Yes - Yes CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.26 | 999 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Yes: Yes [1969]

Rating: 8/10

Yes's self-titled album is one of the strongest and most innovative debuts in rock history. This album was released a few months before In the Court of the Crimson King and helped lay the foundation for progressive rock (along with The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack and Days of Future Passed).

The material here is eclectic: there are psychedelic moments, blues moments, jazzy moments, and moments that hint at the symphonic grandiosity to come. "Beyond and Before" is a fairly straightforward hard rock song dominated by a catchy riff from Peter Banks and throbbing bass from Squire. "I See You", one of the two covers on the album, is a piece of energetic jazz/blues rock with excellent guitar work and superb jazz drumming; Bruford is in his element here. "Yesterday and Today" is a very 60s light ballad focused on Anderson's melodious voice. "Looking Around" comes next, bringing Tony Kaye's Hammond organ to the forefront and continuing the 60s rock style. Side two begins with "Harold Land", an extraordinary and underrated track. Featuring intriguing melodies, intense composition, and powerful vocals from Anderson about a man changed by war, it is one of Yes's early masterpieces. "Every Little Thing" is a Beatles cover, even though it bears little resemblance to the original. It opens with an extended heavy intro with chugging bass, explosive drums, and expressive guitar; this hard-rocking is then juxtaposed with Anderson's rendition of the original pop song. "Sweetness" brings back the 60s psych, focusing again on Anderson's vocals. The album concludes with "Survival", the song that hints most at the symphonic rock of Yes's future. Jazz, classical, psych, and blues are all explored in this six-minute track. Every band member shines on this masterful composition.

The eclectic nature of this album is both a strength and a weakness. The music is varied and interesting, but it is also apparent that Yes is still trying to find their true identity. For this reason, some songs are better than others. There isn't a weak track here, but not all of them reach the level of "Harold Land", "Survival", or "I See You" - these three songs are masterpieces. Although not quite as essential as the "epic" Yes albums, this self-titled debut is still quite an achievement, and is highly recommended to all progressive rock fans.

Anthony H. | 4/5 |


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