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Yes - Going for the One CD (album) cover

GOING FOR THE ONE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 1403 ratings

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Bonnek
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
3 stars 1977. That strangest year in prog history.

In my book, prog had been on steady decline since 73/74. Of course there were good albums in '75 and '76. VDGG was even at their highpoint, but the first generation was mostly on hiatus and wouldn't return to form ever again. Even second generation acts like Camel and Oldfield were on the decline already. But especially the popular bands of yore were in serious trouble:

Genesis had managed to survive Gabriel's departure but none of the albums since could bring back the glory days of old. ELP had, as far as I'm concerned, not released of note of interest since Trilogy. King Crimson was dead and buried. Pink Floyd disappointed me a bit with the hollow pathos of Wish You Were Here. Kraut rock had had its best years and Jethro Tull had become exactly what their album titles suggested: too old to rock 'n' roll and a minstrel in the doorway of a decaying department store.

However, 1977 turned out to be the last spasm of a dying breed. Right before punk and new wave would give prog the final blow, the old school went out with style. OK, ELP had become a really sad self-parody but Pink Floyd would release an absolute fan favourite with Animals. Jethro Tull sounded reborn on Songs From the Wood, Genesis made the classics come fully alive again on Second's Out, Tangerine Dream ended their golden years with the powerful Encore and Schulze managed to release 3 gold platters with Mirage as one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever.

And Yes? Oh yes, we were reviewing Yes here. Getting there in minute.

Yes was exactly where everybody else was: releasing their last prog statement with Going for the One, while at the same time foreboding the horror of things to come. Of course it's a very nostalgic album. Completely oblivious of its era, but even so, how on earth could the very title track end up on this album? And as an album opener for that matter! It's a guitar riff driven song but with the most inane riff in rock history. The sound balance is awful and the vocal lines are atrocious. I guess only Yes could come up with kitsch like this. This would be the kind of stuff they would fill Tormato and Drama with.

Luckily, things go steadily upwards from here on. Turn of The Century is a charming merge of Howe's excellent acoustic guitar work and the out-worldly beauty of Anderson's singing. Not prog enough for some, pure splendour for me.

Parallels is one of those few tracks were Wakeman really amazes me. The sheer pomposity of this organ-loaded track, in a year when the Sex Pistols had established themselves as the future of rock, is one of the most striking discrepancies in pop music and an overwhelming proof of the power of rock and its freedom of expression. Unbelievable, to attempt something like this in that year and to pull it off so convincingly. But the prog beast of interest is Awaken of course. I've come to understand that not all of us here are equally impressed by it but for me it has always been one of the more enjoyable Yes suites. And the reason is Howe and Wakeman. They both shine and overwhelm me here like they never did before. I mean, Wakeman used to be an annoying jerk that liked the sound of his own playing too much and Howe's neurotic playing usually got on my nerves easily. But here, they deliver the goods. Amazing solos, excellent background sounds, whatever the song needed.

Overal this album is an amazing statement and one of the last great prog albums from first generation.

Bonnek | 3/5 |

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