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Yes - Drama CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.77 | 1602 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Yes meets Video Killed the Radio Star? You might have thought that if you only saw the lineup of this album, which featured two members of The Bugles. This album, titled Drama, is also the only Yes album to not feature vocalist and frontman Jon Anderson, although Trevor Horn does a nice job trying to sound like Jon (and for the most part succeeds). Throughout the 36 minute of the original album (the Rhino remaster has around 10 bonus tracks), the listener is taken through a variety of different moods and for the most part this album is a huge success with many of the tracks being brilliant. In the end, though, this album is really divided amongst Yes fans because some fans can't fathom a Yes album without Jon Anderson and yet some like this album because it was daring and was a major improvement over Tormato.

The album opens with one of my absolute favorite Yes songs (in my top 3 easily) in Machine Messiah. The song that showed Yes dabbling in heavy, almost metal like atmospheres is also the best on the album. The 10 minute epic goes through a range of emotions, but the most memorable sections are those that involve the opening riff (which is reminicent of a Pink Floyd riff from The Wall). Geoff Downes is spectacular on this piece with some nice dynamic soloing that is complimented greatly by Howe's spectacular noodling and ascending runs up the fret board. Squire and White also are superb in the rhythm section and Trevor Horn has some nice vocal parts in the song as well. White Car is a short but sweet track that has some nice epic keyboard work with a nice acoustic guitar in the background as well as an interesting lyric and vocal part. Does It Really Happen? has some great bass work from Squirel, but fails to truly captivate me in the end, it seems too much like filler and it could have been a condensed piece.

Into the Lens is a quirky piece that goes through a range of atmospheres and in the end it comes off quite well. The chorus is a bit silly but the band seem to play well and really show off their cohesiveness and their overall talents. Run Through the Light has Trevor Horn playing the bass role (and he does a rather simplistic job) and Chris Squire gets a shot on lead vocals and piano for the piece. It's the weakest piece on the album easily and I'm not too impressed by it. But fortunately, the next piece would redeem all the downfalls of the piece. Tempus Fugit ends the album with some spectacular riffing that reminds me a bit of the frenetic runs in the middle instrumental sections of Rush's Xanadu. Add some great harmony vocals and some nice lyrics that are really upbeat and reminicent of Jon Anderson lyrics and you have yourself the closer of the original album. The bonus tracks are really ok at best, but they're not really important to me as I want to really talk about the original album itself. Most of the songs, though, are from sessions with Anderson and Wakeman before they both went AWOL.

In the end, Drama would bring the most drama to Yes fans. An album without Jon Anderson? Could it be done? Well it was and for the most part it was largely successful although Run through the Light hurts the overall score, the rest of the pieces are really good and if you're a fan of Yes I recommend this album highly. Yes in the 80s is something that everyone wants to forget (mainly for 90125 and Big Generator) but everyone must remember that before Rabin entered the group, they had one last strike at gold in Drama. 4/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |


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