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Yes - 90125 CD (album) cover

90125

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

2.92 | 1130 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Yes: 90125 [1983]

Rating: 5/10

90125 is a rather infamous album among progressive rock fans. This album made it official: Yes had been violated by the 80s. Albums like this are unfortunate evidence of the dark state progressive music was in during this time. However, judging 90125 by the standards of prog is an unwise thing to do; sad as it is, progressive rock simply was not a viable part of this musical climate, mainstream or otherwise. This album represents the commercialization of the same band that made Close to the Edge; when one looks at this way, 90125 is an absolute travesty. However, this album also represents a band trying to adapt to a radically altered musical culture; if one chooses this perspective, then 90125 turns out to be an enjoyable pop-rock album.

"Owner of a Lonely Heart" is Yes's most famous pop song, and their most recognizable to the general populous. It's a fairly bland piece of pop-rock, albeit with some good melodies and a catchy bass line. "Hold On" continues in a similar vein, with power chords and a "big" chorus. "It Can Happen" may be the lamest song here, with a dull chorus and unenthusiastic musicianship. "Changes" improves things a bit, particularly because of Anderson's excellent vocals on the song's bridge. The album's second side manages to slightly redeem the generally weak first side. It opens with "Cinema", a short arena-rock instrumental with good drumming and some epic-sounding keys. "Leave It" is focused on well-executed a-cappella passages and is one of the better songs here. "Our Song" is dominated by 80s synths and Anderson's vocals. "City of Love" is a heavy song with an uninteresting anthem chorus. "Hearts" ends the album on a high note, with emotive vocals from Anderson and an interesting guitar solo from Rabin.

90125 is decidedly unprogressive; the musicianship is simplistic and the song structure is straightforward. It's depressing that this album came from the band that wrote "Heart of the Sunrise." Even though there are many less-than-stellar tracks here, there aren't any completely embarrassing moments; Yes successfully managed to avoid a "Who Dunnit?" or an "Illegal Alien." Along with Asia's debut and PFM's Suonare Suonare, 90125 is one of the more respectable prog-goes-pop albums.

Anthony H. | 3/5 |

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