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Yes - Fragile CD (album) cover

FRAGILE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.44 | 3354 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

natewait
4 stars What can I say about this fantastic album that hasn't already been said? This album was very influential on my path to discovering progressive rock. My dad had showed me the whole Gentle Giant catalog, which I absolutely loved, so he moved on to his second favorite band, Yes. I remember we were on a road trip with my family, and we stopped at a local record store and my dad bought The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close To The Edge so that we could listen to them on the drive. He already owned all the albums, so he gave them to me as a gift, and I am extremely grateful since they are three of my favorite records.

Fragile is the second of what I consider the essential Yes albums and it is truly a great follow up to The Yes Album. The only thing that keeps this from being a masterpiece is the rather subpar solo pieces that come in between the band songs. I think it was an interesting idea to give each band member their own track just to see the influences that are coming into this band (an idea that would resurface after Relayer where the band members had a short hiatus and each created their own solo albums). However, it makes the album seem somewhat disjointed and creates a sort of pattern of a great track followed by a mediocre one. But, it is really a minor complaint because the great songs are just so great and are such classic Yes.

"Roundabout" is a classic with a legendary acoustic guitar opening before it starts rocking with some awesome organ and bass work. "South Side of the Sky" is a monstrous song that starts off wih the sounds of a storm before the band kicks in and plays in a darker style than they are used to. There are some great majestic keyboards here that show Wakeman's clear classical influence (as can be heard on his solo piece on the album). There are also some classic Yes harmonies that really make for a beautiful piece. "Long Distance Runaround" is an uplifting piece with some great guitar and bass work by Steve Howe and Chris Squire. It is a fun, bouncy track that I can't help but like.

"Heart of the Sunrise" is the masterpiece of the album and an incredible way to close. Everything I love about Yes can be summed up in this one song. The beginning is wild like 21st Century Schizoid Man or their later epic Close To The Edge. The fantastic Chris Squire bass line slows things down for a bit before the whole band kicks in all over again. The band slows down again, and this time the angelic voice of Jon Anderson starts up. I think this is one of him best vocal performances throughout his career so far. This is a magical piece of music and one of the best throughout all of prog. I love Yes for the beautiful majesty they create and this song could be considered exhibit A on that subject.

This is an excellent album that really cemented Yes' place in the forefront of the prog movement at the time. The album still sounds fresh today and the longer full band pieces are all shining gems in Yes' 40+ year career. I can't call it a masterpiece of prog because of the shorter solo tracks, and because there are superior Yes albums in their discography, but it is pretty darn close. All in all an incredible album that all prog fans should enjoy.

natewait | 4/5 |

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