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Yes - Time and a Word CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.32 | 1450 ratings

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3 stars Time and a Word - Yes (3.38 stars) Original Release: 6/0/1970


No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed (4 stars) Organ, strings and bass play an openning fanfare that sounds like a theme for a Wild West movie. The bass is groovin' throughout the song. The instrumental mid-section is rockin' with the band and the orchestra moving as one. The lyrics suggest some kind of wake up call to be positive and not dwell on the negative; as a Christian I hear an indirect reference to Jesus in the lyrics as well.

Then (3 stars) The lyrics describe the conditions and qualities of how a better world on earth with heavenly overtones of greater experience and mutual cooperation will come to pass. Dramatic strings accent the song's pensive tone until the chorus opens up the mood to a mild rapture. Then a long instrumental section revs up the energy before it slows way down into a serene jazzy space. The previous lyrics are repeated against this mellower background while the bass plays jazzy phrases. The song abruptly ends with an explosion of brass and brass aftershocks.

Everydays (3 stars) The lyrics seem to hint at the many joys and wonders that seem all but buried in the mundanity of everyday life. This is presented to a laid back swing beat and jazzy vocals; la- de-da. Then the word "day" which ends a lyrical stanze is repeated with eerie instrumental sounds hinting at something about to break to the surface. The dull illusion fades as the instrumental section comes in on an intense hi hat. Then a staccato bass and organ melody followed by a guitar jam. Then organ and orchestra join in eventually climaxing...and the song returns to its dull world vision; la-de-da, de-da. Both this song and to a lesser extent the previous one have the quality that they attempt to take the listener on a journey somewhere in short order and back again; and these songs have the little extra length to help accomplish that journey without it feeling too rushed. These are signs of a definite impulse towards the grand progressive rock songs Yes would later create.

Sweet Dreams (3 stars) Dreams can bring you out of any hole you may fall into says this straight-forward pop song. The bass is out for a rigorous stroll hear and pumps a great deal of rhythmic energy into this song giving it almost a march-like feel. The other instruments hunker down and provide the background to the vocals and bass.

The Prophet (4 stars) Ah, the blazing, seering organ that starts this song is a great dose of keyboard wizardry, one that I haven't seen enough appreciation given to. The long, satisfying spell of an organ solo finds its way into a theme from Holst's "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity". Then the guitar comes in to guide the energy down into a more flowing energy. The strings highlight the spiritual lyrics who tell of a man who speaks of a higher truth that is both personal and more than personal. The strings once again add drama and by the end of the song you have really rocked and rolled.

Clear Days (3 stars) Our happiness becomes clear in brief moments but those moments are in touch with eternity. Sweet strings and piano accompany these lyrics. The song ends with a more apprehensive tone.

Astral Traveller (4 stars) The lyrics seem to allude to out of body experiences in the form of efforts at literally soaring into the sky. The guitar sets the tone for the traveller. The singer's distorted voice suggests a transportation to another realm. Staccato rhythm throughout sets you up for the instrumental section which starts with baroque variations on a melody. This changes into a slow guitar mediation against the faster background. Then as the guitar rachets things up we come back to the original instrumental theme. Throughout this song there is a percussive quality that lends a unique tone. It begins to chip away at the 60s pop and jazz style into something more abstract and more like rock. The contrast between lyrical section and the instrumental section is not so stark as in many of Yes' other songs at this point.

Time and a Word (3 stars) This is straight-forward hippy love song sung with all due seriousness by a sincere believer. Like "Sweet Dreams" this song relaxes the instrumental muscles a bit. The chorus is surprisingly infectious and makes for an excellent closing song for the album.

Dear Father (3 stars) Lyrics seem to be about Jesus speaking with God, the Father, about his mission. He shows his human side, resisting His calling. The instrumentals and orchestra play a grand theme behind the vocals. The instrumental coda is nice with the orchestra as well ending the song with that 60s pop energy that will suddenly disappear on their next album.

No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed (Original Mix) (2 stars) No stereo back and forth to the strings on the openning of this edit (which didn't seem to sound right on the album version of this song anyway). With a suppressed or absent orchestra other elements like organ and background vocals stand out more, but often not to good effect.

Sweet Dreams (Original Mix) (2 stars) Again background elements, in this case, backing vocals, are brought forward. There is additional guitar work in the solo which ends up making this song longer in spite of it being played a bit faster.

The Prophet (Single Version) (2 stars) Again a subdued orchestar reveals some sounds that don't quite mesh.

Album: As I felt in my review of Jethro Tull's "Benefit" this album by Yes makes an incremental improvement over the previous album. The songs have a more coherent, natural quality even as they attempt to reach out at times into contrasting musical moods. The band and the orchestra play well together, each with their own confidence. The serious song lyrics are somewhat deluted by the giddy energy of 60s pop and shaken up by the muscular thump of the bass. Yes was a band that seemed ready to break the bounds of pop-rock but still felt restrained to not so long songs and even doing covers. But by the time the year 1971 rolls around progressive rock will have entered its golden age and such restraints will be left far behind by Yes and the other giants of the still birthing genre.

MP3 recommendation:

Four stars (4 stars) 1. No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed (4 stars) 2. The Prophet (4 stars) 3. Astral Traveller (4 stars)

sealchan | 3/5 |


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