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Yes - Fragile CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.44 | 2905 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Yes: Fragile [1971]

Rating: 10/10

Fragile is a classic album that secured Yes's position as true musical pioneers. This is Rick Wakeman's first record with the band. Although contributing little compositionally, his induction into the band greatly helped to progress their sound; not only is he an enormously skilled player, but his use of synthesizers pushed the band into a new era of musical innovation (Tony Kaye, the band's previous keyboardist, preferred to use Hammond organs exclusively). Also, this is the first Yes album adorned with a spectacular album cover from Roger Dean.

Fragile consists of four full-length compositions and five shorter pieces designed to highlight one band member each. 'Roundabout' is not a track that I need to describe. Any fan of progressive rock, or classic rock in general, is familiar with this song. Many people, myself included, were introduced to prog through this track. 'Cans and Brahms' is Wakeman's solo piece; it's a short adaptation of Brahms' 4th Symphony. 'We Have Heaven' is Anderson's solo track, consisting of multi-layered vocal chanting over acoustic guitar. This is a somewhat controversial song, but I've always liked it. 'South Side of the Sky' is another long composition. It contains a fantastic segment of classical piano bookended with intense and heavy segments. 'Five Percent for Nothing', Bruford's solo piece, is a strange thirty-second long composition with crazy time signatures. 'Long Distance Runaround' is a simple song by Yes standards, but it's still fantastic, with great vocals from Anderson and a classic bass line. 'The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)' is Squire's solo moment. This track alone makes the case for Squire as one of the greatest and most creative bassists ever. 'Mood for a Day' is one of my favorite of Steve Howe's acoustic compositions. The album closes with 'Heart of the Sunrise.' This song is like a junior "Close to the Edge", and is absolutely perfect. Every stylistic nuance and musical mood that Yes had previously explored flows seamlessly here, and every band member is top form.

Fragile is a perfect album and a progressive classic. This is the first prog album I ever heard (even though I didn't know what prog was until years later) and it's always been near and dear to me; a huge amount of my musical heritage lies in these nine songs. Needless to say, I can't recommend this highly enough (although any fan of progressive music is most likely well-familiar with it).

Anthony H. | 5/5 |


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