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Yes - Open Your Eyes CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.04 | 797 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars I think Yes should be given credit for at least attempting to throw off the yoke of the pop-oriented glam of the 1980s, but unfortunately they assume the burden of a flashy and overproduced 1990s sound, which is thankfully a tad better than the borderline hip-hop they attempted on some of Union. Billy Sherwood's keyboards and guitars dominate the mix. The drums lack the subtlety or character they somewhat retained on the Rabin-era recordings, and almost sound like a machine at times. Chris Squire gets plenty of vocal time, which is certainly a plus, but his signature Rickenbacker bass tone is nowhere to be heard. There's a lot of reverb on Jon Anderson's vocals (and the vocals overall), which I find annoying most of the time. Anyway, Sherwood's input cannot be the main factor of this album: He contributed on The Ladder (a stellar album), but was absent from Keystudio, which I think Open Your Eyes sounds an awful lot like. On the other hand, the album is close in sound to The Unkown by Conspiracy, which I really enjoy.

"New State of Mind" Here's a full, thick sound, with Sherwood's guitars and keyboards in full force. It's a strong opener.

"Open Your Eyes" The guitar is the dominant instrument, using nice clean lines in rapid-fire fashion, but the arrangement is hard to follow. Chris Squire's vocals are excellent on this track, as I've always favored his unique inflections. Overall, I enjoy the song, even if it has a real pop flavor.

"Universal Garden" Howe's guitar introduction is nothing less than beautiful, and frankly, I think Sherwood's atmospheric keys make what is wonderful sound cheesy. The song bobs along okay, but it's Howe's guitar work that just shines throughout.

"No Way We Can Lose" The vocals and lyrics sound like they belong on an Anderson solo album. The guitar sounds like it belongs on a Howe solo album. But the song overall doesn't belong on a Yes album. The lyrics are schmaltzy, even for them, and the music is downright laughable: "When we all realize that there are no difference, there's no way we can lose." Wait a minute- should we recognize and celebrate differences or ignore them? I'm confused.

"Fortune Seller" It's hard to pin this song down; there's just so much going on in it, from Alan White's jazzier drumming in certain spots to seemingly random instrumental interludes. The lyrics contain some eye-roll-inducing mystical platitudes that are hard to overlook ("They say that time is like a river that flows, and where that river ends nobody knows," and "Giving into the power"). However, the organ solo (played by Igor Khoroshev, I think) is surprisingly good.

"Man in the Moon" I don't know what the bad was trying to accomplish with this darkish-sounding, The Nightmare Before Christmas silliness.

"Wonderlove" Lovely acoustic work begins this relatively lengthy track. Had that flavor been maintained, this could have been the "Soon" of the album, the respite after so much colorfully noisy music, but no- it doesn't take long before everyone is involved again, lending the song that same thick, overdone sound. The guitar solo is terribly muddy and doesn't exactly fit.

"From the Balcony" Finally, the listener does get a break from the onslaught of giddy noise, with Howe accompanying Anderson's voice on acoustic guitar. It's not a terribly great song, but it is pretty, and as I mentioned, a welcome relief.

"Love Shine" This song sounds like a throwback to Big Generator, and second to "Man in the Moon," it's the goofiest song on the album.

"Someday, Somehow" The band teases the listener with thirty seconds of a pleasant, soft introduction before going right back to the full speed ahead sound of the rest of the record. The arrangement doesn't flow very well, but during the gentler moments, the music is very delightful.

"The Solution" By the time the album arrives at the last song, the music passes by in a blur. The sound has largely remained the same with little variation or deviation, and that generic prog-pop sensibility has numbed the mind. This is just more of the same.

Epignosis | 2/5 |


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