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Yes - The Yes Album CD (album) cover

THE YES ALBUM

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.28 | 1902 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Yes put out two very good records before this one, but this one begins a lengthy string of essential albums that will establish the band's prominence in progressive rock music. It is certainly not the strongest Yes album available, but it represents a shift in direction and contains several absolutely magnificent pieces of music. The lineup changed before this album; Peter Banks is out, and master guitarist Steve Howe is in, which is unquestionably for the better. All the other members are tight in their respective roles.

"Yours is No Disgrace" A bouncy guitar and some organ get things rolling. Howe's lead guitar work throughout the song is extremely well-constructed and downright creative, and almost instantly, I see that Banks's replacement was a good thing. Jon Anderson's lyrics are becoming more obscure than ever, and his voice has finally reached it's prime. Chris Squire's bass is more pronounced. All in all, this is one of my absolute favorite Yes songs.

"Clap" This Steve Howe solo acoustic guitar piece changed the way I approached the instrument as a musician once I learned to play it. It's a flatpicking sound, and several dominant 7th chords give it a real country / bluegrass flavor. Howe wrote it to celebrate the birth of one of his sons, not as a happy-go-lucky tribute to gonorrhea, as the incorrect title might lead one to believe.

"Starship Trooper" One of the best two songs on the album, this one has pleased progressive rock fans for quite a long time. It was one of the songs responsible for getting me into Yes. Squire's tremolo-laden bass drives this song, and Howe plays an original riff with a clean guitar. The chord progression is simplistic but phenomenal under the soaring melody. The song has three distinct parts, the first of which returns to bridge the second and third. The first part is the best, and showcases the whole band the most. The second part highlights Yes's vocal ability and Howe's flatpicking. The final section is a lengthy and repetitive segment that builds and builds until Howe treats us to a guitar solo.

"Your Move / I've Seen All Good People" Personally, I like "Your Move" more than "I've Seen All Good People." Even though the latter is more energetic, and Steve Howe goes absolutely insane, I enjoy the counterpoint vocals and the easygoing instrumentation, as well as the chess-inspired lyrics, of the former. The second song of the track just gets a tad too repetitive, since the guys simply sing the same line over and over. Because these are two distinct songs, I've always felt they should have been divided onto two separate tracks, even if they will always be played together live.

"A Venture" This short song is similar to much of the music put out on the first two albums, but that in no way makes it an inferior track. I enjoy the simplicity of it, and the lyrics are entertaining. Here, Tony Kaye's piano work is at its strongest.

"Perpetual Change" The final song is a solid one, but not exactly one of my personal favorites. The main riff is overused, and I do not care a whole lot for the bland chord progression. "Starship Trooper" and "Perpetual Change" should have been swapped, since the former has such a stronger ending. I've always found the part five minutes in rather goofy, and the way the main chords come in over the top of it silly. Even Howe's distorted guitar playing is a bit pedestrian. All that said, I do like this song. The vocal melody is strong (and I especially like the backup singing). Howe's clean guitar interlude is some of the best playing he has ever done. Kaye has one of his only synthesizer performances with Yes (even though it's brief). And even though I said the ending was weaker than that of "Starship Trooper," I honestly do like the way it goes.

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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