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Yes - Fragile CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.44 | 3305 ratings

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3 stars This was, like many, my first full Yes album. Though Yes really found their sound and made their first radio hits on The YES Album, this is the album where they further define their sound, and seal their label as a progressive rock band. This also confirmed Rick Wakeman as one of the greatest keyboardist of our day. It is the pinnacle of their commercial success (except, perhaps, 90125 when their was no longer any trace of Yes in their music).

Fragile comprises of five solo pieces, and four group works. The solo works can be coined with a term I really detest using, though I admit in this case it is appropriate. The term is "filler" songs without much sobstance, but serve the sole role of filling up space on album. It is very debatable how much of this album is "filler" - but of course, any amount is too much. Rick Wakeman's Cans and Brahms is nice and clean, though somewhat boring and uninteresting. We have Heaven is an idea by Jon Anderson, which is not altogether exciting or emotional or spirited. Five Percent for Nothing is a great song, conceived by Bill Bruford, not totally inspiring, but truly original and really interesting. I was so excited when I learned how to play Bruford's little shuffle (if you will) on the drums; I couldn't play a song without incorporating it for a long time. The following solo work is a bass-driven psychedelic tune called The Fish with some nice percussion. The final solo piece is Steve Howe's beautiful acoustic guitar song Mood for a Day, which is neither epic, wholly memorable, or truly unique.

The group works, I find, turned out better. Roundabout I have heard countless times. Sometimes, I find that its magic has been lost after so many listens. Other times, it can still effect me with its strong bass line and really catchy feel. South Side of the Sky has a beautiful piano interlude and something of an epic vibe. Long Distance Runaround a phenomenal bass line, and an odd 5/4 time signature which is a joy to drum to (as soon as it is learned, of course). Heart of the Sunrise, of course, is one of the most touching Yes songs to grace my ears. Unbelievably epic, memorable, and altogether gorgeous, it stands as one of Yes' crowning achievements, musically. A very good album indeed.

Shakespeare | 3/5 |


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