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Yes - Drama CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.77 | 1738 ratings

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Evandro Martini
4 stars After Tormato, considered by all Yes members a weak album, Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman left Yes. Without Rick again, and for the first (and only) time without the singer that was the trademark of Yes together with Squire's powerful bass, the remaining members had the idea of calling The Buggles, a new pop duo that was recording on the same studio and the same record company as them, to join the band. They accepted instantly, being Trevor Horn (the singer) a fan of the band. Considering The Buggles' single "Video Killed the Radio Star", a ridiculous pop song full of irritating clichés (like the calm section coming back to the chorus, the steady beat, etc), I would never say they were an ideal replacement for Rick and Jon. However, they were, giving the band a new approach, slightly closer to pop music (but not so much) and sometimes to Heavy Metal. I'm amazed at how the band managed to change their sound and still keep the distinctive Yes-sound. This is not easy to do (see 90125, when they became a laughable pop band with almost no characteristic of Yes at all). So I really appreciate this album. It's not a masterpiece at all, actually it has very good and very bad moments. In the good ones, I'm glad Jon left the band, giving them the possibility to experiment new things that would never take form with Jon's angelic voice. Steve, Chris and Alan really rock here!

First, the Good moments: Machine Messiah is awesome! Steve's guitars are a little distorted, but not enough to be unpleasant (Steve's opinions about guitar timbres and styles are exactly the same as mine, so he would never do something that could hurt a ear). This epic is a real rock'n'roll masterpiece, mixing prog, heavy metal and a small pop tendency. Tempus Fugit is amazing as well. Chris Squire's bass is perfect all through the disc, very loud, but here it reaches a climax! He's my favourite bassist, and here he achieves one of his peaks, with great melodies played with energy and so much feeling! I can't even describe it. The song is pop-rock, with chorus, yes it is, but I love it anyway.

So-so and bad moments: Does It Really Happen is average. Bass and drums are great, but at the time the voice comes in, it gets much worse. The sung melodies are not original nor catchy. This was probably a Buggles song that got an improvement from the Yes guys. White Car is way too short, but it's not a good bridge in my opinion. It's not bad, but it seems to me like a musical idea they didn't have time to improve, so they put it in the record with just one minute. Run Through The Light is another song with perfect instrumental passages, but very bad vocals. They probably tried to imitate The Police in the use of echoes and in the sing-along chorus. Without success. Do I need to say that Chris Squire did a hell of a job, even in the sung parts? Into the Lens is a strange song... the lyrics make me cry wanting Jon Anderson back. He often used nonsense in Yes lyrics, but always with good taste and well constructed verses. Then comes Trevor Horn and sings "I am a camera, camera camera". Ricidulous. I don't want to be repetitive, but Squire also did a great job here! Steve and Alan (the latter in one of his best moments) too. Some time signature changes in this song seem artificial and I don't like them. For example, the chorus in 6/8 seems forced, as if they had thought "We don't want another 4/4 chorus" and added two times just for that.

Conclusion: I love many aspects of this album, but hate some. At all it's a good addition to any prog collection, and I'm glad these changes were made. But don't expect a masterpiece! P.S: Trevor Horn did a good job here, but live he was a disaster singing former Yes songs. I have a bootleg with a show from this tour, and at Yours Is No Disgrace I can only laugh at how his voice fits the song so weirdly.

Evandro Martini | 4/5 |


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