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Yes - Fragile CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.45 | 3648 ratings

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4 stars Prog Rock, straight from the heart...

Best Song: Roundabout

Overall Rating: 12

...Yeah right! Like Yes ever did ANYTHING even remotely "from the heart"! No, this is 40 minutes of pure prog rockin', boys, and for once, Yes take no prisoners...'cept your heart. If anything, I see fragile as the real roots to art metal, or classic era progressive metal. Sure, you might hop on your Rush wagon, but...that wagon smells, man! Here, though, our favorite pretentious li'l miscreants bring us some of the finest complex, knotty, jerky, sexy (ooh-la-la), prog entertainment this side of Uriah Heep (get real)....I mean, this side of...well....whoever!

Really, this album was the first real mesh for the band. You had a new, talented keys-master, and you had the subtle growth of songwriting talents from the band as a whole. No, this stuff won't ever tug at your heart strings, and I'll forever hold Jon Anderson as their weakest link, at least in this realization of the band. It's not that I think he is a terrible singer, but he ain't exactly no Peter Gabriel, now, y'hear? That's right, him wailing his emotionless "dadada's' and just doesn't get to me. No, I can't ever take Yes seriously from a lyrical or conceptual standpoint, but as musicians, well, that's where this album truly shines.

See, all the members shine. They even have one of the coolest bass guitar riffs I've had the pleasure of hearing. Truly, Roundabout, the album's strongest opener, and possible the strongest effort by the band, ever, my pretentious socks off. It's just interestin' as hell. No, it doesn't make me shed a tear, and it definitely don't make me think, too much, but I'll be darned if it doesn't get my blood pumping, and that's just something you don't get to experience in prog, very often. Usually, rockin' prog bands don't have the chops to compensate for the lack of truly intricate melodies (Kansas), or they most certainly have the chops, but can't write a memorable melody to save their lives (Rush), or... they just don't have anything, at all (Uriah Heep). Yes, if only for this lone album, maybe even for this lone song, have equal helpings of both. It rocks, hell-fire, it rolls like a mother. But, it's also memorable! That's right, this sucker is memorable, from the wicked bass chug to the keyboard swirls, even to Anderson's silly commercial wailing.

The album, itself, is split into two primary functions: Longer, but still moderately concise, sci-fi rockers, and shorter (sometimes under a minute) pop/experimental tracks. Long Distance Runaround comes to my mind, first, as the most memorable and engaging of the shorter tunes. Now, I'll say it loud, and I'll say it...well, obnoxiously. Cans and Brahms is a waste of my time AND yours. Nobody needs two minutes of that classically inspired (inspired = stolen) sludge, and all I can call it is "neat". An interesting idea that fully embodies Yes: An interesting idea that got taken too seriously, but wasn't too original in the first place, even if it had some entertaining moments. Luckily, it's so short that we can all forget it and move on to "We Have Heaven", which is quite a fancy track, if I must say so. No, just like ever-thang else on here, it's just as likely to make you cry as it is to cure cancer. The vocal dubs are interesting, and it flows, smoothly.

True enough, the album rocks hard, when it isn't wanking off or wasting time (both of which happen, but in sparse amounts). The tempos are roaring, and there's a real showcase of energy in each song. Like, even if it's all pretentious, painfully bombastic drivel, it's drivel driven to the maximum height of drivel entertainment. Fish is a sort of guitar fire-storm, where Mood For A Day is a sort of guitar forest of serenity. Both work on different levels, both lack that final soul-plucking something, both are rip-roaring good times.

I think my greatest grievance with Fragile (which is anything but...), is the final "epic", Heart of the Sunrise, which is too long to support its primary musical ideals. Where Roundabout was a furious, evolving monster, carried by some truly ingenious playing, this one just don't cut it, for me. I like it, sure, but it feels to me like Yes just petered out of ideas in the last leg of the race, and tried their hand at complicated sprawl for the sake of complicated sprawl, ya dig? At the end of the martian day, though, Fragile is too much pure entertainment to pass up, and even if it doesn't really dig into your heart, it at least settles for the spleen, or something.


Alitare | 4/5 |


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