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Yes - Going for the One CD (album) cover

GOING FOR THE ONE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 1431 ratings

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ProgressiveAttic
4 stars One more classic after three Yes masterpieces!

During the timespan of five years (1971-1976) Yes released five classic albums (or at least considered classics in prog circles) and now they complete this long chain of impressive albums. The expectations for "Going for the One" where really high, especially after the spectacular Relayer (considered a masterpiece by many, including myself), which was also preceded by two other masterpieces (in my not so humble opinion): "Close to the Edge" and "Tales from Topographic Oceans".

The Yes phenomena is characterized by a constant change of sound product of the frequent lineup changes and their "classic" symphonic 70s era is no exception. The first of this changes was Steve Howe's arrival as Peter Banks' replacement on the guitar (The Yes Album), followed by Rick Wakeman replacing Tony Kaye on keys (Fragile and Close to the Edge), the substitution of Bill Bruford by Alan White on drums (Tales from Topographic Oceans) and Wakeman leaving his position on Patrick Moraz' hands (Relayer). Now Rick Wakeman returns after a very successful solo career with the release of albums such as "The Six Wives of Henry the VIII", "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "No Earthly Connection", among others.

This time the "Tales from Topographic Oceans" lineup returns to produce more accessible, but still progressive, music. So don't expect double albums, concept or 20 minute epics (although Awaken has some epic attributes and is fairly long: 15+ minutes), but do expect very pleasant and well delivered symphonic classics. Nonetheless, the atmosphere of some of the tracks is reminiscent to "Tales...", both in lyrical and musical content (specially the ballads).

The feeling that I get from this album, trying to find a wider and more mainstream audience while being truth to their symphonic prog style, is embodied by the variety of styles represented by each different piece. In first place we have the title and opening track which presents a "radio-friendly" dynamic hard rock (but not too hard) style dominated by Howe's riffs (nothing really interesting) and Anderson/Squire vocalizations (always pleasant to listen to), very aptly backed by White's dynamic drumming and Squire's characteristic bass with the sporadic accompaniment of a piano provided by Wakeman.

Turn of the Century is an outstanding ballad, one of the most beautiful love songs ever written by Jon Anderson, with Anderson's lyrics and Steve Howe's acoustic guitar in the spotlight, with some vocal mellotron participation in the background. After the first half of the song, new instrumentation is introduced without disrupting or modifying the atmosphere and quality of the song. This new section of the piece includes electric guitars added to the original acoustic and various keyboards (including piano, floating synths and harpsichord).

Parallels, together with the title track, is one of the low points of the album. This doesn't mean that it is a bad song, on the contrary it is very enjoyable and has a certain symphonic feeling to it that most Yes fans would appreciate, but it isn't really progressive. The main melody is a very simple chord progression played by Wakeman on a church organ, which gives sort of a grand sound to the song. The most interesting (but not too interesting... if you know what I mean) elements of the song are Steve Howe's electric guitar soloing and some nice church organ lines present in some sections. On the other hand, the rhythm section provides a very exciting upbeat rhythm while the typical Yes vocalizations complete the band's characteristic sound.

Wonderous Stories is the shortest song of the album and one of the loveliest. Another ballad dominated by Jon Anderson's voice but this time the main accompaniment is provided by Wakeman's keys with some brief but relevant guitar participation courtesy of Mr. Howe.

Awaken, considered by many (including myself) one of the most relevant Yes compositions, is the longest and best accomplished song in the album and the only true team collaboration between the members of the band. The atmosphere of the song is very grand, and it's filled with excellent guitar lines and keyboard runs (Wakeman's trademark), the vocals are completely magnificent and the rhythm section shines and is as tight as on the last three albums. Here the keyboards play a very important part since they provide the unique atmosphere that supports the sound and in many sections represent the lead instrument. This is a must for Wakeman fans like myself.

Total: 4.25

A very enjoyable album but not a masterpiece, nonetheless a must for Yes fans. This is the last great 70s Yes album since Tormato wasn't very well accomplished (although it had lots of potential and shines every now and then). Don't expect bombastic and over the top prog, what you'll get is a more calmed and easy to digest Yes.

4 stars for one of the many classics produced by one of my all time favorite bands.

ProgressiveAttic | 4/5 |

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