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Yes - The Ladder  CD (album) cover

THE LADDER

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.28 | 702 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
2 stars This album is indeed like a ladder, so long as we're talking about the experience one has when slipping down one-- each song leaving a sour-taste in the mouth as a bloody jaw smashing against each rapidly approaching, unforgiving steel rung. The Ladder is not a Yes comeback album, it is a lengthy exercise in masochism.

Here are the pros: the songs are (slightly) elevated beyond the radio-friendly tunes we've been hearing from these guys for the past decade; finally we're given longer offerings with more interesting compositions which begin to reconcile the band's glorious symphonic hey-day with a more modern edge. Secondly, the group delivers more interesting performances across the board-- but given the immense failures of everything since Going For the One, that isn't saying much.

Here are my complaints: these songs are so happy-fun-tra-la-la-skippy-do-saccharine-squeeky-clean that, by the end of the first half I could not wait for it to be over... then If Only You Knew started up and the torture really began. Of course, the real offender here is Jon Anderson, whose voice and lyrics DOMINATE this album. The instrumental moments are few and far between-- and don't come close to ANYTHING we were gifted with during the classic era. But, I could at least get into these few moments of nice playing until Anderson opens up his big, new-age-Christian-mystic bullcrap spouting mouth and ruins everything. EVERY song on this album sounds like he's singing to Jesus... I am not joking; he's lyrics are interchangeable with contemporary Christian rock. I realize that this has always been prevalent in his writing-- but at least in 1973 his lyrics were so obscure and weird that it wasn't obvious, these are just painful.

If uniformly cheery songs and inspiring lyrics with the words you and believe plastered in every other line-- you'll find a lot to enjoy with The Ladder. For those of us who enjoy variety, art, depth, and intensity-- The Ladder is just that: something very tall to fall off of.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 1 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Prog Leviathan | 2/5 |

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