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Yes - 90125 CD (album) cover

90125

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

2.92 | 1101 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Had Yes's debut (which was, for its time, something of a pop album) achieved a much larger measure of commercial success, Yes may very well have taken the more comfortable road of mainstream rock music; they certainly made some excellent music on this 1983 release. The music here is decidedly unlike that of their 1970s output, but that in no way makes it unpalatable. Chris Squire, Alan White, and South African guitarist Trevor Rabin were ready to begin a recording project as the band Cinema, but with the addition of Jon Anderson and original keyboardist Tony Kaye, they reestablished Yes. This album has a number of vocalists, namely longtime and beloved singer Anderson, Squire, Rabin, and former lead singer Trevor Horn. Speaking of Horn, he assists the band as the producer of this record, and his skills in such a role should not go unnoticed. I happen to think this album showcases the collective vocal prowess of Yes perhaps more so than any other album. The rather uninspired title of the album is based on the original catalogue number.

"Owner of a Lonely Heart" With the band's most commercially successful song, the listener knows immediately that this is not his father's Yes. Back when I first heard this song, I couldn't figure out if that was Anderson or someone else singing, and with good reason- the singer in the chorus is none other than Trevor Horn (along with Anderson). The guitar solo uses a harmonizer, making it sound similar to two different guitars.

"Hold On" This is another ear-pleasing rocker, although perhaps more progressive than the hit song. The erratic vocal section by Squire sounds like something that could have been left over from Drama.

"It Can Happen" My favorite song on the album, with the sitar and a fantastic bass riff, does a great job fusing 1980s sensibilities with the more classic sound. I also like Squire's lead vocal role in the pre-chorus (everybody seems to get in on the action vocally, and the result is phenomenal). Echo and panning effects on the vocals show the mastery of Horn on the other side of the studio.

"Changes" That introduction is one of the most complex moments on the album, with shifting time signatures and stunning instrumentation. It soon becomes a more mainstream pop track, with Rabin singing over a squeaky clean guitar. The heavier chorus involves the other vocalists, who can all be heard very clearly despite blending so well.

"Cinema" This is live performance of a brief instrumental that bears the name the band was going to adopt before Anderson and Kaye returned. It showcases Rabin's screaming guitar, Squire's chugging bass, and White's powerful drumming. Even though it is only just over two minutes long and still fairly complex, it won an award for best rock instrumental in the 1984 Grammy Awards.

"Leave It" A Squire-led vocal arrangement introduces an a capella introduction. The music focuses on multifarious vocals, and each singer takes some time in the lead position. The bass playing, particularly during the chorus, grooves right along and is one of the best parts of the song.

"Our Song" The lighthearted synthesizers, the heavier guitars, and Anderson's wispy voice make this sound precisely like something that could have been on Tormato.

"City of Love" The introduction to this is a touch on the experimental side, but other than that, it's a fairly bland, moderate rocker.

"Hearts" The album ends with a grand closer, something more akin to the music of Going for the One or Tormato. The lyrics are a fair bit more on the mystical side, also. Rabin's guitar solo screams again, but this is a performance with more feeling than anything else on the album; it is truly an exquisitely crafted solo. I highly enjoy this song, even if it is not my favorite here.

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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