George Starostin's Reviews

YES

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Introduction

Josh Fitzgerald <Joshsf@aol.com> (19.05.99)

Well, while your reviews for Yes are entertaining, I hardly think many Yes fans will appriciate your bashing them. But it doesn't really bother me any, i've heard people, (including my brother), bash Yes much more than you have. For example, on the Amazon.com site, someone said listening to nails scratching on a blackboard was less irritating than Yes' music. Someone else said that he dares anybody to buy a Yes album. Either way, i've always been extremely fond of Yes. Jon's voice isn't for everyone's personal taste, at times very annoying. Though I hate their music from 1983-1994 has always driven me crazy, the Keys To Ascension albums are good, and I even like Open Your Eyes! Yes is, of course, very daring, even to this day. I think that made a lot of people mad (or jealous). Whenever they got bashed by critics and fans, they would just keep getting better (In my opinion). They are very underrated, but I see where you have your complaints. And plus, they never did any drugs either!

P.S. (21.08.99). Once again, I've changed my mind, I ABSOLUTELY AGREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, so not completely, but I'm sorry to say, I hate Close To The Edge, and I love Going For The One. Fragile is okay, and Tales isn't that good either. I think I outgrew Yes a little!

<DOOWILS@aol.com> (24.10.99)

All of your Yes reviews, including your introduction, are ridiculous and meandering. You don't seem to make any sense: fragile really rocks, but Close to the Edge is boring!?!! Even though fragile contains the most filler of any of their seventies albums ('Cans and Brahams', 'five percent for nothing', 'We Have Heaven'--all throwaways, well performed, but filler nonetheless). Close to the Edge rocks just as much as 'Roundabout' and 'Heart of the Sunrise', and more than 'South Side of the Sky' and 'Long distance Runaround', especially 'Siberian Khatru'. Close is the best album the band ever made, and you give it the same rating as Anderson, B, W , howe?! What the hell is wrong with you? I can understand if you gave fragile, yes album, Close, Tales, and Relayer poor reviews and then gave ABWH a good review, or vice versa, but the inconsistancy kills me. It's like giving Beatles White Album and Sgt Peppers a 5, and Abbey Road a 10. No sense there. Every Yes album from Yes Album to Going for the ONe is classic, and very similar in sense of melody, style, and playing. Besides, you gave Lamb Lies down on Broadway a 6 as well, so who am I talking to here? (I also hesitate to understand why you bought all those crappy 80s and 90s yes albums if you didn't even like most of the 70s stuff). Oh and one more thing. You say you hate Anderson due to his range. Well, you then give some of the best reviews to Yes and time and a Word, easily the worst singing of his career, and the most monotonous. He hadn't even grown into his voice yet. And 'TIme and Word'...you think Close to the Edge is boring? The 18 minutes of 'Close to the Edge' hold up better than than the 3 or so minutes of that dud. (Theres a time, blah blah, and it's right for me.) gag me.

Ben Greenstein <bgreenstein@nctimes.net> (31.12.99)

I would just like to state that I, for one, totally agree with your placement of Yes as a two star group. Personally, I'd give them one star, but that's just my own lame opinion.

What I don't get is how Yes has as big a fan base as they do (and do they ever!) when their music is - how shall I put this nicely? - BORING! Even on a song like "Heart Of The Sunrise," where there is plenty of cool, complex stuff going on, more of the song is taken up with uninteresting filler than actual melodic songcraft. Come to think of it - did these guys EVER pen a memorable melody? Sure, there was "Owner Of A Lonely Heart," but that's often considered a sellout, and there was "All Good People," but that's (and this is my actual opinion) not a very good song. If Hall and Oates did that same melody, you'd all hate it, but since Yes does it, it's great. The rest of the band's songs are completely lacking in melody and mood.

Which brings me to another point. The main thing I like about prog-rock as I understand it - groups like Genesis (who were a much better band, even in their later years) and King Crimson (who I honestly haven't heard very much of yet) - is the atmosphere that it creates. Of all of the Yes songs I've heard, the only one to even hint at another world is "The Fish," and that one's just a brief instrumental. Besides that, the only atmospheric thing about the group are their album covers.

Don't get me wrong! I'm not saying that Yes were a crappy group, I'm... oh, wait. I am. Yes, in my opinion, suck. And I don't even have a problem with the guy's voice or lyrics, I just think that there are bands that (emphasis on the next part) DO THE SAME THINGS BETTER. To be honest, I think that Styx are a better band than Yes - they still suck, but I'd much rather listen to "Mr. Roboto" than "Long Distance Runaround."

I like "Starship Trooper" and "And You And I" but those are about the only songs that I wouldn't mind hearing again. And they're honestly not that good. In fact, the only reason I bought any Yes albums is because I heard a really awesome song on my local "hardcore" radio station that sounded like Supertramp - but it wasn't Supertramp, so I thought it might be Yes. It wasn't Yes either. To be honest, I'm glad it wasn't - there's nothing sadder than a band that can only pull of one great song. Oh, wait - there is. A band that CAN'T pull of one great song. A band like Yes.

P.S. Isn't "The Clap" a sexually transmitted disease?

Rich Bunnell <cbunnell@ix.netcom.com> (31.12.99)

While Yes isn't exactly my favorite band in the whole world, I pretty much disagree with Ben's last comment. While I don't enjoy them nearly as much as other prog-rock like Genesis (who were much more capable of crafting a melody) the band has a certain "jumbled" charm of their own which shows up heavily in such songs as the title tracks to Close To The Edge and Going For The One and basically all of The Yes Album. I don't even mind Jon Anderson's voice because it doesn't tend to destroy promising musical material around it, as does, say, Geddy Lee's voice from Rush. Basically, I find Yes's music to be extremely entertaining, maybe overlong at several points but still chock-full of interesting ideas. I doubt that the band even has a place in my Top 30 bands of all time but still-- they deserve some respect.

Regarding Hall & Oates....umm....I don't think that those two wusses would even come close to writing even as complex a melody as the "Your Move" section of "All Good People"(they were too busy writing obvious crap like "Your kiss! Your kiss! Your kiss is on my list!"). While I respect the opinions of others, I really don't consider Yes to be as crap as Ben makes them out to be, and....err....-Styx- is better than them? You mean Styx is better than -any- band?

Anthony Walters <grimlin@cin.net> (07.01.2000)

I do like some of those albums, especially the Ladder. I do think that the best collection for YES fans is Classic Yes. The live version of "roundabout" and " I'v seen all good people" are two of the best live songs I have ever heard.

Steve Knowlton <knowltos@co.washtenaw.mi.us> (04.02.2000)

I haven't listened to a lot of Yes, but what I've heard drives me crazy because of the rhythm section. These guys don't seem to understand that a "rhythm" section is supposed to provide a "rhythm." The bass player goes nuts on every song -- why do they even have a guitar player if the bass is playing solos. And the drummer never plays a backbeat. If it's prog-rock then it's gotta rock. Give me Foghat any day.

Jeff Blehar <jdb3@jhu.edu> (23.02.2000)

Yes? No!

I've got this feeling that I'm the kind of guy that hard-core Yes fans hate. "Roundabout?" Love it! "I've Seen All Good People?" Alright! Those first two albums? Probably their absolute best! Tales From The Topographic Oceans? I'd happily burn a stack of copies in a sacrificial bonfire! That being said, you might know already that I'm not the greatest fan of prog . So what the hell am I doing here? Well, I've got a bunch of their albums, and I *kinda* like Yes - Rich is right, they have this jumbled English charm of their own. But they're almost completely humourless (except for those first two albums, which I like), and so taken with their own chops that I just want to slap them all sometimes. And you know what? When Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe, and Squire die and go to hell, they'll be locked in a room and forced to play nothing but TWELVE-BAR BLUES. Ha! Eternal torment for those wankers!

Okay, I'm being quite mean, I suppose. To make up for it, I'd like to say that I really don't mind Jon Anderson's countertenor voice a bit - in fact, I kinda like its airy tone, even though I'll agree the man has about as much emotion as a stone slab. Perhaps it's because my singing voice is similarly high (which is to say I'm used to hearing voices up in the clouds), but I respect anyone who can get that far up the scale without turning into annoying Geddy Lee-isms. It takes a real man to sing like a woman.

That being said, his lyrics are unabatedly atrocious; I can only enjoy Yes on a background music level (which is not necessarily bad, since most of my music is background music) where I tune out the words and just listen to their harmonic sound, since the minute I start to think about what he's saying, I choke with disbelief. But musically, these guys COULD be pretty interesting, and generally speaking they were better when they kept it shorter: "Roundabout" is one thing, the hideously bloated "Ritual - Nous Somme Du Soleil" is another entirely. Alright, on with the massacre!

Ben Greenstein <bgreenstein@nctimes.net> (23.06.2000)

Oh, man, I feel like such a dork for writing that. Did I really say that Styx is better than Yes? They were entertaining, but Yes had some really GREAT songs, like "Heart Of The Sunrise" and the entire Close To The Edge album. These guys will never be as high in my book as Genesis, or even ELP, but they are certainly a fine group well worth my time. I've just GOT to pick up that Tales album as soon as possible!

Philip Maddox <slurmsmckenzie@hotmail.com> (07.07.2000)

Chalk me up to the list of people who think you've underrated Yes. I think Yes is a great band! I even like their really long songs (though I must admit that I've never heard Tales From Topographic Oceans) - they manage to pack them with enough ideas and beautiful melodies to keep my interest throughout. I like Jon's voice, too. It doesn't have much of a range, but he hits every note and makes his voice fit into each song very well. I think that Yes music had a purpose as well - Jon was a very spiritual person and probably wrote lyrics that only make sense to him. The music was always well played and created unique moods - no other song makes me feel quite like 'The Gates Of Delirium'. Of course, the main problem with Yes was that long songs can go two ways - they can be beautiful of they can be boring. If a song isn't very good and it lasts for 10 minutes (like 'To Be Over'), it can easily put you to sleep. And like I've said, I've never heard Tales, so I can't judge the tunes on that album. All I've heard from it is 'The Revealing Science Of God', which I liked. I haven't heard much of their late period stuff either, so I can't say anything about more recent Yes albums (but I DO have Union... *shudders*...).

Nic Neufeld <nicneufeld@hotmail.com> (19.07.2000)

Given the intense flak Yes has taken on this site, I figured as a devoted Yes-head do my best to defend them. I am an 18 year old guitarist and bass guitarist, and an avid Yes fan. I own all of their albums from The Yes Album to Going For The One, as well as the Ladder. To let you know how much of a Yes fan I really am, listen to this. I ACTUALLY LIKE Tales From Topographic Oceans. I must be a nut, right? No not really. I started out with their more simple 70s stuff, like 'Roundabout', 'All Good People', etc. Then a guitar playing friend suggest I try Close To The Edge. I waded through it the first time. I was terribly confused, so confused I disliked it. But I kept listening to it. Soon, as I became aware of the different sections, and I grew to anticipate each and every note, I fell in love with the song. I have spent so many hours listening to it. Its one of the only tapes I play in my car. Yes is in spite of what others say a VERY melodic band. That is exactly what they base their songs on, melodies, not chord progressions like most pop/rock groups. Steve Howe is not a strumming kind of player, if you know what I mean. Jon Andersons voice matches perfectly to Yes's majestic sound. Imagine if, say, Neil Diamond were to sing "In and around the lake mountains come out of the sky and they stand there.." Theres a disturbing mental picture for you. He is not nearly as annoying as other progrock voices, such as Geddy "Castrated Hamster" Lee. Also, as far as someone complaining about Squire not being a rhythm player, good God, what do you want? Just another player playing the root note four to the bar? Squire is actually my favorite musician ever. His rich full tone inspires me to waste lots of money in pursuit of his tone, his flowing, lightning quick runs and riffs heavily influence my own style. I think he establishes the rhythm well enough, and still manages to revolutionize the art of bass playing at the same time. Anyway, I love EVERYTHING about 70s Yes, as no doubt you can sense, but I must admit, 80s and 90s Yes doesnt do much for me. They still rock live, though. Over 50 or not....

Kimberly Hipps <bhipps@concentric.net> (05.09.2000)

I don't have a lot to say except that I love YES!  I am a young fan and as a classically trained musician myself I can decidedly say that their music is some of the most beautiful, complex, incredible music I have heard since Mozart or Beethoven ( who were also dismissed by the ears of the masses of their days).   YES has never written music to appeal to the masses like Genesis, Styx or most other groups (apparently, 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' can only appeal to high-browed intellectuals - G. S.).  They write music to appeal to the intelligent and trained ears of true progressive music fans.  The thing about progressive music is that sometimes it takes years, decades or centuries for the masses to catch up because it is so progressive!  I have never read this page before but now that I have done so I am truly embarrassed for you.  You write about not liking YES and their music.  To those of us who are fully musically trained in the classical music genre you are simply displaying you ignorance of what it is that YES, as a supremely talented group, accomplish (the big problem is that me and Kimberly, we both know perfectly well what it is that Yes are accomplishing; I just say that they accomplish it in a far worse way than certain other prog bands that Kimberly probably never heard about, if all she can do is compare them to pop-era Genesis or Styx - G.S.).  I say this with all due respect and urge you to become more knowledgable about what it is that YES does for a living.  They compose and I applaud them for not selling out just to be on the radio (where they are still present quite often, unlike, say, Gentle Giant - G. S.)!

Oh and please find a new career. You have no business spreading your limited opinion around!

Sincerely and musically, Kimberly Hipps

Kelly <sound_chaser@mindspring.com> (12.09.2000)

Let me start by saying that I am an open-minded YES freak and respect all of your opinions. I even AGREE with a lot of them and enjoyed a chuckle here and there. (Laughing with you, not at you, I assure you) I also like, listen to and have libraries of several of the other bands mentioned in your writings. But for what I'm reading, the assorted reasons that several of you dislike YES so much are the same, exact reasons that I and other fans are driven to the rabid points we are.

I mean, it's just all part of the packaging. Believe me, even after 23 years of listening to my favorite band in the world, all time, hands down(!), sometimes I still have no idea what the heck Jon is singing about or why they spent the last 6 minutes musically meandering on a piece of music. But I don't care. Just because I'm a big fan doesn't mean that I have to like every single thing they do or "understand" every song on every album, etc. Just like I don't agree with/like every thing my favorite sports team does. Or there may be a movie or a book that you rave about and I just won't "get it". That doesn't make it bad.

All I know is that it's a great feeling when a lot of those "meaningless" phrases start to mean something to you. I can listen to some songs over the years and get totally different meanings than I ever did before. And sometimes it's nice to "go away" for 10 minutes. I've have listened to TFTO (NOT all at the same time) or Awaken or whatever only to realize that the song ended a little while ago. It's OK. (Gotta go, the little men in white coats are coming)

And YES is simply a piece of the prog-rock puzzle. They along with Crimson, Genesis, Floyd, blah, blah all make up the journey. None of these bands alone IS prog-rock, they all are. "If everyone was the same we'd be bored." And all prog-rock was and is experimentation. Now considering other elements that people where experimenting with during this time maybe YES didn't always know when to put the test tubes away. But, at least they and other bands had the guts and resources to try their ideas. I would much prefer that period of music to today's pre-packaged "look good before you soundÖ well, you know" anytime.

And YES fans - chill out! People are allowed not to like everything we do and visa-versa. Try and have a sense of humor about it. You know, even Jon lightened up after a few years when it came to his lyrics.

Chris, Steve, Jon, et al. will always have special places in my heart and nothing anyone can write, say or do will ever change that. So deal with it! Now, as long as you don't set up a web site like this about my 2nd favorite band, Rush, there'll be no problems. ;-)

Brian Van Zanten <conduit@softhouse.com> (19.09.2000)

I became a Yes fan ever since I heard "Owner Of A Lonely Heart".  That became my favorite song ever since I first heard it.  I loved "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" so much that I listened to 90125 a lot.  My dad got me Highlights (one of their compilation albums).  I listened to it and I loved it.  I saw them in concert at Van Andel Arena (which is in Michigan).  I am from Michigan.  My name is Nick.  Yes came to Van Andel Arena on November 5 1997.  The live version of "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" was so cool.  I am glad that they did "Owner Of A Lonely Heart"

Joel Larsson <joel.larsson@privat.utfors.se> (02.10.2000)

First, I have to say that I haven't listen to more then three Yes-albums (yet), so excuse me if I'm wrong if I say that Jon Anderson has one of the most personal voices in the entire rock history. And it's always used as an istrument itself, just like Jimi Hendrix used his voice. Well, Jimi was more technical than Jon, while Jimi's voice never should be good in the songs Yes wrote, which all are custom-maded for Jon.

So, tell me: Should Yes be Yes with another vocalist? What about David Byron? Maybe, OK. James Hetfield? Steven Tyler? Hendrix? Springsteen? NEVER! So shut up,all Anderson-haters! No Yes without Anderson!

Robert Grazer <xeernoflax@jack-the-ripper.com> (07.10.2000)

I am a Yes fan, but I am also happy that you are not. So many internet critics are fans of Yes that it sometimes seems dull looking at all of the reviews praising the band (if only I could find some one who hates the Beatles). Anyway, there is a lot of progressive rock that you seem to hate (some of your other 2 star bands are Renaissance and ELP). The only point in favor of Yes I wish to bring up is your criticism of Jon Anderson's vocals. How can you do this while Bob Dylan is one of your five-star artists? I don't get it.

Anyway, this is one of the major areas I disagree with you on. In my humble opinion Yes and Pink Floyd arethe best bands of the "classic rock" era, penning two of the greatest albums Close to the Edge and Animals. Once again, I'm glad we disagree on Yes.

[Special author note: I don't exactly hate Yes, and I certainly don't hate either ELP or Renaissance. 'Criticize' is a better term, I think.]

John Morgan <tatermouse@yahoo.com> (12.11.2000)

After reading your review I felt inclined to write you. I became a Yes fan with the release of 90125. I was thirteen at the time. Since then, I have collected all of their albums along with a large number of solo works by various members. I found your review of the band very interesting. You see, as an avid Yes fan it is sometimes hard to keep from maintaining a "do no wrong" attitude towards them. I seem to be a little less critical than most including Yes fans. Unfortunately, most reviews either show a strong disdain or a great love for the band. Yours is the first I've read that seems to be filled with the good and the bad in as objective of a fashion as I've ever seen. It helped me to perhaps take a step back and be a little more aware of the weaknesses in the band as various times. They will always be my favorite, and I'm glad you appear to no longer hate them. I could ramble on for sometime with my own opinions which would loosely correspond to any number of other Yes fans, but by now you've heard it all before. I would just like you to know that I can appreciate your perspective and I wish people would be little more honest sometimes. Too many folks love to hate them because it's "the thing to do."

Best wishes, John

P.S. Okay, one opinion, sorry. Going For The One is my favorite Yes album. Okay, I feel better. :)

Stephanie <TheLittleWombat@aol.com> (23.11.2000)

My name is Stephanie. I am a 15 year old YES fan. Now don't worry I am not going to be mean because of the fact that you site totally disses YES and everything they ever did for music. Actually I think some Prog your right about. Some of the music goes on and on about nothing. It goes no where. It is music for the sake of saying "oh yeah my song is twenty minutes long". And sometimes it is twenty minutes of crap! But in my opinion I don't think YES was doing this. For example the song "Gates of Delirium". That song was a FULL idea when Jon Anderson brought it into the studio. It was complete. The other members of the band made the vision come alive. You say you don't like Jon's voice. Look at it from this perspective: He had a vision. He knew what he wanted to do in music and he went for it with his heart and soul. Give him credit for that part. And about Steve Howe: He went and played like no one else. He wanted to be like none other. He wanted to be original. So to each their own in their taste of music. You have a right to your own opinion, but remember that YES was one of the only bands that has EVER totally gone and done their own thing. The defied all boundaries. There are a hell of a lot of bands that just feed the pop machine. YES didn't. You seem like a very opinionated person. I like that. Hope to hear back from you soon!!! You have a great site!

Jeff Melchior <Jeffmoncheri@aol.com> (22.12.2000)

I am a big fan of Yes, but I admit they stand rightfully accused of most of their excesses. They WERE "prog for prog's sake" - at least around 1973-74. They were ridiculously grandiose, although that's much of what I like about them. One common accusation, however, is that they were "cold and robotic". Who knows? Maybe I'M cold and robotic but I find Yes' music very warm, uplifting and emotional. Mind you, I'm thinking mainly of The Yes Album, with songs like 'Yours Is No Disgrace', 'Starship Trooper' and 'Your Move' that had incredibly uplifting melodies, even if the lyrics made little sense. But even on the much-maligned Tales From Topographic Oceans there are some memorably powerful moments, and the almost techno-metal Relayer has 'Soon' - perhaps Jon Anderson's peak as a vocalist. One thing anyone has to admit about Jon Anderson's voice, he hasn't lost it - whether you liked "it" in particul! ar or not. Roger Daltrey's voice has lowered several octaves from the beating they got in the early '70s. Ditto Robert Plant, although not to the same extent. Greg Lake's voice is a mere shadow of what it once was. But Yes' front-sissyboy, love him or hate him, still sings as well as he did 30 years ago.

Jimmy Shin <Semiramis2@aol.com> (29.12.2000)

Take a look at the album cover for Tales From Topographic Oceans! An endless landscape with gigantic fishes. Probably the reason why people don't like Yes is the fact that they can't connect to the blissful organicism that their music excretes. Has any of you Yes-bashers had an astral projection? Or a lucid dream? Once you find and connect to that vein, it doesn't really matter how long a song is or how pompous the solos are. Yes is a great band to induce insanity to (the good kind) and if you can't quite understand what they're about, you're obviously not looking to induce insanity which is fine for you but not for me. BTW this longing for insanity started when I had an incredible nightmare after listening to the synths on Subdivisions by Rush. Listen to that one before you go to sleep...

<IRWhiskey@aol.com> (26.01.2001)

I would never expect everyone to have the same tastes about anything in this world. Opposing and variegated opinions, if we are open-minded, compel us to take a look at things from a completely different point of view. However, opinions (in my humble opinion) should start with the most unbiased of mindsets. It seems to me that you compose your opinions of seventies' bands with a dislike for the era itself. You so much as state this in your review of Led Zeppelin.

I do agree on some level with your critique of "Yes". Later "Yes", to me anyway, was a very poor effort. However, early Yes offers a real alternative to all music of that time period. Lyrics are not meaningless just because you don't understand them. (I know, rock musicians are not poets - not even Morrison.) Also, I don't think Yes lyrics were the final end of that band's endeavors. Have you ever read the lyrics to an opera? Yet, I can listen to an opera and feel the emotion and the meaning of the music without understanding the language of the lyrics. "Yes" arrangements, harmonies, counterpoint, and melodies are some of the most original compositions in rock music. Indeed, they are sometimes complex and grandiose. That in and of itself doesn't make them bad. Not all rock has to be blues-based or "rootsy" or "edgy". I personally am in awe of that band's musicianship. Progressive for progressive's sake? What does that mean? Is that like knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Experimentation is the key to all progress. Indeed, sometimes it does not produce stellar results, but it almost always creates building blocks for future generations. I think you judge "Yes" a bit too harshly. I think the key to enjoying their music is find the articulation of the instruments. Their music certainly is not just "scale on top of key" stuff. The complex individual instrument lines work together in a fashion that has never been duplicated in rock music. Are they modern-day Mozarts? No, probably not. They did offer, musically, a higher standard of musicianship and an alternative. They were certainly not for eveyone, but neither are Bartok and Maehler. (hope I spelled that right.)

I do enjoy your critiques and hope that you continue. Remember what you say about "narrow perspectives" Good Luck!'

Keith Ribera <KRibera@IKON.com> (02.02.2001)

Igor Stravinsky hated Richard Wagner. I like them both. But I think Mahler is ponderous. A Yes fan in another comment above said they would rather listen to Mahler than TFTO. No problem.... There are no absolutes in music appreciation. Everyone is affected differently by sounds, lyrics, musical styles, etc.

I like the Rolling Stones... they're earthy, primitive, they knew how to rock. However, Yes strikes a more resonant chord in me than any rock band including the Beatles, Zep, Deep Purple, etc.

Yes's sound is surrealistic, futuristic, positive, elevated, melodic, powerful, etc. in ways that transcend (in my mind) Tull, Genesis, ELP, Gentle Giant, Pink Floyd and Rush... or for that matter the Mahavishnu orchestra.... all my favorite bands of the 70s.

My position is that if a listener only has roots in rock and roll, and is unfamiliar with music from the baroque to contemporary classical periods, as well as jazz and fusion to some degree, they don't experience the same level of affinity or identification with Yes's music. That said, it's also my opinion that a person interested in the "spiritual" aspects of life are more likely to lock onto Yes as their favorite band than, for argument's sake, a "mundane party animal", will. I haven't taken a survey on this issue, however, so if any of you "mundane party animals" consider Yes to be your favorite band, well, as I said at the outset.... No problem.

There is, however, a huge difference between saying that you "don't care for a particular style of expression", or saying, quite judgmentally that a certain style "SUCKS!"

The former reflects objective analysis, the acceptance of others and tolerance, as well as an appreciation for diversity. The latter view embodies more ignorance than intellect, and is responsible for many other problems in the world worse than bashing musicians.

Jeremy Olson <jolson02@postoffice.providence.edu> (27.11.2001)

I love Yes. I'm not ashamed to admit that Yes is one of my top 5 favorite bands, regardless of all the horrible things that are said about them. Mostly becuase, well, many of them are true. On the plus side, Yes is a band wth some SERIOUS chops: Bruford, Wakeman, Squire, Howe...quite possibly the top of their game at their respective instruments. And they can rock! For all the crap like "Awaken", they counter it with something that really cooks, like "Yours Is No Disgrace" or "Roundabout" (as cliched as it is). Their peak output was so consistent; granted, that peak was only about 3-4 years, but for those 3-4 years they were at the top of the prog world. But on the down side, I will always see Yes as the band that ruined prog rock. They just had to push the envelope when it came to bloated, overblown, pretentious music. After Close To The Edge, their goal with each successive record appeared to be "Let's take what we did on the last album, and top it". And of course, they produced some of the most ridiculously bloated, pretentious, prog-for-prog music in the history of music. Barring GFTO and Drama, they haven't really made a good album, IMHO, since CTTE. It's a shame, but all good bands can't stay strong forever. For the most part, I agree with the general evaluation. But I do find them to be more listenable then you give them credit for (then again, I haven't heard their entire catalog); very rarely ("Awaken") do I hear a Yes song that makes my ears bleed. However, I find them to be less resonant then a dead duck. With the exception of two or three selected sections, their music causes the same emotional response as a rock. So I'd give them a 4/5 for Listenability, but a 1/5 for Resonance. Perilously close to 0/5 IMHO. And what the hell is a "shiny flying purple wolfhound" anyways?

brenner <brenner@sympatico.ca> (04.12.2001)

I have not grown tired of my favourite Yes songs for 30 years. These include most of The Yes Album, about half of Fragile,all of CTTE, three bars of Tales, everything but the title track of Going for the One,everything except 'Teakbois' from ABWH.

Much of the rest I find too discordant and hard to listen to.No other band has such contrast between good stuff and horrible dreck. I once read that Jon chooses his lyrics not so much for the meaning of the words as for their sounds.The lyrics can be listened to a whole different way if we just listen to how they sound. Maybe that's why the Japanese like Yes.I know that this strategy helped me to get more out of Yes.I learned long ago to not try to decipher the lyrics, but to listen to them as I would any of the other instruments.Try it.

I agree with much of what you say. Yes is definitely my wife's least favourite band. During a concert in Buffalo in1978 she confessed that she wanted to throw herself down the aisle , thinking that the pain would be less.I only heard Tales Relayer and Tormento (no typo) once and it was once too often. The Rabin Yes I sleep through.Still, with enough editting there is lots of excellent music by these guys.

Mattias Lundberg <lundbergmattias@hotmail.com> (21.01.2002)

I'm shocked by how impertinent, patronising and offensive the average YES fan appears to be. Scary....what is it that make all these people react in this way ? Well, I don't believe - as one might think - that it is an emotional or 'religious' experience. I would rather say that it is a 'scientific' one. The YES (Now I did it myself! I spelled their name in capital letters!) music from 1971-74 could be said to embody some truly 'objective' musical properties just in the same way as the art of Hindemith, Palestrina, Petrarca or Titian does, if you see what I mean. George, we seem to disagree on the concept of large-scale musical structure. I remember you saying something about "unneccesary repeats" (or something similar) in Thick as a brick. I don't think that melodic invention and motivic development can be compared; you cannot compare the achievements of a Wilson or a McCartney with those of a Wakeman or an Oldfield. When it comes to extended movements like those which the prog bands tried to impress us with, it is not melodic invention that counts. On the contrary I would say that mastery of all larger forms is the ability to develop a limited number of ideas (The pure technical skill of counterpoint is to deliberately limit oneself to one idea). No other band in the short history of popular music (c:a 1955-1990) have achieved this with the same effectiveness as has YES, and believe me, I spend all my time trying to find bands that have. Gentle Giant have not attempted any extended movements. Neither have King Crimson; their lenghty pieces are not through-composed in any way. Jethro Tull and Genesis relied on a plethora of melodies and duly neither of these bands have attempted a more structural approach. E.L.P. worked on a similar principle, but the 'chamber-musical' geist seems to suffer in their music (By this I mean that not every player contributes towards the development). Logically, a gift for melodic invention impedes a musicians' development as a structuralist and vice versa (Thus, one might argue that not being gifted with melodic invention as a good thing). Well, I know that melody is the prime criteria for your ratings, but I would say that the gift for motivic development is a sine qua non for an attempted extended movement just in the same way as a striking melody is for a three-minute pop song. Of course you need melodies to develop, but these are, by definition, different than those that are to be identically repeated four or five times. The first theme of 'And you and I' ("A man can see a moment's answer to a dream...") is the perfect cell for this treatment; that rising forth is it!! The whole song unfolds from that ONE INTERVAL ! Popular music doesn't get more 'organic' than that. I also remember you saying something like "...I don't like prog for the sake of prog....". Prog is essentially music for the sake of music, without such obvious enemies of music as attitude, mood-painting, lyrics &c. &c. Every atmospheric effect in YES is achieved by music, not by sounds. Music is music is music.....Don't bother with Anderson's lyrics !! Somebody once asked Schumann what his piano-piece meant, whereupon he played it again, louder. Everything is relative (you cannot compare the Beatles with YES since there is no point of reference) but everything is also objective (YES' music is more music than the music of the Beatles is).

Brian Sittinger <bsitting@mail.math.ucsb.edu> (27.08.2002)

To be to the point, I am somewhat of a fan of Yes. In my book, they're more or less tied with Genesis for my favorite prog. band (some days, I like Yes more, other days, Genesis...). For me, their stretch of albums from The Yes Album through Going for the One compare favorably with those of The Rolling Stones, The Who, et cetera (and of course, the Beatles stand way above all of the aforementioned groups :) ). Though I can extol their virtues for quite a while, I'll save some of that for their albums. So, I'll just say for now that the "classic" lineup has to be the one including Howe, Wakeman, AND Bruford (not White, although he's no slouch). Especially, during this period, one can follow a different instrument through a song and leave thoroughly entertained.

As for your opinions on Yes, in some ways I'm glad that you have a more critical view on them, exposing their weaknesses, which I agree with to some extent or another. (At least they're no longer a 2-star band!)They give the unknowing listener another perspective (from the other sites) on what Yes is like, instead of 100% praise. If anything to you, just don't pay too much attention to Jon Anderson's "graphomania" (good term!). But, I must admit his lyrics often border on "new age" preachiness lately. To cap this off, I'd personally rate them as a 4-star group; not any higher, beacuse of their inconsistency from Tormato onward.

Eduardo Gutièrrez B. <egutierrez@intmon.com> (14.08.2003)

Back in 1990, i started listening to progressive, i was like 18 years old by the time. I listened to everything i could, and it was easy to get almost any record since my father is in the records bussiness. I didn`t remember why i had never bought any Yes album untill i read your reviews and got a chance to listen to Close to the edge, Relayer and fragil, i got the later used and cheap. I found it somewhat entertaining, you are right when saying Yes are good as performers, and i appreciate their ability to fit every sound with a lot of precision......But oh ¡¡¡.....Then i remembered ¡¡¡.....Close to the edge and Relayer are both like a remix of Fragil and The Yes album. No matter how complex their music get to be, wich could be a good characteristic, it`s terrible anyway. When i listen to those horrible and monotonous songs, i feel something very similar to a deep anguish, my heart starts to beat quicker and my breathing colapses for the disgusting experience of listening to the same annoying voices, the same sound of every song in every single YES album, the same absurd unapealling lyrics. Was this one of the progressive giants ?.....You are so brave for listening to all these YES records throughout ¡¡.

Robin <robin.web@libero.it> (09.03.2004)

In my most humble opinion, YES is probably the most gifted and best progressive rock group in the seventies. The group are all accomplished musicians and I admire them for their musical vision. Their music has the structural complexity that is found in classical music which not only makes one listen to the music but to think. If one does not like Yes or progressive music then one should remain with ordinary rock music which has simplistic structures. The purpose of progressive rock music is to go beyond the simplistic tunes of ordinary rock and to push its boundaries towards the compexities of classical music and to create a sound which is visionary. I admire the group for stretching their virtuosity and musical vision. I may not like some of their songs - most of them I do -   but I appreciate their musical complexity and strucure. I am also a fan of Genesis, but I listen mostly to YES even today which I feel has a more enduring quality. No I am sorry, but I think YES has all the ingredients of a classical progressive rock band that can endure for years because of the virtuosity and tight playing of its musicians and for the structural complexities and vision of their music.

Johannes Wiberg <johanneswiberg@hotmail.com> (12.03.2004)

Yes is one of my absolute favorite bands, but they certainly have a lot of flaws. About "Classic Yes", I had to stretch my brain a bit to like them, and for that I love them, but even if one does not care for complexity, there are still likeable pieces (not many can dislike 'Würm' or the 'Heart Of The Sunrise' riff). 80's Yes is not my thing, and eveything after that is very varying ('Homeworld' is IMO a brilliant piece, but I wouldn'd say as much about 'If Only You Knew'). They almost always rule live, though, and it seems to me, if one likes (or has learned to like) a Yes song, it doesn't grow boring as quickly as a lot of music, so hearing the classics over (and over) again, with new solos and subtle variations, is for me tons of fun... to a degree.

Yes is certainly over-bombastic, and if one does not have taste for that, it gets dull. They compose loooong songs, that needs repeated listens to grow on you (it's hardly fair to review Close To The Edge after 3 listens). And they truly are an Art Rock band, meaning that they often go for artistic values (although they don't always succeed). It's easy to bash them for all this, and it takes patience, even if one has a "musical ear", to grip some of their material. But I love them.

About your General Evaluation, your Diversity rating seems unjust since you gave Genesis a higher rating. Yes does not care for diversity, that might be true to an extent, but they have done pop, psychedelia, rock, prog rock of many kinds and heavy metal, and often add certain other elements (for example boogie elements in (the horrible) Going For The One). I'd say that's more diverse than Genesis' output. And about Resonace, I'm hardly an Anderson lyrics fan, but I still appreciate many passages, for example "I still remember the talks by the water, the proud sons and daughters...". It doesn't mean much, but when I don't bother thinking so much about what Anderson's purpose with the lyrics was, and just listen to the music and hearing (not listening) to the lyrics, it often gives me a feeling, a picture if you like, which is quite likeable. No Paul Simon lyrics perhaps, but still.

Victor Lazzarini <Victor.Lazzarini@MAY.IE> (31.05.2004)

I haven't read all your reviews of the Yes section, which I'll do later, but judging from your introduction and all reader's comments, I won't agree with them.

Here's another yes fan, but rather than firing my guns, I'd just like to make a few points. I suppose the one comment that's closer to my opinions on the subject was voiced above by Mattias Lundberg.

Yes' music is clearly a little beyond the usual pop/rock definitions (I suppose that can be said of a number of progressive rock groups). First and foremost, it seems that they were interested in music composition, rather than ordinary song-writing. There's a great gap here: 3-minute tunes have their own set of parameters which is different from larger-scale pieces. So you don't go comparing a lied with a sonata and, by extension, you will not go on saying that this composer is better than the other, because he has written mostly songs rather than fugues (or vice-versa). Your site, interesting as it is, has a fatal flaw in relation to progressive rock in general (and Yes in particular): you keeping review that music in mostly non-musical and generally vague terms, such as 'rocks/does not rock', 'short/long-winded', 'boring/not boring'. While this might work for your ordinary pop review, where neither the reviewer not the reader is particularly musically aware, it breaks down when discussing Yes or King Crimson. So attempting to find a fit for these review categories when looking at progressive rock will basically lead to all sorts of missed points.

In a way, that'd happen if you were attempting to, say, review a jazz recording (to keep it inside "popular music"): how resonant is Koko by Charlie Parker, how listenable is Coltrane's Ascension, how adequate is Ralph Towner's Solstice? How about trying an alternative view of progressive rock, with less meaningless review categories and more appreciation of musical detail?

That'd have been more appropriate (talk about 'adequate'...). Unfortunately, this is not really found anywhere when it comes to rock criticism, so you are not alone.

Edward Dorian <forumvoid@yahoo.com> (20.06.2004)

Some think Rabin is/was too generic, while Howe passed his peak a long time ago. I have a suggestion, and wonder what your readers think about it. How about Lindsay Buckingham as the Yes guitarist? He certainly has the acoustic chops, he can sing, he could play Yes songs both Rabin and Howe style pretty easily, I think, and for Yes' future has non-cheesy pop sensibilities.


ALBUMS 
YES

Josh Fitzgerald <Breezesf85@cs.com> (21.08.99)

Wow! This must be the first time we agree 100%! Although, I like "Looking Around", and "Harold Land" is pretty good. Everything else stays exactly the same!

My rating-8

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

I don't have the first album, but I'm familiar with the tunes. I find them listenable, but nothing special. The band just wasn't all that unique at this point, except, for all your complaints, Jon's voice. But the band wasn't writing really strong melodies at this point, so the rhythm section is really all over the place. And Banks and Kaye could be a guitarist and organist from any old post-psychedelic band from this period. If this lineup had persisted, the band would have dropped from sight long before Fragile.

Jeff Blehar <jdb3@jhu.edu> (23.02.2000)

Here's a thought. Yes was better as a COVER band than as songwriting group! Blasphemy! But their first two albums, this one and Time And A Word, are a lot of fun, and the cover tunes are the best ones. Have you heard their prog-defilement of West Side Story's "Something's Coming" that was the B-side of "Sweetness?" It's hilarious, in a really good, intentional, genial kind of way. You know they're being completely tongue-in-cheek (at least I HOPE to god they are...). On Yes, their jazz-rock deconstruction of The Byrds' "I See You?" I love it, especially because when I first heard Fifth Dimension that song jumped out at me as being a really obscure one that was also really good. And man, Anderson and his yesmen might've been a bunch of humorless prigs after 1972 or so, but I defy you to tell me they aren't enjoying the HELL out of themselves on "Every Little Thing." In fact, this might get me tarred and feathered in Liverpool, but I PREFER this to the original Beatles version! I mean, I love the way they have utterly NO respect for The Beatles' "mystique" - they tear this sucker apart and reassemble it in a completely different way. You know that it's all in good fun after Peter Banks throws in that "Day Tripper" riff near the beginning. What can I say? I really enjoy this song a lot; I suppose it's the definition of a truly "guilty" pleasure. As for the self-penned tracks here, they're actually quite pretty little things, if insubstantial. "Survival"'s whole evolution theme is a warning sign of things to come (to quote David Byrne), but it's a good song, while "Looking Around," "Sweetness," and "Yesterday And Today" are all fun, inoffensive numbers with really amazing playing in the background. I don't instrumental virtuosity when its put to benign use like this. In fact, whisper it quietly, but I quite dig this little disc. 9/10, 'cause really, Yes didn't really IMPROVE from here, they just got more complex. Sure that sound preposterous but it's what I believe. And I'm a moron.

Derrick Stuart <artrocker86@earthlink.net> (02.07.2000)

You see, the main difference between Yes' debut and From Genesis To Revealtion is that Jon Anderson was almost 25 when this was realized, Genesis were in their teens. Yes had also had years of experience unlike Genesis.

Ben Greenstein <bgreenstein@nctimes.net> (25.07.2000)

It's amazing how mature this album is - really, for a debut, these guys sound incredibly sure of themselves, with lots of energy and, well, melodies! Let's face it, Yes weren't always the catchiest group, but a lot of this early stuff is pretty memorable. You don't have to hear it five or more times to remember how it goes. Which is the problem with that first Genesis album, I guess - any melodies on there only establish them after endless repetition, and those ones certainly are quite less than "exciting." (Oh, please, Georgey - don't change the rating of that album to a ten like you threatened to!)

"Looking Around" is, to me, the obvious highlight (in fact, why isn't this song all over classic rock radio?), but all of the others are good, even the way-too-melodramatic Beatles cover. Although I do miss the atmospherics that the band would perfect on later songs ("To Be Over"! "To Be Over"! Oh, how I love "To Be Over"!), it is indebatably a very strong album. A high eight.

Kevin Muckenthaler <Sierrasun3@aol.com> (29.08.2000)

The Yes lads seem so happy and naive on this harmless album, which makes it hard for me not to like it. "Beyond and Before" is a great upbeat song with superb vocal harmonies. "I See You" is just kinda funny. Yes covering the Byrds? Jon sounds completely female on "Yesterday and Today" with some smooth falsetto vocals. "Looking Around" is another catchy number with some good Hammond organ by Tony Kaye. "Harold Land" tells the story of a man who goes off to war and comes back disillusioned with the world. It's a little too melodramatic, but enjoyable nonetheless. "Sweetness" has some dumb lyrics and a definate 60's vibe. "Every Little Thing" is a good Beatles cover with a completely different arrangement. Most people like "Survival." It's okay for an early prog song, but it's nothing compared to the songs they would put out a few years later. Overall, a lively and semi-goofy first album.

Mattias Lundberg <lundbergmattias@hotmail.com> (22.04.2002)

Good debut on the small scale; compared to In the court... or Emerson, Lake and Palmer it's positively chamber-like. Even if the album, of course, is far from typical of the band, many things on the extra-musical level are here already: Squire's LARGE bass sound, Anderson's little squeak and Bruford's funky drumming. The songs, however, are not very strong at all in my opinion. Of all the prog bands that struggled before they found a style, YES were the slowest learners. The production, but also to some extent the playing, is marred by an airy and noisy 60s sound. I agree, the cover adaptations are cleverly and idiomatically done, but they have little original value. And everyone who slags off Anderson's voice should acquire the taste on 'Yesterday and today' and start from there.

Brian Sittinger <bsitting@mail.math.ucsb.edu> (27.08.2002)

What a nice debut! Of course they haven't foung their 'sound' yet, but this makes for an interesting psychedelic/jazz album. Peter Banks isn't nearly as bad as some may say, since he has a warm jazzy tome to his guitar. Bill Bruford id brilliant from the beginning, though he'd definitely improve. Plus, he even bashes the drums HARD on one song, which is far from his "tin biscuit" sound he's known for.

As for the songs, "Looking Around" is my favorite, having a solid organ riff underneath, as well as a solid Banks solo underneath. The Beatles cover is a way to scare my brother (who dislikes Yes), having been converted into a psychedelic cover. Finally, I mention "Survival", due to its intro (the guitar and bass are quite driving here), and that I regret it doesn't develop any further. As for drawbacks, the overall instrumental firepower isn't that powerful yet, leaving parts of songs approaching dullness. All in all, this gets an 8(12).

Gerard Nowak <gero@gower.pl> (13.02.2003)

I would never expect You'd like a Yes record more than I. Of course, I do like this Yes debut, but I'm not that enthusiastic about Peter Banks. He sounded crafty at times, but he should have stuck to the solid playing in the background, like in "Beyond and Before". Playing the rhythm was his strenght: he beats Howe when it comes to passion and power; but while soloing he seemed to resort to a number (a low number) of tricks. For this very reason I don't like "I see you": the jazzyish solo bores me and does NOT justify the lenght taken by the track (but it's nice that You didn't colour any of the songs BLUE). Generally I long for more diversity on this album, as for the very sound: the organ and guitar tones stay the same throughout the record with the exception of "Yesterday and Today" and maybe "Survival". By the way, (this will be very subjective) - I charge the following albums with a similar monotonousness of the instrumental layer: "The Doors" and "Thick as the Brick".

Now, the RED songs. First of all "Survival" and "Harold Land". I find the former VERY memorable, You don't, and there's nothing more to say. But as for the latter, I guess the vocal harmonies are outstanding (especially in the following moments: some of the 'GOing home' lines, and the last 'leading the attACK' note). Then we have the powerful songs penned or co-penned by Squire, I find them very concrete, very convincing (although I'm not sure if some of the organ notes in "Looking Around" are exactly the ones Kaye intended to play). Both "Sweetness" and the Beatles cover also have their moments. "Yesterday and Today", in turn, I find rather forgettable, but it's at least different than all the rest, and the little piano ornaments are really precious.

David Williams <DvDv01@aol.com> (10.03.2004)

Right on,George!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 'SWEETNESS' IS GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Of course so is the rest of the album.


TIME AND A WORD

Josh Fitzgerald <Breezesf85@cs.com> (21.08.99)

This album sorta stinks. "Time And A Word" bares a slight resemplence to a bad mother goose rhyme, the covers are terrible, and Peter's guitaring sounds slightly dull compred to the last album. I like "Astral Travaller", and "The Prophet", and the rest is passable.

My rating-6

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

More of the same, except for the orchestra. And sometimes the arrangements work, and sometimes they doesn't -- sounds clumsy on "Clear Days," but supportive and warm on the title track and exciting on Richie Havens "No Opportunity." Havens himself sent me an e-mail saying he loves it. And as for the naive lyrics on the title track, so what? You can hardly expect Plastic Ono Band from Yes.

By the way, orchestrator Tony Cox later put his experience to use on Renaissance's Scherezade and Live at Carnegie Hall.

Jeff Blehar <jdb3@jhu.edu> (23.02.2000)

Again, not too shabby for an ostensibly stick-up-the-arse prog outfit. Supposedly this one's a real let down for all the hardcore fans, but I likes it just fine, even if the orchestration is a little bit ridiculous. Sometimes it's great, though, as on that hoot of an opener "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed." I'll never forget the first time I heard that one, on the boxed set. The organ fires up, it sounds great, and then...the STRINGS! And they're really ostentatious and pushed up in the mix, flailing around wildly, but they're so unsubtle as to be charming. So I'm listening, thinking exactly the following words: "Christ, I'm expecting "How The West Was Won" to break out any minute here." And THEN IT DID!! That musical quote in the middle of the song is beyond audacious, as if they were completely mocking themselves the whole time. And I like that a lot. Any band that can make fun of themselves immediate gets some slack cut from me. Go figure, it's a Ritchie Havens song. Remember what I said about Yes as a cover band? And also their take on the Buffalo Springfield song "Everydays" is great inasmuch as it takes a really banal song from an otherwise great album (Buffalo Springfield Again) and makes it into a speed-jazz boogie. "Sweet Dreams" is a perfectly acceptable pop song, and if "Then"'s orchestration is a bit too fruity, "Time And A Word" is a fine dippy ballad. I really like the wateryvocals of "Astral Traveller" for some reason, too. Truth be told, I'm not too sure why I find Time And A Word and Yes perfectly acceptable and Tales From The Topographic Oceans nausea-inducing; I think it's because I'm surprised that any group as overblown, bloated, and waterlogged as Yes (a dinosaur if ever there was one) was actually pretty spry and down-to-earth at one point. So I'll just be a little surprised and give this a 7/10.

And it just occurred to me that George might be perplexed as to why I'd give this a 7/10 and Genesis' From Genesis To Revelation a 3/10. Here's why: this album is a bit more overblown, but uses the strings &c. much more conservatively, is MUCH better produced, and the band CAN PLAY. That's why. Also, it's a heck of a lot more interesting. There ain't nothing like "No Opportunity" on FGTR.

Mattias Lundberg <lundbergmattias@hotmail.com> (22.04.2002)

A little question: did Howe play on this album at all ? Just wondered what the reason behind his being on the cover picture is all about. It must have been taken after the recording sessions, after Banks had left. 'NONNEN' is great as it stands, but would have been a lot better with the string parts played on Kaye's organ. 'Astral traveller' is a good track too, with nice, but highly unconventional vocal harmonies in the chorus. The use of pedal points on 'Sweet dreams' clearly portend their later style. You'll all hate me for this, but I am certain that the 'it factor' missing here is the very pretentiousness that most people hate about the band. If ideas are to be developed, you have to turn everything inside out, (..outside in: perpetual change...eeh, sorry) deconstruct it and make everyone in the band put as much into the process as they possibly can. What is the stimulus needed for this effort if not pretension ? To become something, you must first conceive yourself as something (because no one else will, not even in 1970, they would), Ergo: give us some of that pretention, boys!

Brian Sittinger <bsitting@mail.math.ucsb.edu> (27.08.2002)

This one will be short. With a few exceptions, the song material isn't as strong this time around, and of course, the orchestration is generally WAY OUT OF PLACE! The intro songs and "Time and a Word" are quite compelling otherwise, while "Sweet Dreams" is for me the most realized song in this collection. I like the way the momentum (via the harmonies, in particular) are slowly buit up from stanza to stanza. So, this gets a 7(10).

Jaime Vargas <jaivarsa@hotmail.com> (21.11.2002)

Just to answer Mattias question above...The reason Howe appears on the cover is that that is not the original cover. The original vinyl cover was a black and white illustration. I suppose the one we see was from an American re-release or something after the boys had finally made it with The Yes Album and Fragile.


THE YES ALBUM

Richard C. Dickison <randomkill@earthlink.net> (03.05.99)

I was trying not to comment on these guys. I really hate the high pitched Anderson robot but...

I like The Yes Album for the one song 'I've Seen All Good People'.

I like Fragile for 'Round-A-Bout' and so on, and so on.

They actually are not all that bad on this album because they have not gone off the deep end yet torturing people with hours on end of pretentious filler.

The problem I have with this group is that I really just want to take only the songs I like off all their albums and stick them together and dump the rest.

I can't sit thru entire albums all the way through because they filled them with such crap songs and tried to sell them as spirtual harmonious whatevers.

That is why on my original comment on this band I mixed up where 'All Good People' came from, I forgot the exact album because I just don't pull them out that much.

Thank god for CD burners, they were made for this group.

Josh Fitzgerald <Breezesf85@cs.com> (21.08.99)

Slightly better. What a brilliant album title! Well, "Yours Is No Digrace" is a little too long, it would have benn better if it was 5-6 minutes."Clap" proves that Steve Howe could kick Peter Banks' behind (Try to keep the language clean!)."A Venture" is okay. I could live wothout "Perpetual Change". "I've Seen All Good People" is gorgeous, at least the "Your Move" section is. "Starship Trooper" is awesome! Not great, but enjoysable anyway!

My rating-7

Rich Bunnell <cbunnell@ix.netcom.com> (23.08.99)

Not being familiar with the full body of Yes' work, it's hard for me to give ratings, but on the Yes scale for me I suppose this is about an 8. Full rating an 11, maybe. The mix of happiness and long song structures still hasn't been perfected (it would be on the following album, or at least as far as I know) and some of the tunes, like "Perpetual Change," suffer from unneeded excesses.

"I've Seen All Good People" is excellent, though, as is "Starship Trooper"-- and I'm talking the ENTIRE SONG! What's wrong with the first few minutes?!? That's the coolest part! The stomping guitars, the bizarre time signature, everything! Best song on the album, though the whole "doo doo doo doo doo!" harmonies make the "Your Move" half of "All Good People" a candidate too. I also like "Yours Is No Disgrace" quite a bit, and at least "A Venture" doesn't hang around for too long. I can't really get into "The Clap" however, but that's because I'm a worthless moron who doesn't go crazy over guitar technique. All of you real music fans out there should find me and kill me.

Glenn Wiener <glennjwiener@hotmail.com> (30.09.99)

I am not the biggest Yes Fan in the world. Their songs are mostly way too long and Jon Anderson's soprano style is a little hard to endure sometimes. However, there is alot of creativity on these six pieces.

Tony Kaye's organ playing is outstanding whether its effects or solos. Steve Howe is on top of his game as well. Long songs can be good if the song combines the best of creativity and structure and Yes suceeds very admirably on this release.

<Jndiller@aol.com> (17.01.2000)

I am in absolute agreement about the lyrics. Just words strung together! Yecch!!!

But---'Wurm' gets my vote for the best crescendo in rock. Period.

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

Huge, huge disagreement! This is my favorite, even if the next lineup had better musicianship. And the reason: the album ROCKS. And the reason for that is Steve Howe. He is a totally unique, versatile guitarist -- the most indispensable element of Yes (with Squire a close second). He provides the anchor for the songs, resulting in the rhythm section getting itself under control while playing excellently. And as for Kaye, he's in more of a support role than a soloist here, which suits the songs fine.

The one place where one wishes for Rick Wakeman is on the low point -- "A venture." One wonders what he could have done with this song instead of Kaye's clunky piano lines.

And while you dis Jon's voice, it's worth noting that there are some wonderful harmonies here, especially on "Your Move." And granted, the lyrics are quite abstract, but not totally indescipherable -- "Your Move" provides a chess game as a metaphor for the tug of war in a love affair, for example. He hasn't gone off the deep end yet.

Jeff Blehar <jdb3@jhu.edu> (23.02.2000)

Yeah, the big breakthrough. But so forkin' what? Not much to say here. "I've Seen All Good People" is another one of those songs I'm kinda ashamed to admit I dig due to its complete meaninglessness, and "Starship Trooper" is genuinely glorious: one of the few times I don't mind the Affirmative going on, and on, for 9 minutes. But "Yours Is No Disgrace" IS an absolute disgrace. I can't think of enough bad things to say about this song, be it the simply gutter-level poesy of the lyrics (I mean, Anderson's always pretty much meaningless but this is an EXCEPTIONAL low) or the relative lack of interest of the tune and its variations over something like a small eternity. To step back from hyperbole, it's not an utterly travesty, (it starts out fine) but it's surely not worthy of its length. Squire's bass is good, sure, but there's so little of musical interest that I just can't focus on it. "The Clap" is fun (and short, always a plus) and...well that's about it. Nothing else really worth mentioning. This is where Yes begins to go horrible wrong for me...long rarely equals good with these guys, and after the next album, it's all 8 minute + songs for a long, long time. 6/10.

Philip Maddox <slurmsmckenzie@hotmail.com> (07.07.2000)

This gets a 9 from me. No weak tracks whatsoever - every song works. 'Perpetual Change' is probably the weakest because it goes on for a bit too long. Other than that, I've got no complaints. 'Yours Is No Disgrace' is one of the most mind-numbingly catchy and upbeat songs ever recorded, and doesn't bore me at all. The first 2 parts of 'Starship Trooper' rule in a major way, but the instrumental coda at the end is my favorite instrumental coda of all time. Period. I love everything about it - it's absolutely beautiful, exciting, and it manages to build suspense. 'The Clap' is a short, good acoustic instrumental - not as good as 'Mood For A Day', but still good. 'A Venture' is a short, jazzy tune that isn't as great as most of the stuff on here, but it's still cool. The grand prize, though, has to go to 'I've Seen All Good People'. It's easily one of my favorite tunes of all time, and I don't care how overplayed it is. The first half is the most beautiful mantra ever recorded, and the second half doesn't fail to excite either - great guitar licks and vocals. Who cares if the lyrics are meaningless? Like I said, a 9, and a high one at that. Buy this record.

Ben Greenstein <bgreenstein@nctimes.net> (25.07.2000)

You know, I really expected to hate this one, seeing as two of the three songs that I had heard prior to my purchase were musical pieces that always had stirred up hatred from the very deepest depths (sorry - lack of better word) of my heart - but, surprisingly, I think it's rather good. In fact, I will even go so far as to say that I now believe "Yours Is No Disgrace" to be a great song, even if that first verse is a little ugly. The rest is MEGA, though! I still hate "I've Seen All Good People," though. Why am I the only one who realizes how much that song sucks? Maybe I've just become prejuced against it by way of even grosser ripoffs like "Carry On Wayward Son," I don't know. All I know is, from that a-capella intro to the dumbshit closing disco chorus, I am in musical HELL whenever the song is playing.

Rest of the album is good. "The Clap" is amazing, "Starship Trooper" has always been a favourite, and "Perpetual Change" is the last of the band's songs that can fit into the "cool, catchy, sixties rock" category, even if it is a little wierd. I can give the album an eight (except for a certain six-minutes-fifty-six-seconds which get a NEGATIVE three!).

Jeff Melchior <Jeffmoncheri@aol.com> (22.12.2000)

Yes, I do get that same vision in my head while listening to 'Starship Trooper'. That's what makes the entire album so great - unlike many future Yes records, it's very evocative. This time, they manage to develop a fantasy world within the music itself and not by benefit of a Roger Dean cover. Only low point for me would be 'A Venture', although it provides some breathing room between 'Yours Is No Disgrace' and 'Your Move', two of the band's finest moments.

Mattias Lundberg <lundbergmattias@hotmail.com> (22.04.2002)

Still learning and testing, and why not enjoy the process. The experiments with pedal points, in order to achieve the original Yes brand of grandeur, continues here with the last reprise of 'Yesterday, a morning came...', surely one of those prog movements parnassi, and Anderson's voice sounds really strong here too. I happen to disagree totally on the 'Wurm' coda; in my opinion it's one of the weakest spots (together with 'A venture') and it is only partly saved by Howe's good ol' bluesy licks. A little note for the 'derivative police dpt.': the chordal structure (pedal point again, with I-ii-III superimposed) of 'Your move' in 'I've seen all good people' is identical to that found in 'And you and I', the effect also being very similar; otherworldy philantropic-humanist sunhine and love, courtesy of Sir Jonathan.

"...as for Howe, his guitar playing isn't really superior to Banks." ???? Wouldn't like to comment.

Brian Sittinger <bsitting@mail.math.ucsb.edu> (27.08.2002)

I may have some bias, as this is the first one I ever bought from Yes, since it contained "All Good People". But I soon found out that that not the best song on the album (surprise!). What helps is that Squire and Bruford are hitting their stride, and that Howe has joined the band!!

"Yours is no Disgrace" is quite the opener, easily going from the intro to the thumping main theme to quiet jazz, etc. And, Howe's multiparted solo, especially the "fuzzed" part, is easily the most exciting part of the song. "The Clap" though a really tricky piece, is very entertaining. "Starship Trooper" is the other highlight of the album, with lyrics that actually somewhat make since. Needless to say the music is ingenious throughout. The "Wurm" coda is easily amon the most compelling moments of this album, due to its slowly rising tension, capping with more Howe.

I have not much to add to "All Good People", except I like the way Bruford seems to hit the accents off target from the rest of the band in the second half of the song. "A Venture" allows for another wiff of fresh air between all the "prog", being a low-keyed jazz piece, allowing for Kaye and Bruford to putter about in the end, not to mention that it has a nice melody. Finally, I just find "Perpetual Change" a bit dull, though it still has its moments (like the intro and the mid section).

I find it intersting that the prog isn't nearly as complex as it would be. All of these songs are pop to the core with progressive bridges/jamming added to make things more interesting. So, Bruford is right calling Yes a "puffed up pop group". And, who cares how happy this album is? We need some happiness in our lives! Though Yes was to improve, I still see this as one of their finest accomplishments, and a 10(14) at that.

Akis Katsman <watta502@yahoo.gr> (31.05.2003)

The Yes Album is one of my favourite albums overall. Great singing, great playing, great singing, even if the lyrics are somewhat bluffing. My favourites are the epics "Yours Is No Disgrace", "Starship Trooper"(amazing!) and the closing "Perpetual Change". I also adore "I've Seen All Good People", although it's like a song for children. I can't stand the guitar in "Clap" (sorry, Mr. Howe) but "A Venture" is somewhat pretty, although it's the closest song to filler here. I'd give this album a nine, no more no less. Go and buy it now! Also, has a cool cover.

Fernando Henrique Canto <mustapha@etcom.ufrgs.br> (30.10.2003)

Wow, you love these guys, don't you? Okay, so I'm not a Yeshead or anything. I own only a few albums. The Yes Album is certainly great. I think the "what the hell are these guys trying to give me" tagline is JUST spot-on. There doesn't seem to be a PURPOSE to the songs, but hell, I can take purposeless songs once in a while. Prog for the sake of Prog? Maybe. I think they were just practicising the Prog schtick on here, though. This is, to me, nothing but a big rehearsal. But every rehearsal gives a few interesting results. 'Starship Trooper' is an absolute classic. What a beautiful song! All parts of it, not just Würm. I love the "CLANG-CLANG" main theme and the guitar pickings, and the vocal melodies floating around. 'Yours Is No Disgrace' rambles on like mad, but it gives plenty of cool moments. 'Perpetual Change' is more or less the same, alas less fun. And 'I've Seen All Good People' is just funny - begins all serious and stuff, and then, woohoo! One of my friends HATES Yes because of this song - ha ha! What's better than a song that annoys people? :) I dig 'The Clap', not just for the technique. And 'A Venture' is not weak enough to make me blue it out - it's just slightly annoying, with all the "hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide awaaaaaaaaay" choirs. I dunno, the album kind of dies down after 'I've Seen All Good People', but it was never THAT lively. Only 'Starship Trooper' qualifies as fantastic, in my opinion. I give it a 11. (Oh, Jon Anderson can be a bit annoying, yes. But heck, if I love Thom Yorke, how dare I say I dislike Jon? Alas, I think he does a fantastic job on Mike Ol'field's 'In High Places', but I've said that already)

Jimmy Bob <jimmyboblw@yahoo.com> (02.01.2004)

This album is, IMHO, the best Yes album I own. It is also their most musically consistent and their most (how oxymoronic is THIS description) moderately complex and bombastic. On the one hand, they were getting the hang of all those complex time changes, whacked-out guitar solos, etc. without going into the great big field of excess they would definitely go on with Topographic Oceans and Close to the Edge. This along with Fragile are the best of the lot.


FRAGILE

Josh Fitzgerald <Breezesf85@cs.com> (21.08.99)

Well, I suppose I should say SOMETHING positive about their break through album, but the fact is, I don't like this album very much. It's okay. Ricky Wakeman does add something to the band, though I'm not sure what. That's not an insult, he is a great player. I heard "Roundabout" far too many times during my life. "Cans And Brahms" is boring (and I've heard the real version before too, and it's also boring, so it's not his fault!). "We Have Heaven" is ridiculous! My favorite from here has to be "South Side Of The Sky". It has a great melody, lyrics that acually make sense (Kind of), and a spooky piano solo! I'm not going to bother mentioning "5 % 4 0". It's pathetic. "Long Distance Runaround" is okay. "The Fish" is my second favorite! Wow! "Clap" for the last one was fun, but "Mood For A Day" fails in all catagories. "Heart OF The Sunrise" is just too darn long, but it does have a good melody. I only listen to this on occasion!

My rating-5 (sorry)

Rich Bunnell <cbunnell@ix.netcom.com> (23.08.99)

Yep, a 10 will do. The filler pieces don't detract from the feeling of the album (even "Five Per Cent For Nothing" since it's short) and the longer songs are long in a way that The Yes Album attempted but failed at on a few occasions. "Roundabout" is a classic of course and so is "Heart Of The Sunrise." Oh, and I heard "Long Distance Runaround" on the radio, and they actually let it run into "The Fish"! "The Fish" was played on the radio! Awesome! As is the whole album, even that stupid Wakeman Brahms thing.

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

The album doesn't flow well with the solo spots alternating with the group performances. Great musicianship, though. And, again, wonderful harmonies, especially on "Roundabout." "The Fish" is just mind-boggling. On the whole, though, I think I would have preferred a full album of group performed tunes.

Jeff Blehar <jdb3@jhu.edu> (23.02.2000)

Pretty much the last hurrah for these guys in terms of music I can stand. By the time they decided to deflate back to songlengths that could be fit, oh I don't know, THREE TO A SIDE, they'd ceased having anything interesting to say. But I'll grudgingly admit that Fragile is pretty damn rockin' - I can get my ya-ya's out of their glass case for a lot of stuff here. And since I'm no hardcore Yesfan (and since *I* never heard it on the radio ONCE before getting this album), I think "Roundabout" is a wonderful song, fully deserving of all 8 minutes of its time. It does more interesting things during that span than, say, "Yours Is No Disgrace" and "Heart Of The Sunrise" put together. I REALLY like "Long Distance Runaround;" in fact, it makes me kind of upset. Because here's a capital example of some the amazing things these guys could have done if they'd just kept their megalomania under control: this song is SO quirky, offbeat, with bass lines and guitar runs that objectively make no sense whatsoever but resolve themselves brilliantly into...a 3 minute pop song! Jon Anderson's vocal melody is really good on this one, too. Possibly my favorite Yessong ever, it's just so full of promise that they never fulfilled. "The Fish" is really impressive too, with all those basses, doing all those things, all the time...you really do get the impression of some bizarre alien (or prehistoric) fish swooshing its way through a primeval sea. "South Side Of The Sky" is too long, but prettier than my sister, but the solo spots (other than Squire's) are all just blatant filler. And "Heart Of The Sunrise" is "Yours Is No Disgrace" Mark II for me: meandering, pretentious, pointless. But still, this album, for all its diffusion, has a real unified mood, and I have to say, I give it a spin more often than I'd care to admit. But I always put on The Clash afterwards as a corrective. 8/10. From here on out the Yes discography is pretty much a wasteland....

Ben Greenstein <bgreenstein@nctimes.net> (23.06.2000)

This album is really overrated. While the four actual songs are really good ("Roundabout" no longer annoys or bores me at all! And for the record, I've NEVER heard it on the radio!) the short numbers are pointless and often even annoying. About "Cans And Brahms," I don't think he butchered the original piece, but I also feel that it has no place on the album. Ruins the album's consitency, I feel - it doesn't flow with all of those short bits tossed in. I like the last two, though - "The Fish" is just a second part to the kickass "Long Distance Runaround," and "Mood For A Day" is neat, although certainly no Steve Hackett.

And anyone who can deny that "Heart Of The Sunrise" is the most fantastic song this band ever recorded has got something in their ears. It's fabulous. Atmospheric, rockin', and catchy, it has everything that makes Yes cool, and a couple of things that they never achieved elsewhere. That song moves the six score up to a seven. Man it's cool!

Philip Maddox <slurmsmckenzie@hotmail.com> (07.07.2000)

It's hard to complain about this one (except Wakeman's pointless 'Cans and Brahms', which is kinda cheesy and doesn't fit the feel of the album). The actual songs are all nearly perfect - I don't even rank them because they're all great. 'South Side Of the Sky' has an especially great middle section - great harmony vocals! The solos (except for Wakeman's) are all great, too. Bruford's 'Five Per Cent For Nothing' gets made fun of, but I think it's great! And even if you don't like it, it's 30 seconds long. Howe contributes a great guitar solo, Anderson does a fun, cheery vocal harmony piece, and Squire contributes one of the greatest bass songs ever! 'The Fish' is made up of nothing but bass noises! How cool is that?! A 10. Highly recommended for anyone remotely interested in prog.

Kevin Muckenthaler <Sierrasun3@aol.com> (01.09.2000)

Some good stuff here. Squire's bass is extremely prominent on this album. I would venture to call this a bass album, because it really sets the whole tone. Bill Bruford's drumming is superb here, too. Despite hearing "Roundabout" over a million times, it's still good. The whole song works perfectly, and it seems hard to believe that it's actually eight and a half minutes long. "South Side of the Sky" is amazing. The piano section in the middle creates a great lonely atmosphere. "Long Distance Runaround" is a quirky track. "Heart of the Sunrise" contains a menacing, frenetic riff and some of Jon's best vocals ever. The 'solo' spots take away from the album's cohesiveness, though. "Cans and Brahms" is much-maligned, but it isn't too bad. "We Have Heaven" is pretty funny. "Five Per Cent for Nothing" is so quirky and short that I can't say if it's good or bad. "The Fish" is an interesting piece. My favorite solo spot is "Mood for a Day." Fragile is one of Yes' best albums, and a good place for beginners (although I'd recommend The Yes Album first).

Ben Kramer <bkramer2000@hotmail.com> (25.12.2001)

This is Yes' best bet for a prog masterpiece, not that it is, but it comes pretty close. I'll save the word masterpiece for Genesis and Jethro Tull, and maybe once for King Crimson, but I don't know them that well. Other prog bands, well, we'll just have to see, or in this case, hear. The opener, 'Roundabout' is probably the best Yes song there is, though I haven't heard all of their output. The melody is awesome and Anderson's vocals are very expressive. If only they could have done something with those qualities on Tales From Topographic Oceans (which I have heard, unfortunately). 'South Side of the Sky' is pretty good to, not the best on the album or amazing prog or any type of praise that McFerrin gave it. It's a good song. The middle is tedious but it isn't too much to endure. 'Long Distance Runaround' is the big radio hit from Fragile, at least around here. Not that it's played that much, but compared to the other Yes songs played, it is played quite frequently. It's another good song, not great, but good. Lastly though, is Yes' reason for existence. While 'Roundabout' may be their best song, 'Heart of the Sunrise' is their musical masterpiece. The opening is the best 3 minutes of Yes one could hope for, no 'Firth of Fifth', but very exciting and aggressive. The rest of the song is kind of boring, but 'Heart of the Sunrise' has already made it's mark so I am not disappointed. Overall, I'd give this a 9(12) or a 10(13). They are worth a 3 as a band, but they never really created a 13 record. Oh well, maybe they have a live album that would qualify as a 13. I don't know and I don't care. I don't like Yes that much, but if they could have produced an album with all of their best sides, they could have created a prog masterpiece.

Kevin Walker <kgwalker21@optusnet.com.au> (07.08.2002)

Firstly I'd like to state that I've never understood the fact that this album gave the band huge international success as I personally find their previous album (The Yes Album) more interesting,and coherent with stronger material, however were not talking about that were talking about Fragile.

It strikes me immediately that theres not mush fragility to Fragile, with the possible exception of 'Mood For A Day', a likeable piece of neo-classical noodling that follows on from "The Clap" in that its just Steve Howe, alone, on the recording, both pieces demonstrate a definite virtuosity from the guitarist. Out of the two 'MFAD' is my favourite although 'The Clap' is much more difficult to play. The reason for the presence or these "twins" isn't too obvious to me, evidently the band were showing what virtuosity was inherent in the band, (see also 'Cans & Brahms') but I cant justify their inclusion and would have thought they belonged on a solo work. Anyway, the album opens with the solid rocker "Roundabout" which even non-Yes fans adore (Pink Floyd did this with "Money") and is sonically very interesting, I love the opening guitar figure, so delicate and lovely,complete with backwards something, (?), before the sledgehammer bass line pounds its way in with its growling menace. The song is that, a song, quite rocky, quite jolly, quite simple, but what makes it special for me, is the progressiveness of the interwoven passages, the interplay of all the musical elements, staccato breaks, polyrhythms and sonic textures that give it spaciousness with precision. The staccato breaks that precede the "bridge" (I will remember you etc) lead to a middle section with a totally different metre and lilt which leads to different territory, like a second movement, then just as you ve got used to this new environment the original re-enters on top of the one that's still down loading information to the brain, on and on this rolls until the whole sonic picture grinds to a halt and were serenaded by the tranquillity of that opening guitar figure again, this time backed by a trill of Rick Wakemans magic fingers caressing the synth keys, Jons voice, softly and tenderly re- appears..In And Around The Lake...a few bars of peaceful heaven, but were all in anticipation of all hell breaking loose once again with Ricks famous organ solo rocking our socks off , a manic prelude to a fine final verse, the best yet, completing a fine song, not truly prog, but song based prog..wonderful, but not the best this opus has to offer.

Small interludes of musical mayhem follow, some disorder..1:35 seconds here, 0:35 there ('5% for nothing'), 1:30 ('We Have Heaven'). This "middle" section of the album seems lacking in tangibility but some very diverse stuff, "South Side Of The Sky" starts with running footsteps and wind? entering into another heavy piece, a vehicle for Howe's characteristic chromaticism, every note he plays here has an attack and is played with a rapaciousness almost violently until...silence...a piano...complete metamorphosis, vocals which harmonize with others, a bridge section of peace, a haven in your headphones, then its back to the original again for another dose of hard wearing rock! If this is not enough to confuse your senses the aforementioned 5% follows (confused!!).Most important to the work has to be the finale, coda, piece der resistance (in French), call it what you will but "Heart Of The Sunrise" represents 10:34 of progressive grandeur, seldomly matched by any other of this genre, a new form of rock opulence was created with this lavish production, I'm in heaven when I listen, still now, its technical brilliance still amazes my senses.The band beautifully manipulates the whole of its originality on the song, is it a song ? or an event? mild physical sensations are sometimes brought forth unusual tastes, with the eyes closed, colours abound and illusions can occur. Yes I love it...Thank the lord this track is included on the album, worth the money in itself ! Whats it all about? I don't know, Yes music will always be an enigma to me, I prefer to look at it as a sound collage with no particular message, well, maybe one, music has no edges or boundaries, you cant confine it...yes, a very important message.

Brian Sittinger <bsitting@mail.math.ucsb.edu> (27.08.2002)

This is one majorly fractured album at first glance! On one hand, we have the group compostions that absolutely cook. On the other hand, we have solo pieces that may threaten to break the flow, if you can't enough of their prog stuff. (And of course, Wakeman's here!)

Let's take a look at the group pieces. (Two of them are radio standards; so I'll ignore them.) It's quite strange that "South Side of the Sky" often is ignored by the outside world. (And even by Yes 'til this summer. And it was performed flawlessly with a Wakeman/Howe duel at the end!) This is proof in itself that Yes can rock if they want to. Howe scatters the riffs throughout, while Anderson sings about freezing to death (with music that fits!). Wakeman's piano toward the middle is nothing short than clever, and Bruford's syncopation during the "La La La" section are phenomenal. As for "Heart of the Sunrise", this took me a bit to get into at first, with the intro. theme scaring me stiff (recall this was when I still knew barely a thing about prog), and it recurring seemingly randomly during the 'song' itself. But, it rules with a vengeance, when you have it figured out. The instrumental buildup at the beginning is gorgeous, with the bassline being supplemented by Bruford's improvs (which work well in the context) and Mellotron washes, and then Howe laying a riff down. Also, I actually can identify with Anderson's EMOTIONAL singing in the final moments of the song! Not to mention that the main part of the song itself is quite pretty.

This leaves the solo spots. By far, Howe's flamenco piece and Squire's multilayered bass solo are the highlights. At times, Anderson's "We Have Heaven" can get on my nerves, and Wakeman's "Cans and Braums" seems nice but filler. For some reason, I find Bruford's spot quite interesting. Perhaps it's because it's highly syncopated. Are those band members in the backgroung adding to it? Hmm. Still, the solo spots aren't bad overall. After much agony, I give this a 10(14) as well; the high points here are a bit more so than on the previous album. But, the album is a bit less coherent.

Glenn Wiener <GJW0721@aol.com> (24.06.2003)

Sorry this one is not Yes's best work. 'Roundabout' is loaded with creativity and 'Long Distance Runaround' has some catchy syncopation. However the balance between overlong tunes and short mood pieces does not click all the time. 'The Fish' is oh so bland and The 'Five Percent For Nothing' number just does not add enough to even classify itself as a song. A cute riff maybe but why couldn't the band build something further. 'We Have Heaven' is oh so annoying.

'South Side Of The Sky' is pretty cool. It can be a little long but certainly less trying than 'Heart Of The Sunrise'. That song isn't so bad, but the riffage goes on a bit too long and meanders in other sections.

Truthfully I prefer The Yes Album with fabulous pieces like 'Starship Trooper' and 'Perpetual Change'.

Fernando Henrique Canto <mustapha@etcom.ufrgs.br> (30.10.2003)

Now THAT's more like it! I can go up and give this album an absolute 14 and be happy with it. It was the first Prog album that got me by the collar and smashed me against the wall and said "listen, Rush is NOT the best Prog band ever!" and I said "okay, maybe I should listen to some Jethro Tull now, too". The album is just smashing. 'Roundabout' and 'South Side Of The Sky' are amazing. Amazing. Bloody amazing, for Chrissake. The former combines dancy rhythms with masterful songwriting techniques, and the latter is just freaky as fuck. 'Heart Of The Sunrise' is a bit hit-and-miss, but it's cool nonetheless. And I LOVE the short spots. 'Long Distance Runaround' is a flawless tune, and 'The Fish', 'We Have Heaven' and 'Cans And Brahms' are all funny and intriguing. 'Five Per Cent For Nothing' is just absurd - Wakeman hits some great organ chords on there. And 'Mood For A Day' made me grow a thing or two for classical guitar. Ooh, classical guitar. Howe, I love you. Wakeman is a great keyboardist. I think I like him more than Keith Emerson.

Jimmy Bob <jimmyboblw@yahoo.com> (02.01.2004)

A damn good piece of progressive rock, but I prefer The Yes Album. It just seems to me that the melodies on their last album were much tighter and catchy than on this one. Still, I do like the idea that every band member has their own little solo piece on here. Wishful Thinking? Yes. Novel idea? Of course. Does it work out? Yeah.

"Heart of the Sunrise" is a little weaker than the rest of the stuff on here (or is it? Maybe I just get a little bored by the time the song comes around...) Personally, I think this one deserves a twelve. A damn good almost-but-not-quite-close-to-perfection piece of pure prog.

Tagbo Munonyedi <grimtraveller@hotmail.com> (22.07.2006)

This is such a hit and miss album, with half of it being worthwhile drivel and the other half being fantastic. And it demonstrates that when it came down to it, for a bunch that are almost single handedly held responsible for the utterly overblown pretention with which prog has been bedevilled for most of it's life, Yes could kick out the jams and shake it on down with fiery rock. The accusations of being the great Satan of prog are kind of unfair though not without some merit. You could even argue that Punk {the British version at least} may never had happened had it not been for the likes of Yes frustrating people. But they were progressive artists for all their reputation and at least at this point, they were making some outstanding music.

I think ROUNDABOUT is such a great song. Rick Wakeman popped into a Yes rehearsal before he joined the band and says this was one of the tracks they created which was instrumental in him joining and not going with Bowie's Spiders From Mars. The music is attractive and tight and for a while I thought part of the lyrics were among the best I'd heard - "In and around the lakes/martins come out of the skies/and they stand there". I thought the imagery of these little birds coming out of the skies and standing with imposing majesty was magnificent, what superb imagination ! Then I read that it was mountains, not martins and my shoulders dropped......Still a great track though with a superb duel between Howe and Wakeman that is every bit as exciting as anything heavy metal had to compete with it in '72. CANS AND BRAHMS is a miss ! I really like Rick Wakeman, he's a bit of a media star here and he's so funny and whenever documentaries on prog come on he's always worth listening to coz he's not at all pretentious and he has a great memory etc etc but his solo contribution to this album is disappointing, unlike Jon Anderson's WE HAVE HEAVEN, which is a revelation. Coz I'd heard Robert Plant and Geddy Lee for 20 years before I ever heard Yes, I'm ambivalent about his voice, finding it neither outstanding nor irritating. But he pulls out all the stops here with that layered build up of voices and delicious melodies and harmonies. Very psychedelic. SOUTH SIDE OF THE SKY is my favourite on the album, on the surface a rather monotonous tune but in the hands of five skilful players, something else. I dig the way they squeeze every possible good thing from the limited palette they set themselves, and Steve Howe in particular electrifies proceedings with some great lead work. It took me a while to get used to the mellow middle section but it grows on me more and more and Bill Bruford's drumming in that section is outstanding.....but only once it's been pointed out {thank you, Brian Sittinger, wherever you may be today..} coz there's so much going on. Which is why his 5% FOR NOTHING is such a surprize; I think it's crap. Now, I really like Bill Bruford, I think he's been one of the outstanding drummers of rock and jazz, like Stewart Copeland he's such an intelligent and musical drummer and his playing with Yes, King Crimson, Genesis and his solo stuff {if you ever get a chance, check out the brilliant 'Bruford Tapes'} is generally really enjoyable. I've long found him to be a bit of a purist elitist snob though and he often portrays rock as a kind of inferior species, with Yes as one of the worst culprits in his time with them, stuck in 4/4 time and cliche and impeding his growth as a drummer. I presume this piece was his attempt to show what a superior piece should sound like. Granted, it was a long time ago but it just doesn't cut it for me ! It's fast and boring and a life sentence would be having to listen to this every day. I think purists always need to bear in mind that if people are going to acquire their stuff, it must bear repeated listens~for evermore ! LONG DISTANCE RUNAROUND is the only "band" track that doesn't do anything for me although I suppose it's ok and THE FISH also fails for me. It's a case of the idea being vastly superior to the actual execution. It's the kind of thing that I should like too, but if I went deaf tomorrow, it's not a piece that I'd crave to hear. I do think that Chris Squire's bass playing throughout the album is inventive, however, and his actual tone is one of the most memorable I've heard. He often plays bass guitar as opposed to bass, if you know what I mean. Both he and Steve Howe had interesting approaches to their instruments and they seem to get a situation where for their two guitars there are three sounds....I really like Howe's MOOD FOR A DAY, especially the last 2 minutes of it. It never gets boring or twiddly although shortness is no guarantee of quality or of a piece not outstaying it's welcome {5% proves that}. Jon Anderson says he always saw Yes as five talented individuals that could sometimes employ their talents together as a band, rather than a band that may or may not have had talented individuals. MOOD is actually a nice tune. HEART OF THE SUNRISE is the other song that Wakeman says he was part of creating before he joined the band. It's so schizophrenic, this one. It starts off with some of the most aggressive to and fro riffing and if you've heard much about Yes and their reputation for proressive rock wool, then this will be the most pleasant surprize, even allowing for Wakeman's eerie Khalid Rhasin type organ fills. But it's the short slow instrumental section that is, for me, the outstanding bit of playing on this album. It is so laid back and groovy, I wish it went on for ten minutes instead of just over one. It's build up is so skilfully done and the way the guitar suddenly snakes in and up and down is alone worth the price of the album. It's such a sublime piece of music with the four players on top of their game before a return to that aggressive riffing and when that bit reaches it's tumultuous climax, as far as I'm concerned they should've stopped right there ! One of the really annoying things about some prog is that because often songs are multi sectioned, every part has to be good and arresting but sometimes the impression was given that sections were just lumped together because they were there to be. Putting sections together that are not necessarilly related isn't a problem because a good band can create such a memorable job that you'll never not think of the sections as a whole piece, examples that spring to mind are ECHOES by Pink Floyd, SUPPER'S READY by Genesis, ICARUS BORNE ON WINGS OF STEEL by Kansas and 2!st CENTURY SCHIZOID MAN by King Crimson where all the parts seemlessly flow into one another. In point of fact, Yes do it already on ROUNDABOUT and SOUTH SIDE OF THE SKY which are admittedly shorter. So this one starts off by promising the earth but delivers mouldy potatoes in the end coz the bit with vocals, while being sort of half interesting in it's own right is such a pale shadow of the glory that has preceded it that I want a refund {even if the aforementioned guitar is worth the admission fee !} and tacking the gorgeous strains of WE HAVE HEAVEN onto the end is no consolation coz it fades even as it begins. It's just my opinion of course as I feel a bit cheated coz of what could have been. Overall a fine album though.


CLOSE TO THE EDGE

Juan Manuel Cuenca Flores <al772095@mail.mty.itesm.mx> (13.07.99)

ok, i read your close to the edge (YES) review, and now i can understand that u just dont understand, i hate you!

[Special author note: all right, here's at least one gentleman who shares that esoteric knowledge. I wish he'd written this in a more informative manner...]

Rich Bunnell <cbunnell@ix.netcom.com> (26.07.99)

Personally I myself would give Close To The Edge around an 11 or 12 on your scale (that is, the full 15-point scale) because I personally don't listen to prog-rock to be "carried away by the melodies" or "be immersed in the complex harmonies and meaning." I just think that the songs are really interesting! Some parts even catchy, even! Particularly the title track, and the riff on "Siberian Khatru." Now, "And You And I," that one's different, it blends together several different parts into a tune which I myself don't notice very much, but since the other songs take up 3/4 of the album, I still find it to be a nice listen. I don't see how anyone would need to "understand" Yes albums; I think that they're just building the songs up that way in their minds because of the song lengths. Also, Jon Anderson's voice isn't the worst that rock has to offer--I mean, Geddy Lee from Rush? Roger Hodgson from Supertramp? Compared to them, Jon's voice is positively deep!

[Special author note: er... well... sorta... I mean, ladies and gentlemen, let's not pronounce such rude words as 'Supertramp' on this site - there might be small children visiting it! It ain't Nanny-protected! As for Jon Anderson, I was trying to honour the man by putting him on the same site with the Beatles and the Kinks, but if we're gonna put him in the Rush domain, guess I'll just have to erase the link.]

Richard C. Dickison <randomkill@earthlink.net> (19.08.99)

I really am perplexed by the rabid Yes fans, If you say something about John's voice, they say it could be worse. If you point out the overly long and pointless music, they tell you that your not hearing it right or that you just don't have the required background to say anything about it.

Well, first off taking only Close To The Edge and Tales From Topographic Oceans to task, there are just so many more interesting albums instrumentally, How many Vangelis albums I could bring up, Bladerunner, The Bounty, Missing, China, all purely instrumental and all following a theme most of them a movie soundtrack (for christ sakes). None have what I would consider a great deal of lyrics but all moving and breath taking examples of long complex themed passages that leave these pitiful little simplistic amaturish albums in the dirt.

If your wanting to discuss purely prog bands I would bring up Camel in particular the Rain Dances or Moonmadness albums as having more interesting tracks while having their own individual faults. If you are going the route of classic influenced music, why not go for the real thing? Wendy Carlos and that unbelievable Switched On Bach album.Even Syd Barret made the style of music he did because he just did not care, not because he knew better than you or I. Can someone at least agree with the fact that the only person who made pretentiousness an entertaining art form was maybe (sometimes) David Bowie, snobbish music that cannot be bothered to make itself accessible and structured is more likely than not to be the intellectual aural equivalent of wanking off. Oh, I understand better than you think, I just don't wallow in musical vomit and try to pass it off as spiritual hymns for humanity.

Josh Fitzgerald <Breezesf85@cs.com> (21.08.99)

Are you people beginning to wonder yet if I even LIKE Yes? I really have a hard time getting through this album. It's not BAD, but it's has many faults. The title track just seems to have no particular point, and it goes in no particular direction. "I Get Up, I Get Down" is great, but it has almost nothing to do with the song. "And You And I" is my favorite Yes song up to that point. I don't even mind the length! "Siberian Khatru" is okay. But after this, things slowly get better.

My rating-7

<Dwarfwedgemuscle@aol.com> (16.10.99)

Just who are the idiots writing comments about the classic Yes albums. You guys keep saying things like "overly long". What? I don't listen to music with a stopwatch. Good thing you fellows don't "critique" classical music. Some of that stuff is really loooooooong!!!

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

I rate this as #2, after The Yes Album, although most fans put it at #1. The musicianship is higher because of Wakeman, but although they rock here, they rock more succinctly on The Yes Album. That said, even though the songs are long, they are still accessible -- they still can write a great hook and draw you in with it, and rock hard with it when it's called for. Unlike later.

Mark Christian-Edwards <MTCEdwards@aol.com> (25.02.2000)

I was a music-unaware teenager in the 70s. After Tubular Bells, the first LP I bought (to get some awareness) was a rock compilation, which had "And you and I" on it. I assumed the singer was a woman (obviously!), but I liked the song. Then I saw "Close to the Edge" in a record store and made it mine. Oh, the beauty of that music! I was not aware that there was such a thing as "Progressive Rock" - I just loved the intricacy, the unexpectedness, the power of this band called Yes. Dodgy high voice though (the singer's a MAN?!). My other favourites now are Relayer and the Yes Album. Unusually, I also like Tormato. The essential band members are Anderson, Squire and Howe - or it's not Yes for me. My little brother "discovered" Yes in the 90s - he likes Big Generator and his favourite band member is Trevor Rabin. But what does he know?

Jeff Blehar <jdb3@jhu.edu> (27.02.2000)

Close To The Edge and right over the cliff. One album. Three songs. Two good musical ideas. And that's a nasty oversimplification of this ostensible meisterwork, but I feel the need to let the air out of Yesfans' tires (not that George hasn't done that quite well already). But first, the good (and there is a surprising amount of good): "Close To The Edge" would've been an amazing 9-minute epic, heck, even 14 minutes at a stretch. Unlike George, I find a lot of this to be damn catchy, just brimming with hooks. I don't really see where it's "inaccessible" - the whole "close to the edge, down by river" bit is darn near impossible to get out of my head. I find myself singing it on the streets of Baltimore, for no good reason. And I like church organs a lot, so that whole "I Get Up, I Get Down" part works for me. It's not the epiphany a lot of people make it out to be, but it's good. But 19 minutes? No! No no no no.

In response to the guy above, it's not the "length" of songs that bothers me per se, it's the UNECESSARY length. You reference classical music. But did Mahler (whose awesome, emotionally devastating 3rd symphony is one of the longest on record) ever write lengthy passage to demonstrate his "chops?" Mozart may have been intoxicated with his talent, but the charm of his complex counterpoints and constructions lies in their CONCISION. A famous dead white guy once wrote that brevity was the soul of wit (and he meant wit in the sense of "intelligence," not "humor"), and he was talking about Yes, even if he didn't know it. That being said, at least Yes doesn't drag a totally useless set of ideas into the ground - I can actually sit still for all 19 minutes, even though I'm not happy about it. And that opening is GREAT, with Anderson just busting out with "AAAHHH!" at random - I love that kind of jarring feeling, that discomfort. For once they're able to evoke the atmosphere indicated in the title, of being "close to the edge," in danger.

But the other half of Close To The Edge? Remember I said that there were two good musical ideas? Well they were used up on the first song. "And You And I" is pretty but I can't remember it for the life of me, and "Siberian Khatru" is similarly nondescript: lots of riffing and loudness, on a level of complexity expected by Yes, but nothing really memorable as would be befitting an album of this reputation. Oh, and what an atrocious cover. What's the story behind that? Puke green? How inviting. 5/10.

Nick Karn <Awake600@aol.com> (08.05.2000)

I can kind of see why you hate this one - it seemed really disorganized to me at first, but on further listens I found the songwriting to be at a magnificent level.... maybe not as great as Fragile, but still several utterly breathtaking moments. Plus, the flow here is much better, and so is Bill Bruford's drum sound.

As far as "Close To The Edge" the song goes, I'm one of those who are actually intrigued by lyrics that make absolutely no sense - even if I did hate them, it still wouldn't detract from the fact the musicianship is exceptional. It's very expertly constructed as far as mood, shifting from the tension reflected in the chaotic intertwining jam to the melodic instrumental part just before the vocals come in. The song flows effortlessly and gets to the 9 minute mark before you know it, and then of course comes the insanely breathtaking 'I get up, I get down' section, which is just heavenly (not in a "We Have Heaven" kind of way though). After a frantic solo bit, it reverts back to the normal verse and chorus, then to the birds chirping at the end as if nothing had happened in between. This song just blows anything off The Yes Album out of the water (not that that one wasn't strong itself) in terms of melody, song construction, and mood. NO ONE else sounded like this in 1972 or previous to it - this is a key song in prog's development, love it or not.

The rest of the album? Listening to "And You And I", there's no way I can accept the idea that Jon Anderson is a soulless robot. The lyrics may not make that much sense compared to most bands, but I can see there are romantic themes there, and I can hear genuine emotion in his voice there. Plus, it has more gorgeous Steve Howe acoustic work and an incredible climax that seems a little disconnected from the rest of the song, but it's still quite magnificent... great ending too! I don't see what makes "Siberian Khatru" any worse than the rest of this album, though - the main riff and melody are extremely catchy, and Rick Wakeman's symphonic keyboard playing gives the song a majestic aura about it, and the lyrics are intriguing and mystical, matching the flow of the song. Also, that bit just before the ending solo ('blue tail, tail fly, Luther, in time...') serves the song well in my opinion. Overall, I'd probably give this one a high 9 (not quite a 10 like Fragile, since a few parts seem a tiny bit awkward), and a 13 on your scale.

Ben Greenstein <bgreenstein@nctimes.net> (02.06.2000)

Maybe I was completely wrong about these guys. Because I really like this album. It's not the most outwardly interesting music I've ever heard, but if you listen closely, there's a lot going on besides the expected noise onslaught. None of the three songs bother me in the way that "Your Is No Disgrace" does, nor do they lost me like "Roundabout," where I get bored within the first minute. "And You And I" is really fantastic, starting with that neat harmonic intro, and going off into a melodic accoustic piece, before a couple of overblown climaxes. "Siberian Khatru" keeps piling new ideas and memorable riffs until I'm almost convinced that it's the best song ever. The title track doesn't even drag for me - and who gives a fuck about the lyrics! The only bands that I listen to for the lyrics are XTC and sometimes Elvis Costello. The rest of the time I don't even care about words. I could give this a nine! Maybe higher soon!

Nick Einhorn <eeinhorn@home.com> (05.06.2000)

You're kind of right about Yes being somewhat "prog to the extremes". But I think that Jon Anderson is really a great and very underrated vocalist. I'm not a huge Yes fan, so I've only heard Fragile and Close To The Edge. But Anderson's vocals, especially on the latter, are well worth listening to. You see, I honestly think that he was one of the best ever singers to use his voice as an instrument instead of a way to get words across. He was really very versatile, as "Close To The Edge" shows; he can go from the fast parts at the beginning to the (a bit too) slow 'I Get Up I Get Down' part. The beauty of it is, his lyrics may be weird, but his voice fits with the music. You can listen to CTTE without understanding a word he says and it doesn't make a difference. Instead, his voice is just one part of the musical depth that Yes used. In this way, Jon Anderson is as much of a revolutionary as Keith Moon was; the way Moon used his kit as a lead instrument, Anderson sang as if complementing the music instead of covering it or being boring. I think that's pretty cool.

By the way, I think the best thing on CTTE is at the beginning where Howe (I think) is playing that atonal solo in 6/8 time and it cuts suddenly into an a cappella chord, then breaks back in, and repeats a couple of times. That still blows me away every time I hear it.

John McFerrin <stoo@imsa.edu> (29.06.2000)

Well George, you said that you'd like to get inside the soul of a Yesfan who enjoys this album, so here it goes. The following are the images, more or less, that pass through my mind when I am listening to this sucker. I would also like to point out to all who read this that I am normally nowhere NEAR as kooky or strange as the following will make me seem to be.

The thing is, believe it or not, this is an album which must not only be taken _musically_ as a whole, but as one big chunk which includes, of all things, the cover and mid-section art. The world shown in the middle, a surreal chunk of water and colored rock, is where this album takes you. The green on the front and back is a veil, of sorts, through which one enters and exits this world.

You pass through this veil, and when you first enter, all you can sense are the quiet chirpings and river babblings of nature. But you can also feel an impending onslaught, one that you cannot quite describe ... and then it is there. You are being flooded with powers that you cannot begin to understand. What you can sense, however, is that it is a purifying force, and as with all purification the process is painful. You can feel all of the outside worldliness being violently sucked out of you, and as this happens you want to scream, but you only find it registered in your mind. When the smoke clears, however, you do not wish to rest - you feel overwhelmed to take a journey. To what, you do not know, but you must press onwards and upwards the path that has been presented you. You begin to march. Your mind is flooded with abstract thoughts and images, but they do seem to have a common theme within them, about the perils that people have created for themselves by denying the powerful life force which is all around them. You keep marching. The path is always rugged and twisty, but you feel compelled to go on.

In time, though, you hit a clearing, and through it you see a beautiful oasis, more radiant and breathtakingly beautiful than anything you had ever before comprehended. The atmosphere of the place is simultaneously uplifting and mournful, as though a great sacrifice has been made that could ultimately help the others of the universe, although they might not recognize it. The forces within you and without you allow you to stay and take it all in...

....but only for so long. This gorgeous place begins to flicker and glow, becoming more overwhelmingly colorful and astoundingly beautiful with each passing second, and as it reaches the threshold of what you can comprehend before you would die of pleasure, it disappears. Just like that. And you are left to continue on your journey, just as before. The voices come back to your mind, giving you a lesson that you still do not fully understand, and yet which you can still comprehend. You feel these words in your heart, though your brain is totally befuddled, and they feed and grow in you with each passing second.

You keep going until you can tell that you are almost at the top, and the forces urge you on. At last you make it to the top, and with triumph you gaze upon a plateau of sheer surreal beauty. The forces applaud your effort in one voice with great aplomb, and you are allowed to sit and take it in.

After resting, you begin to press onwards to the center of this plateau. The journey is easier now, as the land is mostly flat, and you can move fairly briskly. The forces begin to now give you images of man's relationship to nature, and you take them in quickly, without much thought. As you approach the center, though, the forces become stronger - you can tell that you are nearing a holy place of sorts. As you come closer to this place, you can begin to feel the power, and it grows with each passing second. You know not exactly where in it to go, and yet the forces practically carry you to it.

And then you see it and feel it, the point of your journey. You look up, and you can see everything, everyone, everyplace, and everytime. You are absolutely overcome and overpowered with an overwhelming sense of awe and a complete oneness with every last thing in existance. The majesty is totally beyond anything which you had ever before comprehended, and you are simply speechless.

As you stand in the place, however, the force fades away, leaving you weak-kneed and in need of rest from the experience. Eventually, you get up the strength to get moving again in the same direction as before, and once more your journey is brisk. More thoughts pass through you, but they seem less powerful after what you have experienced. Eventually, you come to the other side of the plateau, the peaceful thoughts fade away, and you are left to rest.

You now feel compelled to go down the cliff in order to leave this place. You try to keep a slow, controlled pace, but the steepness forces you to have to move at a much faster rate than before. Thoughts continue to pass through you, but now they don't mean as much and don't resonate with you deep down, since all of your concentration is spent in getting down this cliff without hurting yourself. Ocasionally the path is less steep, but no sooner does it get easy then it gets fast again.

Eventually, you lose your footing, and you start to slide down. Thoughts are still going through you, but now you can make no sense of them whatsoever - you're so terrified of your painful and increasingly accelerating descent that you can only pick out bits and pieces of what is going on. The thoughts finally leave all together, but you keep sliding. And then, without warning, you approach the 'exit veil'. As when you entered this place, you want to scream - your necessary worldliness is flying back into you, and after what you experienced on the plateau, that is the last thing you want. The onslaught of forces are as powerful as before, though different in nature, since they are _returning_ as opposed to _taking_ your worldliness. You continue to slide, and you gradually pass through the veil and the reality of this strange world begins to fade.

Well, George, you asked, you got it. :p

Philip Maddox <slurmsmckenzie@hotmail.com> (07.07.2000)

I'd give this a much higher rating than you did - probably a 9 or something. 'Close To the Edge' tries hard, but doesn't bore me at all during its entire 20 minute length. People say that the 'I Get Up I Get Down' part stands out, but I think the main verse melody is awesome, too. My favorite part is at the conclusion when Jon sings "Now that you're whole... seasons will pass you by.... I get uuuuup, I get dow-owowow-ownnn". It's beautiful. A great tune. Side 2 isn't bad either. 'And You And I' is extremely pretty, too. It sounds a bit like 'I've Seen All Good People', but not as good until the end, where it gets extremely beautiful. 'Siberian Khatru' is the weakest track here - it doesn't have enough ideas and/or melody to last 10 minutes. It isn't bad, though. In fact, it's still quite good. just not as good as the two tracks that preceded it. I could care less how complex music is in general - I just like music that's exciting, beautiful, interesting, or all 3. This album qualifies easily, if you ask me. A high 9.

Joel Larsson <joel.larsson@privat.utfors.se> (14.09.2000)

I've just one thing to say about this LP: It is better than a 6 and 8 rating. Just listen to 'Siberian Khatru'!

<MattBeas@aol.com> (10.10.2000)

Well, I have to give you credit for stating your opinions. But I think that you are way overanalyzing things (see "complaint # 2" on the plans page - G.S.). It took me a while to grow use to the Yes sound as well (that is the whole point, it is complicated music), but a piece like "And You and I" might be one of the most beautiful pieces of Rock music I have ever heard. Some of the melodies are downright staggering in their beauty, and I know that I am just one of many who feel this way. I would rather fail occasionally and be ambitious than simply stick to the tried and true. Just imagine what it must feel like to write and perform such a beautiful peace of music. Even the lyrics are cool. They are obscure, but Jon Anderson's singing on "And You and I" is incredible. How you could say you feel sorry for him is crazy.

Robert Grazer <xeernoflax@jack-the-ripper.com> (06.01.2000)

"Jon Anderson is a graphomaniac whose only purpose in life seems to be penning...totally absurd, senseless and bland lyrics"

"the best Beatles song of all time: 'I Am The Walrus'"

Are you aware that you made these two statements? All I can really say to you George is that this could be the biggest contradiction I have ever seen on any review site ever.

[Special author note: Yes, I am well aware that I made these two statements, and moreover, I am absolutely well aware that there is no contradiction within these statements. Whatsoever. John Lennon's lyrics in 'I Am The Walrus' are of the absurdist/dadaist type. These are strings of pointless word combinations that are there exclusively for aural effect and nothing else. They do not PRETEND to be serious stuff - only a complete lunatic would try to guess the actual 'meaning' behind these words. That said, these pointless word combinations are at least funny. Jon Anderson's lyrics, on the other hand, are completely devoid of any humour whatsoever and structured as pompous attempts at 'serious' poetry. As far as I know, the guy REALLY takes what he writes for serious (which is evident from some of his interviews), which only makes these lyrics more miserable. Perhaps my statement about Jon's lyrics being 'absurd, senseless and bland' IS a wee bit incorrect, because it's not so much the absurdity and senselessness that bothers me as the combination of this absurdity and senselessness with the ultra-serious attitude prevailing in Yes music. Whatever it is, however, I suppose it's fairly obvious that Lennon's lyrics on 'Walrus' and Anderson's lyrics on 'Close To The Edge' fall in two completely different categories, and it's rather strange that you haven't noticed that.]

Erin Palmer <EPoioi@netscape.net> (30.04.2001)

Close to the Edge is an esoteric album, for certain, and the song is certainly complex. With a distinguishing ear one can pick up considerable depth in the composition, whose thematic ideas parallel the nature of the lyrics. I too use to think that Andersoní lyrics were mindless, weird, wacky stuff best appreciated for sound values. I was wrong.

Broadly, the song deals with the chaos of the material world and the serenity of the spiritual humility. More specifically, the song correlates with the themes presented in Hermann Hesse's novel, Siddhartha. Donít think that Iím clutching at straws to establish this meaning...the evidence is too strong to ignore. Just thought you should know. Itís immaterial whether or not you enjoy the music, but you really canít say Anderson/Howeís lyrics have no meaning, since they do. The ways the music works in conjunction with the lyrical themes is perhaps CTTEís greatest asset. But, again, you have to have to have an intuitive ear to pick up many of the more subtle connections.

I canít possibly explain it in a concise manner, but observe the cyclical nature of the song, the critical "Seasons will pass you by" reference, the transition from chaos to order (musically speaking). Also, the frequently ridiculed line "And rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace" is not just gibberish. What is the liver? The organ that removes impurities from the body. Think about it. Also, the song has a LOT to do with metaphysical value judgments. If youíre interested in analyzing the song, perhaps those ideas will give you a place to start.

Anyway, Iím sure you donít care. If you donít like the music, then Iím sure the rest doesnít have much value you. Thatís cool. Yes AINíT for everyone! Hehe.

John Sieber <oneofakind151@hotmail.com> (20.06.2001)

You mentioned "Yes" and "long-winded" in the same sentence. Well, you're not the first and won't be the last. But I will let you in on a secret I discovered while listening to the orchestral version of "Close to the Edge".

I realized that some of the parts would be left out, as the orchestral version was only 7 and a half minutes long. But as the reduction passed by the edited parts (the dissonant guitar intro, the heavenly organ solo and following synth solo, among others), I found myself missing these parts that the arranger obviously blew off as unnecessary atmosphere. Some of the most beautiful parts, too! Moral: If you miss it when it's gone, it's necessary. Even if it does make the piece a bit long-winded.

Jaime Vargas <j.vargas@aznar.es> (27.09.2001)

Well, so much has been said, but I just want to point at a particular thing that gets easily overlooked: composition. As much as Yes fans would like to think of 'CTTE' (the song) as a big composition, fully thought out, the reality (as I discovered in an interview) is that they made short bits of music and then pieced it together - with razor blade and adhesive tape - in the order that they thought more suitable. So much that when it came to do it live they had to play the record and *learn* the song - just like any cover band!

Juan Llull Jurado <juanllulljurado@hotmail.com> (04.01.2002)

Oh, I'm so tired of Yes (and progressive rock in general), being criticized by the lenght of their songs. I just can't stand it. I think that a "suite"  it's better than the sum of its parts. And there's a lot of creativity (I can't find something like 'Close to the Edge''s intro, or the climax in 'And you and I'). If some critics find that extended solos are just a show off, only to satisfy a musician's ego (and to "bore in porpouse" the audiencie), well, ok, let's  limit the expresiveness and "feeling" of the players, and just make music with studio musicians, caring more about the commercial potential than the music itself.

Brian Sittinger <bsitting@mail.math.ucsb.edu> (27.08.2002)

Risking lack of originality, I claim this is their absolute peak. It's very hard to explain this. Perhaps, this has to do with the orchestral scope of this album. Unless you don't like the themes/hooks presented, it's really hard (after seeing the full picture of this album) to find anything dull about this album.

As for the songs, I'll just mention a few things that stick out for me (refer to John McFerrin for the definitive statement of this album). The title track has to be the most "puffed-up" yet sublimely beautiful 18 1/2 miute pop song I've ever seen. The chirping birds in the intro. and outro. set up the mood for the piece, Howe tosses around the firecrackers like no tomorrow, the main theme gradually gets elaborated upon, and that center. This has to be among the most pleasant/sublime 'ambient' section I've heard thus far. Add to this the harmonies and church organ within this section and I'm close to heaven. The closing vocals are quite beautiful, too. As for "And You and I", the mellotron (?)/slide guitar section is yet another downright gorgeous section of music. Finally, "Siberian Khatru" is the closest thing we have to a rock song here. The solo section with Wakeman and Howe is dazzling, and Bruford throws in more of his superb drumming throughout. And there's more. I'll stop for now. Due to its consistency in more way than one, this gets a 10(15) from me.

Alexis von Sydow <eddi.vonsydow@swipnet.se> (13.11.2002)

I think that there are certain things connecting this with Pink Floyd's Animals. While I really think that Close To The Edge is an incredible album, I admit that it really doesn't sport a whole lot of musical ideas/innovations. Just like Animals. Both albums have three songs, neither of which from an 'objective point of view' contain enough themes and melodies to justify their length. Therefore, I think that we take that 'objective point of view' and throw it out the window. Because both albums are great. And if they are great even though they don't have many musical ideas, that must mean that they have other qualities, why not call it atmosphere. Anyone who heard Animals knows that it is a very moody album, with an atmosphere that I personally find a little unsettling, but is so solid that it almost can be touched.

And about Close To The Edge you say somewhat scornfully that "When it comes down to atmosphere, objective criteria cease to exist altogether and it all comes down to whether the noise you're listening to touches some of your particular nerves or whether it doesn't."

Well, that is of course true, but that only seems to be a problem when you don't like the actual atmosphere. Then, that means that your 'objective criteria' is most certainly not enough. And while we're at it, I've never understood the concept of objectivelly judging music. Seems rather strange, I think.

Oh, and I'm not bashing your taste, you may think that this album ain't as great as I think, and that's OK by me. I just seem to have got a hang-up here, but that's because you stick to your objective criteria even when they're totally out of place.

[Special author note: oh geez, once again a way-off-base comment stemming from a misunderstanding. My 'objective criteria' not enough for what? If somebody wants to give the album a 15/15, that's no problem with me; I'm not losing sleep over it, and the North pole isn't exactly shifting its position because of it either. I'm explaining my position here, not anybody else's. I think the review states that expressly. And no, objective criteria are never out of place. They're just not covering the whole picture. Besides, it's not so much the atmosphere I dislike about this album as it is the monotonousness of this atmosphere. I'll take a multi-part multi sectioned suite like Thick As A Brick with its many moods and styles over the paucity of Close To The Edge's ideas any day.]

Laureano López <iekamede@yahoo.com.ar> (09.03.2003)

Hi, George! I'm sure you'd already noticed that you're becoming famous as a reviewer. You're my main resource together with -oh, God- AllMusic reviews.

I just want to make a little comment about Close to the edge. You'll have to forgive my poor English, I'm Argentinian and learned more English in the Internet than in the classroom.

When I first read your comment I thought, well, I will carry my bed and turn the lights off, this will be a 19 minutes nap. But, surprisingly, I didn't get asleep. Instead of that, I really liked the suite, and it was difficult for me to keep myself awake while listening to 'Supper's ready' (it was worth it, anyway). So I thought why could a 19 minutes long piece with -that's an evident fact- just three themes and a lot of endless variation.

I thought about two of the greatest classical geniuses: Mozart and Beethoven. Someone already said in your page that one of the most notable goals of Mozart was concision. That's true. Mozart never repeats one theme more than twice, and very often one Mozart piece could be comparatively short because of that. I've never get bored listening to Mozart.

However, I never can finish one listening to the Beethoven's 'Choral symphony' without two or three long yawns. In certain parts you have to turn the volume up very much for more than one or two minutes. The fourth and longest movement repeats the main theme -ode to joy- so many times that I really start to bore about that. Of course, every variation is totally different in the musical treatment but, anyway, it bores me.

But many people says that the Choral is the greatest musical work of every time, and something moves people to say that. I think that two elements converge here, and both of them are equally important: musicallity and subjectivity. No one can deny that the Choral has many parts where the orchestration is so perfect and gorgeous that one really gets astonished in the first listening. But no one can deny either that if the beginning of the scherzo, the choral parts of the ode to joy and the great finale didn't touch the soul making it really shake sometimes, one could easily get sleepy due, mainly, to the lack of themes for such a long piece and the overabuse of pianissimo sections.

So I transfer this analysis to 'Close to the edge'. The main part is so really, really catchy, and the organ middle part is so touching that I simply never couldn't get asleep. That plus such a musicianship is the same combination that can be applied to the Choral. But, of course, this "acquired taste" thing is really a truth: you got bored while listening to CTTE, and I can't complete one full listening to the Choral. But this is our problem.

I'm sorry if I exceeded the space requirements. It's certainly difficult for me to write in English, and I hadn't noticed that I wrote too many lines until now.

Success to the lingüist, best wishes to the man, and of course the kudos to the best reviewer on the net.

Fernando Henrique Canto <mustapha@etcom.ufrgs.br> (30.10.2003)

Aww, but I love this album! I have no clue about what you say about the title track. You say 'Tarkus' is "justified", while this one isn't. I say 'Tarkus' just sucks, and this one... well, 'Close To The Edge' has a STRUCTURE. It is actually one song, instead of several snippets of songs slammed against each other with instrumental sections to hold them together. 'Close To The Edge' is an actual song, not a "musical piece". It has melodies, verses, choruses... I know I'm not the first one to make this point, but I think it's a bit mindless to rant about the song like that. Y'know the intro theme? That's just fantastic on its own. Then the first "portion". I see nothing boring about it. Verses and choruses, and all this stuff. You say you don't know why the same portion should be played thrice in the song. Why! Doesn't the same thing happen with your everyday pop song? There's 'I Get Up I Get Down', that's just gorgeous. Then, a fine, fine solo, and the finale. There! There's your 17 minutes, and to me, it feels like 8. I don't even hope to compare this to classical music. This is more Rock than Classical, to me. And I also love 'And You And I'. Wonderful! 'Siberian Khatru' rocks like a madman. And hey, let's no go on about lyrics, okay? If Jon takes this stuff seriously, I don't care. I don't take "a seasoned witch can call you from the depths of your disgrace" seriously, just like I don't take "four turkeys in a big black car" seriously. Whatever. I give this a 13. And no, I don't hate you, George... well, I DO hate you, but that's part of loving you, now isn't it?

David Dickson <ddickso2@uccs.edu> (13.08.2006)

A yellow rose?? WHEN DO I GET MY OWN GODDANG YELLOW ROSE?!!? (insert sarcastic retort here)

Right. I probably deserved that. But I have a confession to make (for the 1765th time.) Yes's greatest "hits" album was one of the first CD's I ever bought, and it tided me over for a good long while, so. . . THIS is the first actual Yes LP I've ever bought, seven years later. Break out the Roger Dean whiskey.

And I agree with George. Close to the Edge is good, in my opinion, but not THAT damn good. When you've got three songs on an album, they'd better goshdarned be the best three songs ever written and/or jammed to get the 10. These are just. . . pretty good. Can't say I agree with the contention that three or four ideas stretched over 20 or 10 or 9 minutes is a bad thing--I think it adds unity--but these IDEAS are just. . . pretty good. Also, I was shocked to recognize the last song on here; Yes often uses it as an opener in their myriad reunion tours. And it usually culminates in a dazzling Howe solo that goes on and on to a dramatic culmination, which ends the song with a virtuosic bang, sorta. Here, the assholes shorten the solo and fade the song out at the end! And hence, the album! Gbhbt. STOP FADING OUT "CLASSIC" ALBUMS ON THE LAST SONG, ROCKERS. THAT'S NOT COOL. The way the world ends (repeat 2x): not with a bang but a whimper, indeed. I got that off the Wikipedia article. Do you like it?

I like the album, though. Give you a nice warm jazzy reggaeish/spacey rock feel. Quite unlike the bombast of usual prog, rhymes with snog. I give it a B+ on the Scott scale. Now to hear the '80's genericissisisss, isissssssisissm. Er, ah, yes.


YESSONGS

Chris Mitchell <cwm@panther.middlebury.edu> (12.12.2000)

George Harrison's All Things Must Pass actually beat Yessongs to the first-triple-album punch by about 3 years. Yes may well have the first triple live album, though.

John McFerrin <stoo@imsa.edu> (13.12.2000)

Yup, I agree, this is a wonderful live album (though the sound quality doesn't quite match up). I would go so far as to say that if you really don't want to spend too much money on Yes, this and Fragile would fill out your collection just fine. I mean, it's got all of CTTE and the four epics of TYA. Given the choice, I think that casual fans would easily want to skip TYA (I mean, what will they lose - 'A Venture'? Oooooh ... Well, ok, there's the clap, but we get 'Mood For a Day' here!).

Mike DeFabio <defab4@earthlink.net> (13.12.2000)

Ahem... George... a little something called ALL THINGS MUST PASS???!!!

I like prog-rock. I've said it and I'm saying it again. I like 12 minute songs that make you feel like you're going on some epic fantasy journey. And this album has very many of them. They're great songs, and they're faithfully rendered, so it gets a thumbs up from me. Has anyone realized how the "Wurm" section of "Starship Trooper" is kind of a prog-rock "Freebird"? That's why it makes such a good closer.

Philip Maddox <slurmsmckenzie@hotmail.com> (14.12.2000)

Fantastic live album by the Yessers, and worth that nine you gave it. The songs are all adequately changed from the studio versions, be it with crunchier guitars ("Yours Is No Disgrace"), extended soloing ("The Fish"), or some rearrangements ("Roundabout", "And You And I") to make it worthwhile. Plus, early Yes epics were usually pretty great, and 3 albums worth of them never really gets boring. The only real complain that I have here is that the live "Close To The Edge" isn't nearly as great as the studio version (how could it be?) due to some changes that had to be made in concert (the keys certainly sounds cheesier, Jon doesn't soar as high as he should in some parts), but the song is great regardless. And like you said, "Starship Trooper" is fantastic beyond words here - that coda gets me every time. It's the perfect way to close out a live experience. Like I said, a fantastic album. Not even the subpar sound quality can get to me (trust me, I've heard a lot worse).

Rich Bunnell <taosterman@yahoo.com> (16.04.2001)

Really, really freakin' good. The most strongly-sequenced rearrangement of The Yes Album, Fragile and Close To The Edge that I can imagine, with a few really awesome jams at the end of a few of the songs to spice things up a little. I hate commenting on live albums. 9/10

Ben Kramer <bkramer2000@hotmail.com> (01.03.2002)

This is actually kind of an excuse for not buying any of their previous three albums. Well, not really, because you lose Yes' studio expertise. Also, this album's sound quality is below average. However, this is necessary if you are cheap and don't want to get into the band. I actually have one little problem with this album though.  So many people rant and rave about the version of 'Starship Trooper' on here. Why? Howe sounds good, but he's no Clapton. It also resembles the studio version.  Besides that, the album lives up to the hype. In fact, it's probably Yes' best album ever because of the song content (I don't really care if it's a greatest hits live album, it's still my favorite from them). So, because I refuse to give a Yes studio album higher than a 12 (except maybe The Ladder (gasp), more details later), I feel I can give a "greatest hit" album a 13, though nothing higher. You see, Jon Anderson's voice is what I would call annoying, and with very few exceptions, it can only be taken in small doses (about 40 minutes worth). His voice drops the album a point and its length/sound quality a half point each. The songs are all great so I can't take off there. 'Heart of the Sunrise' and 'All Good People' are just awesome, even if they are similar to the studio version (though they are sloppier, which isn't a bad thing). 'Close to the Edge' doesn't have the same impact as the studio, because a lot of the little things were left out (a shame) and it seems to be lacking in what Yes fans' favorite adjective of 'Close to the Edge', atmosphere. There is none when it's live, but I think the fact that all of these Yesheads are sitting in the audience and recognize 'Close to the Edge', Yes must be doing something right. When in the audience at a concert, you don't seem to realize the little imperfections you realize during a live album. I personally am less critical of live albums, but I recognize their weaknesses and simply blame them on the fact that it's live. This is a perfect example of that type of album. For example, I love the song 'Roundabout', and the version here is no exception, but the guitar work sounds really messy, and I think Jon is slightly out of key. However, I doubt I could dock serious points for that.

So, for the maximum listening experience, close your eyes, pretend you're their, ignore the little things, and enjoy!

<KingWumpus@aol.com> (13.04.2002)

Hey there, quick note about the whole "first triple album" thing. Many people have already pointed out All Things Must Pass, so I won't get into that. But I don't think this was even the first live triple album. I believe that honor goes to the Grateful Dead's Europe '72. Now I'm not too sure, since it might have been released sometime in 1973, but it was a triple live album recorded in 1972. In any case, it's a pretty close race between that and Yessongs. Not sure when the tour for Yessongs took place, but it was between Bruford and White. Bruford was in Crimson for Larks' Tongues in 1973... beats me when he actually left, though. Keep up the good work.

PS. Whoops, guess I was wrong on all counts! Neither this nor Europe '72 wins the crown: Chicago IV (1971) was actually a QUADRUPLE LIVE ALBUM. Yup, 4 LPs, 8 sides. I've never heard it because I'm just starting into Chicago (I thought they sucked big-time until I heard Chicago II. Apparently they were pretty good jazz-rock for their first 5 or 6 albums, then they turned to total shit. Their last listenable album was somewhere around Chicago VIII and they're up to number 24 or something now)

2) It's really a shame that you seem to hate jazz fusion that much. I'm not a jazzhead at all one iota, but I've recently gotten turned onto Miles Davis, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Chase. It's surprising you like "Starless" or "The Gates of Delirium" and can't get into the Mahavishnus (although I doubt you've heard of them). If all you've heard is jazz snobs trying to rock out, I'd reccomend MO's Birds of Fire album or Chase's Ennea. Both are basically prog-jazz albums, sort of in the vein of early Crimson. At least try to get MP3s of one or the other, they might change your viewpoint And as I said, I'm really not a jazz type.

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (11.06.2002)

The sound quality is a bit of a bummer -- the performances (especially the vocals) sound like they were taken from mikes at the back of the arena, not soundboards. Then again, the band jams so much that Anderson seems almost superfluous.

That notwithstanding, the performances are awesome. Even if they do go overboard once in a while ("Perpetual Change," "The Fish"), Yes's amazing musicianship is demonstrated perfectly here, before they decided to do carbon copies of the studio versions of the songs. Wakeman's spot shows a sense of humor (notice the quote from Handel's "Messiah"?), and his flourishes on the tracks from The Yes Album are interesting. Since you get a good bargain here (all of CTTE, 2/3 of the previous two albums), it's highly recommended as an intro to Yes for beginners.

Bruford's two tracks, I think, were recorded on the Fragile tour -- I think he jumped ship before the CTTE shows began, or at least not very far into that tour.

Brian Sittinger <bsitting@mail.math.ucsb.edu> (27.08.2002)

Well, Yes can do all their stuff live! What a surprise! If anyhting, I really like the 'rougher'/more electric sound they have here. It adds much freshness to the proceedings. It's tough to find faults with the song selection. "Yours is no Disgrace" and "Starship Trooper" are the highlights here, as Howe gets room to stretch out in the former, and Wakeman joins the frenzy in the latter. One drawback, the sound quality (which I rarely am picky about) is quite 'cavernesque' here. 9(13)

Eric Knight <eric.knight@ntlworld.com> (27.08.2005)

Its easy....for me anyway, to add a couple of lines..Ive been into Yes since 1970, and whilst some of their music leaves a little to be desired, when it comes to TYA, CTTE and YSSGS, Ive been listening to them for about 30 years now, and I still love em! I also found many of the comments here very interesting, and in most cases well thought out, so its good to know there is someintelligent comment on the band,its music and lyrics. Marks (out of 15) TYA 15 CTTE 15 YSSGS 15 ..and Yes, of course im biased! But keep up the good work...I enjoyed reading the material generally.


TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS

John McFerrin <stoo@imsa.edu> (03.05.99)

Hey! I _love_ Stravinsky, more so than any other composer, but I still like this album a lot. As has been said, Anderson's lyrics are essentially just the ravings of drugged-up madman, but they can mean whatever you want them to. And yeah, 'The Remembering' is a little dull, and the words on 'The Ancient' suck, but the first and last tracks CANNOT BE BEAT (yeah, I know that I said I preferred the whole of disc one to disc two on the prindle site; I've listened more and since changed my mind).

Josh Fitzgerald <Breezesf85@cs.com> (21.08.99)

I have mixed feelings about this. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't, but I always find it quite fascinating. I can't really review the separate songs, it's too hard. I'll just say that I like parts of every song. Except "The Ancient" which is HORRIBLE!

My rating-7

Chris Wallace <YesTFTO73@aol.com> (11.01.2000)

As a 23 year old musician who appreciates almost all types of music, I find this to be simply the BEST album I have ever heard, and many albums have I heard. Pure genius is Tales From Topographic Oceans. One day, more people will see it as I do.

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

I must agree. The absolute low point. Lots of fans put this at #1, but who knows why? I've only heard the whole thing once, and parts of this are just totally unlistenable, while a lot of it is just plain dull. Steve's guitar screeches a lot. And the lyrics are way over the top -- they are supposed to have a connection with the Shastric scriptures, but who could tell? The best track is "Ritual," which does recall "Close to the Edge" and has some good melodies, but they ruin it with a way-too-long percussion solo.

Oh well, sometimes experiments fail.

Chris Cormier <chris2@nb.sympatic.ca> (19.06.2000)

I thought the lyrics of "what happened to the song we once knew so well" were pretty obvious, especially in the setting of the song.  I must be one of those yes fans that think the world doesn't understand.  They mean, what have we done with what we were given, for instance, children aren't prejudiced and ignorant, they have no concept of these things, until they grow older and start learning 'adult' ways.  You must be familiar with this drift, God gave us a amazing planet to live on, basically a garden of paradise which was 'improved' into the cesspool it is today, he gave us a life to live and all we do is whine (how come there are no eating disorders in famine-stricken areas?)  The only thing worse than hippy philosophy is people who attack it (and immediately replace it with their own even more weak-minded smart-ass one.)

I don't really see the point in attacking an artist so completely though, what's the point?  I can dress up in armor and skewer a fudge sundae, but isn't that going a bit overboard, maybe i'm more confident in my masculinity or something.  I'll say that the rolling stones sucked real bad and relied on being perceived as shocking and offensive (in keith richards case, actually being very offensive) more than having any actual talent (supposedly you got 'em messed up with Alice Cooper, dude - G. S.).  But I'm not going to write pages detailing it because (1) apparently some people get a real charge from it, it's kind of pointless to write on and on how i just don't get it.  Sucks to be me, and (2) I'd have to torture myself and listen to all that stuff over and over just to get enough material to write about.  

Ben Greenstein <bgreenstein@nctimes.net> (25.07.2000)

I seem to be in the minority on this album - I can see all of it's flaws very clearly (it IS very overlong, and it IS way too lethargic), but I still enjoy it quite a bit. They are clearly running out of melodies - each song has about one hook, which is in opposition to the eight or so they stuck on each song on the last album, but the music is always pleasant - and not really boring, just good as background music. Though, I'll admit, it is annoying when you peek over at the elapsed time, expecting a song to be nearing it's end, and you've still got ten minutes to go. "Ritual" is a great song, though. So is "Revealing Science," if not as much. Another eight.

Richard Savill <dreklind@btinternet.com> (01.09.2000)

I heard this album for the first time only just this year. I had to see what all the fuss is about on the various YES websites.

My impressions are this.

This album just doesn't have anything that really grabs you. For an album to grab you it takes something called 'melody'. I realise that it was not calculated to be a melodious album, but if the 'movements' had better phases between the moments, Topo might not be the cause of such civil wars with ardent YES fans.

Sad to say, I prefer to listen to a long and boring Gustav Mahler symphony than relax to Topo. But these are my early impressions. I have listened to it a few times now and still I cannot enjoy it. My view may change, but so far it looks like one of those CDs that rarely gets played.

I can see why some people would like the album though. It's deep. You have to listen to it intellectually. Having said that, this means the album can be construed as pretentious.

I enjoyed your article. You told it straight.

By the way, have you heard of Klaatu? I would really like to hear how you'd review their album HOPE (1977).

John McFerrin <stoo@imsa.edu> (24.09.99)

1. 'Even Chris Squire's bass isn't that good because it's usually quite low in the mix (did they think the guy was taking too much place in the band?)'

Actually, that's not far from the truth. My brother was reading an old interview with Bill Bruford (since my bro's a big KC fan, we each give Bill the same level of reverence) in which he said that the primary reason that he left was actually the fact that he was "sick of waiting for Chris to 'catch up'." IE, he was tired of having to 'compete' with Chris for the right to jazz up the rhythm section, and he had to restrain himself more than he wanted so that there could be _some_ semblance of rhythm. Of course, I don't really agree with his assessment there, but whatever ...

2. To Mr. Cormier: I probably love this album more than you do. But just because the average Stones fan will despise this album doesn't mean that a lover of this album should ignore or put down the Stones (as I once did, unfortunately). Both Yes and the Stones are fabulous bands, just with different approaches.

3. (Back to you George): I still disagree on the assessment of Anderson's lyrics on this album as raving nonsense. The texts within each of these tracks must be taken as a holistic whole - while I will admit that it is unfortunate that one cannot find meaning in individual lines (like with, say, Peter Gabriel's Genesis) taken as a whole, they WORK. And Jon _did_ put thought into these lyrics, he did he did he did!!!!

4. Ok, as far as the music goes, I can understand. I don't have anything against the gigantic deconstructionism in this album, but I can see where it would annoy. A lot.

5. ... But you never get the 'getting over overhanging trees' part of 'TRSoG' stuck in your head? Wow, I must be a real freak.

Tony Weitner <tony@gna.net> (20.11.2000)

Hi there,

As a completely unpompous fan of this period of rock music (and an even bigger fan of classical and jazz - the real thing) I enjoyed your commentary on this.

One note of possible interest:

You write"'The Ancient' is the only tune that seems to have a little energy, with a good, ravin' and chuggin' drums/base/guitar intro (although the lyrics are arguably the worst on the album, with Anderson reciting meaningless, cabbalistic words he apparently doesn't have the slightest idea of), "

If my memory serves me correctly, these 'cabbalistic words' as you call them are really the word 'Sun' in different languages of the world.

Would more people give the actual music more of a chance if it weren't for the pompous personalities bringing it to life?

Thanks again.

Bill Jean <bjean@city.windsor.on.ca> (02.12.2000)

I went to my first or second Yes Concert back in the early 70's and it was for the Tales Tour. I remember falling asleep during the concert. Most of the crowd were pretty quiet as well when they played the entirety of Tales. It seemed like the guys were pretty much into their musci and didn't give a shit about the crowd. Afterwards, this was THE ALBUM me and my friends listened to for the whole of our University life. I wish I knew the material during that album because they never really played it much live afterwards. 30 years later I'm still listening to it. This is the Muhammed Ali of prog rock albums.

Jeff Melchior <Jeffmoncheri@aol.com> (22.12.2000)

I think the critics that have savaged this album so brutally actually provoked a counteractive response from young Yes fans like myself. I know MY curiosity was peaked - I had to hear what was often described as the worst rock album of all time sounded like, especially from a band that had released some of my favorite albums such as The Yes Album and Fragile.

It took me a long time to track it down in order to satisfy that curiosity, too. Before the remaster releases, Tales was just about impossible to find. When it finally became available for mass consumption again, the young 'uns clamored to the CD shops only to discover that it was ... OK. Not great, not horrible, just ... OK.

I think Tales actually sounds better now than it would have 27 years ago because it's removed from its original context. At the time, it probably represented the worst excesses of both hippie culture and progressive rock. Neither of those things are very relevant anymore, so it can finally be appreciated for what it is: a long, overblown but surprisingly melodic prog-rock album. I'd give it about a 7.

Steven Sullivan <sullivan@gwis2.circ.gwu.edu> (28.04.2001)

Great site, but let's be clear on a few things, shall we?

1) Tales is the most brilliant album Yes ever did, except on alternate Tuesdays, when Relayer gets the nod.

2) Bruford's quote about waiting for Squire to 'catch up' refers to Squire's habit of coming late to rehearsals, gigs, etc. -- something Bruford found inexcusable, insulting, and ultimately, intolerable.

3) Tales rewards repeated listening -- requires it, in fact, as a symphony does, if one wants to appreciate the myriad melodic and rhthymic relationships weaving through it (and there are *lots* of them -- they even extend into Relayer.) The old cliche, 'I still hear new things every time I listen' applies.

4) My impression is that the average commentator here is, like, 18-20 years old? And, like, gets bored real easy?

5) And that the site owner has some *really bad taste* in prog ('Still You Turn Me On' as the best track off Brain Salad Surgery? 'Your Own Special Way' as the pick of the litter from Wind and Wuthering? What the fuck?)

6) Get the Japanese HDCD remaster of Tales if you can -- it's the only CD version that captures the album's sonic glory.

PARISI, MATTHEW B <MATTHEW_B_PARISI@fleet.com> (12.10.2001)

I think that you tend to underrate Yes' classic period (1971-74) in general, but I also think that you overrate TfTO by giving it a five. I agree that giving it a one comes off as too punitive, so a two or three is probably most accurate. Save for the first five minutes of the first track, it's an appallingly bad album, and representative of the worst that prog rock had to offer.

Brian Sittinger <bsitting@mail.math.ucsb.edu> (27.08.2002)

Now, life gets interesting. To this day, I still can't enjoy this album all the way through (now, only due to the first half of "The Ancient"). Maybe, it's because this album is way more reliant on atmosphere than before. However, I still rather like it. I see this as very pleasant, dreamlike music. And, overall, this seems a bit less complex than Close to the Edge. (Not bad, considering I bought this after getting all the surrounding albums...)

Songwise, "The Revealing Science of God" is, by far, the best song on here. It rarely gets dull, unlike the others. For some reason, I vaguely see some purpose to what Anderson's singing about here. And, of course, Howe and Wakeman chime in some great solos. "The Remembering" rambles a bit at first, though still very pleasant. Then, it picks up in the last half (thank goodness!), with a greta riff from Howe, as well as a compelling conclusion. "The Ancient" tends to drag too long during the first half with Howe's ear splitting slide solo. By the time we get to the acoustic part ("Leaves of Green"), things get a bit better. Howe throws in some beautiful classical guitar to liven things up. (Watching him do this part in concert this summer was mouth-dropping...) Finally, "Ritual" more or less gives closure to this entire work.

This is a tough call, as I probably don't love this as much as I should, though I still like most of this. I'll stick with 9(12), and not any higher. (The '9' is for the guts to make such a piece!)

Fernando Henrique Canto <mustapha@etcom.ufrgs.br> (30.10.2003)

Well... well... what is this Mike Oldfield maniac going to say about THIS album, now? NOTHING! I don't own it! Ha ha ha. :D

But yes, I'm in the 18-20 years range, and I don't get bored easily.

Jason Saenz <jsaenz@sagetelecom.net> (09.07.2004)

Hmmmmmmm, Yes trying to be conceptual, well I dont think so. The songs are really pointless, maybe if your stoned you can appreciate this album a little more, but wait maybe if your stoned you might realize that this album really is a terrible Yes abortion. The only good thing on this album is some of "The revealing Science of God" and just some of it is all right. The songs are too long and the drumming is there but as I mentioned before you have to really stoned to hear em.

Antonio Liberal <antonio_liberal@hotmail.com> (14.07.2006)

Indeed, this crap really sucks!!! I hate the way Anderson sings(?) his completely pointless lyrics. I hate this MEGA POINTLESS BORING SLEEP-INDUCING intrumental passages!! That's all the prog flaws in one record!! I would give it a one just for the cover, as you planned to do but you didn't... Everyone should avoid this crap at any costs!!


RELAYER

Josh Fitzgerald <Breezesf85@cs.com> (21.08.99)

Sloppy, heavy, yet somehow, satisfying. "Gates Of Delirium" is acually amazing! Among the band's best musicianship. "Sound Chaser" I love, although I'm not sure why! "To Be Over" is nice, but nothing extraordinary! It's good!

My rating-9

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

Yes was going for a sort of jazz-fusion sound here. Which one can definitely hear, especially from Patirck and Alan. I'm one of the fans that thinks Patrick fills Wakeman's shoes just fine. The discordance of the guitar in "Gates" is grating and disturbing, but I think that's the effect Steve was going for. My main problem with "Sound Chaser" and "To Be Over" is that the vocal harmonies are mixed way too low in the track. But the "Soon" piece which ends "Gates" is one of the most melodic, beautiful ballads the band ever recorded.

George, as a Russian you might be interested in knowing that "Gates" was an attempt by Anderson to turn the novel War and Peace into a 22 minute song.

Rich Bunnell <taosterman@yahoo.com> (18.03.2000)

I still don't see what everyone hates about this band's wobbly prog jamming. Maybe I'm just more tolerant than most people, or maybe it's just because I haven't heard Tales From Topographic Oceans yet, but I still love this band's sound and love this album. "The Gates Of Delirium" is wonderful! It doesn't bother me at all that basically fourteen minutes of it is band jam because the jam is apocalyptic, relentless, and raucously tuneful. It's really a wonderful song, and even though this is the part that no one will agree with me on, "Sound Chaser" and "To Be Over" are real keepers as well. The former is messy and the latter's pretty soft, but I have to say that neither gives me any reason to hate them. People who bash that "CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA!" part in "Sound Chaser" are being really superficial (the one thing I really hate in music reviewing-- don't hate something because it's the most obvious thing to do, people, hate things when you actually mean it!). I'd give this album a nine.

Ben Greenstein <bgreenstein@nctimes.net> (20.06.2000)

Oh, man - I really like this one, too! It's not as catchy as Close To The Edge, (and whatever you say, that's a really catchy album), but the general mood is stronger, more atmospheric, and more rocky. How can you say that there's no "hidden beauty" on "Gates Of Delirium"? What do you call that "Soon" part at the end? That part defines beauty! "To Be Over," also - really pretty. Sounds like Neil Young. "Sound Chaser" is the only weak spot, for me, just because it's too fractured to really excite. But it's okay. I give this album a high eight!

Philip Maddox <slurmsmckenzie@hotmail.com> (07.07.2000)

I don't think it's as good as the 71-72 albums, but really, REALLY close. 'The Gates Of Delirium' is my favorite long form Yes song - that jam in the middle is killer! That is some really weird, messy, noisy friggin' music! The parts that frame the jam are great too. The opening vocal sections are great, and the section after the jam is absolutely beautiful - much more so than 'I Get Up I Get Down' was. The album is worth what you pay for it for just that one song. Side 2 isn't as good, though. 'Sound Chaser' is a great song, too. The focus is clearly on the band's instrumental skill here - that song is insane! It knocks me backwards it's so well played! It's interesting, too - I don't know how they thought of all this stuff! The last song, 'To Be Over', is kinda weak, though. It's nice, but not very memorable or exciting. It's supposed to be "calming", but it just bores me to death. It's not bad, it just pales next to the other material. i'd give this a low 9. Excellent album.

Brian Sittinger <bsitting@mail.math.ucsb.edu> (27.08.2002)

At first, I hated this album. It sounded very noisy (in italics) and unfocused at first. I think that, to this day, I still have a bit of this stigma in my head from those experiences. This prevents me from seeing this higher than, say, Fragile (though I have mellowed immensely toward Relayer nevertheless).

Once I found out what "Gates of Delirium" was based upon, the ENTIRE piece clicked! I relly enjoy Howe's recurring "Gates" theme, as well as the beautiful closing "Soon" section. And, for the last two years or so, the 'battle' section rules as well. "Sound Chaser" is among the messiest songs I've ever heard. And, it's intentional; yet it's done effortlessly! Depending on my mood, the "Cha Cha" section has potential to still freak me out. "To Be Over" won me over from the beginning. The asian-like atmosphere really helps. Howe's guitar really adds to the mix. And, Anderson's vocals are on throughout this album, often sounding emotional ("Soon" and end of "To Be Over"). 9(13).

Fernando Henrique Canto <mustapha@etcom.ufrgs.br> (30.10.2003)

Yay! Yay! This is Close To The Edge after being whacked with a mallet in the head like a Tubular Bell. 'The Gates Of Dellirium' is, in my opinion, absolutely brilliant. And I mean "absolutely" in its real sense. I don't know what to say about it - you said it all. But I love 'Sound Chaser'. It makes no sense - that's the point! It's funny! What's with that angry riff speeding up and slowing down? It must be the Prog interpretation of schizophrenia (Quadrophenia? :) ) Once I get the hang of it, the song takes off and becomes absolutely unstoppable. 'To Be Over' isn't that special, but it gets very pretty towards the end. Cheers for that. I give this a... 12. No, a 13... no, wait... hey, do you get in the same doubt when defining album ratings sometimes? It's not easy being a web reviewer!

HEY! Rich Bunnell mentioned Lisa on his Drama comment! Lemme give him a hug. *hug*

Breck Brizendine <roxymusic@saferaccess.com> (03.02.2006)

This album for me is Yes at their best. No nods to pop or current trends, only a full bore we-are-a-progressive-rock-band-and-go-away-if-you-ain't (oh I'm sorry "haven't")-got-guts ("intestinal fortitude"). Everyone seems to justly love the first piece but I don't know whatever is wrong with "Sound Chaser" or "To Be Over". "Sound Chaser" is... well, Cyber-Punk in a way, with the only programming in it being the synths. This is arch-powerful stuff -fierce, angular, futurist in the best sense, in that ordinary modes of enjoyment have to be jettisonned for something truly new. ELP or Tull or Genesis never did anything like this, and countless bands since have not equalled the strange skitz-out glory of it -though Dream Theatre has tried repeatedly. As for "To Be Over"... it is beautiful. I can't see why no-one else seems to be able to hear that. Much more varied (and loftier!) than "And You And I:" the very solos weep with longing for that yet-unseen horizon. The churning build-up -the sudden calm- the stately final lines, cast out like wind-filled sails..."Don't doubt yourself / Be ready to be loved" -again, I have never heard any other band so beautiful and majestic; and in this case, the majesty never overpowering the beautiful but being instead the full flowering of the beautiful. Hey, I have an idea. Instead of dissing "To Be Over" as mere background music, sit down sometime and settle yourself and actually listen to it note-for-note. I don't think you'll be able to take it lightly!


GOING FOR THE ONE

John McFerrin <stoo@imsa.edu> (27.05.99)

Georgy, Georgy, you are far too predictable. I KNEW that you would like the first 4 tracks and hate 'Awaken' and give the album an 8. Nevertheless, I have to agree with your thoughts on the first 4 songs, tho I'd give the best song title to 'Paralells'. But, I really, really like 'Awaken'. So they're just exploring the same ol cosmic blah blah ideas lyrically, but the organ guitar interplay is terrific, and I ALWAYS look forward to hearing it at album's end.

Oh well, at least you gave it some credit. I'd give a 9, but 8 is good enough.

Josh Fitzgerald <breezesf85@email.com> (16.09.99)

Pretty friggin' good! "Aside froom the insipid "Wonderous Storries", the rest is real good! Title track is Yes' bounciest rockers, but great. That church organ on "Parallels" makes the song worth while. One of their most innovative songs if you ask me. "Turn Of The Century' is decent, but can drone on. "Awaken" is by far their most effective extended song. More glorious organ (yes, it's one of my favorite instruments!), more hard rocking, and gentle, and has one of the best codas ever! Really awesome stuff. If not for "Wonderous Stories", it would be a killer!

My rating-9 1/2

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

When I first heard the album, I thought that "Turn of the Century" was too meandering, "Parallels" too sluggish, and "Awaken" too long. Those songs have grown on me over the years.

My problem with the album is more with the production. than the songs. It's way too cold. And I have the opposite opinion about the keyboards -- I think they are too far back in the mix. The album lacks the full bodied, warmer sound of the previous studio albums, no doubt due to the band's decision to dump producer Eddie Offord and do it themselves. Big mistake.

The songs, in my opinion, translate better to a live setting, which is one reason to get Yesshows and Keys 2. Although they performed "Awaken" definitively on the 1991 Union tour -- find a good bootleg!

Rich Bunnell <taosterman@yahoo.com> (15.02.2000)

This one was incredibly overlooked because Yes made the mistake of waiting three years between albums after an album (Relayer) which didn't exactly make a monumental splash with the critics. Plus, the production is sort of murky-- gone are the clear Yes Album production values of old. Yet, I feel that it's a fine album, containing five songs and five good ones at that-- the title track is so messily complex and jumbled that there's no way that it can't rule my arse, and "Parallels" is loud, exuberant, pompous, and wonderful! Plus, I don't see why lots of people seem to despite "Wondrous Stories" so heavily... it's just a short, concise ballad. Just because it got played on Top Of The Pops doesn't automatically make it bad, people. Also, "Awaken" and "Turn Of The Century" are longer, but they work. A 9 this gets from the person who is me.

Ben Greenstein <bgreenstein@nctimes.net> (25.07.2000)

This one starts out really strong, with that cool title track (which is NOT boogie-woogie, that's a piano style! This is just cool surf guitar!), and then there's that beautiful "Turn Of The Century" song, which is the first time since "Mood For A Day" that Steve lets his beautiful classical playing shine. Then, however, they ruin things by putting on "Parallels" (which may rock, but is still kinda boring!) and that tedious looooooooong song, plus "Wond'rous Stories," which I like, but sounds a little small in this setting. In my opinion, they should have written a couple more songs and edited some of the longer ones. You'd have a much more well-rounded album then. As it is, maybe a low seven.

[Special author note: ehhh... maybe boogie-woogie did start as a piano style, but it's like saying you can't rock'n'roll on a piano because rock'n'roll is a guitar style. Surf guitar? Whatever.]

Kevin Muckenthaler <Sierrasun3@aol.com> (29.08.2000)

Yes starts to slide just a bit. This album is mainstream and a little inconsistent compared to Relayer from a couple years before. It starts off with the really weird boogie of "Going for the One," which I like quite a bit. Lots of annoying but cool steel guitar courtesy of Steve Howe and some funny and far-out lyrics by Mr. Anderson. A lot of people love "Turn of the Century," but I think it's a little dull. "Parallels" is pretty much a straightforward rocker driven by a church organ and Squire's bass. I would like this one more if the production wasn't so muddled. "Wonderous Stories" is pleasant, but nothing to get too excited about. "Awaken" is the album's 'epic'. It's good, but isn't as complex as most of their other long tracks. I used to think the harp/organ thing in the middle was boring, but I like it now. Not a bad album, but not as good as their previous five.

Philip Maddox <slurmsmckenzie@hotmail.com> (26.11.2000)

You know, as I get more and more into Genesis, I don't like Yes quite as much as I used to. Sure, Yes had better musicians, but they never had quite the songwriting talent of Gabriel, Collins and associates (though they did pull out a few really, really good albums). For one, I wouldn't give Fragile an 10/10 anymore - more like an 8. Same with Relayer. Which brings me to this album - I really liked it the first time or 3 I heard it, but after a few listens, I've realised something here - the songwriting just isn't quite up to the past few albums. "Going For The One" and "Parallels" are good, but not great. "Wonderous Stories" is a decent pop song, though it never really grabs me as anything special. "Turn Of The Century" is very pretty, but a bit too long. Which, of course, brings me to the big one here - "Awaken". It's my favorite song on here - I love the demented vocals during the first loud part and how it suddenly shifts into a groovy waltz - but to be honest, even it lasts a bit too long - it should NOT be 15 minutes plus in length. This is basically a good album, and worthy of a 7/10 from me, but the album needed a bit of trimming around the edges, if you ask me.

Jeff Melchior <Jeffmoncheri@aol.com> (22.12.2000)

There are many critics who would have you believe this is some kind of "Yes-goes-New-Wave" record. Don't buy it. Actually, I think Going For The One is a far more pompous album than even Relayer, which was just a fun noise-for-noise's-sake wankfest of a record. The boogie thing is nothing new to Yes - remember "I've Seen All Good People"? 'Turn of the Century' is a nice song, even if it overstays its welcome. I really don't care much for 'Parallels' at all, being that it neither rocks like anything in particular nor does it have much going for it in the melody department. 'Wondrous Stories' is a relatively simple Yes song with a nice melody - nothing spectacular, though. I find 'Awaken' singularly obnoxious, however - much more grating than anything on Tales when compared to pieces of similiar length.

Last of all, what's with the cover? Guys, if you were attempting to reinvent yourselves by turfing Roger Dean, you were kidding yourselves. I hate the fact that I can't display this cover for being sick of hearing questions as to why a perfectly heterosexual male would want to own a record with a picture of a guy's naked arse on the cover. I don't know why Hipgnosis - who did such legendary work for Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin - saved their stupidest ideas for Yes. The Tormato cover was an easy target for the critics, and this one is just dumb.

By the way, if that is Jon Anderson's ass on there, please, nobody tell me. I'm afraid I would be scarred for life.

DURET Fabien <duret@mnemosyne.ipsn.fr> (09.01.2001)

I don't see any dissonant jam in 'Awaken'.

First, I don't see any jam here : a jam is a collective improvisation and the only improvised things on 'Awaken' are Steve Howe's solos appearing during the two faster parts. Everything else is composition, and Steve's solos aren't random solos over a given range because ranges and chords change constantly in the intricate but beautiful fast parts. Check what "jam" means, and then try to understand that such a piece is not something planned to make you sing in the shower, nor "fast food" music that you can swallow after having listened only once to it. Understanding nothing at the first listen is absolutely normal. You should "endure" at least three times this piece before becoming aware of its beauty (before awakening if you want).

Second, I don't see anything dissonant. Rock bands have the right to use chords other than pure major or minor ones. We have also minor 7th, 9th, with possible variations on the fifths, and the same for majors, and also specific ranges like "arabian style" ones for example, and many other things possible. You can check them in books dealing about harmonies and composition techniques. Maybe the C major range (white keys on the piano) suits better for your singing in the shower, but don't call "dissonant" things that come out of it.

Finally, you may enjoy to learn that 'Awaken' is considered as the best piece of Yes, both in form and harmonies, by Anderson himself. There are other pieces I personally like as much. but I spent a lot of time on my keyboards trying to find by ear the chord sequences of the second faster part. Intricate, indeed, but never dissonant, and if you don't believe me I can mail you the chord sequence.

Goodbye darling

George Starostin (09.01.2001)

Okay, Fabien Duret is absolutely right! I've made a fool of myself and displayed an absolute lack of knowledge of musical terminology. I apologize sincerely and promise to be more careful with my wordings in the future. He's right, I should stop calling 'dissonant' everything that don't fits my ear as opposed to true musical dissonance. There's really nothing all that dissonant on 'Awaken'. As for 'jam', while I don't really see what connects real jams with singing in the shower or fast food music, it's true that jamming involves lots of improvisations and Yes calculate everything beforehand. That's true. I'm a dumbass.

Let me try to correct my mistake now and re-formulate my statement to be closer to the truth. Hmm. Let's see... How about that? 'Awaken' starts out quite pretty, with beautiful classical piano rolls and deep 'cosmic' vocals from Jon Anderson; unfortunately, most of the other time that the song keeps on playing is spent on a murky, unmemorable, emotionally hollow, derivative set of instrumental passages with multiple overdubbed vocals and a wall-of-sound production (not untypical for Yes) that makes all the instruments blend together in a collective mess and emphasize the pomposity over the message, if there is any real message, that is. Self-conscious attempts at 'beauty' do not equal well-written, original, creative songs, and the fact that this is considered as the best piece of Yes by Jon Anderson himself only makes matters worse'.

Hmm, I don't think that really worked. You could argue that 'wall-of-sound production' can only be mentioned if there's a Phil Spector present. Or you could argue that 'cosmic vocals' is a term better applied to Syd Barrett. Ah, shucks... How about that:

(drumroll)

'Awaken' FUCKING SUCKS!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I think that did the trick. And here come some humorless guys!

Andy Carter <slimchandi@hotmail.com> (23.02.2001)

*Chokes at that last comment*

How can you say Awaken "f***ing sucks"? Get this man a hifi, hes obviously been trying to play it on a food processor or some other non sound producing implement. I consider this to be perhaps Yes' ultimate album, being so rocky ('Parallels') yet so graceful ('Turn Of The Century') and still mindblowing powerful (the end section of 'Awaken', where i am sure Rick is no the verge of breaking that organ). I cant go a single day without listening to 'Awaken', just becasue of that end section. Who cares about a pompus message, the music is amazing. Anyone who s interested on more information or my lenghty views on this or any other Yes albums, come to http://yesfans.virtualave.net (can i get away with this cheeky plug???) where i have done my own views, and yes, most of the albums i rate heavenly. BTW, i have only liked Yes for about a year now,  and they have already taken over my early teenage years. Damn, go out, or listen to Topographic Oceans? Hmmm.....where's my CD player............

Steven Sullivan <sullivan@gwis2.circ.gwu.edu> (28.04.2001)

Surely the most overrated of Yes' albums, mainly due to the voluminous praise fans heap on 'Awaken', a track which literally embodies the phrase 'sound and fury signifying nothing'. Yes, I know Jon Anderson considers it their epitome. Maybe that sort of misjudgment is why Yes started sucking around the time of this album. Or maybe it's jsut that after Relayer, where to go but down? 'Going for the One' and 'Parallels' (which was deservedly denied a place on Squire's solo album) are painfully bad, abortive attempts at a 'rockier' Yes (as if they could ever rock harder than, say, 'Roundabout' or the first five minutes of 'Ritual'); 'Wondrous Stories' is nice piece of piffle, where Anderson et al all perform as expected but not a jot beyond; 'Awaken' is the 'there's no there, there' self-conscious attempt at an epic. THe only track that taps into the unpredictable, which does not trade on mostly exhausted ideas, and which deserves to be mentioned with their best is 'Turn of the Century' a beautiful song unique in many ways in the Yes canon.

It doesn't help that the production on this one's abominable, or that Wakeman features the execrable Polymoog. Let's just be glad he didn't yet have a Birotron to play with.

Jim Reynolds <luandir@msn.com> (08.05.2002)

Your scenario about playing this album for the first time, and being broadsided by the "boogie-woogie" (stylistic niceties aside, your point is made) slide guitar exactly describes my premiere hearing, in 1977. Twenty-five years later, the shock has still not worn off, and the entire record still carries the taint of that ill-chosen intro.

Add to this the tinny, Offordless sound quality, and no matter what the quality of the compositions, there is no mistaking that Yes has passed their peak. My first listen told me that "Turn of the Century" was the best track on the album, and that "Awaken," despite its much-heralded use of church organ and lofty concept, was somewhat overinflated and aimless; to both of which I also still adhere.

And the cover...strike three.

Brian Sittinger <bsitting@mail.math.ucsb.edu> (27.08.2002)

This is my favorite of the post-Bruford era. First, there's no bad song in site, including "Awaken". Secondly, Yes shifts gears from song to song (at the very least), always ensuring a surprise. Thus, I argue that there is a fair amount of diversity to be found within.

Of course, I was caught off guard hearing the intro. to the title song. Perhaps, it's pop in the core, but there are enough twists alon the way to ensure nothing gets dull. The silde work throughout is awesome, and Anderson actually belts out the lyrics! "Turn of the Century" is a pleasant ballad that slowly builds up to fireworks from Howe and Wakeman". "Parallels" just rules, thanks to the church organ riff from Wakeman and good soloing from Howe. (Also, the end is downright intense.) "Wonderous Stories" is a short beautiful ballad, with interesting effects thrown in here and there. Then, there's "Awaken". I can easily see how this can annoy some, due to its going up and down, etc. But, somehow, it overall works. Howe's fast chromatic runs, as well as Wakeman's church organs/choir arrangement make the song for me. Also, I should mention the final "loud" moments of the song feels epic to me. (Also, witnessing this live with Wakeman involved this summer was catharsis defined!)

Perhaps, the trademark 'favorite' Yes vibe may be lessened here, but still this gets a 10(14) as well! From here, it's pretty much downhill...

Guillermo F. Vázquez Malagamba <psicgmo@netscape.net> (08.11.2002)

After the 1976 tour, Yes went to Switzerland to record a new album. Patrick Moraz was with them then, but he later left YES (or was asked to leave). YES played the "High vibration" part of "Awaken" with Moraz during the 1975-76 tours. Moraz said that some keyboard parts arranged by him were used for the album. Rick Wakeman was asked to play initially as a session musician for this album. But weeks later things were so good with him that he was asked to re-join the band as full time member.

IMO, this album represents YES´ peak. Their best album.

A 10/10 album.

Track by track:

'Going for the one':it stars with a "one, two..." count by Alan White. A "rocker" song, maybe, but with very good arrangements. The main part of the song is carried by the bass and the drums, while the keyboards and the guitar play scales and melodies. It seems a simple song, but the drum parts are not simple (being myself a drummer I can say that).

'Turn of the Century': a very good song. Howe´s acoustic guitar is really complicated (you can see him playing some parts of the song in the Yesyears video). An inspired song. The piano arrangement is very good, a very "classical music" arrangement. Alan White plays tuned percussion which complements the "atmosphere" of the song. Anderson and Squire´s vocals are very good. Before "Parallels" starts, there is a very quiet percussion part (a marimba?) played by White.

"Parallels" is the "heavy" song of the album with powerful bass by Squire in perfect union with the drums. The church organ solo is amazing, while Howe really plays two lead guitar parts (one guitar solo ends with sustain effect and the other guitar solo starts at the same time). Great song.

'Wonderous Stories': it starts with a vachalia played by Howe. Wakeman´s keyboards make "atmospheres". Very good keyboard parts(you can see the video of this song in the Yesyears video and in one video compilation by YES).

'Awaken': I agree with Anderson. YES´progressive peak. All band members shine on this song. The drum parts are complicated again. Wakeman´s arrangements are very good. It´s a real pleasure to listen to this song.

The cover: I don´t like the front cover, but the inside gatefold cover has a very good photo of a dusk.

The recording and mixing of the album: very good, with "echoes" and good stereo effects. An "atmospheric" recording.

Maybe I´m biased because I like this album very much. I think that the songwriting of all the songs of the album could have been credited to all members of the band (and maybe Moraz too in some places). A real band effort.

Fernando Henrique Canto <mustapha@etcom.ufrgs.br> (30.10.2003)

I hate the album cover. That's an advantage of owning Going For The One on CD- R! The album itself is great. I like 'Awaken', no problemo. It can be a bit loud and overbearing at times, but I fully enjoy it. The intro section has a lovely "waking up" feeling - all hazy and grey, and the main part has some great moments. I'm not going to do the FONT=+3 thing and shout that 'Awaken' rules because I'm not the site admin. :) But hey, I'm not a humourless guy, am I? Oh, well, I guess I am. The Fabien guy is right about the "dissonant" and "jam" thing, but I agree with you. It doesn't matter much. I understand your point, and I still read your Yes reviews while listening to 'Awaken' on my stereo. And that's it! Ok, the three songs on side A... they're all good. The title track rules like mad, and 'Parallels' has a rockin' Church Organ - but that's not the only good thing about it. My favourite is the gorgeous 'Turn Of The Century', though. It creates a sad mood in the beginning, and then there's all the piano and guitar, and the mood slowly transforms itself into almost orgasmic in the final climax. And yes, I love 'Wonderous Stories', too. It's pretty! Very, very pretty and memorable. Insipid? Fuck it! I give the album a 13.

By the way, when you mentioned an alternative band playing P. I. Tchaikowsky, were you talking about The Residents? :D


TORMATO

Josh Fitzgerald <breezesf85@email.com> (22.09.99)

Here it is. The most hated progressive album in music history. I too hate it, but there are some bursts of life here and there. "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom" starts off like a good rocker, but can quickly bore the life out of me."Onward" is a cute little, thing. "Madrigal" is good. and "Future Times/ Rejoice" is also decent. However, "Arriving UFO" is one of the biggest avant-garde failures of all time. Horrible melody, even worse sound effects, and an absolutely pointless lyric. Same for "Circus Of Heaven". I could never find the disco hint in "Don't Kill The Whale", but either way, it blows. And oh how pathetic "Release Release" is. Poor guys. And Jon Anderson never sounded worse.

My rating-5

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

Well, I must agree that the album cover is the worst in history -- what the hell were they thinking?

I have mixed opinions about the songs. "Arriving UFO" and "Circus of Heaven" are, simply, the biggest embarrassments in the group's history. Just beyond awful. Nothing can save these. And "Future Times/Rejoice" is just plain random. I saw the band on this tour about three weeks before the album came out, and after they played this song, the main reaction was looks of total confusion.

On the other hand, "Onward" and "Madrigal" are perfectly lovely ballads, which, incidentally, do include real strings. And "Don't Kill the Whale," "Freedom" and "Release Release" are fine rockers in the Yes tradition -- the latter got a great reception at the show.

My main problem, besides the two howlers, is again the ice cold production. Wakeman's keyboards are more upfront than on the last album, but his primary instrument of choice is the polymoog rather than Hammond organ or mellotron, which only adds to the chill of the arrangements. Bring back Eddie Offord!

Mark Christian-Edwards <MTCEdwards@aol.com> (25.02.2000)

I don't have this album any more, but I bought it when it came out and loved it. Maybe I was just too young to appreciate the subtler points of the band's demise (I was only 15)...

Must admit it was the first Yes album I heard with parts I didn't like on it though ('Arriving UFO' especially); but I thought 'Circus of Heaven' was ecstacy. Go on, tell me I haven't go a clue!

Rich Bunnell <taosterman@yahoo.com> (27.07.2000)

I actually think that this album is kind of underrated. The problem is that people tend to think of this as Yes trying to hold onto their prog roots, when, to be pretty honest, there's hardly any prog here at all. What we have here is basically a collection of weird pop songs mixed in with a pair of short ballads. I actually find quite a bit of this album to be much more enjoyable than people say it is, and can't understand how people can disregard a song like "Future Times" even though it's more tuneful and catchy than anything the band's done since The Yes Album. "Arriving UFO" is really weird and neat, "Release Release" is an absolutely killer bizarre rocker (or as close to a rocker as Yes is able to muster) and the two ballads are short, pretty, and to the point. I even think that "Don't Kill The Whale" is a vastly underrated song, though I may be crucified for saying that. I agree 100% that the lyrics are trendy ecological hogwash, but the melody isn't offensive, and the only thing "disco" about the whole song is the beat (which sounds really cool anyway) and Anderson's funny-as-hell "dig it, dig it!" after the chorus.

Don't go phoning the mental institution just yet just because some guy likes Prindle's most hated Yes song, because the album certainly has some flaws. The production is pretty murky; a slight problem on Going For The One and a much larger one here. Songwise, "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom" goes on for eight long minutes expecting everybody to like it just because it "rocks" when it doesn't have a single interesting melody, and "Circus Of Heaven" has got to be one of the stupidest songs ever done by a band not called Loverboy. Also, even though I like "Future Times," the second half of the song "Rejoice" is pretty dull and meandering (kind of weird, considering that it's basically the same tempo as the song that it's attached to). So yeah, the album isn't great, but it's kind of stretching it to call it one of the all-time lows of progressive rock. Particularly when you consider that it isn't prog at all. 7/10

Ben Greenstein <bgreenstein@nctimes.net> (25.07.2000)

I guess it does kind of ride the line between pop and prog, but it's hardly dull! In fact, I've listened to this album nine times in the several days since I bought it, and I can honestly say that I've enjoyed it consistently. "Don't Kill The Whale," eco-disco or not, is still really fun - maybe for certain novelty reasons (Jon Anderson says "dig it"!!!!), but more likely because I -gasp- enjoy the music. Don't know why, to be honest, but it's great.

Now, all of the songs are pretty different, and kind of sound like they belong on different albums, but they are COOL. Musically, not as complex as the early stuff, but still petty damn complex. The two ballads work well, the long rockers also ("Release Release" is fantastic!), the only song that doesn't work is "Circus Of Heaven." Sounds like two half-baked ideas glued together, to me. Rest of the album's really cool. The synths are a little overbearing, I guess (since I have to find SOME fault with the record), but this is very far from the bad record everyone claims it is. So leave it alone! A high eight.

Kevin Muckenthaler <Sierrasun3@aol.com> (29.08.2000)

OK. The album cover is admittedly dumb. So are some of the songs. The production is also pretty bad, especially with the thick, muddy drum sound. Rick Wakeman's keyboards are too high-pitched and goofy, Steve noodles a lot, and Chris uses lots of effects pedals and stuff. The album opener,"Future Times/Rejoice," is a fun track. "Don't Kill the Whale" has eco lyrics and a lame but strangely appealing beat. "Madrigal" is an okay, yet short, song. "Release, Release" is full of energy. "Onward" is really boring and dull, but does sound better on the Keys to Ascension live CD. "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" doesn't have many musical ideas, but isn't bad at all. The big problem for most listeners lies in "Arriving UFO" and "Circus of Heaven." AUFO has cheesy lyrics and nothing very interesting musically. COH is REALLY dumb, especially Damion's complaining at the end. Overall, this album is just really odd, but has some good stuff on it.

Brian Sittinger <bsitting@mail.math.ucsb.edu> (27.08.2002)

(First, a joke...) This looks more like Torsplatto to me! Seriously, there's quite a drop in most categories here. The lessing of the 'prog' element doesn't bother me at all. But, Wakeman and Squire add annoying effects to their toys, the lyrics get downright stupid at times... . Sometimes, it seems there's a contest for who plays the most notes!

Still, I like some segments of the songs, such as "Don't Kill the Whale" (depite the lyrics and solo), the pre-takeoff instrumental section of "Arriving UFO" and the intro to "On the Silent Wings of Freedom". "Onward" and "Madrigal (and perhaps "Future Times", NOT "Rejoice") are the only solid songs from start to stop. So, a 6(9) it is.

<bird3000@inbox.ru> (01.06.2004)

I don't know... I like this record very much. I must have been very stupid. It is disco, I believe, or something like that... Everyone is supposed to hate this record, don't know why. Quite a good record. The other good Yes record for me is that one with digits instead of a proper name. These are two good Yes albums others are crap. I wonder if anyone shares the same point of view?


DRAMA

Josh Fitzgerald <breezesf85@email.com> (16.09.99)

The Buggles?? "Video Killed The Radio Star"?? Those guys?? With Yes?? Is this some kind Saturday Night Live Skit?? If that's not frightening enough, what's even scarier is that they accually soung GOOD!!! *gasp*! One moment please....... Ok. Drama was a shocking surprise for me. The tunes are really strong. "Machine Messiah" is very good, considering the line up change. "Does It Really Happen" and "Tempus Fugit" are even better. "White Car" is far too short to leave any type of impression. However, "Run Through The Light" is horrid, and the lyrically weak (To put it mildly) "Into The Lens" is waaaaaaay too long. Not bad though, but it was the last Yes album I botered to buy. I was hardly impressed by their 1983- 1991 output, to put it mildly.

My rating-7

<DOOWILS@aol.com> (18.01.2000)

OH so Drama is on the same level as Close to the Edge. I can't believe what I'm seeing.

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

I think this is the most accessible and consistently enjoyable album since Close to the Edge. Even if it doesn't hit the peaks of subsequent albums, neither does it hit the pits. The Buggles' facility with pop hooks and Yes's musicianship made for a great combination. Everything works. The only drawback is that Steve's presence is muted -- the arrangements are dominated by Squire and Downes. Which isn't all bad -- Downes isn't Wakeman when it comes to virtuosity, but he provides a warmth and fullness to the arrangements that was absent on the previous two. And Squire just COOKS on most of the album (they should not have let Horn sub on "Run Through the Light").

The problem with the Drama band was in live performance. They did well on their own material, including two songs "And We Can Fly From Here" and "Go Through This", which were never released on a record. However, on the old stuff, Downes could pretty much only play Rick's lines note for note, and Horn's voice was hideously out of tune on songs like "Yours is No Disgrace". (They apparently couldn't figure out how to lower the key of those tracks to fit Horn's vocal range). The endless booing of Horn generated by the British leg of the tour was a major factor in the breakup of the band -- and in driving Horn from live performance into the producer's chair forever.

Ben Greenstein <bgreenstein@nctimes.net> (23.06.2000)

You know, I really like the first Buggles album, and even with them on it, this album still bores me. "Tempis Fugit," even, isn't very good. The best song on the album, to be honest, is "Into The Lens," which is catchy in a very Bugglesy way. Well, SORT OF. I can't really be too kind to any of the material here. I hate the more Policey stuff, too, because I don't like the Police. Ah well, I'll forgive them. I give it a five.

Derrick Stuart <artrocker86@earthlink.net> (02.07.2000)

An andersonless Yes, isn't that just the same as The Door without Morrison, it's like The Experience without Hendrix. The diehard fans didn't take to this one well, especially not in concert. Mister Horn tried to do a few CTTE tunes, and it got a horrible response. Just as he began 'And You And I' the crowd threw garbage at him and he was booed off stage.

Rich Bunnell <taosterman@yahoo.com> (27.07.2000)

The thing that bothers me about this album has nothing to do with the fact that they recruited Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes. If you ask me, Horn sounds almost exactly like Anderson, or at least close enough to be able to give the songs the same overall "feel" as the Yes of old. I think that Bob's anecdote about Trevor getting booed off the stage for starting "And You And I" just goes to show how stupid some Yes fans are-- what, did they go to the concert to hear nothing but Drama and Buggles songs? Or did they just go there for the purpose of booing him? To quote Lisa Simpson, "Why would they come to our concert just to boo us?" The problem with the album is with the songwriting, at least on the first side of the album. "Machine Messiah" and "Does It Really Happen" bore the absolute CRAP out of me, going for their respective long lengths without presenting a single interesting musical idea. Sure, "Messiah" is ten minutes long and fast-paced, but who needs it? All I hear is a bunch of ugly riffage and nondescript vocal sections. Urgh.

The second half of the album fares much better, however. "Tempus Fugit" is an AWESOME song with a great mechanical clunky riff and fast-paced, catchy lyrics, and "Run Through The Light" is a pretty good balladish song, and not nearly as random and tempo-less as some fans say it is. Sounds pretty straightforward to me. And I know that saying this in the midst of a page full of Yes fans is roughly equivalent to yelling out "HEIL HITLER!" at a bar mitzvah, but I really dig "Into The Lens." Honestly, some Yes fans complain about the stupidest things. "The chorus is 'I am a camera'! That's the worst lyric I've heard in my life! Let's all go out and lynch Trevor Horn!" The song does go on for far too long, but it has an interesting, if corporate-sounding melody and is hardly as horrible as most Yesheads seem to say it is. Still, though the second half of the album makes up for the first, this stuff is in no way as a whole comparable to Relayer or Close To The Edge. 6/10

And now Ben has suddenly decided that not only does he like solo Sting better than the Police, he doesn't like the Police at all! Ben, distinguishing yourself isn't THAT important. Now be a good boy and set fire to your copy of Mercury Falling.

Kevin Muckenthaler <Sierrasun3@aol.com> (01.09.2000)

Drama is a large improvement over Tormato. Yeah, Jon and Rick are gone and you get The Buggles. But Trevor Horn sounds sorta similar to Jon, and Geoff Downes is fine on keyboards. Steve, Chris, and Alan totally tear it up on this album. "Machine Messiah" may be Yes' hardest rocking song ever. "White Car" is a throwaway. "Does it Really Happen?" has one of my favorite basslines of all time. "Into the Lens" seems a bit overlong, but it's still good. "Run Through the Light" is all right, but it seems awkward to me. "Tempus Fugit" is fast-paced and has some high-pitched vocoder voices saying "yes"! It's a really good album with a very Yessy feel to it, even though some people don't think it's true Yes. The band photo in the booklet is really stupid, though.

John McFerrin <stoo@imsa.edu> (28.09.2000)

'To quote Lisa Simpson, "Why would they come to our concert just to boo us?"'

Actually, the issue was slightly more complex than that. The American tour actually went off splendidly, with one slight problem - as mentioned in an earlier comment, the band refused to lower the 'classic' songs an octave to match Trevor's comfortable range. At first, it was just somewhat clumsy (I have a bootleg from their first USA show, and it's at least decent) but still passable. However, a month of being forced to sing at the edges of his range was very bad for Trevor's vocal cords, and by the time the band hit Europe, he had a massive throat infection. Result? By this time, he couldn't sing Anderson's songs worth crap - hence the incredible booing. Poor guy - he never went on tour with any band again, just because of the massive psychological trauma.

It also didn't help that many fans weren't actually aware of the recent lineup change, nor that a new album had been put out - they expected to see and hear Anderson and Wakeman, and were pissed to see the Buggles.

Nick Karn <mjareviews@yahoo.com> (05.02.2001)

Once you get past the fact that this doesn't sound very much like the Yes of the 70's (which is hard to do at first), this is a reasonably good album on its' own merits. Sure, the chops are still excellent, and Trevor Horn sounds sort of like Jon Anderson in parts (though I don't think as much as people say), but this is a much more slick, modern version of the band that musically doesn't bear that much resemblance to Relayer, for instance.

It definitely starts off on a high note with "Machine Messiah" - I LOVE that song, all 10 minutes of it, and I'd easily say it's one of my favorite Yes tracks. It may be slightly cheezy and forced, but man, those awesome threatening riffs with the descending synths in the background in the beginning, the uplifting pop melody throughout the verses, the acoustic break - all of it just rules. And the only song that sounds somewhat like previous Yes tunes, "Tempus Fugit", kicks, with Squire's typically fast basslines and the addictive chorus. "Does It Really Happen?" and "Run Through The Light" are really good pop-styled numbers too - the chorus and bass playing near the end of the former are neat, and "White Car" sounds really funny to me, because it sounds as if it's gonna be a LONG epic from its' bombastic intro, but it's really just a dippy minute and a half pop song! Hilarious...

The only serious detraction for me is "Into The Lens", which goes on far too long (8-1/2 minutes) without presenting much in the way of decent melody, and it's just a little fruity. It's not so much the 'I am a camera...' line as the way Horn sings it, with the pause afterwards that just breaks whatever flow the song had. Still a fine album, though, and a huge improvement over Tormato, no matter what anyone else says. I give it a 7 - overall rating 10, maybe 11 since my band rating for Yes is 4.

Ted Goodwin <Ftg3plus4@cs.com> (06.07.2001)

I'm not into Yes, but someone gave me this album so I had to check it out -- particularly since it's the Anderson-less album and it's mostly Anderson who keeps me away from Yes.

You say they hired Trevor Horn as occasional vocalist and supplied a large part of the vocals themselves, ALL ending up sounding like Anderson. Actually Horn does all the lead vocals here, although I think Squire may be trading quick lead lines with him at one point in "Machine Messiah" -- it's hard to tell because Squire, like Horn, happens to sound like a slightly lower-pitched Anderson.

Anyway, to my ears this album is worth having mainly due to "Does It Really Happen" and "Tempus Fugit". Everything else is just fairly interesting filler leading up to these pieces. "Machine Messiah" is one of those songs where a prog band plays complicated stuff just because they can, not because it's necessarily good. "Into The Lens" comes off as just a very long pop song. (Did Renaissance get the title CAMERA CAMERA from this song? Hmmm...)

It's a shame the band couldn't (or didn't) transpose their songs so Horn could sing them in his natural range. (It would have to have been something less than an octave difference -- if it had been a whole octave they wouldn't have had to do any transposing.) He deserved better than what happened to him. I feel for him in kind of the way I feel for Ray Wilson of Genesis -- what a position to be put in! (Side note: I read this Genesis message board once where, to my surprise, everyone agreed that Ray did a great job with the old Genesis material on tour.)

P.S.: What does the title DRAMA have to do with anything on the album?

Brian D. Sittinger <brian.d.sittinger@lmco.com> (04.03.2003)

This is one album that slowly seems to get better and better, though it doesn't resemble 'classic' Yes too much. I can only guess that it has to do with the fact that these are very well-played songs with minimal cheesiness (not zero, since some of the synths sonund like there from the early 80's, though they don't intrude, like on, say, Tormato.

First, the negatives. One, it's painfully clear that Trevor Horn is trying to sound like Jon Anderson quite a bit. So, this could leave the listener snickering a bit at first. (Also, this would cause problems on the ensuing tour.) "White Car", though not bad, just seems like it's taking up a minute or two on this album. Finally, everyone's favorite lines from "Into the Lens"... .

But, overall, the songs are good! "Machine Messiah" has a nice flow from the metallic sections through the rest of the songs. I even get thoughts of "The Yes Album" when hearing the organ in this song. "Does It Really Happen?" is an upbeat tune (good groove). And, of course, I couldn't go without mentioning "Tempus Fugit", easily the best song here, and not just beacause it screma "Yes" in more ways than one. It has a great bassline, and Howe is throwing in some searing lines from time to time in the background. I'd give this a high 7(11).

Alexander Zaitsev <zaitsev@perm.ru> (01.06.2003)

Your review of Drama is one of those few I disagree with completely. From my point of view, this album is a parody on prog rock, sort of Spinal Tap, but worse, because Spinal Tap is pure parody and this is parody disguised as music. Pseudo- intellectual muck. In every single sound of the album the guys try to show that they are YES. Everything on the album is a big put-on, from the music to the lyrics. Like "And now, Steve, play like you did on Relayer, I'll try to sing like Anderson, and you, Chris, throw your famous bass lines in there or the fans won't buy it. Oh, and I've scribbled down some crap. Does it sound like the one you had before? Yes? Then make sure your solos are as long as possible and let's rock! We are YES, after all!!!

I am not trying to insist on the fact that the album is bad. It is an obvious parody, not even on Yes, but on the very concept of prog. If Spinal Tap is music, then then Drama is music, too. But I just don't understand why it shares its rating with many decent releases.

P.S. The Billboard Encyclopedia of Rock gives Drama and Stewart's Camouflage a one-star rating.They ARE albums of the same quality, only they are of different genres and a bad prog album sounds better than a bad pop album.


YESSHOWS

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

The version of "Parallels" here is just KILLER, especially when compared with the studio version. They pick up the tempo and Rick plays a great moog solo. It rocks -- worth the entire price of the album. Unlike you, I think "Gates" and "Ritual" improve over the studio versions, Especially "Ritual" - I don't find the track quite as overwhelming here, although the percussion solo is still just as annoying. The rest is OK, too, although I also agree that the mix, courtesy of Mr. Squire, could have been clearer.

This album is one of those contractual obligation things. It was originally supposed to come out after Tormato, but was scrapped when Anderson and company decided to enter the studio and record a followup studio album instead. After completing an early version of "Run Through the Light," they started bickering, resulting in the walkouts of Jon and Rick. When Yes disbanded a year later, they still owed a couple of albums, so we got this.

John McFerrin <stoo@imsa.edu> (02.07.2000)

A couple of things

1. While you are kind enough to acknowledge that Jon often sounds good on this album, I don't feel you give him enough credit on 'GoD'. When I first put this version on, I was shocked at the way Jon sounded so damn good. He actually matched his singing style to the vicious, aggresive lyrics (especially on the "Word cause our banner" chunk). My tagging of this as possibly the best Yes track ever, live or studio, is indeed mostly due to the improved vocals

2. Perhaps you couldn't hear him too well on the other tracks, but to say that Chris Squire is invisible given his solo on 'Ritual'? My goodness gracious, George, please tip your hat at least a _little_ to that solo. It's fast, it's powerful, and it RUMBLES.

Brian Sittinger <bsitting@mail.math.ucsb.edu> (27.08.2002)

A solid showing of live material since Yessongs. Again, all the songs are well-played, if not a bit more note-perfect. And, "Ritual" is elongated... Still decent, if you have a craving for live Yes: 8(11).


90125

Richard C. Dickison <dickison@us.ibm.com> (09.06.99)

I'll step in here and give 90125 a solid ten and a gold star. Because Yes actually did it.

Oh my god, they gave robot Anderson (I hate him) a sound he could actually sing with and be convincing no less.

Can you believe George after years of Torturemato and ReFlayer and Dtrama they actually pull off an album that took them to top ten status and re-energized their sound. It's insane it's just not done.

Maybe they had talent, maybe they had brains, maybe they hired some other band to make an album for them.

Who cares, Yes was just not that important to me, but I got this album and just drop jawed all over it.

Sure it was eighties by the numbers rock, but even Asia (that hackneyed bunch of prog flab) could'nt pull off a whole album of sort-of good stuff.

None of the other older bands came anywhere close to this type of out of nowhere growth, what a surprise, the only disappointment is that they could not sustain this type of growth past this one album. That's their other problem, they were never consistent like Genesis who just kept be-boping along following Phil's solo effort's like they were his back-up band (which by this time they were).

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

One thing that I think gets overlooked here is that they've come up with the best harmonies since The Yes Album. Particularly "Leave It" -- Horn had evidently been paying attention to Brian Wilson's vocal layering techniques. The B-side of the original single was a mix without the instrumentation, and one can really appreciate the vocal talent on hand after hearing it -- if one can, like me, ignore the fact that they aren't singing anything with meaning!

Rabin comes up with hooks galore, which is why the album was such as huge crossover hit. But my main complaint about this is that this stuff could be played by ANYBODY.Rabin is a talented musician, but there is nothing distinctive about his style. And Squire just gets buried - - you wouldn't know he was there. I enjoy the music for what it is but this just further proves that Steve Howe was the center of the whole Yes vibe.

This version of the band was originally dubbed Cinema, but when Jon climbed on board at the last minute, they changed the name back to Yes -- Rabin was overruled and outnumbered. It made commercial as well as sense personnel-wise, but Cinema might not have drawn such ire from hardcore Yessers as the "new" Yes did if they had left it at that.

Rich Bunnell <taosterman@yahoo.com> (15.02.2000)

Umm hmm...See, I can't approach this album with a "it's a sellout, therefore I hate it" approach because then I'd be a hypocrite-- Duran Duran's Rio is one of my favorite albums of the '80s. If there's any reason for me to insult this album, it's because a few of the songs aren't just poppy, they're poppy in a big, loud, irritating arena-rock way which is the same thing that makes me despite the crap out of bands like Bad Company and Foreigner. "Hold On" is the biggest example-- I hate that song. Plus, "Owner Of A Lonely Heart," though undeniably catchy, gets a bit stupid when it turns into brassy shimmery party funk and goes crazy with those loads of Janet Jackson "BANG!" noises. However, I love the rest of the album-- "It Can Happen," "Changes," and "Leave It" are heavenly, and everything else ain't nothin' to sneeze at either. I'd give this an 8-- in no way is this akin to Yes of the '70s, but just because it's overproduced and poppy doesn't necessarily make it bad. I haven't heard Big Generator yet though, so who knows what I might think later on?

Philip Maddox <slurmsmckenzie@hotmail.com> (07.07.2000)

This is actually a really good record. It sounds absolutely nothing like the Yes of old, but it's still good. It's like Jethro Tull's A in that it was never intended to be released by the group - this was supposed to be a Cinema album. They decided at the last second that there were enough ex-members of Yes to call it Yes. It sounds like a hard rock/pop band of the eighties, but the difference is that the songs are really good for the most part. 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart', 'Changes', and 'Hearts' are my favorites, each boasting catchy, attractive melodies, but 'It Can Happen' isn't far behind either - you gotta love that sitar. Elsewhere, 'Cinema' is a throwaway instrumental, 'City Of Love' is ok, but stupid and completely un-Yeslike, and 'Leave It' sucks really bad. This record is somewhere in between a 7 and an 8. But remember - liking this in no way means you'll like Relayer or Close To The Edge. You can basically consider Yes before this and Yes after this as 2 separate bands - 90125, love it or hate it, was a very important album for Yes.

Kevin Muckenthaler <Sierrasun3@aol.com> (01.09.2000)

This album is actually pretty good. You can't compare it at all to Yes' former sound. Although I don't like Trevor Rabin too much, he's a bit less annoying both vocally and musically here. There's something about these songs that is really appealing and catchy. "Owner of a Lonely Heart" is a very 80's song (obviously), and one of the band's best known tracks. I like it quite a bit. "Hold On" has a rhythm to it that eats its way into my mind (in a good way). "It Can Happen" has a singalong style chorus, and Chris Squire actually gets lead vocals in some parts here. I never liked "Changes" too much, but the instrumental opening is kinda cool. "Cinema" is nothing special. "Leave It" is really weird, yet it has its appeal. I like "Our Song", despite the goofy lyrics. "City of Love" is a really lame attempt at hard rock. I do like the 'wall of vocals' style chorus, though. "Hearts" harkens back a little to old Yes, and I like it. Yeah, Yes sold out, but it's not bad!

Glenn Wiener <glennjwiener@hotmail.com> (08.10.2001)

A nice change of pace for these guys. The pop oriented format works pretty well and the songs are all pretty consistent. There's no real band tracks and creativity still exists in several instances. 'Cinema' was even nominated for an instrumental grammy. Maybe not as good as The Yes Album but sometimes its good to change.

Alexander Zaitsev <zaitsev@perm.ru> (01.06.2003)

If you ask me who my least favoured guitar player is, I'll say Trevor Rabin (Malmsteen is a runner - up). Rabin's style of playing is generic and sterile, dumb and derivative. Please, please, please, name someone who plays worse! Rabin's the robot, not Anderson. I absolutely despise him. What is he doing now, I wonder? Headbanging in some metal band?

The songs? 'City of Love' is 100% Kiss. If I was to guess the author, I would say Kiss. The lyrics, the vocals, the solos, the overall atmosphere is damn Kiss!!! "The we'll be waiting... " line is pure Stanley - Simmons.Or am I crazy? And what is "Once bitten, twice shy, no woman no cry"??? Ratt-Marley crossover??? 'Our song' is kinda rewrite of 'Tempus Fugit' "on a new artistic level". Again "Look, we are still Yes, our song keeps us united and we want to tell everyone about it. But you'll hear it all only after buying our new album". Still, I like this one. 'Hearts', 'It can happen' and 'Changes', are decent clearly they are attempts to please the fans of old Yes. And my CD has a dance remix of 'Owner of a lonely heart'. A Madonna-style remix, I think. The original song sounded like a remix,so it's kinda double remix.Ugh, yuck. And the dreadful guitar is still there! Somebody, please, guillotine Rabin for me. Please!!!

P.S. Sometimes Jon's vocals here remind me of Michael Jackson. Perhaps I AM crazy, after all :) My rating is 6/15. 90125 is definitely not my cup of tea. But from a historical point of view, your rating is alright. 90125 tends to be the critics' favourite. Why, I dunno.

<tompkins@frontiernet.net> (17.07.2005)

My wife and I went to the 9012Live concert in Indianapolis. It was very odd in one respect; what Tony Kaye was playing on the keyboards seemed out of time with what we were hearing [we sat in row 3], just out of synch.

Years later, I have heard rumors to the effect that Tony Kaye was in the group for only one simple reason- Yes was expected to have a keyboardsman. He didn't even attend the recording sessions since Trevor Rabin did all of the keyboard work on 90125, Big Generator, Union [the YesWest tracks] and Talk. After hearing Rabin's keyboard work on his solo effort, I'd have to agree that this as true and I was probably hearing a recording playing Tony Kaye's 'part' in-concert.


BIG GENERATOR

John McFerrin <stoo@imsa.edu> (26.08.99)

Huh ... I just read your review for Big Generator for the first time, and I'm finding it really eerie that without having previously seen your review, my review on my own page says almost the exact same things in a bunch of places. Oh well; needless to say, I agree, and while I gave it a 6, it is, to be realistic, a very low 6, and a 5 seems reasonable too.

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

I don't detest this as much as a lot of fans do. More of the same, although the band seems more willing to stretch out on longer songs. More Beach Boys-inspired vocals, especially on the intro to "Rhythm of Love".An interesting tradeoff on "Shoot High, Aim Low" of Jon and Trevor's vocal and lyrical styles. "Love Will Find a Way" is a pretty cool little 60's-type folk-rock song, with the harmonies and guitars more than a little reminiscent of the Byrds. Although, like a lot of fans, I get irritated at the grammatically incorrect, out of place line. "I eat at chez nous."

The Trevor-centric sound does wear thin over the course of the whole thing, though. Again, fine for what is, but that's all.

Rich Bunnell <taosterman@yahoo.com> (26.07.2000)

This album is pretty generic and worthless. Whereas on 90125 the songwriting was fresh, tight and catchy enough to make the change from the old-style Yes forgiveable, most of this stuff just plods along like a big, overproduced lumbering dinosaur, especially that godawful excuse for a song that the band decided to name the album after. It's nice that Anderson stays in the forefront for the course of the album, since I'm not too font of Rabin's absolutely generic vocal style, but most of these songs just glide by without any sort of impact nevertheless. I absolutely adore "Rhythm Of Love" in spite of this; a stunning pop song that surpasses anything on the previous album, and "I'm Running" is probably the closest thing that anyone can find here to a classic Yes track (which isn't to say it sounds like one at all, but moreso than the others). "Love Will Find A Way" is okay too, but ironically, pretty much every part of the song except for that neat bridge with the "I eat at chez nous" line just bores me. And every Yes fan acts like the song is a complete disgrace because of that line! Whatever. I guess that the album is certainly listenable (except for the title track), but that doesn't mean I'm gonna recommend it at all. The Rabin-led Yes didn't have very many interesting ideas in the first place, and they pretty much shot their wad on 90125.

Kevin Muckenthaler <Sierrasun3@aol.com> (01.09.2000)

What a weird album. The first track, "Rhythm of Love," is pure pop with some nice vocals oohing and ahhing. "Big Generator" is a complete dreck noisefest. Were they trying to sound that bad? "Shoot High Aim Low" is slow and pretty mellow. The vocals on the chorus are strangely irritating, though. Jon sounds really funny to me on "Almost Like Love." "Love Will Find a Way" is an average Rabin pop song. "Final Eyes" is good, especially the "if ever I needed someone..." part. "I'm Running" has a funky bass intro and some good melodies throughout. It's the closest song on here to 70's Yes (but not too close), and also the best track on the album. I think I might be the ONLY person who likes "Holy Lamb." Oh well.

Alexander Zaitsev <zaitsev@perm.ru> (01.06.2003)

I've got almost nothing to say about Big Generator. The original cover is bright, but my CD has a dull green cover,just like the songs inside. Funny, isn't it? The bootleggers know what they are doing :) I hate 'Big Generator' and 'Almost like Love', but I like 'Shoot high,aim low'. It reminds me of Mr. Roger Waters' solo output somehow. The only song I really enjoy here. There are tiny bits of enjoyable music here and there, but the album is really hideous.  What a subtitle for 'Holy Lamb': 'Song for harmonic convergence' ! Typically Jon Anderson.:)  Dumb. And, once again, I HATE TREVOR RABIN.


ANDERSON, BRUFORD, WAKEMAN & HOWE

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

Well, I agree that it does sound more like classic Yes than the Rabin albums, especially with Howe on board. But it is overproduced -- one thing you have to give the previous two albums, they did have streamlined production. More importantly, it doesn't convey the sense that an organic band created this music they way that the classic albums did. Instead, you get the feeling that the Wakeman and Bruford, in particular, are just more talented versions of the session men who also appeared. Rick is too often buried on tracks like "Brother of Mine," and I agree with you that they really blow it with Levin. Bruford manages to get his good buddy from King Crimson to show up, and what does Jon do? Smother him in the mix! They didn't make that mistake on the tour, though -- Levin was just terrific. He doesn't play the same with Squire, but he proved that he could more than adequately have replaced Squire if ABWH had been able to call themselves Yes.

And if you think there's too much live Yes out there as it is, George, I guess the live album from this tour, An Evening of Yes Music Plus, never made it to Russia. It is actually wonderful, if you like Yes -- well recorded. The ABWH stuff comes across much better and less overblown live and there are brief, tasteful solo spots. But then you get another live "Close to the Edge", "Roundabout", "And You and I", etc. In case you don't own enough versions of those songs.

Guillermo F. Vazquez Malagamba <psicgmo@netscape.net> (01.11.2002)

After the "Big Generator Tour", in 1988, Jon Anderson left YES. In mid 1988, he released his album In the City of Angels, and later he went to one greek island to visit his friend Vangelis and composed some songs wit him . In September 1988, he contacted Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman and Bill Bruford. Apparently, it was Jon´s then-wife (Jennifer) who suggested to Jon to call these 3 former members of YES. Each member of the band recorded their parts separatedly. They also recruited some session musicians. There was also a drum programmer. Each member contributed with the writing of some parts of the songs, althought Bruford said in later interviews (1992) that they were mainly Jon´s songs and that he almost had nothing to do with the writing of the songs. Some of the things that the members contributed were: Howe brought music for "Brother of Mine" and also a part (for the same song) previuosly written with Geoff Downes of ASIA. The main idea for "Quartet" started with "I wanna learn", an idea by Howe."Birthright" has a credit for Max Bacon, GTR´s singer.Wakeman contributed the music for "The Meeting". "Let´s pretend" was written with Vangelis.The sound of this album shows that it was mainly a Jon Anderson´s project. But the other 3 members played very good, and in comparison with Union, you can clearly listen to each member´s style present in the songs. I give this album a 10/10. A very good album. My favourite songs are: "Brother of mine" (almost a hippie influenced song in the lyrics), "Birthright" (ABWH against Imperialism; a very good thing!), "The Meeting" (a beautiful religious song), "Quartet" (Howe shines here) and "Let´s pretend". I like the updated sound of the keyboards. Technology in this album was used in good form. Even the programmed drums and Bruford´s electronic drums were used with good taste. The cover is one of the best painted by Roger Dean. It was also good to know how this 4 musicians could play without Squire. Tony Levin brought some of the "world music" style to ABWH. In the keyboard part s Matt Clifford is also credited with "orchestration and programming",in similar style to Wakeman´s style. I don´t know why Clifford didn´t tour with ABWH. About the use of the name "YES":Brian Lane (YES´ former manager) was the manager for ABWH. He suggested to fight for the use of the name. Squire and the real YES fought with ABWH, and Squire won because he is the owner of the name because he is the only original member who appears on all YES´albums (and I agree with that). But ABWH used An Evening of YES music plus as the name for their tour. Squire also fought about it, but the law allowed ABWH the use of this name.Bruford (1992) said that ABWH was a good project in the beginning, but when record executives and the management started to pressure them for a more commercial sound, things started to go wrong. This was when the recording of Union (originally called Dialogue as an ABWH album) started, and things became sour.


UNION

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

The title is indeed a total lie. But I don't hate it as much as most fans do.

I kind of solve the problem of detesting the CD by programming so that the ABWH songs play in sequence. Then I can listen to at as a second ABWH album. But that doesn't make it great. Levin is still too far down in the mix, although not as badly as the last album. And the same for Rick, when he's there at all -- producer Jonathan Elias frequently erased his and Howe's parts and replaced them with session men, much to their chagrin. Which reminds me, this stuff again sounds more like a big studio supersession than a Yes band album.

The Rabin/Squire stuff is all over the place, but more fun. Squire's "The More We Live" is a cool spacey tune. "Saving My Heart" doesn't sound all that Yessish (reggae on a Yes album?), but its catchy and upbeat. "Miracle of Life", on the other hand, is the most intricate and closest Rabin every came to classic Yes, and "Lift Me Up" carries some emotion due to a good melody and more accessible lyrics than usual -- Jon didn't write them!

The album seems like just an excuse for the eight man lineup to do a tour, rather than the other way around -- they performed only three numbers from the album live. But the tour has gone down in history as the best Yes tour in history for many fans -- I wish I had seen it. But there was lot of friction on the tour, particularly between Bruford and Squire and between Rabin and Howe. There was no way these eight individuals could be forced into a studio to record a real "union", so something had to give.

Jean-Paul Keulen <keulen@phys.leidenuniv.nl> (26.04.2000)

I donít think this album is as bad as George says it is. A record rating of at least 5 would be fair, I think, so itís overall rating would be ďPlain badĒ instead of ďTruly offensiveĒ. Itís just a bunch of songs as opposed to a coherent album, true, but thereís nothing wrong with most of these songs individually. They sound quite nice to me. And since thereís such a lot of material on the disc, Iím sure everyone will be able to find three or four songs he/she really likes. I read somewhere Yes did a tour with all eight ďband membersĒ after the release of this albumÖ? That mustíve been impressive, White and Bruford, Howe and Rabin, etc. all on the same stage at the same time. But anyway. I agree Talk is a much better album than Union.

Philip Maddox <slurmsmckenzie@hotmail.com> (07.07.2000)

I bought this in a used bin - for some reason, I wasn't scared of the 10 copies of it sitting there. I get the CD home, plop it in, and here Jon's tenor on 'I Would Have Waited Forever'. Pretty good. Not excellent, but pretty good. Then things took a turn. The record just kind of turns to sludge. Only a few of these songs totally suck ('Saving My Heart' is one of the worst songs I've ever heard; 'Dangerous'; 'Angkor Wat' is really stupid), but only 4 do anything for me; the aforementioned 'I Would Have Waited Forever' isn't bad at all, 'Masquerade' is a pretty Steve Howe solo, 'Lift Me Up' is actually beautiful, and 'Miracle Of Life' is pretty, too. Everything else is either boring ('The More We Live - Let Go', generic ('Shock To The System', or an embryonic good song that doesn't quite work ('Without Hope You Cannot Start the Day', which is ok until the "IT MUST BE LOVE! MUST BE LOVE! MUST BE LOOOOOOOVE!!!" part comes in and ruins it). I'd give this a 4 - a few ok songs buried between horrible songs and severely flawed songs. A LOW 4. You always see this in used bins along with REM's Monster. Buy Monster - it's an underrated gem. This isn't.

Rich Bunnell <taosterman@yahoo.com> (12.01.2001)

Don't go looking for a dissenting opinion from me - this album is horrible. The only way that the corporate wizards who fashioned this album could figure out how to combine the two warring factions of Yes was to make them play music that ANY band could play and have Jon Anderson sing over it so people would recognize it as Yes. The end result: a bunch of songs that don't even resemble songs-- they're all nothing but a mess of booming drums and mechanically-programmed chord changes. This trend even harms most of the stronger material like "Lift Me Up" and "I Would've Waited Forever," which both are pretty good mainstream pop songs hindered by arrangements that are simply -too busy-. The only song that escapes unscathed and actually -benefits- from the overproduction is "Miracle Of Life," a great song indeed and very much in the 90125 vein. The rest is awful. Naming a song "Shock To The System" and then having the music consist of exactly the same sludgy corporate dreck that persisted in the late '80s is hypocrisy, pure and simple. The album gets a very low 3/10.

Guillermo F. Vázquez Malagamba <psicgmo@netscape.net> (07.11.2002)

When I bought this album in 1991 and I listened to it, I thought: "where is Rick Wakeman?". Reading the inner sleeve notes I realized that there were many session musicians employed for the ABWH songs. Years ago I found some interviews in the Internet that clarified me many things about this album. One interview (published in "alt.yes.faq") was with guitarist Jimmy Haun (who is credited in the album as "also featured on "Dangerous"). He said that he was the main guitarist in the ABWH tracks. The producers (Jonathan Elias and Jon Anderson) and the record label didn´t like Steve Howe´s guitar parts. So they called Haun, "a guitarist who could play like Howe in Howe´s best days of the past". "They wanted "Classic Steve Howe"". In the interview, Haun said that he re-recorded many of Howe´s parts because Howe´s guitars sounded all the same,"without colours". He was given freedom to play many parts. He said that Howe´s guitars were completely replaced in:"Shock to the system", "Without hope you cannot start the day", "Dangerous", and "Take the water to the mountain". Very little of Howe´s guitars appear on the rest of the ABWH tracks. Howe said in another interview:"they brought a stupid to replace my parts; the A&R man suggested to me that I could include one acoustic guitar song ("Masquerade") to have more of me in the album". Wakeman said: "I called this album "Onion", because It made me cry every time I listened to it; they replaced many of my parts; Elias brought all of his friends to play in the album; everybody played on that album; only my dog and Bill Clinton on sax didn´t appear in the album". Bruford said: "Union is the worst album I have recorded, it´s embarrassing". Even Rabin years later said:"It´s a black mark in YES´s story". Jonathan Elias said that he employed many session musicians because he had to replace many parts, because ABWH couldn´t play together anymore. There were a lot of discussions. Wakeman and Howe never listened to each others parts, so Elias and Anderson decided to call session musicians without saying anything to Bruford, Wakeman and Howe. It´s not known how many of Bruford´s parts were replaced. IMO, the 4 songs recorded by the "real" YES (Squire, White, Kaye, Rabin, plus Anderson) are more "genuine" and they are the best songs of the album. The ABWH tracks could be better called "Jon Anderson plus anybody involved". Some versions of the CD and the cassette had an additional ABWH song called "Give and take", which was also released as the B-side of the single "Lift me Up". I have to say that I like this album, but the fact that it wasn´t really an honest album most in the part of the ABWH tracks makes me underrate this album. There are some good ABWH songs: "I would have waited forever", "Shock to the system", "Silent Talking" (the best of the ABWH tracks), "Holding on". I like the lyrics for "Angkor Wat" (even the Cambodian poetry that I found translated in YES´ official website). The ABWH tracks were really influenced by Anderson´s "World music" style. I think that he was really in need to release an album under the YES name, so he negotiated with Squire. ABWH´s record label wanted more hits, so they wanted the "union". The "real" YES needed Anderson. It was a real marketing farce. Even some of the interviews in the "Yesyears" video sound now hypocritical: everybody saying how nice was the "union", when in reality there were many ego problems involved before and during the tour. Bruford said in 1992 that he did the album and the tour mainly! for money for his solo albums, and that he couldn´t play with Squire anymore. But the tour was good. I listened and recorded from the radio parts of a concert played in Wembley. Their version of "Awaken" is very good. The live version of "Shock to the system" has a different end (Haun and the producers did another end to the song in the album so Howe didn´t play it live), with Rabin and Howe playing solos. The version of "Lift me up" is better than the studio version, but I don´t think that Howe was in the stage for that song. In fact, some songs were not played with the complete 8 men line-up on stage. Bruford left YES inmmediately after the Union tour was finished. Howe and Wakeman were not included in a new contract with another label (Victory), because the label wanted the 90125 line-up. So the next album was Talk with Squire, White, Anderson, Rabin and Kaye.

Alexander Zaitsev <zaitsev@perm.ru> (01.06.2003)

So, you think that the honour of being the worst Yes album goes to Union. I wouldn't say so. The album is like "So, guys, we are all here. What are we going to do now?" The "band" is a crowd of people,but nobody is doing anything. Even the music is partially written by the producer! What for is Chris Squire there if the bass on most tracks is played by Tony Levin? Levin even composed "Evensong". And yet Levin is not "the member of the union" as the Yes site states. Ridiculous, indeed! Most of the people are there only for the sake of being there. They should have made the album a double CD with ABWH songs and Yes songs properly sorted. That way they would have earned more money.Wasn't money their goal?

The album is ridiculous, it is the dirtiest trick in music ever and Rabin is as horrendous as elsewhere, but I think it is better than Big Generator. 'Masquerade' is gorgeous. 'Take the water to the mountain' and 'I would have waited forever' are good. There's nothing offending in 'Without hope...', except the 'It must be love' part. 'Lift me up' is a Talk - styled song with nothing good, but nothing bad about it. 'Miracle of Life' is also Talk - styled and isn't particulary bad.. Overall, there are more tolerable songs here than there are on Big Generator (there's but one there, IMHO). I think Union and Big Generator must share the rating, at least, because you can say something about every Union song and Big Generator is so dumb and generic that there is nothing to say about it.Union is plain bad, not offending, whereas Big Generator is ripe with offending songs. I will be glad if the comment won't be left unnoticed.


AN EVENING OF YES MUSIC PLUS

Guillermo F. Vazquez Malagamba <psicgmo@netscape.net> (05.10.2002)

This double CD set was recorded live at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, California, U.S.A, in September 9, 1989. It was first released in Europe in Oct. 12, 1993, minus "Starship Trooper". When it was released in the U.S.A. in February 28, 1994, they added "Starhip Trooper". Another difference between these versions is that the European version had in the cover the name of the band. The U.S. version (which is the scan of the cover you have in your website) doesn´t have the name of the band and is simply titled An evening of YES music plus, which, of course, could confuse it as a "real" YES album. The CD that I have (U.S. version) had a sticker with the complete names of the band members.

The sleeve notes of the U.S. version said that it was recorded on the last date of the 1989 tour, but it´s not true. The original bassist for the ABWH tours (1989-1990)was Tony Levin, who some weeks before this Shoreline concert became ill with hepatitis, so some concerts were canceled after this, and Bill Bruford called Jeff Berlin to replace Levin on some concerts to finish the rest of the North American dates. This is the reason why Jeff Berlin appears on this recordings. He had 3 or 4 days to learn the songs, which of course he transcribed in musical sheets.I think that he played very good despite the short time he had to learn the songs and to rehearse them with the rest of the musicians. But I also think that it could have been interesting to hear Levin playing the bass. Maybe a better mixing of Berlin´s bass could help to listen his bass better in the recordings. This Shoreline concert was broadcasted in pay per view T.V., and it was also released on video formats. L! evin returned in late 1989 for some more concerts, and they played more dates until March 23, 1990, which was their last concert as ABWH before joining "YES West" (Squire, Rabin, White, Kaye) for the Union album marketing farce.

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (17.05.2003)

I have to admit that my opinion of this album is heavily biased by the fact that I won free front seats to a show on this tour, but I just love it. It doesn't have the edge and hunger of Yessongs, but neither does it have all the sound quality problems of that album. The only drawback is the lack of Squire or Tony Levin, although jazz fusion guy Berlin is up to the task (although Levin was visually quite a striking showman). I think all of the songs from the ABWH studio album sound tons better her, much more lively and less murky without that bloated production. And a big disagreement on the two backing musicians, Milt McDonald and Julian Colbeck -- they really help to add a fullness to the sound that the four main Yes members can't quite match on their own (the actually accompany Jon on his "solo" section). And while their are other live versions available of the old stuff on the Keys albums and Yessongs, these versions are very solid and amazingly played, with "Close to the Edge" and, I agree, "Starship Trooper," being highlights. Any Yes fan will be able to get into this.

Knut A Ramsrud <ramsrud@online.no> (08.05.2004)

A short reader comment on An Evening of Yes Music Plus:

You're completely right about the requests thing. I saw the Oslo show on that tour, and Jon asked for requests there as well. There were a lot of shouts for "Owner" and other 90125 tracks, quite a few shouted for "Awaken" and "Going for the One", and finally Jon thought he heard - wouldn't you know it - "Heart of the Sunrise". I never heard that request (and I was at row 4). Makes you wonder if they ever played anything but that tune in the requests part.

Otherwise it was a fine show. At the time I was most impressed with Tony Levin and his sticks; a shame that the live recording is from one of the nights when Tony was not present.


TALK

<SteveNessa@aol.com> (18.10.99)

Talk is one hell of a good cd. One of my favs of all the new stuff. This cd rocks. Yes are one of the best groups out right now. I love the last song, 'Endless Dream'. Talk, Talk, Talk. This is wonderfull. Rabin is pretty damn tough and he brings an edge to this band. See you all at Yes 10-30-99.

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

Well, I wouldn't be so harsh, but you're pretty much on the money. It's the Rabin show all the way, guitars at the center. It sounds to me like Tony appears only on "The Calling." And, like the other Rabin albums, Chris gets shunted aside. And I do think "Walls" is a very catchy song, with down-to-earth lyrics, but it's the least Yessish track they ever did -- for all practical purposes, it's a Rabin solo single. But "The Calling" has those great trademark harmonies, and Rabin gets points with me as far as trying to stretch the envelope with his sound on everything but "Walls." But they went as far as they could in this direction, that's for sure.

Philip Maddox <slurmsmckenzie@hotmail.com> (01.10.2000)

7/10 from me. This is about as good as Trevor Rabin Yes could get. Love 'The Calling' - in my opinion, the best Rabin era track (though I haven't heard Big Generator). Very catchy, great harmonies, excellent all around. The rest isn't bad either. 'Endless Dream' is a bit long, but some of the harmonies are excellent (the way Jon's voice ascends and descends is quite pretty). 'Real Love' has one of Yes's most striking choruses - very memorable and "tough" (well, as tough as Yes could get). Can't give it any higher than a seven, though, because a lot of this stuff is kinda generic and none of it is particularly creative - this is basic pop rock. Still, it makes for a very enjoyable listen.

Rich Bunnell <taosterman@yahoo.com> (12.01.2001)

Well, the sterility of this album pretty much kills half of the songs, rendering "I Am Waiting," "Real Love," "State Of Play" and "Where Will You Be" dry and melody-deprived. They're probably really good songs, too, which makes it all the more irritating that they're buried in such horrible production values. That leaves three other songs. "The Calling" is wonderful, an overproduced wall-of-sound stomper with a riff breathtaking in its genericness. "Walls" is good, though if Yes were going to do an all-out pop song, I really wish they hadn't made it so plodding - they just as easily could've made the song faster, leaving a more engaging song with a shorter running time. Plus, Tom Petty's 1996 hit of the same name is a lot more engaging, and it's hard to listen to a song called "Walls" when I could be listening to another song called "Walls"(with almost the same lyrical hook) which is much better. Then there's "Endless Dream." Starts out really good, has some decent parts here and there, but as a whole isn't an epic worth comparing to "CttE" or "GoD." The album is better than Union, but even Bad Company's debut album is better and more soulful than that pile of crap, and I hate Bad Company. I give this album a highish 4/10.


KEYS TO ASCENSION

John McFerrin <stoo@imsa.edu> (14.08.99)

Since I just read that the russki versions of most of your CD's don't have liner notes, I'll fill you in a bit

These two albums are not just random modern-day live albums that have been created to suck more money out of loyal fans (well, maybe some people might differ in that opinion, but anyways). Rather, these two albums are of extreme historical importance for the band

After Rabin and Kaye quit, the remaining Yessers were left to pick up the pieces. They wanted to know how they could get back to being loved by their fans, and as you might suspect, they realized that the best way was to get the old gang back together and play the older stuff. But they didn't want a "comeback tour," persay. Rather, they wanted the band's reemergence to be more of a "comeback special."

They decided to hold a three day festival in March 1996 in San Luis Obispo. They would play the same lengthy set on each of these days, allowing as many fans as wished to hear them in their old glory (i.e. if somebody couldn't make it a given day, they could hear the exact same songs that a fan would have heard on another day.) KTA and KTA2 are recordings from that festival. Basically, they took the best performance of each song and put it on disc. If I knew which song was from which day, I'd say, but I don't so I can't. I do know, however, that between the two is the complete setlist.

I will admit that it might seem somewhat redundant to have a third complete Close to the Edge, but at least the marketers have a somewhat decent excuse this time around.

Josh Fitzgerald <breezesf85@email.com> (24.09.99)

Weak. The live tracks are okay, but laking energy. Anderson is still singing like a computer, but Squire seems as though he'll never grow old!. The best live track is "Starship Trooper". The new songs are worse. "Be The One" is one of the most boring songs I've ever heard. "That, That Is" starts good, gets bad, than get's good again, and back to bad. It's half and half. A worthy enough album (I might even begin to say that it's great after listening to Union), but not their best effort.

My rating-7 1/2

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

A return to classic form. I agree, the live stuff doesn't have the same edge -- they are definitely more low key. But they do well, and the stuff is very well recorded. (For all its virtues, Yessongs sounds like it was recorded in a big cave.) "The Revealing Science of God" is more tolerable here than the studio version, but it still really drags and just cannot command my attention through the whole thing ."Onward," on the other hand, is TOTALLY transformed -- the acoustic arrangement is absolutely perfect for this song. Beautiful. On the third hand, I really didn't need "Roundabout" or "Starship Trooper" again.

The studio stuff sounds kinda like ABWH tunes on their way to being Yes tunes. Which isn't bad, necessarily -- at least it sounds like the band is playing together, even if Rick overdubbed his parts after everybody else was done.


KEYS TO ASCENSION 2

Josh Fitzgerald <breezesf85@email.com> (24.09.99)

Better than the 1st! The live tracks are somewhat more interesting. "Close To The Edge" sounds really good! The studio tracks are also better. "Mind Drive" is good, but they sound like they're trying too hard to make it 20 minutes."Footprints" and "Bring Me To The Power" are both shamelessly overlong. "Children Of Light" is one of their best in a looooooooooooooooooooooooong time. That I stress, a very looooooooooooooooooong time.Great harmonies, and an effective ending. "Sign Language" is also their best instrumental in an even looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooonger time! Best since "The Clap"!

My rating-8 /2

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

I agree that most of the live stuff is really redundant. And while "Going" and "Time and a Word" are very well arranged and recorded, the tempo and energy level are definitely turned down a notch from the versions from Yesshows. What do you want after 18 years, though?

The new stuff is also more of the same, although Rick sounds more integrated here. But the studio tracks here and on the last album are doomed to be neglected -- Rick left before the tour, Open Your Eyes was released concurrently, and the band favored it. Oh well.


OPEN YOUR EYES

Josh Fitzgerald <breezesf85@email.com> (24.09.99)

I'm quite impressed. I was expecting this to be another lovey-dovey borefest like Big Generator (I don't own it, but I've heard it), but the only ones that come even close are "Wonderlove" and "Love Shine". I love the first to songs the most, and that ending with the nature sounds and the singing. "Man In The Moon" has bad lyrics, but has a really cool melody. Just a good album. I also have pretty high hopes for their upcoming The Ladder album.

My rating-8 3/4

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (09.02.2000)

The reason that Steve gets short shrift this time is that a lot of the tunes were originally intended for a Squire/Sherwood side project. "Man in the Moon" makes that most obvious -- lyrically and vocally, it in particular is very un-Yeslike.

I don't detest it, but it's just not very memorable. Nothing sinks in, even after repeated listenings. There aren't great hooks, no great harmonies. And I agree totally, a keyboard presence is desperately needed.

The band moved on very quickly from this album after the tour.

DURET Fabien <duret@mnemosyne.ipsn.fr> (22.11.2000)

This record is GREAT but everything about "No way we can lose" is RIDICULOUS (harmonica, vocals, harmonies), and this is your second favourite. 4 minutes of that seem very much longer to me than the 25 minutes of "Gates of Delirium" or "Close to the edge".

Steve Howe plays wonderfully on this album, is totally coherent with his style and sometimes gets even further (the Frippy style on "wonderlove"). It's also the come back of Squire, the first really interesting bass playing since "the silent wings of freedom" on Tormato. The only bad things on this album are :

- the lyrics which are the most ridiculous ones even sung by Anderson in a Yes album. But I don't mind. In fact, the ridiculous word "wonderlove" for example, suits totally to this piece's music, and it seems that the word was just used to make a perfect final : "wonderlo-o-o-ove", a slice of speed guitar, and "BANG BANG". Breathtaking. One of the most intelligent ends of pieces that were made by Yes. I mean, the important thing is the sound of the word related to the music, not the signification, because Anderson uses his voice as an instrument, rather than singing.

- the BIG PROBLEM of this album : why can't we here Anderson alone from time to time ? Why are all the pieces except the acoustic one saturated with the voices of all the members ? The problem was taken into account and disappears on the following the Ladder. The mistake on Open Your Eyes is that the background vocals don't add anything because they are always there, and that's too heavy and makes the album hard to listen in its entirety. It's a very important point to tell about in a real analysis. It's one (negative) particularity of this album.

This album is excellent and Talk is the worst Yes record, and in fact not a Yes record (production, writing, heavy metal or FM hard- rock inepties : Trevor Rabin) : maybe the name of the album is "Yes", and the band is "Talk", the leader of which is Rabin. He also could have been the leader of groups such as Bon Jovi, Scorpions (I don't say Europe because I have respect for his sometimes great guitar parts on 90125 and Big Generator).

That's all. Sorry for becoming subjective but I don't want to discuss anymore. I first read your Van Der Graaf Generator reviews and saw they were absolute nonsense. I then read your Yes reviews which I found even worse. I am not a fan of any group. But I am a musician, and I'm sorry, but Tormato is better than Drama, Open your eyes fucks Talk, and Tales From Topographic Oceans may be the Best Yes Album, if it's not Fragile, Close To The Edge or Relayer (for studio albums - Yesshows is for me even better than those ones). Also, depending on one's personal tastes, 90125 for its energy, or Big Generator for its more Classic-Yes pieces and esthetics, can be both considered as the best Rabin-Yes record. But Talk is a joke (and not a funny one). Well, a friend told me that you weren't so deaf toward beauty in your Crimson Reviews (I feared you would say something like "the best album is In The Court, the last good album is Islands, and after I don't understand". It's not the case. Thank You). And what about your Genesis Reviews ? Will it be "I only understand 'I Know What I Like' - 'Fountain of Salmacis' and 'Firth of Fifth' are bad attempts to beauty that make the group sound like Yes, so I don't understand" ????

To all people starting in the Prog Music : don't listen to him, he's a mad man that wants Yes to stop playing Yes music, and to become something between The Buggles and Scorpions. If you listen to Open Your Eyes, remove "No Way We Can Lose" from your CD player -program. It's his favourite, but it's absolutely non-prog.


THE LADDER

Rich Bunnell <taosterman@yahoo.com> (06.08.2000)

Whoa! Screw 90125, THIS is Yes's pop masterwork. I don't CARE if it's produced by the Aerosmith/Bon Jovi guy. I don't CARE if the melodies are simplistic. It doesn't matter because the songs are almost all so freaking good!!! The two "epics" are Yes's best in years (especially the title track), both winding together simplistic passages into musical grandness like good epics are supposed to, and MAN, those shorter songs! They kick! "Lightning Strikes" is stupid and non-Yes-like but utterly infectious, "If Only You Knew" rises above its corny melody because it....uuh.....has an awesome melody, "To Be Alive" is really cool ("Everybody wants some" - WHO FREAKING CARES? Another entry in the "Yes fans bitch about stupid things" contest)...and...well, these songs are just awesome. It may sound like Yes doing modern adult pop, but it shows a certain variety and proficiency that other adult pop has simply never achieved. The only song I don't care for very much is "The Messenger," but the rest is dandier than Yes have been since Going For The One, at least in my stupid opinion. I don't have any problem whatsoever giving this a 9.

Sorry that this comment is so crappy, but I have SNL playing right now, and they're showing a crappy Joyologist sketch with Molly Shannon and the stupidity is rubbing off on me. Why I have the show playing at all is because I'm a closet masochist.

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (04.12.2000)

As with Strange Times, I waited a very long time to obtain a copy of this, since Open Your Eyes, like Keys of the Kingdom, was pretty much a disappointment. And, as with the Moodies, I found that Yes has provided me with a surprisingly good album. The album certainly reflects the tension between Howe's waxing nostalgic about 20 minute noodlefests (as in Keys to Ascension) and Squire's desire to have another "Owner of a Lonely Heart" saturating the airwaves (as in Open Your Eyes). Squire seems to have won the upper hand here in terms of that, but the melodies here are so much more catchy than the stuff he and Sherwood came up with on the last album, even on the two nine minute tracks. Bruce Fairbairn must have ruled the Yes roost pretty firmly. And certainly, while there is no instrumental grandstanding a la Close to the Edge, the musicianship here is very solid. I agree, Chris' work here is the best since Drama, and Igor is on a par with Wakeman, as far as I'm concerned -- a very fine addition.

Like a lot of fans, "If Only You Knew" and "Lightning Strikes" induce a few cringes here. Yes is way too English to be totally comfortable with ethnic rhythms, but the "LS" is at least better than "Teakbois". And while "If Only You Knew" is the most blatantly commercial thing Yes has EVER recorded (I imagine Howe and Squire wincing as they were recording the background vocals), it sounds a lot more sincere than any of the horrible wimpy ballads the latter day Genesis came up with.

A fine start for yet another lineup, but once again the two-album curse strikes. Sherwood is out, probably because Howe decided that this here town ain't big enough for the both of them. (On the other hand, I couldn't figure out what the hell Sherwood did here, anyway, so it's most likely no loss). And some rather nasty extracurricular activities by Igor on the latest tour has fired a lot of fan speculation that he may be out on his ass shortly, as well. Well, in the meantime, we can "console" ourselves with a live album from the Ladder tour. A live album from Yes! Just what the world needs!

Ben Kramer <bkramer2000@hotmail.com> (21.04.2002)

Call me a nut, but this is the best Yes album I have ever heard, and it has more high points than the fact that it has no low points. Some of the songs on here are really amazing. For example, no one mentions it, but 'Nine Voices' is a beautiful song. The guitar solo is great, even if it is acoustic. The lyrics have meaning in a lot of the songs here too. I really like the lyrics to 'Be A Good Day' and of course, 'Nine Voices'. They are two great pop songs! Also, Yes managed to shine musically with 'Face To Face' and 'Homeworld'. Both have extremely technically awesome playing. Even the hard song on here is great (Finally).

There are no bad songs on here, and to add to that, there are no bad moments. I have heard complaints about the ending of 'New Language'. Well, Howe's playing may be a step down from 'Face To Face', but I still love it, and the main riff of the song is cool. With 'Finally', they knew when to stop with the hard stuff and after half the song, they slow it down and lower the volume.

My favorite thing about this album has got to be the bass. It stands out in two songs in particular. The first is 'Lightning Strikes'. Squire sounds absolutely amazing and each note is played perfectly. 'The Messenger', as you mentioned, also has a really cool bass riff. Also, 'Face To Face' has a great bass riff, but it doesn't really stand out like it does on the two songs mentioned above.

Ok, I've mentioned everything except for the Fragile bite off, 'Can I'. It sounds cool, and it is funny at times. The last song I didn't mention is an adult contemporary song, 'If Only You Knew'. Now, I normally don't like stuff like this, but for a ballad, I am very impressed.

A 13, and a high one. This is one of the most fun albums to listen to, but it is also beautiful at many points throughout the album. At this point in time, I can call this the best Yes album ever.


HOUSE OF YES: LIVE FROM HOUSE OF BLUES

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (06.05.2002)

Somewhat redundant? I mean, the FIFTH legit live versions of "Roundabout," "Your Move/All Good People" (there are also takes of these two from the Tormato tour on Classic Yes) and "And You and I" (the boxed set has a performance from the Big Generator tour that you're sure to hate, George)? Major overkill, even for Yes fans.

That notwithstanding, the performances are really strong, I agree. I don't mind having the three biggies from The Yes Album, especially "Yours is No Disgrace," with some pretty cool Howe/Squire interaction. And while I don't hate "Awaken" quite as much as you do, it's pretty much just unnecessary filler here, after just having appeared on KTA not that long ago. Instead, inclusion of one of the KTA studio tracks or the title song from "Open Your Eyes" might have been nice. And the little song snippets of "Time and a Word" and "Ritual" are annoying -- either do the whole song, or not at all! But I also agree that the tracks from The Ladder show what a strong album that was in the first place.

Khoroshev didn't take any chances, but he was a solid addition to Yes. And Sherwood's rhythm guitar did help to strengthen the sound. It's well known that Howe detests Rabin-era material, so it was up to Sherwood to come to the rescue with "Cinema" (a huge surprise) and "Owner of a Lonely Heart." You can really hear the dual attack of the guitars through headphones on that one. Still, the best performance of that was on the Union tour, with Rick Wakeman cranking out an amazing synth solo on the extended coda. A bootleg from that tour is worth seeking out for that alone -- that is, if you can stand yet ANOTHER version of "Roundabout" in your collection.


MAGNIFICATION

Pedro Strecht <pstrecht@fe.up.pt> (15.10.2001)

Before any comments, I must say that you've done a great job rating all this bands and their albuns. It's a really great guide for all the prog fans like me that are still discovering this wonderful world. One of my fave bands are of course YES and I agree that sometimes people like me tend to like anything that band puts out, such is our love for their music.

That's the truth, I actually like all the music Yes puts out, even though, I agree that some periods are quite low, such as Union and for instance 9012Live. But as far as I'm concern, every Yes album is always waited with much antecipation, probably because people always think it's the last one. I guess it's been like that since Tormato.

It hasn't been different with Magnification. I'm quite happy with this album, there's a lot of optimism in it, starting with the title track. It's very uplifting, and I do find the orchestra a nice addition to the music. In some respects, I find it better that The Ladder, because the band seems to have a real sense of direction, and it's more true to it's past. This is the album that even with a new orchestral sound you can easily identify as being Yes, not an Anderson solo album or from any other member. With the pop tunes of The Ladder, altough very nice to hear, always seemed to me to poppy for Yes. With Magnification, you can really see what makes the distinctive Yes sound. I consider it a lot better that the recent albuns KTA, or Open Your Eyes. I even dare saying that this is the kind of music that fans could be expecting to get when Tormato came out, as I find that it is much a more a sequel to Going for the One than Tormato was. The song 'In the presence of' as almost the same majesty of 'Awaken' or 'Turn Of The Century', so it's a return to those days of great Yes compositions. Another big surprise was 'Can You Imagine', which somehow Squire manage to get from the XYZ sessions. I think it was a great addition and helped to diversify the album, particularly being (as far as I remember), the first song in a Yes album in which Squire does the lead vocals. After a 30 year carrer, finally we get a song with Squire in the foreground. By the way, I think it wouldn't have been that bad that Squire have sung in Drama (as Collins did in Genesis). His voice is somehow in the same context of Anderson, and he probably has an higher range than Trevor Horn (not that I don't like his voice). Maybe that could have sustained that line-up enough for at least another album.

The lack of a keyboard player in Magnification seems tolerable, and probably give the music more space to breathe and the orchestra to really shine in the background. Being only a personal opinion, I accept that a lot of people will not agree and not find this album that great. Nowadays I think a fan of Yes must be expecting anything, such has been the line-up changes, in and out members and quick appearences on albuns. I wouldn't be surprised if in the next album we see Wakeman again, or maybe Patrick Moraz. It's also a possibiliy that the keyboard player in the tour, Tom Brislin, can join the band and participate in the writing of the next album (if there will be another one, which I hope). A Yes fan has to be a little open minded, I mean this is not a band like Queen that has always had the same line-up and unfortunately ended with Freddy Mercury. Yes nowadays has had so many members (in this album the extra-member was an orchestra) that nothing should surprise a fan (not even Trevor Rabin coming back!).

All in all, Maginification is an excellent record!

Bob Josef <Trfesok@aol.com> (28.04.2003)

While the orchestration on Time and a Word seemed to be thrown on top of the band just to see what would happen, and the string arrangements on Tormato were just based on Wakeman synth lines, here Yes gets it right. The orchestra meshes perfectly well with the band, neither upstaging it or seeming superfluous. Yet, it seems that the songs could work just as well without them, too. (The band is evidently playing a couple of the songs live with Wakeman doing new keyboard parts.) I don't agree that's it's a total departure from The Ladder, though. With Sherwood gone, the pop sensibility goes, too. But, still, a lot of the songs sound like, say, "Homeworld" with orchestra. Not that that's bad, since the melodies are still there.

The only downside is the lack of really interesting instrumental work from the band. Squire does some good stuff ("Dreamtime", in particular), but Alan White is rather ordinary and Steve is way too restrained. His electric parts sound like faint echoes of Going for the One or Relayer, at best. Well, maybe it's a bit much to expect more from these old guys (Chris mentions his grandson in the liner notes!), but at least this is another solid and very enjoyable album.


VIDEOS
YESSONGS

Greg Fuller <gf22@cecomet.net> (21.07.2002)

Oh, what the hell, nobody else has bothered to put up a review for the Yessongs movie, so I might as well be the first. I've only been a Yes fan for a short time now, but I love them like they were my first born child. Yessongs is one of my very favorite live albums (up there with Genesis Live and Seconds Out - hey, I like it, alright?, and Welcome Back My Friends...), it's well over 2 hour length is justified if you ask me, all great performances. I actually enjoy Alan White's drumming more than Bill Brufords (not saying Bill's not a great drummer, he is, he's just overrated as hell in my opinion and he looks like a god damned idiot when he plays, just completely immobile, and he's arrogant, so whatever), and while it's obvious he's still learning the songs and finding his place within Yes, he still does a fantastic job. But I'm not here to tell you about the album, now am I? Oh, no, I most certainly am not. I'm here to tell you about the much shorter, just 10 minutes over an hour long concert movie companion to the album. I should get the quality of the video out of the way first, because I don't particularly want to focus on it like so many other people do when discussing the film. The sound is rather poor, most of the time sounding like a big mess, and the picture isn't much better, very dark, very fuzzy, all around shitty. But who cares? This is Yes at their peak, god damn it, and it's a great concert. Alright, I'll be the first to admit, it gets pretty fucking boring after about 2 songs, because to be honest, the band just doesn't do anything. They're all dressed pretty cool (Chris Squire's and Rick Wakeman's capes are particularly interesting to say the least), and Chris jumps around the stage throughout much of the show, you hardly ever see Rick or Alan, Steve just stands in spot head banging and looking like he's having orgasms non stop, and Jon Anderson barely moves away from the microphone, flapping his arms, playing tambourine occasionally and moving around like a woman (don't get me wrong, I love Jon Anderson, one of my favorite singers and lyricists (yeah, yeah, I know...), and I don't respect him any less, but he does really have female mannerisms which make him look a wee bit dumb, but they at least provide some comic relief). Hmm, what else? I know I've been very up and down in this review, my feelings are very mixed. Some good, some bad. What about the songs then? I like the stuido version of 'Your Move' much more than on here, too unpolished, but 'All Good People' kicks the shit out of the original, thanks in no small part to Alan White's drumming, he really pushes that song to kick the ass it should have on the original. 'The Clap' is a cool acoustic ditty courtesy of Steve, which doesn't really get too boring, thanks to Steve's orgasm faces and of course, his mastery on the guitar. Oh yeah! That's another thing. The camera crew that filmed this were obviously stupid asses who had never seen the band before and didn't understand their live shows. During 'The Clap' rather than filming Steve's hands, they pan down at one point to an overlong shot of Steve tapping his leg. (????) What the fuck is that? While he does have rather nice legs, and those pants are quite nice, but god damn it, I want to see what he's playing. Let me think here...'And You And I'? One of my favorite Yes tunes, great performance. 'Close To The Edge' is alright, gets boring, nothing overly special if you ask me (and I love the original version). During the very quiet part before 'I Get Up, I Get Down', the filmmakers decide to show, rather than the band, stupid little, I don't even know what you'd call them. A Flower growing or worms or something if I remember correctly. Stupid psychedelic shit. This version of 'IGUIGD' is great though, smoke fills the stage, it's very dark (imagine that), and it's just very intimate, great if you ask me. Rick Wakeman's solo is next, which is a bit overlong, but he injects some humor with a little Jingle Bells about half way through, so it's alright. He's an astounding keyboard player, just amazing. This goes right into 'Roundabout' which kicks all sorts of ass. I dare say I love this version more than the album version. The electric is great and makes the song rock about ten times harder than the original. Next as an encore is 'Yours Is No Disgrace'. Alright, it's good for about the first 4 minutes, but god damn it. I swear, it lasts a good 15 minutes, and I can't handle it. I like the song alright, but not here, not now, not having to watch them for that long. No thank you. Holy shit this is long. I'll just end it by saying this - Yessongs is a great live album, it's video companion isn't too bad. Sure, it's heavily flawed, but there's something magical about watching this movie of Yes in their prime and at their peak of live performances. So if you can handle the quality and many stretches of boredom, you'll come to appreciate it as I have (even though I know it doesn't sound like it, take my word for it, you sons of bitches).

p.s. Look at how fucking long that thing is. I'm sorry for putting you through that. I don't actually expect anyone to read all that though, and if you did, god damn.


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