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Yes - The Ladder CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.26 | 934 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Not a comeback to their classic era, but they released quite a good album here. This is not really progressive rock as most of the music is safe, predictable, and focus on poppish melodies. A nice album to hear when you are doing something else as background music, because if you are completely focused on the music, you won't be blown away. However, the world music influences is very important in the album's strength.

If you want to know, the classic line-up is almost here, except for Rick Wakeman. however, the russian keyboardist is pretty good. Everyone is playing pretty good, but they've done better. They are playing to their standard to create an average Yes album.

HomeWorld may fool you into thinking that this album is going to be excellent. This is the best song in the album and one of the best songs they've released after Tempus Fugit. It is a long song focused on catchy vocal melodies, and appropiate and accessible instrumentation. The instrumental section is a bit disappointing but the coda is excellent. First spacey, then classical, then finishes as a ballad.

The album keeps being solid with "It Will Be a Good Day" as a nice ballad with elegant guitar work, vocal harmonies, and every ingredient needed for a successful ballad. Not great, but a good piece. "Lighting Strikes" took me many listens to get used to, even if it is clearly a pop song. The reason is the world influences. It is a pretty catchy and fun track once you get used to it, and the introductory acoustic guitar is beautiful. Can I is another world music piece with vocal harmonies and references to the horrid "We Have Heaven". Fortunately, this is MUCH better than that Fragile torture. Face to Face is an anthemic rocker with a great guitar theme. You also probably can dance to it too. A very good song and the other highlight of the album.

Now, here comes the second half:

If Only You Know is an ok, but not great pop song. It is quite sugary in nature, so maybe that already makes it worse. To Be Alive is the best song of the 2nd half. The world influences hit again and the chorus is so much fun to sing along to: you will be surprised. Finally is quite a weak pompous pop song, I just don't like it and it is way too long. The Messenger is quite a catchy raggae-influenced track with a great bass line and the first song that I instantly liked on the first listen. New Language is the other long track of the album, but it is extremely disappointing when compared to Homeworld. It is a decent track with a good intro, ok melodies. The instrumental section is disappointing but I like how it starts with the guitar. Nine Voices is a good acoustic ballad that finishes the album in a strong note. The guitar playing is gorgeous and complicated.

While I seem to be mostly positive, this is not an essential album. It is nothing great. Almost everything is just "nice", a few greats "Homeworld, Face to Face, To Be Alive" is countered by weak songs "If Only You Know, Finally, New Language". If you are a big fan of yes and/or Jon Anderson's solo career, you should get it in my opinion.

My Grade: C+

Zitro | 3/5 |


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