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Yes - Drama CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.78 | 1949 ratings

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4 stars Drama is a criminally underrated Yes album. Just because it doesn't feature the 'classic' line up, many automatically dismiss it as a bad record, mostly without ever giving it the time of day. The songs on it are some of the strongest Yes ever recorded. My own perception of it is that Yes had tried to go 'pop' with Tormato and it was a pretty hideous failure. The songwriting constraints the band put on themselves, plus the obvious internal divisions that were developing couldn't possibly result in anything other than a curate's egg of a project, although this particular egg had very few good parts. Fast forward to Drama and you have a band reinvigorated by the arrival of two new members, both enthusiastic fans of the band who appreciated and understood Yes' modus operandi. However, both new boys brought with them a pop sensibility which Yes had struggled to find on Tormato. The result is a 'proper' Yes album feasturing all the elements they did so well, with the added bonus of some strong hooks which nevertheless were in keeping with the creative thrust of 'classic' Yes. Machine Messiah, Does it Really Happen, Run Through the Light and Tempus Fugit are all superb songs, far better than any composition on Tormato. Just listen to the way the band attacks material like the coda of Does it Really Happen with energy and aggression. It was something sadly lacking on the uninspired and uninspring Tormato. Here the enthusiasm is palpalble. Yes, there is something slightly cynical in the band's use of Horn the Yes fanboy and his own studied pastiche of Anderson, right down to inflection and his attempts at writing in the style of Anderson. But any annoyance caused by this calculation pales when that huge church organ kicks in backed by electric and bass guitars and the assembled members sing 'cables that carry the light to the satanic mills'. It rocks. Drama also benefits from the Trevor Horn production ethic. It's lush, many-layered and very cleverly done. It really enhances enjoyment of one of Yes' more 'lost' gems. People are way too snobby and puritanical about the merits of Trevor Horn's Yes (as they are about 90125 era Yes). Both bands made some excellent music. Drama deserves a less prejudicial listen than most are willing to give to it. It deserves to be considered up there with the best of the first 10 years of Yes and is certainly a more complete album than either of their first two efforts, which don't seem to suffer from any 'not the classic line-up' concerns. Give Drama a chance and it will reward bountifully.
arcer | 4/5 |


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