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Yes - Going for the One CD (album) cover

GOING FOR THE ONE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 1390 ratings

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baz91
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Another Yes album, another story...

Those who know their Yes history will know that this album was released after Yes took a three year hiatus, following the marvel that was Relayer. Each band member wrote a solo record, and some even wrote two, to varying degrees of success. Now was the time for Yes to reform and show the world that prog rock was still alive and kicking. Rick Wakeman was summoned, and thus the classic line-up was reformed. However, much had changed in three years, and this can especially be seen in the music.

The album begins with Going For The One, which I believe is one of the strangest Yes tracks after The Ancient. It's strange, because it is a very atypical Yes song. You put it on, and it sounds like a straightforward rock song. Then Jon's vocals come in with the usual spray of bizarre lyrics, and everything is changed. The most notable thing about this song is Howe's steel guitar twanging for the entire song, turning the ordinary rock song into a surreal experience. Personally, I don't quite understand what Yes were trying to achieve with this song, as it is rather simple in structure but not quite commercial. Still, after many listens I have come to enjoy it, and with hilarious lyrics like 'Would you like to go and shoot the mountain masses?', Yes somehow get through to me on this track.

Turn Of The Century is an entirely different matter. This time, I can see what they are trying to do, and I don't think it works. This song is essentially a ballad about a sculptor called Roan whose partner dies. The lyrics mainly deal with the emotion that he feels. I know what you are thinking: 'A Yes song with lyrics that actually mean something?' That's right. It's been called one of Yes's most beautiful and intimate tracks, but I think it is the opposite of this. Yes were only ever intimate on their first few records, and through all the echoey sound effects, I don't hear them reaching out to the listener on this track. At eight minutes, this track is unnecessarily complicated, and the music can be quite jarring and unpredictable, which I think ruins the ballad aspect of the song. If they had kept it at around four minutes, I think this song would have fared better. Whenever I've listened to this song, I've never been pulled in, and I always feel at a distance from the music. Sorry guys, but I really cannot appreciate this track.

Parallels is an extremely tedious song. For one thing, the organ riff that is heard in the intro is repeated throughout most of the track, making this an overly repetitive song. The instrumental does not grip me at all, and I just think Yes are at a low point on this track. The echoey effect is back, and I really dislike hearing Jon like this. Sadly, this is one of Yes's most annoying tracks (at least from their 70s period).

Wonderous Stories is the sound of Yes quite literally 'going for the one'. The #1 position in the charts that is. Whilst this was not quite achieved, they managed to reach a commendable #7. I don't really understand how this happened though, because on the first listen, this sounds too whimsical to be taken seriously. However, I've gotten used to it, and when I heard a cover of this track by neo-prog group Magenta, it made me appreciate the song more. Whilst I don't think Yes should have recorded this song, it's still very listenable, and in a way pleasant.

So far, this hasn't been a great review. Every track on the record has had it's fare share of flaws. Therefore, it almost feels like Yes are trying to make up for these flaws when they present us with the masterwork that is Awaken. Initially, I was very skeptical about this track, as I found it too confusing to listen to. Then something clicked, and I've enjoyed it entirely ever since. At over 15 minutes, this is Yes saying goodbye to epic tracks until the 90s. At the very beginning, there is a brief piano solo by Wakeman, followed by an ambient section with Anderson singing. After this there is an aggressive section in 11/8 with Jon chanting mystical lyrics, with an absolutely phenomenal instrumental included. This is the classic Yes that you all know and love. There is a relaxing 4 minute instrumental in the middle with a keyboard solo and guitar solo, which links the two main sections of the song. Afterwards, there is a triumphant section which is climaxed by a soaring guitar solo followed by a choir, which brings the song to a dramatic close. There is then an epilogue, if you will, that is similar to the ambient section heard at the beginning, making Awaken an extremely coherent epic. One of Yes's best pieces, there is no doubt that the inclusion of this song on the record more than makes up for the flaws heard in the other songs.

The original record came in a trifold sleeve, which showed a picture of a nude man staring at some oddly positioned buildings, with bizarre effects going away from his body. The artwork, done by art legends Hipgnosis, sadly does not match the brilliance of Roger Dean.

Before writing this review, I was contemplating giving this five stars, because Awaken really is that good. However, the flaws of the other songs must not be overlooked, and this is certainly not a perfect album. I highly recommend 'Going For The One' as it is worth buying just for Awaken.

baz91 | 4/5 |

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