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Yes - Big Generator CD (album) cover

BIG GENERATOR

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

2.46 | 797 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars The making of this record involved a laborious two years, due in no small part to Jon Anderson's wanting to create more traditional Yes music, and Trevor Rabin's urging the band in a more commercial direction. While it may have been a point of contention, I'm thankful for the compromise, given that this was the time many great progressive rock acts were taking a pop-oriented approach. A fair bit of what's here is inescapably hackneyed (three of the eight titles have the word "love" in them, for crying out loud), and some of the arrangements are atrocious. However, the vocals are just as sophisticated as they were on 90125, and again make up the album's best quality. While Big Generator lacks the consistency of its predecessor, I find myself drawn to certain songs on this album.

"Rhythm of Love" Beginning with a lovely wave of voices, the music very quickly becomes exactly what one might expect following an album like 90125. It is a great-sounding pop track, full of drive and complex vocal arrangements.

"Big Generator" The initial vocals of the title track are clearly a takeoff of "Leave It" from the previous album. Rabin's guitar is extremely crunchy on this bouncy but really disjointed song. All of the instruments seem to be all over the place with no coherence.

"Shoot High Aim Low" I particularly enjoy this song, from it's slightly experimental introduction to Chris Squire's subtle bass groove. Rabin's vocals are pleasing alongside Anderson's. The organ backing from Tony Kaye adds depth to the chorus, which is catchy without being irritatingly so. Rabin's machine-gun clean guitar helps make this one of the best songs here, and an underrated gem from Yes in my opinion.

"Almost Like Love" This track is an eclectic mess. It has a fair opening, making use of heavy synthesizer, but soon turns into a much-too-fast pop track in double time with Anderson sputtering the copious lyrics along the way. The instrumental section is a noisy jumble, and even Rabin's rapid-fire guitar solo sounds directionless.

"Love Will Find a Way" This is somewhat new territory for Yes- in fact, the first time I heard that chamber orchestra introduction, I wondered if my player had changed to a different album. But once the strings are finished after a brisk fifteen seconds, Rabin's clean guitar punches in, and soon the band joins him. Squire's vocals are especially prominent in the harmonic verses. While nothing to write home to mom about, it's fairly enjoyable.

"Final Eyes" Over acoustic and clean electric guitar, Anderson and Squire sing just as well as they always had together. With the bright synthesizer and the interjecting bass, the first part of this song is really reminiscent of "And You and I." The heavier portions are refined, and Rabin sounds great singing during his part. Kaye's keyboards are not lost among the rest of the instruments. "Final Eyes" is a stellar track, one I would daresay ought to please a fan pining for the arrangement and sound of Yes's 1970s output.

"I'm Running" Squire lets loose a growling bass solo at the beginning of this quirky introduction (that inexplicably comes back later)- I don't know what to say about it except that it sounds kind of goofy; I can't help but picture Pee Wee Herman doing his little dance to it. The song itself makes me think of Fleetwood Mac (I could actually picture them doing this song). Had the arrangement been less ludicrous, I might've liked this one more.

"Holy Lamb (Song for Harmonic Convergence)" A wonderful, gentle acoustic song finishes the album. Remove Alan White's heavy, 1980s drumming, and this would sound very much like something from Olias of Sunhillow. It is quite a lovely piece.

Epignosis | 2/5 |

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