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Yes - Drama CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.77 | 1801 ratings

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3 stars Hated this with a passion when I first bought in the mid 80s. A combination of the metal-like heaviness, some misplaced poppiness and the slick and soulless 80s production. Trevor Horn's vocals do not help, but are not the worse offence.

Some Yesheads seem to have a higher opinion than myself, so I have recently tried to listen again putting aside my former prejudice.


After the shorter aspirations of Tormato, the opening "machine messiah" is at least ambitious, but the opening is too ponderous for my tastes and the sung part is too poppy to fit with the rest. Not sure what the organ quotation from Widor's toccata is doing there either. But the instrumental development sections are impressive. So this piece is rather schizophrenic.

The 81 seconds of "White car" are rather pointless. The orchestral intro is appealing.

"Does it really happen" was ran through during the Tormato sessions. It is an energetic and memorable song so one wonders why they did not work on it then. Horn makes a good fist of singing but he's no Jon Anderson. The performance is rather plodding.


"Into the lens" has an interesting proggy opening but soon moves into an unsatisfactory vocal section with the banal "I am a camera " refrain. Again a very slick arrangement which sadly becomes par for the course from now on. This contains some good instrumental parts among the the blandness, so like the opening it has a musical split personality. Some horrible vocoder effects near the end have dated badly.

"Run through the light" has an ok verse but is let down by a banal chorus. In some ways it is a typical 80s product song.

"Tempus Fugit" starts off like the Nice's America before settling down into a rollicking bassline grove before being undermined by vocoder effects.

VERDICT: I no longer hate this as I used to, but it is far beneath Yes's best work. The elements simply do not gel. The musical ideas and execution are an improvement on Tormato but some questionable decisions have been made. They missed Anderson not so much for his singing but for his ability to create memorable vocal melodies.

3 stars


The bonus material here consists of single edits of two songs on the album plus 'tracking sessions' of another two which account for some 15 pointless minutes of music.

Then there's various songs which did not make the final cut.

"Do we really need to go through with this" is, as the name implies, a very ordinary instrumental rocker. "Song 4" at 7 and a half minutes is a lengthy off cut. Another instrumental, it is more promising than the previous, but can hardly justify its length.

"Dancing through the light" is a poppier version of the chorus of "run through the light" repeated over and over. An intensely annoying piece.

So far the bonuses have been half an hour of worthless dregs from Drama. The next "the golden age" takes us back to the sound of Tormato (specifically the instrumental sections of Arriving UFO) before Jon Anderson starts singing! (As he does the remaining tracks) The song is not great.

"In the tower" is an unfinished song, with Anderson singing over organ chords. It has some potential.

"Friend of a friend" is a funkier number but stops short of being memorable.

These last 3 tracks are the only bonus material worth hearing.

Cheesehoven | 3/5 |


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