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Yes - Drama CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.76 | 1373 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Yes: Drama [1980]

Rating: 7/10

Drama is probably the most anomalous album in Yes's discography. It is well-known as the only album the band ever recorded without the vocals of Jon Anderson (as of the posting this review). After the ill-received Tormato, Anderson and Wakeman left Yes and were replaced by Geoff Downes and Trevor Rabin from The Buggles. The fact that two of the band's defining members were replaced by an MTV-era synthpop band would cause one to cast heavy doubts upon this album; however, this lineup shift created an enjoyably unique one-off effort.

The songs here combine Yes's classic symphonic sound with a distinct New Wave influence. The ten-minute opener "Machine Messiah" is an excellent slow-building song with an almost metallic feel. Downes's keyboards - which are quite different and much more 80s-sounding than Wakeman's - have a strong presence here, along with the rest of the album. "White Car" is a short piano/vocal interlude. "Does It Really Happen?" focuses on Squire's bass riffing and punctuated vocals (a lot of which are sung by Squire). "Into the Lens" is one of the strongest tracks on the album; it contains many unique motifs without becoming incoherent, and it gives Howe a moment to shine on an album that is mostly inattentive to guitar. "Run Through the Light" is a fairly uninteresting New Wave pop song, but I do enjoy Horn's vocals here. "Tempus Fugit" is a great closer; the verses on this song are some of my favorite moments on the album.

As strong as Drama is, I can't accept it as a full-fledged Yes album without Anderson's incredible vocals. Anderson was such a central component of the band's sound that it is difficult to visualize the band without him, particularly when Horn's vocal style is so different. Nevertheless, Drama is still an excellent album, even if is not the Yes that we know and love.

Anthony H. | 4/5 |


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