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YES

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.24 | 916 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

sealchan
5 stars Yes - Yes (3.5/5 stars) Original Release: July 25, 1969

Songs:

Beyond and Before (4 stars) The lyrics see in a mystical way a winter forest as transparent to the eternal. There is good rock here upheld by a muscular bass line. The coda brings the energy down.

I See You (3 stars) This song moves quickly but settles into a softer, jazzy mode with multiple voices singing. The lyrics describe an anima projection in dynamic imagery. The song builds in volume but quietens when it reaches an instrumental improvisation. The guitar musings contain interesting phrases. The improvisation shifts into a harder rock mode until the rhythm section takes over before dropping back into the vocals again. The rhythmic, staccato of the coda echoes the climax of the improvisation.

Yesterday and Today (3 stars) Hippie, mystical love song with quiet instrumentation. The lyrics are classic Jon Anderson poetry that captures a meaning in a mystically self-referencing way:

There's only us simply because thinking of us makes us both happy

Looking Around (3 stars) Upbeat song. The lyrics seem to be about how we can transform our view of the world with a chance encounter that brings the key to finding that meaning. What inspires then pays forward.

Harold Land (4 stars) Long instrumental introduction that forms a grand entry into the song. Then the song quietens for the vocals. The lyrics describe a young man who went to war as an officer and came back an emotional shell. This is done effectively in three concise sections. The vocals are passionate about their subject. The instrumental sections which frame the song seem, with repeated listening, seem to dissociate from the vocal portions of the song. Sort of like a picture frame that doesn't match the picture.

Every Little Thing (4 stars) Intense instrumental introduction with great drums here. The band dances instrumental circles around this Beatles tune. The energy (which can seem relentless at times) in this song reflects the energy of the whole album. The instrumental section contrasts the mood of the vocal section but to no known artistic end. It is as if the band is struggling to reach its progressive style inspite of its 60s launching pad; another way in which this song might reflect the album and the band.

Sweetness (3 stars) Dreamy song about a deeply empathetic partner. Jon Anderson's lyrics already reveal his penchant for creating his own mystic terminology and re-using it;

I'll ask her for some time to go and look around; She puts the sweetness in with a sound.

This song and "Yesterday and Today" have a less hectic pace so they give the listener to the album a break from the album's high energy.

Survival (4 stars) Instrumental intro which transitions into a peaceful guitar and organ section making a nice contrast and diffusing the energy. Great lyrics that suggest that escape from danger is only transitory and that death is inescapable; but still you must hold onto life with eyes open. Jon Anderson's hippie exterior covers a serious thinker.

Album: Yes' first album shows their 60s pop style wrestling with intense instrumental power that would become a staple of much of progressive rock. This album could be considered proto-prog or crossover prog for its complexification of pop/rock songs. Yes's strong instrumental skills set the standard that other progressive rock bands would be compared to. Yes fans should appreciate this album.

MP3 recommendation:

Yes EP (4 stars) 1. Beyond and Before (4 stars) 2. Harold Land (4 stars) 3. Every Little Thing (4 stars) 4. Survival (4 stars)

An EP would give one a representative dose of this early Yes without leaving you quite as "over-caffinated" as the whole album might.

sealchan | 5/5 |

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