, the arrangement and production style on "Leave It" gave the listening public a glimpse of a very grim future (mid to late 80's) where popular music became icy synths + no melodies = CATSHIT.

Jorge Bernardino
Why do people constantly bash 80's Yes and Trevor Rabin? He rejuvenated Yes when they were being cheesy (I mean Tormato-era, and I like Tormato as well). Haters' only argument is that he is no Howe, WTF people. He has his own style, and unlike Howe, Rabin was classically trained in guitar. Don't get me wrong, I like Howe's style, but he also played generic style in Asia. Yes, almost the whole album was written by Rabin, but arguments that the songs are terrible because of it are wrong. Anderson contributed it and made them what they are, which is not to say that they are bad, he improved them and made them awesome. For example, in the 90125 Rhino reissue, you can hear the original It Can Happen as a bonus track, before Jon Anderson came, and it is not to par with the one used in the album.

I like Progressive Rock a lot, the epics and suites,etc. but unlike other Prog bands that went "generic", Yes was one of the few that still made excellent songs in what I like to refer to as Progressive Pop. Our Song is the best track in my opinion, but It Can Happen, Owner, City Of Love, and Cinema are up there. Also, before I get bashed for defending 80's Yes, my favorite album (maybe of all time) is Tales From Topographic Oceans.

Add your thoughts?

Leave It 12" Single - Atco 1983.
Rating = 8

Finally the ringmasters of progressive, architectural art rock have released their true trompe-le-monde. Taking the "full-side-epic backed by two half-epics" format of Close To The Edge and Relayer to nearly poetic heights, Jon Anderson and the Squires of Heaven have finally risen to the cream of spiritual excelsior with the absolute pinnacle of nuanced, magickal _expression. Side One is built from top to bottom as fully-realized brilliance in songwriting, an endless enigma of _expression entitled "Leave It (Hello, Goodbye Mix)." Never have nine and one half minutes felt so much like an hour and a half, as repeated early-80s Pet Shop Boys synths back up loop after loop after mind-clearing loop of the Yesmen saying "Hello Hello Hello" and "Goodbye Goodbye Goodbye." Occasionally the song threatens to actually get going, but NEVER. For that would change everything, the dark to light, the spheres of influence to black holes of purpose, unctuous doors to reality.

Side B is, if anything, even better than the perfect mediocrity of perfection that aligns side A with the celestial seasons. It features "Leave It (Re-mix)" and "Leave It (Acappella)(sic)," the former being a near exact replica of the album track "Leave It" from 90125: the latter bringing the rising ennui to an orgasmic explosion of sound and fury in an a capella version of "Leave It" from 90125. If only today's art rockers (The Flaming Lipps, The Radio Head) could create something of this magnitude and magnifique. But they are young - we must give them time to develop and embolden their sound, as our hearts and minds rise into a collective downpour of eternal love for all of God's creatures.

Add your thoughts?

9012Live-The Solos - Atco 1985.
Rating = 3

Ewww. What a lousy idea. Remember a few minutes ago when I said, "The days of dazzling musical pyrotechnics are over?" You don't wanna hear this particular incarnation of Yes play solos. Take my word. My word is tedious! Gets a couple of points for faithful live renditions of "Hold On" and "Changes" from 90125, plus that part near the end when Chris Squire suddenly breaks into "Tempus Fugit" and "Sound Chaser," but the bulk of the material, and in fact the crux of the concept, i.e. the solos, bite it.

Or is it "bites it?" Ahh, write your own damn sentence.

Reader Comments

yescomm@worldaccess.nl (Gert Bakhuizen)
I agree!

I agree!!

I agree!!!

I agree!!!!

I agree!!!!!

I agree!!!!!!

So what's more to say.

As you can see we begin to like each other more and more!

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
GOOD CALL!!!!! AMEN TO THE CURRENT GOD OF YES CRITICS, ALL IS FORGIVEN FOR YOUR STYX COMMENTS!

yancyd@pacificnet.net (Yancy Duncan)
Oh, I have it, and it does really suck! That wouldn't be Trevor's fault would it? I think so. How one man could turn the most fantastic live act ever into this pathetic shadow of showmen is beyond me.

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
After seeing the video, I went on a search for this cd. Only problem was that it was never printed on cd in the US or England. And the cassette is supposedly out of print. I ended up importing a cd copy from Japan. Besides the liner notes being in Japanese, the disc is the same as the American vinyl release. Only problem I have with it is that the whole concert is missing. Yes, it was worth it to hear "Solly's Beard" and the "Fish/Tempus Fugit/Sound Chaser" medley, but the fact that only two of the actual SONGS from the concert made it to the disc is pathetic. What happened to the extended version of "City Of Love"? Or the Rabin-ized versions of "All Good People,' or "Starship Trooper"? You'd think that they'd include some of the songs that people actually want to hear.

rderby@erols.com (Robert Derby)
I agree. I bought thi E.P. when it came out, and I may have listened to it three times. I did enjoy "whitefish" because of the medley within. It is the only Rabin release I dislike. I do believe ATCO was behind the idea. What I don't understand is why the 9012Live video doesn't include some of these better moments and conversely, why didn't ATCO release a 9012Live soundtrack encompassing all the work? Dumb.

dembones@pond.net
Okay, who let Kaye play with the keys again?!? Oh man, whose idea was this release? The two whole songs performed were good, but I'd rather watch the video. "Solly's Beard" was the only worthwhile solo track, except for the mildly interesting Bass/Drum duet at the end. Speaking of the video, am I the only one who is just totally in love with their rendition of "Starship Trooper?" The most passionate performance of the song I have ever heard! I wish THAT had been included on 9012Live!!!

windstorm@geocities.com (Robert Reynolds)
Yup, it bites, but if there's one thing Yes has never been accused of, it's being conservative in the marketplace. Who could blame them for trying to slurp up the remaining change of all those folks who went out and bought 90125? Even to this day, they love to bilk the public with rehashes and re-ordering of the same songs on different CD's. How many greatest hits albums does a band need? Oh well...I love 'em anyway!

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
9012Live - The Solos is a low point. It's nearly aimless, proving the marketing geniuses were asleep at the time. First of all, it's not a standard album BUT a mini-album. Secondly, it was recorded when the band was beginning its world tour and the edges were not still cutting enough. They should have waited another year until the tour was over to select the brighter solo pieces (as in Rio de Janeiro, where "Si" included a piano introduction by Tony and was far better executed than in Vancouver or Germany and where "Solly's Beard" was also played with greater gusto and has the keyboard properly placed). Third, Alan White's short but energic solo before "Hold On" was missed, as well as the live version of "Cinema" (superior to the 90125 version and including an interesting synth-effect intro). Four, there were only three proper songs (counting on "Soon"). Five, the sound was not the best. Six, the record was soooo boring. Seven, who cared for this record anyway?. Eight, the sleeve was an interesting variation of an ugly cover. It could have been a good record but... I give it 3/10.

michael.blume@gte.net
I'm a pretty big Yes fan, and, no, I don't have the EP, 9012Live/The Solos, but I just wanna let you know, dude. I agree that it's such a banal, lame idea for a band or record company to put out material that nobody fuckin' cares about. I rented the live concert video, and I enjoyed all of it. That was what mainly got me into 90125 in the first place. Watching Yes on top of their game playing most of 90125 plus two classics from The YES Album live in Edmonton, Canada. They were still an amazing band back then. Too bad the video is now out of print. Pity. Now some newbies won't get to experience a great concert like that. Concerning the album, do us a favor, reader, and just skip it. It's not worth owning a forgettable glob of shit like this. Buy a real Yes album instead. A 3/10 is definitely right. There, good night. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.................................................................

Adrian.M.Rush.8@nd.edu
A pretty pointless release, I must agree. Buy the video instead. At least it contains "Owner," plus a kick-butt rendition of "Starship Trooper." Steve who?

"Solly's Beard" is worth the price of the CD if you can find it. But that's about all I can recommend. And I liked "Whitefish" at the time, but I've heard it just one too many times in concert now, thank you very much. "SI"? Tony Kaye, of all people, should NOT be trying to reference J.S. Bach--he proves he can't even get THAT right (notice the flubbed note?). Probably the most pathetic part of the whole venture is that the crowd noises behind the bass solo are LOOPED! (Listen closely--you hear the same "whoo!" about every 3 seconds.)

Pretty bad stuff.

guppyslayer@msn.com (Ben Henderson)
This sucks! It's crap like this that got the "greedy corporate rock" label hung on this band. The only thing worse than this is a piece of crap I bought in '86 called 12 Inches On Tape, remixes of songs from 90125. If you listen real close to this, you can practically hear an accountant running an adding machine in the background. I think this is what Pink Floyd was singing about on Money and Have a Cigar.

Add your thoughts?

Big Generator - Atco 1987.
Rating = 7

Weird green and purple cover shows they're still hip to what the kids dig, but the music isn't nearly as confident as that on 90125. It kinda veers too far away from '80s rock into Jon Anderson mysticism at times. Still, some of the songs are fantastically, brilliantly catchy (especially the hits "Shoot High, Aim Low," "Love Will Find A Way" and "Rhythm of Love"), and only a couple of them reek of the stale empty genericism that would reign supreme over their next studio release. Which ones, you wonder to your hand or special friend? Well, my name is Mark Prindle, and I'm happy to oblige! The title track is a ridiculous "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" rip-off, and "Almost Like Love" is hokey AOR claptrap, regardless of the actual dictionary definition of "claptrap," with which I am entirely unfamiliar. The rest of the album is fully attractive to the naked ear.

Reader Comments

yescomm@worldaccess.nl (Gert Bakhuizen)
For me this is Yes' worst album ever and it should have no rating at all! 'I eat at Chez Nous', get the hell out. Who do this Rabin guy he can fool with?!?!?!

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
I liked this album for the same reason you did. I also thought that Trevor Rabin was good, and Tony Kaye finally showed himself as an excellent keyboardist. I like this album mainly for the return of Jon's lyric style in a more down to earth tone. Chris Squire, who held the band together throughout everything, continued to step up and fill any voids left by past members. This time his backing vocals reach new heights. "SHOOT HIGH, AIM LOW", or whatever order that's in, is an excellent song. Jon is back. Chris is amazing. Kaye is his best ever. And the final song is great.

dave@magaray.com (David Aurand)
I certainly had a tough time fingering...uh, I mean figuring out which Yes album to add my comments to. Personally, I can't stand Yes. Big Germinator....Gerbaleater...Generator... whatever, is the only one I can even remotely listen to without losing my lunch, tossing my cookies...etc. The title, and the hits, plus maybe one other are ok. But, that singer Jon Anderson is harder to listen to than Geddy Lee...much harder. I suppose their music is good, but just not heavy enough for me. But, Big Telestrator...Bendandeather...Generator ...is pretty heavy....I suppose for Yes...

jrichter@texas.net (James K. Richter Jr.)
What,"I eat at Chez Nous"? A damn commercial?!!!!!

rderby@erols.com
see my comments for 90125. in addition, i agree that this record is a bit chilly but put on a coat and give it a spin cause it sounds good! some of the best ear-candy i've ever enjoyed.

lisandom@worldnet.att.net
that is my least fav yes album of all. it just plain sucks. love the band though.

dembones@pond.net
An even further departure from the 70's Yes. Not as well defined or coherent as 90125, Big Generator still is a marvelous rock record. Anderson's voice had never sounded better. Also, at a time when huge gated drum machines found more work than drummers, the engineering/mixing is phenomenal and surprisingly still current sounding. The singles were all pretty good, but I especially love "Final Eyes" and "I'm Running." "Almost Like Love" is "Almost an embarassment." :-p Swiss or Cheddar anyone? Amazingly, "Almost Like Love" was primarily a product of Chris Squire, and Rabin was firmly against it. Go Figure!

windstorm@geocities.com (Robert Reynolds)
I bought it because I had to...I mean, I liked 90125 so much that the follow up had to be good, right? Well, it's good, but by no means great. I haven't even replaced the cassette I bought with a CD yet. Original to some degree...but still left me wanting more.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Big Generator has another ugly cover design and shocking color combination. Hip? Modern? Art? This time Kaye (now showing better on the ivories) really joined the staff of Yes composers, for good or bad. The intros worked well in the two singles, but the songs themselves were not as good. Seemed the band was searching for another "Owner" desperately, not getting even closer. The real gem (in comparison) is "Final Eyes". This time the choral style moves forward, to the rescue of tracks as "Big Generator" and "I'm Running". Jon Anderson seems a guest singer more than in the previous Yes studio album, certainly not one key member right there from the start. Trevor Horn's production is faultless (helped by Rabin and the other guys, it seems) but some arrangements are not for Yes. "Almost Like Love" reminded me how I joked on Genesis bringing Earth, Wind & Fire for some Abacab tracks... and now Yes does this! Apart from "Shoot High, Aim Low" and the final (Anderson solo style) track, this album was made for dancing. Where has Squire's talent gone, by the way? It's 6/10 for me.

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
Its just boring. Kinda dumb, kinda boring. Everyone just admit that, and move on. Go buy a real Yes record.

dknapp@slonet.org
I saw the concert at ASU, was great til the end, where they screwed up the sound. Love Aim High Shoot Low, or is it the otherway around?

Melodie83@aol.com (Joe)
Not as good as the previous album but pretty damm good.Love Will Find A Way has fantastic singing one of there best ,Shoot High Aim Low is also a great song ,an underated song Final Eyes is a great ballad this should of been a single ,I'm Running is okay also the title track has nice singing but is pretty dull ,Holy Lamb is great to bad it wasn't longer ,the rest of the songs are okay but the best tracks are the ones I mentioned . A 7 rating after this album Yes started to forget how to write great songs see Talk etc.

michael.blume@gte.net
Big Generator, in my opinion, has to be the best record of the RABIN YES ERA!!!! Jon Anderson jotted down his lyrical style very well, and Trevor Rabin pulled off another fantastic performance. Tony Kaye gave us proof that he has finally become a great keyboardist as well, and the vocal harmonies are so friggin' splendid. Granted, they recycled the main harmony of "Owner of A Lonely Heart" for the title track, but it's still far different from "Owner", and "Almost Like Love" is an exciting, highly exuberant pop piece that will get stuck in your head for days on end. "Final Eyes" and "Shoot High, Aim Low" are two of the best songs ever written during that era. Too bad they didn't get played on the radio. FUCK!!!! Plus "Holy Lamb" is a wonderfully pleasant closer, and all of the other songs are just as good. You'll realize that they recaptured the "Classic YES" moments. You'll understand enough when you listen to it for the first time, if you're a '70's Yes fan. Now hear what the dispecable Scott Anderson has to say about the album:

"Any veils of civility and cohesion in the band on this album are thin and transparent, at best. This band wanted to be together about as much as the Beatles did during the recording of Abbey Road. Unfortunately, this is no Abbey Road. It's not even the side of Yellow Submarine with all of the George Martin orchestral tripe. Under the circumstances, this is a noble effort, and the band had yet to reach a point of water-treading equivalent to the concurrent efforts of similarly elderly groups like the Beach Boys and Chicago. But still... (sigh)... what can I say? I was even disappointed with this stuff when I was in the eighth grade (and back then I even gave Bon Jovi a fighting chance!!!). If the cover art for 90125 was lame, and that of 9012live was lame and as "cleverly" derived from the previous album as was its title, then the art for this album is just plain as ugly and stupid as the title of the album and much of the music on it. OK, that was a bit harsh, but come on, Big Generator?! I'll take Relayer any day."

Adrian.M.Rush.8@nd.edu
I can only laugh at people who criticize the line "I Eat at Chez Nous." Jon Anderson, anyone? "Shining flying purple wolfhounds show me where you are"??? Deal with it.

Not a great album, but it has its moments. I agree that the title track is nothing more than "Owner Part 2." Some great effects on the backing vox, though, and I love the sparse airiness of "Shoot High Aim Low," with the vocal interplay between Jon and Trevor. Very nice. "I'm Running" is a hoot too. The rest, I can take it or leave it.

richbunnell@home.com
You know, it's really funny - when I heard from all of these people that the title track of this album was a rewrite of "Owner Of A Lonely Heart," I was able to predict EXACTLY how the chorus would sound. "BIIIIIG GENERATOR!" And I was right!!! Completely right!!!! It's too bad, because the song is really pathetic and awful, as is most of this album. The two hits are great '80s pop (and I don't really have any problem with the "I eat at Chez Nous" line in "Love Will Find A Way" - who cares? It's said during the coolest part of the song), and I guess one or two other songs are semi-decent. But this is like 90125 without the tight, gorgeous dynamics that propelled that album above most other generic '80s pop, and it's one hell of a lot weaker. Plus, I don't know what you're talking about - the cover is stupid. A low 5.

guppyslayer@msn.com (Ben Henderson)
For some reason, I barely remember any of the songs on this album. Oh yeah, now I remember why... it sucks. I saw the band in a hockey arena in Rochester when this album was released (the only time I ever saw them in concert, regrettably). They were on stage for about 45 minutes, and I swear Jon Anderson was counting the house the whole goddamn time. I never felt quite the same about the band after that, and I never bought another record until I found The Very Best at Sam Goody a few months back.

Add your thoughts?

Highlights: The Very Best Of Yes - Atlantic 1993.
Rating = 9

Accurate enough title, I suppose, but it's not a terribly comprehensive (or comprehensible) compilation. Yeah, it's got the huge smash hits ("All Good People," "Roundabout," "Owner Of A Lonely Heart"), and it's great to see some lesser known radio classics on here ("Time And A Word," "Wonderous Stories," "Leave It"), but why on earth would they include numbers like "Survival" (great song of the first album, but a "hit"? No way!) and "Soon (Single Edit)" while completely ignoring Close To The Edge, Tales From Topographic Oceans, Tormato, and Drama in their entireties? Especially when they included TWO songs from Going For The One, an album that most minor fans have never even heard of? Weird band, that Yes. Great friggin' songs, though.
Reader Comments

rderby@erols.com (Robert Derby)
Yes will never live in the world of "greatest hits" collections because of format conflictions. A true collection of Yes' best work would have to be nothing short of a box set simply because of the length of the material. The other alternative would not be accepted by most Yes fans which would be a predominatly Rabin album (I would accept it though!) SO... that is the reason (in my opinion) that this collection omits some of the essentials and adds some questionables (but you knew that already).

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Chris Squire said once that Highlights was intended to remind people who was actually Yes, having seen the racks full of ABWH, symph versions, "solo Yes" compilations and so on. I wonder if, apart from The Fish explanation, there was justification for this release. In fact, I wonder if it didn't confuse buyers even more. Supposedly Yesstory was the ultimate compilation for the average guy (Yesyears was the one for the Yes fan). Highlights was no more than a single-CD Yesstory. All these albums recollected Yes from 1969 up to Big Generator, giving fuel to the notion than Union wasn't loved at all within the group (and counting on Atco not wanting to negotiate with Arista to include some 1981 tracks). The cover "art" is definitely ugly, with Dean's Yes logo merely visible. This album is, anyway, a good one for those who hear Yes for the first time. On its own merits it's 8/10, but the reasons for putting it on sale are 3/10.

cbunnell@ix.netcom.com (Rich Bunnell)
If it weren’t for the fact that I haven’t heard every Yes album yet (though I plan to buy all of their early work) I’d give this a ten, but as it is it’s a nine like you gave it. Not a bad song on here; "Going For The One" in particular is a favorite of mine. On the subject of "Survival," there are only five songs on this album which could be considered "hits" (All Good People, Roundabout, Owner, Leave It, and Rhythm – I don’t think "Long Distance Runaround" was a hit but I’ve heard it on classic rock radio) so NONE of the songs besides that were hits at all! And "Survival" is just an awesome, great, cool song so I feel that it deserves to be on here every bit. But "Soon"? Yeah, they could’ve left that one off since it’s just a very pretty section of "The Gates Of Delirium" instead of an actual stand-alone song. Nothing from Close To The Edge??!? Oh wait, the best song on there (the title track) is almost 20 minutes long. You are forgiven, Yes.

imoss@northernlight.com
My very first Yes album (awwwww....). Let me tell you, it was a great introduction. It really managed to cover the hits from their various periods, combining the early-ass sound of "Survival" with epics like "Starship Trooper" with the pop sell-out phase of 90125 and beyond. It may be redundant with previous greatest-hits collections, but now that I'm more familiar with the band's music and looking at the track lists for the other CDs, I really think this one is the best compilation. I mean, yeah, there's nothing from Close to the Edge, but it's not the most accessible album and I think they were justified in leaving it off. I'm glad that for this one they managed to contain their fetish for 2-CD packages of old or live material.

Sure, you wouldn't want to buy this if you're already familiar with Yes's music. But isn't that automatically true for any greatest-hits CD? So for the purposes of drawing in the new Yes listener, this album gets a 9 from me.

Add your thoughts?

The Word Is Live - Rhino 2005
Rating = 8

Contents:
- 3 discs
- 26 live Yes tracks, one of which is a 26-minute medley incorporating 5 different songs
- Performances from 10 different concerts between 1970 and 1988
- Performances by 6 different Yes line-ups

Studio Albums Represented:
- Time And A Word: 5 songs
- The Yes Album: 3 songs
- Fragile: 4 songs
- Close To The Edge: 1 song
- Relayer: 1 song (+ "Soon")
- Going For The One: 1 song
- Tormato: 2 songs
- Drama: 1 song
- 90125: 2 songs
- Big Generator: 2 songs
- No Studio Album At All: 6 songs

Musicians Represented:
- Keyboardist Tony Kaye: 12 songs
- Keyboardist Rick Wakeman: 7 songs
- Keyboardist Patrick Moraz: 4 songs
- Keyboardist Geoff Downes: 3 songs
- Guitarist Peter Banks: 2 songs
- Guitarist Steve Howe: 20 songs
- Guitarist Trevor Rabin: 4 songs
- Drummer Bill Bruford: 8 songs
- Drummer Alan White: 18 songs
- Singer Jon Anderson: 23 songs
- Singer Trevor Horn: 3 songs
- Bassist Chris Squire: 26 songs

Points Of Interest:
- Steve Howe bringing his distinct guitar style to 4 different Time And A Word songs
- Steve Howe performing a soon-to-be-"Roundabout" guitar lick at the end of a 1971 "America" performance
- A terrible Young Rascals cover lowlighted by Chris Squire performing a lengthy, embarrassing scat/bass solo
- Patrick Moraz bringing his goofy synth tone to "Siberian Khatru"
- A 1975 performance of "Sweet Dreams," featuring only two people who appeared on the studio version
- A pointless but fun Bo Diddley-inspired 1979 Chicago jam featuring improv lyrics such as (sung) "Thank you everybody for taking the time to see us!"
- A neat version of "Awaken" featuring an extended harp-driven middle section
- Two unreleased songs from the Drama line-up: Steve Howe's horrendous new wave rock'n'roller "Go Through This" and The Buggles' dark pop rocker "We Can Fly From Here"
- "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" with Trevor Rabin incorporating the arpeggiated 'middle part' guitar line into the first verse

Points Of Irritation:
- Two tracks pulled directly from the Beyond And Before CD, apparently because nobody had any other Peter Banks performances on tape
- "I've Seen All Good People." For the 400 millionth time. With Bill Bruford tapping on a pussy little wooden block like Tool would.
- A shitty Paul Simon cover for sixteen and a half goddamned minutes
- A 3-minute 1-chord concert prelude misleadingly entitled "Apocalypse"
- The track listing's claim that "Survival" is included in "The Big Medley," when it's actually just Jon singing one line from the song as the rest of the band performs "The Fish"
- Steve Howe stepping on the wrong effect pedal (delay/echo instead of distortion) at the beginning of "Heart Of The Sunrise," making a tepid mockery of the song's formerly aggressive intro. It's kinda funny though. Okay, move this up to "Points of Interest."
- Failure to include a 'classic Yes' song as performed by the Drama line-up
- Failure to include a 'classic Yes' song as performed by the Trevor Rabin line-up
- Failure to include even a single song from the band's excellent first album
- Strange decision to stop at 1988

General Thoughts:
- The sound quality is much better than I was expecting - far above the 'bootleg quality' referenced by several Amazon commentators. You can hear every instrument and voice fine! What's the problem?
- Even up through the Yes Album tour, they used to 'jam' a lot - and I mean boring, predictable blues-rock wank jams! Who knew Yes could be so generic in their infancy?
- I really, really like Yes a lot

Some Hilarious Yes Knock-Knock Jokes I Just Made Up:
- Knock knock!
Who's there?
Tony Kaye!
Tony Kaye who?
Tony K. Tiger! My middle name is "Kellogg" and I eat people because of my high blood sugar.

- Knock knock!
Who's there?
Rick Wakeman!
Rick Wakeman who?
Rick! Wake, man! It's your old co-star Joel Higgins! I haven't worked since Silver Spoons and I'm very sad.

- Knock knock!
Who's there?
Trevor Horn!
Trevor Horn who?
Trevor horny! Got MILF?

- Knock knock!
Who's there?
Trevor Rabin!
Trevor Rabin who?
Trevor Rabin (ravin') mad about horny! See my MILF mustache?

- Knock knock!
Who's there?
Jon Anderson!
Jon Anderson who?
No no, I said "Jon and her son." I'm a woman. You should have been able to tell by my voice, which is very high.

- Knock knock!
Who's there?
Steve Howe!
Steve Howe who?
Steve Howe, the drug-using baseball player! I died in April 2006.

- Knock knock!
Who's there?
Peter Banks!
Peter Banks who?
Peter banks on the idea that anybody gives a shit that he got fired from Yes for being a boring guitar player.

- Knock knock!
Who's there?
Chris Squire!
Chris Squire who?
Chris' Choir of Singing Men! La la la! La la (etc)

- Knock knock!
Who's there?
Patrick Moraz?
Patrick Moraz who?
Patrick more az (ass) for me, please! MILF does a body good!!!

- Knock knock!
Who's there?
Geoff Downes!
Geoff Downes who?
Geoff, Down Syndrome sufferer. The son of Charles Darwin was also born with this genetic disorder, clearly disproving the theory of evolution. Got GOD?

- Knock knock!
Who's there?
Alan White!
Alan White who?
Alan White YOU!!!
AUUGUGHGHHG!!!!!!!!

- Knock knock!
Who's there?
Bill Bruford!
Bill Bruford who?
Bill Bruford for these overdue library books. Oh, except Garfield Gets Cookin': His 38th Book; an Odie drawing in there inspired Jon to write a new triple-album with one song on it.

Reader Comments

russelldb@cox.net
Goddamnit, Prindle, if you insult Yes's rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's "America" one more time I am going to crawl through the Internet and shake some sense into you. We're talking about an awesome cover featuring a superb prog-rock arrangement of a gentle acoustic ballad, over here, for Christ's sake, already! This "Blame 'America' First" attitude of yours is reprehensible.

Add your thoughts?

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe - Arista 1989.
Rating = 6

This isn't a Yes album, but don't hang up the phone before I get a chance to explain! Jon got sick of playing hip '80s rock and roll and, feeling that he was denying his true self by not recording crappy fruity pop music, he got together with the old gang and, after a furious battle with pirates over the Yes moniker, they churned out this hourlong extravaganza of astonishingly unmanly keyboard-drenched pish-posh. Although the little sticker on the front reads, "From the men that brought you Close To The Edge," one should keep in mind that three of these four men also brought you Tormato over ten years ago. This stuff is immature, overly exuberant, and extremely synth-ridden. In fact, if you can hear Steve in there at all, consider yourself a lucky duck or some other small aquatic bird, of which there are possibly several.

It pretty much sounds like a Jon Anderson solo album, but, on the up side, most of the songs are catchier than a slow-moving fat kid, so fruity pebbles like mine truly can have a getgo of a time. And "The Meeting" and "Let's Pretend?" Well, they're just beautiful. And remember the radio smash "Long Lost Brother Of Mine?" Dumb, sure, but catchy, eh? Eh? Eh? Hello? Maybe I just don't know my butt from a hole in the ground.

Reader Comments

yescomm@worldaccess.nl (Gert Bakhuizen)
The best (semi)Yes album in the eighties. Too bad we had to wait 'till the eighties where nearly passed. After a disgracefull show from Yes in 1988 during Atlantic's 40th anniversary party I was happy to find Jon back with Bill, Steve and Rick again. After making this wonderful album they finally did what Yes had forget during their last years ... touring the world! I still wonder what would have happened if these guys would have stick together instead of ....

rjohnson@jax-inter.net (Richard E. Johnson)
This was a very good record. It is a little more keyboard oriented than I would have liked, but on the live ABWH album this stuff sounds really good. It was a good start, too bad it didn't go any further. Thanks alot Jon...

mcknney@is3.nyu.edu (Rick McKinney)
Ah ah ah!! More disparaging swipes at Mr. Anderson's masculinity! "Girly" and "Fruity"??? Come on. Ever hear of the term "damning with faint praise? Sounds like you love the guy's musicianship, but maybe have a problem with his... sexuality? Masculinity? What would Freud say?!

And yet, true Yes lover that he is, he reads on...

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
YES YES YES! The band is back! This is my second favorite YES-related album of all time, and my second favorite overall of any music. Rick Wakeman finally came back to his roots. The keyboard god made what I think is his best album ever. Jon and Rick connected once again with beautiful melodic songs throughout the album. Rick kills the keyboard standards set by Downes in his work with Yes and Asia and a new standard is set. Rick is, from then on, without a doubt THE BEST EVER. Jon's lyrics take another step up from Big Generator. Bruford's drums are almost like Carl Palmer's style with Asia, and I think, finally decided the White/Bruford question in his favor. Howe is stunning, once again, coming a long way from Drama. This album is the best of everyone in it. Throw in appearences by DOWNES and VANGELIS, and this is the best YES album up till that point. THE EIGHTIES ARE OFFICIALLY DEAD!

yancyd@pacificnet.net (Yancy Duncan)
Hey, no Squire, no YES. It's that simple. I like this Disc, I like all the players. I even like the Bald Guy on Bass (I saw the show at the Greek with Jeff Berlin on Bass when Tony Levin was sick). But, no Squire no YES. Jeff Berlin used 6 musical stands during "CTTE" so he could play it. Does that sound like another plug for CTTE being the best of the Band?

rderby@erols.com
lifeless enjoyable pap.

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Cheese? Definitely, but it's worth it just for "Teakbois" and "Birthright." I also liked the rhythm thing towards the end of "Order of the Universe" As for "Brother of Mine" I'd give it a definite "eh." Overall an unimpressive album with a few cool spots. What's really cheesy is that song just before "Teakbois," you know, the one where it seems like they're just trying to see how many yes song titles they can squeeze into a verse. "We danced across the south side of the sky . . . all I remember is the roundabout . . . I was awakened etc." How bad could they get?

jwhat@merlin.ebicom.net (SIBERIAN_KHATRU)
I love Steve, but no Chris or Alan makes this album a little boring.

dembones@pond.net
I would generally agree with Mark's summary. This lightweight record IS keyboard heavy, a bit immature melodicly (for this group of musicians), and a bit too much on the merry side. Never the less I love it. While Wakeman's sound pallete is up to date, his playing is sounding more dated than ever. He does pull off one kick but solo that genuinely sounds angry in "Birthright." Bruford's playing shines throughout, but I tire quickly of that Simmons drum sound. Squire is missed, although Tony Levin is probably the most worthy substitute I can think of. ABWH is a good, light album in the same vein as Anderson's City of Angels, with a little more ethnic influence. 6 of 10 for sure.

windstorm@geocities.com (Robert Reynolds)
A good album, but thicker than Chunky soup. Tastes like a soup but eats like a meal, you say? Bring a fork and an appetite for this long, but melodically pleasing dish. Some of the songs border on anguished sentimentality in my opinion, and no doubt I'd be shot by the Yes masses upon confessing that "Fist of Fire" is the best song on it...

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
You're right, one shouldn't ignore this album in a Yes recollection. The record is AND isn't a Yes effort. Bruford doesn't show all of his talent, but just enough to wipe White out (out of music, Alan seems a nicer guy though). Wakeman gave us all a surprise reminding everybody that, yes, he can play and how! He was also inspired, giving fuel to his declining solo career. Howe shone here and there, getting back on track all the same. Dean was back. Brian Lane too. Even Downes lend a little hand (curious how The Buggles helped different Yes warring factions). The music was 70's-Yes 80's style (except "Teakbois"). "Quartet" and a couple of other songs seem to send messages to Squire & company, even citing classic Yes titles. Levin is a great bass player. Almost everything was in place. Almost. But all in all, Chris Squire, THE REAL SOUL OF YES, was missing. Even so, this is a more serious and successful effort than the 80's "true" Yes. I give it 7/10.

ABWH finally released the recording of their show at California in 1989. The 2 CD album called An Evening With Yes Music Plus did officially see the light of day four years after the concert, when the quartet had lost a lot of market steam. But for godsake it is a damn good album! The version of "Close to the Edge" (no matter how much I missed Chris on that one) was the best up til then. The ABWH songs were superbly treated. The solo sets were stunning, showing Rick in top form and including a Bill "Heart-of-the-Sunrise"-esque circus proving once again (to me at least) why he's a lot better drummer than good ol' Alan (not meaning at all White's not a top rock drummer in his own way). The album, though, misplaced "I've Seen All Good People" maybe for timing reasons and one song from the show (can't remember which one right now) was left in the can. The Dean cover was once again a sign that this was a Yes album without being named as that. Best live record from this gentlemen up to that time. Excellent sound. And Jeff Berlin was lucky enough to apper both in the album and the video having briefly replaced Tony Levin on bass. Another 9/10.

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
With all the other Yes stuff out there, good Yes stuff, even recently remastered Yes, stuff, why bother? Why waste your money. There is nothing here. Nothing. Except maybe contracts. And since the Yesguys can't say "contracts" half as cool as ole Bon Scott did... you see my point. Just say no.

TJFRACASSO@aol.com
The line-up in itself is screaming YES at every fan with half a brain! The music measured up to the group Yes was. ABHW are the most YES any band has been since Tormato. ABWH are more YES than Yes-West or the Drama Yes. The album basically said "we're back!" Brother of Mine is a strong hit and really rocks while staying in the Yes format created in the early seventies. I saw the now-famous Mountain View show in September 1989. The concert blew away the partial-YES- group concert I saw in 1984( 90125).In '84 Trevor and friends could't play the complete versions of "And You and I" and "Roundabout". Therefore I didn't bother seeing them during the Big Generator tour. When ABWH played live it was everything I've ever wanted from a YES concert.

slimchandi@hotmail.com (Andy Carter)
Oh dear. With this album, the remains of Yes have tried to recapture their original state. This fails miserably im afraid. Songs like "Teakbois" im sure are just there to annoy fans. Buy it for "Fist Of Fire" and thats it. I have an old recording of Yes playing this live inconcert and it sounds so much better! "Brother Of Mine" should have been played faster, as it sort of plods slowly along without purpose. "Let's Pretend"? Oh please give it a rest! Bruford should have stuck to real drums, or Yes should have stuck to Alan! (Bruford could have never done "Sound Chaser") We should be greatful for the 6 majestic albums Yes have gifted the world with, namely, Relayer, Close To The Edge, Tales, Going For The One, Fragile and The Yes Album. Isnt this enough? i.e. stop churning out crap!

guppyslayer@msn.com (Ben Henderson)
Chris Squire might have made this record work. But, if he had been there, I guess they would have called themselves Yes, wouldn't they. Weak, weak, weak...

ian.moss@yale.edu (Ian Moss)
Wow. This album is pretty cheesy. Especially "Fist of Fire"--what's up with that awful late '80s keyboard sound? And yet it's the most catchy tune...

I don't know, it's not horrible or anything, but I think even a rating of six might be on the generous side. At least they were trying, but unfortunately it took them another dozen years or so to get it right.

Add your thoughts?

ABWH Dialogue Demos - Bootleg 1990.
Rating = 7

Don't ask me any questions about this at all, because I have absolutely no background information on it. All I know is that I bought it from a guy on ebay and it features a TON of beaturiful Jon Anderson compositions that, as far as I know, were never released elsewhere (let me know if you recognize any of these titles - "Hold You In My Arms," "Touch Me Heaven," "Make Believe," "Is It Love" - anything? And don't tell me that "Is It Love" is an excellent Mr. Mister song. I already goddamned well know that!!!!). That man can write a lovely melody, cannot he? Yes, he canneth indood. So supposedly these are the demos for the never-recorded second Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe record, but the only one they ended up using on Union was "Take The Water To The Water," which isn't even one of the best of these twelve Anderson-sung, keyboard-backed spiritual pop tunes. There are also a few keyboard instrumentals that may or may not be by Mr. Richard Wakeman IV, and three weak Steve Howe tunes. Don't worry about those. We're here tonight to celebrate Jon Anderson, god fuck you!

If you can illegally buy this from a bootlegger, do so! I did, and I've never been more proud of my police for placing me behind bars.

Add your thoughts?

An Evening Of Yes Music Plus - Caroline 1994.
Rating = 9

Oh that's nice. The best live Yes album yet isn't even a dang ol' YES ALBUM!!! It's Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe again, being silly and doing things to make you chuckle and spread mustard on your testicle. So why is it so FUCKING good? Because the sound is fantastico good and because half of disc one is devoted to presenting the songs DIFFERENTLY than you heard them on the album! Anderson does an acoustic guitar medley of "Time And A Word," "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" and "Teakbois"! Wakeman plays a lovely instrumental version of "Madrigal" as well as two of what I guess are his solo tunes or some nonsense! Howe dicks around during his two classics! "Long Distance Runaround" slowly builds up from a keyboard solo into a full band arrangement! And...That's it! But all the other Yes and ABWH tunes are performed splendidly/perfectly and foo there are some good ones. Who'da thought they'd play a lost rarity gem like "Roundabout"? Did you hide my horse?

The big "H"?

Reader Comments

valet@ccgnv.net
All-around good live album. I bought this late in my Yes collection which consists of everything they've ever put out minus "12 inches on tape." (for more than obvious reasons) I have only one request:

GOD, PLEASE STOP BRUFORD FROM USING THOSE ELECTRONIC DRUMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, everything else about this album works nicely, but hearing the old classics thrashed with that incessant "boink, boink, boink" is just too much. I actually have to eject the cd sometimes just to keep my sanity. For that mere fact alone, I have to give this one a 7.

guppyslayer@msn.com (Ben Henderson)
Mustard on your testicles? Doesn't that burn, dude?

hderby1@home.com (Holly Derby)
Tony Levin is sorely missed on bass for the live performance. Jeff Berlin is a great bass player, but he just doesn't have the 'feel'. Band sounds good though. Bruford's Simmons drums do get annoying at times, but lets face it, who ever did electronic drums better than Bruford?

Add your thoughts?

Yesyears - Atlantic 1991.
Rating = 8

A box set! Has tons o' goodies, but they threw on a lot of rare stuff that sucks butt. There's lots of great pictures, and the album tracks are still top-of-the-line, but that bonus stuff is rotten! Hey! Speaking of rotten......

Reader Comments

rjohnson@jax-inter.net (Richard E. Johnson)
A good box to get to fill out your Yes CD collection, but the 3rd and 4th disk contain a lot of filler. Especially the Live stuff from the 90125 band, peeeewww. Why couldn't they have used more live stuff from the older band? The acoustic "Long Distance Runaround" would have been a lot more welcome than crappy 3rd rate bar band versions of "And You And I" and "Heart Of The Sunrise." And why no "Siberian Khatru"? ...

la314w@crown.icongrp.com (Jesse Lara)
My brother gave me this album and it came in perfect condition. Though some songs I wish it would have skipped on. I agree with Richard that the 3rd and 4th c.d.'s pretty much sucked. Hate "I'm Down" because every band does a remake of that song! I HATE THE BEATLES! Must they abuse me in that manner? Did enjoy "Amazing Grace" & "Money".

jrichter@texas.net (James K. Richter Jr.)
Just how many Yes releases must contain the same recording of "Heart Of The Sunrise?" I'm really starting to hate that song!

dembones@pond.net
I bought this box set after only having heard Union, 90125, Generator and Fragile, and I was BLOWN AWAY. I had never heard music like this before! As a whole, Yesyears is a wonderful career retrospective, although I would've added one more disc to include "Siberian Khatru," the Yesshows version of "Gates of Delirium" and Tales' "The Ancient." I agree that the Rabin era live cuts are TERRIBLY weak... Kaye is obviously over his head, Anderson's singing is uninspired (and he is constantly sharp on "Heart of the Sunrise"!) and while Rabin is certainly a competant guitarist, he doesn't quite fill Howe's shoes on the pre-Rabin tracks. I actually like the bonus song, "Love Conquers All."

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
I just got this set, and I have to disagree with just about everything that's been said about it. I ESPECIALLY liked disks three and four. After hearing bits of "Make it Easy" used as the intro for "Owner of a Lonely Heart" every time they do it live, it's good to hear how the original version went. The demo of "It Can Happen" was fun. I REALLY liked the Rabin era live stuff. I only wish some more of the Big Generator tour material were on CD. I also liked "Love Conquers All." It was like a sneak preview of Yes to come. It sounds like something that would've fit on Talk, and was also a sneak preview of Billy Sherwood, who is now a member. I also liked most of the bonus stuff on Disk three. However, why do disks one and two exist? It's all the same stuff. We've heard all this before. There's nothing new there. Well, that's my opinion on this set.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Yesyears was a good package. Maybe not all of the "new" tracks were that good, but they made this box more interesting and appealing to buyers. It's a pity that many more (and good) unedited tracks were not included. "Money" is funny, but come on, it's not too Yessy to say the least. My main complaint about "I'm Down" is the sound quality. As for the live versions by "Rabin Yes", they were fine. Only "And You And I" has some guitar/drums heavy thumps that occasionally ruined the dreamy effect. But "Sunrise" prove this Yes could actually play faithful renditions of the trickiest songs, even though its inclusion was actually a bis of the studio track. "Changes" sounded better than in 9012Live and was longer, but why release it if there was the other one mentioned? At the time a 2-CD album, Yesstory, was released as a kind of abbreviated Yesyears. Note the guy who wrote the booklet had clear preferences and dislikes regarding band members but whoever wrote the photo legends had totally different oppinions. Wasn't this box released after Union?.

It isn't part of the Yes discography, but there's an album called Affirmative (very good title for a Yes-related CD). It comprises many Yesmen solo efforts (suspiciously, as in Highlights, Downes and Horn aren't part of the bunch), specially the ones with two or more bandmates playing together. Take Squire's "Hold Out Your Hand" with Moraz and Bruford on it; or White's "The Innocence Song" with Anderson and Howe. Certainly there are other solo songs that should've been there (some of Wakeman tracks with Squire, Howe and Bruford, for instance), including the odd Buggles (read Horn & Downes) track. It contains "Dominating Factor" from the then-new Peter Banks album Instinct, one of the best of the collection (and, if you consider this record part of your Yes collection, a curious way to have a Banks-penned song in a (semi) Yes album). It's worth to have it and listening to it, unless you have all the albums from which these tracks come from. 8/10 if it matters.

When Yesyears was released, Atlantic Records and the Yes guys decided the 4 CD box was a little too expensive and even unattractive to many potential buyers (save the diehard fans), so they decided to put on sale an abbreviated compilation (another one!) called Yesstory. The same cover and format than the CD box, this 2-CD album was all in all a more compact and comprehensible tour through Yes music. Certainly, many important Yessongs were left out, but how could anyone release a collection of every Yes classic and worthy track in just two discs? The problem was Yesyears did actually get so much attention hardly anyone noticed Yesstory was also out in the streets. Taking it in its own virtues, I consider Yesstory to be a 9/10 compilation (not that compilations are my favorite ones, by the way).

bozmn@shore.intercom.net (Cole Bozman)
My problem with Yesyears is the unevenness of the cuts. 5/8ths of Time and a Word? Who needs that much of that album? I don't even need to go and buy Time and a Word... And one song from Tales? Why not add "The Revealing Science of God"? Also, I think the smart thing to do would've been to release a 3-disc box set of already-released stuff and have a separate single-disc release for all the new stuff. It coulda been called Yesstuff or something. Eh, whatever.

Hey, did you know that the first Yes album I ever listened to was Talk? I got it for $2 at Montgomery Wards. I (later) got a tape of ABWH for 95 cents there, too.

michael.blume@gte.net
This boxed set of songs is an almost perfect way of introducing yourself to Yes, a chance for any individual who has never heard of the band that much (or not at all). Disks one and two are the best disk because they contain the classics (i.e. "Close to the Edge", "Starship Troopers", "Roundabout", "All Good People", and more). I just wished they would have used all the songs from Close to the Edge, but why the FUCK did they use a suck-ass live version of "And You and I" done by the 90125 line-up on disk four?

-SIGH- If only they would have used some live versions from Yessongs and Yesshows. Plus, why didn't they use a full, complete version of "Gates of Delirium"? All they used was a portion of that song entitled, "Soon". Some of the bonuses are pretty good, but here are the bonuses that I think suck ass: "Vevey (parts one and two)"/"Run with the Fox"/"Montreux's Theme"/"America" (Single Edit)/live versions of "Changes", "And You and I", and "Heart of the Sunrise" done by the 90125 line-up/a demo version of "It Can Happen"/"Abilene" (B-side of "Don't Kill the Whale"). I also think that they should have used "A Venture" and "South Side of the Sky" as well, GODDAMMIT!!!!!! They are two of the best Yes songs ever (beside all three from Close to the Edge). I give this a solid 8 out of 10.

Add your thoughts?

Union - Arista 1991.
Rating = 2

Neither Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (who inspired a Dead Milkmen song called "Anderson Walkman Buttholes And How!") nor a Jon Anderson-less Yes were poised to earn rent money, it was deduced, so the warring factions united for a monster tour and monstrous album, which combines the BS production of the ABWH album with the wretched song stylings of... well, a bunch of old bags who can't write decent songs anymore!

For the love of Troy, stay away from this overlong, underwritten, midrange....bad thing!!!! It's just a bunch of crappy adult pop. And sure we might have expected such tepid, boring, soft-touch compositions from ABWH, but what happened to the old Yes band of tough rockin' Big Generator/90125 fame? Their contributions to this release are equally pansy-lipped! Oh, did I mention that? None of these songs were written or performed as a full band. Some were unreleased ABWH tracks, others were unreleased Yes tracks. That's dignity!

"Lift Me Up" is a catchy single, but nothing else on here even comes close to musical decency. I can't believe how talented these men used to be! How disheartening.

Reader Comments

yesman@smartlink.net (Lee)
Harsh humor, but I agree fairly well with your scorings of the Yes material. I like the score of 2 for Onion. A little generous, though. I tried to love it, but I have never been able to accept some of the lyrics or music. Then I found out a lot about the making of the album. It was actually two separate projects: AWBH and Trevor's Yes (Yes West) The two joined only in a business sense. Most of the band hated the product, which was destroyed by a producer or two. I was surprised one day when I read that Rick Wakeman had himself called it Onion in an interview. He said that Onion was an appropriate name since it made him cry whenever he heard it! (or something like that)

yescomm@worldaccess.nl (Gert Bakhuizen)
Now, five years after the release I still got different feelings 'bout this 'Onion' as Rick once called it. A part of me says that it's great to have 8 musicians on one album, another part tells me it's the worst that can happen ... 8 individuals on one album! I think at the end I will choose for the second option as there are maybe 1 or 2 songs on the album, with 15 songs, that I really like. That simply isn't enough! Never the less, the shows, as an event, where great but when you remember that it took an army of lawyers and managers to make it happen you'll ask yourself; what the hell are they doing on that age?

wijo@euro.net (Wijo Koek)
I like your way of commenting on the Yes albums. Sure, their music is often lengthy, and Jon keeps delivering those cryptic lyrics, and the production of the music is sometimes way over the top... but aren't they fantastic?

rjohnson@jax-inter.net (Richard E. Johnson)
Union is not a Union, but true corporate rock at its worst. Otherwise promising ABWH material is ruined by a producer who hired half of California to pretend to be Yes. How much of the Drums were Bill, or the Guitar Howe or the Keys Wakeman??? Precious little! Except for two Rabin tunes, the non-ABWH stuff is even worse! This deserves one star if only for the Howe solo and the Levin and Bruford duet, which are the best things on the disc. (Then again you might be better off spending your money on Howe's excellent Not Necessarily Acoustic solo album...)

sford@mcs.com (Steve Ford)
Oh poo! I wants a new Yes disc, so I goes out and plunks down my ten bucks. Get home, hit "play", and fire up Netscape. During the second cut, I find myself in ~scottp/reviews/yes.htm and start working my way through it. As my disappointment in Union grows, your reviews are growing on me. Finally I get to your Union review, just as I'm almost disgusted enough to turn off the damn disc.

WHERE WERE YOU TWO HOURS AGO?!?!?!?!?

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
Alright, once again brace yourself. I loved Union. It had everything despite its horrid production and corporate-rock interests that ruined the mega-album that it could have been. I agree, at the time YESWEST, as they are called, was washed-up and it was a waste of talent. Jon's lyric style, and Sherwood's input made their contribution. The corporate rock did manage to unite two different-sounding bands, under the banner of Chris Squire and Jon Anderson's lyrical styles. Trevor Rabin's guitar was good, and I loved the Sherwood track, "The More We Live-Let Go." Yes reached a point with this album that was epic. It was a step higher than the ABWH, and it had strong showings of the talents of Tony Kaye, Trevor Rabin, Steve Howe (Or the people doing his stuff), Bill Bruford (or the people doing his stuff). Chris Squire is amazing, as is what might be Tony Levin. It is SAD what became of Wakeman's part in the album. It would be horrifying for me, if I were an artist working on that band, I would downplay the album and say it was awful, too. And if I were a stupid, freakish, homophobic, overly-analytical dork who overly criticizes everything, I would also hate it. Sound familiar?

James@jpb-s.demon.co.uk
Hey, I really like Union and was suprised to see such negative comments. It would have been even better without "Saving My Heart" or "Give And Take", but the rest of the material is quite strong. But what do I know?

TempsFugit@aol.com
There's so many reasons to hate this album but when i listen to it i hear jon anderson (there's a plus), "masquerade"...., bill bruford's impressive drumming, squire's fiddling around in there somewhere, cambodian poetry, water, mountains, rivers, anyway...i guess i'm saying, i don't know...i like "Dangerous."

HODGESIII@aol.com
If you loved Tales from Topographical Oceans the chances are pretty good that you won't be too impressed by Union. I did like some of Steve's guitar licks and parts of many other songs, but that was it...only parts. The main chorus and rhythm of most of the songs left something to be desired. A good lyric or guitar lick would wet your appitite your for a great song only to be let down by a "pop" like chorus. My favorite song is probably "Take the Water to the Mountain".

akdxmy@hotmail.com (Andrew Davis)
I listened to Union once again. I must agree that this simply is not Yes's best cd. Certainly, the cover artwork by Roger Dean is magnificent. But the cd, well that's another story. The best tracks seem to be the ones written by the "Trevor Rabin group." "I Would Have Waited Forever," "Shock To The System," "Masquerade," "Lift Me Up," "Miracle Of Life," "The More We Live-Let Go," "Angkor Wat," and "Evensong," are not too terrible, but "Without Hope You Cannot Start The Day," "Saving My Heart," "Silent Talking," "Dangerous," and "Holding On" do not impress me. I have reconsidered and decided to give Union a 5/10.

robertk@jove.acu.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Ok, bits of it finally grew on me. I still like "Lift Me Up", "Miracle of Life", and "Shock to the System". "Silent Talking", "Ankgor Wat", "The More We Live", and "Dangerous" finally grew on me. I think that the last two tracks should have been combined into one, they're both so short. The rest still sucks as far as I'm concerned. This album is TOO LONG!!!

jwhat@merlin.ebicom.net (SIBERIAN_KHATRU)
"Take The Water To The River", and "The More We Live..", made this album work. Trevor Rabin's parts suck, as usual.

rderby@erols.com (Robert Derby)
owww.... more Trevor bashing. At least he played his parts. Jus' ask Steve Howe how much he liked Jimmy Haun posing in his stead. "Miracle of Life" and "Lift Me Up" are the two best (and only listenable) pieces on the whole record AND THEY'RE RABIN'S!!!

tabasco@worldnet.att.net (BOB's)
It was an ok album but why the hell do they all have to be together? These songs had no point into it. "Take the Water to the Mountain" and "Holding On" had no musical touch into it. The album was the 4th worst album Yes has ever made. PERIOD!!!

psul4927@odin.cc.pdx.edu
"I Would Have Waited Forever" is the most exciting intro song on a Yes album since "Going for the One", and "The More We Live- Let Go" is their most moving ballad since "Onward".

dembones@pond.net
Union came out when I was 15, and it was the first Yes album I had ever bought (although I was familiar with 90125). Even then in my musical immaturity, I knew something was off. I pray Jonathan Elias can sleep at night for the sin he commited against the holy grail of Yes. Even in wading through song after song of utter crap, there were a couple shining moments. I like the opening cut "I Would've Waited Forever," and the pop simplicity of "Saving My Heart." I hate Rabin's Yes mockery in "Miracle of Life." "The More We Live-Let Go" is pretty good, and of course "Masqarade" is Howe at his best. I wish Bruford had misplaced the power cord to his Simmons kit...

THE SAVING GRACE OF THIS ALBUM IS if indeed these songs represented the best that both ABWH and Yes had to offer at the time, Union granted us only one horrible album when we could've had two. Who says corperate intervention is all bad?

windstorm@geocities.com (Robert Reynolds)
Please shoot me. I listened to Union a dozen times or so, trying valiantly to love it inspite of its blatant commercializm, but alas, the CD now gathers dust nestled between a Ministry disk and Asia's Astra. The solo guitar song....egad, I can't remember the name even...is the best song on it (it was nominated for a Grammy, after all!)

mrowley@pacbell.net (The Rowley Family)
The only stuff worth listening to was done by Trevor Rabin. Pretty pathetic. However, The show I saw when they toured behind it was great. Fortunately they didn't do much material from the album they were trying to sell.

tomr@ix.netcom.com (Tom *****)
Go to a "used" record store.

The shelves are full of Union and Big Generator. I also saw of couple copies of Talk.

Wonder why.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Union is quite an ironic title for the most disjointed "piece of work" Yes has ever produced. The news that eight members were to put an album and tour together was exciting at first, but this record brought us all down to earth with a hammer. Not only there's not really an eight-man band anywhere in this hour-plus record, but the stuff isn't top-class either. There aren't bad tracks, strictly speaking, but there are not enough YES tracks in there. The ABWH songs (the big lot) show that creativity and freshness was gone this time, not repeating the level of their debut record two years earlier. The first two songs are OK, but no more than that. "Shock to the System" sounds even as if Rabin has half-penned and played on it (didn't those of you who attended the Union tour think the same?).

The "true" Yes (the one with Rabin on guitar) only had four tracks, two catchy but easily dispensable and two who stand as the album's finest: "Miracle of Life" and "The More We Live - Let Go". This lineup wins the trophy. Besides, Kaye, White, Squire and Rabin played all the instruments, something that didn't happen in the ABWH tent where even Rick doesn't know what keyboard bits he actually played in the final version. Levin played bass with the ABWH team and even included a short instrumental with Bill, while Chris guested on some of these tracks doing vocals. Offord helped a bit to the "true" lineup. Dean was really back in the Yes fold with a cover and the new "spotted" logo. With every part arranged and played by a Yes member, this record could be a 7 or even an 8, but as it is I give it 6/10.

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
You dropped the poop bag dead in the dumpster with that review. Now, just cut and paste this review to everything 90125 and later, and wow! Fabulousness!

ssvsoft@online.no (Snorre Serigstad)
The only listenable stuff on this album is the "YesWest" songs. "Lift Me Up" is absolutely brilliant. So is "The More We Live-Let Go". Trevor is as usual great. Yes should have made their own album and let ABWH put out this garbage themselves. Jonathan Elias has to be the worst producer ever to walk on this planet! "Dangerous" stinks! What sort of super-commercial crap is this? "Give and Take"; Americans, be glad you don't have to listen to this one! (European release only) Ankor Wat: W(h)at is this? It MIGHT have worked if it was a two-minute long part of a Yes song á la CttE. Wakeman does a horrible job, Kaye was AT LEAST 100 times better than Rick on this album! ABWH make complete fools of themselves with these "songs"! They should've written "Mind Drive" six years earlier and put it on UNION. Now THAT would make a great album (but on second thought, "Mind Drive" with Bruford's electronic drums?)

I'd like to change a part of my opinion on the UNION album, as it appears that my statement is very easy to misunderstand. When I wrote that "Kaye was at least a 100 times better than Wakeman on this album", I meant the final mix, not Wakeman's keyboard playing. The reason I don't like the Wakeman parts on UNION, is because Mr. Elias remixed and edited the sounds again and again and again, until he'd choked Wakeman's contributions totally, something he also did by hiring tons of other keyboard players to re-record Wakeman's parts. I find these producing methods disgusting. My apologies and No bad feelings, Wakeman, I love your music!

melmuka@palubau.ch (Jochen Melmuka)
Wow what an album!! I just need three records of Yes: Fragile, Darma and this holy shit here.

Wäre diese Platte eine Frau, würde ich sie wahrscheinlich ficken.

Melodie83@aol.com (Joe)
The only good Yes album of the 1990's.I remember buying this album in the spring of 1991 when I was still in High School and I hoped it would be as good or better as my other Yes albums.well I thought some great songs and some fillers the Yes songs with the 90125 lineup are great and a few of the AWBH songs are great.I would have Waited Forever is the best Yes song in a long time great vocals by Jon Shock To The System has a great chorus and vocal Life Me Up is a great song lyric wise and great melodie Saving My Heart is catchy but to poppy the other songs Miracle Of Life has a great start and then drags to long Silent talking has some great guitar from Steve and vocal harmony,The More We Live Let Go is one of the best songs how was'nt this song a big hit?the rest of the songs that song with the girl speaking in foreign is godawful Holding On is good for the guitar solo only Dangerous is okay only for the randb influence I love randb but Yes is not the Temptations,the final song should of been left off a 7 rating could of been better but it is one of Yes only truly great records they have made in 15 years. Talk Open your Eyes have decent songs but they suck

michael.blume@gte.net
Dude, I think you're being too damn harsh about the album. A two out of ten ain't gonna cut it because there are nine songs worth listening to. They are: Tracks 1, 2, 4-8, 11, and 12. The rest are mish-mosh shit sticks, especially Track 13. EEEEEEWWWW!!!!!!!

I hate Track 13, it's too goddamn short. G2G. See ya!

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Me and my stupid need to own all of the recordings of the groups I like. Union is one of the absolute worst albums I have ever heard in my life. I have no idea which songs are ABWH and which are YesWest, all I know is that with few exceptions, they all suck. Most of the Rabin stuff is like the title track of BG but _worse_, and I was sickened at how awful much of the ABWH stuff was

It's a good thing I only paid 7 bucks for this. I ordered to know what all the hubub was about, and now I completely understand. I don't think I'll ever listen to this shit again as long as I live.

Adrian.M.Rush.8@nd.edu
A black mark on the history of Yes. At least it spawned a fantastic tour, even if it was heavy with nostalgia. That being said, it's ironic that the best music on the album comes from the Rabin camp. Jonathan Elias should be publicly executed.

richbunnell@home.com
Yeah, it blows. It's not because they're making awful music, though. They're not even really making music at all-- it just sounds like they laid some instrumental and vocal tracks down and had the producers program "songs" based on the results. "Miracle Of Life" is good, "Lift Me Up" and "Waited Forever" are okay, the rest just puts me to sleep. The overly-corporate and contrived "union" of the two bands isn't a disaster, per se, it's more of a cold mechanical monolith that isn't really offensive but still looms over you in a 1984-ish way. A three.

Thank god for Napster. It's justified if you only use it to download crap, right?

grant@grantedmonds.com (Grant Edmonds)
I felt I had to write to give support where support was needed. There's been plenty of compliments thrown around to all previous Yes albums (except Tormato, which didn't deserve any), except this one. I absolutely love Union! As well as Fragile, Close To The Edge, Going For The One, & 90125. Union may not live up to the expectations one would normally have with all of Yes' members getting together and creating songs (it is more of a corporate effort than one would hope and expect), however, the songs are still quite good--combining some old, with mostly new, sounds. There is a dud among the group: "Angkor Wat," and a few instrumentals, but the other tracks are all catchy, with better lyrics ("The More We Live--Let Go," "Without Hope You Cannot Start The Day," "Shock To The System," "Silent Talking," etc.) than they've come up with the last ten years. Musically, it's just as tight and hard-hitting, whether it's the rock of "Dangerous" and the aforementioned "Shock", or the delicate beauty of "Lift Me Up," "Miracle Of Life," and "Holding On." If the members of the band did not compromise as much as they did, Union would have been an even more diverse and listenable album, but as it is, it still ranks as one of my faves...

pedroandino@msn.com
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO STIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRIIIIIIIIIIIKE 3 YER OUT! TITO! YOU SHAVED YER TESTICLES! HA HA HA HA HA AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! hear ye hear ye! I did not hate yes! the 2 albums I typed and reviewed were the best I wrote! now there is something that is been bugging me all of a sudden. in 1991 slick pop shite like wilson phillips and mikal bolton hit the charts. (blurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrpbarfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff!) so jonothan elias did not like this kind of beautiful prog yes did and he is more of a goddamn moneymaking scumbag! hey remember the last time I did a nasty spitefull attack was kiss unmasked! disposable crap! now this is one of the many albums I hate! check my list:

1.unmasked.
2.korn.
3.changes by da monkees.
4.90210.
5.y kant tori reed.

see what I mean? this is far and beyond the worst recording I have herd sinc billy joel played the atila album! while recording, producer elias who is better off making pussy records for anal latrine and kelly kuntson has an army of session gangs! SLICK L.A. STUDIO POP AS IF IT WAS 1986 ALL OVER AGAIN! ACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 guitar players! 3 bass players! 6 drummers plus drum machines! and 11 synth players! golly gee what a fuckin mess! shock to da system is a insipid rock song! I wanna wait now makes you go to the toilet! COME ON MR. PEEPEE! without hope you cannot poop your ass! let go is an anal latrine cd full of piss and poop! masterpice, saving my heart are so sappy! ok I am done! say what you will but I hate onion! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1! 1!

Add your thoughts?

Symphonic Music Of Yes - BMG 1993.
Rating = 8

I actually bought this as a joke 'cuz it was only four dollars, but I was proven wronger than a schlong bong (and how much more incorrect can you get than a stoner boner? Ha ha! Huh? Yeah! How's about a beefer reefer? Huh? Ha ha! Yeah! How's about a marijuana cock'n'Donna? Eh... Ah.). This is a beautiful CD, and don't let those bastards down South tell you any different. Steve Howe and Bill Bruford play on every track, Jon Anderson sings a couple, and the rest of the instruments are strings and horns and lovely things of that nature. Wonderful music! A bitchin' seven and a half minute version of "Close To The Edge," anyone? How's about some "Survival" with a gospel choir? Oooh! And how's about a silly, even discoier version of "Owner Of A Lonely Heart"? Oh, okay, there are a couple they could have rethought (especially since neither Bill nor Steve had a damn thing to do with the original hit), but most of this just outlines exactly how talented this group of songwriters is. How many rock bands do you know whose work could be played as forkin' "classical" music and not only make SENSE, but sound DAMN good? I guess it helps that they were classically influenced to begin with, but wow! And I just bought it as a joke! Who's laughing now?

Never mind.

Reader Comments

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Three-quarter of ABWH got together in a couple of tracks for Symphonic Music of Yes, mainly a Howe project he even produced and on which Bill Bruford drummed. Jon appeared here and then, greatly but sparsely enough to keeping the listener wanting for more of his angelical voice singing lead or in the chorus. Had Rick contributed some grand piano laying this could be a third ABWH effort. This was not so. The orchestral treatments were good on the lot, with Alan Parsons helping in the proceedings. I know there was a tour presenting this album. Any information about this? Some other tracks were considered or even recorded, having Jon included "Hearts" on his solo symph album "Change We Must" (and ignoring, by the way, that Tony and Alan actually co-wrote that song with the others credited). Steve and Bill even promoted this album under the Yes trademark, upsetting Chris (and me, after I heard them attempting to play "Roundabout" live on TV). 8 out of 10 on its own merits, 6/10 if someone try to put this album in the Yes bag.

rderby@erols.com (Robert Derby)
Scmaltz.

Borart@aol.com
You want to hear a real symphonic album? Check out Symphonic Music of Pink Floyd. That is what this should have sounded like—reinterpretations of rock music using anything but traditional rock instruments. Except for Soon and a few passages in Close to The Edge, this is dreadful. Next, please.

Add your thoughts?

Affirmative: the yes solo family album - connoisseur Collection 1993.
Rating = 7

the whole is greater than the sum of its farts. it's nice though, to hear them all by themselves doing their semi=Yes thing - it's as if they TOOK as mucch from yes as they added. i',m really really drunk. i like most of the sonbgs. They really picked the est of each solo album. I don't thimnk I'd want to buy amny of their solo albums. Steve Howe has an aweful voice, so they were sure to include two tracks with no vocals. Jon Andreson has suchg a beau7tiful voice. I think it's beaut;fiufl. Someone called me and said they liked my web site. that was neat. They all have good songs. Every9noe in Yes is very talented and creative, wjhich sis a lot more than you can say for lmost bandas, unless yiou're speaking in smope other launguage of which i don't sopwak,e, in which case, bite it, foreighner. I am really really really really really really really drunk,. a guy at barnes and noble was staring at me. he was security. i can't open myt eayuses. i A QWWENYT SO LONGW TIHOUT DRINKING AND NOW I DARINk a lot. so bite ti you fucking asshopjle /. Not Rich Bunnmell, he is a good guy.Most of you are special special people. It DOES hurt my feel;ings when yoiu dln't like my writingkl but i uinderstand it because i'm such an ashole someimte.s i'm really siorry,. it's all just my opinion, and opinions change every day. I just don't understand why we all have to die in the end. it doesn't make szense to me. what are we? goddammit it's all so stupid. i love evertything wjem o , i'm drun k. if you get drunk, make sure your hgirlfriend gets druink too. it's fun. i fucked my girlfriend earlier. it was so wonderful. i love ber so much. i love her. i9 lover her. i lover her. i lover her. GOOD ALUBM! if you like Yes at all, yiou shoud hera what they can do on theuir own. I LOV YTIOU TOO~!!!!!

(the morning after)

maybe i should stop writing reviews when i'm really drunk

Reader Comments

pd6941@albany.edu (Pat D.)
Mark, its a good thing you were drunk when you wrote that Jon Anderson has a beautiful voice. ;-)

oneofakind151@hotmail.com (John Sieber)
I have never laughed so hard in my life. thank you, prindle.

nikus80@hotmail.com (Nicolás Perez Santoro)
Damn you, Prindle. I mean, I really like your reviews and I usually laugh a lot (specially at that "17 inches" "When Flaccid" joke. Man that was wonderful), but this is the best review you've written. You should get drunk more often.

And yeah. I love you too. In the same way I love my sister, that's it.

Add your thoughts?

Talk - Victory 1994.
Rating = 4

One darned fine Survivor album. Pretty weak Yes album, though. Squeaky clean generic cheeseball melodies abound, some better than others ("The Calling" will stick around, and the harmonies in "Walls" are the loveliest we've heard since "Love Will Find A Way"), but all pretty effortless. The main advantage this has over Union is that there are only SEVEN songs on it. I'd say two are memorable, another (the Caribbeanny "Where Will You Be") is nice in an ABWH kinda way, and the rest are kinda yawny. Not wretched, but not particularly necessary, either. The only truly interesting part on the whole record is the weird chord sequence at the end of "The Calling," where suddenly it feels like we're listening to Steve Howe beautifully scrunge up the end of "Awaken" again. Too bad it's Trevor Rabin and it doesn't quite feel real. Yabba-dabba-shoe.

Reader Comments

yesman@smartlink.net (Lee)
I really enjoy Talk, but not everyone does. I also enjoy a lot of the solo work that the Yesman are putting out, including Jon's Toltec and Steve's Not Necessarily Acoustic. I like Peter Bank's last two LPs quite a bit as well.

yescomm@worldaccess.nl (Gert Bakhuizen)
I think you should check out Talk, I'm not saying that it's a great album (Jon Anderson himself once said that it only contain 10 minutes of real Yes music) but there are some good tracks on it, especially "Endless Dream." Yesshows on the other hand, is more a less the same as Yessongs, a bit too much repeating that what we already know but maybe you should listen it as well in order to complete your album review list. That would be nice.

wijo@euro.net (Wijo Koek)
Talk is one of my favorite albums. I think Trevor Rabin has been one of the best things that has happened to Yes.

Limbeck@sprynet.com (Cody Barrow)

Yes Talk is Great!!!!!!!

monkey37@localnet.com (Scott Moore)
A shot to ABWH. This album is great, and sets a hard standard for the new group of YES men to reach. Keys to Ascension is coming, so it's their show, but as far as Yes goes. The Fragile band hasn't made a great album since ABWH, and many are undecided upon it. Most hate Union, so that leaves the YESWEST as the Yes of the future, SCARY! The Keys band HAS to give up a solid excellent Yes album in order to prove once and for all who the best Yes band really is. Many would say that Yes hasn't had a solid album since before DRAMA, and KEYS TO ASCENSION just may prove them wrong.

bringer@earthlink.net (Fred)
Was good!!! No?

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
This is my hands down fave. It rocks more than the others. And "Endless Dream" is like "Gates of Delirium" for the 90s. I like the more heavy guitar oriented approach this album takes.

James@jpb-s.demon.co.uk
This is the first time I felt ripped off by Yes. Talk tries to follow the path the AWBH/Union albums, but nobody bothered writting any songs. At least the Yes West albums had tunes you could sing in the shower. The highlight of the album is the 1:56 minute bit at the start of Endless Dream, and that just isn't enough. Altogether boring, self-indulgent and utterly pointless.

axon45@rocketmail.com (Andrew Davis)
I recently purchased a recycled version of Talk. I thought that Union was bad! This is absolutely horrid; what were the members of Yes thinking? Thank goodness for the release of Keys To Ascension! In any event, "The Calling" is very good and the rest of the album sounds like too much of the same thing, for one thing- every song is too long! This cd will bore you to death!!! After listening to this cd; I had to reevaluate Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe! I have decided to increase my rating of ABWH to a 7; Talk gets a 3!! I'm certainly glad that I didn't buy this disc new!!! Oh, incidentally, "The Endless Dream" is endlessly tedious!!!

dembones@pond.net
I was anxiously awaiting this release, especially when I heard it was back to the 90125 linup. (Still not the original YES, but unquestionably better than the ONION gang!) If it was as good as BIG GENERATOR, at least it would be a good rock record. But no such luck... The musician's identities are completely lost amidst Rabin's ungodly over-produced sound. What a Poser! His attempts to sound tough are laughable, Squire's unique bass playing is completely lost, and poor Alan White is reduced to cave-man style pounding with a drum sound that makes one wonder how much sample triggering went on. Even still, there were some good moments. "The Calling" is listenable. "I'm Waiting" is nice until Rabin's dumb-rock bridge. "State of Play" is THE MOST EMBARASSING thing Yes has ever recorded! Finally, "Endless Dream" truly has some majestic moments, but the pseudo-yes instrumental intro is so rigid I would swear it was sequenced! How disappointing!

windstorm@geocities.com (Robert Reynolds)
I think Talk (which should have kept its original title Dialogue) is the best Yes album to come out since 90125. Sure, it's a little annoying at times with its religious over/undertones, but it still has a nice variety of tunes that aren't afraid to rock a little. Excellent, and deserving of a better rating than the one given here.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
We're talking about a "true" Yes album at last, the one after Union. In 1994, the group released Talk (a more common name than Dialogue, originally thought as ABWH second solo album title). This record was recorded since 1992, so the wait made us all think Yes was cooking up a masterpiece. Even the definite lineup was kept almost in secrecy (Anderson told me in May 1993 that Rick was also in the fold). I know this is one of the fans' less favorite albums, but I actually like it a lot. True, this doesn't fit in the classic Yes style nor in the "hit" Yes of the eighties, but is a welcome change and progressive-rock was perpetual change after all. The sound is maybe much too clear to sound natural (due to the computer recording techniques), but the songs were strangely original. What this album lacked was promotion. I confess this time I liked Rabin at last, feeling his parts were finally suitable to the ensemble and noticing he let Jon be alone on the forefront (save the odd line here and there). Kaye was strangely strong in a couple of songs and in others (knowing Trevor played synths keyboards) remotely absent. Squire continued his progressive comeback started in Union (by comeback meaning he started to sing and play more than in the eighties) but this was more evident on the tour that followed. Even White seemed to awaken in certain passages. The last two tracks are the best this lineup ever produced (and were not in the "commercial hit" trend). The biggest fault in this album is the cover, who must have kept the few loyal fans from buying this record. Peter Max has done more damage to Yes than more. And if you think this record is far too off the right track please listen to Open Your Eyes and then we'll talk (Ha,ha... talk). I give it 7/10.

ssvsoft@online.no (Snorre Serigstad)
So you give 90125 8/10 and you slaughter TALK? What is the world coming to? TALK is the best Yes album since CLOSE TO THE EDGE! (KTA2 is a strong challenger but "Foot Prints" ruins the whole thing) "The Calling" is great! "State of Play", too! Yes, "Where will you be" is a bit, uh, weird but "Endless Dream" kicks butt! Thank you Trevor!

Melodie83@aol.com (Joe)
Here is where Yes starts to lose there songwriting touch, there are a handfull of great tracks The Calling has a great chorus,singing, drums by Alan ,Walls is a great song too nice harmony singing, State Of Play is pretty rocking but the rest are either really slow ballads with even more corny lyrics I Am Waiting,Real Love,or songs that are really awful like Endless Dream,Where Will You Be if they want to go back to the classic Yes style write another And You And I ,at least some songs are enjoyable on this album the next one is a disaster.Jon said in an interview in 1994 that this was the album he dreamed of making he had to be joking.it did not deserve to bomb like it did since it was a lot better than the trash on the radio by 1994 including other 1970's bands who had hits that should of retired by then. a 6 rating

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
BORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRING

I mean, it's not horrid, but you're right about the effortless part. Man oh man. I agree with the 4, maybe a 5

Adrian.M.Rush.8@nd.edu
The best album of the Rabin era. It was good to see Rabin go out on a positive note. "I Am Waiting" is gorgeous, "Endless Dream" is simply the best Yessong of the past 19 years, and the only thing that would have made "The Calling" better was to have left in the lovely little ambient/floating section in the middle. It changes the entire complexion and mood of the song. (It exists on the Japanese version, as well as a promo CD; find it if you can; it's worth it.) Plus, Alan's drumming is more invigorating than it has been in years, Jon sounds in top form, Jon and Trevor finally click as a songwriting team, and Tony gets in some tasty Hammond licks. (I suspect that Tony never played much more than organ and piano in '80s Yes anyway--the credits on Talk are just more honest about it.) The weak link is Chris, but hey, you can't win 'em all.

This was a fresh, new, exciting sound for Yes, blending the best of the '70s and the '80s into something brilliantly different. A shame that it couldn't continue, and an even bigger shame that Wakeman wasn't able to participate, as was originally planned.

Easily Yes' most underappreciated and underrated album. Buy it if you don't have it.

michael.blume@gte.net
I don't get it. A lot of people seemed to have put down Talk for no particularly good reason at all. They (and the critics, of course) complained before that the songs weren't distinctive enough. That is total, utterly complete bull. Seems to me that the songs ARE distinctive, and that Jon and Trevor proved that they were an impressive Lennon/McCartney-like pair of good songwriters. It's definitely an 8 out of 10 in my book. I just wished that most Yes freaks shouldn't have started bitchin' about Rabin in the first place. Hell, I like 90125 better than Tales, and the same goes for Big Gen. I've also decided that UNION, or ONION deserves a 4 out of 10 in my book. Man, most of the songs on that piece of shit really sucked donkey dick. Talk and OYE, on the other hand, were a definite improvement over that lump of Yes coal. Trevor, if your reading this, thanks a bunch! You were one of the finest additions that ever happened to Yes. I mean, 90125, Big Generator, Talk, those albums were amazing! Again, thank you! Talk ROCKS!

terribledrummer@webtv.net (Jeff Fowler)
I thought that the talk album was excellent! I don't think alot of yes fans really gave it a chance because they made up their minds not to like it even before it came out. I thought the tour was awesome as well.

richbunnell@home.com
Unlike the preceding "album," the songs on here resemble songs, but unfortunately the production finds at least twenty new definitions for the word "sterile." "The Calling" and "Walls" are both classics in a poppish tradition distinctly not of Yes yet still good, but I'd never be able to remember the melodies to "I Am Waiting" or "Where Will You Be" even if they somehow became overplayed to the same level as "Owner" and "All Good People." And "Endless Dream," though definitely part of the album's better half, just doesn't merit its length like earlier long-form Yessongs. I give the album a four.


Endless Dream - bootleg.
Rating = 9


DAMN. Excellent double-live CD. Features the 90125 line-up putting their own special generic stamp all your favorite CLASSICYES tunes, plus running through lots of Talk tunes that you just know you'll NEVER hear in concert again now that Steve Howe is back. Here's a shocker -- you know those slick, overproduced songs on TALK? They sound emotional, beautiful and powerful in a live setting! Very, very pretty. Too bad about that slick, boring production that marred the studio album. I totally underrated that one though. Raise it to a 7 or so. Also, in a few minutes, you'll hear me whine about The Ladder and only give it a 5. THAT WAS A MISTAKE. That album has grown on me like a beard and now I can't stop listening to it! Sure, it sounds like a Jon Anderson solo album, but a really good one! I'd definitely up that one to a high 7 or 8 at this point. So ignore everything I say about that one. Or write your own review of it. I don't much care. Honestly, my life is just an endless whirlwind of psychotropic drugs and psychiatrist visits at this point, so do whatever you want with my shoes. Just don't touch my shoes!
Reader Comments

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
100% agreement, Mark. Bootleg or no, this is an absolute necessity for anybody who is even remotely a fan of the Rabin era. My only gripe is what they did to Roundabout - eliminating the arpeggios in the interludes was just not a good idea. But the Talk material all sounds wonderful (especially I Am Waiting), as does the 90125 stuff, and I really appreciate how they messed with And You And I. Substituting the beginning acoustic parts with piano was a simply wonderful stroke of inspiration, and provides a beautiful twist.

That being said, I really wish they would have gotten rid of the 'synth vomit' noises in the 'tin Jesus' chunk of the 'title track' - they're just as irritating here as they were before.

Add your thoughts?

Keys To Ascension - 1996.
Rating = 8

How did this happen? 1996 rolls around and all of a sudden, Yes contains Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman again? No Rabin? No Kaye? Fine with me, sugar! This is a mostly-live double CD featuring the (almost) classic '70s line-up doing amazing versions of some of their finest and most obscure album tracks. "All Good People," you ask? No. But how about "The Revealing Science Of God?" "Onward?" "Awaken?" Big time Yes freakers like myself are going wild about this release all over the world right now - or at least, they'd better be!!! These are complex epic anthem tracks that the Yes-men somehow still remember how to play more than fifteen years after throwing in the towel as a collective unit. Unbelievable stuff. Great production, too. Hardly even sounds live! And they even make Paul Simon's "America" come to life without making it really irritating like their original cover (okay, that's just me talking - most fans love the original).

But the big news, of course, and what everybody wants to know is this - are the two new tracks any good? Well, no, to be quite honest with you. The twenty- minute "That, That Is" starts off with about five minutes of the most creative and exciting guitarwork we've heard from Steve Howe since Going For The One, but the actual SONG sounds a lot like that really long one on Talk - in other words, like a Jon Anderson solo record. The ten-minute "Be The One" doesn't even have a good intro. It's a bore through and through. Pity. Maybe the creative flame is gone? Unfortunate if true, but let's not write 'em off without giving 'em a few years to show us what's up, okay? At least they're still an amazing live band!

And apparently Keys To Ascension Part II is due out in March or something. Keep your ears open!

Reader Comments

sod1995@ix.netcom.com (Stephen Odell)
Keys To Ascension is a wonderful disc, the best to come from the real "YES" in far too many years. I didn't think they had it in them but this is the absolute best collection of live material they've ever recorded. The sound quality is remarkable combining the studio perfection we've come to expect, while somehow transferring that sound to a live performance which is not sterile, but instead brings back many of the same feelings experienced hearing these songs the very first time years ago. The 5 man symphonic orchestra of YES is back!!!!! Despite admiral and often very satisfying efforts by other configurations of the YES family over the years, THIS IS THE ONE AND ONLY YES (except for Bill Bruford); although even Alan White sounds pumped up here and perhaps somewhat Brufordesque. Only regret is that I would have liked other songs to also be included since the band absolutely nailed it during these performances of March '96. Hopefully other material will show up on a later release. This stuff is simply too terrific to leave in some studio somewhere. The new material (2 songs) seem very interesting initially and perhaps will become new classics. I don't know them well enough yet, but in the past it was always the new material that took some getting used to which ultimately had the most staying power. This disc is a must have for anyone who preferred the 1971-1977 period; it may also convert newer fans who thought they were following YES and never truly experienced this tremendous period. Welcome back Jon, Steve, Chris, Rick, and Alan. Please try to stay around a bit longer this time and prosper. We missed you and the music, thanks for bringing it back in such remarkable condition.

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Oh Yes!!! This album rocks. "Roundabout," "Starship Trooper," and "Awaken" never sounded so good. And "Khatru" sounded cool, not cheesy like the original. But the best part for me was the new song "That That Is." I think it's one of the best tracks Yes has ever done.

sbachini@uk.mdis.com (Steve Bachini)
Well, I never thought I'd be buying a new Yes album again but I have it...

Disk 1: The live tracks are a real treat. The track rundown on disk one is like a dream come true for Yes fans. The versions are top-notch as well. A couple of things on the playing though. Chris is right up there and Alan seems to have brightened up his sound enormously. But I find Steve's playing is rough at times and he is occasionally strumming along instead of leading from the front. This is only minor though; at no time do I get the impression that they are just going through the motions. They're doing it for real.

Disk 2: Well the live versions of "Roundabout" and "Starship Trooper" are fine and then we come to the studio tracks. The 10 minute "Be The One" is a standard plodding rock song I'm afraid. Then we are given the Steve Howe introduction to the 20 minute "That, That Is". It is four minutes of brilliant emotional guitar work on a par with "Turn Of The Century". I'm having to ration my listening at the moment. Sadly the track goes severely downhill after this with only the occasional good idea. There are a lot of repeated musical lines, some of which are almost shouted instead of sung. This harks back to the bad parts of the ABWH album. Rick's synths are very reminiscent of ABWH as well. And finally, why can't they put some instrumental passages in like they used to?

To sum up, an album greater than great in parts but dreadfully flawed in others. I agree with the 8/10 rating. I just wish we could've had separate live and studio releases. I think that fans will combine the two Keys albums into one long live album on tape and forget about the studio tracks.

borg@win.bright.net (The Borg)
An overall great band. It's strange that they keep switching around members; they could conceivably go into the next millennium, even after all of the original members are dead and their ashes are being smoked by someone else. Anyway, I saw them on their Talk tour in 1994 in Milwaukee, and it was the best concert I've ever been to, save "Weird Al" Yankovic.

"patqlizq@bellsouth.net"@BELLSOUTH.net (Elizabeth Quevedo)
I think the album is great. "Awaken" is a glorious song, and "Starship Trooper" sounds really good. The other live tracks are ok. I love the new songs too, but i consider that the live tracks are more interesting. I'm very impatient for the second part of Keys... The band sounds incredibly good. LOVE FOR ALL!!!!

lesieur@montr12.hcc.com
Great album with great songs! What a surprise to hear a live version of "The Revealing Science Of God". With this album, Yes sounds like in the good old days. I really like "That, That Is".

TempsFugit@aol.com
I really enjoyed it. I think there are parts of "That, That Is" that are some of the best things YES have ever done. 9/10

rderby@erols.com
90's version of YESSONGS sounds great! studio stuff shows promise but is a bit stiff and talky. i read a recent interview in "nfte" in which Rick says the follow up "Know" is greatly superior. (now if they'd stop fighting and put it out!!!!)

mop01606@mail.telepac.pt (Helder Santos)
A Yes album is always good, but I think the next one should be always better. Go on studio, go on tour, but never stop (and come to Portugal).

akdxmy@hotmail.com (Andrew Davis)
First of all, let me say that I do not think of Rush as a weaker band, different but not necessarily weaker. Second of all, I feel that Tales From Topographic Oceans still stands the test of time as one of Yes's best cds. Why not give Fragile, Close To The Edge, Tales From Topographic Oceans and Keys To Ascension all 10's. Personally, I believe that Keys is the best Yes album of all-time and the best Yes studio album is undoubtedly Tales From Topographic Oceans.

Okay, here are my ratings of the Yes cds which I currently possess:

The Yes Album 8/10
Fragile 9/10
Close To The Edge 10/10
Yessongs 8/10
Tales From Topographic Oceans 9/10
Relayer 8/10
Yesterdays 7/10
Going For The One 8/10
Tormato 5/10
Drama 5/10
Yesshows 8/10
90125 7/10
Big Generator 6/10
Anderson,Bruford, Wakeman and Howe 6/10
Yesstory 9/10
Union 5/10
Keys To Ascension 9/10
Keys To Ascension II 9/10?

Since, I have never owned either, Yes or Time And A Word; it would be inappropriate for me to make any decision.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net (BOB's)
Andrew buy the first two albums. They were good for Yes's beginning with Kaye's organ and piano and Peter Banks's guitar playing, all of the songs on Yes' debut was folk rock and classic rock, on Time And A Word it was half rock and more orchestral. "Then", "Everydays", "The Prophet" and "Astral Traveller" were good. On the first album "Beyond And Before", "I See You", "Yesterday and Today", and "Sweetness" was also great. I give the first album a 9 and the second a 7.

Bbhmdr@vmmc.org
Well...I had mixed feelings on this album when I first got it, and well, for the most part, they're still there. So I'll probably just divide up into my positive and negative feelings about the album.

The Positives: 1. For the most part, the live stuff is GREAT. It is wonderful to hear a bit of the classic Yes material performed with some real style and variety (see "Onward" w/ intro)

2. Nice to hear Rick again on the pieces, as well as S. Howe.

Negatives:

1. First and foremost, the lyric writing on the new tracks in places is *abysmal*. I don't know whether they got up on the wrong side of the bed one day, or what - but one of the most enjoyable things about Yes lyrics has been the (generally) positive ethereal mysticism and spirituality that comes across (even off of Talk ["Endless Dream"]). It really disturbs me to listen to lyrics about "crack time", drug use, etc., from a band who has never: 1. dealt with these issues and 2. have been this literal about it. But, hey, there is some nice music throughout "That That Is".

2. Billy Sherwood's production - please, please, PLEASE find the BASS control and turn it down one notch (something tells me it's at "11"). I'm not quite sure why it's so overdriven, but this has been a running thing through all of the B.S.-produced albums (See World Trade -Euphoria) that I've heard.

3. Both new tracks sound like that they were individual ideas that kinda got stuck together with short instrumental pieces to hold them together...at least to my ears, they sound a little too separate to hold together as a convincing epic piece like CTTE. (Call it TFTO syndrome or something). But comments on all of the above would be welcome. Thanks .

john1@frontiernet.net
I have been a fan I think for about 50 yrs. No, they havn't been around that long, but I hope they are. On the KTA album, "That That Is" should be acknowledged as one of the band's all time grat pieces of music. It's great to see the band is not afraid to still try different approaches in their music. Let us also remember that this is 1997 not '73, and it should be expected that the music would sound a bit different. In many ways the music reflects the things as seen by band members that are now much more mature. It's also obvious from the lyrics in "That That Is", that Jon Anderson has spent time living in L.A., and gotten a taste of big city life in the U.S. Anyways, the themes change often, and hit the home stretch with an extended instrumental riff that pumps and pumps, then enters quite an interesting finale. Also, I must add no one else seems to know how to end a tune like they do.

I'm really looking forward to the KTA 2, and I've already got my concert tickets. I have to say there will never be another band quite like them. Looking forward to hearing Ivan Koroshev. Too bad Rick left the group, I wish it were possible to figure out what his real problem is. He often states it as Religious differences, but I think the religious differences are more like MONEY and his fear of flying. Oh well, I'm sure he'll be back again....and quit again....and be back ag......

jwhat@merlin.ebicom.net (SIBERIAN_KHATRU)
"Revealing..." was done ver ver very very well. "Starship Trooper" was good as well. "Awaken" was done as well as possible I guess, it's hard to replicate the original. Parts of "That, That is" was real good, but really, who cares about the crack heads anyway, listen to rap and crap for that. This is YES, not Coolio or whatever the hell his name is. Ever listen to the remix of "Close to the Edge" done with his son, it's a dang rap song. Check the disc out. It's called Close to the Hype featuring Jon and Damion Anderson. WHAT THE HELL WAS JON THINKING ON THIS, AM I THE ONLY FOOL THAT BOUGHT IT????????????????? Anyway it's out by Griffen Music. On to KTA, America with Chris and Alan sounded really tight.

dembones@pond.net
A dream come true for Yes fans, including myself. I was THRILLED to see live set featured "Revealing Science" and "Awaken," but irritated that they felt obligated to throw in yet MORE versions of "Starship Trooper" and "Roundabout," Great songs, sure, but YAWN... Time to change the oil, fellas! Of their new stuff, I felt like both efforts were kinda unstable. "Be the One" was somehow wishy-washy, and the attempted epic "That, That is" is the first time Anderson's lyrics have interfered with my enjoyment of the music. "Strung out on crack time..." "the Gang life?" Anderson sounds about as socially aware as Nancy Reagan's "just-say-no" campaign. Despite that, the piece has some of the strongest music in years, and shows great promise for the future. Nice to hear Squire come out of his identity crisis from TALK.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Your best critique is the one concerning Keys to Ascension, describing very well how we all felt when 1996 turned the band (and the fans) upwards by bringing back Steve and Rick. The SLO< concert(s) showed Yes back to his roots, a la ABWH but with Chris this time (and without Bill). The live treatments are the very best in years, but some parts are at least controversially adapted or modernized. I think "The Revealing Science of God" and "America" are excellent. The fact that this lineup recorded two new (and lengthy) songs is just good enough, and hearing "That, That Is" is better news. The track has parts that are reminiscent of glorious days past, showing Chris is actually BACK to splendor and featuring Steve's talent at its best. "Be the One" is just fine, with Steve providing bass with maybe too much effort. All in all, the live set is the most exciting part of the album. I give it 8 or maybe 9/10.

compserv@vettweb.net.au
Siberian Khatru The guys are sounding really relaxed, the sound is clean and hearable, and the crowd is not too loud.

The Revealing Science Of God A really good job. Their sound avoids the heaviness of the studio version; it has good clarity and maintains the musical integrity of the original song.

America The whole hog! Not some smashed up single version.

Onward A beautiful rendition. Steve has a really nice touch on acoustic guitar.

Awaken I'm sorry, but this song does not transfer well to the live format. I really love this song in the studio, but I've heard two recorded live versions now and neither of them have done justice to the song. However, Rick does do some nice parts in this one. Don't ask me what Steve was doing.

Roundabout Y'know I think I've heard this song somewhere before... Okay, the acoustic version. Nice to hear it.

Starship Trooper This song has appeared on about 5 million Yes albums in various versions and formats. I wonder what would happen if they actually did something else in the encore. They probably wouldn't know how to play it!

Be The One Not the best song they've ever done, but remarkable for Yes in that the whole 9 minutes seems to be in 4/4 and the same key, or its minor counterpart. Such restraint! Apparently it's almost live too. That muddy sounding rhythm guitar is Chris on his Photon.

That, That Is The disjointedness of this song doesn't come in the different parts of the song, but in the transitions between them. It's like they're just taking a sip before plunging into the next bit. Ranked against the other Yes epics I would probably put it last. There is some good music and I like the song, but it just seems to sound too thin.

ian.moss@yale.edu (Ian Moss)
Well, I suppose this renders my earlier statement about Yes "suck[ing] now" a bit unfair. They don't suck, although they're not quite as masterful as they usta be. The first disc is wonderful; I wasn't familiar with any of the middle three tracks and they are all incredible, while "Siberian Khatru" and "Awaken" make for excellent bookends. Of the live selections that I was familiar with, they aren't quite as good as in the studio, although "Roundabout" comes pretty close. I really hate the way they turned the "Wurm" part of "Starship Trooper" into a dumb wank-jam as if they were fucking Lynyrd Skynyrd or whatever. I read a review of their concert in Boston (which I could have gone to by just calling my local radio station and answering a trivia question which I knew the answer to, but I didn't call, FUCK ME!!!) that made the following observation: "Yes would do well to dispense with the whole 'rock star' persona." I agree wholeheartedly. Yes is many things, but they are not teen idols or guitar heroes or anything like that--and when they try and pretend, they just look silly. Anyway, the new tracks pretty much define "mixed bag." "Be the One" definitely has its nice spots, but the lyrics are horrendous and the chorus gets a little sickening after a while. It's more cohesive than "That, That Is," but its musical objectives are also a lot less ambitious than classic Yes standards. In fact, "Be the One" reminds me rather frighteningly of late-period BOSTON. There's nothing quite like that "washed-up '70s rocker" sound. With "That, That Is," Yes almost succeeds in recapturing their earlier form. If you take out "Crossfire" and the related part towards the end of the song, you have a truly excellent 14-15 minute semi-epic. But "Crossfire's" overly poppy music and mundane lyrics nearly invalidate the whole song. Frustrating, but also promising....I can't wait to check out Keys 2. 8

orderdesk@centralreprographics.com (Byron)
JUST A QUICK NOTE ON KEYS TO ASCENSION VIDEO

You would think that the single most progressive rock band around could afford to do a decent video, well you'd be wrong, because this video ( like most of their videos) sucks! I can't understand how they let it happen with every video they release. Don't get me wrong- the band rocks- the music rocks- but whoever edited this video should be shot. In the first ten minutes you will see every video special effect known to man. In the next ten minutes you'll see them again. Give me one video camera and a blindfold and I could do better. Yes is my band, but if I ever get my hands on the idiot who chopped this video up- I'l strangleate the poor bastard. Just once I'd like to see a decent, straightforward production- oh, and one where the camera doesn't cut away while Steve is jamming the lead to Starship Trooper to watch some moron in the front row (you know what a mean).


Keys To Ascension II - 1997.
Rating = 8

This one came out in March or something. It also is very good! The live stuff is phenomenal (although I for one didn't need yet another version of "All Good People"), and even some of the studio tunes are good this time around, accentuating a funky, heavy bass sound that we haven't heard since Drama ("Footprints" in particular is a catchy as hell pop tune). But man, and I know this is heresy but I have to be honest, the 20-minute "Mind Drive" doesn't do a thing for me. It just goes and goes and goes, and none of its several parts really scream of creativity or interestingnessness. It sounds more like an Asia epic than a classic Yes epic, and who the hell needs an Asia epic?

I mean, aside from the extended dance version of "Heat Of The Moment"?

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Well, it's here. Keys To Ascension Part Two. I absolutely love it. The concert material is GREAT! They do "All Good People," "And You And I," "Turn Of The Century," and a few others. "Time and A Word" has a cool piano intro like "Awaken" from the previous one. "Close to the Edge" is excellent. The church organ part is even darker than the original. But there is one problem. The fast and furious part after "I get up, I get down" sounds almost like some Irish dance tune. You can almost swing to it. I dont care much for that, but the rest is great. They also do "Going for the One" which is the hardest rock moment of the entire concert.

The new material is even better. Granted, the intro track "Mind Drive" has its weak moments, but at times, it's like they're re-living "Revealing Science," unfortunately, other moments sound more like the Powell album that ELP put out in the 80s. "Footprints" is one of the best Yes tracks EVER!!! It starts a capella like "all good people," but turns into one of the most haunting songs ever. It shows Yes experimenting a bit with different instrumentations (like harmonicas), and breaking out of their usual mode. I LOVE THIS TRACK.

"Bring me to the Power" sounds like something off Tormato. It's still a good song though. "Children of Light" is a masterpiece. It's as good as "Footprints." It features a return of the sitars that Steve used to play. The final track (I can't remember the name off hand) sounds like three minutes of the "Evensong" thing from Union. This is easily the best Yes album of the 90s.

The songs are long too. "Mind Drive" is 18 minutes, "Footprints" is 10 minutes, and the others are 6 or 7 each. There's no boring material on here, unlike the last one ("Be the one" . . . yuck) and the long songs actually flow, unlike "That That Is." What's more, the material on this album is STRONG!!!!! (with the possible exception of the first 5 minutes of "Mind Drive").

I would strongly recomend trying out this album. What's more, they've got another new one coming out in about two weeks!

john1@frontiernet.net
Well, Keys 2 is out, I bought it, and I love it. The first half of the album I could live without, as it's just more of the old stuff done live (which I've heard a million times. It's quite good, bur I've already got every album.)

As for the new stuff, "Mind Drive" is kinda of a cross between the styles in Close to the edge, Relayer, and Drama. As with most yes music, it sounds "pretty good" the first time you hear it, but after 5-10 times you've got to say this is one incredible piece of music. Rick Wakeman has NEVER sounded better on any of their albums. (This also proves what a total a.. hole he is for leaving the group again.) The rest of the new tracks are very good, although it would be hard for them to match up to "Mind Drive". Crank it up, sit back and pretend you've gone back twenty years with that odd smelling smoke in the room.

P.S. Saw Yes on the new tour, quite good but would've been better with Rick.

rderby@erols.com (Robert Derby)
Keys...2 is the best thing YES has released in over a dozen years and the best Steve Howe since Going For The One!!! Why? Well let's first forget the live disc and concentrate on the studio disc shall we. This new studio effort has every strength YES has ever represented in past albums plus some new ones. The first of which is a joyful playfulness evident in "Footprints" and "Bring Me To The Power". These songs sound fun (with a nice dose of Yes pretension) and throughly enjoyable. Hell, YES SOUNDS LIKE THEY ARE HAVING FUN PLAYING IT. Admittingly, I intially thought "Mind Drive" was going to be stupid and it did take four passes to relize how damn good it is. We all thought that songs "ENDLESS DREAM" and "THAT,THAT IS" were as close as we would get to witnessing YES utilizing that "concept" format but "MIND DRIVE" blows them both away. It has very nice melodies and does succeed on taking you on a journey (that is if you let it).The secret here is the themes tie together better than they did in those aforementioned songs.

The live stuff here is vintage YES (not as strong as Keys...1 though) but this time it is overshadowed by exceptional strong studio work. Kinda the opposite of the last Keys....

This is in no means any buff on Rabin (and God knows I've defended him withih these pages!) but it is finally great to hear the classic YES back on track. AND A BONUS!!!! I only have to wait two weeks until the NEXT YES album comes out!!!!

tabasco@worldnet.att.net (BOB's)
So it all comes out to this huh. KTA 2 kicks ass totally doesn't it. Man, this is great I thought I was going to be the first person to get it but I guess I thought wrong. I don't even have it yet because it is not out in stores in my state but when it does I'll be jetting in that store, buy it, put it in my cd player, and that'll be it until Open your Eyes comes out. This kicks ass, I stopped liking Yes after a while when I got Talk because I thought they weren't going to come out with an album but how wrong I was. I'M GETTING IT THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
When I first heard Keys1, I was totally blown away by "That, That Is". The riffing at he start and the end is really exciting and those middle parts are VERY Anderson (meaning very beautiful)! The song is, with no doubt, the best Yes work since the seventies. OK, there are great things on all Yeswest albums as well as ABWH and Union, but nothing is as good as "That, That Is". Finally Yes dare to experiment again!

Like many others, I thought that was the most experimental we could expect from Yes these days, but so came Keys2! And once again we're swimming those Topographic Oceans! 'Cause that's exactly as "Mind Drive" sounds. Topographic for the next Millenium! I've listened to the song for a few days now, and each time it grows. In the first place, I found the contrast between the "hard" and the "light" parts a bit exaggerated. Was this Yes trying to sound like Yes (if you know what I mean)? But that contrast makes more and more sense for each time I hear the song. I haven't actually made up my mind about the other songs (I post another entry when I have), 'cause "Mind Drive" is so damn impressive!

About those live records: OK, the music is great, especially "Onward", "Starship Trooper", "Going for the One" and "Turn of the Century". But we've heard the songs a zillion times before, and I think Yes should've had been focusing on the new songs instead. With "That That Is" and "Mind Drive", who needs yet another version of "And You and I"?

Finally, it's an odd feeling that within two weeks ANOTHER Yes album will be released! I've heard that some songs on Open Your Eyes are even more poppy than "Love Will Find a Way". What will that lead to? Accomplished experiments and AOR pop within a month... Yes history has always been weird...

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
Now I've listened to Keys vol 2 a bit more, and I can only tell you that it's unbelievably good! I've already mentioned the amazing "Mind Drive" above, so I won't talk about that one again.

Track by track:
*"Foot Prints" starts as a weird gospel, but turns into something completely else. Intriguing bass/guitar riffs compete with brilliant vocal harmonies intensely.

*"Bring Me to the Power". My favourite song. Some real great riffing in the beginning and end, and some typical Jon Anderson hymning inbetween. One part has similarities with of a part of "Endless Dream" (from Talk), but this song is far more entertaining. Of some unknown reason, the word "me" is not on the cover to the CD.

*"Children of Light". Perhaps the least impressive of the set. It's strange that Yes have chosen only this one for their live set. Still, a great song, again very Anderson.

Part 2, "Lifeline", is a fabulous Steve Howe guitar solo, only accomanied by Rick Wakeman's synths.

*"Sign Language". Not so much of a song, but more a vehicle for some more beautiful interplay between Howe and Wakeman. Great!

I can't understand why the Keys 2 thing wasn't thrown away and this album was released as the new Yes studio album. If this was the reason why Rick left, then he was bloody right! And if Yes happen to read this: PLEASE include "Bring me to the Power" and "Mind Drive" in your live set when you come to Europe next spring!

thutley@e-z.net (Thomas Hutley)
Keys to Ascension 2? Catchy title. Sounds... familiar...

This is what Yes was going to sound like... until Wakeman decided he just couldn't give up those damned steak sandwiches! Actually, who really knows why he left? Who knows why he ever RE-JOINED? But before we all burn Rick in Hades, let's give him a big ol' hug and a thank you for doing the live music... oh, and for the studio stuff, too! This really is some good music. Probably the best they've made in a long, long time. Why it must be set up in a 2-CD set where only die-hard Yes fans will even consider forking out $23 for it is beyond me. I guess they really aren't in the business for the money because this thing is NEVER going to move off the shelves!

Obviously, the live songs are good. They've been good for the last 20 plus years, so why wouldn't they be good now? And for someone who's never heard "Turn of the Century" live before, well... it was a pleasure. In fact, I'm retrieving my tissue box right now just thinking about it.

But the studio disc is better. How, you ask? Well... Howe, actually... and Rick... and Alan... and Chris... and Jon. Did I mention Howe? This is exactly what Yes fans have wanted since '80... for Yes to take us all back to the 70's. And they've finally done just that. Every fan that's been screaming for the return of the 'classic' Yes line-up should be able to sleep at night from now on! Well done, my British lads! Now you may burn Wakeman. That is, if you still want to. I don't personally. But that's just me...

axon45@rocketmail.com (Keith Davis)
After waiting over a month for Keys 2, I now have it! How good is it? Well, the five studio songs on the second side of the disc are the best songs that Yes has composed in a very long time! This cd set is even better than Keys 1 and is probably Yes' best cd overall!! The live tracks are as great as the live tracks off of Keys 1!!! My second favorite Yes song, "Turn Of The Century" sounds absolutely magnificent!!! "Time And A Word" has an absolutely great intro!! The magnum opus, "Close To The Edge" is even better than the original version!! So, also are: "And You And I," "Going For The One" and "Your Move/All Good People!!" The second cd, with "Mind Drive" is superb throughout! The other individuals who have reviewed this cd are absolutely correct!! Now let's hope that Open Your Eyes is as great as this is!! Keys To Ascension 2 receives the coveted 10/10 and CTTE goes back to 9/10!

This album is even better than Power Windows!!

dembones@pond.net
Oh, Keys to Ascension 2 is amazing, marvelous... An orgiastic feast of the senses! Previously bored to tears of "All Good People," I was stunned to hear how fresh and inspired it sounded. "Going for the One," CTTE," and "And You And I" sounded MUCH better than their studio versions, in both production AND performance. Only "Turn of the Century" sounded a bit weak in the beginning with Anderson sounding a bit too aggresive. The band sounds like they're playing like their careers depend on it, and maybe they did.

For the New stuff, it is ten times more assured than Keys 1, with much stronger material. I feel guilty as a keyboard player for saying this, but I'm afraid Wakeman's contributions remind me of why the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen can't find a job anymore. Too many notes, way too fast, with some extra pretense for good measure. I respect the man tremendously, but his keyboards are the only thing that sounds like prog-nostalgia to me. (Maybe Howe's voice was a little high in the mix) :-p Otherwise, a GREAT album from a revitalized band! "MindDrive" and "Bring Me To The Power" Powerful stuff! 8.5 of 10.

I wish the new stuff was a seperate disc from both Keys 1 & 2, but then maybe I wouldn't have bought the amazing live stuff!

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
For the average guy (the occasional buyer), the best Yes lineup has to be that of 90125, even if he doesn't know who the members actually were. For Yes fans connoisseurs, on the other hand, many consider the Fragile/CTTE lineup as the definite. But for merely "Yes fans", the lineup they admire and want most is the one consisting of Anderson, Squire, Howe, Wakeman and White. This lineup recorded, by the way, more records than any other. Keys to Ascension 2 is the last of this lineup (for now, at least). When Wakeman talked about having the album called Know instead of KTA2 he had a point: the sense of continuity or "second part" takes away much of the perception of this album's own merits. This time the best part is the studio one, with one hour of truly exciting Yes music. Maybe it would be better if they had released one live 2CD album with the entire SLO concert and another album with the studio tracks. It would have made more sense. For me, Wakeman was right. Sorry he left because of that (was it really that big a reason?). One cannot think of this record independently of the first KTA. But it IS a different record. Forget the similar Dean cover and the similar name. Forget even the good live versions in KTA2: the studio tracks are the true comeback of the 70's style adapted for the 90's. "Mind Drive" and "Take Me to the Power" really deserve to be considered classic Yessongs for years to come. The current lineup will not play these songs live (maybe one or two, and without the same touch). What a pity! Rick should have stayed at least to play on tour one last time. And Alan White made me not miss Bill at all. It is 9/10 because of the live set. It should be a 10.

compserv@vettweb.net.au
I have to agree with Rick Wakeman, that this album should not have been called Keys To Ascension 2. The studio tracks are much too good to be simply included as bonus songs on a live album.

Mind Drive Beautiful acoustic intro. I like it even more than the intro from That, That Is. There's a nice bass solo in it by Chris too, that almost goes unnoticed. The following 7/8 section sounds very Drama-ish and was actually written post-Drama when Jimmy Page was playing with Chris and Alan. I don't really like Steve's part though. Steve needs to know what he's going to play next. It just sounds like he doesn't know how to get this tune off the ground. The fuzz on his guitar annoys me a bit too. Still the song moves along quite nicely. They play the acoustic part a different way every time. I really like that. Then after the quiet interlude, which is just sublime, comes Rick's keyboard solo. Now I happen to think that Rick's keyboard solos are the highlight of a lot of Yes music. I've always thought that Rick played better in a band and Yes is the band for him. It just brings out his best. The song is just brilliant from here to the end. It's what we've all wanted to hear. Steve picks up his playing, although he's always trying to be different. The final few minutes are just awesome. Then it all shuts down into slow motion and dances off into the twilight. Unbelievable.

Foot Prints Change two words in the opening lines and it would be a gospel song. I wonder where Jon gets his inspiration from sometimes. This song is great. Chris's 5/4 bass line is a ripper. Everything about this song is a pleasure to hear.

Bring Me To The Power I really like this song, but gee it sounds dated. It's like a time warp back to the seventies. But I really like this song. Actually I hate dating music. To me music is music and the sound of the music is not restricted to a certain period of time. It might sound 70's or 80's or 90's but it doesn't make the song less relevant in a musical sense. If it's good music I'll listen to it. I might go out tomorrow and buy an album that was released in 1964. So what. I'll play it after the new Yes album that they're rehearsing for now (Dec 98).

Children Of Light Y'know I would've liked to hear Rick's intro to this song. The song is okay, not much of a melody line. Nice piano, nice sitar, sounds electric. The ending is just rocket fuel. There you go, you're a shooting star. You can actually hear the whole band flying in there, not just Steve and Rick. That's the good thing about Yes music, one of the many. The subtlety of their seriously spaced-out sequences is simply superb.

Sign Language Not bad. Bit of a time filler. A weak ending to a strong album.

ssvsoft@online.no (Snorre Serigstad)
"Mind Drive" is ALMOST as good as "Endless Dream". Almost. "Bring Me To The Power" is quite good too, but is "Foot Prints" supposed to be a joke? They sing "My Eyes see the coming revolution-my eyes see the glory of the world" in a gospel-like melody where Jon manages to make his voice utterly annoying.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Well, of course the live tracks terrific. I agree that throwing All Good People on there was a bit superfluous, but other than that it's all good.

The studio tracks tho, for me at least, are a different matter. The first time I heard Mind Drive, I loved it. Second time, I only thought it was ok. The third and fourth times have made me really dislike it. And that's the first time I've really been able to say that about a Yes extended piece. Despite the fact that I've only had really heavy exposure to the band for about 5 months now, I consider myself a pretty big fan, but I still don't really like what they did on this album. Footprints is catchy, but I really don't like Bring Me To The Power, and while Children of Light is ok, I don't excitedly wait to hear it.

I know that many Yesfans are happy that they're experimenting again, but for me, the experiments fall flat.

RUIZDELV@aol.com (Vic Ruiz)
Well, I can't say enough about how good I think KTA2 (disk 2, forget the live disk) is. I'm one who loves 70s YES. I like the long, self-indulgent, 20-minutes tracks (that's what I love about PROG). The truth is (imo), KTA2 is worth getting just for "Mind Drive." In my opinion, that song is every bit as good as CTTE (not better, as good as). "Mind Drive" doesn't even feel like it's 18 minutes long (to me). I just love it. It has everything I'd want in a YES epic; Rick Wakeman, Chris Squire, Steve Howe (just to name 3), cool keyboard riffs, great harmonies, bombastic bass and drums, etc., etc., the song kicks some serious prog/rock hiney. The rest of disk 2 is GREAT too. "Footprints" is killer, YES prog. The other songs aren't as strong as those two but they are much better than anything on Big Generator in my opinion. It'll just be a matter of time when the studio disks on KTA 1 and 2 get released as a standalone YES album. It is what they should have done, and they know it too.


Open Your Eyes - Beyond 1997.
Rating = 7

I am filled with glee. I realize that a "7" isn't something you would generally rave about, but you've got to understand - the last two Yes studio records were Union and Talk. I thought that their days of making great (or even GOOD) music were long gone. I am thrilled to report that I was mistaken. This line-up of Anderson, Squire, Howe, White and Billy Sherwood has really pulled together a winner this time - probably the most genuinely enjoyable and uplifting collection of poppy Yessongs since 90125, which is saying something! That was like 14 years ago! "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" is a teenager now! Smoking reefer and looking at the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue! Oh never mind.

Yes, a lot of the music is corny, and yes, certain moments do have an overly jaunty Styx-esque feel to them (especially "Man In The Moon," which may actually be my least favorite Yes song of all time, except for maybe "Don't Kill The Whale"), but man, the BRAINS are back! You can tell that they actually put effort into coming up with smart and moving melodies, and the vocal harmonies are simply phenomenal. I can honestly say that these are probably the most consistently beautiful vocals that you will hear on any Yes album, which is doubly incredible when you consider their ages. Usually, old guys have trouble with the harmonies (Moody Blues, CSN....), but not our Yesses, no sir. Even with a dipshit little melody like "New State Of Mind," the harrowingly lovely vocal explosions manage to pull the song as a whole into the ethereal realms of enjoyitude. (?)

So what holds it back from a higher grade, you're wondering.... Basically, it's the same thing that holds Metallica's Reload back from a higher grade (I just picked that one up too, so it's fresh on my brain like a meat patty); Yes have pretty much given us half a record, roughly SIX songs worth, of incredibly beautiful pop music that will get stuck in your head for weeks on end. The other half of the record is just okay. Not BAD (except "Man In The Moon," which is abysmal, as far as I'm concerned), but just okay. And we all have our favorites so I won't name names, but let's just say that, while half of the CD makes me shake my head back and forth and go, "YES!!!! They're back!!!," the other half is really just okay.

Enough negativity. If you're a Yes fan, BUY THIS CD!!!! And give it a few listens, because I hated it at first too. It takes a while to get into, because the slick '90s production kinda hides the great melodies at first, almost making it seem like you're sitting through Talk II. But you're NOT. There may not be an "epic" on this record, but the tunes are all slightly different, some enhanced by sitars, others concentrating on weird rhythmic disturbances (well, okay - only ONE, but it sure is a bizarre rhythmic disturbance!), and others just ringing out the joyful cry of positivity or some such silliness. You see, unlike the last couple of Rabin collections, these songs - well, hell, I'll name names - If I could spend the rest of my life listening to "Open Your Eyes," "Universal Garden," "No Way We Can Lose," "Wonderlove," "Love Shine," and "The Solution," I would eventually get sick of them, but it would take a while, because I LOVE them!!! Great positive uplifting tunes, man. Corny? Crap yeah! But so's your old man!!!! This may not be the greatest album of 1997, but it definitely contains some of the greatest songs of 1997. And that's a surprising and wonderful thing for me to say about a band that I had almost completely written off as dinosaurs. Go Yes Go! Keep that faith a-rollin'!

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Well, the NEWER new Yes studio album for 1997 is out. It's called Open Your Eyes. Why they changed the title to that from Know is beyond me. Billy Sherwood makes a great replacement for Rick Wakeman. (especially since he mainly plays guitars instead of keys, which makes this album quite guitar heavy) Billy makes a great addition to Yes. He's actually been working with the band for a while. He co-wrote one of the songs on Union, and then played backup guitar with Trevor on the Talk tour, then he produced KTA II, and now he's a full fledged member. I love this album. There are also a lot of sitars. I personally like it better than KTA II. The KTA material was great, but this stuff is fresh and original.

john1@frontiernet.net (John)
Well, I never thought I would say it but........Don't waste your money on this one. After the Incredible "MIND DRIVE" on KTA2, (possibly the best song EVER by Yes),I was really looking forward to this album. Unfortunately this album SUCKS. It's almost impossible to tell one song from the next. Each song has an almost identical beat, the exact same instrumentation, the exact same harmonies, the same song lengths. I would dare say a Yes tribute band would have done a MUCH better job. I wish they would "Open their Eyes" and realize this could signal an end to their group if they make any more albums like this. I wonder if RICK had an idea they were headed in this direction, or is this just what happens without him? This album makes UNION look like a classic. I really believe there is something headed in a very wrong direction with this album, and I hope they get it turned around right after this. I am still sitting here wondering how the KTA2 studio tracks could be soo good, and this could be so bad. By far THE WORST EVER. Getting my point. I hope I am not disheartening any fans too much, believe me no one more disheartened than me. Well I guess I better go back and listen to "MIND DRIVE" again and hopefully drive the thoughts of this out of my head.

thutley@e-z.net (Thomas Hutley)
This is what Yes sounds like NOW... and every typical "I can't stand how bad Yes music has gotten in the 90's" fan is crying in their Espresso. Is it really that bad, though? Well, no... not really. Is it campy? Yes. Is it cheesey? Sometimes. Is it going to make the top 40? Definitely not. In fact, your average O.G. Hipster kid probably won't even know it's on the CD rack. But it's got some good stuff on it. Honestly. Sure there's moments where the foul stench of over-used drum beats and lousy lyrics makes you want to toss your cookies. But then Howe steps in, lays down some pre-chewed chops, and makes everything all better. He's Pepto-Bismol with a guitar! And he's one of the biggest highlights on the disc. And besides, not ALL the lyrics are bad. Not ALL the drum parts are bad. Not ALL of any of it is bad. And when you're listening to "Fortune Seller" wondering where in the world Rick is, well, he's at home eating another steak sandwich. But Igor Khoroshev's here... sometimes... and he does a darn fine job. Plus they've got Billy Sherwood doing the recording... and playing music... somewhere... I think. And except for the 16 minute mix-fest that Billy spent WAY too much time and effort on at the end of the disc, I'd say he's doing a darn fine job, too. So sit back. Relax. Take a few doses of the pink stuff. And listen to some genuinely ok music...

PF90125@aol.com (Patric Satex)
open my eyes. this album is outstanding. i did like all of the studio stuff on keys 2, but it did at times lack power...and compelling melody. but it was good. but this open your eyes stuff is just concise and powerful. i have been a big fan of billy sherwood since he was first on vinyl with a drama sounding band called lodgic. and both world trade albums are so very yessish....and i love his work with my fave yessir chris. so of course this album strikes it big with me. back is the power..the melody..the tight production. steve hasn't sounded so strong in a long while. jon and chris vox are tight. this is a killer collection. each song...exept maybe steve's "balcony". "open your eyes", "universal garden", "the solution", "new state" and "fortune seller".. are my faves. how anyone could not enjoy hearing this modern direction is beyond me. let them grow, let them make their sounds. if there is one knock, it's that at times this sounds a bit too much like the last world trade album/euphoria. the bass and drums are very similar in texture to that album. so sometimes it sounds like jon is doing some vocals for w.trade.... otherwise. bravo. bravo..........

MKST246@aol.com
I just heard OYE this week. Do we really want a "Yes of the 90's?" Yes fans are a very particular bunch, and love (most) of their music recorded over the decades (especially w/o Trevor). How can the music be so different from the fine studio tracks on the new (recorded one year ago with Rick Wakeman...Is that the difference?) album? It's not bad at all, but why is Steve's guitar so deep in the mix with few melodic solos? Keyboards, for the most part are also deep in the mix and sorely missing (ie., Rick's creativity and his "simpler" piano parts so integral to the "classical' sound) on a number of tracks.

Some of the newer sounding harmonies are fun (lots of "singing" on OYE), but none of the songs are the epics that we love to listen to a hundred times & hearing & finding & discovering something new in the music each time. The standouts are "Universal Garden" and "Fortune Seller", but nothing stretches the outer limits of their talents and creativity. "Open Your Eyes" is a fun single, but may wear thin upon repeated listenings. Listen to KTA2..."Mind Drive" and "Bring Me To The Power"...They still have it in them!! I attended the recent concert in Milwaukee (11/15/97), and Yes has never sounded better. (I've seen them 6 times since 1972...Saw them on the CTTE tour first in '72!) I know they still have it in them! OYE is a nice album, and even fun at times, but it is definately not Yes at its classic best (ie., what is known as their "main sequence"...between The Yes Album and Going For The One). Give it a listen and have fun, for it is "YES"!

brill@netsites.net (Brian Brill)
When I began listening to Open Your Eyes and formulating a review, I was going to be mildly apologetic for the album and the band. But as I have listened to the music over and over, grooving on the fantastic sounds, soaring with the wonderful message, and discovering the subtle textures, I have realized this album needs no apology. It rocks and the elitist, musically myopic whiners ........well, it doesn't do them much good to open their eyes since their heads are up their...........Oh, I'm straying from the positive sentiments of the music in question. Let's just say it's their loss. I would take a few more Mind Drives though, I sympathize with that.

daniel@fhsk.skurup.se (Daniel Reichberg)
My first listen was a disappointment (as is their decision to ignore all five Scandinavian countries on their upcoming European tour), but Open Your Eyes have grown on me. At least a little bit. "Wonderlove" and "No way We can Lose" are still highly unnecessary. Four songs are very good indeed. They are "Universal Garden", "Man in the Moon" "The Solution" and "New State of Mind". The rest is sort of...OK. NOTHING is as good as the studio tracks on Keys to Ascension 2.

newsnuts@weir.net (Joe Lawler)
This blows, and there's no defending it...

Worse than Union, and I didn't think that was possible...

What they need is a keyboard player, and a few good songs to go with it...

The 80s stuff was concise, and going in a different direction, which was good and exciting...

This is just mindless....From the Balcony sounds like THEY'RE NOODLING AROUND AND PRACTICING, FOR GOD'S SAKE...

This is the first Yes album I've listened to that was so bad I couldn't even listen to all the songs in one sitting....

Even the cover art looks tired and `let's get-this-done-quickly-so-we-can-make-some-bucks.'

Buy a Yanni album instead...it would be more fun...

dembones@pond.net
Someone pinch me... I must be dreaming! This is the best, most consistant thing Yes has put out since GOING FOR THE ONE, Maybe even CTTE. The vocals are once again the prime focus of the music with INCREDIBLE arrangements. The music is very guitar driven with Howe in the forefront (where he should be) and some parts from newbie Billy Sherwood. Although it's not always obvious where Sherwood contributes musically, he seems to work VERY well in the band, and his engineering is excellent. Keyboards are very tasteful, remeniscent of Downes' work on Drama, and Squire has found a renewed passion for his instrument. White reclaims his status of world class drummer and Anderson's voice has never sounded better. Every song is great, with the exception of the mildly irritating "Man In The Moon." The musical part of "The solution" is maybe the strongest song on the album, and then following a 2-3 minute silence, the listener is subjected to 15 minutes of forest sounds, random wind chimes and wierd spontaneous vocal bursts lifted from the other songs on the album. It's a little strange, but hearing the complex vocal parts accapella is a treat, and besides, after an hour of incredible music, they can do whatever the hell they want! 9.5 of 10!!! :-) YES IS BACK, YES IS BACK!!!

Doggybag@panda.com (Lance Manion)
OPEN YOUR EYES is not TALES, but if it were, I would've finally written YES off as has-beens. I love KEYS 2 as much as anyone else, but as so many contributers have so eagerly pointed out, it is indeed the YES of the 70's, only nostalgic rather than cutting edge. I know of no other music that sounds like OPEN YOUR EYES, and while it may not have the grand structures of "Gates" or "Awaken", it is inventive, original, complex, and RELEVANT, and definitely warrants repeated listenings. Really worse than TALK or UNION? I think not! There's nothing wrong with nostalgia, those who critise YES for moving on with their careers and their music should crawl back in their caves, dust off the quad hi-fi, Lower the needle on their Fragile picture disc and play it 'till their ears rot off. :-)

D.R.Brown@wlv.ac.uk
Review on OYE. My First impression was of a bad one but I've grown to liking some of the songs, following is a review of the album.

"NEW STATE OF MIND" - Quite a good song; only cause it belongs to Chris Squire. However, Steve Howe's guitaring is awful.

"OPEN YOUR EYES" - "Open their eyes" as someone said before. No, it ain't that bad. A bit of chessy chorus though i've grown to liking it, but poor backing vocals from Billy Sherwood, who frankly can't sing for shit..

"UNIVERSAL GARDEN" - Good Chorus "Flowering endlessly though the garden" or something like that? Bit of dogdy solo from SH, there's a mix half way though the solo, fading one in and the other out. They should of made this one into a long epic like "Close To The Edge."

"NO WAY WE CAN LOSE" - If they stuck to D, A, Em, and G in the verse an chucked the crap overall feel to it, it would of sounded a lot better. Again, good chorus, nice and melodic. Harmonica why? Crap solo and gtr fills once again from Steve, it's definitely the sound he's got and possibly some of his rank guitar playing. Good backing vocals only cause Squire's singing them. I love the bit from Jon "ready or not" quietly in the right speaker. Crap ending.

"FORTUNE SELLER" - Like the start, nice bass line but then the song falls to its doom. Steve why do you always play crap notes? have you heard them in the chorus? it's awful. It makes you want to cry!

"MAN IN THE MOON" - Why? Very poor song indeed, sounds like some indie band. The lead vocals done by Billy Sherwood, I gather? sound terrible. They're way too low, and besides it's an awful melody. Very poor ending.

"WONDERLOVE" - The start sounds promising, but, Ah!, just as I thought, a big pile of shit!

"FROM THE BALCONY" - "From the balcony they should of hung themselves!"

"LOVE SHINE" - Christian love perhaps? same old faults.

"SOMEHOW, SOMEDAY" - Okay, a bit more like it. though I reckon they could have done with Trevor Rabin on this one.

"THE SOLUTION" - Cool start, then again plummets downwards. Chorus not too bad. I hate Howe's guitar playing, he is so bad at making up a good solo, and generally filling in.

This album isn't really worth buying, as my good friend said after I showed him the tape "Well I've saved me self £10 there then!" Billy's backing vocals are crap and too high up in the mix, he can not sing. Howe can't play properly anymore! I noticed it on the Union and AWBH tours. The music uses the same form and textures for virtually all of the songs. Repeated backing vocals in all similar places, drums mostly driving in 4/4 (though I don't blame White, he's still the thunder machine to me), crap endings.

There are however some good ideas on this album, dump the craps ones like "Man in the Moon", "Wonder Love" and nearly all of side B, Get rid of Billy cause he can't sing properly, and exchange Howe back for Rabin to redo all the guitar work, if can you call it guitar work? and then you might have a good album worth buying. It's still good to hear that Squire's contribution is still as crisp and precise as ever, and so's Jon's singing.

jarendo@ibm.net
My friends, OPEN YOUR EYES... This album really SUCKS...! THE WORST EVER... Don't waste your money on this album...!

pht@lacasa.com (Peter H. Tag)
I have spent much time listening to both KTA 2 and OYE and surprisingly, since OYE came out, I haven't listened to KTA 2. Even though I feel that the studio songs from KTA 2 are excellent, it has become apparent to me that OYE is 90's music more so than KTA 2, i.e., more appropriate for the times. OYE is a very, very well done album that has really grown on me with more frequent listenings. There is a bit of everything that makes Yes what they are incorporated into this album. Meter changes, major to minor key changes that nicely parallel the lyrics, crisp and imaginative guitar work from both Howe and Squire. One of the songs ("Somehow Someday") even has two meters layered on top of each other in some sections (6/8 melody over 3/2 rhythm section lines) and is quite interesting. Throughout the album, Squire basslines and White drum lines are often unpredictable and synchopated which I find to be a refreshing change from most of the standard 4/4 rock-beat work put out during the Rabin era. One of the aspects of OYE I find most appealing are the vocal harmonies. Something is a bit different here than in most Yes efforts and I find it to be very pleasing as it adds yet another dimension to the music. While no piece of music in this album will likely be considered a Yes classic, the songs are tight, well integrated and innovative (within the domain of rock and roll music). I feel that this album conveys the spirit of the band nicely as each song differs significantly from the others signifying the "perpetual changes" that we all go through. From the range of comments made by other reviewers, it is clear that this is not an album for everybody. OYE has hit me the way Jon Anderson's Animation did. I almost threw that one in the garbage after the first few listenings thinking that all the songs sounded the same and that they had departed too far away from the Jon Anderson sound I had grown to like. But, I hung in there with it and discovered a new sound that I grew to like and appreciate. Only time will tell, but I think this album will be recognized as one of the more original Yes pieces of work.

freddot@cajunnet.com (Alfred Landry)
After waiting so long for a new studio album with this almost classic lineup, what a disapointment. The new material on KTA2 was so good. What happened between these two albums?

windstorm@geocities.com (Robert Reynolds)
Just got Open Your Eyes for Christmas, which, to my chagrin, I had no idea was even being produced! Doh! Nice marketing! Slip in the CD, and it's a thing that makes you go "Hmmmm!" The first two tunes are excellent....in fact, I think I'll tape a copy of the title track and stick it in the divorce papers..hehehe! This is a different album, for sure, one that I find I must judge on its own merits because it doesn't really compare to anything else Yes has done. I DO like it, though.

rderby@erols.com (Robert Derby)
Ya know, it amazes me that so many people really have no idea what making music is all about. Do the fans really think that a group like YES sits back and says to themselves: " we have to replicate "mind drive" or we have to get the vibe of 90125" or some damn thing? Here's some news folks... THEY DON'T!!! I'm sure YES would always prefer that their newest work is accepted by the music listeners but it is more important that they accept it. That is how a band grows and the music remains inspiring. A stumble here and there may occur (and incidentally OYE is in no way a stumble!) but if it is a true musical effort it remains acceptable. This by no means suggests that Yes has never stumbled.

OYE is different than the studio work on KTA2. So what. That makes it bad? Sometimes Mark's "Celestial masses..." opening is approprate for some YES fans. This is a pleasant "pop" album from YES. Some really good songs and some that don't quite work. "State...", "Open...","No Way...","Fortune..." are very enjoyable and include many "YES stamps" in them. The "misses" are hardly unlistenable. This album seeths effort! AND FOCUS. I've enjoyed it and look forward to what YES is inspired to do next.

lledesma@amag.edu.pe (Leonardo Ledesma)
Open Your Eyes came, for a start, just too quickly after KTA2. And it's ENTIRELY different. The cover reminds me of the original Brit edition of Yes in 1969 (and this is because this record was first considered a rennaissence for the band and it was to be called simply Yes, a most confusing decision luckily abandoned). The inclusion of Sherwood gave Yes something it distinctly has not all those years: an American member. Billy was kind of a second-rate member from some time ago and now the weight of being officially the "newest" is upon him. The songs of this album remind me in places Drama and Union. The first single, the "radiophonic" title song, seems a bit like the Rabin Yes without Rabin. I didn't think this could actually happen, but in some songs I even miss Trevor for good. The main input seemed to have come from Chris this time, with Billy's help, including some tracks intended for his new solo effort. How come "Man On the Moon" is in this album?

I like "Universal Garden", "Fortune Seller" (with some silly parts but with Steve calling for attention), "Wonderlove" and poppy "Love Shine" (or whatever the hell it's called). Chris sings a lot, actually. The track following "Wonderlove" (think it's "From the Balcony") has guitar intro part that is a rip-off of Lennon's piano part in the song "Imagine". Many of the other tracks sound very similar. I know Billy's doing a lot in there, but can't put my finger right on it. Igor's keyboard guest parts are few but noticeable. Porcar'?s part is not so distinct (Billy could handle it). The overall sound has keyboards in the background and I missed Tony this time (how can many blame him of not being Wakeman and at once praise this virtually keyboardless album instead?). Steve is a mystery on this record. I doubt he contributed much composition-wise and his guitar parts come to the front just in three songs (some other solos even sound as Billy's playing them). And even these bright exceptions from Steve don't stretch his very-known formula much. For most of the record, I had to reread the record credits to convince me Howe was actually there (and, since Union, even this is not so reassuring anymore). The main merit of Open Your Eyes seems to be its keeping the flame alive looking at the new millenium, with Billy maybe equalling Rabin's role in the 80's. Let's hope this doesn't mean the music will be as such. I give it 6/10. But later listenings can make me change the qualification, for BETTER or WORSE. And let's forget the collage of sounds at the end of the album, seemingly going on forever.

Something's Coming. Now this is what I called a good album. Since I knew the BBC taped some Yes radio shows, I dreamed of it being officially released someday. Some low-to-almost decent quality bootlegs appeared featured some sessions, but that wasn't enough. The two BBC tracks on Yesyears were the tip of an excellent iceberg of music, both in sound as in content. The musicianship of the original members of Yes should not be, IMHO, put to question. Banks is a damn good guitarist, always has been since Yes early days. His jazzy feel in many songs give that extra edge that makes the difference. And Kaye WAS a musician fond of tricky fleeting-finger parts (not just on organ, as many think, but on piano as well and a bit later on moog). Bruford's mastery shone from the beginning as well as Squire's bass. It was Anderson's voice that sounded a bit lower and wilder for what we hear from him nowadays. The list of the tracks include many reprises, looking for completion of the songs actually played, and each version has its own feeling. Those songs originally featured in Time and a Word are played without any orchestral backing this time, letting the five guys show all of their talent. There's even a "new" song, "For Everyone". Let's hope some day many more songs from those days will come the light of day (bootleggers had secured their sales for awhile longer). More important, we have Peter Banks in a "new" Yes album since 1970, and he also helped with the notes. Having heard the officially released BBC sessions of The Beatles and Led Zep too, I think Something's Coming is (apart from the songs themselves) the best of the lot because it contains all the shows and excellent sound all the way. The 2-CD album has material for what would be a 3-record set in the vinyl days. A MUST for your collection and a precious piece of history (including the not-so-attractive but original Yes logo on the cover). But I would prefer a different cover (that band's photo is so 60's-ish), maybe a Dean painting, disregard of the Yes period it would evocate. My qualification oscillates between 8 or 9 out of 10.

Crlwrt@aol.co
I have been a yes fan since 1974, have enjoyed their soaring and goofy moments alike. What I am so tired of is the vague and far and away "cosmic spriritual message" that is ingrained on so much of yes's recent work, I think it peaked on Union, but you see it start to creep back on this disc. Jon, if you have a message, just write it on the sleeve. The Music on OYE is tremendous to say the least, and Howe definitely puts the last coffin nail on old Trevor's dirtbox. The one song that sucks of course is "man in the moon" (is there a way to burn tracks off a cd?). The songs are a bit packaged for the likes of yes, but they are for the most part good. "Somehow Someday" borrows some old lyrics from a long forgotten Anderson solo album I used to have but have lost the tape and forgotten the name (can someone help?) I particularly liked that track. All in all, if you like Yes, take a chance on this one, its much better than the last few.

tabasco@worldnet.att.net
I must say it looks like a boring album but damn it it rocks like a rocking chair. Open Your Eyes and discover Yes is back. "New State of Mind" opens up with a great lyrical mellow. Squire even does the lead vocals. Sounds great but i should have waited until next month when the surround sound comes out. Title track, i first heard the mono version of this it sounded good but the stereo version sounds a hell of a lot better. "Universal Garden" was my least favorite track to much scratch in this. "No WAy We Can Lose" shows an improvement. "Man In the Moon" (Round and Round And Round I Go) I love this song. Yes never in my opinion had silly lyrics but on Tormato "Arriving UFO" was kinda funny. "Wonderlove" is totallly One In A Million things a band would ever do and get it to sound right but Yes did. Great track. "From the Balcony" is a true song about me when it all Starts off Now I've Heard You Singing, I heard a sweet voice from the balcony in my high school auditorium. SHINE SHINE SHINE on you crazy Diamond. "LOve Shine". The chant sound sounds so spectacular. I love it. "Somehow Someday" was like a Country Song like a song you would here on vacation. Dreamy sweet notes of Jon. "THe Solution", well this song better tell me a solution about failing Biology because i'm on the verge of doin it. Nah, sorry for blurting that out but what can i say i liked this cd.

suomi@ozemail.com.au (Keio Sandvik)
This album proves that YES have still got it (whatever IT is). Still able take you where you don't expect (pleasantly). What's good is that they're always willing to try something new. Not perhaps their best but definitely one of their better ones. The more I listen to it, the better I like it.

"NEW STATE OF MIND" - Clever. Plenty of (vegetarian) beef. Yes are back!!! Chorus borrows melody from theme in "The Revealing Science Of God". I wonder if there are parallels (sic).

"OPEN YOUR EYES" - Power pop. Catchy. Did you know you could sing The Beatles "Eight Days A Week" to the chorus. Many elements of this Yes track are in the same "mode". I must try listening to the Beatles song backwards and see what else happens. I think my medication is wearing off!

"UNIVERSAL GARDEN" - Shades of "Awaken" and "Shoot High Aim Low". Powerful stuff. This track demonstrates Yes' magnificient ability to combine joy and positivity with awesome power. (As it should be).

"NO WAY WE CAN LOSE" - An acoustic guitar sing-along that grew and grew and grew and was then given the Yes polish. Great sentiment.

"FORTUNE SELLER" - Hang on if you can. Full of surprises. Classic Yes.

"MAN IN THE MOON" - This one will annoy the 'Yes-police'. Sounds as if it was influenced by a lullaby or a childrens song. Fairytale imagery. I didn't like it a first. To me it sounds as if the lead vocals on Man In the Moon are sung by Chris and Jon, not Billy. However the phrase "on my own" is by him. Stop picking on the man!

"WONDERLOVE" - Almost great. Gets better with listening. A few vague bits. A Howe/Anderson baby, I suspect. Steve, were the guitar parts your definitive takes? Nice ingredients, should have been baked a little longer before finishing though.

"FROM THE BALCONY" - errr....nice. Intention and execution doesn't convey enough to the uninitiated though.

"LOVE SHINE" - Straight 4/4 positive sentiment Yes-Pop. Would have been mind-blowing in 1968's California.

"SOMEHOW...SOMEDAY" - You know, I'd like to hear a cover band try to do this one! Especially the 3/4 melody over the 4/4 rhythm with backing vocals. Chorus melodies are based on "To Be Over" (Relayer) whereas some verse components are from Jon Anderson's "Boundaries" (Animation). A most unusual Yes piece, but then, isn't that what Yes are all about?. Love it.

"THE SOLUTION" - Hold on to your hats. We are now entering final track territory. Great build-up. Echoes of Drama and 90125. What? Oh...it's finished?!? What happened? Should have gone for a bit longer.

"SOUNDSCAPE (?)" - Collage of bird noises (some from a Korg synth. Cheap and annoying), ocean waves and bits of vocal from the album. Had you removed the cheap sound-module noises, I would have been more impressed.

Good album. 8/10

bozmn@shore.intercom.net (Cole Bozman)
Okay, good album. Not good for Close to the Edge reasons (long, intricate songs), or Drama reasons (grace under pressure...ha ha! rush reference!), but it's good in its own right. Although what that is, I can't quite say... Anyway, the real point I wanted to bring up about the cover was, it's a Yes logo in the center with the album name in small letters. Exactly the same layout as Yes's last album, Talk. Odd coincidence, or Roger Dean having some fun with Peter Max? The world may never know.

DUGTURN1@aol.com
YOU CAN GRASP AT STRAWS ALL YOU WISH, TRY TO FIND THINGS IN THESE LAST 2 DECADES OF YES MUSIC THAT CONVINCE YOURSELVES THAT THEY HAVEN'T "LOST IT"....BELIEVE ME I HAVE TRIED....HOWEVER, FOOL YOURSELVES AS YOU MUST, I HAVE CONCLUDED THAT THERE IS NO USE TRYING TO CONVINCE MYSELF THAT YES DOES NOT SUCK NOW. SURE, THEY WERE ONCE GREAT...SO WAS RUSH, VAN HALEN, BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN, KING DIAMOND, JOHN DENVER, METALLICA, OZZY OSBOURNE, STYX, ELP, ALICE COOPER, MELANIE, PINK FLOYD, DEEP PURPLE, PAUL MCCARTNEY----YOU GET THE IDEA---NOW THEY ALL COMPLETELY AND HORRIBLY SUCK. NOT JUST KIND OF BAD, BUT HORRIBLY TERRIBLY OFFENSIVELY DISAPPEARING INTO THE ABYSS WITH ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE AS TO WHAT MADE THEM GREAT AT ONE TIME. IT IS SOOOO SAD, BUT I WILL NOT LISTEN TO A BAND'S NEW ALBUM 400 TIMES THEN DECIDE "HEY THIS IS OK!" WHILE TRYING TO DENY THE FACT THAT IT IS SHIT. YES ALONG WITH THESE OTHER BANDS SIMPLY HAVE NO IDEA ANYMORE OF WHAT MADE THEM GOOD, AND SEEM TO DIG THEIR GRAVES DEEPER RATHER THAN JUST LEAVING WITH DIGNITY. BUT I MUST SAY THANKS FOR RICK WAKEMAN AND CHRIS SQUIRE'S INPUT ON THE LAST GOAT ALBUM "HAMMER THE CHICKEN MACHINE".....THE COMBINATION OF CHRIS AND GEDDY LEE ON THE TRACK "DWARF IN A BUBBLE" IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND MUCH TO PRINDLE'S DISMAY, GEDDY INTERJECTS THOSE HIGH NOTES AGAIN OVER GOAT'S AMAZING VOCALISTS.....WOW!!!! THANKS, GUYS!

compserv@vettweb.net.au
This album reminds me of Going For The One in its ringing, trebly vocal intensity. Also because it is so different from Keys 2, as Going For The One is so different to Relayer. They've almost fallen into a Rush album structure, with songs between 4 and 6 minutes, mostly with a similar sound. The complexity of the song structure is still there though.

New State Of Mind Strong start to the album. This song and The Solution have a strong World Trade/Billy Sherwood influence.

Open Your Eyes A really strong song. One of my faves on this album.

Universal Garden I'm still trying to work this one out. The reasonably ordinary chorus almost jars against the weird time signature of the verses. Being the longest song on the album, this is actually the shortest 'longest song' on any Yes album. Just a bit of useless trivia there.

No Way We Can Lose This reminds me of a 'let's just slouch about on the couch and play guitars and smile and be happy' kind of song. It's got that relaxed, singsong feel to it. Spread your arms and smile at the world. Chris sounds like he should be sitting around a camp fire at night while on some cattle drive. Some people can really play the harmonica. Chris is not one of those people.

Fortune Seller Another one of my favourites. No that's not misspelled. Let's just hope that Igor gets promoted to full band member. From everything I've read and heard, he's the man with the keys. The only thing that gets me about this song is Steve's steel guitar doesn't quite make the high notes. For some reason the vocals just seem too intense following No Way We Can Lose. Strange?

Man In The Moon Oh well. Give Chris a break. He is a bit of a clown. It's not a bad song really.

Wonderlove Starts off okay, but the vocals seem really disjointed, giving the song a kind of tunelessness. Things improve when the song switches to a minor key.

From The Balcony When this song starts, it sounds like Jon's trying to stand something up that just keeps falling over. The melody flops around a bit before taking a turn for the better. Then when he does his 'lalala' bit, it just sounds so much like they simply lifted it from some old Simon & Garfunkel record. In the end it's a nice song.

Love Shine Yeah well, what can I say? This sounds like Kylie Minogue, back when she could be so lucky. Does this song grow on you? It's trying to grow on me, but I'm not sure I want it to.

Somehow... Someday This is a very interesting song, with it's combination of 3/4 and 4/4 time signatures (not that they haven't done this before). They sound like they're being real careful when they play this song, as if they might muck it up at any moment.

The Solution Jagged guitar, Billy plays a lot on this song. Those guitars are thick!

Two Minute Silence Undoubtably the quietest song Yes have ever done, and probably the easiest to play.

Close To The Beach Up in North Queensland they have a saying to entice tourists: 'Where the rainforest meets the reef'. Well that's where they must have recorded this track. That is, if we had electronic rainforests and rather windy sounding electronic reefs. I wish they made this a separate track from The Solution.

jose.neto@eruorscg.pt
yes, they are bad. yes, they are worst than that. no, they're not the worse.no, don't listen to it. yes, you'll feel much better. no, i won't say anything else.

ssvsoft@online.no (Snorre Serigstad)
I used to like this album, but my perspective has changed a bit. "New State Of Mind" is great. "Universal Garden", too. The title track is, well, acceptable. But "From the balcony"? AARRRGHHH! This HAS to be a joke! Jon used sing some great vocals, but he must have damaged his throat before singing this one. "Wonderlove" is dangerously close to the 80's, and "Love Shine" is THE WORST GARBAGE I've EVER heard! "1-2-3-4-5-6-7-all good people" and "I won't sleep again until I sleep again with you" combined with a pathetic, cheap melody= NO! NO! NO! Close Your Eyes!

The new Yes album that is being recorded at this very moment is supposed to consist of "longer songs". If I have listen to fifteen-minute-long "Man In The Moon"s THEN I'M GOING TO DIE! Sherwood did a great job with "The More" on UNION. Why isn't there any tracks like that in OYE? I know the current members of Yes are capable of making sooo much better music than this! OYE has its moments, but it's faaaaar between them.

Melodie83@aol.com (Joe)
I wish Yes would listen to the title of this record ,there is not at least five great tracks total making this album a must to buy I mean nothing,I bought this record a few years ago and I listened to it maybe five times .any great record i listen to at least 20 times the title track is the only decent song.where has all that talent gone?Jon's voice still hits those high notes and the band still plays very well but the songwriting is awful, for those Trevor Rabin bashers don't you wish he was back now at least he could come up with great material now there is none.just listen to old Yes and let's hope the next album will be 20 times better than this.I will give it a 3 that's being to kind

Borart@aol.com
It's astonishing how bad this album is considering the level of four out of the five musicians involved (I'm not counting Igor in this because his role was, unfortunately, perfunctory). I'd rather hear them belch for 45 minutes than play this disc, surround-sound or not. At least the belching would be interesting and, more importantly, more honest and creative. There's a reason why on their last tour they chose only to do Open Your Eyes live because the rest of the songs are an embarrassment to their talents and their legacy. There's a reason why Steve hated this album, and it's got to be because: A. the songs are all overlong and underexecuted, B) the sound is too thick and it's hard to differentiate between the different textures and instruments, and C) it has just one style and not a combination of Alan, Jon, Chris and Steve. I'm leaving Billy out of this because after seeing him live twice with the band, my freinds and I agree: he brings nothing good musically to the table. If the next disc, The Ladder, is anything like this, then, Houston, We Have A Problem.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
YES! I love this album! Man in the Moon is a little irritating, but that's it. And, I don't see what's so offensive about From the Balcony. I give it a high 8, low 9.

johnbenn@hotmail.com (Ben Haryo)
OPEN YOUR EYES sucks. I will give it 4 stars, and that's only for Igor's nice organ solo. The songs are poppy-chopsy that's too weak to make it to Top 15 and too weak to give us similar impact of CTTE. The guitars are uninspiring, the basses weak, the drums are OK, Jon's vocals are excellent as usual, but the keyboards is really really weak, except for the aforementioned Igor's organ solo. I love YES, and I will keep OYE at my collection, but if YES ever comes out with an album like this again then I will boycott their show.. should they ever come to Indonesia ;-) just kidding. Please bring back Pat Moraz to play keys!

michael.blume@gte.net
OPEN YOUR EYES. The only great album of this here "UNION Yes" era so far. I do agree however with you about giving it a few listens. The production is too slick to do the album any justice, but after a few listens, you finally begin to appreciate it more than before. "New State of Mind" is a perfect example of how Yes still maintains that "Perpetual Change"-patented creativity, where they play that same melody over, but in different styles to make it sound like a futuristic juke box enhanced by the enchanting choral force so unique and beautiful like they've always done throughout their career, and never lost the knack for it (especially in their elder ages). In fact, they pull off great chorus harmonies throughout this album. "Open Your Eyes" is an upbeat, exuberant tune so damn catchy, it's the "(I've Seen) All Good People" of the '90's. "Universal Garden" is what I consider the "And You and I" of the '90's as well because it's applied with the organic, orchestral-sounding formula that "And You and I" has maintained. "The Solution" is a lot like "A Venture" in many ways that makes it sound so adventurous, even if it's only five and a half minutes. "From the Balcony" begins with a lovely acoustic guitar chord played by Steve Howe for a few seconds, and then comes Jon's pleasurably brilliant voice that hasn't deteriorated at this point. That song (besides "Somehow, Someday" of course) proves that even today, Jon had aged very well through his voice. The only stinker in this album is "Love Shine". The lyrics sound totally dumb, and the music to it sounds like generic electronica music as far as I'm concerned mainly due to those suck-ass keyboards they used in the album. The really strong points are: A) The beautifully harmonized vocals B) Steve Howe's amazing guitar playing ......and finally C) Their songwriting is at an all-time high (except in "Love Shine")

Overall, I give this album a 9 out of 10, regardless of the slick production. This ain't "CLASSIC Yes" or "RABIN Yes", but a different breed of Yes that fits well into the "UNION Yes" era. UNION and TALK had some good songs too, but they reek in consistency.

haryohimawanto@hotmail.com
John, you're a PRICK! How could you boycott YES just because you don't like OYE? OYE is bad, but not disastrous and YES still play old songs in concerts. I'll be the first to greet them on the airport should they ever come to Indonesia. In the meantime, I hope you become LIMP, John! ;-[

Adrian.M.Rush.8@nd.edu
KTA 1 and 2 have a few nice moments but are mostly '70s redux. The band doesn't break any new ground and tries too hard to replicate its own sound. Same goes for Open Your Eyes, except it's just '80s redux. Nice harmonies, which hearken all the way back to "Beyond and Before" on the first album, but for the most part the songs are bland and interchangeable. Sounds mostly like an unfortunate collision of Big Generator, Tormato, and some Asia album. Bleah.

michael.blume@gte.net
OK. Maybe I exagerated about their songwriting on Open Your Eyes being at an all-time high. What I meant to say was that the songwriting is stronger than on UNION and TALK. That was what I meant to say about OYE. Anyways, I'm changing my rating to an 8/10. No more, no less. It's not as good as the Rabin-era stuff, and the Howe-era stuff, but it's as good as TALK. I still think that "Love Shine" (which has to be my least favorite Yes song of all time) sucks, and that "Man In the Moon" is just OK. Wonderlove is terrific in its first half, but then shows itself as being half-baked by the end. Now here is my TOP 10 Yes albums list (of all time, that is). If you had read my Top 5 below the GFTO review, that was of the Howe era only, not of all time. Anyways, here you go:

TOP 10 YES ALBUMS OF ALL-TIME
1.)CLOSE TO THE EDGE (That album can still kick the living shit out of TALES anyday.)
2.)GOING FOR THE ONE
3.)THE YES ALBUM
4.)RELAYER (Yeah, it's messy, but it ROCKS!)
5.)BIG GENERATOR (IMHO, it's better than TALES.)
6.)90125 (Same reason w/ Big Gen.)
7.)TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS (The reason it's weaker than 90125 and Big Gen. is that it meanders at points!!!!)
8.)FRAGILE (A couple of the solos drag the grade down from a 10 to an 8.)
9.)OPEN YOUR EYES
10.)TALK (Not as consistent as 90125 and Big Gen., but is still an 8 out of 10.)

Well, that's about it for now. 'Til then, I bid you good day, and tell 'em Rabin-bashers to eat dirt for slamming Trevor Rabin too.


The Ladder - Beyond 1999.
Rating = 8

The more i listen to it, the more I love it. Yes, it sounds like a Jon Anderson solo album, but I'm fairly certain that he never made a solo album with songs this endlessly catchy. Just WONDERFULLY catchy songs! I really hated it when I first heard it, but, like the ABWH album, it eventually grew on me and made me love it. Original grade - 5. Here's my original review, explaining why I used to hate it so much. I was a dumdum!

I nearly shat myself with sadness when I listened to this CD for the first time. After all those promising years of comebackitude, THIS is what they've decided to do? A bunch of simplistic, boring adult pop songs? Where did the angelic harmonies from Open Your Eyes go? And what happened to all the beautifully catchy litle melodies? This sounds like a damn Jon Anderson solo album, for Pete Banks' sake! (and not a very good one....)

So I, of course, listened to it a few times, hoping to find some light in the din. And I found the light. There ARE some really nice passages on here -- simplistic, yes, but still catchy and at times pretty. Both of the long songs have lots of good parts and "Face To Face" does a real nice job of integrating those hip electronica sounds into the traditional modern-Yes formula. But most of these songs are just icky. Embarrasingly generic - like Phil Collins generic. That's why I'm kinda blaming Jon for it, even though it might not be his fault. The songs just SOUND like stuff he would write. No surprises. No fun. And the single, "Lightning Strikes," HAS to be the dullest single they've ever released. Jesus, it's essentially "La Bamba" in 7/4! Or "Teakbois," remember that one? Ah me.

Now let's get something straight here. The album doesn't SUCK ASS. It's actually okay, and may very well provide you with a good deal of entertainment. It's just a major downer because the last three albums were so promising. For a while there it seemed as if Talk and Union were just a pair of Rabin-inspired mistakes. It no longer feels that way. And all I can say about that is "rats".

But you know, this IS their fourth album in four years. And that's a hell of a lot of material from a band this old. Maybe they just stretched themselves too thin. It's very likely that if they take a few years off to rejuvenate as a band and work really hard on their next batch of tunes, it'll be their best in years. Sure! Why not?

Reader Comments

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
I hoped, and hoped, and hoped that you were exaggerating what you were saying about The Ladder, but after listening to the album a number of times on real audio, I have to agree with your assessment. Besides the fact that these songs are far too generic for their own good, there's also the fact that I _really_ don't like the vocals on this album. I mean, they don't sound bad or anything, but there's too much Jon and not enough harmonizing, just like you said. Grr.

Oh, and some of the lyrics make me feel really uncomfortable; there's just something wrong about hearing Jon Anderson singing "everybody wants some" (although, as somebody pointed out on alt.music.yes, it would've been worse if we had had Squire singing in the background "I want some too").

That being said, I really enjoy the hell out of the two long songs. They're really gorgeous, catchy, and all those good things. Oh, let's see, I like Finally for some reason. All in all, I'll give it ... ehn ... as much as it pains me, it only deserves a 5.

It's odd; so many people have commented that in many ways, KTA2 is to Relayer as OYE is to GFTO, which is fine, except that inevitably, the next album was going to be like Tormato. Urgh

windstorm.geo@yahoo.com (Robert Reynolds)
Alright now...it's not often that I disagree with the general sentiment established by other reviewers, but this wicked lambasting of The Ladder goes too far. This is the best, most original, most ani-sellout album they have released in a long, long time. It sounds to me like they finally gave up that propensity to over-instrumentalize, over-spiritualize, over-produce and over-cater-to-the-masses. This is Yes back to being true to Yes, saying "stick it" to the rest of the world. It is defiantly Yes, a mature Yes, neither old or new, but something evolved and extraordinary. There isn't a dog on this album, which can't be said about their last...hmmm.....four? All of the songs are original and surprisingly upbeat. There's a vocal and melodic variety on this album...when was the last time you heard Anderson really belt out a song like he does on "Finally"? When was the last time you didn't have to force yourself to stay awake through a drivelling lullabye? It doesn't even have to "grow" on you like Talk and OYE had to. The Ladder is remarkable achievement that deserves respect and place with the greatest of Yes albums. A Tormato redux? Insane.

johnbenn@hotmail.com (Ben Haryo)
I want to comment to all you people who keep on dissing Jon Anderson, Geddy Lee, Dennis De Young and Uriah Heep because they sound "sissy". Ah come on! High-vocals harmony are cool! That is what gives the soul to Yes songs from the beginning to The Ladder. No high-vocals, no "Close To The Edge", and no "Owner Of The Lonely Heart", you asses! And don't you ever dis the musical talents of Styx! Can you do the keyboard solos on "Come Sail Away", the accordian and sitar on "Boat On The River", the guitars of "Sweet Madame Blue" or the organ on "Southern Woman?" You can't? Then shut up!

I can, personally!

Jconlin@irvinechev.com (Jim Conlin)
Although The Ladder is not the equal of CTTE or Relayer (what is?), it is still a pleasing artistic record. Surprisingly, it seems to harken back to the Yeswest period as much as their 70's classic. It acheives a nice balance between the two. It is certainly better than OYE, which to these ears anyway, sounded very trite and derivative. Igor Koroshev fills in ably on the keys, and Billy Sherwood remains, at least in the recorded music sense, invisible. Chris and Alan remain solid and Chris even manages to restore his bass to the rumbling semi-dominance that it truly deserves. Steve plays like he is actually enjoying the procedings. Jon's babbling brook like lyrics seem to be more Earth based than usual, even if he isn't (Divine Mother my ass). Yes at least show that they still have viable ideas after all these years, unlike other prog veterans such as Genesis, whose Calling All Stations album was almost an insult to the greatness that Genesis was. Are Yes capable of CTTE 2 or even a 90125 follow up? Probably not, but if they continue to record music of this quality they will still be light years ahead of most bands operating today. 7/10 as Yes album 8/10 against the rest of the music world.

Borart@aol.com
Houston, not only do we not have a problem, we are in orbit! What a breath of fresh air this album is, given the putrid Open Your Eyes. From the opening notes that Steve plays, with some nice support from Billy, I knew I was in for a treat. I find very few adult-contemporary passages on this disc, with the exception of It Will Be A Good Day and If Only You Knew. But even then, rather than have the songs wallow in a vat of treacle, these songs are given the appropriate Yes touches. Listen to any Phil Collins or Michael Bolton single and then listen to If Only You Knew and tell me which song shows more maturity and which you would more likely drive into a brick wall at 80 mph while listening to these artists. Just make sure you have air bags because I want to hear your opinion. Lightning Strikes is a great radio single, and I heard Chris' explanation of the opening music to Lightning Strikes as coming from an old mellotron. That, to me, proves that they had a great time making this record and wanted he listener to share in their sense of fun and camaraderie. My favorite track has to be New Language. The instrumental beginning reminds me of the Boston instrumental Foreplay off their first album, but the rest of the song is so buoyant and energetic that I can forgive them this. Steve's acoustic solo shines on this track is so sublime that you think, yes, he doesn't need an electric guitar to make a great solo, that the acoustic fits perfectly into the structure. Chris is thunderous and inventive throughout, and Alan just gets better and better with time (not age), but what else do you expect? Igor's keyboards are terrific and a nice complement to this more mature-sounding Yes. He doesn't try to imitate Rick or reinvent the keyboards. He simply brings his gifts to the table and lets his talents speak for themselves. Billy contributes some really nice vocal harmonies and doesn't try to muscle in when not needed. I think the axiom less is more is appropriate in Billy's role in the music. Jon's lyrics, while they may sometimes be impenetrable, are direct here and speak of an unbridled optimism here. His voice, of course, continues to amaze. Nine Voices is a great song to tie the whole album together, and is reminiscent of All Good People, which reminds the listener that everything old is new again. I cannot say enough good things about this disc, except that I look forward to seeing them in December at the Beacon in NYC. Thank you, gentlemen.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
I've changed my mind about the album. Sort of.

After a bunch of listens, I have come to the conclusion that with a little bit of editing, this would easily rate an 8 or a 9. Cut off the ending chunk of Homeworld (from 7:45 onward) and chop out If Only You Knew and To Be Alive, and maybe Can I?, and suddenly the album is about 46 minutes of marvelous sounding modern-day Yeswork.

Oh, and give Lightning Strikes a couple of more chances; there's something about the way Jon belts out his "take take take take me through the lightning" that somehow makes the whole song worth it. Or whatever. As it is, I've decided to raise my grade up to a 7.

huckcherry@hotmail.com (Xavier Fabriano)
To listen to Jon Anderson sing about cell phones over music that sounds more like No Doubt than Yes is too much to bear. But then again, what else do you expect from the producer of Bon Jovi and KISS? No matter what language they may cloak it in, their choice of producers was clearly a commercial one. If they're lucky they might be able to hook up with Ricky Martin and Desmond Child on the next album!

SCainer@home.com (Selwyn Cainer)
Last night just went to my first Yes concert here in Toronto. At 48 yrs old it was an eye opener and even got my 16 yr old son to join me and agree.Could be the fact the venue was small and we are sick of the 20,000plus stadiums already.Nice to be able to see who we are hearing and what can I say they were great and humble,we felt that we were appreciated for coming.......

RC248@aol.com
Dear Friends:

An " original " fan here. Meaning have been listening to them since the first, bright album, all those years ago. I am moved to write at least a small piece about the group Yes. They have become, insidiously, a rather large part of my daily soundtrack. I say insidious, since they have woven themselves into my sonic lifestyle. In the past year, I have found myself endlessly listening to ALL their body of work. Everything ! I can't get enough. Strange ? Maybe, maybe not. They have truly special qualities that seem to transcend the "pop" world as we know it. I think their devote millions speak louder than I ever could shout.

I could go on and on, but I find it a great album. Understand the irony of my small life, that I am listening to Topographic as I think about The Ladder. Ladder is a slight disappointment, I start with that. It has no opus to really lead us to the new realms of another Dean cover. Nothing approaches Tales or CTTE in it's pure poetical distance of mystical other lands. It is that sense of the other, that is the essence of Yes to me. That ability to create the landscapes of the mind. Roger Dean is so appropriate for Yes. I think of Yes as a vessel. A vessel for you and I. And you and I fill that void nicely. I would rather not think that Yes had created a vessel with some market makers at their side. I think they hold the banner of iconoclasm as high as we can expect. Perhaps this is why we cling to them so desperately. A final gasp of the troubadour. This is who they are to me : The troubadours. We have so few of them anymore. The gypsy spirit, the wandering soul; in this corporate world, festooned with sqwaking spittoons of money and programmed EVERYTHING, it's reassuring to us as a global village, that, here they come, those divine asserters of spirit transcendent. That which is not accessible is what we want. All is excess, and Yes, give us - nothing.

Ah, sweet nothing. An endless dream, a vessel of hope and the bright light of a new dawn. Now, isn't that something to wish for ? You seekers of the truth ?

valet@ccgnv.net
One thought seems to strike me after reading all these reviews of all these Yes albums: Do any of the albums really "suck ass" and why are we arguing about which ones they might be? Hey, Yes has had so many incarnations and changed their style so many times over the past 30+ years that they have found a way to reach almost any music fan of any genre in one way or another. So my favorite album is Tales, does that make me some kind of an idiot? What about people who love 90125? I'm not going to bash them or that album, though the two may be on almost opposite ends of the music spectrum and I have my own preference within Yes' body of work. They've done it ALL! Man, what a band... The best EVER!

On to The Ladder. I have to say it's pretty darn good. The tour was excellent, especially for a bunch of "old guys." The new songs did well in concert and the old ones were even better. "Awaken" was unbelievable, even better than on Keys when Steve for some reason decided to lose the guitar frenzy of the original studio track in favor of a more relaxed approach (but still good). Wow! Who else other than Yes could come out with a title song that's the soundtrack to a computer Game of the Year by Sierra (Homeworld)? That sure shows me Yes knows how to keep up with the times while still making great music. Don't expect this album to be Tales or 90125, though. It's another step in the journey. Take it for what it is.

The title track does ROCK, by the way, though the last 2 mins are a bit incongruous with the beginning. And you've gotta like "Can I?" After all, they're just making fun of themselves by remaking "We have Heaven" and I for one get the joke and like it. "Hep Yadda" (you have to call it that once you've heard it) is pretty catchy and upbeat. "Finally" has a good pace to it and rocks quite nicely. I don't think "The Messenger" quite hits the reggae note Yes was trying to work, but what the hell, I'll cut them some slack because I love Bob Marley too. "Nine Voices" harkens back to Leave It for some pure harmony work.

It finds a place in my heart like all the other Yes albums have, and as long as I'm never force-fed "Circus of Heaven" I'll love Yes till the day I die. I'll give The Ladder an 8. Next album please...

tukangbanting@yahoo.com (Tukang Banting)
I think THE LADDER is a good album! Seriously! "HOMEWORLD" is magnificent! I am a musician myself, so I understand that performing the entire THE LADDER section is NOT an easy task (although playing CTTE is much harder off course).

I give this album an eight, in the same grade with GFTO.

hijinks@utarlg.uta.edu (Thomas Rickert)
I just picked up the Ladder this week, and I have listened to it about 5 times. There is definitely some progress at work here; I consider it their best effort since Drama (which, I think, is criminally under-rated). It might even be better than Tormato. My only complaint so far is a certain creepy, creeping, creepin' me out adult contemporary new age-y-ness. Martin Page syndrome. The horror, the horror. Ah, maybe Trevor ruined 'em forever. What I don't hear, that I want to hear, is the psychedelic influence. You can hear how they have abandoned that in the keyboard and guitar tones and sounds. It all sounds produced, processed. Whereas, during Yes' heyday, they through out some of the most creative, even jarring and dissonant, sounds around. Critics of the day complained about that! Which, you know, makes it cool. Totally punk, in a strange sense. But can you imagine, critics bitching about "jarring guitar noise"? Man, I say, bring on the noise!!

So, what I'm saying is, I don't want catchiness! I want angular dissonant psych-out riffs and fills, like that totally out there riff opening the song "Close to the Edge," filled out with other passages of stunning beauty. But not obvious, new age, processed beauty. But then, maybe I'm asking too much. They are older, established, creatures now of habit catering to a fanbase, rather than being young, fiesty, having no idea of a fanbase and creating out of a sense of the great psychedelic-musical-spiritual unknown, and fighting endlessly with each other while doing it. I can't hold it against them for being comfortable, but sometimes I still do. And I especially don't want them to make more comfortable music. I want the uncanny, the unheimlich, that makes me a stranger to myself and see the world all newly and differently and oddishly fantasically!

richbunnell@home.com
A brilliant pop album, and just a hair ahead of 90125 in that department because most of the melodies are instantly memorable. I guess Jon's a bit high up in the mix, and the songs are more cliched than before ("If Only You Knew" comes to mind, still a great song) but if Yes are going to abandon their prog roots completely (don't let the two long songs fool you, they're long pop songs), I'm glad it's with material like this and not with bilge like the stuff on Big Generator. "Lightning Strikes" sounds absolutely nothing like Yes - so why can't I get the freaking thing out of my head? So yeah, it's a great album, and it continues Yes's rebound from their early '90s albums that started with the pretty-good Open Your Eyes. A nine. Or at least a high eight (I'm not too fond of "The Messenger").

hderby1@home.com (Holly Derby)
Ahhh, so this is what happens when a REAL producer works with a band as talented (yet at times, unfocused) as Yes. Sorta like when Horn worked on 90125........... Great beautiful album. Majestic and graceful. 8 or 9 out of 10.

sonicdeath10@hotmail.com (Eric B.)
strangely enough the FIRST yes album i ever owned. i didn't keep it long.

and then like two years later (seriously) i found this album really cheap (they sell it for like four bucks) and bought it again (as i was amasing a sizeable yes collection) and quite enjoyed the crap out of this cd thank you. homeworld features some of howe's best late period work.

Add your thoughts?

House of Yes: Live From House of Blues - Beyond 2000.
Rating = 9

Wow! I have never in my life been so excited! Another live Yes album! How did I ever survive without it? This is a double-CD, whose highlights include FIVE tracks off of The Ladder (holy crapola, that album is SO GOOD!!!!), "Perpetual Change" (sweet sweet "Perpetual Change" - I'm fond of that tune), really great sound, a ridiculously stupid "blues" jam at the end of the CD, a bit of bizarre Jon Anderson tween-song patter ("When we were recording The Ladder, our great great producer -- Brucey! He's in Heaven now, he's a great guy...."), and Howe-driven (I suppose, unless Billy Sherwood is playing it) run-throughs of "Owner Of A Stale Pop Tart" and.... "CINEMA"???????

Lowlights include the fifteen hundred millionth versions of "I've Seen All Good People" and "Roundabout". They're not really "lowlights," per se.... just predictable and somewhat unnecessary (except for the duds in the House of Blues crowd, I suspect).

In short, you don't need the damn thing. You just don't. But if you don't know Yes, this is as fine an introduction as any. And it makes it clear exactly how fucking GREAT they still are -- the Ladder tunes are every bit as exciting and catchy as the classics! Whose head did I have my ass up when I gave that album such a bad review?

Oh! And one other thing. I really, really, REALLY hate how, in every live version of "Your Move," they truncate and rush the John Lennon reference to fit it in before the "doo doo doo doo"s. You'd think with six different guys in the band, three could do the "doo doo doo"s while the other three sing "Give Peace A Chance" as prettily as it's song on The Yes Album. But who am I to smell a rat? Hell, I even miss the original intro to "Roundabout"!

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Yeah, it's a great album, no questions asked (except for that blues jam that makes me want to up and kill something). I don't actually own this exact version, though - mine is a mix-your-own/promo version that I ordered from the yesworld.com website during the summer. Mine is basically the same as this version, though, just with a different track order and AGP thrown off in exchange for runthroughs of Siberian Khatru, Heart of the Sunrise, and Starship Trooper from a '97 Japanese show.

Anyhow, I'd just like to point out a couple of things.

1. Cinema and Owner are primarily Sherwood. In fact, Cinema is all Sherwood, while Owner has Steve coming in at the very end to throw in some licks in his wonderful "progressive-country" manner. I'd go so far as to say that they're the best part of this rendition.

2. Two cuts from the show did not make the CD - CTTE and Hearts. I don't regret the former - every account of the concert that I've read and heard says that this rendition of CTTE was an unprecedented disaster and embarressment, which partially came from the fact that they hadn't played it in over a year. As for Hearts, well, I don't know why they cut that. What's interesting, though, is that when Anderson makes his "Billy Sherwood on guitar, plays a mean guitar" comment at the beginning of Awaken, he was referring to his playing on Hearts, and NOT Face to Face.

On another note, even if you've bought the CD already, GET THE MOVIE of this concert. It's fantastic! There are a number of things which make it wholly worth while.

1. The concert was done on Halloween, and as such you get to see Chris Squire and Igor in white labcoats.

2. The contrasts between the band members are simply fascinating. One one side, you have Steve. He's old, wrinkled, looks like a human skull, but watching him, you realize that he's the guitar version of an 80-year-old martial arts master who can crush you with his pinky finger. And he's deadly serious about everything he's doing up there, mustering up all of the concentration he can and then some.

On the other side, you have Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood. Billy looks like an average garage band punker, with cheezy spiked hair, and Chris ... oy, Chris. A giant, balding bassist, growing a bad teenage mustache, gallumping around the stage like he's 20 years old, except that he was NEVER this much of a ham when he was 20 years old. It would be pathetic if he still weren't so talented and didn't look so over-the-top funny on stage.

3. It is hilarious to watch Jon Anderson prove almost conclusively that he is the WORST dancer in the history of popular music.

4. You get to actually SEE Billy Sherwood make a fool of himself during Awaken, when he's given his his one and only solo in the song and doesn't even come close to keeping up with the rest of the band.

5. The visuals during the performance of Homeworld are various screen shots of ships from the actual game Homeworld, and they work surprisingly well in this context.

RC248@aol.com
Well, I liked the concert. I think it's great for them to update themselves, and not much worse for the wear. What can I say ? Steve, yes, a death mask walking, but hey, his playing is right on the money. Do wish he would just relax, he's not giving a genocological exam here. You can see he really is quite the surgeon up there, and I wish he would have some vodka before the show. Jon, with pie eyed innocence, over viewing the paradise, like some Microsoft COO, seems perfect for the part.

Igor and Billy, now I like them both, and there they go - flying the coop, just when we were getting focused on them. I can understand it. Kind of like some merger lawyers who got better offers. Disappointed, but in Billy's case - letting him go was a huge mistake. I just finished getting The Key, and Conspiracy, both great cds and reveal him to be a VERY talented persona. Although, personally I wish he had stayed, I can really understand it completely. He is a quiet force, and in retrospect was the perfect traditionalist for Yes. He could have been that bridge between the older generation and the new. He was a tactical mistake for Jon and the rest ! He should have been indulged and encouraged ! His taste and sense of the Yes tradition are special. Damn, the one that got away. And Igor ! He was great too ! What are they thinking ? I think you could keep the kids down on the farm so long, and if you don't let them get some of the stage, they are GONE. As well they should be. Imagine, if Steve's EGO could let go for ten seconds - the duals he and Billy could have done ! ? Kind of a cosmic Allman Brothers thing. They could have extended the Yes tradition, with some great long, solos and instrumental pieces. Another opportunity missed. No opportunity ?!

Well, I digress. I thought they were very faithful; the tradition lives, the moment goes on. We live in the amber dream of days gone, and yet, still here...

yestrek@midrivers.com (Marc and Denise Hartse)
How many 30+ year old aging rock bands can induce such a disparity of emotions from all-knowing individuals who can't even play an instrument? Heck if I know. I just know that for all the band member's faults and difficulties that they still turn the crank for me. I've followed these guys more years than I can remember and I'm out in the middle of eastern Montana where 99.9% of the population don't even know who they are. Enjoy them and cherish them, because when they're gone they'll be gone for good. Age is creeping up and I really wonder sometimes how much longer they can go on. The mere fact they play so well is mind boggling. While watching them during the Masterworks Tour I really marveled at their continuing skill while playing The Gates of Delerium. Now we have another really good studio album in The Ladder and another excellent live album in House of Blues (by the way, they didn't butcher CTTE as badly as some would like everyone to believe). I've got a bootleg version of that too. True, if I hear Roundabout or Owner Of A Lonely Heart one more time I think I'll scream, but even many of the older pieces they've been playing have been subtly altered in the arrangements and instrumentations. Usually I don't dive into these sorts of things, but this time I had to add my two bits worth.

You'll see perpetual change

hderby1@home.com (Holly Derby)
Ohhh, with out a doubt the best live album the band has ever released. Whoo weee, listen to Perpetual Change. Worth the price of admission right there. I agree that I did not need another live version of "Roundabout" or "Your Move/I've Seen all Good People" Smoking set though! Not knocking Billy Sherwood, for whom I do have appreciation for, but I think I would have preferred to hear Howe interprete the solo in "Owner" in his own way, Billy just attempted to 'cover' it and kinda butchered it.

Add your thoughts?


Magnification - Beyond 2001.
Rating = 8

Features an orchestra playing along with Yes, which doesn't interfere with the sound anywhere near as much as it did on Time And A Word (thanks to more sympathetic production by somebody who understands the idea of MERGING the two bands instead of just replacing the guitar line with horns). I'm always wrong about Yes albums the first time I hear them, so forgive me if this grade goes down in the next few months, but right this second, I'm pleased to say that Magnification flows as naturally and smoothly as The Ladder, with lots of gentle midtempo pop songs with a really strong mix, excellent guitarwork (with lots of different tones and styles), lovely lead and backup vocals and a ton of neato melodies that -- though they are no "Awaken" -- are nevertheless a heck of a lot more original than you're going to hear from most college rock bands. And this isn't the uninformed opinion of an old classic rock fan who fears current music. Just the opposite - it's the uninformed opinion of a guy who HAS heard some current music and is disappointed how bland most pop music is. Even college pop tends to rely on simplistic melodies that require no thought or talent. Not so these songs -- Chris Squire is playing 500 notes per song again (the frustrated lead guitarist has come home!), the lovely violins, reeds and whatnot add a lovely Renaissance feel to the tunes and all the changes and chord sequences honestly do feel *smart*. Like they sat down and concentrated on them. By NO means are they as immediately catchy as the 90125 or even Yes Album stuff, but stay with them and, just like Topographic Oceans, the light lil' melodies will really win you over. There's no awkward transitions or hard-to-forgive attempts at avant gardism like those you might have unenjoyed on the long KTA tracks, nor atrocious by-the-numbers drumbeats like on Open Your Eyes. Just lots of splendidly Moodybluesish dreamy song things. This isn't a new Yes (they didn't even bother hiring a new keyboardist after Igor quit!) nor a revitalized "classic" Yes, nor even a sell-out commercial Yes. It's just Yes and it just is. There is no way that it will have any hits and there's no way that they could possibly expect it to [although "Don't Go" is a catchier-than-FUCK (another uninteresting college rock band, btw) McCartney style bouncer]. I think you should buy it and just dig away at it for a few weeks. It sure beats Death Cab For Cutie!

I'd originally separated that review into several different paragraphs, but I decided to get rid of all the paragraph-break HTML tabs. So now the review is a free-verse poem.

Entitled "Harry Pothead and the Sorcerer's Stoned," if that doesn't break any copyright laws.

And if hilarious Cheech And Chong style marijuana humor is as popular with today's youth as it was with the generation before mine.

DAVE? NO! DAVE'S NOT HOME! HA A HAH1!! AHAHAHAHF!!!!! NO NO! THIS IS DAVE!!! HA HAHAHA!!! NO NO!!! DAVE'S NOT HOME!!!! HA AHAHAHH!!!! AHAHAHHHAHHAHHAHAAHAHAHAH (*dies to death*)

Reader Comments

robertkoehl@msn.com (Robert Koehl)
It's almost like clockwork. Every time Yes releases another album, about half their fans hail it as a masterpiece and the other half bitch and moan about how "the old days were better" or they "just need to get (insert whatever member name here) back, and it'll be cool again." Well, I haven't hailed a new Yes album as a masterpiece since Keys 2, and I wasn't expecting to like this one. They gave Billy Sherwood the boot just before their 2000 Masterworks tour, and they booted Khoroschev after the tour was over. This album, it's just the four of them: Anderson, Howe, Squire, and White. There's no keyboardist, and in fact, no synths anywhere on the album. Instead, they've got Hollywood filmscore composer Larry Groupe to compose and direct an orchestra to back the band up. The result sounds NOTHING like "Symphonic Music of Yes." Quite the contrary, this is possibly the best album they've released since loosing Rabin. The opening/title track swells with power and emotion before cross-fading into a kickass rocker called "Spirit of Survival." About the only weak tracks on here are the over-sappy "Soft as a Dove" (which sounds alot like "From the Balcony," and the single "Don't Go" (which sounds like "Man on the Moon"). Another cool thing about this disc is that Squire takes the lead vocal spot on one of the songs. That, and the fact that this thing just flows like no Yes album ever has, make it fantastic. I'm sure that after its US release this coming December, Mark will be agreeing with me.

jn01@mediaone.net (John Nicholson)
I'm reading through some posts above (which are quite dated by now), and I can't believe some of what I read. One person was bashing all prog-rock groups and claimed KISS to be the pinnacle of music. Geez! But onto Yes and their new release. Firstly, why are people who hate Yes even reading this site? Not to sound snobby but it's high brow music and quite frankly Yes never aimed their music to the masses. Thank GOD! There is enough mediocre music out there for the general population to absorb.

The newest release from the boys is Magnification and with it Yes revisited a 30 year dream of theirs to integrate an orchestra with their own instrumentation. They never were quite happy with the end result of Time and A Word. The orchestration back then was a times tasteful but also heavy-handed and added after the fact. With the release of Magnification Yes comes full circle and realizes what no other group has attempted and pulled of successfully. It seems that the writing sessions were done closely with Larry Groupe and it shows in the interweaving of orchestra and band. This album could be best described as a concerto. The best songs IMO are Dreamtime, Spirit Of Survival, Give Love... and Chris' Can you Imagine. Over Yes 30+ year career they have stretched musical boundries and demanded from the members that the music was the most important mission and there were casualties along the way....Peter Banks, Tony Kaye, Igor Koroshev, Billy Sherwood, Patrick Moraz.

All in all, the musicianship, writing and creativity of YES is unequalled in any group before or since and they will be missed when they put their instruments down.

RC248@aol.com
Having not purchased Magnification yet, I see this as no reason to stop me from presenting my review. Who actually needs to listen, and not comment ? We are in the age of self indulgent cosmic doo doo, so here we go :

Magnification is just what I wanted ! A step into the Great Beyond of Yesdom. A reduction to the essential basics of Yesdynamics. The loss of keyboard ? Genius @! How better for Yes to indulge themselves more in themselves, by simply addition and subtraction ? Just take one LESS member - and there's more room for each ! Less notes to share ! I love it. The symphonic grandeur, only heightens the ephemeral sense of Oneness, that is Yes.

The sparseness of this allows for tighter focus on melody and a firmness that allows them all to look over, beyond , and gosh, even into the next millenium of musical futures. They are higher than the Nasdaq futures as I write this. We can see they, after thirty years - here's the key word - KNOW each others. They are the ultimate roommates, and allow for the exigencies of time and space, so we are redolent in the splender that is their essential virtuosity. Who needs Rick, when there's more of ME ?

The songs flow elegantly from song to song. Is song ever a fair word ? I think not ! Each one a carefully crafted life biography in every song ! I feel as if I KNOW them all personally now. An autobiograpy that IS Yes. Yes as story, Yes as song, Yes as - LIFE !@!@

I am speechless, which is just as well for us all. I return to the future, and axiouxly await Union Two....

(a week later)

Actually, a day after I posted my fake review, I GOT Magnification ! LOL. Anyway, here are some real comments....

I think this is the cd Yes has always wanted to make. My comments that there is more room for each person, I think holds true - for good and for bad. The excesses, the pretense are all there. Cosmic doodlings, over reaching lyrics, you can find it all. And yet, who cares ? The indulgence, as someone once said, is the preserve of the artist. After all, isn't this perusual of self part of their joy and pleasure ? I think so. I could stand to see Jon's indulgences restrained some, but I have come to love his sense of innocence and purity. If he hadn't maintained that over the Yesyears, who knows - there might not have been a Yes. Actually after I listened to this, I put on Jon's solo LP, In the City of Angels, his homage to soul music. ( In my estimation ) I always tend to retrace other work from artists immediately after hearing some NEW work of an artist. Seems to put things in perspective for me. This is a great album as well. Jon sounds so fluid, and he seems to have retained that talent over the years. Amazing. He shifts gears so simply; he wears many hats now.

The orchestrations are great ! Hint, enhance, underline, nice use of it all. Not too obstrusive, blend in perfectly. Not too sweet, I think they handled it perfectly. I would guess this is their answer to Days of Future Passed.

Nice to hear from Chris Squire again. I also put on Fish Out of Water, after hearing Magnification. Made me miss the sound of his voice, bass and writing talents. Wish we could see a touch more of the others composing for Yes. A bit too much of Jon. Some of what Jon does, should be saved for his solo work. Some of his pieces scream out solo work. Yes does deserve better than to be used as a back up band for him in some cases.

Give Love Each Day - nice, smooth, with a touch of Victory at Sea overture going on.....Just kidding.

Dreamtime, nice. Very nice opening. Segues nicely into the bass, man I love these guys when they focus on the ensemble side of their work. I would love to see a Yes instrumental album ! I think they should be able to do something as powerful as a classical work, without words. Maybe it's time Jon DID put the bible to music ! I do think this cd shows how strong the egos are within Jon, Chris and Steve. Even Alan now shows signs of life, other than just drumming. I was skeptical at first without the guidance of Rick's playing, or Igor's or Patrick, but they are showing the heart of Yes is not limited to one person.

I was also very impressed with Alan's contribution. Who knew !? Lurking in the heart of this drummer was a great " song " In the Presence. I hope we hear more from him in the coming years.

As someone else said, those who want to hate Yes, will do that. And for those who love them, this is a terrific statement. I hope that they continue on, to a new return to progressive roots. I think in their hearts, they know that their fans want this from them. I loved The Ladder, but feel of it as an interlude, a bus stop on the way to this. I would like to see a return though, to a master keyboard player. I thought Igor was great, and the whole lineage of them has been great. It adds an esthetic and sober note to their work that seems to demand it. But I love that Yes did Magnification without one, and did look, or at least peek over the horizon.

One word about Steve - where was he in this ? Seems a bit lost in the mix, or almost seems as though he is sitting this one out. But I even like that idea. He almost seems like a guitarist IN an orchestra, not alone from it. Perhaps they will change their name to the Yesorchestra. Who knows ? It seems they might ben headed in that direction anyway..

Some days, it's a mad world - let it be !

I will let this go for now, although, I may add another addendum with more listenings.....

ian.moss@yale.edu (Ian Moss)
So I went to see Yes on their "Magnification" tour this past fall, at the Oakdale theater in Wallingford, CT. First real "rock concert" that I had ever been to, that is for which I actually had to buy tickets and figure out how to get there and everything. Bought a tour t-shirt for a ghastly $32 (totally worth it), saw lots of middle-aged Yesfans with long hair and longer beards waddling around everywhere; it was quite an experience. So they played lots of old classics from The Yes Album and Fragile and Close to the Edge and everyone cheered wildly after each one, and then in the middle they played these two songs from the new album ("Don't Go" and "In the Presence Of"). Politely received, but it was clear that the audience was eager for more old favorites. As was I, I might add. "Oh well," I thought, "seems like Yes still can't get it together with their new albums. Too bad, really."

Well, I'm happy to report that they did get it together, after all. "Don't Go" is worlds better on the album than it was live, with that cool phasing effect, and "In the Presence Of" reaches some powerful, TFTO-reminiscent heights after its incredibly cheesy opening. (seriously, those lyrics are terrible.) "Give Love Each Day," the title track, and "Spirit of Survival" are even better. Only a couple of clunkers, really, and even they aren't too bad. It's quite an impressive achievement for a band so old.

In my own composition I run into the problem of combining rock textures with orchestral writing a lot. I think Yes does it pretty successfully with this album. They skillfully use electronic effects and studio technology to smooth out the balance problems inherent with this combination. They are definitely approaching the matter from an "intelligent pop" perspective, as opposed to a truly avant-garde or fusion-oriented one, so you hear your share of regular drumbeats and the band members are (understandably) the stars of the show for most of the album. However, you do have some beautiful orchestral interludes, especially with "Give Love Each Day" and "Dreamtime," that show off Groupe's versatility. Moreover, the orchestral arrangements themselves are hardly stupid doublings of the guitar lines or lush string backgrounds a la '40s movie music; they often are playing integral yet subtle rhythmic/melodic/textural counterpoint to whatever the band is doing. I can imagine it being done better, and there are some low points, but even so it is an impressive technical and artistic accomplishment. Bravo! Overall, I give it a high 8.

crazydiamond@comcast.net (Alex Murray)
A Yes album without a keyboardist is like a Democrat politician trying to tell the truth - it's unheard of. Went to see Yes 10-30-02 w/ Rick Wakeman in glittering cape coat, and he played the orchestra parts in the Magnification songs just fine. Oh well, at least it's not Metallica. I bet the members of that orchestra really wanted to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

Add your thoughts?

Remixes - Rhino 2003
Rating = 9

If you're as tired as I am of unsympathetic producers presenting legendary drum 'n' bass DJs Yes in an unrepresentative light, you'll thrill to hear this fine assortment of razzle-dazzle thrown together by Steve Howe's son (not that he KNOWS about! Heh hheehe heh) Virgil (or "The Verge"). "The Verge" got a cranny in his nook to take one song from every Yes album between Wine And A Terd and Dramamine and TeChNoFiE 'em!!!!

Then he picked a second song off Fragile.

"No!," replied an upset Randy Bachman. "Not Fragile"!!!!

"Yes! YES!," shouted an exuberant Trent Reznor. "The Fragile is the one to beat!"

I love "The Verge." He has taken all these great (and mostly pretty obscure!) Yes songs that I know like the back of the gun I rob everybody with, and SHAKEN 'EM UP!!! Check this out. I woke up this morning and suddenly we were living in a magical, wonderful world where the opening guitar line of "Tempus Fugit" has been twisted and mucked about with until it sounds completely different than the album version! And then suddenly the "Yes!" chants are layered in! Then there's a slow dance beat, and it turns into a great dancey repetition bit! Then the bass line is BACKWARDS for a spell! And two guitar parts that don't go together are merged together into a new creation, all set to take over Tokyo! (how hard could it be? the whole country's like 1 foot 2) Then the song sort of happens and then it's OVER! This didn't go like that yesterday!!!! Nor did "Arriving UFO" have a lengthened intro and modern bass line! "Heart Of The Sunchine" kinda sucks, but in "Starship Trooper," he loops that amazing guitar break right before the guy goes "Follooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow!" and then plays it over and over and over again -- then he takes just a creepy part of the acoustic part -- aw MAAN!!!N!!!!!!!!! N!!

Prediction: I'm the only person in the world who loves this CD.

Let's look at the facts. (1) Yes fans hate dance music. (2) Dance fans hate Yes music. (3) I have Downs Syndrome.

Yep! I'm the only one whose gonna love it!

(4) What kind of asshole makes Downs Syndrome jokes? Answer: Bil Keane! You believe that prick? Hey! Who just shoved the mongoloid down the basement steps? "Not Me!" "I Dunno!"

To sum up my college thesis in Female Anatomy, Yes Remixes is a work of genius. This bright young man took nine Yes albums, recorded them onto some mixer/sampler dipsy-doodle the kids understand, and suddenly everything old is new again. He samples the craziest parts and loops other samples on top of them. The 300-year-long "Ritual" is summed up in five minutes. The 35-second "5 Per Cent For Nothing" is extended into a 6-minute jazzy Beastie Boys breakdown. He turns the beginning of "Siberian Khatru" into Lenny Kravitz-style funk. He crams "Sound Chaser" into a 4/4 beat. He turns "Awaken" into dark trip-hop that would fit perfectly into a hip modern youth movie like The Anarchist's Cookbook or The Banger Sisters. And finally, in a Zappa-style pukebag of over-extended inspiration, he takes the "Roundabout" intro, the "All Good People" intro, the "Close To The Edge" intro, middle part, "Aaah!" break and church organ break, the "Fish" intro, the "Cha cha cha!" part in "Sound Chaser," those clicky evil drum noises in one of those Topographic songs, the "Heart of the Sunrise" intro, the "Parallels" intro, the walking intro of "South Side Of The Sky" and the "No Clowns" children's speech of "Circus Of Heaven" ---- goes back in time and records over the master tapes, completely destroying the record collections of every Yes fan in the world.

Luckily there's only like four of us left, so we'll just play The Ladder and beat the girls off with a stick.

Reader Comments

sonicdeath10@hotmail.com (Eric B.)
hey i agree. this is actually pretty cool. i remember i got this thing where this guy did something like this but it wasn't as good cuz he just was doing avant guarde style and it seemed random and all the song sounded the same. not here. he like does a dancey dancey techno beat.

laugh if you want but i just listened to the long long weird atmospheric thing that closes out the open your eyes album by Yes.

Acaptgroovy@aol.com
oooh...hmmmm...?!?!?!????....what do i have to say about yes? i certainly would not classify the band as one of the best off all time, but for a brief period of time in the early 70's they were one of the most creative, challenging, enigmatic, pretentious, silly, self indulgent, confusing, beautiful, and problematic groups in rock history! as with most newbies to prog it was yes and floyd-the former offering peace, love, understanding, and hope for a utopian dream blossoming into reality and the latter bitterly criticizing everything under the sun(which waters wishes would just go away)while at the same time being just as creative, challenging........-i dug rush, too back in "them dayz"-they provided the perfect "soundtrack" for my D&D weekends! ah, this was the "end of the innocence"-to quote mr. henley-simple geekdom gave way to marijuana, which in turn became lsd -the very first album i listened to(or should i say experienced)was tales from topographic oceans-even as a punk in the late eighties i steadfastly defended my appreciation for the group-my friends and i would slam all night long in a club and then all chill out "jamming" to yes!-"fragile" was the default album of choice-how can one match the intensity and grace of "heart of the sunrise"?you can see why punkers dug this number!-i'm still partial to "close to the edge"-to be honest this was their zenith-yet they kept pushing the envelope further and in the end they eventually imploded long before they should have-selfishness and arrogance has always marred their contibutions to popular tatse , but that's the modus operandi of any artist regardless of medium- they introduced me to prog-and all the bands that folllowed--it's been nearly 20 years since i've revisited my ol' yes catalog and they are cooler to me now than they were when i was just a spoiled, stoned, and stupid teen-it's just sooooo easy to criticize them--they wear it on the sleeves of their "flowing jewel encrusted robes"-i still feel that they were not built to last-certainly not a flash in the pan as their shot was felt around the world-shit! thanks to yes we had journey, styx, kansas, head east, and whatever had you from pinochle, idaho!-americans never got it!!!fellow britishers and the "continent"; on the other hand, not only embraced it, but manipuated it into what was most tangible to their own individual exeriences-crimson, soft machine, elp, can, and the rest of the krautrock canon-from "the yes album" through "relayer" they broke bown barriers that most wouldn't even bother-even "drama" has it's moments-funny thing-a guy at work whom introduced me to mars volta-on my first listen i told him it reminded me of yes-deeply offended, of course-but after burning a cd i've found a new convert--prog is making a huge comeback! and it's more CREATIVE, CHALLENGING, ENIGMATIC, PRETENTIOUS, SILLY, SELF INDULGENT, CONFUSING, BEAUTIFUL, AND PROBLEMATIC as it ever was---same as it ever was...same as it ever was...same as it ever wes.....so let's just slip in the disc...spark one up...kick back...and dream on....on to the heart of the sunrise!

Symphonic Live - Eagle Rock 2009
Rating = 8

Hey great news, it's a Yes live album from October 2001 with the European Festival Orchestra, Tom Brislin on keyboards and Jon Anderson singing lead vocals! I can't believe there are no 9/11 references though. WTF is up with that? Couldn't Jon have said something like "Starship Trooper" is dedicated to Muslim Troopers who fly starships into buildings? Or "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" is dedicated to people whose spouses were murdered by Muslims in the 9/11 attack? Or "And You And I" is dedicated to people who are dead? Or "Dead" is Deadicated to Dead Deadnesses? I'm drunk, also.

Symphonies are fags, but luckily (a) they don't permeate every song like in Metallica's S & M and (b) they're not very loud in the mix, so honestly they sound Bombastically Appropriate in the anthems like "Close To The Edge," "Ritual" and "The Gates Of Delirium." The only song they ruin is "Long Distance Runaround" which sounds all fagged out by gayfer orchestra players who'd rather be tooting each others' cots (cox) than playing their bullshit non-appropriate parts of this non-"The Fish"-including song.

Holy crap! Tom Brislin on keyboards! He's fuckin' classical!

They perform three songs each from Magnifuckation and Friggile, 2 each from Close To The Vag and The Yes Alcum and 1 each from 9012sac, ReLAYer (if you know what I mean by LAYer) and Tails From Pornographic Motions. I'm hilarious. Ha ha ha ha OH ha ha ha OH ha ha ha I can't get enough of how hilarious I OH ha ha ha OH ha ha ha OH ha ha ha OH OH ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Jon Anderson's crystal meth stage patter includes:

- (before "Don't Go") "The idear is love is so wonderful."

- (before "In The Presence Of") "The idear of the song is that we're surrounded by the Divine all the time"

- (before "The Gates Of Delirium") "We should do a really wacky, crazy song about things that were going on in the '70s."

- (after Steve Howe performs "Mood For A Day") "I used to be able to play it just like that. It was this dream in 1972; I remember it vividly."

- (before "And You And I") "We've been playing it for a zillion years, and we're gonna get it right tonight if it KILLS us! Well, not really."

- (before "I've Seen All Good People") "We want you all to sing along, and then halfway through get up and boogie!"

It was nice of them to mix it up by releasing a live album recorded with an orchestra. That really helps to differentiate it from their five thousand other live albums. As such, here are some other great ideas I just had about future live albums they could release:

Acapella Live - The band members just hum their parts. It would rule ass.

Motorcycles Live - The band performs their songs as six motorcycles zoom back and forth across the stage.

Peter Banks Live - The band performs their usual set as original guitarist Peter Banks bitches, moans and occasionally throws in the intro to "Astral Traveller."

Toilet Live - The band performs their entire set four times in a row with no bathroom break. Eventually they all take a crap on whoever's playing the keyboard on that tour.

Fuck You Live - Yes plays their usual set, but with Jon Anderson simply shouting obscenities instead of the correct lyrics (ex: "Yesterday a morning came all over your wife's ass")

Burnin' Up Live - Yes performs their greatest hits while soaked in gasoline and set on fire.

ABWH Live - Trevor Rabin is forced at gunpoint to perform "Teakbois." The crowd screams in ear pain.

Some Guy We Found on YouTube Live - 2009 tour.

Yes Plays Journey Escape Live - The band sits on the stage playing Journey Escape on Atari 2600 for two and a half hours.

Yes Homonyms Live - Country singer John Anderson, baseball player Steve Howe, Oasis drummer Alan White, Christopher A. Squier, Professor, Oral Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine, and Director of Graduate Studies for the University of Iowa College Of Dentistry, and the entire City of Wakefield metropolitan district in West Yorkshire, England get together to jam on some AC/DC songs.

Reader Comments

joeleduc@sbcglobal.net
if "fuck you live" existed, that would easily EASILY be the greatest album of all time. better than the shaggs first. better than "elvis' greatest shit". better than vanilla fudge's "the beat goes on". just the thought of that angry high voice shrilly cursing over, say, "don't kill the whale" or "your move", man, that makes me weak in the knees.

Add your thoughts?

Live At Montreux 2003 - Eagle 2007
Rating = 8

Most people don't realize this but, aside from 9012Live-The Solos, the first disc of Keys to Ascension I, the first disc of Keys to Ascension II, the double-album Yesshows, the triple-album Yessongs, the double-CD House Of Yes: Live At The House Of Blues, the double-CD Symphonic Live and the 4-disc box set The Word Is Live, Yes has never released a live album. Well, take your nose and polish it because "Problem Solved!" with this delightful new double-CD.

The all-star line-up of John Anderson, Chris Squier, Rick Wakefield, Steve Hume & Barry White performs one song each from Tormato, Going For The One and Relayer (if you count Steve's solo rendition of "To Be Over," which you SHOULD because it's BEAUTIFUL); two songs each from Close To The Edge, The Yes Album and Magnification; and a full walloping SIX from Fragile -- every song on that record except the Rick, Steve and Bill solos! Ha, and you called me a diq for giving it a 10. I have been proven right by this live album.

In addition to Howe's solo "To Be Over" and "Clap," Wakeman plays a ridiculously speedy-fingered medley of his solo hits, Anderson performs a protest-folk-sounding new composition called "Show Me," and Squire/White present a nine-minute "The Fish" that interpolates excerpts from Drama's "Tempus Fugit" and Tormato's "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom" - unfortunately with way too much chorus on the bass, so it sounds completely off-key most of the time ("Tempus Fugit"? More like "Tempus TUNE-it," if you ask me!).

This is the first non-orchestra appearance of Magnification songs, and I must say, "Hoooeeee do they sound empty without that orchestra!" Still, "In The Presence Of" is a fantastic song worth hearing no matter the instrumentation involved. It's PRETTY! Then it gets DARK! Then it gets sort of LIGHT again while retaining a bit of DARKNESS! Indeed, "In The Presence Of" is literally a solar eclipse.

It's a major league awesome treat to hear The Yes whip out "South Side Of The Sky" and "Awaken" this late in their career, but what the hump's up with "Don't Kill The Whale"!? At what point in time did that song shift from "disco-era embarrassment" to "legendary classic"? It honestly may be the worst song I've ever heard in my life, and I own like every Smashing Pumpkins album.

In other news, here's a shocker: they play "I've Seen All Good People" and "Roundabout." I know, I couldn't believe it either. I was like "Hay how's Jon gonna remember the words to 'Roundabout,' he only sang it that one time for the album" and "Hay how's Steve gonna remember which three chords to play in 'I've Seen All Good People' they're hard" but somehow they pull them off with flying boredom.

A few other musical moments worth noting:
- The extremely slow intro, loud harmony vocals, and intriguing line-ending bass bends of "Siberian Khatru"
- The gorgeous guitar volume swells during the 'Eclipse' portion of "And You And I"
- The way the band plays and sings along to "We Have Heaven" vocal tapes
- How good a song "Heart Of The Sunrise" is, even though I can't hear it anymore without thinking of that shitty Vincent Gallo movie

The mix is rich and full; you can hear every instrument and vocal perfectly. And most of the performances are of course flawless and beautiful (particularly Steve Howe with that gorgeous slide thingy he does). However, whether you actually need another Yes live album or not is dependent on how big a fan you are. I, unfortunately, am quite a big fan. :7(

Nevertheless, I find it quite amusing that they completely ignore the 8 studio albums they put out between 1980's Drama and 2001's Magnification -- hey, WHO NEEDS those two decades, AM I RIGHT?!?

HELL YEAH I'm right! Decades are for ASSHOLES!!!

Reader Comments

marc.kreienbrink@gmail.com
Yessss...another live album from Yes! Woo hoo! I'm really diggin' on this disk. Never thought I'd hear a live version of "South Side...". It rocks! This is one of the best versions of "And You And I"; Steve did it up right and didn't get all crazy with the cheese whiz. Actually, I think this is the best version of "AYAI".

Usually my Yes MVP is Chris Squire because he usually is the MVP, but this time I have to give mad props to Steve Howe. The old coot's playing is inspired and on-point...very tasty. His solo spot is most excellent. I was surprised with "To Be Over". I'll have to have a drink on him when I get back home.

My WTFs:
1. Not even a slight nod to the Rabin years. What gives? That's almost completely unacceptable.
2. "Siberian Khatru"'s sloppiness and crappy keyboard sounds, but at least Wakeman doesn't have that dumb beard anymore.
3. "Don't Kill The Whale"

I've always agreed with your 10 rating of Fragile, and I'm glad that you finally feel vindicated by this live set. Vindication is sweet, and judging by the amount of silver in my mouth I've been vindicated quite a bit.

8 out of 10

billy.barron@tx.rr.com
"what the hump's up with "Don't Kill The Whale"!? At what point in time did that song shift from "disco-era embarrassment" to "legendary classic"? It honestly may be the worst song I've ever heard in my life"

Mark, Mark, Mark - while I agree that "Don't Kill the Whale" is a "disco-era embarrassment", please listen to Tormato again. It can't be worst song you've ever heard with the worse "Arriving UFO" and the impossibly bad "Circus of Heaven" on the same album. Note: "Circus of Heaven" is so bad I can't imagine how to make it worse. With "Don't Kill the Whale", the music isn't so bad - it's just the lyrics.

I didn't know Who the Fuck Vincent Gallo was, but I found this picture of him wearing a Yes shirt.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb52/The_Playlist/movies/vincent_gallo.jpg
That's enough to know to avoid him.

thedude37@hotmail.com
AH

!

How dare you tear down the genius Vincent Gallo masterpiece that is "Buffalo '66"!!!??!!11!!1!one!

Nah, jus' pullin' yer chayne. I do like the movie though, and I think that "Heart of the Sunrise" is used well as background music. And, of course, Gallo uses "Sweetness" from the Yes debut album for the credits. Hu-ah!

On another note, let's talk about "Live at Montreux". They released a DVD, too, and the DVD is AWESOME!! Yeah, its just the songs from the CD, but in between songs, Jon Anderson curses at his malfunctioning acoustic-electric guitar ("What a beautiful guitar!! It's F***ED!!!). That, ALONS, was worth the DVD price!

Of course, I could be wrong about all of that. I'm on a nice wave of codeine right now, so... yeah.

Add your thoughts?


The New Director's Cut DVD - MVDVisual 2008
Rating = 7

Hay here's my impression of your penis:

-

There, now that I've totally zinged you, let's talk about the new Yes DVD. But first, have you heard this new Brian Wilson album? Big Old Smellyass Sun Motherfucker? I know! I couldn't believe it! And did you hear that awful re-recording of "California Girls" he did on there? Now the first verse is:

"Well, East Coast girls are hip-pos
They should lose some fuckin' weight
And the Southern girls with the way they look
I'd rather stay home and masturbate"

Come on Brian! What happened to the Beach Boy we knew and loved? What happened to all the hits we grew up with, like "Johnny Carson" and "Kokomo"? Never before have I been saddened, but that's all about to change.

As for the new Yes DVD, I don't understand the name at all. What is this the new director's cut OF!? I checked the director's name on IMDB and his credits include Yes: Acoustic, Yesspeak, Rick Wakeman: Live In Buenos Aires, Rick Wakeman: Made In Cuba, The Other Side Of Rick Wakeman, Jon Anderson: Tour Of The Universe and The Hindenberg Disaster. But this DVD (or should I say double-DVD) doesn't mention ANY of those films in its packaging. Instead it claims to be "The New Director's Cut Of The Wonderous Songs & The Wonderous Stories Recorded Live During The 35th Anniversary World Tour At The N.I.A., Birmingham & Glastonbury." Which just sounds like a sack o' load o' shit to me, but here's what I think:

I've seen the Yesspeak DVD, and it's terrific. It's a huge bunch of interviews and onstage footage of Yes during their 35th anniversary. If you're a fan, SEE IT! However, if you check Amazon's Reader Complaint Section, you'll notice several tards giving one-star grades and complaining that "I was expecting a Yes concert, and this isn't a Yes concert!" because when one buys a DVD entitled "YesSPEAK," one naturally expects a musical concert, not a DVD of people SPEAKing. So my suspicion is that this is Director Robert Garofalo responding to just that sort of person, giving us not only several snippets of interview footage (much of it directly from Yesspeak) but ALSO letting us view two entire concerts from that tour! However, since Yesspeak isn't (as far as I can tell?) an MVD disc, they're probably not allowed to refer to it in the packaging. And WHAMMO! We get a misleading name like "The New Director's Cut."

Also there's three hours of Hindenberg crash footage on there.

But enough about the title! Let's focus on the important thing: the fact that there's already a Live At Montreux 2003 DVD on the market that has the exact same set list as this and was recorded 11 days later. But look - we're all Yes fans here, right? So can I tell you something? If you're a Yes fan, you have to buy this DVD simply to see Steve Howe's horrifying stage clothes during the Glastonbury Festival. He's dressed in this vomitous ALL-ORANGE outfit! He also looks like Don Knotts crawling out of the grave as a zombie hippie, but that's unavoidable.

There are other reasons too, though. There's Alan White making "I'm rocking so hard, I'm in PAIN!" faces the whole time. And Jon Anderson making silly arm movements and giggling like he's stoned on Gnome Dust the entire Glastonbury show.

And interesting facts like these:

- When Anderson joined the band that would become Yes, he thought that their current name was too long. So the next day they all came in with new shorter band name suggestions. Jon's was "Life," Chris Squire's was "World," and original guitarist Peter Banks kept saying "Yes! Yes!" The others, confused, asked, "You mean like 'THE Yes'?" But Peter kept insisting, and the rest is history! As was Peter Banks by their third album.

- Rick Wakeman was asked to join David Bowie's 'Spiders From Mars' band just HOURS before Squire called him to come try out for Yes!

- "Show Me" is not a new Anderson composition at all, but an old forgotten song he found on a Fragile-era cassette!

As well as adorable moments of joviality such as:

- White cradling his tiny (daughter? granddaughter?) as she sings the intro to "I've Seen All Good People"

- The entire Yes ensemble making fun of White's glammy silver shirt, culminating with Wakeman asking him, "So were you at the front of the Gay Parade, or the back?"

- Wakeman concluding his discussion of Yes' sordid history of line-up changes by referring to an old Squire interview in which, asked "Who's in the band now?," he responded, "It'll be the first five who turn up for rehearsal."

And don't forget such bizarre, possibly marijuana-enhanced pieces of Jon Anderson Glastonbury stage patter as:

- (before "South Side Of The Sky"): "Mountain climbing! Is very dangerous! But we've all gotta climb those mountains! There's no question about it! There's no question about it. Here's one now!"

- (before "And You And I"): "During the course of the same year, we wrote this next song. In those days, more than 30 years ago, there was no sort of, uh - how can you put it - no pressure from the record company. They'd just let us make our music, which was kind of cool, you know? Kind of nice and wonderful. And all you wonderful people - love! Love! Love is all you need! All you need is love! Love is so powerful! Love is everything! EVERYTHING! There's nothing else!"

- (before "Heart Of The Sunrise"): "Here's a song that me and Chris wrote about... a week ago. Or it was two weeks ago, actually."

Also, the music's good. And some pud at Glastonbury is holding up a Dark Side Of The Moon banner.

Reader Comments

jhmusicman12@gmail.com
Hey, I really like Big Old Smellyass Sun Motherfucker. Brian Wilson is a genius.

princess_vachtangov@yahoo.com
I wouldn't want to be presumptious and give you any tips on humor, but I think you missed an opportunity here. This whole page should've looked like this: big ornamented letters YES at the top, then little black letters under that saying "No." and then proceed to give a 0 to all the albums without any explanation. For once you would've been funny and right at the same time. And at the bottom you could've had a little link: Now go and listen to some real classical music and stop wasting time on hippies with synthesizers. Having read Walter Piston's "Harmony" and spent a couple of months practicing piano does not give you a right to pass off textbook chord progressions and modulations as your own original work.

Ray; Salem, OR
I've been a loyal & diehard fan of YES since 1972. Why hasn't YES made it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame yet ? After the band being together for 40 plus years now . I and thousands of other fan's fell it's about time !!!

Add your thoughts?

Fly From Here - Frontiers 2011
Rating = 7

As Yes prepared for their 40th Anniversary Tour in 2008, Jon Anderson was tragically struck down with a case of acute respiratory failure. Since his doctor recommended that he rest his voice for six months, the rest of the band did the right thing and replaced him with some guy they found on the Internet. This rogue charlatan has remained with the band ever since, which makes no goddamned sense at all but there you go.

When I heard that Yes planned to record their first studio album in a decade with aforementioned Internet singer taking the place of Mr. Anderson, I sent them a postcard demanding that they title the album Un-Union. But as the details and players fell into place, it became clear that a much more appropriate title would be Drama II: Eclectic Buggle-oo -- for this record features the artistic input of not one, not two, not three, not four, not six, not seven, not eight but ALL FIVE members of Yes who appeared on that fated blast of yesteryear! Check out the performers:

Guitarist Steve Howe of Drama fame
Bassist Chris Squire of Drama fame
Keyboardist Geoff Downes of Drama fame
Drummer Alan White of Drama fame
Producer Trevor Horn, Former Vocalist of Drama fame
Singer Benoit David, who was only 14 when Drama came out but undoubtedly would've been on it had he been able to skip school that week

But that's not all! As any Yes fan worth his weight in salt knows, the song "We Can Fly From Here" dates from the Drama era and was in fact performed live on that tour. Furthermore, Downes and Horn are solely responsible for the tracks "Sad Night At The Airfield," "Madman At The Screens" and "Life On A Film Set," all of which were once intended to be Buggles songs. In other words, in spite of the new vocalist, Fly From Here is not the product of a brand new Yes; it's the belated follow-up to an album they recorded three decades ago!

And it's good. A bit too gentle and borderline adult contemporary to be a Yes Classic, but definitely as good as Drama, even as it sounds little like it. Its strongest assets are the band's always beautiful vocal harmonies and several excellent melodies, its weakest the overly soft and polished mix and a number of corny '80s synth tones. Still, I can't imagine any fan of late-period Yes not enjoying this record to a certain degree. Steve Howe is playing lots of lovely acoustic guitar, Chris Squire is as busy a bassist as ever, and Benoit David sounds like an appealing cross between Trevor Horn and Trevor Rabin. His voice is high, but calm, clear and very tuneful. And those classic poppy Yes melodies are all over the place -- in the gorgeous chorus of the title track, Howe's goosebumpingly beautiful "Hour Of Need," the dark-to-light "Life On A Film Set," the tense and odd "Madman At The Screens," and especially the three-part harmonies of what is probably the album's finest track, the gleeful and energetic "Into The Storm" (tellingly the only composition on the record credited to the entire band).

Inerestingly, quirky touches like Howe's goofball instrumental "Bumpy Ride," Downes' oft-childlike synths, and Squire's wah-wah bass effect in "Into The Storm" make the record sound more like a successor to Tormato than a successor to its successor. Either way, it's a successful successor! 42 years into their career, Yes is still making creative and beautiful music for my ears to behold.

And by "Yes," I of course mean "Chris Squire, the only original member of Yes who appears on this album."

Reader Comments

Marc Kreienbrink
Hey, pharty. I wasn’t really too surprised to hear such a good album from this line-up AFTER I heard that Chris Squire’s “Aliens Are Only Us From The Future” wasn’t going to be on this album. Once I heard that track wasn’t in the mix, I sighed and I figured we’d at least get a listenable, likeable Yes album (a 6 out of 10). And we did. But it was actually one better.

“Fly From Here” is solid. The musical quality is pretty consistent. I couldn’t really point out a single or anything like that, but I don’t feel that there are any songs that stink out loud. Starting the album out with a 20-something minute epic is pretty gutsy, but the boys pull it off well. The “Fly From Here” suite is great. Surprisingly cohesive, melodic, and atmospheric, but I wish it was a little more “prog” (which means more riff-based Wakeman-ery…I mean wankery). “Solitaire” is a nice touch, unlike the bad touches I have tried to block from my memory.

Your Drama II… comment cracked me up. I needed to laugh at something other than my sad state of affairs, so thanks for making me laugh. Also, I do wish there was more of an “edge” to the album, but coming from a band where the average age is 87, I understand.

I concur with your rating – a worthy 7/10 – but I have a feeling I may like this album even more in the coming months. Also, I give your review of the album a 7/10. So, taking what I learned in school, 7/10 + 7/10 = 14/20. So, simplifying this fraction, I get 7/10. Nice.

P.S.: I can’t wait to hear the end result of the Jon Anderson/Trevor Rabin/Rick Wakeman collaboration! What…? You haven’t heard about it? It’s all over the news!

Simplius
This is a successor of 'Adventures In Modern Recording' by Buggles, not to Tormato or Drama.
This is Yes playing Buggles' songs, not Buggles adjusting to Yes sound (as in Drama).
This is Trevor Horn's production sans all of its trickery that made it famous.
This is Squire's bass subdued as never before.
This is a singer who looks like Richard Kind on some photos.
This is a band who became a Styx opening act in the end.
This is a bland 5/10 album.

TA-Lee
I think time will tell whether or not it really is a good album or some of us are just grateful it doesn't suck. I personally don't miss Jon Anderson's cod-mysticism and misplaced sojourns into worldbeat music. He didn't want to tour, he didn't want to make a new Yes album, he should be happy his wishes were honored.

If I have one major critique, it would be that there is a scarcity of actual rock on this album. Lots of pretty passages and plush production, but no rock. And yeah, very telling that the majority of the material on FFH is outsourced; not encouraging considering the guff of time since Magnification.

Hopefully, Horn and Downes interest will extend beyond this one effort, because whether its Buggles or Yes, they've got too much to offer to us, rather than fade away. I doubt they got another 3 decades to wait to record another Yes album.

Billy Barron
I've spent the past couple of decades pretending that "Union" and anything since hadn't happened. "Union" was so bad I've never been interested since.

Maybe the time came finally for me to accept a new Yes album or maybe it is that they went back to the "Drama" sound and apparently music written from back then. I'm willing to accept this album. But the problem is that this sounds like the material that wasn't good enough to make "Drama". In fact, it is so similar, I keep feeling like I want to sing "I am a Camera" during the "Fly From Here - Overture".

It doesn't suck, but I have a feeling it will never make it into my permanent music collection on my music player. 6.5/10

The next album we need to shuffle the Yes musicians again. How about David Benoit, Peter Banks, Bruford, Patrick Moraz and Squire?

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