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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover

CLOSE TO THE EDGE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.65 | 3094 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

coasterzombie
5 stars I had always been a casual Yes fan since I was about 18. The Yes Album and Fragile were occasional listens, but usually took a back seat to grunge and pop-punk which were both at the height of their popularity at the time. About ten years ago I discovered Rock Progressivo Italiano; this rekindled my interest in symphonic prog, and Yes reentered my consciousness. Though I'd never heard Close To The Edge, it kept showing up in best lists and nearly every review was favorable. The stark green cover gave no clue as to the contents. Three songs? I had to have it.

I distinctly remember driving to the nearest big box store to purchase Close To The Edge. My excitement was palpable; the newly remastered 2003 Rhino release was beautifully packaged in a lavish trifold digipak, opened to reveal Roger Dean's iconic artwork inside. As I inserted the CD and allowed the first three minutes of "Close To The Edge" to take effect, I thought...what were these guys thinking?

The first three minutes of "Close To The Edge" are among the most intense in all of recorded music: Steve Howe's upside-down guitar part has him snaking all over the fretboard in intervals I'd never heard before; Rick Wakeman's expansive keyboard arsenal was capable of twinkling sound palettes; bassist Chris Squire, usually locked in with the drums, took an even more assertive and propulsive role within the ensemble; and Bill Bruford walloped and tickled the kit with an intuition few drummers possessed. My young adult mind was not fully developed nor prepared for this. Then, as if my life depended on it, Jon Anderson flew in to save me.

"I get up, I get down." These few, simple words describe the very essence of life. Though based on Eastern spiritualism (and specifically inspired by Herman Hesse's book Siddhartha), Anderson's words capture the personal journey of countless individuals of myriad faiths and backgrounds. The ambiguity of the lyrics in turn open them up to interpretation, and allow the listener to become a participant in this 18-minute musical journey. Plenty of twenty minute epics have been written before and since, but none affect me quite as personally as "Close To The Edge."

How do you top the greatest achievement in rock? With one of the most magnificent love songs ever written - "And You And I" is not a tale of unrequited love but an ode to love itself - the process, manifestation and realization of love. The 2003 Rhino CD includes a revealing look at the song's development, this bonus track making that edition essential in its own right. "Siberian Khatru" completes this accomplished triumvirate of songs; though it is my least favorite of the three, that's like saying Neapolitan ice cream is complete without the strawberry. Can you imagine the vanilla and chocolate without it?

coasterzombie | 5/5 |

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