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Yes - 90125 CD (album) cover

90125

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

2.91 | 1080 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
1 stars Punk rock has a lot to answer for. Thanks to Johnny Rotten, Malcolm McLaren, The Damned et al the cream of Britain's progressive talent had to find new ways to express their 'musical integrity', ways that didn't involve imaginative flights-of-fancy, complex instrumental flourishes, long-winded conceits and the occasional dabble with mystically impenetravle worldplay. Suffering first-and-foremost were those princes of bombast Emerson Lake & Palmer, public enemy number one for the new spitting upstarts thanks to their highly-concentrated mix of pseudo-classical ingredients and edgy, organ-laced rock. The failure of both the frankly rather dismal 'Works Vol.1' and the disgustingly-expensive tour that followed saw the once lauded trio producing glutinous pop crap in the form of career nadir 'Love Beach', an album made purely to satisfy greedy label demands. Genesis, who by the decades end had slimmed down into a slick pop-rock three- piece, managed to sidestep the punk onslaught by sheer dint of touring the globe, thus missing much of the vitriol that surely would have been aimed there way. Of course Pink Floyd didn't really need to bother, their enormous popularity insulating them from much of the abrasive criticism, whilst King Crimson had, by 1974, split up, leaving them free to sit on the sidelines, relax and wait for their time to reappear(as it would during the early 1980s). But what of Yes? For many, especially the new punk guard, they were the quintessential progressive rock group and therefore public enemy number one. Despite producing an elegant near-classic in the year zero of punk's inception - with 1976's 'Relayer' - the late-seventies had not been a vintage time. 1977's underwhelming 'Going For The One' felt patchy; the following year's 'Tormato' was simply wretched; 'Drama', an album made with the assistance of the electro-pop duo Buggles, split the fan vote right down the middle. Diminishing sales, poor critical reactions, half-empty tours, financial mis-management and squabbling band-mates had, by all accounts, vurtually destroyed the once hugely-successful group by the time the new decade had begun. Unable to count on past glories and no longer considered 'hip', it was time for a very big change. So, up steps South African writer, composer, guitarist, producer and vocalist(in that order) Trevor Rabin. Alongside a newly-formed line-up of long-term bassisy Chris Squire, returning original keyboardist Tony Kaye, drummer Alan White and squeaky-voiced frontman Jon Anderson, Rabin would help transform Yes into a new deal for the new decade. Out goes the fantasy-themed Roger Dean artwork, the far-ranging keyboard solos, the epic song-suites and dextrous experimentation of yore, in comes bright-eyed synthesizers, slick digital effects, drum machines, colour-coordinated clothing and pop-gleamed melodies. The results of this not-so-proggish mutation? Success like they never dreamed of. Yes, despite sounding more like Asia than 'Close To The Edge', 1983's '90125' would prove to be the biggest-selling Yes album of all-time. Thanks punk. Thanks a lot.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

stefro | 1/5 |

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