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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover

CLOSE TO THE EDGE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.65 | 3094 ratings

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Yanns
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Do not ask me why it took so long for me to write this review. Close To The Edge is one of my favorite albums of all-time. So why wasn't it one of my first reviews? I'm not sure. Probably because I didn't want to give out too many 5-star ratings too early. I wanted to balance it out first. But, I just feel that it's time to review it for me. Seeing as it is one of my favorite albums. Period.

Close To The Edge is one of the two Yes studio album masterpeices, the other being Fragile. Yessongs, I believe, is also a masterpiece, but that'll come later. As for CTTE, while it has the same rating as Fragile, it does beat out their previous album. This, of course, is the "classic" line-up of Yes, and on this album, they all play in the best form of their career (Jon's "playing" being his singing). Of course, his voice is heavenly here. Wakeman is able to prove on the song Close To The Edge that he doesn't always have to have the limelight, proving his virtuousity in the background when he needs to. Howe shows that he is one of the best guitarists in all of prog, simple as that, along with others like Fripp, Gilmour, Hackett, and, if you're into him, Barre. Anywho, Squire proves that he's the best bassist in prog. Total Mass Retain shows this. Actually, I could list almost every song by Yes to prove this, but I won't. And, Bruford show's that he's arguably the best drummer of all-time. However, he isn't good like Mike Portnoy good. He's good in his phrasing, how he's able to play an eighth of a beat behind everyone else, how he can detach himself from the music and go crazy, still keeping the tempo and the time clock in his mind, and how he comes right back in with the rest of the band after he's done.

Close To The Edge: There are, in progressive rock, the epics. There are the towering epics. There are the classic epics. There are the epics that are, simply, better than the others. They are the classics, the milestones. They include, in no order, (IMO) Tarkus, Karn Evil 9, Thick as a Brick, Supper's Ready, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, and, of course, Close To The Edge. Sure, there's songs like Lizard, all of Tales, Dogs, etc., but I believe that those listed above are the all-time classic epics. I believe that CTTE is one of them because... hmmm, you'll find that if you can fully appreciate a song like Close To The Edge, then you can't put it into words. Our language restricts us here. It doesn't allow us to express ourselves to the degree that we would want to. I could use words like "magnificent", "fantastic", "outstanding", "mind-blowing", "majestic", and "beautiful", but I would still fall short of what I would want to say, the message I want to get across to you, the reader. The second section, Total Mass Retain has one of the best and most complex themes of any song or section of one. The bass, the keyboards, and Jon are all doing separate things. I Get Up I Get Down, the third section, could be the most beautiful sections of a song in prog. And, Yes knows how to close out a song. Seasons of Man brings it all back together, in a way that only Yes can. It is here, on this song, that Yes shows that it might be the best band in prog.

And You And I: So, how do you follow a song like Close To The Edge? Seemingly impossible. Then you put on And You And I to hear Howe tuning his twelve-string. Then, Bruford comes in in the background, with the acoustic soaring above it, and there's no turning back. Eclipse, the second section, for me, is so emotional, so mind- blowing, and Apocalypse brings back the acoustic and Jon's voice to close it out. And You And I is one of those songs that will leave the impression of "Yeah, good song." for a long time. It is one of the largest but yet most rewarding grower songs. It sounds weird though for me to say that. Usually, when someone calls a song a "grower" song, it means that the song is weird or perhaps unlistenable at first, but then it gets great over time. And You And I is neither weird nor unlistenable at first. It's, simply, as I said, a good song. The beauty that lies within is the final reward.

Siberian Khatru: The most upbeat song on the album, probably the best choice for closing this album out. Right from Howe's opening, you realize the contrast it holds to the rest of the album. Then, Wakeman's soaring (there's no other word for it) keyboard riff comes in, and of course, that legendary guitar riff, supposedly written by Bruford, actually. Howe gives him credit for it. Anywho, this is a song that holds some, dare I say it, weird sections. Or so it would seem. As always, and I always say it, it comes full circle once you listen on and on. For instance, the section that begins right around the 7:00 minute mark. That doesn't sound in the least bit normal at first, even at second or third or fourth listenings. But, of course, it is, in a word, perfect.

One will notice that I didn't mention Squire specifically in any song here. That's because I can't. I'd say the same thing in each song. "His bass is perfect." Because that's all I can say. He absolutely proves, here more than any other album, that he is the best bassist in progressive rock. End of story.

Now, this, in the last paragraph of the review, is where I normally go through my recommendations. Like, "If you're a fan, get it, if you aren't, don't start here" and stuff like that. It's tough to do that for this. If I were to try, it would go like this: If you're a fan of Yes, then you already have this, and there's no point in you reading this. If you aren't a fan of Yes, then you should still have this, because you should be a fan of Yes to begin with. So, you see, no matter who you are, you should have this. That's what makes it tough. Every person should have this album. That's how good it really is. Once you have it, I dare say that you will know what I mean. It gives me great pleasure to say 5/5 stars. So I will. 5/5 stars.

Yanns | 5/5 |

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