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Yes - 90125 CD (album) cover

90125

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.00 | 1562 ratings

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NickCrimsonII
3 stars Ahh, yes, this album. The super polarizing '90125'. Yes' dive into full-blown pop rock with tints of AOR on this 1983 release for Atlantic. After a peculiar period in the band's history, followed by changes in the line-up and disputes over the sound and direction of Yes, they ended up creating their most commercially successful album, exploring the fields of accessible music and new wave even more than they did on 'Drama' or 'Time and a Word'.

This album finds the band consisting of Jon Anderson who decided to come back to record vocals and the other four members (Chris Squire, Alan White, Tony Kaye returning, and the new guy Trevor Rabin) who were initially supposed to represent a different musical entity called 'Cinema'. However, they ended up being Yes, unsurprisingly, and for the band's good, as this album would go on and sell millions of copies all over the world.

It is clear that the new guitarist Rabin took the lead here, with the band developing many of his demos. Even their biggest chart-topping hit 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' was a Rabin riff. So, his influence on this album is immense. The rhythm duo of White and Squire is also as strong as ever, indicating that they can flawlessly play both crazily intricate 20-minute songs and 4-minute pop tunes.

Tony Kaye's keys are not as challenging and all over the place as Mr. Rick Wakeman's (is this good or bad everyone could decide for themselves), and that is the sole reason why he was brought back by Squire. Because he could deliver a simpler and even 'poppier' element to the band's sound (as in their first two albums).

As for the album itself, it is definitely not a terrible one (We all know that Yes will release a few awful records in the future) but at the same time it is not excellent, either. Even comparing it to its predecessor, '90125' is just not as exiting and memorable as 'Drama', so it is clearly weaker. We're not even talking about comparisons with the early 70s stuff, which at this point seems untouchable for this line-up. However, a few tracks really stand out for me, and I must admit, I like them a lot. Namely, the aforementioned 'Owner of a Lonely Heart', the quite 80s sounding sort of a ballad 'Changes', and the dreamy 'Leave It'. The rest is not unlistenable. Instead, it is fun and sometimes enjoyable but not stunning and mind-blowing by any means.

With all that said, I must say that this is surely an important part of the band's career as it elevated them to superstars and brought a lot of attention and many new fans to the band, while not presenting such an intriguing sonic evolution. Yes, it is catchy, and easy-listenable but is it as durable and adventurous as, say, 'Roundabout', or 'Yours Is No Disgrace', or 'Going for the One'? I'd say no.

So, an adequate rating for this record would be 3 stars because it is not something terrible and unenjoyable but it is also not astonishing, and it is definitely a weaker album than 'Drama' (which I assigned four stars to) that I seem to use as the main reference point for defining how I feel about this one. I really do not see myself returning to this album except for the three tracks I mentioned earlier that I really enjoy.

Prog On!

NickCrimsonII | 3/5 |

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