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Yes - Open Your Eyes CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.03 | 766 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars (Two and a half stars, really)

I think every band who'se been in it a while eventually gets around to making an album like this one. A more relaxed, simpler affair that's done purely for the joy of playing music, that shows the band's influences more clearly, both classic (Beatles) and modern (grunge), that defies the pressure of creating up to the expectations of others and ignores the pressure from fans, lables and critics, and simply is whatever it is. Queensryche's "Hear in the Now Frontier" is another good example, and was similarly panned, but in the case of albums like these, I don't think the bands really care so much about how these albums are recieved. These are created in a more relaxed sense, seeming almost a reconnecting of the band to their love of playing and creating music. And it is easy to pan this kind of album if you bring to it that very sense of expectation to "perform" up to the standards of past releases, rather than simply going along for the ride, as the music gently suggests.

To me, the Yes magic finally returns here for the first time since fizzling out on "Tormato", only glimmering faintly through on "Union" and missing from pretty much everything else. (omitting the "Keys" tracks) Albeit in a distilled, very simplified form. The songs here are still short and basic in construction. In fact, a fair amount of this album is astoundingly boring! But it does at least finally sound like Yes again, and don't be fooled. There are some truely enjoyable moments on this album.

The first four tracks start things on a high note, as all of them are good, if of course not on par with the classics in several ways, though again, for me this album mostly defies those kinds of comparisons. The title track "Open Your Eyes" and the pleasantly ambling (if overproduced) "No Way we can Lose" in particular really shine, and if the rest of the album were as good, it would deserve no less than a three and a half star rating. Listen to those, and if you can enjoy them, you'll probably find a fair amount to enjoy on this album. It does sound like Yes, the alchemy has finally returned, but the problem is that a lot of these songs, "Wonderlove" and "Somehow, Someday" in particular, just tend to meander aimlessly, even limply along the Yes sonic landscape, not reaching, or even trying for the magnificent, exhilirated heights of their classic, much more challenging and engaging work. Worse, the strong start of "Open Your Eyes" tends to even more acutely draw your attention to the lacklustre quality of the later tracks.

I tend to think of this album as a suppliment to their better work. If you're in danger of completely wearing yourself out on their classic greats and the other notable releases after years of repeated listenings, it's safe to kind of beat this one to death by throwing "Open Your Eyes" into the player and passively listening to it whenever you cant commit attention to their better work. This album is definitely geared for passive, rather than active listening and does have a definite "backdrop" quality to it, and can be truely enjoyable if approached in that way.

| 3/5 |


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