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Yes - 90125 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.98 | 1489 ratings

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3 stars However you look at it, Yes's '90125' is an important album. Moreover, it's an iconic album; no other piece of art can more precisely represent the downfall of prog. The lavish Roger Dean covers were gone, the average song length was under 5 minutes, and the tracks themselves were cheesy pop tunes. It seemed like the time for prog was now definitely at an end. Naturally this album has since become infamous within the prog sphere. And I kinda like it.

You see, once you've realised that Yes are not perfect - and if you haven't realised that after listening to 'Fly From Here' or 'Union' then you should seriously get some help - it becomes easy to forgive the group for making mistakes and straying down the wrong path. When you stop comparing this album to 'Fragile' or 'Close to the Edge', and just appreciate it as an ordinary pop album with some familiar faces on it, you may start to enjoy yourself.

Honestly though, the Anderson-Squire-Rabin-White-Kaye line-up should never have called themselves Yes; that much is surely a mistake. Apparently they battled with the decision to name the band Yes, but they should have realised that Owner Of A Lonely Heart isn't - or perhaps shouldn't have been - what Yes was all about. Indeed, a band should change to stay fresh, but this is just wrong. Until this point, the Yes name had been a symbol for high quality progressive rock (discounting 'Tormato' that is). Now it seemed that Anderson and co. were ready to chuck the name about like a koosh ball, bringing the band money, but losing the reputation they'd once had as musicians of art.

Although it is good to question the band's judgement on calling themselves Yes, one must accept that this is what happened, and it is now history. So, with the name Yes being arbitrary, how is the album itself? Not as bad as you might think! However, there are some songs on here which will make you wonder why you bought this album in the first place. On the first side, Hold On and It Can Happen are just as awful and boring as each other. Even worse, they both last around 5 minutes, leaving you in musical hell for about 11 minutes! On Side 2, we have the worst Yes lyrics I have ever heard in Our Song: 'Singing Rule Britannia / And this is where it grabs ya / There's method in the key of C / Toledo's got to be the silver city / In this good country.' As you can plainly see, this is utter drivel. Even the use of odd time signatures in the chorus fails to redeem this track. City Of Love is also a poor song, which feigns sounding heavy to mask the fact that there is little substance to it. The lyrics are poor here too: 'Good girls they work the city / Good guys they spike you hard.' If you can find it in yourself to overlook these songs, you might just like this album.

The rest of the album, by comparison, is great fun! For starters, you've got the smash hit Owner Of A Lonely Heart, with it's bizarre yet memorable drum sampling and catchy chorus. Before I ever listened to prog, I knew I liked this song a lot, and I still do to this day. Changes also manages to win a few brownie points by actually sounding slightly progressive: the minute long 17/8 intro will definitely make those hardcore prog fans look up. The rest of the song isn't bad either; I quite like the chorus and bridge.

Side 2 is where the real entertainment happens. We begin with Cinema, a short track that won Yes a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Although entertaining, the novelty quickly wears off, as this track feels too repetitive and uninspired. The next track, however, is a work of genius. Leave It is an incredibly unique track, as all members of the band sing a cappella throughout. With a catchy rock structure to back it up, this is easily the best song on the record. I must have played this song about 20 times in a row the first day I heard it. The constant doo-ing and ah-ing throughout will have you in stitches, it's that funny. How they ever performed this live without cracking up, I do not know.

If you make it to the end of the record, there's an 8 minute treat waiting for you. Hearts is a wonderful song if your prepared to put up with the tedious verses. The chorus section, whilst being as cheesy as cheddar grated over a raclette fondue, is actually really beautiful, powerful and uplifting. Jon's voice has the same magic as when he sang 'Coming quickly to terms of all expression laid,' back in 1972. I have to say, I'm glad that the longest track on this record isn't one of the bad ones.

While I don't give this album a spin that often, I usually enjoy myself a whole lot more than I expected to whenever I do. I heartily recommend this album to anyone, but must stress the fact that there is more pop on here than you can shake a stick at. If you're in any doubt that you will like this album, give Leave It a spin and see! It maynot be a proper Yes album, but in some small way, '90125' is something of a triumph.

baz91 | 3/5 |


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