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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 4111 ratings

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4 stars As with many reviewers on this site, I will proudly herald "Close to the Edge" as the very best Yes album ever made, only I will add the disclaimer: "After 'Fragile', 'Relayer' and 'Tales From Topographic Oceans'."

Really, I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. "Close to the Edge" is a great album, for sure, but that it's constantly vying with "Thick as a Brick" and "Selling England by the Pound" for the top spot on this site's Top 100 is excessive. All three of the songs are tremendous, but they are all three about twice as long as they need to be, making this half of one hell of an album. Actually, the first song, the side-long one, comes close to deserving its length; but the other two on side 2 are a little more questionable. Siberian Khatru, for instance, is a great little 4-minute rock song with four quick, neat, distinct solos. The only problem is that it takes them almost ten minutes to complete it.

The opening title track is the best, taking you through several moods and opening with the most menacing thing in the Yes catalog. A kind of beauty seems to be the album's overarching theme, but the Yes idea of beauty and the ordinary person's might conflict sharply. Still, in the right mood, I can easily see how a person might want to give this 5 stars, and my giving it 3 is as much a reaction to its being overrated as anything. But I don't think it deserves 5-star status, even when I can occasionally step fully into its world. And actually, I step close to the edge fairly often - "And You And I" and "Siberian Khatru" are both songs I enjoy jamming along with on my own guitar, and the version of "America" included here is also the best that I've heard them do. The guitar solo on that one really rips!

All the components of a Yes classic are firmly in place. It's the classic line-up and everybody gets opportunities to show off. But the writing is weak and all the songs are too long - a common failing of Yes's, actually, but on their best albums they strike an appropriate balance between atmosphere and melody. The balance here is definitely tilted toward atmosphere. So if that's what you're looking for, make it five stars. But in the unlikely event that "All Good People" and "Owner of a Lonely Heart" are your favorite Yes songs, avoid this thing completely - you aren't likely to be humming any of it (except perhaps "Close to the edge, just by the river... seasons will pass you by... now that it's all, over and done, now that you're fine, now that you're home...."). A great album, but not their best, and certainly not among the very top highlights of prog.

KyleSchmidlin | 4/5 |


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