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Yes - 90125 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.99 | 1536 ratings

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3 stars Really, one of the more unfairly maligned items in the Yes catalogue. The band nets a #1 single and suddenly all their old fans turn against them. Which is perfectly foolish as, on its own terms, 90125 is a perfectly fine album.

The band clearly were trying to transform their sound into a marketable way, reeling in South African pop-star Trevor Rabin on guitar and Trevor Horn (who, of course, already sang on DRAMA) as producer. Yet they managed to keep enough of their old prog-rock identity to produce something that was at once modern and in keeping with the Yes legacy.

Yes, much of the album is AOR. But the thing that separates this from, say, Asia is that it's an album of good rock tunes, operating in the AOR mode, as opposed to an album of half-assed arena rockers with proggy fanfares tacked on as an afterthought. Lots of prog snobs think it's cool to dump on "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" and while it's true that the song has been overplayed into obsolescence (not their fault, blame "classic rock" radio programmers and their complete lack of imagination), it is by no means a bad song. It's an EXCELLENT rock song, not just for Yes, but for anyone. Of the MTV era, it deserved to be a #1 hit a lot more than other tunes of the era (certainly more so than novelty trash like "I Come From A Land Down Under").

Definitely a much livelier song-oriented album than the lamentable TORMATO, from the "cigarette lighter" anthem "Hold On" to the driving, semi-a'cappella "Leave It". (oh, if only Gentle Giant "sold out" with such panache!) And there are definite and inspired moments of prog-rock, from the intricate "Changes" to the old-fashioned Yes of "Hearts". I thought that 90125 was aging with grace. It was a compromise, sure, but it was an agreeable, well thought-out compromise. Like Genesis' DUKE, it showed a fascinating paradigm for prog rock bands blending their 70's style prog with something newer and fresher.

Cool album. Too bad it wasn't to last.

Progbear | 3/5 |


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