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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 4084 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars For most people, this seems to be the climax of the Yes achievement, but for me, Fragile was that peak and nadir. Close to the edge already shows alarming signs of that extreme indulgence and disregard for taste that in the end, did the band in, and left a stain on the legacy of progressive music ever since.

Sure, the musicians are having a whale of a time, and the technical playing is excellent. But has no-one noticed that the Emperor is wearing no clothes? Not even a cape can cover that.

Close to the edge has some amazing musical moments. Yes were excellent at intros, but with songs like 'Roundabout' what comes after that intro has to be an anti-climax, especially with the rather silly words and wandering melodies without balls.

In the title song itself, there are Queen-like lapses of taste, albeit mixed with a virtuoso cleverness that's almost like watching a train crash or viewing a shark tearing someone to pieces. At one point in the song, the music suddenly stops and a gorgeous chord of vocal music rings out, or at least it would be gorgeous if it was somewhere else in the music, the right place perhaps? It's like the band have lost all reason and compass, and feel they have carte blanche to throw in anything they feel like, whatever the cost.

The concept of this music was, as we know, taken from 1-2-3 (listen to the two versions of America for a start), but that band would never have lost sight of the need for taste and restraint, that to them was the danger of such experiments. Yes certainly were able to adapt their own music in a far superior way to 1-2-3/Clouds, who could only produce such miracles from other people's music, but Yes didn't know when to leave off, as the following album made clear even to some of the band members themselves in hindsight.

That's not to say it wasn't a worthwhile journey. In my opinion, Yes were one of the three most important bands of the early progressive era, and took much unfair flak for the swift demise of the genre in the punk era. For me their eventual fall from grace was a lack of true song-writing quality and sensibility. It certainly wasn't any kind of musical failure. At their best, this was a band of superior musicians playing a form of rock music unsurpassed in sophistication and complexity. I treasure that fact, despite the reservations already made,

giselle | 3/5 |


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