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5 stars Chris Squire, and his rabid bass supremity, really seems to take the reigns on many of this records songs. 'Roundabout' is relentless and really quite superb, 'we have Heaven' is a nice intermission before the manic and ultra-inventive guitar work of Steve Howe on 'Southside of the sky', 'Long distance runaround' demands, and certainly commands an army of devoted and intellectual rockers. Is this album an excellent one? In a word: YES!
Report this review (#12735)
Posted Sunday, November 16, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars Some rate this as Yes's best work, and there is no doubt that Roundabout and Heart of the Sunrise are outstanding prog tracks, but to my mind the solo tracks from each musician water down the effect of the whole, especially Cans and Brahms by Wakeman and 5% by Bruford. Production is clean, remarkably so on the latest remasters from Rhino. Squire's grumbling Rickenbacker is to the fore.
Report this review (#12721)
Posted Thursday, December 18, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars Outstanding - This is a monumental jump from the 'Yes Album'. Rich in colour and texture - Not an inch of space wasted (Apart from 3 minutes of so of the Wakeman and Bruford solo pieces)

The music is used to great effect in the 1998 Vincent Gallo Movie 'Buffalo 66'. Along with Crimson I think.

Report this review (#12717)
Posted Monday, January 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes is a band that's hard to talk about, because their music for me represents a kind of rare perfection that sets them apart from "prog-rock" in general, and I'm especially tempted to start pushing the virtues of their most glorious recordings (TALES and RELAYER, of course). I gave in to that impulse when reviewing Close To The Edge -- this time I'll do my best to stick it out. Fragile is (duh) an absolutely necessary album to own and listen to, and this is of course where Rick Wakeman joins the fold, completing the band's aspiration for all-around virtuosity. Everyone is probably familiar with the classic track "Roundabout," but despite its radio airplay, this song (the full-length version) remains a masterpiece of the genre and should be listened to with fresh ears in order to appreciate all of its nuances. One of the tightest, most note-perfect rock music expressions, ever. On that token, "Heart of the Sunrise" is also a masterpiece of the genre, and should be listened to with fresh ears in order to appreciate all of its nuances (such as the most glorious drums/bass/mellotron passage ever recorded). Also, "South Side of the Sky" is a masterpiece of the genre, and should be listened to with fresh ears, in order to... ...
Report this review (#12745)
Posted Monday, January 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Heavy duty

After firing Banks to make space for Howe, little did Tony Kaye expect the boot to allow the young prodigious Rick Wakeman in the fold and let the group reach its "classic" line-up, where all of the members are acclaimed virtuosos at their respective instruments. This is the album that opens the group's legendary collaboration with Roger dean's art, even if Fragile is hardly his best work? actually, behind its very strong/striking theme it's rather clumsy and the famous Yes logo still has to find its definitive form. While I wouldn't call Fragile a concept album, there are some hints of things to come, but still to be refined. Indeed the idea of letting every member compose a solo piece was a dangerous bet, and they mostly lost it.

Opening on the now-overexposed Roundabout, the album is off to a flying start, but is stopped by Wakeman's adaptation of a Brahms theme, a catastrophic blunder not auguring well his Yes-ian career. Surely Howe ate an orange Peking duck plate while Rick bored audience with such daft ideas. Surprisingly enough Anderson's We Have Heaven is one of the better solo pieces disgracing the album, unlike the poor Bruford but aptly-titled piece 5% For Nothing. Another classic, but sometimes forgotten about is the tremendous South Side Of The Sky track, which holds the advantage of still sounding fresher than its companion pieces.

The shorter Long Distance Runaround is also another classic yes song and its lyrics seem to answer the Roundabout opening the other side of the album. if one Yes member has an oversized ego, Squire is certainly running for the gold medal and his Fish piece (although not bad, per se) is certainly nothing to prove himself superior to the others, but will insist on this piece being his showcase live extravaganza, which often neared ridicule and over-infatuation. The excellent Howe piece Mood For A Day is an echo of the previous album's Clap piece. The closing masterpiece Heart Of The Sunrise features Squire's outstanding bass breakneck lines a nd this is where the Squire becomes a Knight. Sunrise is probably my fave with Awaken, with Disgrace just behind.. It is a little sad that this album is (only slightly) spoiled by expandable solo pieces from every member although Jon and Steve do theirs very well. For the rest this is a real fine follow-up to Yes Album and the first real classic for most as the Dean cover points out. BTW, some of the Fragile remastered versions have some bonus tracks, including that fabulous rendition of Simon & Garfunkel track called America (actually it fits quite well the Fragile soundscape), so if you own the Yesterdays compilation, don't bother; but if you don't, you might want to consider looking for that updated version, Not exactly their best album, but it is an unavoidable classic

Report this review (#12704)
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars As a infactuated young man lost in this crazy world in the the late 60's, hearing 'Time and a word' for the first time quite simply became a religious experince. A proverbial musical road to Damicas experience. Life suddenly had a meaning, a direction. I was in love. As my first encounter with the spectualar, fasinating, beautiful music of Yes, I felt overwhelmed that a band was basically making the type of music I had been waiting my whole life to hear. The 'Yes Album' followed and left me incapable of functioning as a normal cilivan in society. All i wanted to do was lie on my bed and indulge myself in that magical album. As you can imagine, I was feverlishing anticipating the next release. After what seemed like years of waiting, the new album was released. I lovingly and carefully placed the fresh, shiny vinyl on my record player, pressed play, and then......DISASTER STRUCK. After a few humilating, soul-destroying listens of the whole record, i reluntantly had to come the conclusion that i had just purchased a fully blown 100% authentic STINKER! The very next day, after waking up, i quickly spun th e record again, in the naive, misguided hope/dream that the day before's nasty experience was just a dream....BUT NO....It was real alright!!! To this day, over 30 years later i rigidly stuck to my promise that i would never listen to THAT band ever again. I can proudly declare (boast) that i have never even CONSIDERED it!
Report this review (#12713)
Posted Thursday, February 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
5 stars I can't get this brilliant acoustic guitar-intro from Steve Howe and the chorus in "Roundabout" out of my head! All other records in the 70's by Yes are full of such great moments and ideas, but specially on "Fragile" or "Close To The Edge" they are so unbelievable monumental that I must say that both albums (1. "Close To The Edge" 2. "Fragile") are the best of Yes. "Heart Of The Sunrise" is one of my Yes-faves, because of the great arrangements and heavyness and show why Yes are so innovative for a band like Dream Theater. Legendary and unreached!
Report this review (#12714)
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although contains mostly Yes' defining moments and the excellent but much forgotten South Side Of The Sky this cannot rate on a par with Close to The Edge due to the solo compositions (with the exception of We Have Heaven and its ethereal quality) making the whole thing so inconsistent. Does anyone actually want to put this album on relax and listen to 5% for Nothing or Cans and Brahms? I agree with all the other reviewers that say the bass guitar is by far the most noticeable instrument here and all the better for it.
Report this review (#12715)
Posted Wednesday, March 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Fragile" was my favorite album throughout high school and to this day still remains as one of the most frequently played CD's from my collection. Although "Fragile" represents a selection of musical vinettes and has very little fluidity to it overall, it still works exceptionally well. Each musician is given the space to create some solo sonic textures which all work well together. Each song is a classic and reveals the high degree of talent and creativity in the band.
Report this review (#12716)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Almost perfect and very influential as well... its score actually should be a bit inferior, but tracks such as "Heart of the Sunrise" and "Long Distance Round Around" alone are well worth checking out, a true enormus reference still today; moreover the acoustic guitar pieces of art, composed by Steve HOWE, ("Mood for a day" and "The clap) are memorable. "Roundabout" instead was an hit single and even though it is not my favourite one, is remarkable at least!

Essential as a true reference for every "prog fan", but also for the usual common listener of classic rock!!

Report this review (#12727)
Posted Sunday, April 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars one of the best prog records ever, a little bit loose, driven by the fact that the record is a 4 piece composition, and the other pieces are the individual expressions of the thoughts of the members, however, Roundabout and Heart of the sunrise makes you think you reached heaven... a must record for any person involved in the prog media or not. YES at it's best
Report this review (#12719)
Posted Thursday, April 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One can compare "Fragile" to "Close to the Edge", like you compare "Foxtrot" to "Selling England by the Pound". "Fragile" is much better recorded than "Close to the Edge": the sound is much more intimate: the instruments can be better identified. Plus, Bruford's drums are quite more subtle and complex, and his cymbals sounds are quite cleaner. The tracks are much shorter (many only last around 3 minutes). Wakeman's keyboards are more conventional here, quite less floating: mostly organ and piano. "Roundabout" is the first track, very rhythmic, rock and catchy, full of bottom & complex bass. "Cans and Brahms" is a classical interpretation of composer Brahms, featuring Wakeman on very colorful & symphonic keyboards: a strong point on this record! "South Side of the Sky" has great piano, drums and vocals arrangements. "Five Per Cent for Nothing" sounds like a GENTLE GIANT track. Fish is a "wah wah" bass demonstration. The beautiful "Mood for a Day", featuring Steve Howe on the classical guitar, is very melodic and relaxing. The finale "Heart of the Sunrise" is one of the best tracks on "Fragile": Anderson's vocals are OUTSTANDING, and Wakeman uses judiciously mellotron, piano and moog keyboards: the song is long, and the progression is amazing: WOW!

Unfortunately, "Fragile" has not the catchiness & inspiration of "Close to the Edge". "Fragile" is technically OUTSTANDING, but I find the artistic value a bit lower than on "Close to the Edge".


Report this review (#12790)
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's difficult to explain what makes "Fragile" so effective; suffice to say that where "The Yes Album" told tales of faraway places, "Fragile" takes you there. The addition of RICK WAKEMAN adds a sense of humor and unbound energy to the arrangements, but it's the intricate interplay of BILL BRUFORD and CHRIS SQUIRE that most account for the album's achievement. "Fragile" is an oddly effective balancing act between powerful epics and solo showcases, the latter releasing the improbable pressure built up by songs like "South Side of the Sky" and "Heart of the Sunrise." The opening "Roundabout" ushered in the band's American breakthrough, with WAKEMAN's inspired keyboard playing suggesting ELP on overdrive. By contrast, his lighthearted reading of BRAHMS' 4th Symphony on "Cans and Brahms" is a perfect release. ANDERSON's "We Have Heaven," featuring layered vocals and acoustic guitar, is a fine example of the singer's airy presence and Beatlesque harmonies, lulling the listener into a false sense of security for the tumultuous "South Side of the Sky." After an intricate introduction from BRUFORD entitled "Five Per Cent of Nothing," listeners are treated with "Long Distance Runaround," where the charging-bull bass of SQUIRE careens into the graceful lines shared by STEVE HOWE and WAKEMAN. It's on this song, as much as anywhere in their catalog, that the five musicians fuse their separate identities into a shared ideal; the result is, in a word, stunning. Squire sustains the momentum with "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)," his bass bubbling along like a musical water bong. HOWE adds the sophisticated and Mediterranean-flavored "Mood for a Day," an acoustic guitar solo that is arguably the most memorable of the members' solo turns, and again the trap is set for the pummeling introduction to "Heart of the Sunrise", which walks between the sublime and the scalding in ways that make "Perpetual Change" look clumsy by comparison.

"Fragile" conjurs sonic maelstroms, employs artfully conceived arrangements that defy deconstruction, rests on the aeries of Olympus, and plants the flag of progressive rock at its highest point to date. It's also the first YES album to feature the artwork of ROGER DEAN, in case you're into that kind of thing.

Report this review (#12744)
Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "Tell the moon-dog, tell the march-hare, we have heaven"

I have always felt this was a slightly disappointing Yes album. Sandwiched as it was between their first real classic album ("The Yes album"), and their finest hour ("Close to the edge"), "Fragile" found the band momentarily over confident and self indulgent.

Musically, the band did not really progress from the great strides they had taken with the Yes album, the band tracks here representing more of the same. If anything, they took a step sideways or even backwards. A number of the tracks such as "Roundabout" and "Long distance runaround" being fairly basic commercial pieces, more in tune with "All good people" than say "Yours is no disgrace". These compositions are highly melodic and catchy, and while highly enjoyable, they are lacking in real depth.

"Heart of the sunrise" stands proud alongside tracks such as "Siberia Khatru", and "Yours is no disgrace" as one of Yes' best pieces. It is a highly structured piece with soft and loud segments, and some fine instrumental work. It is by far the most progressive, and probably the best, track on the album. The other band track here is "South side of the sky", which sounded great on their recent tours, but is in reality only an average album track.

Other than these tracks, the album does have a fair bit of padding in the form of solo tracks by the individual band members. In retrospect, Allowing each member a solo slot was self indulgent and unnecessary. The space could have been put to far better use through the addition of another band track, or even the inclusion of their non-album cover version of Simon and Garfunkel's "America".

A good album, but something of a lull between the greats.

The recently remastered version of the CD has a number of bonus tracks, plus some lavish packaging with informative sleeve notes.

Report this review (#12740)
Posted Wednesday, May 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Actually this isn't quite as good as Close To The Edge (what is???) but it's still difficult to find fault.From a personal perspective I find this a little 'hard edged' and maybe a little too much use of the Mellotron from our Rick.However that said 'Roundabout' is still one of the best things in prog while 'Heart Of The Sunrise' is just simply beautifull.Even the solo peices add a certain charm and certainly don't drag the album down as some like to suggest.Another must have album if you are a prog fan.
Report this review (#12720)
Posted Friday, May 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars YES were never one of my favourite prog bands, but to give "Fragile" anything less than 5 stars would be such a hipocrisy. This album is perfect, flawless and can be heard anytime without a second of feeling bored. I have noticed too many fives in these reviews altogether and I rarely give one but, as I said, this album deserves to be called a masterpiece of Progressive rock.
Report this review (#12746)
Posted Sunday, May 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
James Lee
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It is said that familiarity breeds contempt, but the more common result is ambivalence. Perhaps hearing "Roundabout" and "Long DIstance Runaround" a few too many times on AOR stations dulled slightly my appreciation of this classic album.

However, I remember my first few rounds with the album as a whole, and it was not these two songs which grated; it was the indulgent and incoherent asides that bookened them. "Cans and Brahms", existing seemingly for the sole reason of showcasing Wakeman's skill and elevated taste, now rightly resides firmly in the 'period piece' category alongside other Wendy Carlos knock-offs (including a stupefying number of Kieth Emerson tracks). The next track, "We Have Heaven", is a pointless vocal round that throws innumerable Andersons (and a few Howes and Squires, with their barely competent vocal qualities) at us while offering next to nothing as far as song, instrumentation, and emotional or narrative content. Side One is only saved by the rocking and haunting "South Side of the Sky", where Wakeman performs one of the few truly lovely passages of his career: on an acoustic piano, no less.

The second side fares slightly better. I could object to the aimless jamming that is "The Fish", except that it provides an interesting fade-out from "LDR"- much like "Wurm" did for "Starship Trooper" (though one must admit that "Wurm" was much more of a culmination to the piece, rather than a stylistically related improvisation). I could also object to "Mood for a Day", as this is not a Howe solo album (thank goodness- have you ever listened to the stylistic mish-mashes and song-poor collections with which Howe expresses himself? I have nothing but admiration for his guitar work, but he's most definitely best as a team player). On the other hand, "Mood" is so lovely and such a perfect lead-in and contrast for the moody and beautifully structured "Heart of the Sunrise" that I must let it pass.

In truth, "Fragile" is two incredible songs, and two quite good ones, laced with indulgent and distracting filler. Simply removing "Cans" and "Heaven" (and foreshortening "Fish" as in the AOR version of "LDR") would have given the band almost six minutes to include another classic song...or at least another solid "Roundabout"-caliber track. Which would have earned an additional star from me, a goal which I'm sure YES had firmly in mind :)

Report this review (#12751)
Posted Monday, May 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Ough .. why bother reviewing old album? Two reasons: 1. This album remarks my first introduction to progressive music dated back on mid seventies (hey, at that time I was not aware on any genre of music. What I knew was: ROCK! That's it, nothing else); and this is NOW: 30 YEARS LATER!. 2. RHINO has just released this album in a nice digi- pack remaster expanded series altogether with other classic albums of YES. So, the above two enough to ignite me for this review. I might add another reason, actually, i.e. as reference for those who are new to prog music and willing to dig out the precious treasure of prog music. I got three reasons altogether! It justifies hah .? I am so happy also that this album is featured in the "School of Rock" movie.

Having gone through what I experienced three decades ago, I realize now how "fortunate" I was that this album was opened by a tune that really blew me up: "Roundabout" man ..!! This track is extremely wonderful, my friend! If it was not this track, I might probably never be in love with prog music. Probably. "Roundabout" has unusual structure : Intro-A-B-A-B-C-Intro-D-A-B-Closing. Dunno what I mean? Listen to the track and observe the melody! You would know what I mean then. Actually, the structure itself does not conclude the prog nature of this track. But if you notice, the transition between melody structure that make up this track justify this track is prog. What is prog, nayway? Opened by a guitar effect followed by acoustic guitar touch is enough to conclude that the track would be an exciting one to enjoy. You bet! When other instruments come into play, you will experience a mixture of sounds that rock but is different compared to other type of rock music (by then, I was listening to typical mainstream rock such as DEEP PURPLE, URIAH HEEP, LED ZEPPELIN). The "D" part of the structure is basically the what so called as "interlude" where Wakeman's punchy keyboard playing is combined with Howe guitar fill. The whole track is really excellent.

"We Have Heaven" was never be in my attention the first years I listened to this album. But when I watched YES Second Leg Tour in Singapore, 25 September 2003 (you may wonder how I can remember the date. Of course I do! I never seen prog band before. I had been waiting for YES performing live for approx 29 years! And most importantly, I got my face shot 'close-up' with Jon Anderson by my camera), I changed my perception. I like this track. Jon performed it very well in Singapore.

"South Side of The Sky" was another track that hit me the first time I listened to it. Opened with a stormy nuance, Bruford's dynamic drumming brings other instruments come into play and create such an excellent melody. It provides solid ground for Jon to sing. The solo piano part in the middle of the track contextualizes the whole track beautifully. Observe when the vocals part sing "na na na na na ." backed up by other instruments' sounds, you would enjoy this piece and try to emulate later. It's nice.

"Long Distance .." is track opened by Steve's solo guitar backed by Rick's keyboard sound. In this track I realize how the bass guitar sound really "walks the melody". It flows nicely with Steve's guitar melody at intro part. Chris' bass guitar playing is really dominant throughout the track. The track is closed by a stunning guitar solo that brings you to the intro of the next track "The Fish". These two tracks are best enjoyed as one track as they look like in the same structure even though the melody is different.

"Mood for A Day" is an excellent acoustic guitar piece. This track would later become the band's masterpiece as many music lovers try to play this piece. That includes me when I did try to become a guitar player.

Tell me if any human being does not like the closing track of this album "Heart of The Sunrise"!. This track is beautifully crafted and well-composed by the band. Opened with an upbeat tempo piece of music and then followed by immediate silent and then punchy bass guitar sound, combined with keyboard sound and stunning guitar. The intro part is really instrumental music for approximately "3:40" minutes before Jon sings "Love comes to you .". All of these are enough to make my adrenalin explodes, really. This track is masterpiece of prog music!

Here comes my rating: **** for sound (as it was recorded 1972), ***** for musicianship (I think all musicians contribute excellently in this album, and this is the best YES line-up, in my opinion), ***** for composition and ***** for performance. So, FIVE STAR for this masterpiece album. Don't call yourself a progger if you don't have this album in your prog collection! What do you think? - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Report this review (#12752)
Posted Saturday, June 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of my fav album from Yes, it might be said masterpiece one in their early period. Surely I love this formation band, just like god from heaven!  There are some elements of musics, classic, jazz, rock in each songs. So colourful! It seems that they want to explore their skill, like in Cans and Brahms or Mood for a Day. Wakeman and Howe showed the brilliant experiment of sound and music. The tone sounds widely. Based from classic music, their musically is so strong. Bruford, as we know he is a great drummer, rock and jazz background, gave more the influence to all songs. We can see in Five Percent for Nothing and also Heart of the Sunrise. Hmm I want to say two thumbs up for this song. All of members gave their best skill, great combination, full of energy and powerful. This song has many parts, fluctuative tempo, and this is more important, great climax vocal from Jon. We can notice when Jon sang 'I feel lost in the city..' He reached the high level octave. So fantastic! Overall, this is recommended album from Yes. I rate with 5 stars. That's not too much I think. Atang - Indonesia.
Report this review (#12754)
Posted Wednesday, June 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars There is a jagged edge to Fragile that really doesn't exist on any of the other Yes releases. The sense of urgency in" South Side of the Sky" an explosion of nature in "Roundabout" and the the sheer beauty of being lost in the city in "Heart of the Sunrise". This is truly Yes finest moment and each of the five individual tracks are very engaging tying the entire album together as a whole. Wakemans keyboards are beautiful throughout and with Bill Bruford at the drum kit there is no finer. This is also the release where Chris Squire's distinctive bass style really comes into it's own. Steve Howe is brilliant in his debut with Yes and his guitar playing is wonderful throughout. I personally love his playing on" South Side of the Sky" where he and Squire combine for one of the "coolest" sounds ever recorded in "rock" history. Everyone should own this essential masterpiece of Prog!!!!!
Report this review (#12755)
Posted Sunday, July 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Beyond and before this album, yes managed to build up their unique progressive sound and continue to evolve that sound in every album they released. The Yes Album, saw the band settling down to their prog rock soundscape, but Fragile took a leap in a better direction by improving the sound they had created. Fragile begins where The Yes Album left off, as it began with the simplistic "Yours Is No Disgrace" but ended with the more complicated and experimental "Perpetual Change". That sound pushed the limits of music and continued to do so on this excellent follow up album.

Fragile was acutally claimed to be a patchwork album, so it is remarkable that this turned to be one of the all time classic rock masterpieces! One reason for this was the addition of the piano and organ wizard, Rick Wakeman, who replaced Tony Kaye for this album. With Bill Bruford still in the band, this was the best Yes lineup of their whole career (Bill Bruford left after Close to the Edge and joined King Crimson. His replacement, Alan White, was luckily a great drummer too). Fragile showed off a new definition of sound. A good thing about this album what is missing from most others is that it was a mixture of proggresive rock songs and standard structured songs. This managed to attract more people into liking their sound.

The first short piece on this album is an exerpt from a classic piece. "Cans and Brahms" is a silly filler piece by Rick Wakeman, showing off his immense skill for about a minute or two. This song somehow feels comfortably placed being slotted inbetween "Roundabout" and "We Have Heaven", it manages to link the two together perfectly and keeps the flow of the album going. "We Have Heaven" is a crazy experiment in multi layered sound, experimental effects of doors slamming, footsteps and lots of different vocal parts being sang at the same time. This song can be mentally challenging or stimulating but it serves as another great short. "Five Percent For Nothing" is an awkward instrumental that lasts just over half a minute. This song enters rather rudely and i cant explain what it is i am hearing exactly, but it sounds damn good. "Mood for a Day" is a brilliant, emotional and dull acoustic piece but serves an excellent song that leads well into the frantic "Heart of the Sunrise". "Mood for a Day" certainly lives up to its title and shows a fragile, heartfilled side to the band, reminding us that modern life has always been rubbish.

The trademark lengthy pieces are still on this album and even more brilliant than the short tracks. "Roundabout" is the best song on the album, and one of the bands best ever efforts. A nine minute epic adventure involving acoustic guitars that lead into thundering basslines and a brilliant keyboard solo in the middle, ending with a mirror effect of the acoustic intro. Chris Squire's bass is magnificent on this track, the way it changes from the mellow intro to the rushing middle section is pefect. Jon's vocals are incredible as always but he really proves himself as an incredible and unique singer here more than anywhere else. "South Side of the Sky" is one of Yes' most beautiful pieces, crafted to perfection full of flowing structural change and the whole band playing to their best abilities. Rick Wakeman once again shines through here. Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman deliver their first major instrument battle in the frantic "Heart of the Sunrise", which leaves the album on a darker and frantic note. This reminds me a lot of "21st Century Schizoid Man" in the way of the speedy guitar riffage and the structure which has a slower middle section. This is excellent stuff.

Fragile is an amazing bridge between "The Yes Album" and "Close to the Edge" and is a favourite for any yes fan, but also a great starting point. Also any prog fans who arent into yes will love it. The album that introduced the world to Rick Wakeman. I'm bloody grateful.

Report this review (#12756)
Posted Sunday, July 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was the first album I bought after passing through my progressive rock introductory Pink Floyd phase, and the one that eventually led me to the nerdy "prog fan" status I held for many years following (still pretty much have it, really).

This is a great introduction to Yes' music. You should start here if you are going to get into their stuff. I give this album 5 stars for that reason, even though the material is somewhat inconsistent in places. It is essential for a "progressive rock fan" - not being familiar with this album is like being a resident of the United States and not knowing who George Washington was.

"Roundabout" is great. It's "Yours is No Disgrace," but more accessible, and with more colour, from Wakeman's keyboard palette. I can't say I like Wakeman's style more than the gritty organ it replaced, but it was highly influential, and not at all bad. Classical and rock idioms mixed well.

"Cans and Brahms" is rather weak, a Brahms piece played straight through with various cool keyboard sounds. I understand that Wakeman was not able to contribute any original works for his "solo spot" because of contractual reasons, so I can understand the choice, and the resulting "album flow" is not negatively affected, if for no other reason than that I cannot think what other song could possibly follow "Roundabout."

Jon Anderson's solo bit "We Have Heaven" foreshadows his "Olias of Sunhillow" overdubs - quite excellent.

"South Side of the Sky," another full band piece, is enjoyable. Chronicling a doomed arctic journey, the song features well-contrasted "hard" and "soft" sections, like the best of Yes at this point. The hard rock drives the protagonists on like a blizzard, while the middle section covers their frozen bodies in a soft snowfall as their spirits ascend to a different sort of warmth.

"Five Per Cent for Nothing" is one of my favorite pieces on this album - a brilliant bit of oddity that is far too short. Bill Bruford's solo piece.

"Long Distance Runaround" is a band-oriented gem penned by Anderson. Much more conventional and shorter than the other "band" works, but enjoyable nonetheless. Sing it after a breakup or time of anger.

"The Fish" builds as it goes in the same fashion as "We Have Heaven" - both use extensive overdubbing. However, "The Fish" features Chris Squire's overdubbed bass guitars. The piece is in 7/4 time, and is a classic piece - very nuanced and even catchy, especially with the final vocal chorus.

Steve Howe's solo guitar piece, "Mood for a Day," is a fairly classic bit, but less experimental or showy than previous solo spots, Howe's "Clap" from the last album included. Nice, but not incredible. I, of course, cannot complain. It's warm and well-done, and fun to play.

"Heart of the Sunrise" is another essential work, featuring the most intricate interplay of "fast/loud" and "soft/pretty" Yes had pulled off to date. There's a bit of a "hidden track" afterwards, a snippet of "We Have Heaven" rounding out the album's vague "linked" feel.

Absolutely essential.

Report this review (#12758)
Posted Wednesday, August 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fragile is an album that sees Yes between a rock and a prog place, if you'll pardon my pun.. While it still bears the rawness and art approach of their earlier work, there is a hint of what was to become the generic progressive suites that they would fill on albums to come. For me the melodic passages and harmonies are a maisve strength on Fragile and this gives some parts a slight folk element though the music in the background defies this with its off beat timings and lush musicianship of the exceptional musicians that made up Yes, now with the added depth of having Rick Wakeman on keyboards and pretentious pieces ("Cans And Brahms" if you don't mind). Jon Anderson's voice has yet to reach the scale of elfism (or a little elfish even?) and that is music to my ears, he sounds quite beautiful without the high frequency register of later Yes works. He sounds exceptionally good on "Roundabout", a song that clocks in at around 10 minutes or so but never out of place or boring. But the key song that holds Fragile together, [as the album ]does sound very uneven in places but again this uneven qualiy is masked by the brilliant skill of the players, is the massive "Heart Of The Sunrise". An epic tune that drills a rapid fire round of riffs at the listener with ease, before pulling back and building up over and over again at a brooding pace. Bill Brufords drumming is exceptionally tight and solid and this gives the song its tenacity and power-though it has to be said that Yes might have borrowed a little from their peers King Crimson some where along the line for this number, a compliment rather than a crime I would think. Fragile is a real good progressive album that may be self indulgent but rarely overblown and it's raw nature adds a neat tangent that makes it a worth while album to own. Prog fan or not.
Report this review (#12759)
Posted Saturday, August 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was the first Yes album I acquired. I bought it just after it came out and was certainly not disappointed! Every track is good, and the solo pieces, in my opinion, do add something to the overall flow and effect, especially Chris Squire's tremendous multi-layered bass piece. He is, to me, the dominant influence on this album. But the other solo efforts are excellent as well. (Apart from Bill Bruford's short and pointless effort) Even Jon Anderson, always, comparatively, the weakest member of the band, puts in a fine solo piece here. Steve Howe's Mood For A Day is very nice, and Rick Wakeman's talent becomes obvious on Cans and Brahms. One of the three best Yes albums, and just behind, in my opinion, Going For The One, and Close To The Edge. Far better than the awful, tedious, monotonous, tuneless and badly recorded 'The Yes Album.' (Still one of the most overrated albums in history, and a definite downswing after the two glorious first albums by the band!) Recommended as a starting point for anyone wishing to get into this band. (Avoid anything after Going For The One, especially the atrocious Tormato!)
Report this review (#12761)
Posted Sunday, September 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hmmm... I think most of the people who have given this album 5 stars have already summed up what I would have said. This album is essential for any Prog collector. You need this album if you are into prog. Yes succeeds on this album where even the greatest prog bands have failed. They have long insturmentals which are captivating and a couple of hits off of this album. One of my favorite songs/song transitions is "Long Distance Runaround" followed by the fish. Classic prog and worth every penny! The new releases come with "America which was originally released elsewhere and not on a Yes album so you get a small treat if you get this now-a-days.
Report this review (#12763)
Posted Monday, September 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Everyone has covered the review of Fragile in giving it mainly 4-5 stars. It is a classic masterpiece, short instrumental works included. There is not a single dull moment on Fragile. For me the high points would have to be ' The Fish' and ' South Side of the Sky'.Five stars probably is an understatement!
Report this review (#12765)
Posted Sunday, September 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Maybe this was the first Progressive Rock album that I have listened to. And in fact, I listened to this album many, too many times, because it was one of the favourite albums of my older brothers in the seventies. So, maybe this album deserves a five star rating, as it seems that many people considers it as an excellent album. Maybe I am very biased about this album, because after I have listened to it many times, I don`t play it very often since a long time ago, because I`m tired of it. There are other things which I don`t like very much in this album: the inclusion of solo pieces by each member of the band. For me, it seems that YES at that time didn`t have enogh material for the recording of a new album, so they had the idea of recording the solo pieces (which, with the exception of "Cans and Brahms" and "Mood for a Day", are really played with the rest of the members of the band). "Roundabout" was a hit, and it is still played in some Oldies FM Radio stations in my country.It is maybe the most played song in concert by YES, "the obligatory song". This song has very good arrangements. "Cans and Brahms" is a good arrangement by Wakeman, playing several "orchestral" parts in different keyboards. It seems that for this album Wakeman couldn`t use his own compositions due to contractual obligations. "We have heaven" is an experiment by Anderson, who sings all vocal parts accompanied by the band. "South side of the sky" has a vey good piano arrangement by Wakeman. It is also a "rocker", with very good guitars by Howe. "Five per cent for nothing" is Bruford`s musical idea played with the rest of the band (and it is also the only song of this album never played in concert by YES). "Long Distance Runaround" has interesting drums and bass by Bruford and Squire, respectively. In "The Fish" , Squire used some different sounds that he could play in his bass, playing melodies, accompanied mainly by Bruford`s drums and percussion and vocals by Anderson, Squire and Howe. "Mood for a Day" is Howe`s most known acoustic guitar piece. "Heart of the Sunrise" is the best song of this album, with very good drums by Bruford (credited as a co-composer of this song with Anderson and Squire), and good keyboards by Wakeman. The album is finished with a brief reprise of "We have heaven" not listed in the cover and in the label. Maybe this album is very appreciated by fans as it shows the first time that a YES line-up had five musicians which were really creating the Progressive Style for YES, a style which was more clear in this album, and was stronger than in previous albums.
Report this review (#12766)
Posted Monday, September 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, although I like Close To The Edge much more than this one, it's still a masterpiece of Prog Rock. Finally, the Yes' gloriously extended compositions (their trademark, I guess) are shown with all its power!! The first song I listened from them was Roundabout and man, what an intro!!!!!!!! it lasts eight and a half minutes, but it's perfect... I specially love around the 5:20 mark, when that big long instrumental showdown starts... Rick WAKEMAN, like always, shows eye-popping talent, and bandmates Chris SQUIRE and Steve HOWE do as well.. South Side Of The Sky is to me the best one on this album, pay attention to HOWE's unbelievable guitar fingering, and also to the middle part, with those nice vocals and WAKEMAN's classical piano... beautiful! About Heart Of The Sunrise, it drags on a little with that repeating part at the intro, but then Jon ANDERSON's smooth voice and undecifrable lyrics make you instantly forget. In fact, ANDERSON's voice steals the show here: check out that emotion, that feel he puts on the track! when he sings "...with all these hands around me/I feel lost in the city!!!"... God, I almost cried with no particular reason... Basically the other tracks are good showdowns of the band members. You get good, psychedelical singing from ANDERSON in We Have Heaven, WAKEMAN in Cans and Brahms, and a specially tricky rhythm by BRUFFORD (amazing drummer) in Five Percent For Nothing... The Fish is some kind of trippy passage, I can't describe it with precision... Long Distance Runaround shows Chris SQUIRE's amazing talent at bass, and the repeating riff from the intro is addictive. A special one: Mood For A Day. It's an instrumental made by HOWE with just an acoustic guitar... here you can really check out why this guy is considered so good at guitar.. and believe, no matter what you heard, he'll do himself justice. I have a friend of my father who nailed this song on his guitar just by listening... do the test and tell me if he ain't good!!! Just to resume: Fragile shows Yes working at full force, and this comes up even better on latter albums, like Close To The Edge. Because of its features and quality it must clearly be put as an essential prog album, and it's a great initiation to Yes as well... highly recommended!
Report this review (#12768)
Posted Sunday, October 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Great album!One of the best on this site!Get this album to understand what i'm trying to say.Listen to Roundabout, Heart of the sunrise and South sky of the sky....Fantastic!Rick Wakeman is amazing!His keyboard playing is so good, he's the best.This album is much better than close to the edge...YES IT IS!This is Yes at their best.Get this album.You must buy this album!Get the new Rhino/Elektra remastered & expanded version with 2 bonus tracks (America & roundabout (early rough mix)).Listen to Jon on Heart of the sunrise.
Report this review (#12769)
Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thirty years ago, when I was fourteen, I listened Yes for the first time, it was Fragile and I was shocked. This music opened my mind in all directions. Rhythim changes and contrachanges, vocal harmonies, the strongway Squire plays, Anderson forever highness,Wakeman and Howe incredible perfection. I was listening the record every day during weeks. I've heard thousands of records, and I've enjoyed more of them till now, but for me there are two groups that I'd take with me to a desert island: The Beatles & Yes.
Report this review (#12773)
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes "Fragile" was my real guide to Yes music. When I first heard "South Side of the Sky" it was really something special. The album contains some superb drumming from Bill Bruford, great guitar-work from Steve Howe (escpecially on "South Side of the Sky"). Chris Squire`s "the Fish" is the best solo track in this album. You can hear Wakemans magical keyboards everywhere through the album and Jon Andersons lyrics and vocals are enjoyable. What"s really outstanding in this album is the creativity of all the members in the band that many other bands lack of. I think it was the real Yes breakthrough and maybe the most classic proge-album for me (well, "Close to the Edge" has the same quality) .This is very enjoyable experience.
Report this review (#12774)
Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
el böthy
4 stars An excellent album, not a 5 star, but still. Maybe Yes more importrant album (after Close to the Edge...of course). It has got some of Yes best songs ever made, like "Heart of the Sunrise", "South Side of the Sky" abd all times classic " Roundabout".

Some of Jon Anderson best lyrics, Bill Bruford best drumms (in Yes!!!!), Steve Howe again amaizing ( but not as much as in their previous work: "The Yes Album") and ... of course master Wakeman!!! Rick Wakeman had just joined the band and Yes would never be the same again. Awsome, just awsome!!!

It may not turn out to be your favorite Yes album, but it´s a must have. Thats it.

Report this review (#12775)
Posted Thursday, November 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars All Yes fans attention! My God, if you haven't picked up a copy of Fragile, your missing one of their most influential albums...ever. With the debut of Rick Wakeman, and the creation ofsongs such as South Side of the Sky, Roundabout, and Heart of the Sunrise, this definately puts Fragile high on the ever-growing list of Yes masterpieces. It combines the talents of all the band's members like never before. Wakeman's keyboards inspired us all in Roundabout, Anderson's lyrics soothed you in Heart of the Sunrise, and Howe's and Squire's guitars will pulse through your veins. Fragile, Yes's fourth album, literally brought Yes out of the dumpsters, dressed them all nice and pretty, and sent them off to become prog. rock stars. If your going to one one Yes, let it be the one that brought life into the very band itself. I can guarentee, you will not be dissapointed.
Report this review (#12776)
Posted Thursday, November 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am compelled to give this album five stars-to my ears,everything on it is perfect and that includes the all the solo tracks-small gems to my ears,that are perfect counterpoints to the longer group efforts. The whole album has a flow that builds then releases like a tide coming and going. And on top of that,each song stands on its own merits.It's the complete package. It was my introduction to progressive rock before I knew that it was called that (via "Roundabout" of course),and piqued my interest into delving deeper into "YES", and then other groups. I never take a road trip without this CD and I never get tired of it,and my favorite song on it is whichever one is playing at the moment(though right now I have a partiality for "Schindleria Praematurus" and "Mood For A Day"). I love "Close To The Edge" and will defer to those more musically educated who consider it YES' masterpiece,but it's a completely different state of mind and listening experience from "Fragile". It takes me from one place to another before I know what's happened-just "Roundabout" has so many different planes, then there's the cosmic-ness of "Heart Of The Sunrise", the jazzy feel of "Five Percent For Nothing", the deceptively(YOU try playing that guitar piece!) gentle "Mood For A Day", the breath-taking roller-coaster that is "Roundabout"-and the virtuosity and musicality and freshness never get old. "Fragile" is unquestionably an essential on many different levels.
Report this review (#12777)
Posted Saturday, November 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Most of the people say that "Close To The Edge" is not only the best album from Yes, but also the masterpiece of progressive rock. I really prefer "Fragile". It is more varied; it has more songs (short and Yes typical extended songs). This perfect album starts with their most "commercial" -but elaborated- song ("Roundabout"), followed by an "original" classical music version arranged and played by Rick Wakeman on different type of keyboards ("Cans & Brahms"). It's not a great piece but gives a different touch to the album. The third track ("We Have Heaven") is also a short track, sung by Jon Anderson's unique voice and creating a strange but beautiful mixture of superposed voices. "We Have Heaven" is well connected with "South Side Of The Sky" by some special effects (steps, wind & storm). I still enjoy the personal way Steve Howe plays his short guitar solos between the vocals (before the chorus part). I would also like to mention the nice middle-section performed by Rick Wakeman on his electric piano. The next track is a strange and complex kind-of-jazzy composition created by Bill Brufford. It only lasts for half a minute. Perhaps he run out of ideas!!!. Well, to be honest I don't think so. Curiously it has more the appearance of a King Crimson song rather than a typical Yes song -It's not strange that this drummer ended up joining Fripp's band-. "Long Distance Runaround" has one of my favorite bass lines, and it goes perfectly well with the main riff done by Steve Howe (electric guitar) and Rick Wakeman (keyboards). This short song is followed by an individual composition done by Chris Squire creating an impressive world of bass guitar sounds -including the use of a wah pedal! -. Steve Howe contrasts the style of the album with a classical acoustic guitar composition on "Mood For A Day". In my opinion, this composition is less complex than its predecessor "The Clap" (guitar composition from "The Yes Album") but evokes much more passion. "Heart Of The Sunrise" is the last song and one of my all-time favorites. It has a fast and heavy beginning before the bass guitar becomes the main instrument inside a real "symphonic" atmosphere. Little by little all the instruments return to the initial structure, then the song turns into a ballad, the rhythm changes from time to time. something not normal in 1972!!! Listen to it and you'll never forget it!
Report this review (#12780)
Posted Thursday, December 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the Yes Albums of all Yes Albums. Where "The Yes Album" began the legend, it continued full-fledge with this. Everything that made Yes Yes was here. The addition of Rick Wakeman, The Vocal and Instumental bits, are all here. But thats not all! You have great powerful ensemble tunes like "South Side Of The Sky and Heart Of The Sunrise!! Believie it or not, The song I like least is, Roundabout!! Now I am not saying it is a bad song, its just that it is played to death by commercial radio, People associate Yes with this song and their is more to them than this hit. Anway, Fragile is a very imortant album that cannot be ignored.
Report this review (#12782)
Posted Monday, December 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars There are 2 kinds of songs in this masterpiece: the typical long tracks, and shorter individual ones between them, each by a single member. I'll start by the short ones: Howe's "Mood For A Day" is a nice acoustic song, Squire's "Fish" is the best of the shorter songs, with all those cool basslines. The rest of them are weak: Anderson's "We Have Heaven" is not great, just him singing the same line for a while, Bruford's "Five Per Cent For Nothing" is short and jazzy but not very interesting, and Wakeman's "Cans And Brahms" is just him playing some Brahms, but it's the worst of the 5. I really don't like it. Still, they aren't that bad as to ruin the score: the larger songs are the important thing here, and they are the best they ever came up with! "Roundabout" is one of my favourite songs ever, it's catchy, well performed and very entertaining, "South Side Of The Sky" has a great guitar, a good atmosphere and Wakeman plays an excellent piano solo in the middle, "Long Distance Runaround" is the shortest and it's catchy and fun but not the best here, and "Heart Of The Sunrise" has that great Crimson-styled intro which alternate with some nice Wakeman's keyboards, and the Anderson's melody is the best in the whole album.
Report this review (#12784)
Posted Friday, January 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars When you first hear the clear and crisp version of "Roundabout" on the remastered Yes album Fragile, you will be beside yourself how fresh and exuberant it sounds. Just as many recordings from their catalog, it is hard to believe that this music was originally conceived and recorded back in 1972.

This was the turning point for Yes as keyboardist Tony Kaye exited and Rick Wakeman made his grand entrance. Although Kaye was exceptional, Wakeman's influence created an entirely different mindset in the band. He brought the classical influence to the table. His acceptance into the group would follow immediately and the results of that are found on Fragile.

Yes became the prototypical progressive rock band in 1972, and they never turned back. Steve Howe became the quintessential diverse guitarist on this album, jumping back and forth from hard rocking intense guitar licks to gentle jazz/classical influenced passages. I found this component to be quite evident throughout the entire recording. This one important factor changed them forever and put them into category all by themselves (they always were).

Two AOR staples were introduced from this masterpiece, "Long Distance Runaround" and "Heart Of The Sunrise." Bonus tracks include a hearty version of "America" and "Roundabout" in its developmental stages. This album is so good you never tire of it; its importance and resiliency are more evident than ever on this superb remastered version.

Report this review (#12787)
Posted Monday, January 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars My favourite YES album. The beautiful acoustic guitar intro of 'Roundabout' heralds a varied collection of well-crafted tracks. More polished than their previous (very good) album but not as ambitious as their next one, I feel the music on this album strikes a good balance between accessibility and ornateness (although I imagine people who are not fans of Progressive Rock would probably still regard this in the same light as YES' other works).

'Roundabout', 'South Side Of The Sky', 'Long Distance Runaround' and 'Heart Of The Sunrise' were arranged and performed by the band, and the other five tracks were individual ideas, personally arranged and organised by the five members. 'Cans And Brahms' is Wakeman's twist on extracts from Brahms' 4th Symphony in E Minor, 3rd Movement, using electric piano, grand piano, electric harpsichord and synthesizer. 'We Have Heaven' was Jon Anderson's (short) idea, with him providing multi-layered vocals over a repeating theme. 'Five Per Cent For Nothing' is Bruford's jerky 35-second contribution. Squire's 'The Fish' was produced using the different sounds of bass guitars over percussion (nice), and Howe concludes the individual projects with the medieval and Spanish sounding (and very pleasant) 'Mood For A Day' on acoustic guitar.

Apart from the enjoyable individual projects, the four joint efforts are very pleasant indeed. I really like melody and a good tune, and these four longer tracks deliver that. Wakeman's keyboards are more evident than Kaye's were on the previous album (I liked Kaye's keyboard work on the previous album) and are very good, I should add. Wakeman does play an important part in making this album what it is.

The usual YES poetic nonsense lyrics abound. I have to mention "In and around the lake, mountains come out of the sky and stand there" which, to me, conjures up a crystal clear image.

A showcase of the band's individual and collective talent, I'm going with 5 stars on this (Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music).

Report this review (#12789)
Posted Friday, January 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the classic Yes albums, Fragile is more polished and tight that their previous album, The YES album, and is their first album that features the classic line-up (Anderson, Howe, Wakeman, Squire & Bruford). The album was originaly released in November 1971 in the UK, and January 1972 in the US.

Though it's a excellent album, Fragile is sadly uneven, but still very worthy. The performing is highly impressive at times, especially Chris Squire's "The Fish", a solo piece in 7/8 with all riffs made with the use of the bass guitar, and Steve Howe's great acoustic "Mood For a Day". The other solo pieces are not so good, though Anderson's "We Have Heaven" is very interesting!

The best songs are Roundabout, South Side of The Sky, The Fish, Mood For a Day and Heart of The Sunrise. The other tracks are weaker, but still OK.

This is a must for any Yes fan (or prog fan). 4.25 stars - Should be included in every prog-collection!

Report this review (#12791)
Posted Sunday, February 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Though three of the five solo "pieces" on this album and one of the songs are negligable the rest are so powerful that they elevate this album to near perfection. The leading track "Roundabout" is arguably (along with "And You And I") YES' defining and most creative moment. Every shift and twist in this song is where it should be. The new kid on the block Wakeman earns his reputation by infusing YES with the fire down below. Buford's drums are central to the overwhelming drive that carries this song on its perfect 8 minute journey. Like "Ziggy Stardust" did for Glam "Roundabout" propelled the prog rock genre forward into an unforseen territory that would unfortunately be grossly misused by cheap imitations(STYX & KANSAS....ugh....) and finally be destroyed by the unforgiving children of the revolution...punk. But "Roundabout" was one of those perfect moments that happen every once in awhile in rock music. "Long Distance Runaround" is a 3 minute ditty that seems to inhabit both the upbeat and the melancholy space of sound. Beautiful. The album closes with the stunning "Heart Of The Sunrise", an eleven minute epic that seems to wriggle out of your grasp the more you try and pin it down. Jon Andersons' voice keeps the sound grounded in the realm rock fans can understand and just as his vocal hits the hook Wakeman,Buford,Squire and Howe disorient the listener with a sudden jazzy shift. One of their greatest moments. FRAGILE is a truly momentous occasion in the annals of rock history.It's as important as Elvis' Sun sessions,Beatles' Pepper,Bowie's Ziggy,Pistols' Bollocks or Nirvanas' Nevermind.Just because Rock critics have tried to erase YES from the history books doesn't mean they weren't there.
Report this review (#12792)
Posted Sunday, February 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fragile represented a quantam leap from the previous Yes album, "The Yes Album." The addition of keyboardist Rick Wakeman gave Yes the proper combination to create some of the best progressive rock pieces ever recorded.

Fragile contains three absolute masterpieces: Roundabout IS Yes. The fast keyboard lines, the melodic, moving bass lines, offbeat drum parts, spectacular vocals, and incredible guitar playing all combine in the rarest of ways-- it's incredibly progressive, but incredibly catchy as well. It's a great SONG with great playing as well! Long Distance Runaround is a very interesting and quirky song that has experimentation written all over it. Heart Of The Sunrise is one of the best progressive epics ever written. Tempo changes, time-signature changes (love that 5/8 keyboard thing!), great and complex playing on all instruments, and great vocals. Incredible. The rest of the album is comprised of solo ideas from each of the band members, which all work very well in context of the album, and the long song "South Side Of The Sky." "South" shows the difference between Bill Bruford and Alan White. The studio recording has a very jazzy middle section along with the driving rock of the main section. When I heard Yes play this live again a few years ago the difference in drummers was extremely evident--it really need the jazz feel to make it work. And work it did!!! Fragile was unfortunately only one of two Yes albums to feature what is to me the quintessential Yes lineup. Bruford gave the pot odd rhythms and jazz feels, Wakeman and Howe gave the pot classical leanings, Squire and Anderson gave the pot the 60's vocal groups vocals along with revolutionary bass playing. Put it all together and you have a fantastic album.

The only reason I give this album four stars is for the individual solo pieces. It's an album that anyone that likes prog rock should own, but Yes' two masterpiece albums were yet to come in "Close To The Edge" and "Relayer."

Report this review (#12793)
Posted Thursday, February 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Between the middle of 1970 and the last half of 1971, two wonderful things happened to Yes: Howe and Wakeman entered the line-up. "Fragile" was the first Yes album conceived and recorded under these most promising circumstances. and the promise was fulfilled with absolute magnificence. "The Yes Album" had shown a band reaching its maturity but not there 100 %. "Fragile" turns out to be the manifesto of a maturity conquered and self-enhanced. All the individual symptoms are here: Howe and Wakeman rule the Yessian melodic realms with their absolute skill and infinite inventiveness, Anderson's singing is more enthusiastic and compelling than ever (properly complemented by Squire's and Howe's backing vocals), Bruford shines like a demigod in his challenging drumming style, and Squire makes his bass a crucial rhythm element and a relevant melodic factor, both at once. The overall result is a most superb ensemble ready to push the prog movement to a brand new boundary of artistic excellence. 'Roundabout' kicks off the album with full splendour, a fiery light that still nowadays shines with the brightness of a classic. The same goes for the closure 'Heart of the Sunrise', one of the finest yes numbers ever, full of contrasts and linking every motif fluidly and consistently into a perfectly unitary amalgam: it is remarkable how such a long piece can keep things working in order to maintain an even level of epic drama all along, without ups and downs. 'South Side of the Sky' is another Yes classic, a great track that should have been part of their live setlists more often: basically it's a hard rocking piece with a jazz-oriented interlude that includes some mystic-like chorale section - Wakeman makes his piano parts intertwine beautifully with the various chanting counterpoints. The solo numbers are also quite impressive. Wakeman pays an orthodox but not-too-solemn tribute in 'Cans and Brahms', and Anderson displays a multi-layered vocal tour-de-force in the folkish gospel 'We Have Heaven'. Then, a door is slammed and someone's feet go running away in a hurry, until a sound of thunder and whirling wind give way to the aforementioned 'South Side of the Sky'. Bruford's brief piece 'Five per Cent for Nothing' is not a drum solo, but an exercise of collective counterpoint among all four instrumentalists. The complex yet catchy 'Long Distance Runaround' is segued into another multi-layered tour-de-force, this time carried on by Squire's amazing bass work. Meanwhile, guitarist Howe chooses a more relaxed pace with his exquisite Flamenco-oriented number 'Mood for a Day'. The album ends with a reprise of 'We Have Heaven', a closed door having been reopened as soon as the last echoes of the mellotron's last note in 'Heart of the Sunrise' vanished into the void. Either this has a deep, poetic meaning, or it's mostly a humorous coda, but all in all it is amusing and creates the feel of a full circle. Like thousands of prog fans, I regard "Fragile" as an absolute masterpiece of the genre, so it deserves nothing less than the maximum rating.
Report this review (#12796)
Posted Wednesday, February 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A great introduction to Yes...the best prog album ever in my opinion. Lots of talent and complex melodies, it captivates the listener to the fullest. If you dont get if the first time listen to it again..because it grows on you with time, eventually it takes over.
Report this review (#12797)
Posted Sunday, February 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars After The Yes Album Yes's big commercial brake was imminent. Tony Kaye was replaced with Rick Wakeman, and thus the ultimate line-up was formed. They continued on the path they had chosen with The Yes Album, but with Wakeman they managed to create a more rich and colourfull sound. Also the production had improved, and for the mainstream audience there even was a hit-single to be enjoyed.

1. Roundabout (8:29) Written because of a bet between Jon and Bill, Jon had betted he could write a song about anything, so Bill dared him to write a song about a roundabout that they had just passed, Jon went at it, Steve Howe completed the song with some guitar parts and one of Yes's best known songs was born.

2. Cans And Brahms (1:35) The first of five 'solo' pieces, where each member got a chance to create something unique for the band. A Wakeman song, piano based Brahms interpretation, quite nice, but nothing real fancy, works great as a prelude to We Have Heaven though.

3. We Have Heaven (1:30) A Jon Anderson composition, with very good vocal harmonies, lyrics being sung in parts, and in the mix the different parts come together quite well. (Queen did a similar thing with vocals on The Prophet's song on the Night At The Opera record)

4. South Side Of The Sky (8:04) complex arrangements, heavy guitar's, strong Bass-riffs, jazzy drum rhythms and very good piano melodies, with again beautifull typical Yes vocal harmonies. brilliant and captivating from the first second till the fade at the end.

5. Five Percent For Nothing (0:35) Bill Bruford's easy money track :-), another reviewer said it was about a manager getting 5% without doing something for it, makes sense I think. funny for once, and a nice intro for the next song.

6. Long Distance Runaround (3:33) One of my favourite Yes songs. nice 'simple' piano/guitar melodie, with great basslines and wonderfully and beatifully sung.

7. The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) (2:35) Squire song, Sounds created with the Bass guitar give it indeed an underwater feel, with nice melodies, and strong rhythms.

8. Mood For A Day (3:57) Together with 'Clap' Steve Howe's most famous and well known accoustic guitar pieces. Technically brilliant, and unsurpassed.

9. Heart Of The Sunrise (10:34) The grand final of a great album. Heavy fast bass-line with equally fast drums begin the song. Fast paced and slower paced sections alternate, smoothly arranged, with very good captivating melodies, and brilliantly sung. With one of Wakeman's best keyboard solo's somewhere in the middle.

Overall a brilliant album, very likeble and easaly accesible. The only reason I give it four stars instead of the full (and probably deserved) 5 stars is that there are better albums to follow (eg. CTTE, Relayer) and compared to the rest of Yes's catalogue it''s very good, but not that brilliant.

Report this review (#12810)
Posted Monday, March 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
3 stars I can clearly remember the day I bought my first version of Fragile, it was a very cold afternoon of January 1977, I was a 13 years old prog newbie passing my vacations in Birmingham Alabama and had nothing to do because it was snowing, so when my father said he wanted to go to the mall I ran into the car (Still was too young to drive) and went to the first record shop I could find..

Being a kid from Perú, a country where prog' was almost unknown (Music in English was almost forbidden by the military regimen), a USA music store was like paradise and hell at the same time, I saw lots of bands and albums that never even imagined but I didn't knew where to start, and lets remember that there was no Internet to help me make my choice.

Yes was one of the bands I knew on those days and Roundabout one of he few tracks I was familiar to, so when I saw the name of the song in the album and noticed it was the debut in Yes of my idol Rick Wakeman bought the LP without listening any track.

I can't compare Fragile with any other album being so unique, but I feel it's the natural central point in the evolution of the band between The Yes Album and Close to the Edge because Frágil shows a more commercial format of six short songs with three longer tracks that last between 8:04 to10:54 minutes like in The Yes Album, but it's more complex and classical - Symphonic oriented as Close to the Edge.

Please, don't let the short songs confuse you, the music and lyrics are among the most complex and progressive in Yes career, not only in the long but also in shorter tracks, only slightly behind Relayer. After listening Fragile it's evident that a great band can create prog' masterpieces of 3, 10 or 20 minutes, with no problem.

But there's another special characteristic in Fragile, each member has the chance to develop his personal ideas in one track (that we will comment later) but with much better results than the similar works of other bands Like ELP in Works II (not talking about Works I because here it was one side per member). Probably because each Yes musician gave their best in each song and not compiled some forgotten tracks left from previous albums.

The first thing the listener can notice is the huge difference between Rick Wakeman and Tony Kaye in the keyboards and how easily Rick takes the lead role in Yes.

His classical formation and baroque inspiration has almost nothing in common with an efficient but more rock oriented keyboardist like Kaye, who also did a good but different job in Yes Album, even when he never took the lead role.

At a first listen it's absolutely clear that Chris Squire is a hell of a bass player. IMO Chris performance is more memorable in Fragile than the one by Steve Howe, because he doesn't limits his contribution to the rhythm section (aS expected in a bass player), but he also adds his distinctive bass to the melodic parts of the songs. In this way he dreates extremely complex chords, riffs and rhythms, plus his outstanding backing vocals that help Jon Anderson with the amazing and elaborated voice sections, much more complex than ever before.

The work of the rest of the band in Fragile is also good but not as crucial as the one by Rick and Chris, Jon collaborates with his usual voice (not my cup of tea), Steve Howe is sober and proper as always (incredible in Roundabout though) and maybe Bill Bruford is another crucial member with his extremely accurate drumming and a certain jazzy sound that complements the music greatly.

The album opens with Roundabout, a hit single that had a lot of radio impact even in my country, excellent guitar and bass and keyboards plus the chorus at the end of the song, the most popular Yes track before 90125 but that doesn't affect it's great quality, the perfect mixture of commercial success and artistic quality, a classic in 1972 and 2004.

Cans and Brahms is only the chance to listen Rick Wakeman playing his arrangements of Brahms music, a cute song but nothing specially complex or transcendental. We Have Heaven is a personal idea of Jon Anderson, overdubbing his voice enough times to create a one man chorus, again good idea and a beautiful track but not particularly important for Yes development.

The next turn is for another relatively long song by all the group, South Side of the Sky, simply impressive, Rick's Keyboards, Steve's Guitar and Chris Bass blend all together in a precious cacophony of crossed rhythms and melodies, perfectly marked by Bill Bruford's drums and enhanced by Jon's vocals in one of few tracks that I find his voice amazing. The piano semi solos plus Jon and Chris vocal chorus provide instants of relief for a breathtaking song. A perfect masterpiece.

Five Percent Nothing is a very short sixteen bar tune by Bruford that works as an intro for another classic like Long Distance Rounaround, a track that doesn't need reviews or critics because it's well known and beloved by every progressive fan, maybe only a couple of words about Bruford's work, because the guy is a human metronome, perfect rhythm and timing that create the base of the song.

Everybody focuses their attention in the longer tracks because those reveal the work and inspiration of the whole band but one of the best songs is The Fish, where Chris Squire proves how versatile can the bass be in the hands of a virtuoso, often seen as a second class rhythmic guitar or almost as an aid for percussion by the average listener, turns in this song to a sublime instrument that can also take care of the melody.

The next track is the Flamenco inspired Mood for a Day, where Steve Howe proves how great acoustic performer he is, a well known track played in every concert for the last 33 years that needs no comment.

The album ends with another all time favorite of Yes fans, Heart of the Sunrise, with it's extremely long instrumental introduction that later develops into a very complex track where Jon's vocals are again among the best of their career. It's also important to notice how easily the jump from hard and frantic passages to melodic and even nostalgic sections, this is what prog should be.

Now comes my worst problem, how to rate this album, before I started this review I was sure that Fragile deserved not more than 2 stars, but after giving the album a new listen and reading the words I wrote, I'm sure that Fragile deserves 3 stars, because IMO it's not an essential Yes release.

Report this review (#12803)
Posted Friday, March 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars THIS is the most overrated album from Yes... God, I think I'll never be able to "catch" this... "Roundabout" is absolutely non-sense... I simply HATE everything of this song... The title, the classic guitar, and, above it all, it's vocals... "Cans And Brahms" is pretensious as Yes can get, and "We Have Heaven" is as bad as Yes can get. "South Side Of The Sky" is good, but not that good... A normal song... The only good thing bout "Five Percent For Nothing" is the fact that it doesn't last too much (go for the excellent Bruford's solo albums instead)... "Long Distance Runaround is a good little song, as "The Fish"... " Mood For A Day" is AMAZING... The only REALLY great thing on this album... Steve Howe never sound better than this... The closing, "Heart Of The Sunrise" suffers from Yes' biggest problem: It lasts more than it should... Vocals are quite good, instrumental part is quite repetitive, but the vocals are worthy... The last four songs are good, but the first five are simply horrible...
Report this review (#12807)
Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Though I didn't give this album five stars, I think that this is the band's third best album along with "Close to The Edge" and "Relayer". The idea of short little musical numbers by each member is funny, but most of them are quite silly, the best being Howe's and Squire's numbers. "South Side Of The Sky" is perhaps the best track on this one, and the other non-solo numbers are also great. There's a lovely little book with Dean's illustrations coming along with the original vinyl version of this album, and it's also reproduced to the booklets of the more recent CD remasters.
Report this review (#12808)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was one of the few progressive albums that actually broke through and for a short while achieved mainstream popularity, mainly on the strength of the prog classic "Roundabout." The album is one of Yes's more accessible, even the longer tracks are melodic and instrumentally exciting enough to interest a prog neophyte. And, for most prog afficiandos, it goes without saying that "Roundabout," "South Side of the Sky, "Long Distance Runaround," and "Heart of the Sunrise" are golden age progressive classics. Never have five musicians fused so completely to produce music so insistently provocative. But the piece that deserves a special attention all to its own the one that follows the melodic joyride "Long Distance Runaround," that is, Squire's tour de force "The Fish."

I can think of no other rock song that brings to the listener's attention the wide-ranging power of the bass guitar like this tune does. From the moment it begins its segue with the plucked harmonics to the fading outro where all the various bass lines are woven into a pulsating, undulating river of sound, this piece never lets up. (And Bruford's contributions must be give its due--very tasteful percussive moments in this piece.) But what's radical here is Squire's choice to craft an instrumental built bolero-style entirely out of sounds created on various bass instruments--acoustic and electric. He introduces each new rhythmic line and allows it call out its theme before again building another on top of it. And he crafts it in such away that none of the lines inhibits the others; each has its unique pitch and timber. Indeed, it's almost a lesson in the power of bass rhythm and how creatively it can be if worked by a master of the instrument. Especially powerful rhythmic bits include a deep, punching four-note bass riff at the lowest end of the bass register as well as one in which a single sustained high-pitched electric bass note is overdriven to such total distortion that it rides out the tune as an insistent buzz, contributing an edgy urgency to the mayhem. By the end of the piece, you're so caught up in the funky, polyrhythmic wildness that you're wishing it would go on for another 20 minutes or so.

Following this album, Yes would go on to craft their magnum opus "Close to the Edge" and would continue in this fertile vein through "Going for the One." In the sobering hindsight of 30 years, "Fragile" stands out as one of the few albums that not only defined where prog rock was going at the time, but still stands as a supreme example of it to this day. Five platinum stars.

Report this review (#12809)
Posted Monday, April 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album could be called "the Ummagumma of YES". The band got more progressive and every member also got a chance to show off in his own composition. These short pieces by individual members sound a ltitle forced and incoplete filler to me. Only "Mood For a Day" is an exception. It's a fine classical guitar piece by Howe. I prefer the longer pieces on this album. The band is much stronger there. Bass players and drummers have a lot to enjoy on this album because the rhythm section (Brufford&Squire) shows a lot of skill. Overall not a masterpiece but a lot better than most of albums by modern bands with 5 stars rating!
Report this review (#12811)
Posted Saturday, April 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I cannot bring myself to give this album less than 5 stars. It simply is a masterpiece of progressive rock. Some people argue that tracks like "Cans and Brahms" and "We Have Heaven" hold this album back. I could not disagree more. Although they are probably the weakest songs on the album (along with "Five Percent for Nothing") they make Fragile what it is. Fragile would be far less complete if any of these 3 were missing, let alone all of them.

Roundabout - Well, Roundabout is just Roundabout. THE Yes classic. One of the only 3 Yes tracks you'll ever hear on the radio. Perfect and definitive Yes. That's basically how to describe it. The driving bass, of course, shows one of the trademarks of Yes, and Wakeman's fillers are, well, just pure Wakeman.

Cans and Brahms - Now, this song can be very appreciated when listened to with the rest of the album. Put it on alone, and it's boring. No doubt about that. But, after Roundabout and as a part of the alubm, it must be there. It's basically just a little Wakeman keyboard ditty, taken from a piece by Brahms.

We Have Heaven - Again, must be here. Not too outstanding on its own. But it's gotta be here. That's it.

South Side of the Sky - The sleeper of the album. The first time I heard it, I said "Where did this come from??" It stands as one of the Yes classics that unfortunately, casual fans don't know.

Five Percent for Nothing - Well, here's the "interesting" track. Roughly 30 seconds of some weird stuff. Written by Bruford. Nice job Billy. But still, Fragile wouldn't have been the same without it.

Long Distance Runaround - Another one of the only 3 Yes songs you'd ever hear on the radio. And a classic as well. My favorite part would have to be in the middle when it blasts back into that opening riff with the stronger bass. Oh, it's perfect.

The Fish - Squire's track. The entire thing is played with 7 beats per measure (or 4 and 3 alternating, it's the same thing for the most part). Long Distance Runaround leads right into it, and it's mostly instrumental until toward the end when the band starts singing. Whether or not they are actually singing words or sounds is hard to tell, but it doesn't matter too much here. Just a great song.

Mood For a Day - The Howe acoustic piece. I was so bored the first time I heard it, I would skip over it the next few times I listened to the album so I could get to Heart of the Sunrise. What a mistake that was. This song is so incredible, and it's just a guitar piece. Tough to explain, just listen to it.... more than once.

Heart of the Sunrise - Yet another Yes classic on the album. The only song here to break the 10-minute mark, it stands as one of Yes's crowning achievements. Right from the blasting opening to the "We Have Heaven" reprise at the end, it's perfect.

In essence this is one of the all-time must own albums, simply because it's Fragile. It just is what it is. Any self-respecting Yes fan has gotta have it. Enough said. 5/5 stars.

Report this review (#12821)
Posted Sunday, May 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars My thoughts on Fragile vary as much as from one track to the next. This album I feel suffers from an ambition to showcase musical talent too much (although the members did have it in bags!) although this does not make it a poor album, indeed whereas ELP's works or Floyd's Studio Ummagumma lose out in a big way from overdoing it on the solo front, Yes achieve still a relatively decent balance.

Essentially I can't complain about any of the collaboration efforts on this album. Heart of the Sunrise, Roundabout, Long Distance Runaround and South Side of the Sky are brilliant works from a band clearly hitting its peak. As I said, my only gripe is with some of the solo tracks, they just don't feel right at times, they're not bad in most cases (though Bruford's 5% for nothing seems somewhat pointless) but they do come across as filler at times, but still, decent filler.

I would say get this album, it showcases some of Yes' "greatest hits" and acts, along with the Yes Album as a great gateway album to the rest of the band's catalogue.

Report this review (#35188)
Posted Friday, June 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Roundabout was the first yes song i heard and what can i say, i loved it right away and from that moment i knew that i hade found a new great band, and i started buy yes albums and fell in love with em all, yes is now days one of my favorite prog band. Well on to the album its not realy as good as Close to the edge but realy no albums comes close to that masterpiece, this still deserv 5 stars no doubt, its a great album With Roundabout ofcourse a great song one of the best on the album, and then there is South Side Of The Sky another fantastic song that i love. then there are some small tunes most of em are good, Long Distance Runaround ofcourse is a classic and mood for a day is great howe acustic, and the athers are realy good too, but the masterpice song of the album is the final Heart Of The Sunrise, words can not describes what i feel when i hear that song the slow soft parts are yust so fantasticly beautiful that they must have been writen by an angel from heaven my god it gives me the shivers everytime. A must have prog CD, allong with all ather classic yes albums.
Report this review (#36599)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album was the real breakthrough for yes. Not only did it arrived when new keyboardist Rick Wakeman was starting to get noticed as one of the best round, but it also includes Yes biggest success, Roundabout. The album is constructed around 4 long songs, ''Roundabout'', ''South Side of the Sky'', ''Long Distance Runaorund'' and ''Heart of the sunrise'', all Yes classics in their own right. Around those splendid songs are 5 other songs. The first three are not that good, but the two last are absolutely great. Great music made by great musicians, Fragile is the first prog masterpiece from Yes, even if it is not their absolute masterpiece. 4.9/5
Report this review (#37232)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Actual rating- 3.5

Well I think this is Yes's most overrated album. Its not as good as The Yes Album, Close to the Edge, Relayer, or Going for the One. I haven't heard Tales yet. But anyway. The album starts off with Roundabout, which I think is vastly overrated. The bass riff is good, and the keyboards, and the intro is cool, it just doesn't do a lot for me. Then comes Wakeman's excellent all keyboard rendition of some classical piece, which is quite good. We have Heaven by Jon Anderson is the best each of the five members' individual pieces. Then comes my favorite song on the album, South Side of the Sky. The imagery in the lyrics is just great. Then there is the worst of the individual pieces, five percent for nothing by Bill Bruford. Not very enjoyable, but at least its short. Then comes Long Distance Runaround, another good track. The Fish is another individual piece, which is prety good (its just Chris Squire freaking out on his bass). Mood for a Day is the second best individual piece (Steve Howe on guitar). The album closes with another overrated track, Heart of the Sunrise. I found this song to be somewhat uninteresting. All together this album isn't terrible, just overrated. Highlights include: We have Heaven, South Side of the Sky, Long DIstance Runaround, and Mood for a Day.

Report this review (#37342)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Taking into account Yes' impressive career record, I'll stand by my view that Fragile is definitely one of Yes' most defining, creative and excellent works. Along with Close to the Edge and obviously the Yes Album, this slightly less epic, more conventional record although not perfect is better than most. Pieces such as 'Roundabout' are wonderfully crafted and arranged works. 'South side of the sky' builds on this dramatically and individual input from the members such as 'The Fish' are fantastic, and Steve Howe recreates his magic on the 'Clap' with a more refined piece 'Mood for a Day', which is equally as brilliant. Although the hit and miss 'Cans and Brahms' and 'We have Heaven' are not highlights, they are thoroughly listenable and add to the feel of the record. This album is definitely one which could be played on repeat for hours, and still seem new and fresh, full of musical gems which never disappoint. This I think is the essence of prog and personally its most attractive and enjoyable feature. I think 4.7 should be the score given here, as no album is really perfect (bar nearly DSOTM). Overall, packed full of great tracks, and one of Yes' very best.
Report this review (#37450)
Posted Friday, June 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Recruiting the famous Rick Wakeman from the departure of Tony Kaye, and taking you to the places you thought you'd never go in music, Fragile is a science fiction oriented work. Topping themselves once again with a handful of incredible moments, Fragile is yet another step up in some ways, taking them almost close to the edge (pun intended).

"ROUNDABOUT" rises into that heavy bassline via Steve Howe's intricate guitar introduction. Roundbaout is a classic because of the intoxicating melody and the catchy vocal work. "CANS AND BRAHMS" may seem out of place due to to the lightheartedness it brings after Roundabout, and the fact that it's entirely Brahms keyboard-playing from the newly recruited Rick Wakeman. I don't think it should have been thrown into the mix. "WE HAVE HEAVEN" is based on layers and layers of vocal repetition until the listener has the door shut behind them and finds themself in the "SOUTH SIDE OF THE SKY". This song reaches moods Yes have never portrayed, and features a lot of great instrumental work, especially by Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe. The imagery this song brings is exciting and very atmospheric. It slowly fades off into the wind, blowing in "FIVE PER CENT FOR NOTHING"; an intricately melodic winding abstract monster that jumps into the intoxicating "LONG DISTANCE RUNAROUND". This song is remeniscent of Gentle Giant with a catchy and complex melody. The light atmosphere is enhanced due to the darker atmosphere that South Side of the Sky held. There are a lot of cool cooperative patterns interlocking between Steve Howe and Chris Squire, and the breaks after the verses get a real good groove going, especially with Squire's low and ascending line. "THE FISH (SCHINDLERIA PRAEMATURUS)" comes in right off of Long Distance Runaround with no pause, and it sounds awesome. I think of The Fish as part 2 of The Head-Nodding Saga that Long Distance Runaround was the first part of, just because these two songs are really low- ended and funky, Squire does really good in them. "MOOD FOR A DAY" is Howe's second opportunity to acoustically blow the minds of the listener with the guitar. This is yet another beautiful solo composition by Steve Howe, showing off great technical dexterity along with an excellent sense of melody, much more effective than Cans And Brahms. The album closer is "HEART OF THE SUNRISE", starting off with a frantic melody driven by Bruford's double-paradiddle drum pattern, occasionally snapping off into a Squire driven melody before going back to the first melody. Then comes in Jon Anderson's always enchanting vocal work, switching off with Rick Wakeman melodies, giving each member of the band a time to shine within one song, and being exceptionally strong as a song in the end.

While Fragile was indeed a rushed work, and not the entire album is fluid as it could have been, nor is the entire album phenomenal as some of the parts in it, the great majority of the material on this album is absolutely amazing, so I'll give the benefit of the doubt due to a lot of these songs being so great, and give this one a 5. (Know that if I could give it a 4.5, I would.)

Best songs: South Side of the Sky, Long Distance Runaround, The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus), Mood for a Day, Heart of the Sunrise

Report this review (#38306)
Posted Sunday, July 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
5 stars This is the first Yes album in the 'classic line-up', it featured two newcomers. First of course Rick Wakeman, embellishing the Yes progrock sound with his Hammond organ, grand piano, electric piano, harpsichord, Mellotron and Minimoog synthesizer. Very soon he turned out to be a keyboard wizard, a great classically trained composer and a humurous personality. The other newcomer was Roger Dean from the Canterbury School Of Art. After he had designed the covers from Atomic Rooster, Babe Ruth and Osibisa, he was now asked for the first time to do the artwork for Yes. Oringinally the record company intended to release Fragile as a 2-LP (one side studio and one side live) but because of lack of time this was cancelled. The first composition on "Fragile" is "Roundabout", the intro features acoustic guitarwork from Howe with flageolets and a Spanish flavor, followed by a swinging and powerful rhythm. Rick Wakeman shows his skills on the Hammond organ with sparkling runs and a virtuosic solo like he played in Yes for years! The album contains five solo pieces: Rick Wakeman on organ in "Cans And Brahms", Jon Anderson with vocal overdubs in "We have heaven", Bill Bruford on drums in "Five Per Cent For Nothing", Chris Squire on bas in "The Fish (his nickname) and Steve Howe with "Mood For A Day" (wonderful Spanish climate). Not every piece is my cup of tea but in those days 'self-indulgence' and playing soli was as normal as drinking tea for these Englishmen so I don't mind about this! The other tracks "South Side Of The Sky", "Long Distance Runaround" and "Heart Of The Sunrise" (MELLOTRON!!) deliver a seminal mix of classic, rock and symphonic featuring distinctive vocal harmonies from Anderson and Squire. MY CONCLUSION: DUE TO THE CHEMISTRY BETWEEN WAKEMAN AND HOWE YES HAVE MADE THEIR FIRST MASTERPIECE!!!
Report this review (#39054)
Posted Sunday, July 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I don't understand how people can give a 5 star rating for this record. When I first heard it I was full of great expectations about this record because I like 'Close To The Edge' very much (even if I think that the order of the songs was totally unesthetic) and I am a big fan of 'America' and 'Roundabout'. I listened to the songs and I dislike it. Much later I discovered 'Fragile' in the DVD-A section. I bought it because I thought that the LP would be better in Dolby Digital but I was wrong. Some Songs are really good ('Roundabout', 'Long Distance Runaround', 'Mood for a Day' and 'America') but the rest is just a bunch of fillers. Don't get me wrong... If a band would produce an record like this I would be lucky but YES was much better on other records ('Songs', 'Close', 'Yes Album').

After all I would say that fans should like it and it is a good addition to any neoprogressive record collection but thats it.

Report this review (#39061)
Posted Sunday, July 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars It has brilliant compositions but it has some flaws (like the solo sections)

Roundabout 9.5/10 : This has to be one of the best non-prog songs of all times! It has a great bass line, a legendary guitar introduction, catchy vocals, very catchy chorus, and a dark loud bridge that is progish.

Cans Braham 3.5/10 : mediocre keyboard solo, very disappointing that wakeman did this.

We Have Heaven 3/10 : a vocal harmony based piece. It is annoying to listen sometimes and embarrasing when listening it with somebody else.

South Side of The Sky 8.5/10 : very very good hard rock song with great imagery of freezing to death on a mountain. The piano solo stands out as one of the best things wakeman has done to Yes (I learned to play it too) and the la la la chanting is very memorable.

Five Percent per Nothing 1/10 : I don't know ... I just don't get it. it sounds awful.

Long Distance Runaround 9/10 : I wish short pop songs in the radio were this good. Thundering ascending Bass riffs, good keyboard/guitar riff, nice melodies and ends with a lighting speed solo

Fish 8/10 : It is very original overdubbing a thousand bass guitars, and it sounds great. This is a GOOD solo spot.

Mood for a Day 10/10 : Is there an solo acoustic guitar composition that is more brilliant than this??

Heart Of the Sunrise 9.5/10 : Excellent finisher. It sounds very loud and fast in the beginning, but then Chris Squire starts riffing and Bill Bruford starts improvising very well in the drums .. then it gets loud again .. until it changes to a completely different mellow song with one of the best vocals Anderson has ever did and some random riffing all over the place. Very good song! If only the reprise of the annoying We have Heaven is not here.

My Grade : B+

Report this review (#39177)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't think this album needs much of an introduction (since most progfans know it) It is my favorite Yes album and the first Yes album I heard. I like it becasue it features everything that I like, great songs, great keyboards (by the best keyboard player in the world ever) a lot more grand piano than "Close to the Edge" and it has both mellancholic and 'happy' sounds and it is both soft and heavy.

All tracks are great except the short ans meaningless "Five Percent For Nothing" that could have been edited out. A true masterpiece!!

Report this review (#39348)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars You have to give Yes credit for whipping out such an album. Everyone cites the five individually-composed tracks as filler, which I can comprehend, but remember that they had a deadline to release this album, so I realize that it couldn't be their perfect masterpiece. However, with what it has, Fragile has become such a cornerstone for the band, and just an awesome progressive work. Jon Anderson's shimmering lead vocals, Steve Howe's technical guitar work, Chris Squire's creative and powerful bass playing, and Bill Bruford's accurate drumming technique blend in well; at that, welcome aboard Rick Wakeman, with his virtuoso (albeit flamboyant) keyboards, and you could see the differences on this album with his addition. "Roundabout" is one of their best works ever, the fast number that furthered Yes' popularity; that bass line is one of my favorites ever. I liked all four of the group tracks, but that and "South Side of the Sky" are my standout picks. I also enjoy the piano/harmony break in the latter, and of course the guitar solo to close. "Long Distance Runaround" is surprisingly concise, but still a solid Yes song with great harmony between Howe and Wakeman on the melody. "Heart of the Sunrise" is an excellent closer with the Squire/Bruford rhythm section at their best pushing the 7/4 melody. Then each band member contributes a solo number; my favorite (and probably agreed on by most) is Squire's "The Fish" though I never really thought any of the pieces were bad at all. Lyrically, Anderson is probably at his sharpest on this album, and the vocals and harmonies (supplied by an overdubbed Anderson, Howe, and Squire) are quite strong. Given more time this might have been the consummate Yes album (in my eyes that would be Close to the Edge), but it's the first one to check out nonetheless. 92/100: SUPERIOR; A PROG ESSENTIAL
Report this review (#39521)
Posted Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars certainly not YES's finest moment, but truly a prog classic. in fact i find it very intersting the band's idea to do five solo-compositions, but unfortunately that only worked out in theory, cos' the final result was, well, weak. in the end they would have done better filling up this space with one 10 minute epic written by the whole group :) but it was an innovating idea anyway! THAT'S WHAT PROG IS: innovation! that's what makes FRAGILE and another bunch of Prog albuns at least good! oh, and of course, HEART OF THE SUNRISE also helps...

-Guilherme Baldin

Report this review (#39758)
Posted Monday, July 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
3 stars A hugely overrated album - it should never be above The Yes Album in the ratings. It consists of 5 band collaborations, all of which are acceptable and 2 (Roundabout and Heart of the Sunrise) are complete masterpieces, but "two swallows do not a summer make". The other five are individual compositions, one by each member of the band. These range from fair (Cans and Brahms and The Fish) to a complete waste of time. Worth buying for the bassline to Roundabout alone but don't expect another Yes Album. They didn't make the same mistakes next time out!
Report this review (#40980)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Surely, this is one the best works of a great band named YES. But I have never thought for my self that this is a msterpiece. Although I believe that half of the album is really not worth listening, the other half does it all. Greatest epics like "South Side of The Sky" and "The Heart of The Sunrise", prog-rock hit "Roundabout" and a very good "Long Distance Runaround" force you to listen to this record many many times (CLOSE TO THE EDGE ROCKS ANYWAY!!!!)
Report this review (#42462)
Posted Thursday, August 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The final piece of the puzzle was added when keysman Rick Wakeman was added to the group. Unlike Kaye, Wakeman was not afraid by the sonic possibilities offered by synthesizers and makes judicious use of them to colour the music. And yet, he can play the organ with the same fiery rock & roll intensity as Kaye. His classical training allows also for a rich tapestry of piano work as well. Surely the group had found a vital player in him.

"Roundabout" introduced an even bigger audience to the Yes mystique. With its unforgettable classical guitar intro, whirling organ and synthesizer runs and Squire's distinctively spiky bass playing, listeners were captivated and wanted to hear more of this highly talented band.

FRAGILE as an album doesn't hang together very well, and in all truth feels a bit piecemeal. The idea of giving each individual member a solo spot is an interesting one, but it works better in theory than in practice (though it's a lot more successful than ELP's attempt on the disastrous WORKS VOL. 1). Howe acquits himself well with a good acoustic, classical-guitar piece. Ditto Squire, with an intriguing and original bass-led instrumental. Bruford's fleeting jazz instrumental "5% for Nothing" is enjoyable, but doesn't really fit in with the band's incipient style. Anderson's "We Have Heaven" rather overdoses on the cutesy elfin whimsy and Wakeman's Brahms adaptation seems kitschy and out of place.

These are minor complaints, however, when epics of such power as "South Side Of The Sky" and "Heart Of The Sunrise" greet the listener. The latter is a stone classic, featuring a dramatic, riffing introduction and visiting varied musical locales along the way.

Report this review (#42899)
Posted Monday, August 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Life changing album and I have to thank my English teacher. In the mid-70's I skirted around prog, not knowing that certain albums that I bought were termed "Prog", (Kansas, Jethro Tull...). Then one day, my English teacher took a day off and in her stead a substitute. Since it was near the end of the school year, the substitute allowed us to do as we pleased; as longs as we were not out of hand. A classmate turned on a portable radio and playing through those tiny speakers was something I never heard before. I sat mesmorized. I was engulfed by the music. After it was over, I asked my classmate who it was. He said it was Yes and the song was called "Roundabout". I couldn't wait to buy the album. Going to my record store, I found it, brought it home and gazed at the artwork. It was the most amazing package I'd seen to that point. Beautiful watercolor paintings and the poster that came with the record just rounded out the experience for me. I could go into a song-by-song retrospect ad nauseam, but this review is mainly a flashback. Suffice it to say, this album is the perfect starting point for anybody who wants a friend or loved one to hear what prog's all about. Hits, ("Roundabout", "Long Distance Run Around/The Fish") solo pieces, and epics, ("South Side Of The Sky" and one of the greatest prog songs ever, "Heart Of The Sunrise"). This is a bonefide 5-star classic of the highest order and if not for KC's "Crimson King..." it is the album that literally, after hearing it the first time, had teenagers reaching for their guitars wanting to start a new band.
Report this review (#43403)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I love Roundabout and like Heart of the Sunrise and that's it. The rest is frankly dull to dreadful, not a patch on Close to the Edge (which is their best effort by far) or the Yes Album. Sure, they play incredibly well but the songs aren't up to much, especially the individual concepts which are mostly rubbish (Squire's effort excepted). Grossly overated and I can't even stretch to 3* however much I like the band. Two stars only.
Report this review (#45742)
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fragile is one of the best Yes album if not the best. With Masterpieces as Heart of The Sunrise Roundabout and South Side of the Sky. The first album with the cooperation of mastermind Rick Wakeman, who takes the band on to a whole other level. My personal favorite is Heart of the Sunrise I love the complexity but not pushing it anywere, with beautiful words of anderson and great bass stuff of squire not especially hard but not seen like this before.
Report this review (#46558)
Posted Tuesday, September 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rick Wakeman's first appearance in Yes, and a leap forward from them from the previous (nontheless excellent) Yes Album.

The only reason this doesn't get 5 stars from me is the solo tracks weaved in betwen the group efforts; let's start with these first. Wakeman - the new boy - does "Cans & Brahms" which is part of a Brahms concerto transcribed for keyboards; it's disappointing, more-so when you find out he was going to contribute an original composition called "Handle with Care" (to Fragile..gettit?) - but copyright reasons etc didnt allow it (he was signed to A&M, Yes were on Atlantic). So that track re-appeared, rewritten, on "Six Wives". Jon Anderson gives us "We Have Heaven" with layers of vocal harmonies - good but not outstanding; Bruford does "5% for Nothing" with its syncopated timings, his first and maybe least succesful attempt at recorded composition - at least it's short; Squire gives us the best - "Fish" - with its variety of running bass lines - an amazing variety of sound for what's usually considered a backing instrument; & finally Howe does an acoustic number, the pleasant "Mood for a Day".

But this is a Yes album and its the group tracks that really matter. "Roundabout" - 'nuff said - the default choice for their encore (well the first one of the evening) for many years. It's driven along by Chris Squire's bass; then there's that Wakeman Hammond solo in the middle - not the flashiest he's ever done, that's not the point; it's just so right for the song. "Long Distance Runaround" is a clever - in the best sense - number with a simple melody from Jon, backed by snappy little runs in harmony from Howe and Wakeman, a brooding bassline and complex time signature. The album finishes with another Yes standard, "Heart of the Sunrise", with a beautiful melody, backed by powerhouse instrumentals. If I were being really pickey, I might say that the instrumental build-up at the start, and the keyboard noodling in the middle, go on just a teensey-bit longer than they should.

The one track I haven't mentioned is one of the most under-rated tracks they've done - "South Side of the Sky" which is apparently about explorers freezing to death on an arctic expedition - you know, with that information the lyrics make some sense, though I wouldn't have known otherwise. Wakeman makes a dramatic piano break in the middle that heralds the start of a simple but quite lovely vocal harmony break - Yes especially Anderson had an ear for a great tune, and they can sing (even Steve Howe, in harmony anyhow!). This track on stage last year (2004) was a highlight with guitar and keyboards duelling at the climax.

Although the Rhino CD releases are lovingly restored, and the art-work is pretty good given the size limitation of a CD, I still fondly hang onto the booklet that came with the original vinyl release, which includes the only Roger Dean artwork I've seen with "real" people in it (a climber on a steep mountain).

It's a landmark album let down by the perceived need to give each member of the band a solo spot. Nonetheless, it's prog at its best.

Report this review (#47658)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Funny as some records seems to make a huge success among the prog fans, this record has a classic problem: solo works, individual works. Roundabout and Heart of the Sunrise are excellent and are among the most influential songs in the prog history, but what about the rest? Are you Remembering More or Meddle? Fragile is a kind of a transitional album, inferior to yes album, a bridge to Close to the Edge, their apex. Its not this a bad record, but to my taste, it has characteristics I don't like as I said before. Why everybody else seems to like yes and not other prog bands? Because they are very melodic and heavenly, but not so aggressive, so people tends to accept their music...Oh, i almost forget, this record IS essential.
Report this review (#48884)
Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars South Side of the Sky" is one of the greatest songs in prog history! "Long Distance Runaround" starts off with one of the most original and melodically interesting guitar passages ever. The three large works "Roundabout", South Side of the Sky", and "Heart of the Sunrise" are all excellent and the songs in between are small ear catchers. We hear each person in this group contributing his own composition and we get a taste of each players individuality. Songs like Bill Brufords interesting drum excercise "Five Percent for Nothing", Steve Howe's lovely classically textured "Mood for a Day" and the subtle dynamics and repetition of "The Fish" are great pieces of music. These songs are smattered about the record because this is what Yes was. A wonderfully diverse group of musicians who at this point in their journey was never satisfied with what they had already done, so they went on creating better music. I agree that Close to the Edge is their masterpiece, the pinnacle of their career, but Fragile worse than the Yes Album? Give me a Break! That album has but three memorable songs and the hit song (Ive seen all good people) is so overplayed that any true Yes fan should hate it by now. It is absolutely mind-boggling that any Yes fan can not like this album.
Report this review (#48888)
Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars People on this site often tend to judge albums as if the entire progressive catalogue has always existed, but in understanding any kind of music, it's important to put yourself in the time frame of the music at the time it happened. In 1972, I was 14 years old, and received "Fragile" through an otherwise very commercial Record-of-theMonth Club. I can only say today, it was as if a light went off in my tiny teenage brain, and perhaps life was never the same after that. Of course, today these sounds and influences have been recycled and rehashed to death by all the clone bands worshipped on these pages, but it's easy to forget the fact that somebody had to INVENT that stuff in the first place. The sound of "Fragile", when it came out was as new and shocking at the time as say, "Deloused in the Crematorium", by the Mars Volta is today. The hard, cutting yet melodic bass sound wrought by master Squire tightly coupled with Bruford's ringing snare and inventive syncopation, Howe's stinging guitar architectonics, all this did not exist before Fragile. The concept album was in its infancy, having been trail-blazed by Zappa, Magma, the Kinks and the Beatles (without whom none of us would be reading these pages), and Yes would deliver some of the finest examples in their next three, but to underestimate the importance of this album would be a misreading of the developments that lead to what we ackwardly label "progressive" music. Even with its admitted weaknesses (Wakeman's Brahms outting especially) "Fragile" was a revolutionary step forward that most bands could only dream of.
Report this review (#48908)
Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I've rated this album 2 stars because though I know people like it and recommended it to me I would not recommend it to anyone else, however the same would go for most of yes's albums I have heard.

The only 2 songs on this album I can comfortably listen to are 'the fish', 'five percent for nothing' and 'heart of the sunrise.' Of these the only two on my mp3 are 'the fish' and 5% which I quite like.

I don't usually like taking songs out of place of their albums but I just find the other tracks embarresing. My favourite band is pink floyd so I suppose i prefer the darker or psychadelic side of prog. I am also a great fan (& musician) of folk music especially the more 'proggy' side of folk, there are definatly elements of that in this album but unfortunatly I just didn't like the songs. My preferred use of acoustic folky instruments in prog would be displayed by algarnas tradgard.

I don't find this album very profound, the lyrics relation to the ambiance of the song is weak, the 'mood' of the songs seem mostly the same and some sections seem like a guitar excercise rather than having any meaning to the listener.

I also really don't like the (now) outdated synth sound of the album,especially on cans and brahms. I dont think this is just a matter of the age, listen to some of PF's early stuff or sgt peppers which have aged perfectly well. I'm inclined To think I would have found this sound annoying when the album was released just as I would now if it were released.

I wouldn't recommend this to anyone with a similar taste in music as mine, having said that 'prog' is not a genre that defines your taste and I'm sure there are lots of people who would love this album.

Report this review (#50883)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars To understand the real meening of "Fragile"in the music of the early 70's, you have to go back in time.In the video Yesyears,Rick Wakeman describes his 1st rehersal with Yes. He saw the band playing alive before , as Yes did some shows with Strawbs, and was very impressed indeed. This was a mutual feeling though. When Chris Squire called him to join the band,Wakeman agreed to make some rehersals and the band was starting to work on "Heart of the Sunrise". Wakeman was so impressed with the band consistence and with each band member talent that has droped Strawbs since then.Although "Yes Album"marked the 1st Yes commercial success-also a very good album-"Fragile"probably was the 1st Yes Masterpiece . Here you will find for the 1st time Yes at their plenitude of talent and creativity with the intricante arrangements and textures that please their audiences untill those days.

"Heart of the Sunrise" is the album peak. Starting with an outrageous bass line, it is the perfect example of a genuine and perfect prog song. If you know someone that do not know what progressive rock is, please just give a CD with "Heart of the Sunrise"and he will urderstand promptly . Highs and Lows, moog sinths,mellotrons,piano,organs, then electric guitar, acoustic guitar , different lines of bass and drums it is a real piece of art for any music lover and it is a nightmare to any instrumentist that wants to play their arrangements. Music for masters! But "Fragile" is not only "Heart of the Sunrise". With such creativityand inovative arrangements , the band started to use solo as rithym and vice versa.That becomes one of the bands most strongs marks!Also the music aproach constantly changes,from classical to rock , then some jazz, Bruford drums speed remains incontant, perfectly fitting Chris Squires Bass. During all the album! "Roundabout", "South Side of the Sky","Long Distance Runaround" , "The fish"(outstanding bass work!)were all in this format.A real classic , the first YES masterpiece, "Fragile" has passed on the time test. Curiouslly, becames even better everytime you play it!

p.s : Sorry for any mistake in my English.

Report this review (#52254)
Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first introduction to Yes was hearing Roundabout on the am radio in my parent's Ford. It is amazing how much airplay this track still gets but it is an amazing pop song. One should not let its gross popularity, or its basis for the song Love Machine, detract from its brilliance. I believe the weakness of this album is the little snipets from Wakeman, Bruford and Anderson. Squire's the fish has become so identified with Long Distance Runaround that it works well. The remaining tracks are strong material and show the band coming into its own, defining the style that would come to characterize Yes. The songs have great hooks and a spiritual intensity that the band probably never reached again. Not that it was all downhill from here but the balance of pop songwriting and epic grandeur found its place on Fragile on Roundabout and South Side of the Sky. I could not imagine a collection without it but I do wish that the band woudl play another encore except for Roundabout.
Report this review (#52947)
Posted Sunday, October 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album is lacking. That's the simplest way to put it. Whenever I listen to it I constantly sit around waiting for most of the tracks to finish so I can get to the two or three good songs.

First off, Roundabout, the famous introduction-to-Yes tune, is a mediocre song. At times it is engaging, but otherwise the vocal melodies sound basic and uninspired. Then the album putzes around with boring fillers and we find ourselves at "South Side of the Sky" which is finally a quality track on the album. It might be worthy of Yes's reputation. "Long Distance Runaround" is pretty friendly, but ultimately trite. After impatiently waiting through "The Fish", we hear the first and only good filler track on the album, "Mood for a Day." The album certainly finishes on a high note with the quintessential 'Heart of the Sunrise' where Yes finally showcase themselves in a respectable manner.

Seriously though I'm torn between offering this album 2 or 3 stars. The sole reason it might be worth getting is that thorough proggers ought to know their Yes. But then you realize that's a terrible reason for offering more stars than it's worth. I just can't believe this band followed up this album with Close to the Edge in the same year (because CttE is masterful).

It gets two stars because I know I'd never recommend it.

Report this review (#55978)
Posted Friday, November 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is my favorite Yes album. It features overall the greatest group efforts as well as phenomenal solo efforts from each member of the band. This album also brings in the entrance of keyboard extraordinaire Rick Wakeman, who would help give Yes their proverbial push into stardom. From the opening harmonics of Roundabout to the closing chants of Heart of the Sunrise, there is nothing but joy that I feel from listening to this album.

Roundabout is one of the most recognizable Yes songs. Featuring a sharp and catchy bass line from Squire, punchy and precise drumming from Bruford, textured chords and sharp leads from Howe, and rich and watery organ and synth effects from Wakeman. It also features strong vocals from Anderson and catchy lyrics as well. Cans and Brahams begins the solo efforts on the album. This song is a Rick Wakeman tribute to the famous composer Brahams, played on a Hammond Organ and is a engaging tune. We Have Heaven is Jon Anderson's solo track, and it featuring layer upon layer of vocal tracks, a sort of Gentle Giant feel to it. South Side of the Sky is the second of the group efforts on the album. Featuring searing leads and runs from Howe, a gentle piano break from Wakeman, sharp and stabbing bass from Squire, and some top notch fills from Bruford, this is one of the strongest tracks on the album.

Next up is Bruford's track, Five Percent for Nothing. It is a staggering jazzy effort that makes its point in 30 seconds.The next track is one that I don't really find that amazing (unlike some who give this song so much credit), and that is Long Distance Runaround. Other than the creative riffs between the verses, this track doesn't really do much for me. It segues into The Fish, which is essentially a very textured bass solo, with all the music (besides percussion) being performed by bass. The next track is Mood For a Day, the "sequel" to Clap off of the Yes Album. Where as Clap had a country feeling to it, this one has a spanish feel to it. Another fan favorite still to this day. The finale to this album is my favorite Yes song, Heart of the Sunrise. The first 3 minutes is nirvana, featuring a powerful riff that is catchy and heavy at the same time. The mini-jam with the Wakeman synths and the refreshing Squire breakdown is fantastic. The rest of the song is a gem, with strong Anderson vocals and lyrics.

Overall, if you want classic Yes, you get this album. Close to the Edge would be good, but not up to this quality. 5/5.

Report this review (#56491)
Posted Wednesday, November 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Easily my favorite Yes album. This one doesn't have any of the pretentiousness of TFTO, none of the overdone qualities of CttE, better songwriting than The YES Album, none of the inconsistancy that kills Relayer...this album is near perfect. all We Have Heaven and Cans and Brahms are skip-button worthy, but since those two tracks are so small and so unimportant in the album, it doesn't even matter.

There's something about this album that just places it above other Yes albums for me. I think it's more or less the drive of the songs, the zeal and fervor you can hear in them. Here, Yes never takes themselves too seriously, even at their emotional peak seen in Heart of the Sunrise. They just let that drive handle everything for them, and it flows. It works. I haven't found a person with any sort of good taste in music who hasn't enjoyed Roundabout. It's just a fun track. Meanwhile, prog lovers will go nuts over Heart of the Sunrise and South Side of the Sky. This album...god, it rocks.

The opener is Roundabout, which is one of the most famous Yes songs ever. Almost every semi-intelligent college kid knows this one, even if he/she can't quite remember who it's by (this and I Seen All Good People). It's catchy, cheery, infectious, and very lively. It's got a bass part to die for, and very solid singing by Anderson. Everything about it is fun. Awesome opener.

The next two tracks are more or less throwaway tracks, one being a tribute to classical piano composer Brahms and the other being a layered vocal-centered song done by Jon Anderson. They really are pretty worthless and are mostly here to display the talents of each artist. Great, you guys can play. Don't make me listen to it. However...the next track, South Side of the Sky makes up for it. This piece has a rather dark feel to it, and has a quieter section that CttE wishes it could touch. Awesome piano part here throughout, and the blowing wind is really fitting. This is definitely one of my favorite Yes tracks. Love the vocal harmonies halfway through the track.

Some people may call Five Per Cent For Nothing a filler track, and it kinda is, but it's a fun listen to the wizardry of Bruford. Mildly entertaining is all. The next track is another pretty well-known one, Long Distance Runaround. Real fun piece in the vein of Roundabout, although a bit more serious. Love the part when the bass and drums come in near the beginning. The next piece is The Fish, which is more or less Chris Squire at large. Awesome piece, so...bassy. Mmm...bass. It's really a good fun piece to listen to, much like Long Distance Runaround. Next is the guitar song called Mood for a Day. Steve Howe really outdoes himself here, it's a wonderful guitar solo. I like Clao more, personally, but hey.

The last piece is Heart of the Sunrise, which I feel is tied with South Side of the Sky for the all-time peak of Yes's career. This piece has everything; the most emotional singing Jon Anderson has ever done, good guitar playing, blah blah, you get the point. I think if I had to choose, I'd take South Side of the Sky, but htis track rocks as well. I lvoe the ending and the section at around 3:00, which are not-so-coincidentally similiar.

The absolute peak of Yes's career in my opinion. This is an album that will last me my life.

Report this review (#58081)
Posted Saturday, November 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have read through several of the rather long reviews submitted here, and I do appreciate the well thought out facts and feelings the collective reviewers have shared but I would like to get straight to the point. I was lucky enough to have an older brother who was in to progressive rock and I was introduced to YES when only a young kid. Fragile was and is a fundamental recording for any thinking human as it affects the listener on so many levels. I was introduced to progressive music with this album and thank God. This collection of songs will introduce the listener in a very accessible way to the modern equivalent of the classical greats. I won't argue whether Fragile is the best work from Yes as I enjoy most of their work on different levels, what I will say is, if you want to explore the amazing body of work of Yes or just 70s progressive rock in general you can't go wrong starting your journey with YES Fragile. Five stars
Report this review (#64798)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars "Fragile" is the first album with the classic and most remembered Yes line-up; the presence of Rick Wakeman was a quantum jump for the band - however Tony Kaye had done his work fairly. It seems that the new member added an extra vigor to the band general inspiration able to make them produce an album even better than the previous.

Now, all stars shone brilliantly and the effect was fantastic, specially for the avid progressive ears (we). The fact that Yes reached their highest point before other great prog-bands is certainly one major reason why this band is probably the most popular in the whole progressive scenario. Blame it mainly on "Fragile", a great work!

'Roundabout', the opener, is an awesome song, capable to please all kinds of listeners, and it does not mean this is a pop or commercial track. The truth is only one: this is a splendid song, with good variations, pleasant sounds, suitable vocals; all contributes to make it a landmark, a great musical moment - and pay attention to keyboards and guitars, they are flawless.

'South side of sky' is another excelsior point, the dialog between voice and guitar and the piano interlude are magnificent, if someone wants to know how is the clay from where progressive music was shaped here is a good sample. There are also the real rock passages with distorted guitar and steady drumming that touch my heart profoundly. My mostly preferred album track.

'Long distance runaround' is a relatively short and very catchy song; tasteful, hearable, agreeable. Other short tracks of the album are solo efforts by band members which also make fair bridges among the main songs but we could easily live without them; however, pay attention to 'Mood for a day', an acoustic guitar track that does an incredible preparation for the ending track.

'Heart of sunrise', a 10' and a half semi-epic, is a great song equipped with all apparatus to delight the hearers. Jon Anderson's voice that's not properly my cup of tea flies high and powerful as never before and probably after. Also the instruments are conjugated in a manner that Yes sound like an orchestra. Only one word to define this song: special!

Rating is obvious, since we are facing a masterpiece. Total: 5.

Report this review (#66884)
Posted Thursday, January 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Having loved Pink Floyd since I was about 10, I hadn't really listened to any other progressive rock apart from Moving Picures by Rush and Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield (the first of the two not being an early 70s prog album, the second so part of the public consciousness it hardly seems to merit). So when I heard Roundabout...that was when I thought "I wanna listen to loads of progressive rock now!" So after about 3 months I found Fragile. Lost myself to it...the colours of it, the textures, the organs, the pianos, the spikey guitars the springy bass, the ascending vocals and their ambiguous lyrics. I thought Yes were great! And you know what's really great? I think this is probably still my favourite Yes album... South Side Of The Sky is probably the highlight...I always show it to rock fans when I want to get them into progressive rock. Can and Brahms: prepared me for certain things attached to certain prog rock albums and I also think its just a bit of fun. Thats what I definitely love about The Yes Album and feels fun to listen feels a bit silly as well. Very endearing quality in a band that went on to make Tales From Topographic Oceans.
Report this review (#67109)
Posted Friday, January 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.4/5.0

This is a great album, though not as great as « Close to the Edge », which may be one of the best mainstream progressive album ever. The reason why I think this album is slightly inferior is mainly because it seems to me that somehow it lacks the cohesion of the next one and maybe also at some point each member of the group seems to go in their own direction. That said, this is still close to a masterpiece and very enjoyable listening! A must-have album for any serious progressive music fan!

Report this review (#68119)
Posted Thursday, February 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fragile, the second masterpiece from Yes that really did introduce the world to Rick Wakeman. Fragile is very much the sound of a band working together, playing off each others ideas with precision and perfection. There are very few flaws with this album, and the flaws are very small at that. There is excellent songwriting on this album and the solo spots are stunning, I find that these solo spots are far more interesting than some other bands that tried that same feat, here they are not particularly long or epical, but they still stand nicely next to the longer more acclaimed tracks.

The longer, full band tracks are all great, easily some of Yes' best, 'Roundabout' opens the album, it's classical sounding intro makes way for Squires propulsive bass line and Jon's very catchy melody, and of course those wonderful vocal harmonies at the end. Loved by every Yes fan (I hope) and a stage favourite, even giving Yes their first hit. 'South Side of the Sky' is another classic, those dark wind affects at the start and the sounds of footsteps remind me of 'The Dark Side of the Moon'. 'South Side' is one of Yes' darker numbers, the lyrics are not very typical Jon Anderson 'Around the south side so cold that we cried, were we ever colder on that day, a million miles away, it seemed a part of eternity', Rick gives us a nice piano melody but the middle of the song is the most interesting section, more of those beautiful vocal harmonies that sound so great. 'Long Distance Runaround' is a shorter number with an odd rythm and another interesting lyric 'Cold summer glistening, hot colour, melting the anger to stone', the outro to the track leads perfectly into 'The Fish'. 'Heart of the Sunrise' may be the most important track on the album, 11 minutes long with a stormer of an intro and a powerful, stimulating outro. The breakdown in the middle of the track I always found exciting yet Wakeman's parts took me a while to get used to as they seemed so out of place, but as a whole the track is stunning and will leave you out of breath, Bruford's drumming alone is mindblowing, he sounds like he has all the freedom in the world on this track.

The solo spots are unfairly underrated, such magnificent ideas and such short snappy pieces of genius. For me, they make the album. Jon's contribution 'We Have Heaven' is majestic, a minute and a half of clear spine tingling vocal perfection, and probably the barmiest lyrics he wrote 'Tell the Moon-dog, tell the March-hair', and who couldn't like Brufords constant China smash! Steve's contribution 'Mood For a Day' is a solo guitar piece that sounds very reflective and charming, Steve performs this piece on the Yes Symphonic Live DVD to much applause from a delighted audience. Squire's piece is very atmospheric, centered around some excellent bass lines and moody sounding guitar. Wakemans short adaption 'Cans and Brahms' is nothing to shout about but passes nicely enough and Brufords wacky thirty second quirky 'Five Per Cent for Nothing' is plain wierd.

Fragile is a gem from start to finish, well produced, fresh sounding and memorable. It was also Roger Dean's first time as cover designer and he done an excellent job, wonderful cover and altogether a nice package. Masterpiece, Yes.

Report this review (#69273)
Posted Monday, February 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Sorry Guys, but I don't see it. Granted, "Close to the Edge" is an all time classic, but after listening to this album, I cannot figure out why it gets such high marks? The best song on here is Roundabout........but I've heard it 400 times since high school. Heart of the Sunrise saves this album, and the 2 minute songs are nothing but filler. Disappointing to me, but after CTTE, that was a high standard, and unfair to compare.
Report this review (#69380)
Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fragile was the record that cemented the strengths of the "Yes Album," but had a slightly darker, heavier feel. If only they had removed the filler solo tracks and replaced them with another longer classic like "South Side of the Sky" or "Roundabout" this would undoubtedly be a five-star album.

Rick Wakeman's "Cans and Brahms" feels stilted and contrived, and doesn't generate the excitement that he is capable of in his (sometimes excessive) live performances.

Jon Anderson at least gives us a little oomph with "We Have Heaven" but it's just a bit of studio trickery which becomes a little irritating on repeated plays.

Bill Bruford's "Five Percent For Nothing" is an interesting curio, nothing more.

Chris Squire's "The Fish" - again technically good, but doesn't have any great depth, and I can't tell you how many times I've sat extremely bored at a Yes concert waiting for him to finish his solo so that they could get on with the music - this could be the most self-indulgent piece I've heard live, going on for ten minutes that feel like years...

Steve Howe's "Mood for a Day" is technically brilliant but again falls short of the sheer exuberance of "The Clap".

Now to the main show - yes I know we've all heard "Roundabout" a thousand times, and that can devalue the impact of such a work - and yet I could listen to it a thousand more times without getting tired of it, and let's remember that this is a main staple of any Yes concert and always sounds fresh and original.

"South Side of the Sky" is a much undervalued piece - I've never heard this live unfortunately, but I think it should have a top-five place in any Yes song list. The Steve Howe guitar licks are extraordinary and the more reflective quiet passages are simply beautiful.

"Long Distance Roundabout" is a bit "Beatle-ish" which to me IS a criticism! - but is still sweet and lively and short, and leads into...

"Heart of the Sunrise" - the apex of everything Yes had stood for up until that moment. I defy anyone not to have goosebumps when Anderson sings "SHARP - DISTANCE" in those high rich tones...

So, an almost perfect album, marginally let down only by the still interesting solo efforts.

Report this review (#69870)
Posted Saturday, February 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars FRAGILE was first issued in January of 1972. Thirty-plus years later, the album still resonates across the popular music landscape. It was the group's highest-charting album in the U.S. (peaking at No. 4) and yielded its highest-charting single at the time with the classic "Roundabout" (No. 13). The lineup of the band was still undergoing change. They lost founding member Tony Kaye and brought in Former Strawbs' keyboardist Rick Wakeman. [Another founding member Bill Bruford would leave before the follow-up CLOSE TO THE EDGE.] Each member contributed to the success of FRAGILE. Wakeman's tour de force is "Cans and Brahms" (an extract from Brahm's 4th Symphony), which has him playing electric piano, grand piano, organ and synthesizer to take the parts of the original orchestral parts.

"We Have Heaven" has Jon Anderson performing all the vocal parts. "Five Percent of Nothing" (at a brief 35 seconds) is Bruford's percussion showcase. Chris Squire's bass work is featured prominently on his "The Fish." In the same vein as the previous album's "Clap," Chris Squire shows his acoustic guitar prowess on the delicate "Mood for a Day."

The bonus tracks are a nice addition. You get the full ten-and-a-half minute version of Paul Simon's "America" (the single version only went to No. 46), along with a previously unreleased early rough mix of "Roundabout," which is not substantially different from the final version.

Eventually "progessive rock" became a dirty word in the music world, but in the early days of the Seventies, Yes were one of the most innovative bands of the era and this is their masterpiece almost rivaling CLOSER TO THE EAGE. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Report this review (#75239)
Posted Monday, April 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well folks i've always had some issues getting used to early prog rock. i mean i love rush, styx, kansas, dixie dregs, etc. and the new prog rock bands like Spock's Beard, Flower Kings, Tangent, Transatlantic, etc. But for some reason i couldn't get into some of the other early prog rock stuff....EVEN YES. Well that all changed when i finallys started listening to the right songs on the right albums. This Cd really help me discover that true prog fans have opened minds and i didn't know mind could get this opened as i finally was able to get a special edition copy of Yes fourth successful studio relase FRAGILE. It took me a while to finally get this album as i've always been a fan of STARSHIP TROOPER and ROUNDABOUT and getting this album was definitely a grand day for me as FRAGILE really stood up to what's in known as this album really has made me realized YES is one of the true pioneers of Prog rock. Anyway well good things about this cd are that Rick Wakeman makes a grand debut with Yes on this album, Then you have all the short filler which displays each band members talents. Now i'll be honest i'm not huge fan of filler songs they either way but these songs don't bother me and being a drummer the 35 seconds of FIVE CENT PER NOTHING is really grand with BRUFORD'S craziness. But anyway the other songs really make the meat of the album starting with my favorite YES song ROUNDABOUT. This displays YES at their progiest with a nice acoustic intro followed by a lead bass line and one of my favorite bass lines by SQUIRE then on to the song as YES really displays great musicianship i really love the nice percussion latin section along with the dueling solos of WAKEMEN and HOWE. then next big song we have is another good favorite of mine SOUTH SIDE OF THE SKY. Steve Howe does a fabulous job on this song as he really lets you know that hey he can play some mean guitar even if it does sound country to me at times but i don't mind. plus the quiet section of the song is very nice. makes me wonder why this song didn't get so much praise though??? anywya the next big song that has gotten some attention is LONG DISTANCE RUNAROUND which also a nice catchy Beatlesque number that leads into the other fillers and finally the grand puma of FRAGILE the grand 10 minute epic HEART OF THE SUNRISE this song def. one of my favorite 10 minute yes tracks (along with AND YOU AND I and MACHINE MESSIAH) as this song has such a great riff very fast and somewhat aggresive plus the quieter sections are nice too with ANDERSON's very lucious vocals. Plus the tightness of this song is so great i mean just listening to it makes me realize how they were able to make such a tight aggresive number. Plus you also get 2 extra bonus tracks if you have the SE like i do with another great 10 minute yes track AMERICA and a studio run through of ROUNDABOUT. This album has definitely become one of my favorite yes albums (although its second to CLOSE TO THE EDGE) and if you wanna hear some great 70's prog in blooming colors get this album its worth it!
Report this review (#75409)
Posted Tuesday, April 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars When "The Yes Album" came out it merely confirmed what many of us thought was true from the first 2 albums. That this band was really going to shake things up in the music world. But none of us expected anything on this level. It's a real shame that oldies radio has jaded us to just how great "Roundabout" is by overplaying it for decades now but the effect it had on FM radio at the time was nothing short of revolutionary. I guess you had to be there but it made programmers completely rethink what their audience was ready for. It defied description and it broke the mold. And, while the concept of giving every member an individual piece on the record wasn't exactly new, they may have pulled it off the best. It keeps things from growing repetitive and predictable. "South Side of the Sky" is a fascinating experiment in dynamics that is very intriguing. But "Heart of the Sunrise" and "America" are the standout cuts here. The former is stunningly tight and dynamic as it slams you back into your sofa and rattles the china. The latter shows (more than any other song in their arsenal) that this was truly a top-notch ROCK AND ROLL BAND that had the ability to kick butt and take names. Howe's guitar solo section absolutely sizzles with playful energy and this song's inclusion on this reissue fits like a glove. The addition of the rough mix of "Roundabout" is great because it really shows what a difference producer Eddie Offord made in the final mix of the song. Mix-down is an art and Offord was one of the best ever. While the album doesn't achieve the lofty heights that CTTE would (and few ever will), it still stands as a true landmark in prog rock history in that no one alive at that time could believe what they were hearing. Yes set the bar really high with this one.
Report this review (#75593)
Posted Thursday, April 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars If it wasn't for the questionable "solo" pieces on this album, it would be a definite masterpiece. I think what the solo bits do best, is show why this band worked best as a unit, bringing out the absolute best in each player more than they ever could do as individuals.

As sick as I am of hearing Roundabout, there is no doubt about its greatness. Despite hearing it endlessly on the radio growing up (along with All Good People), it wasn't until I became a die hard Yes fan in my mid 20's that I really developed and apreciation of the song. But it's inclusion on so many live albums caused me to tire of hearing it in the end. Still, it is a fantastic song showcasing all the things that make this band so great. I particularly love(ed) the solo trade off with Howe and Wakeman. The next two tracks are best described as throwaway. I have never liked Wakemans campy Cans And Brahms, using the worst moog sounds he could find, it seems. Andersons, We have Heaven is somewhat better, but fairly uninteresting and bland to my ears. Luckily, all is forgiven with the magnificent South Side Of the Sky. A track that rarely saw live time until recently, it is one of my favorite songs by Yes and is fairly unique in their catalog for it's mostly hard edged approach, showcasing Howe at his best. The middle section is one of the better Yes harmonizing pieces. Brufords piece is fun, though very short, and is more or less a throwaway piece (though less so than Wakemans though). The next two pieces are forever linked in every Yes fans mind, with Long Distance Run Around being a nice Beatles-esque short full band number, and The Fish being the best of the individual band member contributions. That song highlights just how important Squire really is to the Yes sound as a whole, something that is fairly unique to Yes (many other prog bassists, while quite good, are not nearly as significant to their bands sound). Mood for a Day is also a worthwhile solo piece, and Howes most famous solo acoustic guitar piece without a doubt. Quite possibly his best as well. Definely not a throwaway piece. We then come to the last and best track of the album, which all by itself makes this a four star album. Heart of the Sunrise, along with Gates of Delerium, is my favorite Yes song of all time. It has so much that I love about Yes, jammed into 10 minutes. I never tire of hearing this masterpiece of a song.

So a great album on the whole, despite being let down by some mediocre solo spotlights. Still a solid 4 stars, for the band tracks alone and Heart of the Sunrise in particular.

Report this review (#75770)
Posted Friday, April 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the third album by Yes. Many fans consider this to be the best album after Close To The Edge. I have hard time choosing between this and The Yes Album. Anyway here's the review:

Roundabout : Every prog fan knows this hit song. Complex and interressting composition with kick ass intro. Overall great song. A true Yes classic 4.5/5

Cans And Brahms : Rick Wakemans solo (thou not even composed by him). Doesn't have much meaning and not too important song. Just another "nice" song. 3.6/5

We Have Heaven : Jon Anderson's solo, which also sound like it. Weird song that will propably give a good laugh for some people. Easy and happy song. 3.7/5

South Side Of The Sky : Considered as another classic Yes song. With beautiful piano solo by Wakeman in the middle, exellent guitars and singing makes this 5/5

Five Percent For Nothing : Bill Brufords solo which is very clearly this weakest link. It's not worth of much. Good thing is that its very short. 2/5

Long Distance Runaround : Another Yes classic but short one. Complex guitars and good singing. 4.5/5

The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) : Chris Squires solo. Short and not too special (remember to check Yessongs version which is special!). Another "nice" song, mainly becose of its lenght. 4/5

Mood For A Day : Steve Howe's solo which is considered as his masterpiece (along the others). Exellent flamenco style song. I prefer more Clap, which is like Mood For A Day played by a hick who's on steroids. 4.5/5

Heart Of The Sunrise : Possibly the best song on this album. Another Yes classic. Very complex song and I must give special mention for Jon Anderson's singin, nearly makes me cry every time I hear this. 5/5

Overall not the best Yes album but close. Every prog fan should have this. Three extremely strong songs and three not so strong songs and few somewhere in between. Deserves 5 stars, althought I calculated bit more than 4, but lets ignore Bruford shall we?

Essential : a masterpiece of progressive music.

Report this review (#75876)
Posted Saturday, April 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Sorry if i do a correction, gimson. This is fourth album of Yes, not the third (the previous were Yes, Time and a Word and The Yes Album). Out of that, is an excellent album with a great mixture of musical knowledge, great melodies and emotion. Maybe some people could say it is an individual album, but the white album of the beatles was an individual album too. The reason to talk about individual music is the presence of pieces written by each one of the members of the band. So, Mood for a Day is the moment for Steve Howe in the acoustic guitar, playing a piece that is spanish for moments, baroque for moments. Chris Squire appears with "The Fish", piece that will be his live bass solo from this album on. Bill Bruford includes a strange, short an non-armonic piece called "Five per Cent for Nothing"... and is easy to see the direction of his music going to King Crimson. "We have Heaven" is the Anderson moment, being in fact a play of a lot of voices recorded one over each other (all them for Anderson, i guess). And "Cans and Brahms" is the Wakeman solo, that shows his classical music studies and once he allow himself to play a little with a classical author. But the pieces where the band plays like an unity are really great. "Roundabout" is wonderful, starting with some acoustic notes with Steve Howe and including in the middle-part an incredible solo of Rick Wakeman... and the Rickenbaker of Chris Squire sounds incredible, powerful. "South Side of the Sky" is another great song, with a lot fo changes and mysterious moments... Unfortunately the band forgot to play this song for years after the tour of "Fragile" and they decided to play it again in... 2002!!! "Long Distance Rounaround" shows such a great creator of melodies in Anderson, and the harmonic play is really great. And probably the masterpiece of the album is "Heart of the Sunrise".. those who use to say Yes was not heavy enough, should have listened the amazing beginning of this song. Is once chaos and harmony, order and disorder... The band sounds lie a bomb and suddenly the rythm changes and the bass of Chris Squire stays alone starting a new rythm but once playing with some melody... And if you hear attently the performance of Squire in this part, please do not forget to pay attention to Bill Bruford, coz is incredible! And then the guitar of Steve Howe appears again... from the botton, down to up... rediscovering the initial leid-motiv of the theme ´til capture the rest of the band doing them to go with it again... And when the chaos stoppes, the baroque melody sung by Anderson is wonderful... As Yes use to do, there is a "circle-idea" in the most songs. "Roundabout" end with the same notes that Howe played at the beginning, once again with the same acoustic guitar. And "Heart of the Sunrise" ends with the chaotic climax of the beginning (chaotic in the good sense of the word). And titles like "Long Distance Runaround" don´t need any explanation about the idea of the circle.
Report this review (#75888)
Posted Saturday, April 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that this album was my introduction to Yes. I'm a little reluctant to see why this album is held in such high esteem by fans. The three mini-epic pieces all deliver exactly what any progger looks for in an album flawlessly, but I find outstanding mediocrity in the remaining tracks.

The solo pieces on the album seem like they were treated with little seriousness and have a very throw away sound. THey do little more than keep Fragile from being an EP. Of the three true songs on the album, Roundabout is slightly tarnished by repeated airplay which did eccentuates it's slightly poppy sound that has sorta irked me. However, it still remains an enjoyable song featuring a very interesting chord progression by Chris Squire, showcasing his trademark Rickenbacker sound. The remaining tracks "Southside of the Sky" and "Heart Of The Sunrise" are perfect besides suffering the tarnish of Anderson's "angelic" voice. I don't understand the critical claim Anderson receives. I very much enjoy his vocal approach and timing, but his voice itself is on the thin side and doesn't strike a chord with me. Also, I feel that he fails at the primary job of a singer, producing an emotional response in the listener. I find his words to be cold and his delivery emotionless. A great album but not quite up to masterpiece status. If the "America" track present on the remastered had been on the album instead of the weak solo pieces, I'd be ranking this as an esential album.

Report this review (#76140)
Posted Monday, April 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars Released on the same year as the magnificent "Close to the Edge", "Fragile" offers the same extremely high standards of musicianship and songwriting, though with a different, less compact format. While its follow-up had only three tracks on it, "Fragile" is equally divided between long, complex epics and much shorter tracks which showcase the band members' individual (and immense) talent. This is also the first Yes album boasting one of Roger Dean's legendary covers, which in this case contains a clear reference to the title - the earth breaking into several pieces. While CTTE's sleeve was characterised by diverse hues of green, here we have a deep blue background set off by the lighter blue of the water and the light green of the trees. Very stylish indeed, though in my opinion not Dean's best work.

The album's opener, still performed live by the band, is the celebrated "Roundabout", a very unlikely hit single, dotted throughout with multilayered vocals and bolstered by Chris Squire's monstrous bass lines. On "South Side of the Sky" Steve Howe's angular, spiky guitar comes to the fore, while the song relaxes in the middle with beautiful, soothing vocal harmonies and a great piano solo by Wakeman. "Long Distance Runaround", my least favourite of the longer tracks, offers more intricate, jagged guitar parts backing up Anderson's soaring vocals. This is probably even more accessible than the deceptively catchy "Roundabout".

The album's highlight, however, comes at the end with the monumental "Heart of the Sunrise", a real tour de force for both Bill Bruford's inimitable drums and Steve Howe's incendiary guitar. Both musicians steal the show in the song's beginning section, almost hysterical in its electric intensity - then, the calm after the storm, with Anderson's voice at its most angelic, hitting incredibly high notes with ease - then more of the same, with a coda which effectively proves how heavy Yes could be when they choose, giving the likes of Dream Theater a run for their money.

The five remaining tracks are more varied in quality, and many people find them irritating. The best by far are Steve Howe's lyrical acoustic piece, "Mood for a Day", and Chris Squire's "The Fish", a cult number for everyone who's ever attempted to play bass, displaying the legendary Rickenbacker thick, trebly sound. Bill Bruford's "Five per Cent for Nothing" is over in a few seconds, while Anderson's "We Are Heaven" and Wakeman's "Cans and Brahms", while undoubtedly pleasant, say nothing new about both musicians' already well-known talents.

The remastered edition contains an early rough mix of "Roundabout", with a very funny detail - when Anderson starts singing too early and stops abruptly midway; and a 10- minute cover of Simon and Garfunkel's famous "America" - a great prog track which sounds completely different from the original.

What else can be said about this album? It is probably less immediate than CTTE, clearly more varied, balanced between sheer electric savagery and sublime, melodic moments. In my very humble opinion, it is without any doubt one of prog's defining moments, one to be savoured and enjoyed as often as possible.

Report this review (#76223)
Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first prog album I ever bought! I can vividly remember the impact it had on me, especially the ethereal mellotron at the beginning of'Heart of the Sunrise', and from then on I was hooked! The main tracks are all classics, but, unlike some reviewers, I find the short contributions of the individual members very satisfying also. 'The Fish' is very atmospheric, and 'Cans and Brahms' encouraged me to listen to Brahms 4th Symphony, and helped open up classical music as another huge area of musical interest. 'Fragile' is one of the best prog albums ever!
Report this review (#76424)
Posted Thursday, April 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first thing to say about this album (in my opinion) is that it has its ups and downs. Every time I listen to it, unfortunately, I'm tempted to skip the tracks I don't like to the ones I do on this album. But if you're patient with this (as with most prog rock), you are well rewarded. So, firstly, Roundabout. This is one of the best opening tracks to an album ever. The thing I really love about this track is that you can listen to it when you're in a really proggy mood, but when you want something a bit more conventional, it can fit that bill too. It's just got everything: really nice, intricate work between Wakeman and Howe and some nice unisons; a great guitar solo; some solid vocals from Anderson; and a thumping rhythm section from Bruford and Squire. One of my favourites. As I was saying before, there are some tracks that I am tempted to skip sometimes - Cans and Brahms being one of them. It shows very well that Wakeman is a damn good keyboardist, but i just think that he could've done something so much more interesting given his skill and musicianship. The same applies to Anderson in We Have Heaven. Again, it shows that he writes lovely harmony and he is a very talented singer, but in my opinion, he could've written a far better album track than what sounds like an (albeit very good) demo. South Side of the Sky is a welcome return for the rest of the band. I really like this song, and it has a great middle section with moving vocals and some great keys work by Wakeman. The main chunk of the song is also good, with intricate work by Bruford and nice augentation from Howe. If I was being really picky, I would criticise Anderson for singing completely bum notes continually on "Were we ever colder..." at various points, but this is a minor issue (and I'm really critical :)) Five Per Cent For Nothing is a nice little lead in from the deep SSOTS to the more jovial Long Distance Runaround. According to the sleeve notes, the melodic parts were read straight off a percussion line, which is surprising seeing that they actually make a rather nice tune. I always think of this as like a coffee break in the album - it certainly wakes you up! Many people find Long Distance Runaround annoying, but I think it's really quite clever. It is a bit of a cheesy love song, but it sort of...isn't, quite. I do like the melodies and once again Anderson's vocals are solid, however what I really like is that Squire finally gets to tease the listener with his skill with cheeky little solos every so often! One reason why I like LDR so much is that it is essential to listen to it to appreciate the lead in to the next soaring high point on the album, The Fish. This track has fantastic bass work from Squire (because it's his track....) that to me actually sounds like a fish underwater (listen to it with your eyes closed - you'll be amazed), and it has a wicked 7/4 beat, if you're into analysing more technical stuff. I wish I knew what the vocals meant or symbolised, but to be honest, most of the time I really don't care - they don't need to make sense. However, after that we get to another weak point on the album - Steve Howe's Mood For A Day. Once again, it shows that Howe is a great guitar player and can write a tune, but personally I think that it goes on a bit too long and gets really boring after a few listens; my main gripe is that there is a lot of repetition in this piece, and as a result it kind of suffers. I think the album would work better if The Fish went straight into the final track, but that's just my opinion. So yes, onto the final track. Heart of the Sunrise is a Yes masterpiece. It has everything - a kick-butt intro, a lovely transition into a beautiful slow bit with great Anderson vocals, and a gradual journey to an amazing climax at the end. Bruford really stands out for me here, as his drums go from pounding beats to intricate hi-hat work to technically incredible fills, which takes a lot of skill. Again this piece has some really good complex rhythms, with mixes of 5/4 sections, a couple of 7/4s and some innovative 3/4 and 4/4 hybrids. There's so much to this piece, and I hear something new in it every time I listen to it. As a whole this album is really great. It's a great starting point for listeners new to Yes, as it provides a good bridge between conventional rock and prog rock, and it leads perfectly into Close To The Edge which, if you're reading this without having listened to Yes before, should be your next priority after hearing Fragile.
Report this review (#76500)
Posted Thursday, April 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars yes's fragile was the first of many prog albums i have bought. it is a classic for all time and such be remembered as some of the best mousic ever recorded.

The drumming and percussion, I foumd, were far improved in this record from their last. Lots of great use of the tamborines and exotic drums make the songs unique. The bass stood out even more than it did before, and the keyboards were more musical this time than just a "filler", sort of like how The Yes Album portrayed them. While nothing could prepare us for Close to the Edge, Fragile was the beginning of the peak of Yes' career. Close to the Edge could be considered the beginning of the end - as it went on to allow Yes to produce other very self-indulgent records that were indeed very musically impressive, but only really apealing to fans like myself.

If you had to get one record from Yes, this is the one. As I mentioned, it was the golden age of progressive rock, and the golden age of Yes' career. If you are a fan of rock music and want to discover the roots of today's more complex styles, give this album a listen. If you want to hear some FANTASTIC jazz and classical integration with rock music, with poetic lyrics, this is certainly an album to discover. Highly recommended.

The lineup of the band was still undergoing change. They lost founding member Tony Kaye and brought in Former Strawbs' keyboardist Rick Wakeman. [Another founding member Bill Bruford would leave before the follow-up CLOSE TO THE EDGE.] Each member contributed to the success of FRAGILE. Wakeman's tour de force is "Cans and Brahms" (an extract from Brahm's 4th Symphony), which has him playing electric piano, grand piano, organ and synthesizer to take the parts of the original orchestral parts.

"We Have Heaven" has Jon Anderson performing all the vocal parts. "Five Percent of Nothing" (at a brief 35 seconds) is Bruford's percussion showcase. Chris Squire's bass work is featured prominently on his "The Fish." In the same vein as the previous album's "Clap," Chris Squire shows his acoustic guitar prowess on the delicate "Mood for a Day."

The bonus tracks are a nice addition. You get the full ten-and-a-half minute version of Paul Simon's "America" (the single version only went to No. 46), along with a previously unreleased early rough mix of "Roundabout," which is not substantially different from the final version.

Eventually "progessive rock" became a dirty word in the music world, but in the early days of the Seventies, Yes were one of the most innovative bands of the era and this is their masterpiece. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Report this review (#76520)
Posted Friday, April 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars " That kind of using the classical structure as a basis to make music, rather than pop music, that`s where we were heading when we made Fragile. " - Jon Anderson, vocalist

This is the album which catapulted Yes light years ahead of any of it`s contemporaries and into prog-rock folklore. Arguably, along with In The Court of the Crimson KIng, one of the most important works of the genre and a template for further Yes explorations throughout the 1970`s.

From the onset Yes had been creating structured rock music which featured all sorts of classically influenced components with full group harmonies combined with top flight musicianship. Fragile brought this approach to yet another level. Keyboard player Tony Kaye who was adverse to advancements in music technology being made in the early seventies and preferred to be in the background rather than playing in long drawn out showpieces was replaced by Rick Wakeman. Wakeman who was classically trained and had previously played with the art rock band The Strawbs showed up with a truckload of synths, organs and mellotrons which made him more suitable for the more intricate musical ambitions Yes were striving for at the time. Drummer Bill Bruford would remark years later, " kicked out the guy you started out with and got a better guy. Terrible isn`t it ? Terrible but true. " This was pretty much the same thing which happened to Peter Banks when he was replaced by the more versatile Steve Howe on guitars on the previous "Yes Album." The framework was set.

Musically and lyrically the album soared over mountain ranges and enabled the members to showcase their individual musical prowess as composers as well as part of a full group effort.While this was over-quoted by critics of the day to be "self indulgent" or "pretentious" the solo compositions gave indications of each member`s musical inspirations and feelings which sort of demonstrated how each interlocked into the Yes concept.

On the solo tracks the listener will hear flamenco influenced guitar stylings ( Mood For a Day), borrowed classical themes (Brahms & Cans ) as well as some tongue in cheek wackiness ( Five Percent For Nothing). Even bass player Chris squire offers a jazz influenced bass composition entitled The Fish ( his nickname ) which gave credence to the importance of this instrument in Yes music while Jon Anderson`s We Have Heaven demonstrates how his beautifully layered voicings became a Yes trademark.

The full group tracks contain movements or sections reminiscient of classical suites which were written in the 1800`s to indicate different moods or settings which occured in each piece. The lyrics feature earthly, mystical and cosmic themes which would become prevelant in subsequent Yes work. The accomanying music covered a wide spectrum from heavy jazz-rock like riffs and melodic interludes and gave opportunity for every one in the band to shine without getting in each others way in the full group format.

The stand out pieces are the bass driven Heart of the Sunrise and of course, Roundabout which hit # 13 on the American pop charts in early 1972 ( albeit in a shortened version ) and remains the most frequently played Yes song from their early years on classic rock stations. Despite it`s mass appeal the complexities of this piece deserve a brief examination. It is essentially a perfect game set & match group piece dominated by an irregular beat pattern with two distinct movements which repeat each other interspersed with some dynamic guitar and keyboard solo work and finishing off with the initial musical idea. The lyrics can be interpreted many ways but the original meaning was revealed by Jon Anderson. They were written by Jon Anderson and Steve Howe while driving through Scotland in their tour bus on their way back to London via Glasgow and make dreamy references to the passing landscape. The title itself refers to a Roundabout ( a traffic circle ) they had to negotiate in order to hook on to the last leg of their 24 hr. journey back to London. Art rock lyrics just don`t get any more artsy.

Also worth mentioning is engineer Eddie Orford`s mixing board wizardry with tape and echo effects which can be heard throughout the work. Roger Dean`s artwork appropriately compliments the music with a sureal painting of an imaginary sailing vessel delicately navigating it`s way over a fragile newborn world, the first of many covers he would create for the band.If you can get hold of an original vinyl pressing it comes with a cool booklet with additional Roger Dean artwork.

Minimilistic and complex at the same time this pivotal album is a hands down 5 star recommendation starting gate for anyone wanting a first taste of this monumental progressive rock band.

Report this review (#77144)
Posted Thursday, May 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was my introduction to Yes (and, now I think about it, Prog in general) and what an introduction it was! Yes' symphonic nature comes to the fore with Wakeman's arrival, especially on South Side... and Heart of the Sunrise.

Every member shines on this album - in particular, Chris Squire's bass tremble has reached new heights (or depths I suppose). Compared to the previous album, every performance seems a little more mature (although as a result, perhaps lacking a little energy-wise), and the song-writing is tighter, yet more creative.

As for the members' individual slots, all are just that - very individual - but help the album to flow throughout. Highlights are Steve's brilliant Mood For A Day and Chris' Fish - both really push the limits of their respective insruments. Bruford's very short offering is somewhat bizarre and almost pointless, but does show his jazz/fusion tendencies.

Finally a word about (in my opinion of course) Yes' finest effort: from Howe's beautiful acoustic guitar intro to its stupidly catchy chorus to Wakeman's almost Jon Lord-worthy organ solo, Roundabout essentially defines Yes for me in a nutshell. By this album, even for just this song!

Report this review (#79303)
Posted Thursday, May 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album has such a blitheful manner, also some of the songs are really rocky. I don't know how to describe it. Let me try... There is such an effortlessness and such a positive mood, just look at "We Have Heaven", then you'll know what I mean. I like this album a lot. Really. There are even some classic-sounding titles, like "Mood For A Day". This album contains great instrumental works, the chant is great, it is diversifying, has ideas, to make a long story short: It is an excellent album that should not miss in any good progressive-rock collection.
Report this review (#79541)
Posted Saturday, May 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Fragile" by Yes. We all know this one by now. 1972, 4 songs, 5 solo pieces. Masterpiece? No, I personally don't think so. I do feel this is the best place for a newcomer to Yes should start. Why? Because of "Roundabout". The most accessible Yes track in their entire cannon, next to maybe "Owner of a Lonely Heart", but starting there is pointless. "South Side of the Sky" is one of the best tracks EVER, by any group. So is "Heart of the Sunrise". There you go, two more reasons to start here. I'm out!
Report this review (#79568)
Posted Saturday, May 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Every song is pretty ill on this album. Even the solo pieces. But the reason why this album gets 5 stars is because of the first and last tracks. Roundabout and Heart Of The Sunrise are two songs (out of very few) that made me pick up the bass. And since the bass changed my life, I give a whole lot of credit to this album as well as well as this band. I Love Yes.
Report this review (#80370)
Posted Monday, June 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars don't get me wrong here but i believe that 'Fragile' is the best Yes album and 'Heart of the Sunrise' the best Yes song... this is the best line-up in the histoty of music... the band is in perfect balance between fine art expression and self indulgence, sth that lacked from their next releases...all of them are top musicians and all of the songs are great.. simply the absolute symphonic prog album...
Report this review (#81451)
Posted Monday, June 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think what many people do not like about this album is what makes it fun. Yes, it is quirky, and yes, it does not take itself seriously at all, but that's what makes many of this all the more enjoyable. And besides, Yes never took themselves too seriously when it came to lyrics.

Anyways, the solo pieces is for me what can't make this album 5 stars. The music overall is some of the best you will find, with the great bass line in Rounabout and wonderful melodies in the songs. Howe adds many tasteful licks that meld well with the lead bass and create many dynamics. Heart of the Sunrise is the best track here for me.

One of my favored 4 star albums, being almost a 5 star album if we had more substance in certain areas. Still very excellent, the 2nd best Yes album for me. I think this is also a good place to start for those who have not heard much from the band, being one of the more accessible of the earlier works, along with The Yes Album, although I am not particularly fond of it.

Report this review (#85887)
Posted Sunday, August 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars One of the interesting things about writing reviews of albums you first heard decades ago is the advantage of perspective. Yes is a band I didn’t discover until late in my teen years, and that was with Going for the One and Tormato. As a result I, like many fans, had to discover the back catalog after the band had already begun to fracture and their best years were in their rear-view mirrors.

In that context Fragile makes perfect sense. The band had almost completed perfecting their lineup (for the time being), and they had also nearly completed their transformation from a psychedelic/artsy band with high ambitions and industry credibility, into a tour de force and poster-child for intelligent progressive music

With Rick Wakeman in on keyboards the band’s sound seems to shift even further away from seemingly directionless hippy fluff like “Sweetness” off their debut album, and toward careful arrangements that raised the bar of rock. “Roundabout” sets the tone right off the bat as a stunning work that dwarfs anything the band had released previously. That short guitar intro is pretty much instantly recognizable to most music fans nearly thirty-five years later. The arrangement is incredibly focused, tightly executed, and commands attention. Squire is an insane man on bass, and probably inspired a couple generations of bassists with this song alone. I like the way the progression of the arrangement manages to eventually come roundabout itself back to Howe and his guitar, before lapsing into Anderson’s vocal tracks which almost seem to be a completely different song, only for the band to bring it all back together over the last couple minutes with every instrument commanding attention. Unfortunately for those of us in the States in the 70s, we were ‘treated’ to a much abbreviated version as a radio single that eliminated nearly all of the instrumentation from the last three minutes of the song (and some from the middle as well), leaving this sounding actually quite fragmented and confusing. But frankly, at that time in the 70s it was not at all unusual for record labels to hack up album tracks into unrecognizable bastardizations of themselves and release them as singles. The industry didn’t have a heck of a lot of respect for the average fan back then (do they now?), and I guess they figured our attention span and slack-jawed fascination with shiny objects would keep us from appreciating the full Monty of the song, so I suppose in their own twisted way they felt they were doing us a favor. Hmmm.

I say the band had nearly completed their transformation into a full-blown progressive band, but not totally. For some reason the band decided to include a number of short tracks that seemed more like auditions for the various individual band members. I’ve read this was because the band wanted to save money on studio time; or that they were in a hurry to get the album out quickly because they needed money to pay for equipment; or because they were in a hurry to try and capitalize on The Yes Album which was still on the charts in America; or that they simply didn’t have enough material for a whole album. Not sure which of these (or combinations of these) reasons is correct, if any.

Whichever, Wakeman offers a short interlude called “Cans and Brahms” from Johannes Brahms which is well-played but otherwise uninteresting. Anderson has a short track with his own vocals layered over themselves and sparse accompaniment from the band on “We Have Heaven” that also is quaint but uninteresting.

“South Side of the Sky” however, which Anderson wrote with Squire, is kind of an underappreciated treat from the band. It isn’t quite as tight as “Roundabout”, with both Howe and Squire teetering on an almost improvisational jazz (albeit a hard-licking one) at times. Wakeman’s keyboards here, especially the grand piano portions, are quite attractive, and certainly not what you’d have expected to hear out of a rock band at that time. My only complaint with this song is that Bruford’s drum work seems quite uninspired, and at times actually borders on dull.

Bruford is the next one to offer up what is basically a solo with “Five Per Cent For Nothing”, filler really, followed by Anderson’s “Long Distance Runaround”, a rather brief and almost poppish track that would actually garner more interest after it was included on 1981’s Classic compilation than it did with this album. I still like this song, but listening to it today it almost seems as if the band was intentionally looking for something that could get them on the radio in commercial markets. Strange.

“The Fish” has been reworked, re-recorded, and re-engineered so many times over the years (and combined with other tracks including “Long Distance Runaround”), probably because it is a great showcase for Squire, and also because it is a very recognizable piece of Yes music. I have at least five different versions of this myself, but the original is still interesting for its historical significance.

“Mood For a Day” is the Steve Howe solo, and his acoustic work is an introduction to the sound he would repeat on several tracks off his first solo album Beginnings, but not all that similar to the rest of what he does on this album (except for maybe on "Heart of the Sunrise"). It’s meant to be a reflective piece, and does its job well, although is again not a memorable part of the album.

The grand finale is of course “Heart of the Sunrise”, which is stylistically similar to “Roundabout” in that in engages the entire band, seems to be centered more around Squire than Bruford, and takes its own sweet time in developing the various instrumental progressions. One notable difference is that the song reaches nearly four minutes before Anderson is heard from, and nearly two more minutes before he finally kicks in his high gear. In that respect ‘Heart’ doesn’t seem quite as focused as “Roundabout”, which I suppose is a matter of personal taste whether this is good or not. For my tastes “Roundabout” is a slightly stronger track, but I’m sure that would be debated by many fans.

Overall this is not quite as consistent as The Yes Album from end to end. But where it is strong (“Roundabout”, “Long Distance Runaround”, “Heart of the Sunrise”) it is better than their previous work. Four stars for this one as well, and probably would be five if it weren’t for the filler tracks.


Report this review (#87072)
Posted Sunday, August 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Fragile" was the first Yes album to make a major impression on the American music charts reaching number 4 which, in contrast is a major difference in chart positions compared with the band's first three albums. Out of 'Yes', 'Time and a Word 'and 'The Yes Album' the highest chart position was 'The Yes Album' reaching number 40. Of course, Yes was already established in England as being one of the forerunners of progressive rock and had quite a large English fan base. But when Yes was realised and accepted by the American music scene, this is when the band really began to swing into action.

I guess most of this success was due to one song, "Roundabout" which charted at number 13 in America and it attracted almost an entire generation to Yes's music. Indeed, even today it is one of the trademark songs of Yes and progressive Rock. It fuses basic rock elements with experimental synthesizers and mystical concepts from Jon Anderson. Fragile also heralds the arrival of the legendary Rick Wakeman, who brought with him an array of experimental, and unknown synthesizers and electric keyboards. Yes's previous albums used such devices but not nearly to the same scale of virtuosity or experimentation as "Fragile." This was probably due to the fact that Rick Wakeman is a more accomplished keyboardist than Tony Kaye .Not to say that Tony Kaye is a bad keyboardist, rather its just that Rick Wakeman is probably the best progressive rock keyboardist (please don't kill me!)

Anyway with the arrival of Rick and his keyboards, the entire band seemed to have lifted and become more creative and we can see here some of the best guitar work from Steve Howe and groundbreaking bass work from Chris Squire (not un-similar to The 'Yes Album'). Bill Bruford as usual displays his freakish skills on the drums and Jon Anderson's creative vein kicks in. There is a concept to "Fragile", or at least it lead to a concept on Jon Anderson's 'Olias of Sunhillow.' On the front cover there can be seen a world, and from the world emerges a ship which escapes as the planet is split in two. The idea behind this is an alien race who escapes from their plant on a ship called the Moorglade which is built by Olias. Hence this is where the concept of 'Olias of Sunhillow' emerged from.

There isn't really anything about the concept on "Fragile", save the cover work and possibly "We Have Heaven" which obviously influenced the sound of 'Olias of Sunhillow.' "Fragile" is set out in an unorthodox way for Yes, there are the "centerpiece" songs so to speak which are then separated from each other by shorter experimental or supporting songs. Some may argue that some of these songs aren't really true tracks, but there is a certain subtly that makes them a worthwhile inclusion. The three centerpiece songs so to speak are "Roundabout", "South Side of the Sky" and "Heart of the Sunrise", all of which go up as some of the best Yes songs around. "South Side of the Sky" in particular is a highlight, the feel of it blends with the album so very well and it excels at portraying a windy, snowy landscape. The interaction between the members on "South Side of the Sky" is essential for this song to work, and apparently it is very difficult to perform live. There is a good live version of the song on 'Songs from Tsongas Yes 35th Anniversary Concert DVD.'

"Heart of the Sunrise" takes influence from King Crimson's '21st Centaury Schizoid man', the main theme/run is the same except Yes have built upon the original version by adding a denser tone to it. The likenesses between the songs end there and the rest of "Heart of the Sunrise" is completely different. "The Fish", although very short I consider to be a classic Yes fusion of Steve Howe and Chris Squire, amazing stuff. "Long Distance Runaround" is not quite a centerpiece or add-on; it's in the middle somewhere. "Cans and Brahms" is a Wakeman keyboard solo, an adaptation of 'Brahms's 4th symphony in Eminor Third', as the name would suggest. "Mood for a Day" is Steve Howe's solo on acoustic guitar, in terms of speed and virtuosity it is a wonderful song. 'We Have Heaven' consists of several vocal parts all sung by Jon Anderson, interesting song.

1. Roundabout (5/5) 2. Cans And Brahms (3/5) 3. We Have Heaven (4/5) 4. South Side Of The Sky (5/5) 5. Five Percent For Nothing (3/5) 6. Long Distance Runaround (4/5) 7. The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) (5/5) 8. Mood For A Day (4/5) 9. Heart Of The Sunrise (5/5) Total= 38 divided by 9 = 4.222 = 4 stars Excellent addition to any prog music collection

During my time at Prog archives I've learnt to give five star ratings sparingly, taking the word in its literal sense. Sadly "Fragile" is one album which suffers, I'm not going to go as far as saying the side pieces degrade the album but they aren't substantial enough to be rated too high, how could I give a 38 second song over three stars(except if we're talking 666)? I love Yes, they are my favorite band, but I'm not going to bend my own rules and give " Fragile" five stars, even if it is one of their classic albums. I'll just say that it is a healthy four stars and an excellent album. I'd recommend "Fragile" to all Yes and symphonic fans, it is essential as far as symphonic dudes are concerned. The remaster version of "Fragile" comes with the long version of "America" and a run-through version of "Roundabout", as well as good packaging with the special edition version.

Report this review (#88898)
Posted Monday, September 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#89878)
Posted Sunday, September 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars As the sleeve notes on the inside of this record gatefold cover inform us, five out of nine tracks on this album are individual efforts of band members, while the rest is the result of their team work. I will start with the latter, which is for me definitely better part of this work. Within group arranged tracks, there are three extended among which the best one to me is 'Heart Of The Sunrise' closely followed by 'South Side Of The Sky' while 'Roundabout' I personally find least impressive. Individual achievements are solid cuts, but real highlights are Anderson's 'Long Distance Runaround' and especially Howe's acoustic 'Mood For A Day'. Obviously, this album concept was to allow each band member to express his musical individuality and affinity, but at the same time to show richness and power of their group performance. In that, they really made it well.
Report this review (#92480)
Posted Thursday, September 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fragile is a great album, but definitely not Yes's best work. There are four songs here that are collaborative efforts, and then five independent musical ideas from each member of the band. Most of the independent ideas are throw-aways. Mood for a Day is the best one, in my opinion, but I play guitar so I can appreciate some good guitar playin'. Also, The Fish is good and is more of an extension of the track Long Distance Runaround.

As for the rest of the album, it is very good. Roundabout is a great song, but doesn't hold my attention, probably because I have heard it about a million times on the radio. South Side of the Sky is a good track as well, but in my opinion is probably the weakest of the four collaborative efforts. To me, side two of this album is the better side. Long Distance Runaround is a cool track that has a fast riff that is repeated throughout. The guitar and bass are great and that great bass is carried through onto The Fish track. After the enjoyable Mood for a Day is the best track on the album, Heart of the Sunrise. It is the most complicated and the most interesting sounding track. It has a lot of rhythm changes and changes of style, and to me all of the musicians shine on this track.

While this is a very good album, I don't find myself grabbing for it all that often. To me, other Yes albums i.e. Close to the Edge and Going for the One are much more dynamic, focused, and interesting. Still this is a great album and if you like Yes are progrock, then you would not regret buying this album.

Report this review (#92952)
Posted Monday, October 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars This is Rick Wakeman's first album with YES after he left THE STRAWBS. His presence will be felt more on the next one "Close To The Edge", although he impresses me immensly here mostly with his piano and organ play. "Fragile" is my favourite YES album. Such an impressive lineup here. I also like the fact each member created their own short song for this record, but it's clearly the other four songs that make this a masterpiece.

"Roundabout" is my third favourite song on here. Love Howe's guitar opening on this track and Squire's growly bass is amazing. How good is it when Wakeman and Howe come to the fore on the chorus. A calm 5 minutes in as the intro is reprised, some mellotron too. It kicks back in with Wakeman leading the way. Classic YES. "Cans And Brahms" is Wakeman's track and what he's done is rearranged Brahms 4th symphony in E-minor, the Third Movement. Rick uses electric and grand pianos, organ, harpsichord and synths to get his result. "We Have Heaven" is Jon Anderson's song and it's all about the vocal arrangements. "South Side Of The Sky" is my second favourite track and it features some blistering guitar from Steve and contrasts the heavy and light well. I like the way it opens with the wind blowing before Bruford and a full sound kick in. Anderson sounds great. Chunky bass and prominant organ as well. It settles with piano and wind after 2 minutes followed by some gorgeous piano melodies. Vocal melodies join in as well. Nice. It kicks back in before 6 minutes. Incredible !

"Five Per Cent For Nothing" is Bruford's tune and it's all about the percussion that's so intricate as the band plays along. "Long Distance Runaround" opens with Howe and Wakeman before that growly bass joins in. Anderson and Bruford follow as it settles. Contrasts continue. A psychedelic calm to end it. "The Fish" is Squire's tune and he's all over it. This is complex and intricate, I like the way it sounds. Anderson after 2 minutes. "Mood For A Day" is Howe's song and it's a solo acoustic guitar piece from him. "Heart Of The Sunrise" is my favourite track. I adore the way Bruford and Squire lead the way early. Unbelieveable ! Howe comes in then it settles some.This reminds me of KING CRIMSON the way the growly bass and drums lead as the mellotron flows majestically. Howe starts to play over top. Then the tempo picks up. It calms right down after 3 1/2 minutes and the vocals come in. More mellotron 5 minutes in. It's building a minute later. Themes are repeated. How great does Anderson's vocals sound before 10 minutes.

Masterpiece !

Report this review (#95871)
Posted Thursday, October 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the 2 great yes masterpieces (close to the edge and fragile). Roundabout, a progressive classic with excellent squire basswork. Probably the best track is heart of the sunrise, my second favorite yes song, second to close to the edge. The other 2 long songs are good to, very good. You need to hear this stuff! Essential to prog! Also, the solo works add colorfull bridges between the major works. I love this album. Not quite as epic as close to the edge, but just as essential! If you don't have it, pick it up asap! Yes fans will not be disappointed! 5/5.
Report this review (#96207)
Posted Monday, October 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I must have listened to this record for almost a hundred times by now, so I think it would be nice to make it my first review.

Yes' Fragile features the best line-up known from this band and maybe one of the best line-ups in the world, ever! Sadly it would ONLY be featured again in their next album, the masterpiece Ctte, but similar line-ups are also great, though. Compared to their previous release, "The Yes Album", the presence of Rick Wakeman here is happily noticeable.

The album starts with one of its three highlighs, the rocker Roundabout, which opens with a warm and soft acoustic guitar introduction, then follows with the explosion of an incredible rythmic bass line by Squire. From that point the song gradually grows in complexity and beauty. I used to like the live versions of this song better because of the rather "static" sound of the recording, but then I realized there is nothing really bad about that. Roundabout has everything you can expect from a symphonic rock composition. Really. On the other hand, it features the typical Heavy sound that represents that Yes era, so it can be an acquired taste for someones.

The next track is an an arrengement from a classical Brahms' composition made by mr. Wakeman, and named "Cans and Brahms". Really impressive, this piece has both virtuosism and beauty on it. The classical influences on Rick Wakeman are seen through this album and through his whole carreer as well. Next comes a vocal solo from Jon, who sings everything by himself, creating a heavy-going but also nice track called "We have heaven".

"South side of the sky" is the second of the three masterpieces found in Fragile. Heavily jazzy in some moments and soft, celestial, classical, FRAGILE in some others, this songs lifts you to the skies with no warning. Energically sung by Jon, and energically played by the band as well, highlighting the stunning drums by Bruford and the classical piano part by Wakeman again. Incredibly beautiful.

A short one, "Five percent for nothing" is a jazzy drum solo by Bill Bruford, followed by the three minutes, catchy and acoustic song "Long Distance Runaround". One of the best, since not at the grade of the first or last songs. Hooked to it, comes the bass solo from Chris Squire "The fish", almost what Jon did with his singing in "We Have", but with the bass this time :P incredible melodies and chorus. As the title says, his track has a strong underwater atmosphere. Another solo! Now it's the time for great guitarrist Steve Howe, with an acoustic, "mediterranean" piece of GREAT beauty titled "Mood for a day". Finally, the real glory, the true gem of this unique album unleashes with a electrical storm. "Heart of the Sunrise" is the perfect Yes song. Emotional, high-pitched vocals by Jon, dynamic drumming by Bill, explosive bass by Chris, Steve's incredible guitars, and the very classical influenced keyboards by the master Rick. Not much to say about this one.

Overall, I think of Fragile not as a "conceptual" album but something very similar. It takes you to another world, full of colors, textures and fantastic landscapes. The green fields and mountains of Roundabout, the blue sky of "We have" and "South side", the undescribible journeys of "long distance", the deep underwaters of "The Fish", the mediterranean shores of "mood for a day", the golden dawns of "heart of the sunrise", etc etc.

Giving it less than 5 stars would mean that it may lack something, and I don't think it does. The including of solos between the main tracks doesn't bothers me, they are just fantastic.

Not necessarily their best, but one of them.

Report this review (#97335)
Posted Monday, November 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Fragile was not only the first Yes album I owned but the first "classic 70's prog" album I bought altogether.

This record is really, really good, great at times, even marvelous at moments. But there's a problem to be found: of the nine tracks that make Fragile, 5 are insipid, showing-off little pieces carved by each one of the YES men, that don't even reach their goal of really showing off their performing capabilities. The remainder of the album is of the highest quality, but we have to say it: when one listens to the whole album from start to end, it feels somewhat incomplete, fractured, broken. And we have to say thanks for that to the five "personal ideas" recorded in between good songs.

Roundabout (10/10) , The most popular YES song, for me is the best YES song ever. This track exudes energy, adrenaline in a way unknown in most of music. The incredible bass line by Squire is a thing for the ages in its driving power, its blood-pumpin' force. From the beginning this song is a prog-rock fan's dream. Howe's acoostic guitar suddenly turns into the demonic main verse. Squire bass line: perfection. Anderson nails it flawlessly at singing this marvelous song. Wakeman's playing is suberb, too. The middle part, with a heavy rhythm, makes for a nice, precise interlude, a moment of rest from all the demonic energy. The sound fades into the acoustic introduction by Howe over twirling keyboard arpeggios. Anderson sings so quietly. The tension builds up again, and finally, like a breath of fresh air, the energy appears to be trying to come back, a little solo, a crescendo, and the main verse strikes back with all its perfection.

Cans And Brahms (5/10) What's the point? I don't know. Did Wakeman try to show us how good a keyboard player he was? Well, the piece is pretty simple. Did he try to show us what a masterful musician he is, being able to adapt Johannes Brahms's Fourth Symphony's third movement? Not really, for his adaptation sounds poor, the master from Hamburg would have collapsed hearing this. Useless.

We Have Heaven (5/10) Now it's time for Jon Anderson to blind us with his light. A simple melodic line sung over percussion, more vocals and acoustic guitar. Poor.

South Side Of The Sky (8.5/10) Now we're talking again. The main theme gets repeated too much, but besides that, the song is pretty good. The interlude with the piano is really good.

Five Percent For Nothing (5/10) Bill Brufford's turn to dazzle us. He actually was going to do it, his idea was not bad, but it ends almost as soon as it starts. Too short. What could've been a good showing-off track ended up being a joke.

Long Distance Runaround (8/10), this song is very good, but not great. It's just too bland. But Anderson's performance here stands out, The song ends suddenly, abruptly, that hurts it even further.

The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) (6/10), another one of the "personal ideas". Squire once again proves his skills. The piece in itself is nothing to write home about but the sounds Squire produces with his bass show his ability. Decent, nothing more.

Mood For A Day (6/10), the best "personal idea". It's nothing amazing but it's a pretty little acoustic guitar track. Very melodic, intimate, peaceful. Heart Of The Sunrise (9.5/10) The beginning is perfect, virtuosic, ambiguous, the bass line plays with us. Brufford grooves like a master. Wakeman provides ethereal harmonies, Howe slowly but surely makes his reapperance, and the hurricane-like figure emerges with all its power. Anderson says present with great vocals over very quiet guitar; the bass takes the guitar's place, then the keys; Anderson suddenly raises his voice; another twirling figure in keyboards, guitar and bass show us YES' art. Near the end of the track, a weird sounding vocal part somewhat damages the song, but not much.

This album, with just the four proper songs and maybe Howe's instrumental could've rivaled Close to The Edge and Relayer as YES' best album ever. But it's ultimately a flawed masterpiece, worthy of 4 stars.

Report this review (#99456)
Posted Saturday, November 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fragile is the first Yes album to feature keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman. It also stands as their heaviest and most metallic disc. Fragile took the momentum gained from Steve Howe's induction on the previous outing The Yes Album and propelled it forward into one of the greatest prog albums of all time. Fragile consists of five songs written by and featuring one member of the band. The other four songs are group collaborations.

Roundabout opens the album with its lush keyboards before Chris Squire's immortal bassline enters. This is Yes' most popular song and it's one of their best. Rick Wakeman comes prepared to play with his great solo

Cans and Brahms is Wakeman's solo piece. He adapted Brahms for keyboard. This is definite filler, and one expects more from Wakeman.

We Have Heaven flirts with filler, but it is enjoyable, just pointless.

South Side of the Sky makes up for the stumble with its woven guitar and vocal lines and its ethereal jazziness.

Five Percent For Nothing is Bill Bruford's solo piece, and it's the first thoroughly enjoyable solo song. The problem is that it's over in the blink of an eye. If only he'd lengthened it.

Long Distance Runaround is the next group work. It starts strong and heavy, later the volume drops for a moment, then comes roaring back louder than before. Terrific.

The Fish is Chris Squire's solo contribution. He overdubs varying bass parts almost like a bass Brian May (Queen). It serves as a great display of his talents.

Mood For a Day is a classical guitar interlude courtesy of Steve. This track shows just how good Steve is at his job.

Heart of the Sunrise is the album's closer, and what a high note to end on. The song pummels from the get-go with its thunderous bass and frantic guitar, before dropping into celestial keys, only to come back with the riff, similar to Long Distance Runaround. Jon's vocals are stunning, if "SHARP-DISTANCE" doesn't make the hairs on your neck stand up, you're dead inside.

As a whole, Fragile is an incredible work of art with only one, maybe two, filler tracks. This is an excellent starting point for newbies to Yes. The presence of filler prevents it from being a full five star, but it comes darn close. I wish we could give half stars

Grade: B+

Report this review (#100512)
Posted Sunday, November 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars With the addition of Wakeman to the band, Yes were ready to tackle a new masterpeice. They had gained popularity with their last album, The Yes Album, and were now moving onto bigger things.

The epic artwork on the front adds to the magic of the music contained within. the four group collaborations are the highlights, Roundabout (ech, much to overrated, but great!), Heart of the Sunrise, a pounding 10 minute epic, South Side of the Sky, a mystic rocker inspired by the discovery channel, where a young, stoned Jon Anderson had been watching a documentary on arctic explorers. (True story!) Long distance Runaround is a nice song with meaningful lyrics and sound arrangements.

The solo works are a bit less pwnage, but hold their own. Five Percent for Nothing is a short but enjoyable drum track, I seem to be the only one who enjoys Cans and Brahms, We Have Heaven is a satisfying mesh of anderson vocals, The Fish really shines live, and Mood for a Day is one of the most beautiful spanish guitar peices I've heard!

This is an excellent album, a good starting point for a Yes newb.

Report this review (#101436)
Posted Saturday, December 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a masterpiece too, because inside you can find Roundabout, South side of the Sky, Long distance runaround, Heart of the Sunrise, and The Fish, Mood for a Day, Cans and Brahms, We have heaven and Five percent for nothing. It is not enough? You can hear it every day, and avery day. Is a well compensated album. Perfect performance, good lyrics, and a very large etc.
Report this review (#103699)
Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes' Masterpiece!

As I have noted in other reviews of mine that I've written recently, I've been going on a spiritual rediscovering of some prog greats that failed to impress me the first few times around. Well, actually, during this time, I discovered not just some good albums, but a band! I realized that Yes was not just a bunch of virtuosos, but a band capable of writing music that sounds great. I also came to enjoy Jon Anderson's cryptic lyrics. This last month or so has been particularly good for prog, as I have discovered two masterpiece albums (Fragile and Trespass), and a multitude of albums I'd rate anywhere between very good and excellent.

Fragile features Rick Wakeman on keyboards (formerly of the Strawbs). It consists of two types of songs. There are three "major" compositions, Roundabout, South Side of the Sky, and Heart of the Sunrise, that really carry the album. In between these are "minor" solo tracks meant to showcase each of the bandmembers' talents. I put major and minor in quotes because the so called minor tracks are equally as important (and almost as good) as the longer tracks. The longer tracks are generally fast and aggressive, but still with beauty, and the shorter tracks are simply all over the place, ranging from classical piano to Jon Anderson vocal exercises. And it all comes together perfectly to create a masterpiece album.

The album opens with Roundabout, which was, surprisingly, a huge hit when the album came out. Who knew the public could like head on collisions with prog. The song itself begins the short buildup to the ping, and then jumps in. The lyrics and vocals are wonderful, the drums and bass form a great rythm section, and the keyboards really set the stage, even in the background. The guitar in the foreground with the vocals is also really nice, and this is one of Yes' best tracks. Around five minutes in, the song slows down majestically, and is really beautiful, before picking up to a section similar to the beginning for the ending. This transition begins with an amazing and great-sounding keyboard solo by Rick Wakeman (second only to the keyboard solo in Close to the Edge). The guitar comes in and makes everything even better, and this song is simply bursting with energy. What a great way to open the album. I will admit it took me a while to get into it, but I must also admit that almost all truly excellent progressive rock takes a while to grow on me.

Next come a few solo pieces, first Cans and Brahms. This is Rick Wakeman's take on a classical piano piece, and it is very nice. Before I discuss it further, though, I must say a few words about these "filler" tracks. Here's what I have to say: they are in no way, shape, or form even at all related to filler. They are an ability for you to gaze behind the scenes, so to speak, as to all the factors that come together in creating songs like Roundabout or Close to the Edge. You get to see just how everyone contributes, and I relish the oppurtunity. And, not only that, they sound good and carry the mood of the album. In all honesty, they are needed to seperate Roundabout, South Side of the Sky, and Heart of the Sunrise, to give the listener some room to breath without sacrificing musical quality in the slightest.

Well, now that I've ranted on why the "filler" is essential to the album, I'll talk about it a bit. I've already discussed Rick Wakeman's piece, a wonderful bit of great piano playing. Jon Anderson's solo piece comes next, basically consisting of him singing on top of himself, with some inconsequential (but nice) music in the background. Called We Have Heaven, it's about announcing to the world that the Messiah has come, and that we have heaven. This is probably my favorite solo piece on the album, and the band thought so, too, or at least it would seem that way (you'll find out why a bit later).

The second major track on the album is next. South Side of the Sky is my second favorite song on the album, but I adore all three long tracks. One thing I do know is that people often focus on just the first and last tracks, and overlook this one, which is really too bad. Like Roundabout, it is full of energy, in fact, I'd say it has even more. The drums are incredible, the guitar really carries the song, the bass is omnipresent, the keyboards are Rick Wakeman (which is a synonym for Godly), but what really carries this track are Anderson's vocals and lyrics, which are some of his best. The melodies he creates are simply incredible. Now, the first few listens, it may seem like this track is throwing way too much at you at once, and it can be quite overwhelming (it was definitely so for me), but giving it time will guarantee that it will grow on you. There's a very nice piano and la-la-la dominated section in the middle of the song that tones it down a bit so as not to leave you cowering in your seat, and this is surrounded by the beginning theme, which is also the closing theme, and it is that makes this song probably my third favorite Yes song and among my top 25 songs (which, now that I own close on 1500 songs, is quite an accomplishment).

Well, that track will leave you gasping for air, so it's time for some more solo pieces. First is Five Percent For Nothing, which is apparently about some guy who was making five percent of the profits of the album sales without lifting a hand. It is a short instrumental showcasing Bill Bruford's excellent drumming, and while the first few times through it may seem like it doesn't do anything and ends too soon, the beauty of it is realized with time.

Actually, the next song, Long Distance Runaround, is a group effort, just a short one that feels, and this may sound odd, but it sounds like a group solo piece. What I mean is, it is feels like a solo piece, but with major contributions from everyone. It's actually quite enchanting with some absolutely gorgeous vocals by Jon Anderson. Everything else is excellent, but it's the vocals that make this a standout track. It ends a bit abruptly, but it's still incredible, and flows right into Chris Squire's solo piece.

The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) is a short track showcasing Squire's abilities on the bass. Drums and guitars form the rythm section here, and the bass takes the guitar's normal spot, leading the way across this span or musical fertility. There is some chanting that I haven't figured out yet whether it is real words or gibberish (I think it's real words that I just can't make out), but they are inconsequential. It's all about the bass! Next is Mood For a Day, Steve Howes "I'm good at guitar" piece, and, let's face it, he is good at guitar. In terms of the solo pieces, I'd say this is the weakest, but it's by no means bad. There are a lot of good ideas in here, but they never seem to completely pull themselves together to create a better whole.

Last is the final group effort on the album (and the final song on the album), Heart of the Sunrise. Now, you can have your music where the bands (usually metal) play fast for the sake of playing fast and being able to say, "hey, guess what, I can play fast. No really, I can play fast. There may not be artistic merit to it, but I tell you I can play FAST!" Or, you can have your song where the band plays fast in order to create music that is both fast and artistic. And that is what Yes does in Heart of the Sunrise, widely regarded as the best song on this album. The opening is incredibly fast, and better than any fast metal music out there, and then they give you a bit of a breather with some lovely bass work, and then it's back to being fast. In the fast parts, the guitar and drums make an awesome tandem, teaming up to stick to ballads that move at a snail's pace, or bands where the drummers play the same thing over, and over, and over, and over, and over again, which adds nothing to the song and serves only to make you wonder, "well, why the hell are the drums there if no one's going to treat them like an instrument capable of making good music?" But no, here, the drums are not those wimpy drums that govern pop. These are the drums of the strong. Also characterizing this song are excellent vocals and lyrics by Anderson, backed by some fine, fine music that never fails to amaze. Everyone contributes their best to this song for all 11 minutes, and it is truly spectacular. I would have to rate this as the very best Yes song from any album (yes, better even than Close to the Edge). Every second of it is worthwhile and a joy to listen to. Now, if you haven't forgotten over the course of this long review (if you have forgotten, I forgive you as, even by my standards, this is a long review), I once talked about how Jon Anderson's solo piece must have been the favorite of the band. Well, here's why. At the end of this song, for the last minute or so, you get a surprise track almost, a reprise of We Have Heaven that closes the album off in style.

Well, other than the good but not great Mood for a Day, every song on this album is a real winner, and Heart of the Sunrise is the best they've done. Ever. Fragile introduces Rick Wakeman to the world of truly famous prog, and it stands as Yes' best album, and one of the few albums that strikes me as a masterpiece. Every moment on here is timeless, as seen by how, even today, Fragile is regarded as one of the very best progressive rock albums ever written. And for good reason. You cannot go wrong with this album. You get both some of the best music out there and a behind the scenes look at the band without any sacrifice in quality, or, as some like to foolishly put it, filler.


Report this review (#104437)
Posted Monday, December 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here we are, finally ! One of the best line-up of all time for Yes. The opener "Roudabout" is one of their best track ever (still very popular during their live performances). I discovered it first from YesSongs. I must admit that this studio version tops any live ones I know (and I know an awfull lot of it, believe me). "Cans & brams" is probably there to highlight Rick's classical abilities (I guess). This is really not essential at all and only last for 1'42". "We are Heaven" is equally short and could have been avoided as well. Bizarrely, the text track "South Side of the Sky" is not well known in their repertoire (few live performances) but is wonderful: beautifull voice / piano harmonies and it lasts for about eight minutes. One of the highlights on this album. The studio version for "Long Distance Runaround" only lasts for 3'30". During their concerts, it will dramatically lasts longer (probably too long IMO) and be combined with the next track "The Fish" (nickname for Chris, which will influence the great prog rock singer "Fish", but that's another MarillionStory). "Mood for a Day" was (I guess) Steve's response to Rick : a classical guitar solo which is still played during YesConcerts more than thirty years after its release. Although it shows his virtuosity, it is not a standard YesClassic piece (only a solo effort from a very skilled musician). The closing number "Heart of the Sunrise" is of course gigantic : violent intro (which is repeated several times during this lenghty track), melodious and catchy with Jon's vibrant vocals, this track is an absolute masterpiece (although it might be irritating for some people - but not me). It is one of my all time YesFave. The expanded version of the album includes the Simon & Garfunkel classic "America" but revisisted and in its full, extended lenght. This is a devastating version. An orgy of keys and brilliant guitar play. This YesVersion has really nothing to do with the original and indicates how a good cover version can be superior to the original. It is a brilliant YesInterpretation. I think that the only cover that could be on par with this one is "With A Little Help From My Friend" from Joe Cocker (specially its Woodstock rendition). The expanded version is really worth. Thank you guys ! Four stars.
Report this review (#105073)
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Fragile" is YES's first really progressive studio album. It also introduces keyboardist Rick Wakeman. The record is unequal, as it consists in three mini epic pieces with shorter various fillers inserted between them.

It starts well with the classic "Roundabout" and its pretty acoustic guitar introduction. Then the melody takes you directly to fantastic magic places... good solos alternating with sometimes poppish passages. The listener is in an imaginative world... But then the disc tends to degenerate. "Can and Brahms" is a little reinterpretation of BRAHM's fourth Symphony by Wakeman. "We Have Heaven" sounds a bit cacophonic and is nearly irritating. "South Side of the Sky" has pleasant passages, electric guitar and catchy piano playing, but has too many changes in vocals, making the song chaotic sometimes. "Five per Cent for Nothing" is a short jazz-rock transition which has little to do here. Long Distance Runaround starts with an interesting vocal theme but fails to take off. "The Fish" is an ok kind of ambient-improvised guitar piece. Maybe the best transition of the album. "Mood for a Day" is an enjoyable intrumental acoustic guitar track with some spanish accents. The record finishes with the nice "Heart of the Sunrise", with its agressive guitar riff reminiscent of Led Zeppelin and a mellotron which makes the prog fan wonders whether he listens to a KING CRIMSON or a YES tune. This track is very efficient and catchy.

FRAGILE is the first convincing effort from YES, although a bit overrrated. "Roundabout" and "Heart of the Sunrise" are true pieces of "fantasy prog", but the middle of the album is quite unequal.

Report this review (#108240)
Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars First of all, to me Fragile is made up of only four true songs and everything else is either A: a solo spot for a musician which really isn't necessary on a studio CD or a unfinished idea. Though most of these are nice and pretty, they don't really add up to a masterpiece. But when I listen to the CD a lot of the songs get skipped. The songs remaining however are CLASSIC.

The first important so is Roundabout. It is a very catchy song with some amazing musicianship, mostly by Rick Wakeman. The keyboard/guitar solo at the end is definitely the highlight for me, but really there is no low point.

The next important song is South Side Of The Sky. This song is the most foretelling of their future albums. The bridge section represents the beginnings of the chaos that would show up more prominently in Topographic Oceans and most of all, Relayer.

Long Distance Runaround and Heart Of The Sunrise are quite possibly the best rhythm section performances ever recorded. Bill Bruford and Chris Squire really are locked into together perfectly. They sound at times like one person on two instruments. Really marvelous. And John Anderson delivers one of his best performances on Heart of the Sunrise, along with Steve Howe.

Those four songs make this album a masterpiece. Unfortunately the remaining five, while good, don't live up to the description of masterpiece.

Report this review (#109379)
Posted Monday, January 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The opening song 'Roundabout', and that of claustration ' Heart of the sunrise ', are sendos classic of the digest of the band, examples of the diverse melodic resources, cadences and textures that it was this quintet capable of using. The same thing applies to itself ' South side of the sky ', whose traffic from a passage of hard rock up to one coral on a delicate motive jazzero, passing for a brief interval of romantic cut in the piano (adorned partially for a few BRUFORD's exquisitely amazing rolls), he is the whole model of fluency and creative brilliancy. It is a fact: YES is a mature band, and knows what wants with a major conviction that never. The group is useful to give free rein to certain individual ideas on behalf of each of the five, translated in interludes, in the middle of the songs properly of the group - the most popular of these interludes has passed to be the alone one of Spanish guitar ' Mood for to day ', certainly at the expense of HOWE, and ' The fish ', a SQUIRE's implacable tour-de-force in multiple sequences of bass guitar. One of the maximum jewels of the history of the progressive rock
Report this review (#110351)
Posted Thursday, February 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes is one of my beloved rock orchestras, together with genesis, rush, vdgg... There is something special in their music. In addition to their originality, musical mastership and imagination, feeling, it is as well unceasing metamorphosis and evolution. I mean, that they have never repeated themselves, they try always to search for new pathways. And they are successfull in this effort. It is perhaps because they are all very inovative musicians, and furthermore, there always has been a quite high turnover in the group, thus each one brought something new to the orchestra. Such a pallete of various musical colors and ideas is very nicely visible/hearable in Fragile. There are songs here made by individual members (Cans And Brahms, We Have Heaven, Five Percent For Nothing,The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus), Mood For A Day), and colective compositions as well. This makes the album very heterogenous, yet compact. I like just the short songs of the members much more, especially the fish. By virtue of these small pearls is this album a masterpiece.

Report this review (#113841)
Posted Wednesday, February 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Truly essential

Yes is one of the most identifiable and prolific progressive rock bands of not just the 70s, but of all of modern music. Fragile could very well be their most known release, and is certainly one of the best done. It achieves an excellent balance of lengthy epics and short feature tracks, on for each member. The band was at a musical peak at this time, culminating in "Close to the Edge." However, this album is in a similar vein musically, and contains as much melodic and musical charm as its successor. This album showed the band for the tour-de-force of music that they truly were, expanding their sounds by leaps and bounds. The album derives the majority of its majesty from the lengthy tracks. These songs all develop in to perfectly orchestrated tracks, and are probably amongst the most memorable in the bands 30-something year catalouge. "Roundabout", known by even the casual classic rock radio listener, is truly a great album opener, showing Steve Howe's mastery of the harmonic. I was well familiar with this song because as a child, my mom would play the intro every time she got her hands on a guitar. "South Side of the Sky" is probably my favorite track on the album. The instruments all flow together creating a masterpiece of the utmost connection. All instruments stand out, but none overpower, which is a perfect balance. The band achieves this so often on the album, it makes it seem so easy. Anotehr song where that exists is "Heart of the Sunrise," a timeless track that is a prime example of the music the band was making. Each member played their hearts out on this album, and the best evidence is in what I call, the "feature" tracks. Not a single one can be considered "weak." Each one is enjoyable in its own right, contributing cohesiveness to the album. For example, the songs from "Five Per Cent for Nothing" to "Mood for a Day" all sound very well linked, and is perfect for a person seeking connection within the albums. This album is almost a perfect jumping point in to the world of prog for any beginner, and should be in every self-respecting prog fan's collection. It has the perfect melodic mix of well-blended instruments forming a sound rarely duplicated or topped. It is a masterpiece, and a highly accessible one at that. For people looking to find that album that displays everything right with the genre, but wanting to test the waters before diving in, this is the perfect album for that person. If not, I'd recommend this album anyway, its charm is hard to escape from, and once it has you, you'll be humming along all day

Report this review (#114442)
Posted Wednesday, March 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I find Fragile to be slightly overated. The Heart of the Sunsrise isn't even really their own song, it's just a "Copy" of 21st Century schizoid man, a King Crimson song. It is a good song, but not their own... Roundabout and South side of the sky are the other "Real songs" of the album. Both are good songs, especially the first. The rest of the album is a collection of "Solo works" by the band members. The standout of these compositions is "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" the Chris Squire penned song that has all it's melodies playd by bass (I think). Rest of the songs are just good, no bad ones, but not great ones either. Summed up, Fragile is good album that all Yes fans have to own, but it's is slightly overated and a bit hmm... Who do you say it? Well the album as a whole is a bit uneven.
Report this review (#116253)
Posted Saturday, March 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Fragile", released in November, 1971 in the United Kingdom, is a seminal Symphonic Progressive Rock album. It is also a critical album of the early 1970's, spurring Rock on to become something more than pop music. Composed of nine amazing tracks ranging from experimental to classical, "Fragile" is a pure achievement of Symphonic Prog.

I. "Roundabout": One of Yes' greatest albums begins with a reversed chord. This tense, singular crescendo falls into a beautiful classical guitar piece. The soft guitar, in turn, leads to an explosion of bass guitar and drums. A perfect segue from peace to action crafts the background groove for Anderson to come in with his trademark double-channel vocals. The rhythm section, here including Howe's precise classical guitar, takes a back seat to the new addition, Rick Wakeman, and his keyboard playing. His masterful classically-inspired arpeggios on the Hammond organ set the mood in this anthemic piece. Added to the mix is a moog synthesizer and mellotron flute bank. The greatest point, besides the keyboard playing, is Chris Squire's signature growling, treble-heavy Rickenbacker bass guitar from 1969. A beautiful track, and one worthy of the recognition it has recieved over the years.

II. "Cans and Brahms": The first commissioned solo piece on "Fragile" is an excellent mix of Baroque and Classical technique. Wakeman's transcription of a section ofJohannes Brahms' third symphony isn't exactly a revolutionary arrangement, but his liberal use of the RMI Electra-piano is beautiful and the entire piece eminates a melodic aura.

III. "We Have Heaven": I absolutely love this piece of music, as it almost comes off as ridiculous in its 'fun' experimentation. Anderson's solo piece consists of echoed and double-tracked repetitions. It is not technically important or amazing, but it lends an interesting atmosphere of thought and imagination at what the "Moon Dog" is.

IV. "South Side of the Sky": When the previous piece fades into oblivion, this amazing and truly Symphonic piece opens with the sound of desolate silence. Out of nowhere, as in "Roundabout", an explosion occurs and Bruford's amazing drumming opens. Squire's aggressive bass guitar immediately joins to complete the rhythm section, and Wakeman's distant organ creates this amazing trio. Anderson's vocalizations are intense and powerful, speaking of journies, death, the past, and the future. One of the best grand piano solos of Yes' time as musicians flares up after two minutes, and Squire's bass picks up with the drums, in one of the better mood-change segues of Symphonic Prog's history. The piano takes the song from desolate and lonely to hopeful, all the while playing fiercely jazz and classical inspired music. As the piano fades into oblivion, the opening theme is re-introdued. Howe's violent electric guitar fills the void left by the death of Wakeman's piano, and is some of the best playing I've ever heard. One of the best pieces of music ever made by Yes.

V. "Five Per Cent for Nothing": Bruford's signature solo track, which has earned animosity since 1971 as a piece of blatant filler. Thirty-seven seconds of odd percussive noises, generated entirely by Bruford (except for a brief organ part of 2-3 seconds), sets up the piece, and then die. Considering each member recieved a 37% bonus on anything they made, Bruford consciously composed a joke. Seemingly pointless as it is, it adds quirkiness and humour.

VI. "Long Distance Runaround": A guitar and Electra-piano play together for a few seconds, and then the bass guitar and powerful drums enter. That is the essence of this piece, which is in actuality very skilfully played. A melodic groove works very will in forcing the listener to move around. Anderson reminisces about choices two people made in the past, the "Long Distance Runaround" being a metaphor for some process or event that happened. A loose jam evolves in the latter portion of the song, with drums, guitar, Electra-piano, and especially bass guitar doing a fair amount of cohesive work. Once Anderson finishes up, this quasi-memorable track fades into one of Yes' most memorable....

VII. "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)": One of this reviewer's favourite instrumentals, consisting of simple drums and Chris Squire's distorted bass guitar. Some liberal use of delay and distortion pedals lend a very quirky and conceptual feeling. The piece acts a visual; it is easy to see a fish frantically swimming about in a pond or under some vast ocean. Chris Squire's wah-wah tinged bass, along with a descending delayed bass attack, make up one of the most powerful anthems of a Yes composition.

VIII. "Mood for a Day": Without a single doubt the best recording present on "Fragile". Steve Howe's lone guitar is the ultimate mood piece, likely the reason for the name. Obviously influenced by the great classical master Andres Segovia, Howe aims for a masterful tinge of baroque technicality that is unrivalled in progressive rock. Only Steve Hackett of Genesis and Segovia himself could rival such beautiful solo classical guitar as this. It is perhaps reminscent of flamenco guitar, simply without the percussion; in the end, Howe's riffs, arpeggios, and concluding notes are perfectly played.

IX. "Heart of the Sunrise": Along with "Roundabout" and "South Side of the Sky", this is the seminal piece of progressive music on Yes' "Fragile". A massive introduction, consisting of Bruford's mighty jazz drumming, Squire's intensely fast bass guitar playing, and Wakeman's disturbing organ. After a brief prelude of what could pass as Progressive Metal, Rick Wakeman introduces the mellotron. One cannot accurately describe the heavenly sound introduced by this machine, and it makes this piece what it is: pure symphonic beauty. After a short interlude with waves of mellotron, the prelude's theme returns: drumming, bass, and now electric guitar are violent as ever. This too dies, and Anderson makes his debut on the last track of "Fragile"; his voice is quiet and respectful, as if in mourning. Wakeman, Bruford, Howe, and Squire all work together while the vocals are on philosophical tangents about love, decisions, dreams, and the beauty of the sunrise. The moog synthesizer and piano are allowed to shine for a few moments before the conclusion, but this piece is the epitome of players working together, so there is no flashy solo. Once "Heart of the Sunrise" finds its far-reaching conclusion, the effect of all the chords and instruments playing at once is overwhelming.

On "Fragile", all five members of Yes pull together to create an ultimate fusion of classical techniques with rock music, creating some of the greatest anthems of Symphonic Progressive Rock. Overall, 'Fragile" is an essential part of the Symphonic discography, and a shining jewel in the crown of Yes.

Report this review (#116308)
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fragile is an excellent album but by no means is it perfect!

As you will have read many times before me, 'Roundabout', 'South Side of the Sky', 'Long Distance Runaround' & 'Heart of the Sunrise' are very highly regarded, whereas the "solo spots", ie 'Cans & Brahms', 'We Have Heaven', 'The Fish' & 'Five Percent for Nothing' are liked less.

I think that 'Roundabout' is an excellent song, flawless in composition and execution. 'South Side...' is also good, even though it drags a bit in the middle section. 'Long Distance...' is much more lighthearted than the rest of the songs, and I like it, very quirky and catchy. 'Heart of the Sunrise' is very good, but personally I think that the live version on "Yessongs" should be regarded as the definitive version, it just has that 'X factor' that makes it a million times better than the studio version- i can't really explain it. The rest, unfortunatly, is filler. I can't believe that people are willing to let this pass! No matter how much i like 'The Fish' (great bass instrumental) and 'Mood for a Day', I have to admit that they are both album filler; they are just more interesting than the other filler tracks. 'Five Percent..' is pointless noise, 'Cans & Brahms' sounds like an abandoned solo idea, and 'We Have Heaven' like a demo in vocal overdubbing.

So, it could never acheive 5 stars, but seeing as the filler takes up less than half of the total run time, it shouldn't be awarded less than three stars. However, because of 'Roundabout', I'm willing to round up- but beware of the filler!!

Report this review (#116941)
Posted Saturday, March 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Contraty to some reviewers here, I don't think that Fragile, as a whole, is as good as The Yes Album and Close To The Edge. Of course it has some great moments, and one of their major hits (Roundabout. During the early 70's everybody who knew Yes was mostly introduced to the band by this song). Unfortunatly the solo spots break the overall concept of the album and tend to distract from the group effords, which are much, very much, better. In fact, only Steve Howe's great acoustic piece Mood For A Day deserved to be included in the album at all, since it is so good it is the only one that survived the test of time. I supposed the rest of the solo tracks were a novelty at the time. But in retrospetive it did no good for the LP.

The group tracks, on the other side, are only classic stuff. And I must agree with reviewers that claim South Side Of The Sky is an very underrated track. The song is simply beautiful and easily one of their best. I loved it since the very first day I heard and the middle section is specially inspired, bringing up some of Wakeman's best piano solo and Anderson, Squire and Howe do their greatest vocal harmony up to then. No need to go to every track, since they are all classics and every fan know them by heart.

A classic album and a must have for any prog fan, indeed. But it could be better if they just the formula used on TYA and CTTE. The group is better than the sum of its parts. Fragile proved that. Yet, a classic.

Report this review (#117670)
Posted Sunday, April 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I became enamored with this record nearly 35 years ago and I literally wore out my first copy and had to buy a second. It should go without saying that this is one of THE MOST important recordings of the prog-rock genre and it may very well be Yes' best record. No other Yes album features such tight grooves and unison lines played at dizzying speeds. Fragile is prog rock's answer to jazz-fusion snobs who claim that the genre lacks virtuosic musicianship.

As GREAT, and unprecedented, as this album may be it does suffer from some serious flaws that without them would have made this album even better!

The small pieces showcasing the individual artist's solo work and their skills at classical interpretation and/or composition are superfluous. These were probably included to show critics and fans that Yes were SERIOUS musicians; or to help sell subsequent solo efforts. Well, whatever the case, they didn't have to do any of that to prove to anyone with two good ears that they were the real deal! Their egos got the best of them and they littered an otherwise PERFECT recording with unnecessary doodling. What a shame. This is not to say that Mood for a Day is bad; it's great and IMO the only solo piece that merits any space on this record(I'm an ardent RW fan, but the Cans And Brahms piece is ridiculous).

That being said, if I had been the producer of this record(ah, Mr. Eddie Offord, please let me fantasize for a few minutes, will ya?!) I would have taken all of the smaller, individual ideas from the ego massaging pieces and used them to extend Long Distance Runaround to the 8-12 minute mark. The track really grooves with Steve's quasi-jazz guitar and the tight rhythm section put down by Chris and Bill. It's a solid piece, no doubt, but way under-developed. LDR could have easily been extended to include solos by each member, hence satisfying their individual thirst for the limelight.

There are, in essence, five meaningful pieces on this record(including MFAD). If the record would have kept to these five(with an extension of LDR), IMO, Fragile would have been the crowning glory of prog rock and today may be considered the very best the genre has to offer. Unfortunately, it suffers greatly from the addition of the the "lesser" pieces.

--------------------------------------------- If I would have produced the record: --------------------------------------------- 1. Roundabout (8:29) 2. South Side Of The Sky (8:04) 3. Long Distance Runaround (3:33) <---extend to 8-12 minutes, Mr Offord ? Please! 4. Mood For A Day (3:57) <----- optional in a Yes album, OK for a solo Howe effort 5. Heart Of The Sunrise (10:34)

A note for the bass players out there: This record features some of the VERY BEST bass playing you will ever hear. Chris Squire rips the Rick to shreds on Fragile! He plays hard, fast and precise...and sweet when called to do so. Amazing, amazing work by Chris!!!

Report this review (#117732)
Posted Monday, April 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't see what everyone has against the solo pieces on this album. Sure, they aren't as good as the songs with the whole band, but that does not mean they take away anything from the album. In fact, they act as an interesting buffer between the lengthy pieces on the album.

Roundabout is one of Yes's most poplular songs for a reason. The song is amazing. It has an excelent intro feature Steve Howe on guitar and then rips into the main part of the songs. This song has one of the coolest bass lines ever created. Kudos to Chris Squire for that one.

Cans and Brahms is the first solo piece on the album which features Rick Wakeman keyboards. He does his version of brahms work entirely on keyboards. THe song is a decent listen even though it seems a little out of place on the album

We have heaven is Jon Anderson's solo song on the album. it features him singing a many layered vocal part over simple acoustic guitar and drums parts. It is a perfectly good song.

South Side of the Sky returns to the whole band playing a Yes classic. The first part of the song is driven by some great guitar lines by Steve Howe. The it breaks into a quite middle section with some great Wakeman piano parts and vocal work. At the end the original theme returns to close the song off with a bang.

Five Percent for Nothing shows Bill Bruford flashing his jazz abilities and odd time signature work which would come out heavily in his work with King Crimson.

Long Distance runaround is possible the song with the best pop sesibility on the album, but it still feature some great work by the band, particurily the rhythim section. This song connects with Chris Squire's solo piece The Fish (whatever that says) which shows off Chris Squire's ability to come up wth cool base sounds.

Steve Howe's solo piece is clearly the best on the album. Following the Clap from the last album this is another classical guitar that is twice as beautiful as the Clap ever was. This is far better also than Steve Hacket's similar piece Horizons.

The album closes with the pure brilliance of Heart of the Sunrise. The song opens with a driving base and guitar riff that breaks a quiter part featuring the drums of Bruford and base of Squire. After a repeat of the opening riff the Jon Anderson comes in with very beautiful vocal part. After this the song goes back and forth between several themes it comes to a climax and close. At the end there is a repeat of We Have Heaven which closes the album. If I could only have one song on a desert Island this would be it.

Report this review (#118081)
Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Though undeniably a classic album, certainly not their best work by any means. With only 4 strong tracks ("Roundabaout", "Long Distance Runaround", "Mood For A Day", "Heart of the Sunrise") it is difficult to make a case for this as an essential prog album.

Of course I recognize the historical importance of Yes (and even this album to a small degree), I find over half of this album unlistenable. As indicated in the remastered version's liner notes, this album was recorded by the band as a means to pay for all of Wakeman's equipment. The puzzling inclusion of a lot of weak material is a direct result of that, I suppose.

If you're looking to get into Yes, go with "Close to the Edge" or "Relayer". You can secure the few good songs from "Fragile" by picking up one of the many 'best of' compilations of Yes out there.

Report this review (#118112)
Posted Thursday, April 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fragile is the first Yes album with the classic (or one of the classic!) line-up: Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman and Bill Bruford.

Wow, these names all together, trying to do their best in their early years, can only result in masterpieces. Fragile combines both "group" long tracks (Roundabout, South Side of the Sky, Heart of the Sunrise) and "group" shorter tracks (e.g. Long Distance Runaround). In addition, each member contributes with a solo piece.

I can just say all long tracks are excellent ones. In addition, each solo or short track contributes interestingly to the whole album (by the way, I love the 'five percent for nothing' which some people seem to dislike).

Fragile explores many new concepts. It is a truely progressive rock album. A great demonstration of technical ability and creativity, which can produce so many different textures and feelings.

To me, it deserves five stars.

Report this review (#119907)
Posted Thursday, April 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars And with Fragile the ship departs for the land of Roger Dean's imagination...

This is an interesting and quite good album which builds on the successes of The Yes Album. It is arranged as a series of mini songs showcasing the individuals members bookended between two stellar Yes classics, Roundabout and Heart of the Sunrise, both which would be concert staples for decades. Roundabout is a near perfect rock song that for many kids was their first experience with Yes as it got big radio play.

Of the mini songs the most notable for me was Mood For A Day. This is the type of piece along with the similar acoustic passages of Topographic that make Steve Howe one of my favorite guitar players. Completely meloncholic and beautiful classically tinged flavors. My only regret is that Mood was not expanded into a much longer instrumental piece.

It is also important that this album began perhaps the most successful marriage ever between a band and an artist. Roger Dean did not just design cool album covers for Yes, he literally created a world that gave the Yes listener a visual possibility for the stories they were being told. Some people don't believe album art should matter and I would agree that good art cannot rescue poor music. But when the art adds to the experience in such a direct and pleasing manner as Dean's does, it certainly doesn't hurt. 3.75 stars.

Report this review (#121584)
Posted Thursday, May 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Among Yes' classic albums, FRAGILE has always been the one I liked least. The main reason is I first got to know the band's other masterpieces. After the grandeur of CLOSE TO THE EDGE, RELAYER, YES ALBUM and (parts of) TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS, tracks such as "Roundabout", "We Have Heaven" and "Long Distance Runaround" seemed silly and superficial. Even "Heart of the Sunrise" sounded like a fairly crude cut-and-paste job. (To make things worse, I first got acquainted with that song's live version on YESSONGS, where the band are in full flight and their performance is much 'heavier' than the studio version.)

Nowadays, I still don't play FRAGILE in its entirety, but the latest re-master (as of June, 2007) has mellowed my attitude. "Roundabout" now sounds clearer, crisper and more exciting than it ever did on a record player. With Chris Squire's Rickenbacker well to the fore, it's easy to understand why this tune helped the band conquer the United States. "Mood for a Day", Steve Howe's acoustic solo piece, sounds really friendly and charming, while "Cans and Brahms", Rick Wakeman's keyboard adaptation of a Brahms symphony movement, sounds jolly and cute. (I have always assumed the title contains some kind of pun but, not being a native speaker of English, I fail to see what it could be. If you happen to know, please send me the answer!)

For me, the album has two terrific highlights. One is the slow(ish) bass riff in "Heart of the Sunrise", which kicks in after the "Schizoid Man"-derived intro. As Wakeman's mellotron emerges, Bill Bruford uses the riff as a base for some delightful embellishments on drums. You thought drums couldn't sing? Think again.

The other highlight is "South Side of the Sky", in which all members of the band get a chance to shine. Jon Anderson's lead vocals are incredibly powerful (singing about a snowstorm helps), Rick Wakeman ALMOST tops Keith Emerson on grand piano (a shame Rick's piano sounds so tinny here), Chris Squire leads the 'wordless vocals' passage with aplomb, Bill Bruford plays those drum breaks introducing the first and final verses with inimitable mastery, and Steve Howe ends the song on a blistering guitar solo.

If you haven't bought FRAGILE yet, now is a better time than ever, as the album comes with two fascinating bonus tracks: an early mix of "Roundabout", and Yes' extended, ten-minute cover version of Paul Simon's "America", which (because of its extensive intrumental passages) is just as much fun as "Yours is no Disgrace" or "Siberian Khatru" - although not quite as original and daring as the latter.

Report this review (#124820)
Posted Wednesday, June 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fragile review number 356? Well, at least I'm number 356 to rate it. This album has been so burned into my brain that I'd lost interest in it. Still, I decided to go for the re-master. This marks just my third copy. I have a LP with a slightly worn cover and pristine vinyl disc, an unremastered CD, and now this.

Since this album has been reviewed ad-nausem for content, I thought I might add my thoughts about the packaging. The original LP has of course the classic Roger Dean artwork on the cover, but the inside of the gatefold is just plain gray paper with text. The first CD version did include all the text/lyrics from the LP. But the remaster is extremely well packaged. Lots of photos of the band members. Even better is two pieces of Dean artwork (I assume) on the front and back covers of the CD booklet. Also, for the first time you get the lyrics to We Have Heaven. I honestly never knew Jon Anderson was singing "Tell the Moon-dog, tell the March-hare". To be honest, I was never sure what the hell he was singing.

As to the content, the remaster is excellent. It just arrived today and I sat down, popped on the headphones and gave it my undivided attention. After a listen on the headphones, I can't say I hear anything new. Always a pleasant surprise when that does happen. There are two bonus tracks. I'm glad to see America here, even though it sounds more like something that belongs to the Tony Kaye era than Wakeman's. I really like the mix of "solo" and ensemble pieces, particularly Wakeman's sort of demo of what the keyboards and synthesizers could do in those days. Of course the real gems on this album are the three ensemble pieces, which didn't get commercial airplay: South Side of the Sky, Long Distance Runaround, and Heart of the Sunrise. These are the epitome of what great progressive rock is all about: complex compositions, interesting and sometimes enigmatic lyrics, impeccable musicianship. The only question left is has this album become so common to no longer qualify as essential but merely excellent? I'm going to straddle the fence with a 4.5, rounds to 5.

Report this review (#125246)
Posted Saturday, June 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Second masterpiece by Yes. First album with Wakeman on keyboards. Each one of Yes' members deserves one star. They had great performances in every song. (1) "Roundabout": this song is much more than the classic introduction by Howe. I like the "rock'n'roll" parts, but the most symphonic parts are awesome. Pay attention to keyboards and vocal arrangements.***** (2) "Cans and Brahms": Wakeman tributes this piece to Brahms. I like it. It's nice. But I don't like a lot soloist pieces in band's albums.**** (3) "We have Heaven": what a great song!!! Incredible. Simple, sweet, emotional.***** (4) "South side of the sky": a strong song. The musicians show that they aren't beginners. The composition and arrangement are beatiful.***** (5) "Five percent for nothing": a short transition song. Strange and nice.**** (6) "Long distance runaround": I like a lot this song. In my opinion, this song advances some of Tormato's sonority (esthetic).***** (7) "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)": following the previous song this piece appears. It's one of most intense parts in this album.**** (8) "Mood for a day": another soloist composition. For me, it's perfect.***** (9) "Heart of sunrise": wow! an innovation for that age. This work has all climaxes: intense parts and 'peaceful' parts. Amazing bass line, keyboard's accompaniment, vocal's melodies... this song is a masterpiece.*****

Average Rate: 4.66 stars. If we consider this album was made in 1971, we have to give it 5 stars. No doubt about that.

Report this review (#125603)
Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars YES has always been held in high regard in the Progressive Rock community, ranking among the best of the best, as well as those select groups that defined the genre. The five members of the band, as well, are ranked to be masterful with their instruments of choice, giving them that leeway to progress the complexity of their sound far beyond their debut. With their third album, "The YES Album", YES' progressive sound was beginning to really take shape, but it wasn't until "Fragile" when they're true contribution to the sound of Progressive Rock was totally evident. Not only do we have here a classic of the Prog Rock genre, but also an overall Rock classic, as a whole.

In organization, the album is split into two sections: Individual solo works and group compositions. The order in which the tracks come, however, make it feel entirely like a group composition. Roundabout, South Side Of The Sky, Long Distance Runaround, and Heart Of The Sunrise make up those composed by all five members, all being excellent, while Cans and Brahms, We Have Heaven, Five Per Cent Of Nothing, The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus), and Mood For A Day make up the solo works. Regardless of who's written what song, it all sounds like Yes - it's all great. Each of the band's compositions on Fragile have become staples in their catalogue, not to mention being among the greatest Progressive Rock cuts of all time; the solo works are simply icing on the cake.

Reviewing each individual track doesn't do this album justice, so I'll hold my peace about them. Fragile is an album, not simply a collection of songs. The tracks were carefully placed - even paced - to perfect its continuity. I would highly recommend this to any rock fan, whether it be of contemporary or Classic Rock, but especially Progressive Rock fans - listen to this album; listen to it as a whole, as it was meant to be listened. It's not entirely perfect; some of the solo tracks are mere curiosities more than they are solid songs, though it doesn't hurt the entire album very much, and it would only improve from here on out. I guarantee you'll find something that meets any Rock fan's fancy on this one. If you're a fan of YES and don't have this album, you're probably lying, or blasphemous. GET IT!!!


Report this review (#125690)
Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

Where all the pieces of the puzzle finally fit!!! This is the second classic YES album where all the5 cylinders are running to the same level speedding to reach new heights creatively. YES will also break commercially with this album as the leading track ROUNDABOUT , a great JON ANDERSON/STEVE HOWE composition lead by the monstrous sound of the bass of CHRIS SQUIRE will get significant air play time and still does nowadays on classic rock stations.

This is also one of the main albums that will bring prog music to (relatively)mass consumption proving it was possible in 1971 to create new astounding ,technical and beautiful music and be successful at the same time without putting your pants down in the name of commercialism. Ah! the good old times.

You can find a few great YES classics on FRAGILE that will be stamples on their live repertoires for decades to come.Besides ROUNDABOUT , you also get the fantastic HEART OF THE SUNRISE , LONG DISTANCE RUNAROUND and the underappreciated SOUTH SIDE OF THE SKY! All all-time prog classics!

Some critics complain about the 5 mini-solo pieces from each musician including on FRAGILE. i don't think they are a letdown as they bridge perfectly between the longer pieces. They are showcasing the abilities of our 5 guys but in no way are showing off. They are just delicate pieces of music placed as a nice introduction to the ''classics'' of the album. They are a nice addition and make FRAGILE a unique great album. Hey, when on tour , THE FISH and MOOD FOR A DAY are still performed live!!

Also FRAGILE marks the entrance of ROGER DEAN whose cover art-design will add to the YES mystic and legendary status of YESmusic. I think ROGER DEAN art has a good part in the success of the band with his mysterious beautiful world drawings; not to forget the classic YES logo. I remember not being too happy when YES released GOING FOR THE ONE with no ROGER DEAN artwork, now you can imagine my face when 90125 was released!!!!!

As a pillar of any serious prog collection, even rock collection, ther is no way i can give less than 5 stars to FRAGILE. No way! An all-time classic!!

Report this review (#126660)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars This album seems to be built around 5 pieces, one dominated by each member of the group, and several full band efforts. The problem is, the individual contributions are not that interesting, and the collaborations too often sound like they were rushed into production, as if they had limited time and just had to show they could play together too. Very few are captivating although some are jam oriented enough if that is your thing.

"Roundabout" is a bit hard to evaluate anymore after almost 4 decades of overplay. I really don't ever need to hear it again but, that said, it is a good track if artificially elongated. Probably the most noteworthy individual performance is that of Squire in "The Fish", which follows very well from the weak "Long Distance Runaround". Another unappealing work in spite of its wonderful title is "Heart of the Sunrise", as it purposelessly meanders through its pastiche of abrupt riffs and vocal snippets, but it is great compared to the monumental failure "South Side of the Sky".

While it may have been groundbreaking in its day, Fragile is a non starter today unless you are committed to complexity for the sake of it. It's interesting how much better the sequel "Close to the Edge" has held up.

Report this review (#126705)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars

I never really liked Jon Anderson voice but I have to admit that the other guys behind the instruments are very good musicians. I never like that "tra-la-la" way of singing and Jon Anderson is using this kind of approach very often. I like a lot the instrumental songs like Mood for a day or Five per cent for nothing on which Stewe Howe and Chris Squire prove their talents. Every musician has his own moment on this album. For example also Rick Wakeman has his moment on South side of the sky but Jan Anderson comes again with his "tra-la-la" moment and I have the impression that the song is not complete and a little bit superficial.

The best song on this release is Heart of the sunrise which really mixed all instruments in a cohesive manner. The first part of the song is simply amazing and even Anderson's voice is different this time in way that I like it (I suppose that this song was a favorite of Anglagard because much of their work is influenced by song like this)

Report this review (#126978)
Posted Thursday, June 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars On Fragile, Rick Wakeman replaced Tony Kaye on keyboards thus completing what would be considered the "classic" lineup. Their first album together was quite an achievement. On par with the sound the band created on The Yes Album, Fragile takes it up just a notch making this a somewhat better album in my view.

The core of the album is chiefly the longer songs: Roundabout, South Side of the Sky and Heart of the Sunrise (plus the shorter Long Distance Runaround). Interspersed between these songs are shorter "solo" pieces each member contributed. Some reviewers have considered these as sub-par, and by themselves I have to agree that some of them are not really special. However, in my mind, together as a whole, they make Fragile a more cohesive work and I can't imagine the album without them. Instead of filler, they have more of a feel of bridges between the longer core songs. Squire's contribution of The Fish is more of a beautiful outro to Long Distance Runaround.

Like The Yes Album, the complex bass playing, skilled guitar work, beautiful harmonies, soaring vocals, and dynamic drum work are still present. The key addition to the overall sound is the addition of keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman. Not that Tony Kaye wasn't bad (he was quite a skilled player too), but Wakeman is about as top-notch as one can get. His name is always mentioned in at least the top-5 whenever there is a "best keyboardist" poll. He fills the Yes sound with not only his wizardry and skill, but with beautiful soundscapes as well.

Fragile is an exceptional follow-up to The Yes Album and a masterpiece on its own. Just slightly better than the band's previous masterpiece. Easily five stars, both for the music and its historical significance to this genre.

Report this review (#128335)
Posted Friday, July 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Because "Fragile" deserve 5 stars? Because is a great album. Full stop. The arrival of Rick Wakeman takes away the dryness that characterized "The Yes Album" transforming another failure masterpiece in an absolute masterpiece. In my opinion "Fragile" is good also because present songs of the group and solo inserts (great Wakeman in "Cans And Brahms" probably the highest peak of his career) they handle everything. Then, with all the emotions that broadcasts ... 5 mandatory stars!
Report this review (#129374)
Posted Friday, July 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Another line up change. Tony Kaye was replaced by Rick Wakeman and the most classic line up of the band was formed:Anderson, Howe, Wakeman, Squire, Bruford. Still, I think the previous effort was better. Rounmdabout 5 After an acoustic intro, the song gets faster and rocking (great rhytm section). Newbie Rick Wakeman also shows his skills as he plays a few marvelous and flashy passages. The song becomes a bit darker then with heavy riffs from Howe, which are followed soon by the acoustic part and then the rocking one again, where both Wakeman and Howe get some first class solos. Cans and Brahms 2 Wakeman´s solo number. Cute classicaly kinspired track, but it is still just filler. Yes we have heaven 1 A reprtitive short number with Anderson´s vocals dominating. Another filler, worse than the previous one. South side of the sky 5 A fine track, with Howe´s guitarplaying at the forefront. He plays a marvelous riff and some blazing runs, while the rhytmic (Squire and Bruford) play as marvelous as usually.. A slover, lyrical part comes with Wakeman´s solo on the piano: After some time Anderson and the rhytm section join in (perfect work by Bruford), after which the heavy part comes, with a fine solo by Howe. (even if too short). Five per cent for nothing 1 Another piece of filler (sounds a lot like Genesis on some of their heavier numbers). Long distance runaround 3.5 The motif played in unison by Wakeman and Howe is gorgeous, but overal the number is just average with not that good vocal melody. The fish (schindleria preamaturus) 1.5 The famous solo piece, after which Chris Squire got his nick. Nice, but repetitve, with only one motif and a bit of singing. Mood for a day 3 Once again Stewe Howe shows how dextrous he is on an acoustic guitar. Some of the parts are breathtaking and the number has a pleasant latino feel to it. Heart of the sunrise 5 I would call this track hard rock prog at times, as the opening features a ferocious heavy guitar attack. After that Chris Squire gets space to show off his gorgeous bass playing together with Brufford´s drumming, and Hackett joins in again with all those heavy riffs. A calmer passage follows, with a great vocal part from Anderson and subtle playing by Wakeman and the passages and moods exchange again.

Overal:27:9=3 STARS


Report this review (#130836)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The album that officially launched prog rock into mainstream radio for a couple of years with the glorious song Roundabout.Truly a great album, but with a bit too much filler/personal songs on it to b worthy of a five, but any true progger needs this album to understand the beauty that is YES.

Now I've heard many people complain that they do not like roundabout because it's too mainstream. I can only ask them, How can you say that? It's very experimental, with key changes and rythym changes, and a keyboard solo with wakeman making the organ sound like a synthesizer. Saying this is a bad song is saying Yes is a bad band, because, this is an epidomy Yes song.

Now most of the album is made of personel tunes:

Cans and Brahms: Kinda cheesy/corny, maybe some of you classical guys like it

We have heaven: Very cool and funny

Five percent for nothing: Short, but technical

The Fish (schilindrea prematus): AWESOME bass work

Mood for a day: beautiful classical guitar

The other tracks are obviously legends (maybe except south side of the sky), but I consider that one just a s good!

South side of the sky: Excellent! The Steves fills make this song, they are just amazing, actually you hear most of them in the guitar solo on yours is no discrace on Yessongs. The piano part is great and the middle sections la-la-la's are also very amusing.

Long distance runaround- Nice short almost poppy song, it has to mean something, I dont know what, but it has to!

Heart of the sunrise- If you havent heard this song, I can honestly not call you a Yes fan! Very assertive, with everyone at the top of their game, especially Jon's passionate vocals. Probably my favirote track on the album!

There's fragile, it's actually quite different from what you would exspect if you have only heard roundabout. Good diverse and solid album, 4.5, just barly lacking what it needs, for perfection!

Report this review (#131459)
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2007 | Review Permalink

Why flawed? Because among a lot of noisy and overproduced crap, there are moments of nice beauty here and there. I mean, sometimes the album seems to lose its direction but it depends of the different tastes if it's a fake impression or not. For me, Yes is an overproduced and pretentious band per se, but here in Fragile they can control themselves to guide their music to another way more accesible. Where CTTE exceeds on jamming, Fragile is no more or less when it's neccesary. In other words, if you ask me to rate track by track to this one, surely my final average is something close to a 4.1. But, as a whole album (and that is the way we should review IMO), this album deserves the fifth star.

The most recognizable track is Roundabout, which has a fine classic guitar intro, deriving into a catchy beat; good bass work by Squire. A nicely elaborated song; despite it's a definitive classic (due to its commercial impact), it isn't musically as accomplished as songs like South Side of the Sky, Heart of the Sunrise and Long Distance, which represent Yes at their peak of composition. While Mood for a Day is a purely classic acoustic guitar tune (you'll never hear stuff like this in a Yes CD but in Fragile), Five Percent for Nothing seems like an attempt to reflect their King Crimson influence (in fact, Brufords complex drumming on this one are a previous show of talent to his later join with that band).

In summary, the longest tracks are indeed the best (and were the most succesful too). The short ones could be seen as experiments by each member driven by their respectives instruments, like Cans & Brahms by Wakeman and We Have Heaven by Anderson, among other aforementioned pieces.

Not as elaborated and complex as its predeccesor, but who said complexity = efficiency?? The purest Yes sound that I can find is on Fragile. Certainly a flawed masterpiece, and maybe a bit overlooked too, because of the first huge impact with The Yes Album and then, after this, with Close to the Edge.

This is THE quintessential Yes release. An accesible album, much more than CTTE, and their only one masterpiece. Listen to this album and then you'll be singing along their "tell the moon-dog, tell the march-hare, we have heaven!!" (indeed weird lyrics, aren't they? :)

Kind regards.


Report this review (#132315)
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars A masterpiece of sorts.

'Fragile' is essentially a masterpiece, not only of progressive music, but of rock music in general. But it is a "flawed masterpiece", in the words of Circosick. The album contains mostly interesting tunes, including the accessible, yet challenging, 'Roundabout' and the more challengin and complex 'Heart of the Sunrise', both of which are masterpieces in their own right. This album masterfully integrates, classical and jazz influences into interesting progressive rock compositions.

What's the flaw? Well, to me, the shorter pointless tracks like 'Cans and Brahms', 'We Have Heaven', 'Five Percent of Nothing', and, to some extent, 'Mood For A Day' are somewhat pointless. I would have preferred a longer more complax song to those small tracks, which are mostly just showcase tracks. Yet, the "flaw" is not so grave that this album does not deserve five stars, and, its general status and historical importance is not to be underestimated either, which is also a factor in my giving this album five stars.

All in all, 'Fragile' is highly recommendable, even if you don't like small show-off-while-filling-space-tracks.

Report this review (#132932)
Posted Monday, August 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars From those opening guitar harmonics of Roundabout, this one is special no doubt about it.

Roundabout probably gets dissed due to the familiarity -- too many of us have heard it hundreds of times. However, tt's a great opener for the album. But there is much better further along the groove.

Myself, I don't care that much for the various 'personal' songs -- excepting Five Percent For Nothing and The Fish -- but the rest here is all top drawer. Look at it: Roundabout, South Side of the Sky, Long Distance Runaround, Heart of the Sunrise. I type these out by memory, with nary a peek at the album cover; they are essential to prog. Has any prog band ever written four better songs presented on a single album?

I maintain that when this was recorded, the Squire/Bruford rhythm section was the best in rock. Just listen to the first 2-3 minutes of Heart of the Sunrise if you have doubts. Howe is masterful throughout. Wakeman does not sound fully integrated with the band, having just joined, but nonetheless makes some nice contributions. Given that this is Yes's best album, I'll give it a 4.5 and round up. It's the one essential Yes album.

Report this review (#134350)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first of only two albums recorded by the "classic" lineup of the band. Rick Wakeman immediately makes an impression, taking on a much more crucial role in Yes' sound than Tony Kaye had previously.

"Fragile" is a good example of Yes at their peak. Each member showcases their talent, as performers and composers, as each person was required to add a song to the album (in a similar fashion to The Who's "A Quick one"). The result is one of Yes' most balanced albums and one that gets the most out of it's extremely skilled musicians. It should also be noted for being the first album with artwork by Roger Dean, who always captures the imagination with his efforts.

Highlights: "South Side of the Sky", "The Fish", "Mood for a Day"

Rating: 4 stars

Report this review (#136397)
Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fragile is Yes' fourth album, and in my opinion their second best after CTTE. The album is a great one indeed, but a bit uneven, as some has mentioned before. At the peaks we have stunning tracks like "Roundabout" and "Heart of the Sunrise", with the latter being one of my favorite Yes tracks. The spacey keyboard by Rick and the vocals by Jon make a stunning finish of the album. I find "South Side of the Sky" and "Long Distance Runaround" great as well, but the rest of the album is occasionally a bit dull. The short, solo tracks are interesting, sure, but they become a bit boring eventually really. Steve and Jon are imo the ones that do their solo tracks best.

Nevertheless is Fragile an excellent album with essential moments, and absolutely a must for Yes fans.

Report this review (#137794)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars I’ve never been a YES fan, but I’ve grown to use to them and sometimes enjoy their classic records. “Fragile” falls outside this category with only few tracks to enjoy really.

On their fourth album YES still suffers from BEATLES/Proto-Prog inspiration roots, and shorter tracks confirm this easily. Serving as filler, they’re contrasting a lot with excellent “Roundabout”, good “South Side of the Sky” and nice “Heart of a Sunrise”. Only “Long Distance Runaround” and “Mood for a Day” somewhat noticeable among shorties, and second is my favourite acoustic guitar piece to play. YES is undeniably up-lifting, pure “happy” Prog, and this is not my music honestly. It’s not like I’m bashing the dinosaurs, I simply share my thoughts on this record with you. Despite my taste I can’t deny their professionalism and level of musicianship. And after all, “Roundabout” is a really good track, hands down ;) But others fail to amuse me that much. With little importance to my personal likings “Fragile” receives 2.5 stars.

Report this review (#138837)
Posted Monday, September 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars First song on any album that wishes to be succesful must be THE song of the album, because the first impression is the most important...It is what you first hear,and you always compare the first song with the others on the album. Roundabout surely is THE song of the "Fragile". It has everything I ever wanted from a song.Killer intro and outro,solid foundation in drums and bass,smart keyboard and guitar lines, energic atmosphere thru the whole piece,strong songed vocal, kick ass solos, multi- vocal harmonies... Roundabout has it all...!!! And it's totally catchy song, I can listen to it anytime.As an addition, it's a great potential for live performance (that's why it's their concert standard for 35 years...) Anyway, a Yes classic,one of my top 5.

IMO,solo pieces are poorly executed.Howe did the best job with his "Mood for a day", which also became a part of his concert solos.

Wakeman did the worst possible thing by reducing Brahms' symphony to a 1:42 total time. It's fun to listen to a couple of times but if he had done anything else instead, would be better. :)

I really don't know what to say about "five per cent for nothing", make of it what you will...

"The fish" is an instrumental that gradually expands in arrangment to the very end.I don't know if that's supossed to be Squire's solo or what...? Anyway,in concerts they often used it in medleys or as an expanded and altered bass solo. I prefer the live versions.

"We have Heaven" is not meant to be played live. maybe in a acoustic set,but otherwise, it simply doesn't work.It has no length, energy, or space for other instruments to join in. But,they did it anyway. in Montreaux 2003, and they used playback...LAME

Ahhh,now... Band songs is what makes this album an essential... "Long distance runaround" - a song so simple I couldn't belive it!! The main riff is played by guitar and piano, and then the bass and drums join in. then, anderson's voice is covered only with piano and drums. meanwhile, the guitar and bass are playing the same line. They repeat this a couple of times, and Howe plays an outro with delay,and....that's it,the song is over (thought I'd something more to say...:))

"South side of the sky" - is not that simple, but it's still playable, and you can easily skin it to the bone. it's divided into 3 parts...the first part is a steady,solid beat with strong foundation in bass and Howe's genius guitar lines... The whole first section has exactly 6 chords if you listen to it very carefully. Second part starts with Wakeman's virtuoso piano playing and evolves into a multi vocal "game" in which Squire sings the lead. *note: There is no guitars in this section.It's like a jazz trio section with multi vocals.It works beautiful!!! The final section is in fact a buffed up reprise of the first part... This song is an excellent example of a classic composition of a song in "electric" age.

The final song of the album,the breathtaking "heart of the sunrise" is one of their many epics. It's a very complicated, demanding and chalenging piece in which the whole band works together like clockwork. Everyone is showing his skills at the same time and the results are amazing.Wakeman is using almost every weapon in his arsenal of that time (Hammond,Moog,Piano and Mellotron). The song is comparable with a classic form called "rondo" in which the main theme (love comes to you...) is repeated several times,and between the repetitions are other, different sections that have different keys, tunes,arrangments,states... Anderson really reaches his peaks with his singing on this album,and it's almost comparable with his work on "going for the one" album (IMO, the best presentation of Anderson's vocal abbilities)

As I already said,band songs is what makes this album an essential,so go out and buy it...But I belive that anyone who is reading this review already has it.If not,well...THIS IS NOT YOUR SITE, BWahahahaha!!! Until next time... P.S. Yes is the best!!!

Report this review (#140337)
Posted Monday, September 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Where the last album was for the most a grand showcase of Steve Howe, Fragile does a better job of showing each member of the band, namely Chris Squire and new Keyboardist Rick Wakeman. In the first song this is noticeable. Roundabout: Yes' most famous song. The song that when someone realizes you're a Yes fan people will always say "Do they even have any other songs besides Roundabout?" The bass line in Roundabout is ridiculous. Squire is legitimately one of the greatest bassists of all time.

On this CD, there are 2 short songs that simply don't really fit. We Have Heaven confuses me quite frankly. Five Percent Nothing is a skipper, at least if I have enough time to reach for my iPod before it's over.

There are some songs that seem to meander unidirectionally. South Side of the Sky has excellent parts, but I wouldn't call it a masterpiece, it's a very good song though.

Long Distance Roundabout is a great, a little short. I feel it could have been a staple track. It gets decent radio time though.

Mood for a Day is GENIUS! One of the most beautiful compositions period. That is not a compliment which I throw out very often. Nobody can pull off acoustic instrumentals like Steve Howe. This is a five star song, and really solidifies this album as a top prog album. The album concludes with Heart of the Sunrise. Here Bill Bruford finally gets to showcase his abilities, and boy does he ever. The song ends with a reprise of "We Have Heaven" which I could do without. There is a bonus track "America" which I wish were part of the album. They really make it their own song and outperform ol' Paul Simon. Had it been on the album, it would have been the 3rd best song. Too bad.

Report this review (#141019)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was probably the first progressive album I got when I was young back in the seventies. Before this I used to hear rock from radio stations and I can not describe the emotion produced me when I heard Jon Anderson chorus at the end of Roundabout the firs time I played this record. So this was the beginning of my story in the prog world. I have heard hundreds of times this album for the last 30 years and I never get bored or tired of listen this album over and over. The magic of this work consists in gathering the individuality and virtuosity of every element of the band just right before they start writing the most complex and elaborated works of their careers (Close to the Edge, Tales from Topographic Oceans). This work seems to me more spontaneous and fresh than later works. Fragile shows the best line up ever (I always admire Bill Bruford in performance), and gives the opportunity to every member of the group to show their talent. Classic Roots of Wakeman and Howe are evident in their individual works and Squire demonstrates that a bass is not a background instrument. I can not see a record included here just for filling. Every track has a purpose. No doubt; A five stars album.
Report this review (#145448)
Posted Wednesday, October 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I include Yes amongst bands like Rush and Marillion for producing generally awful music and having a sect of ProgArchives devoted to singing it's praises. Now, while Marillion is all pseudo-prog crap and Rush has at least the saving grace of Moving Pictures, Yes does actually have a few albums that are worthwhile to listen to before heading into the landfill of creativity that produced Relayer and Going For The One.

Fragile is one of those albums. The seventies classic rock influences that made The Yes Album great also propel this album to awesome places. However, it is a flawed gem. The inexcusable bits of fluff that litter the album ("Cans And Brahms", "Five Percent of Nothing", I'm looking at you!) destroy the pace of the album. I feel as if Yes could have made something nearing perfection if they had scrapped "Cans and Brahms" and combined "Five Percent of Nothing", "We Have Heaven", and "Mood for a Day" into one epic piece. But no one listens to me, so I'm stuck with an album that looks like a jumble of great ideas that don't quite fit together as well as possible.

All in all, the only better places in Yes' catalog are The Yes Album and Close to the Edge. So go get Fragile if you have not done so already! And try and find a release with the bonus Simon and Garfunkel cover "America"! It's fantastic!

Report this review (#147871)
Posted Monday, October 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my favorite Yes album, merely because it flows so well from song to song, including the solo projects of the band members. This being their first album with rick wakeman, the classic yes line up has come into the world for the first time, and what an album it is.

Roundabout: The stereotypical yes track, an amazing epic, beginning with a nice classical intro followed by one of the best basslines the world has ever seen. Wakeman's synth fills are perfectly timed and executed, adding his own touch to the Yessound. When the song moves into the triplet section in the bass, Bill Bruford Just lets it all go and opens up. It winds down into the intro repeated, which builds into an amazing organ solo by the master Wakeman, switching off with blinding guitar runs from Howe. Whenever I hear this song on the radio, I always get mad when it isnt immediatly followed by...

Cans and Brahms: fits very well in the wake of roundabout, wakemans solo piece as an interpretation of a classical piece on electric piano/organ.

We Have Heaven: Anderson's solo project showcases his beautiful voice and his skills at overdubbing that voice many, many times. A very folky piece, it will be revisited later. It ends with a door slamming shut and footsteps running away, leaving the listener wondering what will happen next.

South Side of the Sky: That question is answered with a pounding drum intro and some harsh guitar and bass from howe and squire, respectively. Even Jon Anderson doesnt sound so cheery anymore. The lyrics tell of an expedition to either the north or south pole, i forget which, and the expedition failing and all the members cheering to death. We are treated to more blistering runs from Howe in the form of ascending chromatic scales. The grand piano solo is one of the best piano moments in history, and wakeman does a fine job of it. This leads into a vocal harmony section that sounds slightly warmer than the beginning, but that too devolves back into harshness, and the song closes with an eerie fade out section.

Five Per Cent For Nothing: A short intro with crazy time signatures, with a little accompaniment by all the instruments, Mr. Bruford's solo piece. a good intro for...

Long Distance Runaround: A beautiful opening line by Wakeman and Howe, each with a slightly different melody, leading into a tricky drum part and some amazing bass lines. The vocals come in nice, a very nice song, leading into...

The Fish: Squire's solo project, filled with all sorts of delicious bass treats, harmonics, mini solos, and all in 7/4 time. we are even treated to some chanting by Jon Anderson, a very interesting instrumental.

Mood for a Day: Gorgeous Acoustic piece by Howe, setting the exact opposite mood for the next song...

Heart of the Sunrise: A blasting intro on Bass and drums, followed by some gorgeous mellotron fills. This repeats a couple of times before the Jam section begins. starting off simple with bass and drums, both instruments slowly get louder and more complex as the section builds into the riff again. Anderson's vocal is the perfect touch of mysticism on the song. The band makes very good use of repetition in this song, alternating the main riff and 3 different piano/synth/organ riffs by wakeman. After a LOT of this, Anderson comes in and sings like an Angel coming out of the Heart of the Sunrise. A huge climax leads to a sudden break, and here is the masterful ending: Door opening, We Have Heaven comes back in for the fade out. When I first heard that, I was absolutely blown away by the genius of it.

Overall, very good album, solo pieces nice showcases for each band member, and a perfect yes album.

Report this review (#150477)
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was my first Yes album i bought and this is probably one of my top albums of all time. Yes are such amazing musicians and they display that a great deal on this album, Fragile flows so well from start to finish. This was the start of the great Yes lineup of Bruford, Wakeman, Anderson, Howe, and Squire. Mainly every song is good on this album, some of my faves are Long Distance Runaround,South side of the sky, Roundabout, Mood for a day which features some amazing guitar playing from Steve howe, and the standout track is Heart of the Sunrise. This song is one of the Yes classics and great drumming by Bill Bruford and excellent bass playing By Chris Squire. This was my introduction to Yes and what a great album this is. If you want start with Yes get Fragile or The Yes album first. 5 stars for Fragile. An Art Rock classic
Report this review (#150628)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes' second best album, second only to the epic Close to the Edge; Fragile is one of progs most famous albums and also one of it's best. The album starts out with Roundabout, probably Yes' catchiest song ever. The track starts out with the clean intro that is one of the most recognized parts in all of prog. Then it gets into this heavy groove and some of the greatest, most pointless lyrics of all time. Then it gets super epic with the bassline in the middle and ends with the fading lyricless chants and the short classical outro. Truly a triumph of music, that tune. Some other highlights are South Side of the Sky, Long Distance Runaround, and Heart of the Sunrise. The music here is very visual, there are no references to the real world anywhere in the album, and Yes do this type of music better than anybody (except maybe Zep). Highly recomended album from this classic, definitive, timeless prog group.
Report this review (#150663)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Considered by many to be their first masterpiece (I beg to differ, in fact, as I find the Yes Album not only to be their first true masterpiece but also more consistent with my own aesthetic and a more listenable recording), Fragile nevertheless delivers on the great promise of this band. Roundabout is one of the quintessential anthems of progressive rock, with a driving rhythm, great vocals by Anderson, muscular bass by Chris Squire as well as distinctive play by both Howe and Wakeman. Cans and Brahms, regretfully is a pretentious and flatulent piece of filler material and not even good filler at that. We Have Heaven is an strange little vocal piece by Anderson with a repeated vocal line but is nothing special. South Side of the Sky is an absolute classic, and one that cannot be adequately described has to be listened to. Five percent of Nothing is a puzzling few moments of percussion whimsy by Bruford and is not a sufficient showcase for his remarkable talents. Long Distance Runaround, despite its brevity, is classic Yes. Great bass chops by Squire on this cut and Howe's playing shows real versatility on this one. The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) provides a crafty little vignette of Squire bass play but is somewhat repetitive. Mood for a Day is a subdued little Howe guitar piece. Heart of the Sunrise is a true Yes epic, it builds and builds.... a true collaborative effort by the band with hair raising vocals by Anderson. Overall, a very good album, excellent in many ways, but also rather inconsistent. Neither as good as Yes Album or Close to the Edge, though this is a sore spot for a lot of Yes fans, this album rates 4 and most definitely NOT 5 stars.
Report this review (#151831)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The three songs worthy of relistening here are Roundabout, South side of the sky, and Heart of the sunrise, the three longer pieces. All three show just how far Yes have come since the Yes album, displaying a real mastery of composition, arrangement, and so on. Roundabout is as good of an opener as Yes ever wrote, energetic and dynamic, mainly due to the work of Squire and Bruford. South side of the sky is suprisingly dark and desolate for Yes, and Heart of the sunrise has one of the best Symphonic prog riffs you'll ever hear, and a great sense of drama. The rest of the album, however, while having its moments, is nowhere near the same standard.
Report this review (#152901)
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 Stars

I spent quite a while deciding whether to give Fragile four or five stars. I love this album. I love the solo pieces, I love the band pieces, and Heart of the Sunrise is one of my all-time favorite songs. This is a nearly essential purchase for any prog fan.

Roundabout (8.5/10) Great song, great keyboards, great bass, catchy lyrics. Yes's second big hit (I've seen all good people was first). Also became Yes's most overrated, overplayed song.

Cans and Brahms (6/10) Rick's solo. Nice adaptation of a classical piece, great musicianship. However, it lacks in lasting appeal.

We Have Heaven (7/10) Jon's solo. Another short song, this one is just Jon dubbing over himself. Very pretty, and serves as an intro to the great SSotS.

South Side of the Sky (9.5/10) Behold what is probably Yes's most underrated, forgotten song. This one's a hidden gem. I love the lyrics in this song, Rick's piano solo is beautiful, and Steve's guitar during the verses is great.

Five Per Cent For Nothing (4/10) Bill's solo. This one doesn't do much for me, especially as a sixteen bar song. Good musicianship though.

Long Distance Runaround (9/10) Great song. Rather short for a Yes song, but good nonetheless.

The Fish (8/10) Chris's solo. Great bass (obviously). This song is good here, but mindblowing on most live releases.

Mood For A Day (10/10) Steve's solo. Steve Howe has one of the most beautiful songs ever in this acoustic piece. I don't know how many times I've put this song on repeat and let it play in the background. One of my favorite Yes songs.

Heart of the Sunrise (10.5/10) This is one of my all-time favorites. Yes shows their heavier side in this song that, in classic Yes style, showcases every one of the bandmembers abilities very well. The live version on Yessongs is the best version out there, so check out that one if you're into this song. Incredible drumming, beautiful vocals, great lyrics.

It was very difficult not for me to give this album the full five stars. A 4.5 star rating would be ideal for this kind of album, but alas...

Report this review (#154340)
Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another one of the great Yes albums to push the progressive envelope even further. There's no doubt of this albums historic significance: it was both a commercial and artistic breakthrough all at the same time, rare for any progressive album. Anyone who listened to any radio at the time has without a doubt heard the song Roundabout. With the release of this album it was clear that Yes was becoming a key band for art rock as well as having reached a new level of compositional capabilities, which would also be surpassed with the band's future albums. The link to classical music in the album, as in most of the band's music, is obvious, but it is so much more than that; overall Yes' music is incredibly unique and yet sounds like many things made before it. In a way it is somewhat simple, my listening has somewhat surpassed it to the point where I just want to learn to play it all on guitar. It's a perfect intermediate for The Yes Album and Close to the Edge (plus having numerous solos, my favorite to play being Mood for a Day), and serves as the perfect album to introduce anyone to progressive music, or at least it was for me. This album and Close to the Edge are among the first few albums that turned me into the progger that I am now in such a short amount of time. This album definitely paved the way to Yes future success in many ways, giving them both an audience and an inspiration. Though I feel it just barely doesn't quite live up to being considered a masterpiece, it is nonetheless essential to any Yes fan or symphonic rock listener and is a valuable album for any rock collection, let alone progressive rock.
Report this review (#155989)
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This review will be one of the most ballooned one I've ever done; it has a personal significance with me.

I had really not been into music for most of my life except for the last year of high school and first semester of college when I started dipping into seventies rock. At the time, Rush and Pink Floyd were quickly becoming my fav bands, but I really didn't know how to categorise them. A little Internet browsing led me to learn about a genre called progressive rock, and I had to naturally seek out other bands in that genre since I loved Rush and Pink Floyd so much back then. Yes was one of the first artists I sought out.

I had heard very little of Yes before hand barring bits and pieces of ''Roundabout''. I was milling through a Borders store one day and there it was, Yes's FRAGILE album. I wanted to purchase it since it had ''Roundabout'' on it, and I did and took the album home with me. Needless to say that once I pushed the PLAY button on my CD player, my life would change forever.

Everything I had heard before then suddenly seemed to pale in comparison to what Yes produced here. Even if I had heard the riff to ''Roundabout'' beforehand, throughout the whole song I was on the edge of my seat, taken aback by the crushing guitar riffs, soaring vocals, piercing basslines and powerful organ solos. Being a bass player, I couldn't resist that Chris Squire sound that is prevalent throughout the whole album. It has that rich tone and hard edge that was just begging for me to notice.

There a unique type of sound that Yes exerts here, and it's not just from Squire's bass and Anderson's vocal work. Bill Bruford excels here in the drumming department, providing tight rhythms and solid grooves without ever overdoing it. It has that sense of complexity without overdoing it; a good example of this is on ''Heart of the Sunrise''. Steve Howe's guitar is also very crucial to the Yes sound as it can riff, solo and plunk away with the best of them.

I want to discuss the meat of the album now, the actual songs themselves. In FRAGILE, there are five solo type pieces Yes did. Rick Wakeman's ''Cans and Brahms'' and Steve Howe's ''Mood for a Day'' are nothing but nice pieces showcasing the talents of the respective performers. Bruford's ''Five Percent for Nothing'' is a crazy little short piece that comes and goes. My two favourite solo pieces are Anderson's ''We Have Heaven'' (very addicting to me) and Squire's ''The Fish'' (the central groove is amazingly catchy, and all of the bass tricks on top are just bonus).

''Long Distance Runaround'' isn't that much of note, but it's still a solid song and perfectly segues into ''The Fish''. It's a nice, short little tune that kinda has that pop sound, but I think ''Roundabout'' pulled it off much better. Speaking of, that ''Roundabout'' was the first Yes song I really sank my teeth into. It has very catchy, jumpy basslines, dexterous guitar work and excellent drumming. There's a solid rock core to the song that makes it sound accessible, yet has enough inner complexities to give it depth.

But I haven't gotten to the two songs that will really make proggers go nuts. Firstly, ''South Side of the Sky'' has a very overt heaviness to it, almost like a proto-prog-metal thing. The heavy sound on the bass is intense, but the piano lines during the choir section are just fantastic. But then there's the pseudo-epic in ''Heart of the Sunrise''. It has this intense instrumental opening broken up by this funky, bass-led thing. It gets very quiet when the vocals come in, but the intensity of the piece keeps wavering up and down throughout the entire thing, going through different motifs without sounding stale or tired. But the very end of the piece is well worth sitting through the ten minutes that came before, making the epic feel complete and purposeful.

I feel like I went into too much detail on this review. I also feel like I ballooned my rating to masterpiece when the shorter pieces and possibly ''Long Distance Runaround'' could've easily made another keep this at four stars. However, I feel that on FRAGILE and the following CLOSE TO THE EDGE, we have the quintessential progressive rock sound. It's a great springboard for any new progster to get into the genre as THE YES ALBUM is a tad too spotty and CLOSE TO THE EDGE can get slightly long in spots. But despite any possible shortcomings, this album is one I would highly recommend for anyone interested in prog. I am shutting up soon.

On a bonus note, Yes does an amazing interpretation of Simon and Garfunkel's ''America'', although the guitar solo section gets a little too long-winded at times. The keyboard and bass parts are well worth the listen, though.

Report this review (#160387)
Posted Thursday, January 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ahhh.. Fragile. Earlier this year, on a drive home from school (4 1/2 - 5 hours) I popped this CD in once. Twice. Three times. Each time i found something else I liked about it and i wanted more Yes.Now I am not a traditional, old school prog-rock fan i guess; I never liked Yes too much, am struggling more than i should to get into genesis, and ELP and King Crimson is not overly special yet... the only exception is Pink Floyd, whom i adore. So needless to say i was surprised i liked it as much as i did. I had bought it, listened to it once or twice, and shelved it. Now when i take it out i get excited. Its a mostly solid release with only a few let downs that appear in the form of Five Percent for Nothing and Cans and Brahms. Ever other song is wonderful. Anderson's vocal layering and interplay in his short fugue We Have Heaven is a personal favorite as is the beautiful classical guitar piece Mood for a Day. The Meat of this recording are the 4 longer pieces which are all beyond excellent. Heart of the sunrise is an incredible listen, shifting moods, masterful guitar and bass work, and one of my favorite vocal performances from Anderson lyrically as well as performance based. Sharp! Distance! Fragile is a carefully and purposefully crafted recording that, as most Yes albums go, is just fun to listen to. I dont get a deep well of feeling or emotion from the music, and i am not moved to tears or anger or joy, i just have a lot of fun. This is why, in my super-ultra-mega-crazy-humble opinion, this disc is more successful than CTtE. its not the masterpiece that album is, but i enjoy this much more. Four and a quarter stars for Fragile. Great CD.
Report this review (#161669)
Posted Wednesday, February 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10 Masterpiece

Stop it already my God!! Actually no, this is just fine, this is actually completely mind blowing again and I have to love it. Another perfect one from YES ladies and gentlemen round of applause awesome. Heart of the Sunrise nuff sai...wait, Mood for a Day and Heart of the Sunrise, nuff sai...ah wait, throw We Have Heaven in there and this one and that one and basically the whole damn album NUFF SAID!! Ok this is just awesomeness all around, and hands down their most bad-ass effort yet. Honestly, it's not my favorite (now everyone laughs)...Really, I think it is perfect but it is not my favorite of theirs, I think I just don't like having one too many radio-air hits on this album...the songs are still great but I really can't, or I should say I don't listen to Roundabout or Long Distance that often, heard them way too much.

Anyway the band is on a roll and this album has some really awesome super prog moments to it. Cans and Brahams? Man that is some whacky decision by Wakeman to bring us to some victorian chess game or something and dance around the room like idioits. Amazing song and only followed by more awesomeness, and perhaps We Have Heaven is my favorite song and it makes no sense and I love it. One thing you need to pay attention to when you absolutely buy this album...The transition from Long Distance Run Around to The of the best auras ever put on record.

With that said YES is timeless and classic and from another planet and proves it once again with Fragile. Enjoy this one!

Report this review (#163518)
Posted Saturday, March 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album don't must be missed in a good progressive collection, it's really a masterpiece..and we can listen the sound of the classic lineup, with Rick Wakeman. Perfect album in virtuosity of single musicians and visionary melody, songs like Roundabout, Long distance runaround or the majestic grow louder of Heart of the sunrise are the pages of the story group.
Report this review (#163780)
Posted Wednesday, March 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first Yes album with Rick Wakeman, the first to be a complete success (artistically, I mean). No weak moments here. There are 5 short parts, written each one by a different member of the group(Anderson for We Have Heaven, Wakeman for Cans And Brahms, Squire for The Fish, Howe for Mood For A Day, Bruford for the shortest and strangest, Five Percent Of Nothing), and 4 tracks (the longest, for some) written by the entirety of Yes together (Roundabout, South Side Of The Sky, Long Distance Runaround, Heart Of The Sunrise). All of them are great. This is truly a must-have.
Report this review (#163908)
Posted Friday, March 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I don't see Fragile as being close to a masterpiece, but it is a MOSTLY good album that I MOSTLY enjoy. The musicians are all extremely talented, but there are several overindulences and several songs of poorer quality.

'Roundabout' is the absolute highlight of the album with a bass riff to die for, and catchy vocal hooks that make this essentially a prog-pop song (It seems like Yes were good at these). 'Cans and Brahms' is the Wakeman solo piece which is pretty the first few listens, but becomes unnecessary. The same goes for Anderson's 'We Have Heaven' to be honest, although this one is more interesting. 'South Side of the Sky' never totally grips me, despite being a very well crafted song. 'Five Percent for Nothing' is Bruford's piece, and, althoug I can appreciate its complexity, it seems quite pointless. 'Long Distance Runaround' is finally another track which I can fully enjoy, and is another prog-pop song would you believe it? This segues directly into 'The Fish' a very good solo piece from Squier. 'Mood for a Day' is Steve Howe's piece, and is the strongest solo piece on this album. It is a beautiful, unacompanied acoustic guitar solo. 'Heart of the Sunrise' is epic, and is my second or third favourite of the album, and I love the way it so seamlessly interchanges between heavy passages (rare for Yes) and beautiful melodic refinement. It's not 'Close to the Edge' but... what is?

This album is laden with faults, but overall is very nice to listen to, and the fact that I do listen to it says something. I give it 3.5 stars, rounded own to 3.

Report this review (#164233)
Posted Tuesday, March 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Maybe i disagree with most reviewers , by rating this wonderful work below 4 stars , still , i respect their opinion in this regard . But to be accurate with mine , i can't see any difference between both releases Fragile & Close to the Edge , as far as Concept , Performance , music , ritchness , a complete image of excellent prog music , for me these twins deserves the same ratings . There's no doubt that concepts are always subject to change in different works , but for me both releases got the same credit back in the 70's . and still up till now . Heart of the sunlight , Mood for the day ( the acoustic section of the album ) , Roundabout , deserves good attention from you . Progressive at high levels , There was no room at all in this concept for heart feeling , it's a complete insane work , addressing to your mind by flowing invented ideas cannot be seen easily at the beginning , a real complexed work that needs a careful look by all interrested proggers , it also remind me of some King Crimson's works , and these works take more effort to enjoy . No doubt that the middle tracks are not fitting in general with the whole idea of the concept as far as a short passages to the main stream . Still 4.5 stars are the least we can give to the excellent work ,for lyrics , performance , production , cover concept , and as a start to more essential works to the world of progressive . but still more than essential ... Tracks Toni .
Report this review (#167558)
Posted Wednesday, April 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I hated it and I damned it couple of times. How can this awful Yes work be a masterpiece of progressive music. The slyle on this one is almost classic but not prog-rock. Forget it, please. Not I don't change my opinion, but I feel some artistic moments, so maybe this isn't so worse as it seem. Who knows...

Roundabout -4/5- a number one Yes hit after Owner of a lonely heart. I dislike it because of a strange rockin' style seems like Uriah Heep's Gypsy. Why this long hard rock song must be at the top of prog rock genre? It's not prog, but as a simple rock it's rather good

Cans and Brams -3/5- Wakeman's solo of Brams' classic. I don't understand why they suggested to put one solo song of each member of the band.

We Have Heaven -4/5- Jon's solo song. Hated it, now i find it pretty.

South side of the sky -5/5- Wakeman's solo and acapella singin style is amasing, that's the reason to put this one again. Some prog feels too.

Five per cent for Nothing -2/5- right, nothing, that's nothing! Most hateable Yes track ever!

Long Distance Roundaround -4.5/5- hooked me few days ago, I never liked this before, such a good main melody.

The Fish -4.5/5- this solo is better, wanted to hear.

Mood for a Day -4/5- boring Howe solo, makes me asleep. For a few times.

Heart of the Sunrise -5/5- my favourite! Great prog epic song! Bass and keyboard intro is a real thing, such as in Learning to Live by Dream theater. Melodic and powerful! This is classic YES!!!

Justice is justice - 4 stars.

Report this review (#167669)
Posted Wednesday, April 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
5 stars Effortless class, musicianship, energy, virtuosity, and smarts ooze from every second of this most classic of classic prog albums. The playing is incomparable, shattering the competition with dizzying talent and doubtlessly leaving their impression on the listener with the perfect mix of rock and weird. This is the place to begin discovering Yes!

The high level of musicianship and class is evident as soon as Howe's beautifully articulated guitar opens the album, followed by Squire's defining bass grooves and Wakeman's ambitious and enjoyable synth. Although Fragile get some flak for featuring too many short, solo works by the group's individual artists, I feel that they give the album a unique personality and merge cohesively into the full-length, which songs are some of the most memorable of this era. None of the other prog bands of the time approach the intensity of Yes in, say Heart of the Sunrise, which features dynamic playing which positively defines the genre.

Fragile is sure to appeal to a wide variety of listeners with its fine rock energy and ambitious delivery and is as essential as classic prog gets.

Songwriting: 5 Instrumental Performances: 5 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#168393)
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars After the fluffy, uneven The Yes Album, which mostly felt like a blunt attempt at more pompous music - in mixing trippier, happy pop with richer, pseudo-orchestrated music - Yes flexes their muscles in a terrifying way with Fragile. Speculation if whether the addition of Rick Wakeman was the missing piece of the puzzle seems a little vain, but I can't deny that the incredible shift towards greater compositions, a more mature sound, a lot more sinister edge and a vast improvement of the keyboard sound must have originated in a spark of some sort. Suddenly Yes is performing at full potential, with each member's skill highlighted and brought up front. And not only by working as a group, but also via short but sweet solo parts dotted across the album. It's an upgrade in production, it's an upgrade in overall sound and it's the first essential Yes album for me.

Fragile is nothing of what it name suggests. It's an altogether heavier effort compared to The Yes Album, but at the same time also more delicate. Much of this can of course be accredited to Wakeman's contribution, which opens up the whole guidebook of prog keys (piano, oh the sweet piano) with his frequent and immodest runs from the gear he has to his disposal. But what's most important for me is the immediate surprise of how Steve Howe and Chris Squire suddenly fills their shoes and deserves the hero status they've reached in many a music lover's heart. The interplay between Wakeman and Howe, in combining the sometimes noodling style of the two, moving in and out of the song in a co-ordinated way, brings the best out of them both and forms a fluent melodic carpet on which the sharp bass and Jon Andersons vocal can bring the songs forward in a steady pace. It is not as apparent here as on later albums, but it's a pleasure hearing it for the first time. Neither Wakeman nor Howe fear delivering textures though, and thus prevents the album from becoming entirely carried by the other three.

The album's backbone is without doubt formed by the three longer songs on the album: Roundabout, South Side of the Sky and Heart of the Sunrise. Roundabout is one of those instantly catchy songs that will stay in your head forever after hearing, especially the chorus' steady guitar riff and sparkling organ. It starts with a brooding guitar with smooth harmonics until it unfolds in a characteristic pungent bassline from Squire. Howe more in the background here, with some textural chord work. It more or less continues this way (but with refrain) up to the point where another segment, darker and heavier, kicks in. Carried by Squire and Howe, Bruford adds an extra percussive touch together with a determined Wakeman manning the organ. It's then back to the beginning again, but with mellow twist and a soft-singing Anderson, which...but you know all this and more don't you?

Better give the solo songs a little credit instead. I've never found them redundant, and far from over-the-top. To me they're a great expression of the artistic freedom and democracy in the band at this stage, a chance to show off on you own with the blessing of your bandmates and perhaps the ultimate way of presenting all the aspects of your combined sound. The classically oriented parts of Wakeman and Howe, the spear-heading bass of Squire and Jon Anderson's unique voice. The only thing missing is an extended solo by Bruford. But you can't have everything.

Essential, representative and delicious. 4 stars.


Report this review (#171047)
Posted Wednesday, May 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
4 stars Review 41, Fragile, Yes, 1971


Usually I try to avoid the line of thinking that a band has a magnum opus period and everything before that is building up to it. However, I can't help it here. Cape-wearing keyboardist Rick Wakeman appears to have been the missing piece in the Yes puzzle. Not only are his distinctive, intelligently used and manifold keyboards perfect for the Squire-Howe-Bruford-Anderson sound in a way that Kaye's organ simply wasn't, but he also provides the compositional/arrangement edge that Yes desperately needed, adding flawless bridges and banishing any temptations to step down from a song's overall flow with a bit of TYA bombast. Now, onto the album, the group pieces are exceptional, intelligent, well-timed and absolutely wonderful. The solo pieces are a more mixed bag. This is more than essential, but not consistent enough for a masterpiece.

I'm going to start this review with South Side Of The Sky, because it is, in my humble opinion, the best thing that Yes have ever done, and one of the greatest ever progressive pieces. A biting, suicidal energy, a bleak, tragic beauty, incredible playing and atmosphere, fantastic lyrics from Jon Anderson and a sense of deeper connection that I have had with only a very few other pieces.

During a walk earlier this year, I was walking on Kinder Downfall or some other such 600M+ near-mini-mountain in the lovely Peak or Lake District (my memory is vague). There were substantial windspeeds (50-60 mph, could well have been less, if I remember), I was poorly waterproofed, rain soaked me to the skin, jumper, three shirts, coat, hat, coat hood, gloves all drenched. Even changes of gloves, hat and jumper weren't a big help. Hail and sleet followed the rain as I got progressively more tired, and eventually we were on the exposed part of the rocky near-mountain, with a sheer slope on one side. Every bone in my body was freezing, I felt a need to carry on, manically, and place one foot in front of the other, interspersed with moments of resignation. It is easily the most uncomfortable I have ever been in my life (sheltered though it's been). An unforgettable experience.

What Yes have done in South Side Of The Sky is unwittingly convert that experience into music. Every note of that song conveys something to me, as does every lyrical line and repeat. For music as a form of pure expression and imagery, it does not get better for me, and I'm certain that the experience of discomfort in the, at that time, less-than-entirely-delightful British countryside of February or March 2008 is something to do with that.

Whirling winds open the song, and Bruford explodes in with a percussion solo. Howe appears similarly out of nowhere as Wakeman's synth oscillates. An organ comes in, accompanied by Squire's throbbing bass, and Howe gives the song a number of edges that reflect the adrenaline as well as the desperation. Bruford continues to crash intelligently throughout the piece, providing metallic clashes and a number of drum choices. Wakeman leaps around keyboards throughout the piece, providing several atmospheric touches as well as his more conventional organ. Throughout, Anderson gives us brilliant, descriptive and narrative lyrics, telling the story of doomed polar expedition. His vocals do not disappoint, only concentrate the atmosphere that everyone else has been building.

We get one of my all-time favourite piano solos (I have a lot of them) from Wakeman, who gives us a haunting edge, a feeling of the real cold of the place and the descent into death as well as a contrast to the density of the rest of the piece. He is gradually joined by Bruford and Squire as well as multiple clever individual vocals. It returns to the piano solo, and a humming synth meets it. Bruford bursts in with monstrous timing, Howe provides several guitar parts with the feel of death and loss of control very much in there and Anderson's sustained vocals are simply perfect. Another wuthering synth ends the piece. The piece is perfect. The rest of the album is not South Side Of The Sky, unfortunately.

Roundabout was initially a bit of an enigma for me. I can appreciate all the components and the arrangement is superbly done. A haunting synth and Steve Howe's gorgeous, dark classical guitar give way to Squire's lightning-fast leading bass. Bruford thuds on behind with a rock beat contrasted with some clever variation, and Howe moves between the background and the foreground flawlessly. Wakeman provides excellent organ, and the Anderson-Squire-Howe harmony vocals come into their own. Bruford provides some hollower and unusual percussion in a darker, more packed section with a clever Howe-Wakeman duet. We get a superb organ solo from the Caped One, and Howe also gives us a couple of brief ideas. The band are able to repeat the same basic ideas with a completely altered feel, creating a masterful song, as well as providing us with a superb range of ideas in the eight minute or so period of time. An incredible song, but one that didn't originally grab me on an emotional level. I've since revised this opinion.

The cheerful Long Distance Run-Around, with its bouncy feel, basic-riff-reliance and multiple clever parts, is very much the successor of A Venture. It is, however, miles better than its predecessor, with Wakeman's spinning Moog providing some variety, and the opportunities for the band to burst out a little much welcomed. Squire is a standout throughout, with his bass suddenly providing a texture or a brief spray of notes.

Heart Of The Sunrise, as a contrast to the preceding Mood For A Day, begins with a surprisingly savage burst of energy from Bruford, Wakeman and Howe. Squire and Bruford work around each other masterfully in a darker, slower, more haunting piece, with a lead bass part, amazing drumming and a haunting mellotron from The Caped One. Howe again brings the piece into its frenzied, heavy section with Moog and later organ additions used brilliantly, and then back down into a gentle echo of the earlier haunting section and a soft electric with Anderson's vocals. After these three minutes of absolutely brilliant sonic battery, Anderson's voice with its beauty, but yet rather careful edge and lyrical hooks and ideas, is even better placed. Squire provides some lead bass, Bruford plays around with his drumkit, and Wakeman's set of Moog and piano provide a lot of different ideas. Howe is able to return to the mix effortlessly, and leave it with just as little fuss. Wakeman, Squire and Howe exchange ideas in a cooler, less manic variation on the opening chaos and a careful piano leads us down into another jumpy vocal with a bass humming along behind. The majestic conclusion, with a mock-triumphant, yet lost vocal from Anderson leads up to a squirreling Howe disappearing. Up 'til now, a perfect piece, with ideas oozing from every corner, versatility, clever essential repeats. The door creaks open and suddenly we get a repeat of ****ing We Have Heaven. The song was perfect. Why did they have to go and butcher it with that ending?

I doubt that Yes would have been create any one of these pieces without Rick Wakeman. Much as more than a few people worship the jazzy overtones of Moraz (who is, I admit an excellent player) or the blocky organ of Tony Kaye (which is basically the same on half of The Yes Album), but I cannot see either of them ever creating these amazing pieces. The Caped One deserves all the fawning worship-threads he gets, in my opinion.

Onto the solo pieces:

Rick Wakeman's Cans And Brahms is essentially playing Brahms ' on all sorts of keyboardy instruments. The sleeve notes say exactly which. I don't particularly care either way about it. It's good enough, not particularly annoying in the contest, and has a good whimsical feel.

We Have Heaven is not so neutral. It features multiple Anderson vocals over a consistent guitar riff and some other additions from various features. It's amazing how annoying the merge of Anderson-related noises gets after a minute or so. The lyrics are pretty mindless. The door shutting followed by running is a precursor to the end of Heart Of The Sunrise.

Squire's Schindleria Praematurus (The Fish) is a little more substantial than the previous solo pieces, with a number of bizarre bass parts merging into each other very well and Bruford trundling along behind with tappings on various things. A harmony accompanies the piece as it fades. I'm not mad about this one, since I feel the individual parts are rather too repeated. It feels more like overdubbed bass parts than an actual arranged and clever multiple-bass piece. The other thing is, as a bass performance, it's seriously over-rated. The idea is innovative and does spotlight the bass, but the playing and thought behind the piece isn't even in the same league as Heart Of The Sunrise, America or Roundabout, in my opinion.

Mood For A Day is the reason the solo pieces were worth including. Howe provides a gorgeous, emotional classicaly-inspired solo guitar, with a combination of lead melodies, backing notes throughout and some intelligently-used strumming. Uplifting and beautiful, as well as being wonderfully titled.

Onto the bonus material:

The longer Yes version of Simon And Garfunkel's America was a great choice with Squire's throbbing bass, Wakeman's multiplicity of keyboards and Bruford's innovations and general crashing showing off themselves nicely. Anderson provides his own feel for the lyrics. The combination of softer and louder sections works very neatly, and it gives Howe the opportunities to chord out a lot as well as handle some brief and extended soloing with great relish. A great cover. I didn't really need the extra version of Roundabout, but it's a nice conclusion for the album as a whole, so I can live with it. Jon Anderson forgets some of the lyrics, it seems (or decides not to add them in), which is quite funny, and Bruford provides a more rocking performance, which is interesting. In brief, not a terrible pick as a bonus track.

This album, even if I could have done without some parts of it and don't really care for the conclusion to Heart Of The Sunrise myself, is absolutely essential to any fan of progressive rock. This is an incredible step forwards from The Yes Album, and at its high points a match for Close To The Edge. It is a shame that a few choices in the solo ideas, and that damnable end to Heart Of The Sunrise make the album less fun to listen to as a whole.

Rating: Four Stars. The group ideas are brilliant, the solo ideas don't convince me. Favourite Track: South Side Of The Sky

Report this review (#172035)
Posted Friday, May 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Fragile is the fourth album from symphonic prog rockers Yes. It´s a great album in many respects but it´s not flawless and I´ve had a hard time thinking about which rating I was gonna use for Fragile. More about that later.

Fragile sees the inclusion of keyboard virtuoso Rick Wakemann which is an excellent addition to Yes sound. Tony Kaye was primarely an organ based keyboard player and while that was very enjoyable, Rick Wakemann adds a whole new aspect to Yes sound with his more classical inspired piano work and his more synth based playing.

Fragile consist of nine songs. Four are group efforts and the five remaining tracks are solo compositions from each of the members.

The four group efforts are very enjoyable songs and especially the three long songs Roundabout, South Side Of The Sky and my favorite on Fragile Heart Of The Sunrise are excellent symphonic prog rock. I´ll go as far as calling Heart of the Sunrise one of the best songs ever made in that genre. The last group effort song is Long Distance Runaround which is good, but not remarkable. These four songs are the core of Fragile.

The five solo efforts are of varied quality and relevance. Cans And Brahms which is Rick Wakemann´s composition is very unneccessary IMO. Boring classical themes that would have been better suited on an ELP album. Cans And Brahms are followed by We Have Heaven which is Jon Anderson´s composition. It´s really not that exciting either. Five Percent For Nothing is Bill Bruford´s effort and this one might be even more unneccessary than the two first solo efforts. The whole band plays for sixteen bars and everything follows the drums. No melody only rythm. Needless to say this sounds a bit too experimental on a Yes album. This kind of experimentation works better when someone like Frank Zappa does it. He can pull this sort of thing of with ease. The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) which is Chris Squire´s composition is made out of lots of differnet bass sections and drums. It´s allright but nothing special. Mood for a Day is Steve Howe´s effort and really it´s the only solo composition worth my time. It´s a beautiful classical guitar piece.

The musicianship is of course some of the best you could get in the early seventies and on Fragile Yes have taken a step forward from The Yes Album with the addition of Rick Wakemann.

The production is excellent. Again this is the best you could get in the early seventies.

Fragile should have been called Fragmented as there is a big difference in quality between the group and the solo efforts on the album. I was considering giving Fragile a 3 star rating because of the poor and rather disturbing solo efforts but came to my senses as they only take up about 10 minutes of the 40 minutes total playing time. Which means about 7 minutes of wasted time because Mood for a Day is really beautiful and a great addition to Fragile. So 33 minutes of excellent music is enough for me to give Fragile 4 stars but be warned that you´ll be disturbed in your listening pleasure by some very unneccessary solo efforts from the various members of the band. The 33 minutes are just so good that I can´t jusify giving Fragile less than the 4 stars.

Report this review (#173150)
Posted Friday, June 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fragile took Yes to yet another plateau with the addition of Rick Wakeman on keyboards and was the first Yes album to use Roger Dean cover art. Fragile encompassed everything a great prog album could be with the blending of art, music and virtuoso musicianship. The invidually written tracks by each band member show off the virsitality and creativity of each member of the band. The three extended pieces of music on the album Heart Of The Sunrise, South Side Of The Sky and Roundabout display excellence in song writing and musicianship with Roundabout even finding comercial success. Fragile is an album of indulgence and perfection blended together to make a truely progressive classic.
Report this review (#173297)
Posted Sunday, June 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
Petrovsk Mizinski
5 stars This album is one of the first prog albums that made me understand I like prog music and one of the very first prog albums I fell in love with. I recall just listening to this album every day for weeks on end, and sometimes I still go through this feeling that makes me want to listen to the album repeatedly, and I know for sure, I'll always experience that feeling of wanting to repeatedly listen to it. The line up is just top notch, and with the introduction of the supremely talented Rick Wakeman on keyboards, replacing Tony Kaye, the band's overall musicianship is stepped up a notch.

Unlike the previous Yes studio releases, this album would showcase the individual talents of the band members in the form of solo pieces entirely written by one member and in one case, one piece written and played by one member.

The album kicks off with Roundabout, with a melodic somewhat classic guitar style intro from Howe. There is some seriously cool funky bass licks from Squire, something which is always a joy for me to listen to. Given bass wasn't always an instrument that stuck out such much in bends, it was no doubt enjoyable to hear Squire helping to cement bass as more prominent instrument. Add to this with some stunning keyboard work from Wakeman, and altogether we have a catchy yet fairly complex and yet highly enjoyable piece of music. Cans and Brahms is indeed a piece by Johannes Brahms and consists of extracts from the 3rd movement of the 4th Symphony in E minor by Brahms, but here we have Rick Wakeman's own arrangement of it. Very nice song, if perhaps not one of the stronger songs on here. Next is Jon Anderson's solo piece, where he sings all the vocal parts, and it's a remarkable arrangement of vocals, and sounds very beautiful. South Side Of The Sky. Wow. I can't get over how blown away I am by this song time and time again. The compositional changes are just spot on, and the instrumental break is just stunning, simply stunning. It's been describe as the heavens opening up for the dying people on their fateful polar expedition, and it certainly the instrumental break evokes that feeling for me too. Bill's solo piece, is very quirky, and over quickly, but satisfying nonetheless. Long Distance Run Around is somewhat catchy too, but doesn't skimp on the expected Yes musicianship, so a very balanced song it is indeed, although not one of the better tracks on here though. The Fish is just awesome. At the time, it was very innovative and certainly helped the bass guitar to become known not just as a rhythm and backing instrument, but an instrument that can come to the forefront of the mix and in the process be very emotive and expressive as well. This is the piece of music that really made me truly respect Squire for his talents. Steve's piece, is a lovely classical/Spanish guitar piece, with a degree of Flamenco influence thrown in as well, as well as continuing to demonstrate his prowess on the classical guitar. I always feel very touched listening to this song. Heart Of The Sunrise starts off very crazy, but soon we discover it's a complex piece, and a nice way to end the album. I remember the first time I heard it, I didn't expect so many twists and turns and attention to detail, but it was all there in it's brilliant glory. I do have the re-issue with the Simon and Garfunkel cover song, which is very good, although perhaps you don't need it to truly experience the genius of this album.

The band succeeded in creating something truly remarkable and for that, it's nothing less than a masterpiece.

Report this review (#174280)
Posted Wednesday, June 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes's Fragile, a wonderful arragement of music that was somewhat unorganized, but in the end triumphed as another hit record.

Roundabout, honestly, is a very well written song. It's very good, but now that I listen to it again, I found it somewhat unorganized and dopey. The playing is very messy, mainly on Chris Squires part. However, I absolutely love the organ solo/jam towards the end. As my dad once said when he first played this to me: THESE GUYS ARE COOKIN!. They sure are. (8.5/10)

Cans And Brahms, I found to be really well thought out and very nice to listen to. Basically Wakeman came up with the idea of playing a Brahm piece with different synths and piano sounds. Very cool. (10/10)

We Have Heaven I found very annoying and I usually ended up skipping it. (6/10)

South Side Of The Sky I found to be very compelling, especially with the thunder and wind sounds. The lyrics I found interesting, like a story of some sort of Antartic expedition. Were we ever colder on that day, a million miles away. We seemed from all of eternity. I especially liked the keyboard break, Rick Wakeman's playing style reminds me somewhat of Jordan Rudess's from Dream Theater. I liked the piano line that he would play an octave lower each time. My all time favorite part in the song is when the band brekas out the Na Na Na's. That part I found to be very majestic. (10/10)

Five Percent For Nothing, I found to be totally random. I liked the organ lines, I kept me interested. (8/10)

Long Distance Runaround, starts off with a cool unison from Wakeman and Howe. This song is one of my favorite Yes songs, I love the drumming and the singing. My only problem with it is that it isn't long enough. (10/10)

The Fish (Schindlaeria Praematurus) whatever that means...written by Squire, I found the bass lines very interesting and overall the song is well arranged, unlike some of the other songs earlier on the album, which sounded messy. This song was very organized for the amount of things going on in it. (9/10)

Mood For A Day, brings me back to my childhood. My father being a guitarist, he would play this song frequently. It rushes back memories from me being a little kid in his practice studio as he played this song. This is a short, yet moving piece, I absolutely love it. (10/10)

Heart Of The Sunrise has one of the most baffling drumming lines in prog rock. It sounds like Bill Bruford is some crazed octopus at the beginning. The rest of the song I found to be very majestic and compelling. The synths were very crazy and the drumming gets more intense with each bar. The guitar line from Steve Howe totally kicks the cat out of the park. This is a progressive masterpiece. After a lengthy instrumental part from the band, Jon Anderson finally begins to sing. His singing is so beautiful on this track, it amazes me. I really loved the SHARP! DISTANCE! vocal parts. Especially further into the song when everyone is playing their best and the mood is intense. I liked the bass lines too. In fact, this song in its entirety is deserving of some sort of award. It's beautiful, melancholly, angry, compelling, outlandish and progressive all at once. This a zenith of prog. (10/10)

As far as bonus tracks, you can say they go VERY FAR.

America is one of the best Yes tracks ever recorded in my opinion. It's very nice, with heavy use of the ride bell. I could go on as long as I did for Heart of the Sunrise about this track. Instead, I challenge you to go out and buy it for yourself to find out. It's a great track, I'm going to count it as a track off the album. (10/10)

The early rough mix of Roundabout is absolutely pointless, I found it sounded the same as the final mix.

Overall, this one of Yes's best early releases, go out and get it. NOW. What are you waiting for?

4.5 stars

Report this review (#174602)
Posted Friday, June 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Without a doubt the best that Yes has to offer is contained on this album, Fragile. Here all five musicians are at the peak of their game, creating a warm, organic sound that compulsively continues to attract new listeners to the band and to the progressive genre as a whole. It was my gateway album. From the delicate acoustic intro to Roundabout I was hooked and I had to hear more. The band really tightened up their sound on this album compared to the spawling pieces on the The Yes Album. They also didnt go over the edge with weird, impenetrable metaphysical musing. The three longer songs are all great rock tunes that showcase each members capabilities, especially the muscular bass of Chris Squire. While the six shorter pieces are all fantastic (well maybe not 5% for nothing), each one showcasing one band member's instrumental prowess.

IMO I think that this album is the best of the symphonic sub-genre of prog, it has no flaws. Yes may have gotten grander but could never top the warm, inviting and most importantly, listenable feeling of Fragile.

Report this review (#175078)
Posted Tuesday, June 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars The Yes album

This is the album that introduced me to Yes and I can still remember the very first time I heard Roundabout. The intro to this song immediately grabbed my attention and by the time Rick enters with his amazing keyboard playing I was hooked forever! Yes have continued to impress me ever since. Indeed, Yes is by far my favourite band of all time and this album contains some of their very best material ever. This album is a real classic, and a true must have for all Prog fans, indeed for all serious music fans!

Roundabout, South Side Of The Sky (from which I take my nick-name), Mood For A Day and Heart Of The Sunrise are all timeless classics, constant live favourites and among Yes' best material ever. I agree that this album is not absolutely perfect. Rick's and Bill's individual pieces are throwaways, and Jon's and Chris' pieces are perhaps not too interesting either. I'm certain that if they had put a bit more effort into their individual pieces this album could have been ranked up there with Close To the Edge. But still, these individual pieces help to make the album varied and special.

I don't have very much more to say, just get this album right away because it is simply one of the best albums of all time by anyone. A personal favourite too. For me this is the Yes album.

Despite some minor imperfections, this is a total masterpiece if there ever was one.

Report this review (#176976)
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars As a stand-alone work, or as an integral incorporated point in their catalogue, Fragile is essential to not only my collection, but my life. As a pre-teen, I'd already been moved by The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, but this album seemed to open up a whole other part of my brain. Yet, strangely, I am not a Yes fanatic and I certainly have more love for the work of Genesis, Jethro Tull and a host of others. For example, my next favorite Yes album is honestly Tormato (go figure). But don't get me wrong, I have massive respect for the band, and this is an album that I am unable to exhaust entertainment value from start to finish.

Roundabout - possibly the Trojan horse for prog, the hook in my fish-mouth is the backward piano tones that are so perfectly interlaced with Howe's inspired harmonics. // Cans And Brahms - I'm a keyboard player, so obviously, I find this little snippet of fun to be inventive and forever listenable in it's humble charm. // We Have Heaven - I am not a singer and to blow me away, a vocalist really has to offer up something above the standard bar of mere singing to get my attention, and Jon Anderson gets my attention without being pretentious. // South Side Of The Sky - oh yes, YES! I am always enchanted by the steady pacing and how they all just meld together into a unified musical force. I think that if a lot of other bands attempted to replicate this song, it would come off as lumbering and not as cohesive. It also contains one of the best examples ever of shifting between the minor and the major. The hook in my fish-mouth is the judicious moog bit that precedes the main theme coda. // Five Per Cent For Nothing - a totaly freaky exercise that could have easily been cast off the album, but even in it's briefness it splashes a necessary color onto the aural surface and sort of says to me waste not want not. Cool. // Long Distance Runaround - so intoxicating it can make me dizzy, it never fails to make me feel good and childlike, kind of like spinning around in place and falling on the ground and watching clouds in the sky sort of trail around...but stay on the ground for // The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) - again seemingly inconsequential, but posessing a necessary color for the overall sound painting. // Mood For A Day - an amazingly beautiful composition that I'm sure would impress even the old classical masters if they returned from the dead. Kind of Bach-ish and folky at the same time, but even in 2008 it sounds contemporary. // Heart Of The Sunrise - this is one of the finest works in the entire history of recorded sound, seriously. The way in which all the separate parts are interwoven is mind-blowingly brilliant. This is where Yes write their bit in the text-book of progressive rock music, in stone, for all time. The heavy sections are truly heavy, the softer reflective sections are truly beautiful and moving. Every musician's part is so incredible on it's own, and together as a unit...well, words really can't touch what it is, but serendipity comes close. But, for me, the real special ingredient is Jon Anderson's heartfelt performance. The world owes him free lunch for life based on this performance alone.

We're treated to a nice reprise of We Have Heaven and there you are - Fragile. Just like life is. I imagine this album has actually saved lives, I know I've put it on at times when I'm down and it's lifted me out of whatever doldrums. Yes, it is essential and a masterpiece of progressive music. They may have better albums, those which others prefer, or whatever, but there's no other album by Yes, or anyone else, that is quite like it. Yes indeed.

Report this review (#178139)
Posted Friday, July 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars No matter the genre, there's something awe-inspiring about listening to a band at the peak of their craft.

In my view 'The Yes Album' represented a new pinnacle in rock. 'Fragile's mountain is equally lofty: its rarefied summit unattainable by mortals, who can only gaze upwards in wonder from the lower slopes. As I crane my neck and stare, I can only marvel at what YES accomplished.

The album is constructed similarly to its predecessor, in my view. Much is made of the group's self-indulgence, in that they intersperse the album with short pieces showcasing each member's talents, but I do think this argument is overstated. You'd never come across a more self-indulgent musician than RICK WAKEMAN - EMERSON, perhaps, I don't know why possession of a keyboard makes people think they're Chopin - but he limits himself to less than two minutes. BRUFORD gets half a minute. And the other three pieces are entirely worthy of their place on this record. Like 'The Yes Album' four extended pieces form the corners of the record: in this case, 'Roundabout', 'South Side of the Sky', 'Long Distance Runaround/The Fish' and 'Heart of the Sunrise', appearing in more or less the same places as do the four extended compositions on the preceding album. The shorter pieces are woven around those four enormous slabs of music, providing variety, rest and relief - allowing us to come down from the summit for the occasional brief respite.

'Roundabout' is prog rock's signature tune. Against all commercial reason a shortened version of this epic made it on to the charts. I've never heard the single edit, nor do I have any desire to. Like 'Yours is no Disgrace' from their previous album, this is musical perfection. The compositional balance is stunning, with an intro dramatic in its simplicity. HOWE's harmonics and acoustic guitar are so clean, so sharp, one is immediately aware of being somewhere new. Then in comes the fabled rhythm section, SQUIRE's bass grinding and tearing at your intestines, that overdriven Rickenbacker growling, stepping up and down the amazing tonal range he uses. While HOWE is a fabulous guitar player, YES's glory days were dominated by SQUIRE and his bass filled the gap usually occupied by guitar heroes or keyboard whizzes. BRUFORD indulges in his masterful trickery, constantly withholding the expected beat, the very epitome of syncopation, and ANDERSON provides the vocal impetus and harmonies (with SQUIRE) that were the foundation of the band. There's simply no weakness here. Riffs and melodies are snatched from the gods and sprinkled throughout the song, called into being on a whim, retired and then brought back again exactly at the right moment, ensuring that the eight minutes passes far too soon. The intro is reprised, WAKEMAN flashes a keyboard solo at us and the song comes to a climax with harmonised vocals lifting us even higher. Even the nonsensical imagery is perfect: mountains, lakes, ten true summers; the band is painting on a canvas the size of the world. This music captured my heart when I first heard it, and I remain totally in thrall to it.

A short interlude follows. Give thanks, my friends, that we didn't end up with one of Henry VIII's wives here. Far from self-indulgence, the band is applying serious restraint. WAKEMAN's Brahms folly is followed by ANDERSON's 'We Have Heaven', a track I consider a real highlight. Remember that SQUIRE and ANDERSON originally got together to explore vocal harmonies, and on this track - a sophisticated 'round', where layer after layer of vocals are added to a simple tune - the band demonstrates their playfulness. I can't praise this vignette highly enough, and finish by pointing out that, again, it is restrained almost to the point of sparseness in its length.

The second monolith of the album is up next, heralded by the blowing of a cold wind, signalling a return to the lofty, snow-covered peaks of musical achievement. This track sees HOWE at his most aggressive, his guitar snarling like a mountain lion over the top of a solid rhythm section. SQUIRE holds back here, allowing HOWE to come to the fore. The track is rather simple by YES standards, two sections of verse/chorus separated by a quieter middle section in which WAKEMAN stretches his musical legs and plays some very impressive classical piano at us. Clever choice, that: those cold ivories complement the chilly feeling generated by this track's vocals, sound effects and lyrics.

BRUFORD opens the second side by dashing through the only truly dispensable track on the album, barely allowing us time to shuffle in our seats before the band roars into the third extended workout. Perhaps I'm pushing things here to label 'Long Distance Runaround/The Fish' as one track, but as both works are dominated by SQUIRE's astonishing bass and are joined by a deliberate segue, that's how I see them. One does not get played without the other. Again, the track is reminiscent of the two part 'I've Seen All Good People' from 'The Yes Album'. Listen to that bass work. Delight in the downward slides, enjoy the bass rumble, see how it all fits together. Marvel at a rhythm section the like of which you'll not hear again. Enjoy how they bring back the intro two-thirds of the way through. Then appreciate the segue as SQUIRE lets loose with 'The Fish', his harmonics augmented by the addition of layer after layer of bass sounds: one of the few examples of using a backing instrument to make a stunning song. Indulgence? Never. This is brilliance.

STEVE HOWE gets to reprise 'The Clap' by playing his acoustic 'Mood for a Day', another respite, but a thoroughly enjoyable guitar adventure, with a melody of real beauty.

And finally the true peak of the album. 'Heart of the Sunrise' wins me over even before I hear it: what an evocative title! And the extended intro is a classic of the genre, with the fast motif leading into a slower piece where BRUFORD and SQUIRE show us just what syncopation is all about, a drum and bass duel that builds and builds. Note how SQUIRE selects when to use a lower note than in the previous run, watch him change it up on a seemingly random basis, be enthralled as BRUFORD holds back the beat, teasing you, building up tension; let the mellotron soak into you as the pressure increases, then HOWE's eagle guitar turns up late and soars over everything, until the music bursts back into the opening theme.

I'm sorry, there aren't the words to describe the depth and breadth of what these musicians achieve here.

Finally a sense of calm is brought to proceedings and ANDERSON's gentle vocals begin the song proper. Gentle vocals, and you know you're being set up: these lyrics will reappear at the song's end at full strength. Between now and then we wander off into lands where odd time signatures are the norm, where power is countered by fragility, and ANDERSON asks his plaintive, nonsensical questions. As with 'Roundabout', the band introduces and reprises a variety of themes, giving one the sense at first listen of hearing an old friend, yet providing delight on the hundredth meeting. Compositionally brilliant, these arrangements are immensely satisfying. And so the album reaches its highest peak as the music slows fractionally - a technique used at the end of 'Supper's Ready' - and ANDERSON belts out the opening lyrics amid a truly majestic backdrop. 'How can the wind with so many around me/I feel lost in the city!'

Suddenly it's over, and like every climber who has reached the summit of the world's highest mountain, the only way is down. But, staggeringly, it's not. In 1972 this band scale an even higher mountain. But that album in no way reduces the heights this one attains.

Report this review (#178371)
Posted Monday, July 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Though not as exceptional as the Close To The Edge-Tales-Relayer period, this album is still an essential for every progressive music fan. The album is divided up into 4 groups songs and solo spots from each members, that interestingly work very, very well and add a lot to the album. Of course throughout you get the wonderful vocal hooks from Anderson, the twirling keyboards sounds from newcomer Rick Wakeman, outstanding guitar work from Howe who had really made an impact since joinging the band, and of course, flawless drumming from Bruford. But the real star of this Fragile album is bassist Chris Squire. It would be a joy just to take out the bass tracks and listen to them on their own. This is the best bass guitar album in history, period.

We start off the album with perhaps THE most widely known classic prog song, Roundabout. It's a fantastic song. Progressive and overtly catchy at the same time, I'm sure you know it. If you don't, give it a listen. It's great stuff, even if I think the other group works on Fragile are better.

Cans And Brahms is a little keyboard piece from Wakeman. It's stupid, but I love it.

We Have Heaven is a vocal showcase from Anderson. It's very nice and really works on it's own.

The highlight of Fragile is the next song, South Side Of The Sky. It's a harsh, cold, and wintry track (fitting the lyrics, which are about hypothermia, quite well) and is about as aggressive as Yes got up to this point. Listen to those descending guitar chords in the verse and the booming bass throughout. This is the greatest both dueling and cohesion between Squire and Howe up to this point in their careers. Then the songs fades, and a lovely piano interlude from Wakeman sets the stage for a great harmonic vocal part from Anderson, until that agressiveness returns at we come to the end of this mini-epic. One of the best Yes songs ever.

Five Per Cent For Nothing is a very short drum.... uh..... thing from Bruford. It's kinda cool for being on about a half a minute.

Next is the REAL best pop number on the album, the simply wonderful Long Distance Runaround. This is just a fantastic combination of prog and pop with everything you would expect from a great radio hit and all the advantages of the members' individual talents. I love this track. Grusomely overlooked.

The next two are individual pieces by Squire and Howe respectively, The Fish and Mood For A Day. The Fish is a great studio creation that showcases the talents of Chris Squire and his ability to create a track with his Rickenbacker bass alone. Very spacey and cool. Sounds like an ocean-inspired track. Mood For A Day is a classical guitar piece and is very, very pretty.

Heart Of The Sunrise is the epic which closes the album. Simply a great track. Listen to that bass and drum interplay in the intro. This is prog rock rocking as hard as it ever has. The middle of the song is much, much softer, dominated by some beautiful Wakeman passages on piano and the best vocal work, perhaps, Anderson has ever given out. As the song progresses, the harder and softer aspects of the song seem to come together in a charged up musical rush that closes the album, before we get a little reprise of "We Have Heaven".

Overall, while I don't think this one reaches the heights of the next three albums, it's a fantasic listen and no prog lover should be without it. ****1/2 stars, bumped up to a five by it's importance in the prog canon.

Report this review (#178422)
Posted Tuesday, July 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well after dusting off my parents' record player and spinning a few vinyls, I finally have had the oppurtunity to listen to some classic albums that my parents have. Naturally, being very interested in prog, I went first for this album. Fragile by Yes, something that many fans point to as being one of the best albums in history.

Frankly, I'm not terribly impressed. It's certainly not a bad album, for sure. But only having on vinyl really makes me think, would I really have this in constant rotation as a CD? Probably not is my verdict after listening to it quite a few times. But it certainly deserves attention.

Many prog and rock fans will say Roundabout is an excellent song. I would have to agree. It's got a cool bass groove and the ideas are well formed in this one. I especially enjoy the bass in this one, it adds a lot to the song. The keyboards I was a bit dissapointed in, after hearing what a good keyboard solo this song had. I'm more impressed with the middle section with keyboard arpeggios and the same strumming of the guitar as the very beginning, a very haunting section for Yes. Overall a great energetic song and a fantastic opener.

Cans and Brahms is good also. It's not very often that you hear a rock song on an album and the next one is a classical piece. It's a lovely piece. I am a fan of classical orchestra and piano and this is a very nice piece of music to listen to. Short and sweet, often a good combination.

We Have Heaven, on the other hand, is what I call a crowded song. Too much of Jon Anderson's voice going on. Luckily, it doesn't last too long. Of course, it does set up an interesting idea for the rest of the album, by closing with the sounds of a door closing and some footsteps. This is heard at the end of the album, suggesting the rest of the album goes together in a type of suite, which isn't too surprising.

South Side of the sky is a rather boring song, in my opinion. I really don't like mid-tempo music, and this song is repetitive for my tastes. If I could take out every part that says Were we ever colder on that day a million miles away I would. It's not very memorable of a song either, just the overall mood is recollectable.

Next is Five per cent for nothing. Which is simply just a short annoying track. Nothing notable.

After that song is Long Distance Run Around. While this one is a mid-tempo track, it's got an interesting rhythm to it with the guitars. The piano keeps the tempo going while a couple of guitar chords come in different lengths of time to create an unexpected almost polyrhythmic sound. Good one.

The Fish is an absolutely beautiful song. Nice classical-esque guitar sound created by Squire's bass. I love this one, it's just nice. I wish it could have been longer, but many tracks on this album go on too long, so I guess it's only fitting.

Mood for a day is a strange one. The melodies in this piece are a bit overused, so there's definetely some repetition in this piece. Also, I don't particularly care for the guitar tone in this one. It's rather screechy, and only brings to mind the worse aspects of the sound of electric guitar in the 70s.

That one goes into Heart of thes Sunrise. This one has a beautiful quiet symphony in the back ground, and this is a great soothing song and I enjoy listening to it every time. The tempo picks up a couple times and a couple of the motifs from Mood for a day come in. At it's 11 minute length, it's a good listen that a person can sink their teeth into and listen over and over again, hearing many new things every subsequent listens. I think one of the surprises is the end of the track, which contains the sound of a door opening and then a short bit of We Have Heaven in it. This closes the album up nicely.

Again, this is a good album with some great musicianship. However, the consistency of the interesting songs is just not very constant, and I find it a bumpy listen. Maybe if I hadn't have heard of how great this album is by so many prog fans, then maybe I would have a higher opinion. I can only say that I'm a bit dissapointed. However, any prog fan should enjoy it, at least as much as I do, even though I enjoy it quite a bit. I'll reccomend it to fans of Yes and prog in general, but In my personal opinion it just is not particularly a masterpiece album.

Report this review (#182169)
Posted Wednesday, September 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes - 'Fragile' 5 stars

Enter, Rick Wakeman.

I believe 'CTTE' and 'Relayer' are the finest works of Yes's career and music in general. But there is something that 'Fragile' has above all else, and that would be balance. The album has a perfect mix of 5 solo compositions that each was so interesting and innovative, given the knowledge behind each piece. The addition of Rick Wakeman gave Yes its undisputed classic line-up. Chris Squire ultimately set himself apart from all other bass players with his overpowering style that is clearly evident right away in 'Roundabout'.

The solo works:

'Cans and Brahms' by Rick Wakeman. Rick takes a classical piece by Brahms and plays the 5 different section on his keyboard and combines them all in. It is a wonderful adaptation and sounds beautiful.

'We Have Heaven' by Jon Anderson. This is along with Squire's piece, one of the most innovative tracks at the time and in today's standards. Anderson messed around with different tape effects for his voice and combined a numerous amount of vocal lines combined into one coherent piece. The track is one of the most interesting pieces I have heard while listening to a variety of music.

'Five Per Cent for Nothing' by Bill Bruford. Another track that is truly 'out there'. Based on a bar created by Bill, the band copies Bill's rhythm twice while he plays his one beat that creates an extremely unconventional track.

'The Fish' by Chris Squier. The most innovative track in music as far as I am concerned. This ridiculous track was made through Chris taking different sounds on his bass and writing multiple lines that he would mash together. Catchy and full of innovative ideas, this is a true 'classic' of music.

'Mood for a Day' by Steve Howe. Another shot at the classical guitar piece. This one was a complete hit. A brilliant piece that is still part of the Yes live staple today.

The band works:

After creating such unique tracks that show what the members can do by themselves, truly outshine it with all mini- epic track lengths that are each filled with undeniable brilliance. Songs like 'South Side of the Sky' that are nice rock songs, become disturbed and loose when Steve Howe breaks into the versus with fanatic guitar chops and rhythmatic leads. The symphonic brightening by Rick Wakeman in the beautiful closer 'Heart of the Sunrise' which also features Jon Anderson's vocals at their peak. Each member played in sync, yet threw in a little bit of what makes their style of music so unique and brilliant. Each band piece was massive in coherence matched with unconventional and erratic, yet seemingly controlled chaos.

The brilliance of both sides of composition, solo and collectively, were shown masterfully. Some people don't enjoy the solo works and think it is self-indulgent. I feel like it was a way to know what each member was about and what they can contribute. The band pieces showed the chemistry that they can create. An easy 5 star rating from me. A masterpiece without any doubt.

Report this review (#184107)
Posted Tuesday, September 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Finally masterpiece from Yes!It is beautiful.The beauty and gentleness is all around this album.If you want romantic dinner with special woman this is the perfect album for that.The musicianship is perfect.When you listen to this album you can feel that one ancient greek harpist walk around the times and now is here for you!Fragile is a mixture between long and short songs with perfect structure and sound.The order of the songs is completed.The sound progression is so precise.The name of the first song is fundamental for the album.The ideas all around the album are developed with something like roundabouts.The ideas are not shared with the listeners directly,but with beautiful turns,which I called roundabouts.Just great.
Report this review (#184120)
Posted Tuesday, September 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars Well, here is Review number 483 of a classic. So many reviews with so much detail so how can I add anything new to this review? In a word, impossible! There is little to be said really. With 'Fragile' we have one of the most incredible examples of musical virtuosity from arguably the best in the business. When it comes to Symphonic prog, Yes practically write the book and with 'Fragile' it is easy to see why they are hailed as masters of the genre.

Let's start with the line up - the ultimate prog band? When you have the likes of Bruford's magnificent drumming patterns merged with Squire's driving bass rhythms you need go no further. Wakeman has some really inspired moments on this album and is at his best. Howe's guitar work is tremendous with complex time signatures and relentless skilfully played finger picking. Then there's Jon Anderson who is in full voice and his performance is crystal clear on every track that he sings.

The album boasts the quintessential catalogue of Yes - Roundabout, South Side Of The Sky, Long Distance Runaround , Heart Of The Sunrise - what else do we need? Well, on this occasion Yes indulges in some of their solo material which ranges from forgettable to er... regrettable. The less said about them the better - the pompous arrogance of the pieces is of course, what we have come to expect from Yes but these fillers, yes I said fillers, only run for a total duration of about 10 minutes so nothing ventured nothing gained I guess.

In any case 'Fragile' is one of the best prog yes albums in the catalogue. Grab it now and enjoy!

Report this review (#185085)
Posted Wednesday, October 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Five percent not spent in vain (okay, so I couldn't think up a better title).

Review number 300 and I finally roll around to this classic work from the masters of progressive rock, Yes's Fragile. This album was the first to showcase the talent of the wonderfully garbed and caped Rick Wakeman who would show his sparkle fresh out of The Strawbs on this album. The band has moved away from the somewhat psych-pop-prog styling of their previous album, The Yes Album, which showed the band hitting a wonderful niche which they'd still have one foot solid in while inching closer to the edge as they did. The playing on this album is sharper and the band seems to be exploding creatively as they collaborate to make some of their best signature pieces and a variety of solo ''shorts'' to be showcased on the album. Things are a bit more lively but a bit less organized than the last album thanks to the eclectic mix of backgrounds and influences from each member, but all in all we can see that the band is not far from reaching their pinnacle. Not far... but not quite there yet.

The individual songs on the album are quite memorable thanks to their overwhelming charm that Yes is so well known for. If ever you put on a Yes album you know what you're in for - uplifting riffs and keys paired with Anderson's high-pitched voice and non-nonsensical lyrics portrayed in a grandiose fashion by the lyrics. Things start to get more to the grandiose side of things on this album as compared to the last one since the band is here starting to get more accustomed to the whole ''pomp-rock'' thing as evident on the longer tracks like Heart Of The Sunrise with its surprisingly heavy opening riff and keys only to be toned down as Anderson's voice enters. Short, pop-ish, but no less impressive tracks still stand in the form of those like Long Distance Runaround which shows Yes at their closest to achieving second life as a rainbow (a very cheery song), and in the subsequent instrumentals which tie together to work to lengthen the tune like Chris Squire's soon to be namesake The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) and Steve Howe's wonderful Mood For A Day.

Still, there's some things you wouldn't expect from the band. The opening tune to the album rocks so hard that no one could believe that it was Yes if not for the oh-so-Squire bass line that's involved. By now Roundabout has become a staple of the Yes canon, and for good reason, it stands as a testament that the bass can be played as a lead instrument, and songs over 8-minutes in length can obtain rapid FM air time. This is followed by two strange solo tunes, Rick Wakeman's interpretation of Cans and Brahms played in a very fun manner and Jon's a-Capella We Have Heaven when segues into one of the darkest songs ever published by the band. Surely Bruford was receiving some of King Crimson's evil powers prematurely when Yes wrote South Side Of The Sky, a dark tale which ends in death - hardly what we'd expect from these gents. Still, a standout among their catalog.

While the overall effect of the album may not stand as strong as later efforts, Fragile was still a well placed step for the YesMen, and from there they would go on to better things. Very much worth the investment and some might even say essential to a prog record collection. Essential? It sure is. Masterpiece is a bit of a strong word for the album, especially knowing what was to come from the band, but a strong 4.5 stars is to be awarded anyways. This is a classic Yes record, and every prog fan must hear it at some point in their lives.

Report this review (#187459)
Posted Friday, October 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars While the previous album was certainly a masterpiece, this one introduces the classic Yes sound, thanks in no small part to the addition of the Mellotron and the mini-Moog synthesizer. Another original Yes member is gone, and this time it's Kaye, despite his gradual improvement from the first album. But just as Howe proved to be a much needed member of Yes, Wakeman would prove to be extremely important in the development of the band. Chris Squire is not content to remain a mere rhythm section player; in most Yes music from here on out, the bass guitar stands out as much as any lead instrument. There are only four tracks in which the band really performs together, as the other five are meant to demonstrate the respective skill of each member. All the solo spots do demonstrate, however, is this one thing: The sum of Yes is always greater than each of the individuals themselves.

"Roundabout" As soon as Howe begins that easily recognized acoustic guitar introduction, progressive rock fans know what they're about to hear. The punchy sound of Squire's Rickenbacker 4001 is the most dominating of all the instruments most of the time. The lyrics reflect the rather nonsensical but optimistic nature most of Anderson's lyrics will take. Reflecting the importance of proving their choice to replace Kaye was a good one, Wakeman takes to the organ with a rollicking couple of solos. After a section heavy on vocalizations from the singers in the band, Howe repeats an acoustic riff from the introduction, but ends the song on a major chord.

"Cans and Brahms" This is Wakeman's solo spot. It's a somewhat hokey arrangement of Johannes Brahms's work that, perhaps due to the instrumentation, makes this sound like a child's television program's theme song from yesteryear.

"We Have Heaven" This is Anderson's solo spot. Like Wakeman's, it's something of a silly throwaway. Layers upon layers of Anderson's voice and acoustic guitar make up ninety-nine seconds of this record. This section will inexplicably be brought back at the very end of the album.

"South Side of the Sky" Arguably the darkest song on the album, "South Side of the Sky" features some blistering guitar work, Wakeman's finesse on the piano, and Anderson and Squire's clever vocal work. It starts with some sinister howling wind effects and Bruford introduces the band with several raps on his snare and toms. While I really like the song, I think the verse sections themselves reoccur far more often than they should.

"Five Percent for Nothing" This is Bruford's solo spot. It sits highly among the most trivial thirty-seven seconds of progressive rock music, and that's all I have to say about it.

"Long Distance Runaround" This is one of Yes's major breakthroughs on mainstream radio; it's short structure and catchy melody make it a prime candidate, and yet it clearly maintains the Yes sound. A guitar cadenza bridges this song with the next piece.

"Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" This is Squire's solo spot. It has several bass guitars layered over one another, and the parenthetical title is repeated again and again as everything fades out.

"Mood for a Day" This is Howe's solo spot. Unlike all the other solo segments, only one instrument is used- a nylon-stringed guitar. This piece has a Spanish flamenco feel.

"Heart of the Sunrise" The album's closer is one that admittedly took some time for me to get into. The raucously discordant and partially chromatic introduction can be hard to enjoy at first. The song jumps from loud to quiet parts, and the styles vary from part to part. There are a lot of jazz and classical influences present. Like many of Yes's lyrics, their meaning is mellifluous; while they do literally refer to sunrises and being lost in the city, Anderson has claimed many things over the years about the song's meaning. For all its qualities, "Heart of the Sunrise" remains one of Yes's most popular songs among their longtime fans.

Report this review (#192572)
Posted Wednesday, December 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album receives from my rating the maximum of five stars,but flaws that are not hard to detect do exist. Fragile suffers ocassionally from the nightmare that haunts progressive music:pretension.There is indeed a serious risk of musical pretension when five musicians with almost unmatchable skills in their respective instruments are decided to achieve musical perfection.Personally,what I consider to be Yes most essential atribute is the ability to make ALL the instruments listenable and joyfull to the listener without losing the richness of their melodies.To acomplish that with the omnipresence of a bass guitar is,to say the least,impressive.But not even Chris Squire can escape from pretention by making an unacompanied bass solo wich takes the time of an entire track,and pridefully name it 'The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)'. So being,i'm tempted to take at least one star away from this album,but i just can't.Simply because,when Yes play as group,and even in some individual moments,they make sure to provide the closest thing one could possibly get to a perfect symphony between harmony,rhythm and melody.This may sound exagerated,but unless you heard it at least the necessary amount of times to understand what this kind of music is about,you have no idea of how much beauty can fit in a single rock song. Roundabout is truly a celebration of life.All the four instruments sing in perfect syntony,and not a single note could be removed without causing a lack of beauty to this composition.It is wonderfully 'fragile',but at the same time it shows a confident band that can naturally move this piece from a 'lighter' arrangement during the first to verses,into a tense mid-session driven all the way through by a bass riff. All this is completed,of course,by the gifted voice of Jon Anderson.As expected from a Yes song,the lyrics are also easily enjoyable by anyone who has ears. South Side of the Sky shows a heavier band,and even though the main lines don't have the mighty of Roundabout,it all comes down again with what is quite likely one of the single most brilliant instrumental sessions in rock music:it starts with a jazzy piano solo by Rick Wakeman(wich might as well stand side by side with the most remarkable moments of Sixe Wives of Henry VIII),short lenghted but still beautifull,followed than by the rest of the band. Mood For A Day is a flamenco guitar piece by Steve Howe,wonderfully rich in complexity,and still enjoyable by the most casual listener.Undoubtly the best of the five tracks in the album written individually by each member of the band.It is completely unacompanied,still it naturally acomplish what many bands take an entire career to. Heart of the Sunrise has a very unusual time signature,that spots a ten minute journey through classic,jazz and rock.Agressive,beautifull and misterious.A certain tension noticeable all along this song gives it an exotic feel,closing the album in a very singular way. Unfortunately,the individual compostions(with the exceptions of the already mentioned Mood For A Day and the remarkable We Have Heaven),located in beetwen the main arrengements,take away some of the stunning impression Fragile can cause in the most carefull listeners.This,however,would be enhanced in the writing sessions of Close To the Edge,the only album that presented the efforts of Jon Anderson,Chris Squire,Steve Howe,Rick Wakeman and Bill Brufford(arguably the most virtuos group of muscians ever to be united in a rock band)as a whole.
Report this review (#192581)
Posted Wednesday, December 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another example where 5 members came together and created something that will live through and be admired till the dawn of mankind. On Fragile 5 of the most talented musicians in the history of Prgressive Rock came together....This really is what I would call the classical line up. On Fragile they came together...with the second album they created Close To The Edge, their greatest masterpiece.....what a pitty that this line up only stayed together for such a short time..what if this 5 would have stayed together to make Tales, Relayer and Going as we'll......What different if would have sounded then if Bruford was drumming Sound Chaser....or Tales how awsome it would have been if Wakeman would have stayed to play on Relayer....No, if there ever was a classical line it was the one that they had during this album........Fantastic.....

Fragile itself it a pile of classics.....much shorter tracks as they begin to create later but...still totally blown away...after I got hooked to Union (I know alot hate it, including Wakeman, but I think it contains some amazing tunes)...The longer pieces are Roundabout, South Side Of The Sky and Heart Of The Sunrise...........Roundabout has some fantastic accoustic begining with is joined by some good and characteristic Squire bass what result in one of the more acessible tunes Yes ever created. South Side Of The Sky sets right of with some bass & drum interplay..which goes on till about half of the song, where Rick can show some of his more sensitive sides on the Piano, this stays like this untill about 2 min before the end where they pick up the beginning tune of the song again, but this time joined by a nice solo of Steve.

The other short songs, are more sort of solo songs in which every musician can show thier mastership, and skill....I particulary like Long Distance Runaround, that perhaps is the most coperative piece of the short ones......., The Fish, nicely experimental,with some great bass of Chris...and the very beautifull accoustic Mood For A Day, where Steve can show his skills in a Spannish guitar.

All of this is rounded off with the best song of the album : Heart Of The Sunrise. It was Heart Of The Sunrise as the first song of Yes that I really loved...Back then I didn't know it was on Fragile and I think that....I knew it from Yesyears. Its also the only song that is missing on the Keys concert...and should have been added to an already mindblowing set...Particularry amazing here are the vocals of Anderson...I so much like the way he sing...'Coming quickly to turn....' Very very very beautifull. And I never really realized how much Mellotron they use in this song...Its not very obvious, but instead very very suddle....and sensitive....

All in all a true classic.....If you own. Fragile, Close To The Edge, Tales, Relayer and are setlled.....and have all the legendary studioalbums of Yes.

Report this review (#201139)
Posted Friday, January 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars After a masterpiece, Yes came stimulated to the studio. And, as a result of this, here is another masterpiece. The curious fact is that all members have a solo song in the album. Let's take a look:

Five Percent For Nothing: nonsense solo piece by Bill. I really don't know about what this song is (I mean, the title, for it has no lyrics). Bruford was a very talented musician; even being a drummer and not always participating in the compositional process, I'm sure he could have done something better ! 2,5 stars...

Cans and Brahms: solo piece by Wakeman, it is an adaptation of a classical work from Johannes Brahms. It is graceful, very beautiful. The synthesizer sound is very cool. 4,1 stars to it. We Have Heaven: great solo song by Anderson, showing how talented he was/is. What could be better than a song sung by Jon Anderson ? A song sung by many Jons ! 4,5 stars.

Mood For a Day: after 'Clap', here is another classical Howe's acoustic guitar song. Better than the other cited, it has more feeling and is more complex. 4,5 stars.

The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus): good solo piece by the talented Squire. It is very complex and simple at the same time. The drums, guitar and bass are played fantastically, and the vocals are simple, but powerful. Alone, it wouldn't have much impact, but it's a medley with Long Distance Runaround, and this makes it even greater. 4,5 stars.

Roundabout: some people say this is the biggest Yes success, or that it is the best song of the band. I disagree. Of course, Yes always plays it in every show, and, if I went to a Yes show, I'd want to hear it also, though it's not one of my favourite. 5 stars.

Heart of the Sunrise: this song is very repetitive and could be a little shorter, but the musicians play perfectly in it: an enviable bass line, great guitar riffs and solos, fast crazy drums and emotional keyboards. This song has an incredible atmosphere, mystic, melancholic, deep. Jon sings the words 'sharp distance' so many times, but every time he sings is different. Great song. 5 stars.

South Side of the Sky: this song begins with Mr. Bruford's syncopation and wind effects: a great intro to advertise the great song that is starting. It has a contagious rhythm and good lyrics. In fact, it has something special. A very powerful song. I love it. 5 stars !

Long Distance Runaround: For me, the best song on the album. Happy, positive, melancholic at the same time, powerful, contagious. One of my favourite Yes tunes. 5 stars ! Let's remember that this album was just an 'appetiser'. The next album would be Yes' maximum, but this is a terrific album. 5 stars, of course !

Report this review (#201473)
Posted Monday, February 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The album that propelled Yes from being a band people liked to one that people loved, in their millions. This shows the lineup maturing into something special, although I can only give it four stars as it was great, but not perfect.

Roundabout is a constant staple of the Yes repertoire, and deservedly so. What makes it stand out for me is the way Chris Squire plays his bass guitar. As I said on my review of the previous LP, he is the only bass player who makes it sound like a lead guitar, and that is very much in evidence on this. Howe's acoustic playing is lovely, and you instantly know that a keyboard maestro has arrived in the form of Rick Wakeman, recruited from folky outfit The Strawbs, when you listen to the swirling sound he creates. However, I do not particularly rate Cans & Brahms, one of the five solo pieces by the band on the LP, as being much more than a throwaway track - it's certainly far too short to show off Wakeman's talents, and some of these solo pieces, for me, make this a four star LP rather than the perfect five.

However, that does not apply to We Have Heaven, Anderson's contribution. I love Jon's voice, and I always think of him as being someone whose voice flys, no soars, and this is particularly true on this track. Lovely.

South Side of the Sky is a rockier piece, with menacing keyboards and another thundrous bass line.

The next one, Five percent for nothing, was so named by Anderson of Bruford's contribution, and never was a name more apt, although it really upset the drummer at the time (and still does). Completely pointless, it does no justice to a fine drummer, although one who was always more jazzier than many of his contemporaries.

Long Distance Runaround is a good short piece, whose main purpose, to me, was always to lead into the finest solo track on the album, The Fish. If there is a finer example of bass playing, I would love to hear it - superb.

Mood for a Day is Howe's contribution, and has rightly become a classic. I far prefer this to The Clap as it is a more thoughtful piece of music.

The album closes with Heart of the Sunrise, one of my favourite tracks of all time.The opening Howe burst is followed by a quiet, almost dreamy vocal by Anderson accompanied by a strong bass line by Squire, the track bursts into life with almost manic playing by all concerned, then quietens again, and so on. Anderson hits the highest of high notes when he exalts Dream on, on to the Heart of the Sunrise followed by Howe's ascending burst and very menacing chords from all others. This is a very complex piece of music, which must have taken ages to perfect, but it ranks amongst their finest.

This should, really, be a perfect prog LP, but it is spoiled somewhat by traces of the self indulgence that would, in time, turn the band from world beating heroes to be cast, very unfairly in my opinion, as musical villains responsible almost solely for the onset of punk.

Highly recommended to those few of you that don't own it.

Report this review (#203742)
Posted Thursday, February 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars A prog album that clicks right into your head from the beginning!

Some people consider yes as a forum only for fans of high-skilled musicanship, but I really like the psychadelic mood of this one, and many of the track hits right from the start. The best of the songs have to be the magic roundabout. Right from the psychadelic intro, the song is fantastic. It features a really great bassline, accoustic guitars and organs, which developes into a fantastic solo at the end. One of prog rocks most stunning songs. Other highlights being the variating, partly intense, partly mellow Heart Of The Sunrise, the dreamy The Fish and the fantastic Mood For A Day, which may be the best accoustic instrumental track in prog history. It's really one of those feel good songs that tells you the world maybe isn't as hopeless and boring as it sometimes feel. The only problem with the album is the short songs the band have putted between the real songs. In the beginning I just got very annoyed of the wimsy songs We Have Heaven and Five Cents Per Nothing. And there really isn't anything good about those, besides they add something to the mysterious psychadelian feel of the album. However, they are short and not a big problem of the overall experience. I actually like this album somewhat better than Close To The Edge and I could recommend it to anyone who not screams of dislike while hearing the somewhat different vocals.

Report this review (#210733)
Posted Wednesday, April 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars

Many will tell you that this album suffers from the solo material. Honestly, I do not see the flaw in that material, with exception that the solo material on Side 2 is far superior to that on Side 1. The band compositions are exceptional, expanding on the ideas explored on the Yes Album and entering new territory. Enter Roger Dean artwork and you have the beginning of 4 or 5 glorious years.

Rick Wakeman's keyboard work on this album provides Yes the ability to create powerful mood and feeling yet still develop the complex song structure they experimented with on the Yes Album. Throughout the album, Wakeman plays exceptionally well; from the bombastic organ solos and fills on 'Roundabout' to the chilling piano interlude on 'South Side of the Sky', Wakeman establishes himself in the same way Howe did on the previous recording.

'Roudabout' is an excellent opening song, acoustic guitar flourishes by Howe begin the piece. Then Chris and Bill come in, one of the tighest and explosive rhythm parts these two produced (see track 9). Many who are getting into Yes will be referred to this song and Chris' bass. Personally, Wakeman's keyboard fills are a thing of beauty, flying all over the place; that and Howes guitar during the chorus (In and around the lake) are noteworthy. Yes then proceeds to go into a heavier section, Howe's guitar and Chris' bass providing a strong foundation. After that fades away, Wakeman's keyboards take over with Howe repeating the opening theme over the top. It is here that the band descends into an all out prog-jam fest; Wakeman and Howe trading solos as Chris and Bill work around them. An essential piece of music with an ending to die for: da-da-da-da-daaaa-da-da

'Cans and Brahms' and 'We Have Heaven' are Wakeman's and Anderson's respective pieces. Wakeman's is an interpretation of a Brahms piece. It isn't nearly as energetic as it could be, and is a dissapointment considering what Wakeman could do. The latter of the two pieces is actually catchy as anything, a very unorthodox piece but Jon never ceases to amaze with his melodies.

And then we move on to 'South Side of the Sky'. Wind, lightning and rain in the intro provide great backdrop for the music: cold, expressive and razor sharp (especially Wakeman's piano solo). Listen to Chris and Bill come in towards the end of Wakeman's interlude, so fluid and dynamic. Bill's drums are phenemonal: incredibly complex, well suited for the piece and so controlled at the same time. The band eventually returns to the main theme, a powerful and aggressive melody that captures the bleak landscape evoked in the lyrics. If there ever was a time Yes' lyrics molded with their music in perfect harmony, this is it was starters. Howe finishes the piece with a solo that will send chills down ones spine.

Side 2 begins with 'Five Percent for Nothing', a throwaway track by Bruford and titled in jest. 'Long Distance Rounaround' is the first traditional song on this side and the mood ladies and gentlemen is the complete antithesis to that found on the last piece. A wonderful introduction that transitions into Jon's vocals. Bill's drums and Wakeman's piano provide the rhythm with Chris and Steve playing the riff in unison. All parts working working as one to create an electric piece of music. The piece develops into what is 'The Fish'. Steve's guitars are all over this piece, Bill locks into a tight 7/4 groove with Chris. A great piece of music that only gets better live.

'Mood For the Day' exhibits Steve's incredible skill as a classic guitarist. This piece is more developed than his effort on the previous effort. Very lovely melodies, contrasted with Spanish flamenco and extreme dexterity and mastery of his instrument.

So after that trip through the hills of Spain on a lovely late summer afternoon, the sun setting in the west with your love by your side, you are suddenly transportated to a darkest part of the city, alone and engulfed in the stench of the slums.'The opening riff to 'Heart of the Sunrise' is haunting. Bill, Steve, Chris, and Rick all playing in unison at a breakneck tempo in 6/8. They then go off into this 4/4 section, with a great bassline by Chris and Steve playing a variation of the main riff. Returning to the 6/8 riff for a few more runs around the block, the band then tones it down drastically with Jon's soft and reflective lyrics set amidst the atmospheric palette set by Rick and Steve. Any description would be superfluous as it is really one the most moving sections of music I have heard. Tremendous combination of songwriting and performance (especially vocal by Jon). They return to opening riff a couple times, intertwined with another clever riff. The piece is then textured with Rick's short piano interludes, which are accentuated on organ alongside the opening riff. Jon's vocals take center stage towards the end of the song...the opening riff ending abruptly into silence...and then a 'We Have Heaven Reprise'.

One of Yes' finest recording, the cover of 'America' in the bonus tracks is also worth listening to. That makes this incredible album even better. An essential piece of progressive rock music and worthy of every listen. The band would only get more exploratory in their future projects; this first one with Wakeman is worth every penny. Enjoy!

Report this review (#210973)
Posted Friday, April 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I remember when I picked this album up for the first time. I had already heard the masterpiece Close to the Edge and had also heard Drama and had like what I heard. As a guitar player I was drawn to Howe's playing and versatility and knew I had to familiarize myself more with Yes. I knew the fantastic Mood for a Day was on this album so decided I wanted Fragile. It was three years ago and I bought it with Dream Theater's Images and Words and Bostons greatest hits (because it was only $9.99). This was an album I had sitting in the player for quite some time. It opens with Roundabout, a track surely most people have heard. To my liking, it begins with an always brilliant Howe finger-picked acoustic passage and transitions into the song. There is a fantastic, full of energy Wakeman solo later on in the song. The next song, Cans and Brahms, is a Brahms-inspired Wakeman performance. I'm not sure if it is directly a Brahms compostion interpreted by Wakeman, or a Wakeman composition loosely based on a Brahms composition, but it is great none the less. The next song, which is probably my least favourite on the album but by no means implies that it is bad, is We have Heaven. It is essentially Anderson looping and layering his vocals over a simple acoustic guitar passage. The next song is a great one. South Side of the Sky has a kind of dark and heavy atmosphere at parts which I love. Very nice Squire playing in this track. The next tune is a weird and quirky Bruford quickie. The next song is Long Distance Runaround, which begins with Howe and Wakeman playing in unison and transitions into the song. The next song is a Squire composition called The Fish in where many bass passages are looped in a similar fashion to Anderson's voice in We Have Heaven. The next song is the reason I bought this album, the great Howeian Mood for a Day. Learning this song (or at least parts of it haha) on guitar is what began my transition into the classical guitar realm. Great playing all over from Howe on this one, he lets his versatility shine here. Finally, this album ends with my favourite track on the album, Heart of the Sunrise. This is probably the heaviest rock composition to date at the time of its release. It begans with a great heavy progressive chromatic riff and then transitions into an acresendo (spelling?) repeating the same riff, which then transitions into the more mellower body of the song. The song ends with a quick repeat of the initial heavy riff followed by a door opening to an excerpt of We have Heaven. Thus ends the journey of the album Fragile.

This is a must have Yes album, from the classic Yes Trinity (Yes Album, Fragile, Close to the Edge) 4.5 stars, I'll round up to five. It would be a definite 5 if it was more focused on band performances than solo pieces, but this is still one of the greatest moments of progressive rock.

Happy Listening friends!

Report this review (#211327)
Posted Tuesday, April 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album is fine proof that virtuosity doesn't have to mean greatness. Yes being excellent musicians (plus Jon Anderson) didn't have idea for great concept or even for working together. The result? Couple of 'solo' tracks that in comparsion with Jehtro Tull, ELP or Van Der Graaf Generator songs are simply boring and lifeless. Heart Of Sunrise could be good song if guys rearranged it into something more powerful and dynamic. It has its strong moments but it's not enough to call it a masterpiece. The second thing is I can't stand Jon Anderson vocals. The guy sings like someone squeezed his balls. It doesn't mean he can't sing. But his falsettos are simply irritating. I like some later Yes albums but this one appears to me highly overrated release.
Report this review (#214641)
Posted Sunday, May 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.5 rounded up to a 4. Without the whimsical solo efforts of each off the group members-"Cans and Brahms" (Rick Wakeman), "We Have Heaven" (Jon Anderson), "Five Percent For Nothing" (Bill Bruford), "The Fish" (Chris Squire), and finally "Mood For a Day" (Steve Howe)-the album would come off a lot stronger in my opinion. At least they could have lumped them all to one half of a side (taking up a little less than 10 minutes).

All the group efforts are very good except for "Long Distance Runaround", which is a relatively forgettable 3-minute-long song (it's slightly catchy but not very interesting and good). The other three range between 8 and 11 minutes, and "South Side Of The Sky" and "Heart Of The Sunrise" are among Yes's best work.

I like 'The Yes Album', 'Close to the Edge', 'Relayer' and 'Going for the One' more!

Report this review (#214815)
Posted Monday, May 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars My introductory album to Yes back in 1974. Three of the greatest prog songs ever devised, contrived, composed, performed are on this album: "Heart of the Sunrise" (my introduction to the greatest prog drummer ever), "Roundabout" (my introduction to the awesome power of both Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman), and "South Side of the Sky" (my first taking notice of the power of Jon Anderson's voice talents). So, how can it be anything less than Five stars? All the solo-shorts offer very interesting insights into the individuals that collaboratively make such amazing, groundbreaking music. Though I give the slight edge to Close to the Edge as Yes's top effort, this one rates an inch behind. The overall musicianship is such a notch above other bands of the era save, perhaps, Gentle Giant--and to know they can replicate it all live is simply astounding. One of the great albums for the ages.
Report this review (#215173)
Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Holy Crap!!! These two words were my first reaction after hearing fragile in its entirety. I only heard it about a week ago. I've only been into prog for a little over a year and a half and had not had a chance to hear this album. I found some left over amazon gift cards from christmas and decided to order some more prog. After asking friends and checking this site I decided that Fragile had to be one of those choices.

I'm super glad that I bought this album and it now ranks as one of my favorite prog albums ever. From the opening guitar in Roundabout to the final seconds of Heart of the Sunrise this album is nearly flawless. So let me break down the good and the bad.

The good: I would have never guessed that the same band that produced the sappy annoying owner of a lonely heart had created such a prog masterpiece. The vocals, the guitar, the bass( what a great tone), the drums ( how fast, intricate, and when appropiate, loud!!) and the keyboard/synth/electric paino( rick wakeman rules!!!) are all so impressive. The technical skill and creativity of Yes is astounding. Just when you think you've heard enough of the same these guys make something so different and unique. In my mind these guys were way ahead of thier time. I love the lyrics, the atmosphere. I can hear why some would call Bill Bruford a god on drums, definetly one of the best.

The Bad: I know at the time that Vinyl had limited time recording but I wish that the individual pieces such as cans and brahms and five per cent for nothing where a little longer. They are very good pieces but when they end I want more.

All in all this is a excellent addition to any prog collection.

Report this review (#220864)
Posted Saturday, June 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars How this album has such a high reputation is almost beyond me. It's a good album, but is far from the masterpiece it promises to be. This certainly isn't the best from the Yes catalogue, and I almost find this to sometimes be a disappointment. There are some great songs on here, but there is almost as much filler. This album contains the masterpiece "Heart of the Sunrise". Without that, I might actually give this album a two. The idea behind this album was to have some songs with the whole band and also have one song for each band member, highlighting their skill. It is a great idea, and I applaud Yes for doing something that hasn't really been done before. Sadly, the idea doesn't work out very well. Does "Cans and Brahms" really do Rick Wakeman any justice? Is "We Have Heaven" not simply filler? The answer is no to both of these questions, and there are a few other lousy songs here. Luckily, there are some great Symphonic Prog songs to save this album from being a collector item only.

This is stuck in between my two favorite Yes albums, and is also the first with Rick Wakeman. Luckily, later albums proved that Rick Wakeman was an excellent addition to the band, not the decent one he seems like here. This has a higher average rating than "The Yes Album" and I have no idea why. That album is a perfect masterpiece, and this is a good, not great, album.

The Music:

"Roundabout"- One of the classic Yes songs. The acoustic guitar opening turns into Chris Squire's pounding bassline with Anderson's great pair of vocal pipes. You can't call yourself a prog fan without knowing this song.

"Cans and Brahms"- This is the first solo song on the album, and what better way to start it then with Yes' newest member Rick Wakeman. This is his arrangement of some extracts from Brahms' 4th symphony. This certainly doesn't highlight Wakeman's true skill, and this is actually pretty boring.

"We Have Heaven"- Alright, the last song was borderline filler, but this is flat out filler with no good qualities whatsoever. This is simply Anderson with an acoustic guitar and many voice dubs. This is one that I always skip.

"South Side of the Sky"- So after two pretty lousy songs, we're due for a good song, right? Well, this certainly is an excellent song, and is one of my favorite Yes songs. This starts with an almost hard rock sound, but has an excellent grand piano section that progresses back into the beginning section. This is an awesome song, and it makes for a very good live song as well.

"Five Per Cent for Nothing"- This is Bill Bruford's solo spot. This is very complex, and this succeeds at what the other solo songs failed to do because this actually shows that Bill Bruford is an excellent drummer. This short 35-second song is very technically complex, but I can't help but say that isn't really a good song. It's not unlistenable (only 35 seconds), but it is certainly passable.

"Long Distance Runaround"- This is a one of the four songs with the entire band. This is a great shorter track from Yes, and is a very good song. It has an intense complex opening, but then goes into a Beatle-esque piano section. I particularly like the bass on this song.

"The Fish (Shindleria Praematurus)"- Speaking of bass, this song is a bass solo! The Fish is actually almost entirely bass, and is one of Chris Squire's classic moments. A very good song!

"Mood for A Day"- This is Steve Howe's acoustic guitar piece, and it is alright. I don't particularly love the melody or the song, but it is undeniable how good Steve Howe sounds on an acoustic guitar.

"Heart of the Sunrise"- This is the incredible 10 and a half minute song that boosts this album up an entire star. The only thing I can really say is just to give this one a listen. This is a classic Yes song that is absolutely essential listening. I wish the entire album would be like this.

Well, there you have it. This is on the fence between a three and a four. Trust me, this is worth a 3.49999, but I can't quite round it up to a four. This is a very good (if overrated) album, but by no means is this essential. "Heart of The Sunrise" and "South Side of the Sky" are absolutely essential, but the rest of the album is passable to decent at best. Moments of this are completely essential, but the album as a whole isn't. Listen to "Heart of the Sunrise" and then listen to "We Have Heaven" and you will know what I mean.

3.4/5- VERY good but non-essential

Report this review (#225874)
Posted Friday, July 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars What can I say about this fantastic album that hasn't already been said? This album was very influential on my path to discovering progressive rock. My dad had showed me the whole Gentle Giant catalog, which I absolutely loved, so he moved on to his second favorite band, Yes. I remember we were on a road trip with my family, and we stopped at a local record store and my dad bought The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close To The Edge so that we could listen to them on the drive. He already owned all the albums, so he gave them to me as a gift, and I am extremely grateful since they are three of my favorite records.

Fragile is the second of what I consider the essential Yes albums and it is truly a great follow up to The Yes Album. The only thing that keeps this from being a masterpiece is the rather subpar solo pieces that come in between the band songs. I think it was an interesting idea to give each band member their own track just to see the influences that are coming into this band (an idea that would resurface after Relayer where the band members had a short hiatus and each created their own solo albums). However, it makes the album seem somewhat disjointed and creates a sort of pattern of a great track followed by a mediocre one. But, it is really a minor complaint because the great songs are just so great and are such classic Yes.

"Roundabout" is a classic with a legendary acoustic guitar opening before it starts rocking with some awesome organ and bass work. "South Side of the Sky" is a monstrous song that starts off wih the sounds of a storm before the band kicks in and plays in a darker style than they are used to. There are some great majestic keyboards here that show Wakeman's clear classical influence (as can be heard on his solo piece on the album). There are also some classic Yes harmonies that really make for a beautiful piece. "Long Distance Runaround" is an uplifting piece with some great guitar and bass work by Steve Howe and Chris Squire. It is a fun, bouncy track that I can't help but like.

"Heart of the Sunrise" is the masterpiece of the album and an incredible way to close. Everything I love about Yes can be summed up in this one song. The beginning is wild like 21st Century Schizoid Man or their later epic Close To The Edge. The fantastic Chris Squire bass line slows things down for a bit before the whole band kicks in all over again. The band slows down again, and this time the angelic voice of Jon Anderson starts up. I think this is one of him best vocal performances throughout his career so far. This is a magical piece of music and one of the best throughout all of prog. I love Yes for the beautiful majesty they create and this song could be considered exhibit A on that subject.

This is an excellent album that really cemented Yes' place in the forefront of the prog movement at the time. The album still sounds fresh today and the longer full band pieces are all shining gems in Yes' 40+ year career. I can't call it a masterpiece of prog because of the shorter solo tracks, and because there are superior Yes albums in their discography, but it is pretty darn close. All in all an incredible album that all prog fans should enjoy.

Report this review (#226538)
Posted Monday, July 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album has quite a few interesting tracks. Because each player in the band has their own feature piece, we find a great variety of works, ranging from 30-second bizarre effects to nice guitar solo literature.

The album starts off with Roundabout which is a real classic Yes powerhouse piece, but in the rest of the album we have to work to find that same driving effect anywhere else--in short, the opening track almost shows up the whole rest of the album. the rest of the longer--non "solo"- -tracks seem to lack any sense of power or real musical direction, to me they feel ages long. This is really a disapointment.

This album has a lot of novelty, however. Where else will you find a song dedicated to a Hawaiian fish played with so many bass tracks? Where else can you find a song made with so many vocal tracks you almost forget they're vocal tracks, starting to just think of them as background instruments? Unfortunately for Yes this is not enough to make a great progressive work, even though it is very amusing.

Overall this album comes off to me as a middle-of-the-road work: it has it's strong points, but also it weak points which seem to even it out somewhat. For this middle-of-the-road work, I will give a middle-of-the-road three stars.

Report this review (#227064)
Posted Thursday, July 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars I've waited quite long before I wanted to write about this record. It needed some time to grow on me. I just couln't identify myself with the glorious reviews a read on PA. The production is one of its main problems for me. A bit more peace and silence would have done this storming record a lot of good. It's like everything is loud and fast, it's very intense. If you like intense prog music very much, you shouldn't be warned by this review, but I find a bit of overdone. Less would have been more, as often is the case with YES. The coverwork is perfect by the way!

The two songs of this album I like, and made it deserve three stars are South Side Of The Sky and Heart Of The Sunrise. Both are exellent progressive tracks with a lot of progressive element carefully used. The structures are good, composition very well done and the overall feel is fine. The main point here is that I get the feeling a band is playing TOGETHER on these two tracks.

The other (often shorter) songs however, are solo achievements of the bandmembers. This actually seemed to be the idea, as you can read in the inner sleeve of my copy. Though a nice try, the concept doens't work for me. The record became unbalanced. The quality of the musicians is there very clearly, but first 3 minutes of only keys, then a song of only vocal layers with some guitar is very uncalled for. Then again, the word to discribe it is intense.

I'm sorry but I can't give more then three stars for this very unbalenced record. I do recommend everyone to listen to South Side Of The Sky and Heart Of The Sunrise, both are exellent tracks.

Report this review (#229251)
Posted Friday, July 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars While Yes made a giant leap forward with The Yes Album, featuring the eclectic Steve Howe for the first time on guitar, Fragile also brings on board Rick Wakeman on keyboards, and is another leap ahead in terms of quality and consistency. Personally I'm not a big fan of the various small instrumentals penned by each member, but 'Roundabout', 'South Side of the Sky", "Long Distance Runaround" and "Heart of the Sunrise" are all splendid tracks. On these songs all band members really shine. Anderson's vocals are great, Squire's bass sounds as complex and heavy as ever (gotta love that Rickenbacker sound!) and creates together with Bruford a powerful rythmic section. Steve Howe plays enjoyable licks, great riffs and great solos. And to top it off Wakeman throws in some great keyboard playing, be it the crazy Moog-licks in 'Roundabout' or the mystical piano breakdown in 'South Side of the Sky". I'd say this is the first truly great Yes-album. There were great moments on previous ones to, but I feel that this is the first with coherently good songs. I'd be happy to rate it five starts if it weren't for the short instrumentals which for my part lowers the experience a little bit.
Report this review (#229717)
Posted Monday, August 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fragile is often overlooked because it's in between two outstanding albums "THE YES ALBUM" and "CLOSE TO THE EDGE". although it's overlooked it may be one of the better Yes albums. It begins with the song "ROUNDABOUT", one of the more popular songs in the Yes collection. this album separates it's self from most other yes releases because it's more piano driven and the whole album is very raw, but not in a bad way, it sounds like a extremely well cordinated jam session. this album is an easy listen, incorporating multiple time signatures and tempo changes mid song making for a very interesting listen. this album only has really one flaw that being it feels to short but regardless this album is absolutely amazing. I am convinced that this is one of the best yes albums incorporating Jazz, jam, and prog
Report this review (#230134)
Posted Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I listened so many times to Roundabout that I'm constantly in fear from losing it....!

This album, this little fragile was the first album from yes to hear by me, I wouldn't thought that this band would become my favourite years later, I just liked it. There are 3 stunning songs, others are good more or less, a few boring parts come in unfortunately. Best songs: Roundabout and South Side of the Sky.

"Roundabout": The crescendo of the synth turning into guitar solo is a funny but typical Yes way to start an album. I think it's a great piece, very musical. A funky bass line, Moog passages alike and shining vocals. They like to sing in three part chorus, that became a trademark of Yes along the years. Pop style as it is, but the one that is well thought of and genuine. Very good build-up song!!!

"Cans and brahms": Brahm's 3rd symphony played on Moog, excerpt. Funny rendition, not that great but pleasant, lovely Moog and organ sound. Credits for Wakeman,

"We Have heaven": I'm always surprised by this cheap minimalist work. Anderson, What did ya do???

"South side of the sky": Heavier than Roundabout, this is about an expedition on Antarctica. Maybe better than Roundabout, the middle part is my favourite, with a stunning piano cadenza and pleasant, cool (even cold!!!) vocal harmonies. I love when the backing singers make a counterpoint to Anderson's vocal!!!

"Five percent For Nothing": Bruford's composition, an almost atonal funk, very jazzy little hilarious piece. Funny!!! I love it.

"Long Distance,,," A decent song, but nothing progressive. Almost average, but no. The final guitar solo bursts out and sequences into...

"The Fish": Funny percussion sounds, repeating bass lines and a little soloing (Squire's spot has to come!) and vocals at the end. Bit boring...

"Mood for a day" is pleasant Howe(ver). A little folk like acoustic guitar piece, I like it more than the Clap.

"Heart of Sunrise" The expected best song, well I like Roundabout and South side a bit more, but this is great as well. Heavy tumbling for the beginning (the heaviest Yes song?) that goes on a bit too much. But then you get the soaring melodies that become typical for slow Yes numbers (And you and I, To be over) This appears over a hundred changes, so this is also well done! The build-up of Roundabout is just better, think of the middle sections...Kind of different songs...:D

Four stars, but go on to Close To the Edge and Relayer, the ever best albums made by this fantastic band!!!

A flat is the last guitar note...

Report this review (#231873)
Posted Sunday, August 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was one of my very first prog albums I became attached to.

After having more prog-listening experience, I realized the songs that only one member wrote, at a time, for this album, were quite musically weak. Still there is one exception : Steve Howe's Mood For A Day.

Roundabout's a classic though it's not that moving in any way. Compared to other prog gems, you might say that it is a song written for gaining popularity. "South Side of the Sky" is awesome, especially with Wakeman on board. Voice maneuvering on top of the piano in the second half of the song is simply brilliant.

My favourite song on the album would have to be "Heart of the Sunrise", because of it's power and grand ending. If you're into romanticism combined with ethereal strenght, this is a song for you.

Indeed a good prog album.

Report this review (#232371)
Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Whistler
3 stars 3.5 come out of the sky

Fragile was really a big turning point for the ole Yes machine. More so than The Yes Album even; that exercise found the Yes Men approaching crazy symphonic suites, but they did not become the accepted definition of symphonic rock until this album. Some say that Wakeman’s synths are a huge difference; others are not so sure. I say they make a difference, and it ain’t necessarily a good one.

“Roundabout” kicks off the art-synth foolishness, and it’s good though. This is like progressive power pop, complete with fist pumping, anthemic, useless lyrics about mountains attacking hapless folks trying to “be there with” their respective loves. But ignore that; it never wastes a moment of its eight minutes, journeying from gentle acoustics to arena prog to funky art boogie. It’s PROBABLY the best thing on the album (certainly the biggest hit, wasn’t it?).

Now comes the evil. The evil is namely these little solo band member spots (everyone gets one), and they’re...a mixed bag. “Cans and Brahms,” Wakeman’s effort, is a laughable synthesizer experiment. Goofy keyboards play Brahms in a very dated manner that would make Keith Emerson blush. Don’t worry though; it’s the worst of the lot (it’s also short).

And then, for example, “We Have Heaven,” Jon’s solo bit, is maybe the best of the lot. A minute and a half of quasi-psychedelic, quasi-a cappella, folksy singing that is practically hymn-like; it’s still pretentious, but it’s also charming and innocent.

“South Side of the Sky” is pretty popular, I think, but I don’t quite see it. It’s about decent folks freezing in the arctic of some dreadful cold. I think it’s supposed to be angry, and it almost works (I like the “were we ever colder than that day?” chorus), but somehow when Yes try to get angry, they just get funkier. I blame Howe. Anyway, the song itself is okay, but I think I could live without the softer middle part.

“Five Per Cent for Nothing” is kinda pointless, but at thirty seconds, way too short to really irritate anyone. Besides, it’s kinda cute (it’s Bruford’s number, and oddly enough, it’s an avant-garde joke on elevator jazz (?)). Anyway, were it not for the opener, delicate art popper “Long Distance Runaround” would easily be my favorite song on the album. It’s certainly one of (if not the) most personal Yes songs to me; for once, I think I understand what Jon is talking about. No liver witches living on distant planets in disgrace, this is simply about someone who misses a loved one who is far away. I almost shed a tear there.

And it bleeds into “The Fish (Unintelligible Scribbling),” Squire’s bass related number. It’s cool to hear him dick around on the bass so many different ways like that, and the track is plenty groovy, but I think that it has more to do with clever producing than clever bass playing. And call me biased then, but as someone who was trained on classical guitar, I find Howe’s “Mood For a Day” more interesting. Alternatively Spanish and Baroque, it’s a nice piece of guitar instrumental (and no overdubs!). Very charming, atmospheric and entrancing (if not quite “Horizons’”).

And then we finish with “Heart of the Sunset,” the opening riff of which could not sound more like “21st Century Schizoid Man” if it had a saxophone in it. Oh well. Yes are pretty good at playing around with it either way. In fact, they think they’re so good, that they spend the first three minutes repeating that damn riff until you want to throttle the whole lot of ‘em. Then it gets kinda slow and quiet, building little by little, until it hits a glorious climax. And more of the riff. A good song, but seriously flawed. The quiet parts are too long, and the riff is played TOO DAMN MUCH. That would be the Close to the Edge attitude creeping up on us I suppose...

I still can’t but feel, however, that even if a slight letdown from The Yes Album, Fragile still beats out Close in terms catchiness and variety. This is, as I said, progressive power pop. Sometimes it’s a little better disguised (“Roundabout”), sometimes it’s worn on the shirtsleeves (“Long Distance”). As for variety, well, what do you think all those solo spots are for? Silly as they may be, they certainly stretch the legs on the album, proving that Yes are capable not only of making use of more musical styles than you thought, but are also capable of taking themselves a little less seriously than I would have expected.

Unfortunately, the album feels a little disjointed; a strangely enough, it’s not the all the shorter material’s fault. It’s mainly that stuff like “Heat of the Sunset” and “Sunny Side of the Sky” where the lads seem a little lost. As a result, the album feels a little scattered. Hell, the whole first side jumps back and forth between “what just happened” and “DEAR GOD, THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!”

Additionally, I’m not a huge fan of the sound here; although they’d get symph-ier, this is the start of “We Are Yes. We Are a Symphonic Rock Band.” Which means that the naïve post- psychedelic organ folk of the last album is traded for something a little more “mature” sounding. Hey! I LIKED that old naïve sound. Still, underneath the synths and overlong runtimes, this is clearly the Yes of old. And, honestly, Yes goofing around with how to run an album is not a bad thing. I just wish that, when they nailed down the focus aspect, we hadn’t gotten something as stylistically narrow as Close the Ledge. But, hey, that’s just me talking. Fragile is definitely an important piece of Yes history, and is pretty much a requirement for anyone who’s a fan of the band.

(Note: the bonuses are all crap. The version of “America” here is longer, looser, and less interesting than the tight ‘n snappy version found on the Close to the Hedge remaster. Slightly better an early and live run through of “Roundabout,” in which you hear Yes make (gasp!) MISTAKES! Cute, and worth a listen, but melts like an Easter Bunny in an oven compared to the album version. Yes really need the full use of a studio to make all their magic happen. In short, a case of “you could, but why should you bother?” across the board. No change in rating.)

Report this review (#239067)
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Yes Album was Steve Howe's thundering entrance to the band, and Fragile followed up with yet another classic member, Rick Wakeman, leaving Yes with their 'classic lineup' and giving them a near-perfect album.

Each member of the band was given a single track to show off their solo prowess, and they were not all good. Specifically, Cans and Brahms and Five Percent For Nothing were both particularly uninteresting pieces. Cans and Brahms apparently came to be because Rick Wakeman was unable to compose original material for the band, due to previous contractual obligations, and as Rick Wakeman has proven, he is capable of writing much better material than that in this track. Five Percent For Nothing is less than 30 seconds, and although it does interrupt the flow of the album ever so slightly, it is (almost) too short to notice.

The heart of the album are in the four band collaborations, although by this time, there is nothing I can say about these songs that has not already been said. So instead, I will describe the EXPERIENCE of this album, as it seems to me, and why this album is so great:

Starting with beautiful guitar and keyboard harmony, the album pulls you forward into energetic prog rock, and if you hit the skip button fast enough at the beginning of Cans and Brahms, it never loses that momentum as it moves into my favorite track of the album, South Side of the Sky. It continues to proceed through track after track, each sounding so sweet to the ears and bringing forth feelings of joy and excitement. The band is in excellent shape here; from the glorious guitar of Steve Howe to the mystical vocals of Jon Anderson (consider how soulful he sounds in Heart of the Sunrise, or how ethereal in We Have Heaven); to Chris Squire's classic bass and Bill Bruford's skillful drumming (The bass/drum part in Heart of the Sunrise is particularly fantastic). This is held together and supplemented by Wakeman; although his work on future albums would be more pronounced and important, he has some excellent parts here as well. Somehow, these five bring all their beautiful sounds together in a way that is impossible to break into the sub parts, for it is the meshing of these elements that makes the music so good.

If it hadn't been for the two weaker of the solo tracks, this would be a 5 star album, but I must acknowledge it's weakness and knock a star off. However, as far as 4 star albums go, this one is among the best.

Report this review (#239458)
Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This isnt one of those albums where you can say a couple things about its style and move on. You really have to dive deep into the track listing:

1. Roundabout - I think this is the most accessible Yes song (besides after Tormato), and its good for starters to get to know the band's style, its also probably the best known song. While its not my favorite, it still is a good addition.

2. Cans and Brahms - Not much to say here

3. We Have Heaven - Its a good transition, pretty catchy.

4. South Side of the Sky - Probably my favorite track, tells a story about mountain climbers, and it has a couple different sections but the drumming and guitar are really nice and its pretty catchy and easy to listen to but it still shows their more technical abilities as well

5. Five Per Cent for Nothing - Pretty cool name I guess

6. Long Distance Runaround - Overall a good track, once again not my favorite, but has some aspects that are of interest, especially the vocals

7. Mood For a Day - Acoustic instrumental, and it has a nice mood to it (no pun)

8. Heart of the Sunrise - This is probably the most favored among big Yes or prog fans, its a good way to finish the album and has some similarities to South Side

Overall, its probably the best beginner album from Yes, its the best example of their styles and capabilities, and its definitely a good addition for anyone who likes prog, fans of almost any genre will enjoy it.

Report this review (#241460)
Posted Friday, September 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Enter Prog Here

Fragile is perhaps the most common entry point into classic prog rock. The massive success of the single "Roundabout" and to a lesser degree "Long Distance Runaround" represent some of the few examples of true prog hits. Yet these doors open fans to an album that contains a monster epic, some challenging prog, and some requisite noodling. The album represents the genre in totality superbly, with its weak moments being brief and actually enjoyable in context, and the high points being truly spectacular.

As most fans know, this album includes four band pieces and five solo spots. I'd like to begin with the solo pieces, which are a source of more groans and curmudgeonry than about any part of a major album other than "More Fool Me." As I mentioned on the SEBtP review, I do not mind when there are points of relaxation on an album. While certainly not the meat of the record, these pieces allow us a glimpse into the experimentation or personal tastes of the band members. Bruford's solo piece seems as a precursor to the opening of CTTE. Steve Howe's nylon string solo "Mood for a Day" has been a treat dear to the hearts of guitarists even beyond the Yes fanboys. Squire and Anderson's bits are transition pieces that really neither hurt nor tremendously help the album. Rick Wakeman's "Cans and Brahms" is the goat of this album, derided much like the early Phil Collins vocal piece. And again, I think the criticism is overdone. The piece is an attempt to mix classical with some rock sensibility, exactly as Howe did with his piece. Admittedly, it doesn't work as well, but it's also listenable enough and not nearly as over-wrought as many Keith Emerson's similar attempts.

Of the remaining pieces, "Roundabout" requires no comments. Other than it does everything it is asked to do. "Long Distance Runaround" is a special piece for me, as it was one of the first intricate pieces I learned on guitar. Artistically wound rather than speedy, I could pull that piece out and impress just as much as the many who would show off with "Eruption." One of my early forays into prog that I enjoy to this day. "South Side of the Sky" is a piece that I didn't full appreciate until recently. It is easy to somehow think of Yes as lighter or immersed in an aloof hippy sunshine, but piece like "South Side" show just how much range they had. Though what set them apart was their ability to make complex music of true beauty, they still were able to create dark soundscapes as well. Finally, I place "Heart of the Sunrise" behind only CTTE among Yes' best epics. Ranging from the frenetic dark bass intro to intertwining complex time lines to pure beauty, this piece has everything I love about Yes. Besides CTTE, nowhere else does an epic succeed so completely from start to finish.

Flawed masterpiece? "Easy" version of Yes? Too pop? Too indulgent?

I don't think so. It's not perfect top to bottom, but neither are many of the best prog albums. The high points really are so good, and the album so important, that to call it anything other than a masterpiece seems a crime.

Report this review (#241584)
Posted Saturday, September 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This has to be one of my all-time favorites from the band. Over about 75% of the album is absolutly amazing in this case. There are a few songs that I won't mention yet that are sometimes failing to my ears, and a few that are unlistenable. But, what makes this album what it truley is, the production and the overall performances by the whole band. Also, Rick Wakeman, one of the greatest keyboardists ever, joins the band for this album. Everyone gets a "solo" peice, which can be good, but mostly bad for most of the time. Lets get to the overall review, sha'll we?

Okay, so the opening "Roundabout" is STUNNING. Its not the most progressive thing ever, but its amazing, short and sweet (on Yes standards it's kind of short). The guitar in this song is absolutly awesome, Steve Howe is really playing with the harmonics here, which most musicians don't really do in Rock music, but Prog Rock might be a little different from that. The flamenco guitar intro is really nice too, and leading to the whole band intro, the song can only go up. The bridge is really nice, stunning and very progressive, beileve it or not. The rest of the album aint bad. Cans and Brahms is a slight dissapointment because it dosent really show any skill from Wakeman because its so simple for me, the rest of the album has better keyboard and piano parts than the solo part. We Have Heaven is kind of terrible to listen with someone else because I feel like such an idiot when I do, they usually hate Yes for a LONG time because I played it, but then I show them Rondabout and then they are okay. But Jon is a very good vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, but this shows no ability for anything here. I have to skip forward from that. Now, South Side of the Sky is where it's at! That is one of the best piano parts ever in the history of Rick Wakeman. The sound is good, and the vocals are really catching. The guitar and bass parts are awesome. 5% of Nothing is really nothing, honestly. Bill Bruford tries so hard to show off, but it really dosent give him any justice at all, he is really great, and he has alot of talent, but this track is shameful. Long Distance Runaround is the best pop song on the album, its very catching and has a nice and smooth bass part. The guitar is pretty cool too. The Fish is one of the only good solo pieces to be recorded by the band in studio. This thing is overdubbed with a million bass guitars (Rickenbacker 4001) and sound completely awesome, to say the least, maybe because I am a bass freak, but it does sound really cool. Chris Squire sure can play! A Mood for a Day is an absolutly stunning piece by Howe, I cannot beileve that this was recorded by a human! The guy has such incredible fingers, its awesome. Now, the ending track, Heart of Sunrise is the best mix of awesome hard rocking riffs and awesome softer parts. The song is an emotion roller coaster of amazing, to say the least.

The album deserves a 4.7/5, but I rounded. This is a great album, and any Prog-head should have it if you have any interest in Yes at all.

Report this review (#241917)
Posted Monday, September 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Overrated Yes album undoubtedly due to the fact that it contains some jewels in Yes repertoire.

The fact that Roundabout, Heart of the Sunrise and South Side of the Sky were in make us forget that the album contains such forgettable products as Cans & Brahms (Herr Johannes must be still shaking down in his tomb!); 5% for Nothing; The Fish or Mood for a Day, which one yu have listened to them a couple of times lose their unlikely interest for ever.

The previous album also contains a few -not so many- forgettable little things but, on the whole, seems to me better accomplished than this one.

The problem is that the aforementioned long tracks are most of them 5 stars rate which makes the album rating complicated. To keep things even, let's give it a fourth star for compensation.

Report this review (#244928)
Posted Friday, October 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes is one of my favorite bands of all time, because they made a very unique pleasing sound- led by the interplay between Squire (the bassist) and Howe (the guitarist), with Wakeman and Anderson adding keyboards and vocals into the mix, and Bruford contributing drums- at least, this was the arrangement for two of their most highly praised albums, Fragile and Close to the Edge. Fragile is a very good album, but it seems relatively lacking in raw substance than something like CTTE of Relayer- not that it's empty or boring, quite the opposite, there's a lot going on here- however, the short songs here aren't on par with gems like Heart of the Sunrise, Close to the Edge, or Gates of Delirium.

I'll start with the real "meat" of this album. Roundabout is one of Yes's biggest hits, and reasonably so- this is an accessible yet sprawling epic, and a very good definition of the classic Yes sound, though Howe's guitar isn't quite as visible as it is in some of their other songs, and it seems more focused on Squire's amazing bass work, occasionally punctuated by light-speed keyboard parts from Wakeman and Anderson's vocals. South Side of the Sky is a very good medium-long song, featuring some very good keyboard work from Wakeman, though it might benefit from a bit of trimming. Long Distance Runaround is a short, nice poppy song, and The Fish is a great place for Squire to show off his skills. Mood for a Day is a good song, but somewhat empty, as this is just three minutes of acoustic guitar solo. And then, the epic, Heart of the Sunrise, one of the best and heaviest things Yes has ever produced. From the opening drum and bass interplay to the final reprise of We Have Heaven, this is a song for the ages. Speaking of that, We Have Heaven and Cans and Brahms, from Anderson and Wakeman respectively, are good songs, but really relatively inconsequential, and Five Per Cent For Nothing is exactly what the title says, just random instrumental noises put in so Bruford could get a cut of the profits. So, while this is a very good album and a nice introduction to Yes, it lacks some of the "wow" factor of their other albums. Four stars, recommended to everyone.

Report this review (#247719)
Posted Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars First album with Rick Wakeman - for good and bad. He bring some his great keyboards passages and bombastic symphonic chamber feeling at the same time. Album's opener Roundabout is great,but heavily overplayed composition, which if fact made all the album almost additional material to feel the space.

I always have mixed feeling to this release - some very good moments, and some below average (I am speaking about high Yes average) standard. Possibly it sounds strange, but The Fish is most interesting composition on this album for me.

In all some really great musicianship and excellent pieces, but doesn't really work as whole album. Collection of good and far not so good in one package.

Still really great musicianship, so my rating is 3.

Report this review (#252296)
Posted Monday, November 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars There is really not anything bad I can say about this album. This is raw talent at its best. Every track is worth listening to again and again.

The classic ROUNDABOUT with it's timeless guitar intro. Probably one of the most recognizable guitar riffs in the rock community let alone prog. CANS AND BRAHMS showcasing Rick Wakeman's skill and appreciation for the classical. A Jon solo interlude to the energy of SOUTH SIDE OF THE SKY. The 5/4 craziness in FIVE PERCENT FOR NOTHING. The well structured composition of LONG DISTANCE RUN AROUND. Two nice solos afterward.

Musicianship and well structured composition are the highlights of this album.

HEART OF THE SUNRISE is my favorite track because it brings me back to being a child playing the last few stages on Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Sega Genesis. I've been into video game music my entire life. After hearing this song I realize where a lot of these game composers got there influence.

This was the album that got me into prog. I have always been into bands/artists that were progressive in nature and even used the term loosely to describe them. Before this album if someone mentioned Yes I would immediately think of OWNER OF A LONELY HEART. Which I never thought was a bad song but wasn't impressed with much. The introduction to this album opened up a whole new world to me...

One of the few albums I find essential

Report this review (#252424)
Posted Tuesday, November 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars With Fragile the classic line up of Yes took off. You know the lot, Anderson, Howe, Squire, Bruford and newbie and most over-rated musician of all times Rick Wakeman (just trying to upset you really:). Let's also not forget Roger Dean whose defining artwork graces this record. That man is one of the reasons why one keeps holding on to his vinyl! This line up would last for just 2 studio albums that would turn out to be the most relevant for Yes.

My main cause for Yes enjoyment is the exceptional trio of Bruford, Squire and Anderson. Bruford for his sophisticated rhythms and focused virtuosity, Squire for his power (and determining influence on Geddy Lee), and Anderson for his rich vocal lines and stunning voice. The often overstated style of Wakeman is still under control here and so is the nervy string attack of Howe.

As each individual member was given his moment in the spotlight, the album has a number of short ditties that don't exactly make up for a coherent listening experience. On the other hand it brings some diversity and adds a playful twist to this album that is usually absent from Yes's weightiness. With Roundabout, South Side and Heart of the Sunrise, the album will easily float to the top of anyone's list of prog favourites. Only Squire's tuneless la la lala's in South Side spoil the experience somehow. Heart of the Sunrise is an extremely powerful piece. If only 5 minutes could survive from the entire rock scene from the 70's, it might as well be the first 5 of this track for me.

I think all the shorter tracks are quite pleasant, but Long Distance / The Fish and Mood for a Day are sure the most noteworthy. My CD-issue doesn't have the America bonus, but judging from what I've heard, it's quite dreadful. The absence from my CD gives more cause for celebration then a reason to buy this record for a third time.

I'd rate this slightly below CTTE and The Yes Album, but it's a sure classic, essential for Yes fans and excellent for people with less neurotic tastes. (Now I've sure upset you :)

Report this review (#257294)
Posted Tuesday, December 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
5 stars Yes's 1971 release, Fragile, saw the band change their line-up. After Steve Howe joining the band and having a huge effect on the band's distinctive sound, now also keyboardist Rick Wakeman joined. Also, visual artist Roger Dean would start making the artwork for Yes's albums, which I think adds an extra dimension to the mood of Yes's music. This line-up would release two of Yes's highest regarded albums, Fragile and Close To The Edge. In my opinion Fragile is the superior of the two.

The album features some of Yes's absolute best pieces of music, as well as several solo compositions by each of the members of the band. Rick Wakeman is responsible for "Cans And Brahms", a piece that translates excerpts of Brahms' 4th Symphony into a piano and organ driven piece. Jon Anderson is responsible for the experimental "We Have Heaven", which is a composition driven by several vocal tracks, repeating several lines. "Five Percent For Nothing" is an experimental piece composed by Bill Bruford, which might make someone understand why he decided to move to King Crimson after Close To the Edge. The piece is pretty avant-garde, and though being pretty good I don't think it fits in with the rest of the music that well. Chris Squire's "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" is my favorite of the solo compositions. It starts with soothing harmonics, and as it progresses it will take the listener to variated sounds of Chris Squire's bass. In this piece he clearly shows what an innovative bass player he is. Howe's "Mood For A Day" is a nice flamenco piece, which demonstrates Howe's excellent guitar playing.

There are four band compositions and all of them are fantastic. "Roundabout" is one of Yes's best known songs. The formula of it's succes is very clear, as the song sounds groovy, catchy, powerful and very uplifting. This is among the best pieces Yes has ever made and it opens Fragile fantastic. "South Side Of The Sky" is even better and is perhaps my favorite song by Yes. It's pretty straight forward, despite it's length. The verses are very powerful, featuring a very thick bass and striking guitar playing by Steve Howe. The middle section features great piano playing and vocal harmonies. Very sudden the powerful verses return again near the end of the song, and Steve Howe closes the song with a guitar solo that slowly fades out. "Long Distance Runaround" is a catchy and jazzy piece. It features some excellent music and a lovely jazzy riff. The album closes with the excellent "Heart of The Sunrise", that starts out with a killer riff. Chris Squire's bass playing is astounding here, and Rick Wakeman plays the mellotron very fine. The intro drags on a bit though, which is the only negative thing I have to say about it. After three minutes the song turns into a more emotional piece. It features some haunting vocal melodies here and I can't find any negative things to say about it. The song closes the album with a brief reprise of "We Have Heaven".

Fragile is an excellent album. It features many of Yes's best pieces and shows the creativity of each of the band members. The album is an absolute masterpiece in my opinion, and therefore I rate it with 5 stars.

Report this review (#261132)
Posted Saturday, January 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is actually the Yes album I'm least familiar with, at least where their masterpieces are concerned. There are two reasons for that. First is that the three most important songs of this album (Roundabout, South Side of the Sky and Heart of the Sunrise) were no secrets for me anymore so I had no curiosity that had to be satisfied here. And the other reason is that I already had the Yes Classics in my collection and first and third of the mentioned songs are to be found on that compilation so that means that I would buy this album just for the second long song and the short songs on Fragile. I never really bothered about those so I never acquired this album.

But now that I've gathered these shorter songs from different sources I'm finally able to review this album. How about it ? Well, of course it's at least very good, the three longer songs are huge classics although in all honesty I have to say I'm completely through with Roundabout. It's their biggest hit in early 70's but because of that and also because the song has been played most on the radio and I know it for over 35 years now I'm afraid I'm done with it. The song hasn't really proved to be tenable to me. I almost can't stand to hear it by now, it's become a bit tedious to be honest.

How about the other two ? South Side of the Sky is much more tenable and simply a better song and composition in my opinion. It's less accessible and due to that less likely to get boring after many listenings. I think it's a typical 4 star song to me. Excellent but not quite of the same masterpiece status as their huge epics. And actually same thing goes for Heart of the Sunrise as far as I'm concerned. Maybe even slightly better. This one never gets boring and is probably in my Yes top 5 songs of all time. Near masterpiece that is. Let's say 4,5*.

The shorter songs are not too exciting I'm afraid. Mood for a Day is a nice acoustic guitar track by Howe on his own. Long Distance Run Around is pretty famous for such a short track and always enjoyable. The Fish is a bit monotonous with also here Howe in leading position this time accompanied by the band. The other three are more like nice intermezzo's but can hardly be masterpieces with such short length. But these short songs almost ruin the high rating for Fragile. After all it's in the end just two out of nine that are truly excellent to me so I could be tempted to give three stars. But that would almost be disrespectful and not really justified either I feel so I will give four but rounded up.

Report this review (#263236)
Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Man what a masterpiece. I've gone back and forth on what I think is the best Yes album, but I have to say that this is the one. Some people don't care for the little solo pieces, but they're good and short to boot, so what's to complain about? They serve as bridges to the epic classics. Is this the most commercially successful full on Prog album of all time? Probably, since some debate just how "Prog" Dark Side of the Moon is (I'm not one of those, its Prog baby!).

"Heart of the Sunrise" was the first song I really listened to -- I mean really listened -- that made me "get" what the big deal about Yes was, and frankly Prog Rock in general. How could anyone begrudge us Prog fans for enjoying the fantastical journey a song like "Heart of the Sunrise" takes us on? They'd call it pretentious or self indulgent. I say it gave me a certain musical thrill that no heartland rocker or punk rocker ever could, because they don't play complicated music.

Yes went on to make a couple more masterpieces and several more good albums, but this is them at their height. Their glory. Their Thick as a Brick, In the Court of the Crimson King, or Selling England By the Pound!

Report this review (#273769)
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the greatest prog recordings of all time. The longer tracks present mastery in every way. It is literally made up of three longer pieces: Roundabout, South Side of the Sky, and Heart of the Sunrise, and shorter tracks. In their next three recordings they would forget about these shorter tracks altogether. But even the shorter tracks have a diversity to offer. One in particular quotes straight from classical music, and Steve Howe's 'Mood for a Day' is a nylon string classical guitar break that adds diversity and shows the clear influences of classical music on Yes's music, and prog in general. Heart of the Sunrise is one of Yes's greatest works. Drifting from beautiful slow sections and contrasted with up beat riffs. All has already been said about this album to go into too much detail. A prog masterpiece no doubt.
Report this review (#275406)
Posted Monday, March 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Fragile" is the perfect way to describe an album whch benefits from three first-rate prog expeditions, but is structurally hindered by a collection of short, insignificant solo musings. The long songs are as impressive and enjoyable as those on 'The Yes Album', in fact, they are much better. But the flow of the album is spoiled by the five little snippets of individuality, which scream "filler" from the outset...

Roundabout is as advertised; with an interesting intro, catchy chorus, appropiate synth bursts, furious bass, tight rhythm, and a hammond organ solo that in my opinion, is the first "mind-blowing" moment in Yes's career (perhaps 'Starship Trooper' before that, but only live). 'SSOTS' is even better. It's verses (of which there are five, my only complaint) are hard-hitting and contain some of Howe's most interesting improvisations. It's the well placed piano/vocal break that really hits the spot though. From Wakeman's chilling piano motifs, to Squire and Anderson's beautifully lyric- less harmonies, this is a complex three minutes that any prog fan will love to bathe in. Then to close the album, we have 'Heart of the Sunrise', which is even better than 'South Side'. Perfectly constructed in it's "jigsaw-puzzle of themes"-like way, with Yes's best contrast of dynamics yet, and a climax that epitomises the entire album, this song has stood the test of time and remains Yes's most creative and dynamic 10 minute song.

It is therefore a shame that the tracks which fill the gaps between these three masterpieces (and the other mediocre group piece 'Long Distance Runaround), are too varied in style, depth, length, and seriousness to be pleasant. And even when they are enjoyable, still ruin the flow of the album. My problem with them, is that each one isn't long enough or expanded enough to be taken seriously; they are literally just "ideas" without any context to each other or the album. Squire's 'Fish' is groovy, and Howe's acoustic piece provides a calm moment of reflection before the epic 'HOTS', but even they are random and brief. And these five "things" can hardly be described as intentionally experimental when they were only included as a way of filling up the 40 minutes. They remind me of some of the stuff on the Floyd's 'Ummagumma'; unrelated and uncohesive, purely there to add weight to an average live album. I mean, they could have tacked these pieces together and made them into a fourth 10-minuter. It would have been a disatserous song but at least more coherently in keeping with the rest of the album's nature.

So Fragile for me, is three songs. Three songs that can only be located by rummaging through a litter bin of electric Bach, sarcastic Brufrod, and overdubbed Jon Andersons (which also make a cheeky re-appearance at the end, irritatingly pushing 'Heart of the Sunrise' out of your memory...)

Report this review (#277861)
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars A lot of people say this is an overrated album. Well here's what I think: it's not only the best prog rock album ever made, it's the best album ever made of any genre, and it will never be topped, ever, no matter how hard anyone tries. You just can't overrate perfection. Just under 41 minutes of non-stop brilliance, never slipping up. Every song, including the fillers, left an impact on me that will never be removed. It has a classic feel to it, never becoming too relaxing, but never becoming too loud. It's balanced, subtle, careful and clear in it's deliverance.

In fact, if you haven't heard this album....

Report this review (#278601)
Posted Monday, April 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Was the new Yes line-up short of material for Fragile (1971)? Only 4 of the 9 tracks involve the entire band and the album is fleshed-out with short solo pieces. Whatever the reason for their inclusion, I feel that these tracks interrupt the momentum of the album. This is a real shame as Fragile includes 3 absolute killer Yes songs, but they're watered down by those solo pieces. I'll excuse Steve Howe's MOOD FOR A DAY from this criticism, as it's a lovely piece and is far superior to his previous acoustic showcase on The Yes Album.

With the arrival of Rick Wakeman, shanghaied from The Strawbs, the Yes jigsaw seemed complete. However this line-up of the band only survived for two albums, as the tables were turned on Yes with Bill Bruford's departure to King Crimson in 1972. As well as Wakeman's mercurial solo on ROUNDABOUT, and his piano interludes on SOUTH SIDE OF THE SKY and HEART OF THE SUNRISE, he also brought Mellotron to the Yes table. Good man! His use of the instrument is quite restrained on Fragile, but what there is of it is really rather good.

Overall, Fragile strikes me as being quite a strange album with its mixture of lengthy epics and pointless solo pieces. Without the latter it could have been a classic. Close, but no cigar... a generous 4 stars.

Report this review (#279391)
Posted Sunday, April 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Not only dose this album seize to amaze my because it never gets old but this album marks the beginning of my undying love for progressive rock. I will never forget ton christmas eve about 3 years ago my dad playing lamb lies down on broadway which iwasent a fan of at the time but also yes fragile came up because funny enough i herd the name on school of rock and when my dad brought it up i told him to put it on at once and i listen to it nonstop and it for ever changed my musical taste ive always sence then wanted a prog band and 3 years later i have one thanks to you yes. this perhaps my favorite album of all time im so shure of that i plan to get the album cover tattooed on my arm permanently
Report this review (#287726)
Posted Monday, June 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Prog Rock, straight from the heart...

Best Song: Roundabout

Overall Rating: 12

...Yeah right! Like Yes ever did ANYTHING even remotely "from the heart"! No, this is 40 minutes of pure prog rockin', boys, and for once, Yes take no prisoners...'cept your heart. If anything, I see fragile as the real roots to art metal, or classic era progressive metal. Sure, you might hop on your Rush wagon, but...that wagon smells, man! Here, though, our favorite pretentious li'l miscreants bring us some of the finest complex, knotty, jerky, sexy (ooh-la-la), prog entertainment this side of Uriah Heep (get real)....I mean, this side of...well....whoever!

Really, this album was the first real mesh for the band. You had a new, talented keys-master, and you had the subtle growth of songwriting talents from the band as a whole. No, this stuff won't ever tug at your heart strings, and I'll forever hold Jon Anderson as their weakest link, at least in this realization of the band. It's not that I think he is a terrible singer, but he ain't exactly no Peter Gabriel, now, y'hear? That's right, him wailing his emotionless "dadada's' and just doesn't get to me. No, I can't ever take Yes seriously from a lyrical or conceptual standpoint, but as musicians, well, that's where this album truly shines.

See, all the members shine. They even have one of the coolest bass guitar riffs I've had the pleasure of hearing. Truly, Roundabout, the album's strongest opener, and possible the strongest effort by the band, ever, my pretentious socks off. It's just interestin' as hell. No, it doesn't make me shed a tear, and it definitely don't make me think, too much, but I'll be darned if it doesn't get my blood pumping, and that's just something you don't get to experience in prog, very often. Usually, rockin' prog bands don't have the chops to compensate for the lack of truly intricate melodies (Kansas), or they most certainly have the chops, but can't write a memorable melody to save their lives (Rush), or... they just don't have anything, at all (Uriah Heep). Yes, if only for this lone album, maybe even for this lone song, have equal helpings of both. It rocks, hell-fire, it rolls like a mother. But, it's also memorable! That's right, this sucker is memorable, from the wicked bass chug to the keyboard swirls, even to Anderson's silly commercial wailing.

The album, itself, is split into two primary functions: Longer, but still moderately concise, sci-fi rockers, and shorter (sometimes under a minute) pop/experimental tracks. Long Distance Runaround comes to my mind, first, as the most memorable and engaging of the shorter tunes. Now, I'll say it loud, and I'll say it...well, obnoxiously. Cans and Brahms is a waste of my time AND yours. Nobody needs two minutes of that classically inspired (inspired = stolen) sludge, and all I can call it is "neat". An interesting idea that fully embodies Yes: An interesting idea that got taken too seriously, but wasn't too original in the first place, even if it had some entertaining moments. Luckily, it's so short that we can all forget it and move on to "We Have Heaven", which is quite a fancy track, if I must say so. No, just like ever-thang else on here, it's just as likely to make you cry as it is to cure cancer. The vocal dubs are interesting, and it flows, smoothly.

True enough, the album rocks hard, when it isn't wanking off or wasting time (both of which happen, but in sparse amounts). The tempos are roaring, and there's a real showcase of energy in each song. Like, even if it's all pretentious, painfully bombastic drivel, it's drivel driven to the maximum height of drivel entertainment. Fish is a sort of guitar fire-storm, where Mood For A Day is a sort of guitar forest of serenity. Both work on different levels, both lack that final soul-plucking something, both are rip-roaring good times.

I think my greatest grievance with Fragile (which is anything but...), is the final "epic", Heart of the Sunrise, which is too long to support its primary musical ideals. Where Roundabout was a furious, evolving monster, carried by some truly ingenious playing, this one just don't cut it, for me. I like it, sure, but it feels to me like Yes just petered out of ideas in the last leg of the race, and tried their hand at complicated sprawl for the sake of complicated sprawl, ya dig? At the end of the martian day, though, Fragile is too much pure entertainment to pass up, and even if it doesn't really dig into your heart, it at least settles for the spleen, or something.


Report this review (#290568)
Posted Friday, July 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Mr. Rick Wakeman, known as the best session keyboardist in England and who had been recently proclaimed as "Music's Next Superstar," came onboard and shot Yes' credibility through the roof. Although he is usually kept a little deep in the mix, the few times when he is turned loose show that Yes now had a powerful trump card in their hands. Not only did he have about a million times more skill than Kaye, he also had a much larger assortment of toys to play with (Kaye used a total of three keyboards, whereas Wakeman would use up to a dozen implements at once; Mellotrons, pianos, organs, synths, harpsichords, you name it), and Yes could now add sounds and ambience that Anderson could only dream about before.

The one negative thing about Wakeman having so much stuff, though, was that Yes had to get an album out as fast as possible to cover the costs for all of it, and so there are only 4 regular group pieces on this album. But Yes, being the smart men that they were, used this to their advantage. It was decided that now was the time for each of the members to get to showcase their individual skills, and so this album has 5 additional solo tracks, one for each member. Now, interestingly enough, there are people for whom these solo pieces are actually a negative - many claim that because of them, this album is terribly disjointed and has virtually no flow. The thing is, I take the exact opposite viewpoint - continuing in the vein of The Yes Album, placing a shorter track in the middle of two other epics on each side, these solo numbers allow the listener to catch his breath so that he might better be able to appreciate the more complex numbers. Besides, this was a common trick among a number of prog groups - a large reason that Peter Gabriel's Genesis was and is so enjoyable is that for every "Return of the Giant Hogweed" or "Firth of Fifth," you get a relatively lightweight number like "Harold the Barrel" or "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)." Heck, even ELP, the supposedly pretentious-beyond-all-measure group (though certainly no more so than Yes, and possibly several degrees lower), regularly stuck numbers like "Benny the Bouncer" or "Are You Ready Eddy?" on their albums (heck, they even put out an entire album of 'funny' and 'lightweight' tracks - a good one at that). In other words, this is not unheard of.

But back to the pieces themselves. Bruford, who was more interested in being one of the greatest drummers of all time (his percussion on this album is amazing), didn't really take it seriously, merely writing a 35 second blurch of noise (well, it's actually a 16 bar piece repeated once, but whatever) but the rest of the contributions rule. Wakeman plays a short Brahms excerpt on his keyboards, Anderson spends a minute and a half harmonizing with himself in the gorgeous "We Have Heaven," and Howe gives us his sequel to "Clap" in "Mood For a Day." And Squire's piece ... well, I'll mention that later.

But even without the solo pieces, this album is wonderful on lots of levels. First of all, the songwriting has actually improved from The Yes Album, as hard as that might be to believe. Also, the band added an edge and crispness to its sound that had been slightly lacking on TYA simply by allowing the compositions to take on darker, less bouncy characteristics. As a result, the four group compositions on the album are incredible beyond words (even though many fans don't give them much credit due to the fact that they aren't 20 minutes long). "Roundabout" may have received more airplay than any other Yes song through the years, but face it, it really deserves it. Never before and never again would Yes come up with such a PERFECT combination of pop accessibility, hard rock bass riffs and experimental song structure as they did on this track. If the bass riff doesn't grab you, then the vocal melody will, and that's a fact. And the song has all sorts of neat keyboard tricks within, from the backwards piano chord that opens it to Wakeman's first fancy solo with the group to all sorts of neat key riffs.

Even better, though, is the "lost favorite," "South Side of the Sky." For whatever reason, the band never (with VERY few exceptions, until 2002 that is) made this track a part of its stage set, and as such the song gained a sort of mythical quality with fans. Never mind that, though - even if it were as heavily played as "Roundabout," I think people would still adore this song. The lyrics are some of the darkest that Anderson would ever pen (they're about freezing to death), and the music matches oh so well. The main riff (apparently stolen from a Howe composition with a previous band) is menacing as hell, the vocal melody RULES, and Wakeman gets an extended piano solo in the middle that positively MAKES the song, whilst the band members contribute some eerie harmonies here and there. Of course, I've been told that Kaye wrote many parts of the album, including this solo, but even if that is true, I still kinda doubt that he could have played them, at least not with this kind of flair. But I digress - one mustn't also forget the incredible way the song begins, with a door SLAMMING on Anderson's joyous harmonies while somebody runs away before the howling wind comes up.

The side-two group numbers don't fall short of the standard, fortunately. "Long Distance Runaround" is the last "pop" song that the band would do for several years, but even though it shows no indication of where Yes was headed, it rules nonetheless. The vocal melody is as catchy as the one on "Roundabout," the musical themes are compact yet complex, and the instrumental deconstruction is intense as hell, with Squire providing a textbook demonstration on how to hammer-on (at least, that's what my brother the bass player once told me).

Concluding the album, then, is the immortal classic "Heart of the Sunrise." The three- minute introduction can best be described as a musical duel between a bass and an organ, with Steve's guitar helping the cause at times and Bruford building the tension exquisitely with his drums. The main riff isn't particularly complex, of course, and it does bear more than a slight resemblence to the "Mirrors" chunk of "21st Century Schizoid Man," but whatever. For all its 'simplicity', it sucks me in like mad, and that's all I really need. Of course, there's more to the song than just the intro - the main melody doesn't have too much to do with the introduction (except in the rare cases where reprises from it pop up in the song), but that hardly makes it any worse. Anderson's lyrics are as weird as usual (apparently they're about soul travel), but somehow he manages to sing them with a passion (yes, PASSION) that only he could muster up for such an odd subject, not to mention that the vocal melodies are pretty as ever. And how can one forget the ending, where the duel ends in a stalemate, only to have Anderson's "We Have Heaven" vocals pop back in and become the victors by default??

You must buy this album as soon as you have 13 bucks lying around. You see, even if somebody isn't a fan of prog rock (which I guess doesn't apply on this site), this album is essential if you like the bass guitar. Seriously, this album can make a legitimate claim to being the greatest bass guitar album of all time (well, if you discount anything with the least amount of funk, that is), right up there with Led Zeppelin II and Quadrophenia (well, those are my favorites, anyway). In addition to Squire practically owning "Roundabout," "Long Distance Runaround," and "Heart of the Sunrise," there is also his bass solo, coming out the ending of "LDR." Now, on the surface, "The Fish" might not seem all together impressive - after all, it's just six layers of bass guitar, who cares? Well, you should care; it's not everyday that one finds a piece with layer upon layer of bass parts (which are plenty interesting and complex on their own) added in such a way that the number actually seems like a real song, not just "fun in the studio." In my mind and the minds of most, it positively rules. Just like this album. Prog rock that rocks; who else would have thunk of that?

Report this review (#291140)
Posted Monday, July 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Play Roundabout!"

That's something I heard at a Steve Howe show. There may be an idiot in every crowd, but this album is what really sticks with most classic rock fans (idiots and non-idiots alike), for whatever reason (although All Good People and some others have cracked the classic rock radiowaves frequently enough).

Of course, I can rock out to Roundabout as hard as anyone (Squires bass during the verse and Rick's organ solo at the end are some of my top 50 highlights in all of rock), but Fragile is very solid throughout (as I suspect we all know quite well). There is something to appreciate about every song (except Five Percent of Nothing--that one doesn't count), from the delicate beauty of Mood, to the bombastic/minimalist contrast of Heart of the Sunrise, to the bass bonanza in Schindleria. One of my pleasant surprises was the extended America, which is my preferred version, and would be to all the rest of us to love to hear Yes rock out non-prog style once in a while. Great guitar/bass/key interplay in the middle!

Fragile was my first CD, and it sounds even better to my ears now than it did way back then. I will fall short of calling this a masterpiece, but I would certainly consider it essential for any prog collection.

Report this review (#291262)
Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fragile album by Yes is a great and inspirational piece of work. I still prefer the prior more crude and intriguing The Yes Album and the following masterpiece Close To The Edge, but there is something in this songs really wonderful and challenging. Everybody knows that Mr Wakeman joins the band for this release and sure he had something to do with that. But after all, here we have great four songs by the band (if we let apart the solo efforts, which aren't bad of course, especially The Fish, Mood For A Day and We Have Heaven) that really shines in their catalogue, being Roundabout, Southside of The Sky (Steve work is [%*!#]ing great here!) and Heart of The Sunrise my favourites. Excuse my english, hope you like my first review! Peace!
Report this review (#291285)
Posted Wednesday, July 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first Yes album to feature the iconic artwork of a certain Roger Dean, 'Fragile' would be the album that sky-rocketed Yes into the stratosphere of super-stardom. Key to the album's success was the addition of ex-Strawbs member Rick Wakeman on keyboards, replacing the outgoing Tony Kaye, and the fact that 'Fragile' featured the superb lead-track 'Roundabout', one of the group's best-known and best-loved compositions and a staple of FM rock radio ever since. With Wakeman on board the classic Yes line-up was in place and 'Fragile' would herald the start of Yes' golden era, the group selling millions of records across the globe and staging hundreds of sell-out gigs throughout Europe and America. Some argue that 'The Yes Album' marked their high-point and, excellent though that album was, 'Fragile' just seemed to have that special edge that comes with a very-talanted group performing at their peak. A look at the track-listing reveals a glut of great tracks, including 'Roundabout', 'South Side Of The Sky', 'Heart Of The Sunrise' and 'Long Distance Runaround', all of which have become fixtures in the group's live shows for the last four decades. So, four albums into the burgeoning career and it seemed as if Yes had created the masterpiece they had threatened; incredibly, however, within a year they would have bettered 'Fragile' and booked their place at the head of the progressive rock table of legends, demonstrating just how dynamic the interplay was between these five, relatively youthful musicians. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Report this review (#293481)
Posted Thursday, August 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars FRAGILE

Fragile is yet another example of what YES is all about , musicians indulging themselves in every way they can. The challenge for such a band is for the individuals to take account of each other, and most of all, for the band to take account of the substance of what they are delivering.

Roundabout begins promisingly, a lovely acoustic opening with atmospherics I have never heard on any live version of this song. As a plus, the song is a better piece of work than you would normally associate with YES, and Jon's voice, which can be grating, sounds good in the mid-register instead of the determinedly high notes. The bass is overly treble, which can be good on notation, but poor in terms of bottom bass for the band to sit on. Naturally, Chris Squire's early band Syn had the same problem.

Can & Brahms sounds gimmicky, there is something wrong with the sound of the instruments used. Perhaps they are meant to sound authentic, and certainly, the boring part is authentic enough. We can clearly hear why Wakeman's playing never really lent itself to Rock, he was always a straight classical player, with excellent technique but no dynamics. He uses sound textures and sustaining synths to go some way towards that goal, and proving his intelligence by realising he has to. As naked as he is here, it plods and sounds like it can't even take itself seriously

In We have Heaven, Yes show that although arrangement is a real strength, composition isn't.

South Side of the Sky. What a nice title for a song, beginning with wind, atmosphere...then drums and disappointment.

5% for Nothing is cleverness for its own sake, the downside of prog. At times Crimsonish and Frippish, only the organ restores some sanity.

Long Distance Runaround:- After a guitar sounding like a spaced-out Bert Weedon, and a tendency to out-Crimson Crimson, part of this sounds like a welcome return to the band's Beatle roots, at least striving for a tune, though Jon's voice at times sounds almost incidental, and uneven at times too, wavering out of tune on several occasions.

The Fish is a nice arrangement waiting for a song to be fulfilled. A waste of atmospheric guitars and splendid strident drums.

Mood for a Day has a nice acoustic guitar sound, but a determined cleverness results in quite a few fluffs and stumbles, sometimes the price of over-improvisation.

Heart of the Sunrise contains vocal meanderings, but nice riffs that are suddenly transformed into 21st Century Crimson Man and beyond into Echoes by Pink Floyd. Could have been a great piece, but ends up pointless, no song at all.

YES simultaneously conjure up all that is good and bad in Progressive rock. It's not entirely their fault. They are musicians first and foremost, and musicians are a different breed from songwriters. The downside of the Beatle's recording their own songs brought in the era of everyone feeling they had to do the same, resulting in excellent musicians making very good records that had poor or non-existent songs. Musicians also want first and foremost to play, to indulge their talents, the songs, or singer for that matter, is almost incidental to them. A lot of the time, the other musicians on the stage are to be disregarded in the search of their own ego and expression. In that sense, Yes have done well to hold the band together as a unit, despite all the tensions and traumas, and have still made interesting music, albeit it flawed - and Fragile. 3 stars.

Report this review (#293756)
Posted Sunday, August 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This being their 4th album, really showed what the band as an ensemble could do.

With an Ummagumma like theme, where each member of the band gets to express musically, along with 4 other great songs, as usual, Yes have flawed another perfect album.

This also was the start of their media sucess with Roundabout being a successful single for them.

This is one of the most digestable Yes albums, and with Rick Wakeman now a fully fledged member, his key work is fantastic.

1. Roundabout - Classic Yes really. Love that bassline, it is perfect to play everytime I have a bass in my hands. One of their easiest songs on the ear. 10/10

2. Cans & Brahms - Rick's solo. This kind of classical music usually bores me, but Wakeman really does shape into something magical. 9/10

3. We Have Heaven - Jon's solo. A werid contrapuntal piece with some odd use of effects. Still love it though. 10/10

4. South Side Of The Sky - This song always slips my mind, but I always remember how good it is.Quite heavy for a Yes song, and with an added eccentric quality. It also has a very King Crimson vibe (I think Bill's to blame). Love how the vocals act as an instrument in itself.

5. 5% For Nothing - Bill's solo. Very jazzy and King Crimson (I wonder why). This song does alot more in half a minute than most bands do in a lifetime. 10/10

6. Long Distance Runaround - Lovely put together. 9/10

7. The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) - Chris' solo. Odd bass lines and odd vocals. What more do you want. 9/10

8. Mood For A Day - Steve's solo. Basically Clap Part II. 8/10

9. Heart Of The Sunrise - I think this really is the penultimate Yes song. The isntrumental sections are so crazy, and matched with the beautiful vocal arrangment, it does take a while to get used to, but when it does, you really understand it's genius. 10/10

CONCLUSION: I'm a pretty big Yes fan, so exepect to see a lot of masterpieces being labelled.

Report this review (#294818)
Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes's fourth album is, in my opinion, a truly great album of the genre.. Although only 4 of the 9 tracks were written by the entire band, the album still has nice flow, and each track, including the solos, are great. The album starts with Roundabout, which has become one of Yes's signature songs. The bass and the guitar in the song are addictive, and the vocal melodies majestic. Next is Wakeman's solo, Cans and Brahms, which is a pretty cool piece. Afterward, Anderson's We Have Heaven plays, and it has some very nice vocal overlap.

Following the first 3 is South Side of the Sky, a song that has amazing keyboard lines and vocal melodies toward the middle, which is almost surreal. Afterward is a short segue Five Cent Per Nothing, which isn't anything remarkable, but it's only around 30 seconds long. The third band piece, Long Distance Runaround, comes next and plays excellently, albeit quickly.

Afterward, Squire's solo The Fish plays, and it features some of his signature bass playing. Following The Fish, Mood for A Day is Howe's solo piece, and it's arguably the best solo song on the album. The album then finally culminates with Heart of the Sunrise, the band's first song to reach over ten minutes. This song contains everything that Yes is known for, and it features some amazing playing from every band member. Each member has a highlight in the song, from the technical and intricate playing of Howe, Squire, Bruford, and Wakeman, to the heartfelt and stunning vocals of Anderson.

Report this review (#294952)
Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars If this album included only "Roundabout", "We Have Heaven", "South Side of the Sky", "Long Distance Runaround", and "Heart of the Sunrise", I would give it a solid 5 star classic rating. Not to say that it is not a fine, classic album- but the shorter individual member pieces don't really do it for me. They would have been better as parts of solo albums. I love Wakeman, Squire, and the rest in Yes, but have never really gotten into their solo works, especially Wakeman. Still, this is one of the best that Yes has to offer- along with CLOSE TO THE EDGE, and RELAYER, both of which I play much more than FRAGILE. So- a flawed masterpiece. 4 stars
Report this review (#295871)
Posted Monday, August 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Fragile" is probably one of the most accessible prog albums ever made. With radio- friendly songs (at least, in the USA) such as "Roundabout" and "Long Distance Runaround", one finds it fairly difficult to NOT go to the nearest record store and pick up a copy of "Fragile". I consider this album their second-best output, after "Close to the Edge", with a clear sense of direction. No song is out of place here, as they are all excellent and without moments of weakness. "Fragile" should be one of the first ten albums that novice prog listeners should obtain. All the good things that have been said about this record on this site are certainly true and I am just merely adding a few words of admiration and love for "Fragile". A must-have for any prog fan and music lovers in general, as this album surely is one of the masterpieces of music. Do enjoy!

1. "Roundabout" - 10/10

2. "Cans and Brahms" - 8/10

3. "We Have Heaven" - 8.5/10

4. "South Side of the Sky" - 9/10

5. "Five Percent for Nothing" - 8/10

6. "Long Distance Runaround" - 10/10

7. "The Fish" - 10/10

8. "Mood for a Day" - 10/10

9. "Heart of the Sunrise" - 9/10

10. "America" - 9/10

91.5/10 = 91.5% = 5 stars, a true masterpiece.

Report this review (#296332)
Posted Thursday, August 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Fragile' - Yes (90/100)

A crescendo draws steadily out of my set of speakers. As I prepare for a rocking riff to open up the album, the crescendo deceptively leads to an unassuming open acoustic harmonic. Steve Howe's guitarwork is light and almost certainly classically influenced; the acoustic motif is mysterious, and as it's played again, the listener is begged to wonder where the band is planning on ultimately going with it. But, before you know it, the acoustic guitar has picked up the pace and ushers in a tight rhythm from Bruford and one of the most immortal grooves Chris Squire ever dictated with the bass guitar. Such is the way Yes open up their classic fourth album Fragile and their perennial fan favourite "Roundabout". The song itself is probably the greatest piece of radio coverage the progressive rock genre ever received, and still rightly stands as one of the best pieces from the band's catalogue. As an album, Fragile has sometimes irked me for its focus on short instrumental cuts and apparent interlude tracks, but when taken as a whole, the album is arguably the most well-rounded and agreeably paced of the band's career. I could still point the finger at any of the three albums Yes would release following this as the best of their career, but Fragile marks the band's destined ascent into the realm of mastery. If there was any question left as to their greatness after The Yes Album, Fragile finally set all doubts to rest.

Even having been a fan of the band and album for years now, the fact that Fragile's flow works so well remains a mystery to me. Of the album's nine tracks, only four of them might be considered self-standing songs, and only three of those (excluding "Long Distance Runaround") feel like well-rounded prog tunes. Especially when you stop to compare it to the three and four 'epic' track arrangements of Yes' three following records, Fragile is a peculiar distinction amongst the band's oeuvre. Although "Roundabout" and "Heart of the Sunrise" both count as two of Yes' strongest compositions, Fragile demands to be heard from start to finish as a whole, even moreso than other albums in progressive rock. My first impression to consider the shorter pieces as interludes was sorely mistaken in any case; they may be short, but each track makes a clear statement of its own. Somewhat in the vein of what Pink Floyd did with "Ummagumma" (albeit far more successfully), Fragile features a piece built specifically around each musician. The Wakeman-orchestrated "Cans and Brahms" is a fine nod to Western classical tradition. "We Have Heaven" is a soaring ode to Jon Anderson's vocal beauty, as well as his signature psychedelic optimism. "Five Per Cent for Nothing" is a sporadic, Bruford-led exercise in rhythm, "The Fish" showcases Chris Squire's skill with bass grooves, and "Mood for a Day" is a pleasant acoustic piece from Steve Howe. None of these five shorter pieces would be entirely fitting for individual consumption, but as a whole, they flow together seamlessly.

There's no question, however, that the true meat of Fragile rests at the heart of the longer compositions. Even if "Roundabout" enjoys its share of the FM waves, it's a remarkably sophisticated piece that's as close to perfection as you're bound to hear in prog. At eight and a half minutes long, it rivals the ambitious scope of a progressive epic but retains the tightness and instantly memorable factor of a pop tune- I can't recall another song in the genre that manages to achieve both simultaneously. If the album had a darkest moment, "South Side of the Sky" would be it; even if it retains Yes' trademark bounce and ethereal atmosphere, it's a more reserved counterpoint to "Roundabout" and a solid way to round off Fragile's mid-section. "Long Distance Runaround" is concisely written and pleasantly written; if not much else, it's got some fine vocals from Anderson and an interesting guitar hook. Even so, the album's most pop-oriented tune feels downright underwhelming compared to the three longer tracks, and even a couple of the more ambitious interludes.

Now, if I've sung so highly the praises of "Roundabout", let it be known that Fragile reaches even greater heights with "Heart of the Sunrise". Bringing together Yes' atmospheric beauty and burstfire tightness under the banner of a single track, it's one of the most incredible songs Yes ever crafted in their career. Tight instrumentation (particularly from Howe and Wakeman) and a haunting climax are among the qualities that make it one of the band's greatest ever works. Closing off the album with a brief reprise of "We Have Heaven" was a nice touch as well.

Fragile marked the first album with Rick Wakeman onboard, and while many fans will attest that they hit their mark with The Yes Album, I'll stand by this record as the moment where Yes finally unlocked their own slice of heaven. It can be too easy to get complacent as a listener when getting into a classic like this; after all, the verdict's already been made up, they're albums we're supposed to find depth and inspiration in. Listening to Fragile over four decades since its release however, and I'm still finding myself taken aback by the creativity and sophistication Yes brought to the table with this one. Surprisingly enough, Yes would ascend to an even higher plane of ambition with Close to the Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans. Even if Fragile doesn't represent the artistic pinnacle for Yes as an act, it retains the distinctive quality of a classic album, with a unique personality the band sadly never sought to explore further.

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Posted Saturday, September 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars Fragile is the second act of a trilogy of masterpieces that started with The Yes Album and is comnpleted by Close to th Edge. The Yes Album is a collection of songs, sometimes long but without the characteristics of an epic, Close to the Edge has the full-side omonimous epic, and two long tracks on side B. Fragile is exactly in the middle and can be considered the trait-d'union between the two.

The opener is great. Roundabout is not an epic only because of its length, but is one of the best songs ever written by the yes. The acoustic guitar intro, the background keyboards, the great bass line all supported by one of the best drummers in the world. Even those who dislike Jon Anderson's voice have to recognize that no other singer can be imagined on this song. This tracks alone can be used to define the YES music.

Cans and Brahms is one of the short interludes dedicated to the instrumentist. When double albums with one side per group member was a mood (Ummagumma and Works just to mention a couple) the YES indulged to their individual skills allowing just few minutes. This one is for Wakeman. The following "We Have Heaven" is for Anderson.

The ensemble is back with "South Side of The Sky" that's another classic on which Squire leads. Looking retrospectively to "Fish out of Water" it appears to be mainly a Squire thing until the keyboard and piano solos that are of course typical Wakeman's stuff. As in many Yes songs, I'm unable to say what the signatures on this song are....

"Five Percent for Nothing" is the Squire's interlude, then comes a "short classic": "Long Distance Runaround" it's a classic, even if the live version of Yessongs is in my opinion far better than this studio one.

"The Fish" is another ensemble song even if it's totally dominated by the bass. But we all know who the Fish is...

The most famous short interlude of the yes history: a track that almost all the guitar practicers have tried to play with more or less success is "Mood for a Day". This track can explain why Steve Howe and Steve Hackett have tried (later) to give birth to a band. Unfortunately that band had rubbish results, but this is just to say that "Mood fro a day" could make the pair with some Steve Hackett's classical or acoustic guitar works like "A Cradle of Swans" as example.

The album is closed by another classic masterpiece. I think that "Heart of a Sunrise" has been played on almost all the Yes tours during the years. After the initial riff, the long intro of Bass and keyboards to which Howe's guitar comes from the background. Then the initial riff again. Squire and Bruford at their best with Wakeman and Howe in the background. It takes 3:30 minutes before Jon Anderson starts singing on a low-volume keyboard background. I can't find any pasage that can be considered trivial. This is what, I think, makes difficult for many people approaching the old Yes albums: the listener's expectations are never satisfied and you can really enjoy this music only after a number of listens, when you know what is about to come.

As for The yes Album, I can't rate it less than the maximum.

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Posted Thursday, September 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Featuring four "main" songs and five songs which Wikipedia describes as being showcases for the talents of the individuals of the band, Fragile is one of Yes' most scattershot albums, yet unlike many prog albums that don't have a central tone or engine to fall back on in terms of the sound of the album, this variety and creative whimsy is a large part of the album's charm.

The five individual showcase songs range from phenomenal to boring to simply ridiculous. "We Have Heaven" is an excellent showcase of Jon Anderson's jaw-dropping range, sounding positively angelic at points. It's a warm, blissful little tune that could easily be twice the length. "Cans and Brahms" is a silly throwaway that sounds like it was filtered through a Sega Genesis sound card, an unfortunate but all too common affect of '70s keyboards. Likewise, "5 Percent For Nothing" serves no discernible purpose and the unchanging nature of "The Fish" proves to be a rather dull listen. Thankfully, "Mood For a Day" justifies the entire experiment by itself with its subtly brilliant flamenco playing and low-key, sensuous nature. It's more or less the sonic equivalent of waking up to a warm, bright sun after a good night's sleep and is one of Yes' finest instrumentals.

The four songs that make up the core of the album prove to be more consistent. I'm completely tired of "Roundabout", but that doesn't take away from the fact that on its own terms it's a rousing piece of music, regardless of how many times I've heard it. Speaking of exhilarating, "South Side of the Sky" is an exhilarating number and probably the album's best song. It's up there with "Yours Is No Disgrace" as being Yes' best "adventure" song, and proves to be a better song than the one mentioned on the whole, featuring some of Howe's most interesting, thrilling guitar playing and vocals that'll make you want to grab a cutlass and swing from a rope. Even the soft interlude that takes up the middle of the song isn't unwelcome, as such a thing would be in many other songs, as it proves to be a respite from the eye of the storm and a compelling piece of music in its own right.

"Long-Distance Runaround" serves as an entertaining pop tune, while "Heart of the Sunrise" is where Yes really gets to stretch their epic-prog legs and build the blueprint for the sprawling tales that would come later. The first half is touch and go-starts off strong, takes a break that lasts a little too long, then picks back up at a jarring rate-but once you get into the second half the song begins to connect, with Bruford's soft jazz drumming propelling Howe and Wakeman's keyboard and guitar interplay to elevate Jon Anderson's vocals to truly grand, moving proportions. It's always tough to end a song like this, but the climax before the "We Have Heaven" reprise is truly inspiring as it reaches an emotional fever pitch that many prog songs would try and fail to emulate for years to come.

Fragile isn't Yes' best album and it could have been improved in places, but it's a wonderful introduction to the band and for the most part, it stands the test of time as one of progressive rock's most enduring works.

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Posted Friday, November 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars The first album from this short-lived lineup was, in my opinion, also their best. Controversy aside, it's just one of those Yes-releases that truly speaks to me and I can pretty much enjoy it on any given day!

First off, let me clear up the distinction between Fragile and The Yes Album. I did state in my previous review that it had a few filler tracks and a generally unbalanced mix of material. This might also seem to be the case here, but I would argue that it's not! The five short pieces that are performed in-between the four longer pieces are here for the clear reason of introducing the distinct talents of the individual band members. Cans And Brahms gives us pretty much all we need to know about Rick Wakeman, We Have Heaven is beautifully arranged vocal-driven track by Jon Anderson, Five Per Cent For Nothing shows clear Jazz tendencies from Bill Bruford, The Fish introduces us to the unique sound of Chris Squire's bass and Mood For A Day is probably the best acoustic composition that Steve Howe has ever written.

I might raise a few eyebrows when I say that I'm actually not that crazy about Roundabout. It's a good composition with a catchy riff and a memorable acoustic intro/outro from Steve Howe, but it just never manages to grab me as much as some of the material later on the album. South Side Of The Sky is the first clear followup to Starship Trooper and Perpetual Change. This is easily my favorite track off Fragile, but both Long Distance Runaround and Heart Of The Sunrise aren't that far behind! The latter is one of Yes' most recognizable anthems with Rick Wakeman's Mellotron-performance leading the way for the rest of the collective.

Fragile is a wonderful album that should be a part of every progressive rock music collection just for the cheer enthusiasm that each of the band members bring to the table here. It's a well-deserved classic that only gets better with each passing year.

***** star songs: South Side Of The Sky (8:04) Heart Of The Sunrise (10:34) Mood For A Day (3:57)

**** star songs: Roundabout (8:29) Cans And Brahms (1:35) We Have Heaven (1:30) Five Percent For Nothing (0:35) Long Distance Runaround (3:33) The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) (2:35)

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Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another great masterpiece of Yes.After the wonderful "The Yes Album ", the band lost Tony Kaye and ended up hiring the "wizard of the keyboards" Rick Wakeman to replace.The result is a excellent album, which came to recognize,besides being the first with the classic lineup (the other is the magnum-opus of prog rock "Close to the Edge").

I can say "Fragile" is a more experimental album, since here each of its members did a song featuring his efforts individuals.In my opinion the weakest here are "Cahns and Brahms (from Wakeman) and" Five per cent per Nothing "(from Bruford). The other tracks are at least excellents.The my favorites here are: the classic "Roundabout"and the masterful "South Side of Sky"."Heart of Sunrise"was a track I did not like the first time I heard it, but now I admire and like very much.

Certainly this album is a masterpiece of prog rock.Although is not my favorite album of the band (Not when you have "Close to the Edge"and "Relayer"), is an album that deserves to be heard endless times.

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Posted Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fragile is the album where Yes finally found their feet and the first album of some truly great Yes albums. This album has also garnered a lot of reviews and a lot of words. My review will therefore be pretty brief.

All the great things about Yes mostly fell into place on this album. The vocal harmonies, the keyboards, the bass, fiery guitars and the long catchy songs. The Yes trademark, in short. This album also gave us some true classics like Roundabout, Long Distance Runaround, Mood For A Day and Heart Of The Sunrise. It also gave us some less great songs. But the positives by far outnumbers the less than great stuff here. In short; this is a great album and a forewarning of albums to come.

4 stars

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Posted Sunday, December 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a fabulous progressive rock album. It was the first Yes release to feature the classic line up and the band is very tight here. There are some semi solo pieces as well as epics with contributions from all the band members. For someone new to the band, "Fragile" would be the best choice to hear what they were all about.

"Roundabout" is one fan favourite with some nice changes. It kicks the album off to a great start. The music starts with guitar, thumping bass with keyboard and organ touches. The two classic epics are "South Side Of The Sky" and "Heart Of The Sunrise" where Wakeman adds more of his classical influences with some really nice piano inteludes. "The Fish" and "Mood For A Day" serve almost entirely as bass and guitar solos. Some critics have said that the long and short pieces don't cohere and become a bit of jumble. I personaly don't think there is any problem with the variety of tracks.

This is one of my favourite Yes records and the music is consistently excellent throughout. They were at their very "classic" here. It is an essential album for a prog rock collection

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Posted Sunday, December 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars For the record before this one, Yes dropped their guitarist, Peter Banks, and replaced him with Steve Howe. On that album, they discovered their signature sound. On this album, after replacing keyboardist Tony Kaye with Rick Wakeman, they perfevted that sound.

The album is a bit self indulgent, with each band member getting what amounts to a solo track. But of those solo tracks, only Wakeman's (only slightly) diminishes the album. All of the full band tracks are fantastic pieces, becoming concert favorites for the next four decades.

The album opener, Roundabout, was the bands biggest hit of the seventies, showing how different the radio and major label record industries were at the time. South Side Of The Sky and Heart Of The Sunrise are also great pieces, that rival any symphonic prog created since.

Also of note, this was one of my first prog album purchases (I had many singles before that). So I have Yes to thank for my obsession with great music.

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Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I first saw this LP, somewhere around 1975 when I started getting into music, I was so impressed with the artwork. I was 14 but I allready had some Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze LPs and a good sleeve can actually have quite a decent record inside.

Fragile IS an excellent album with some minor bits and pieces. I always loved the start of "South side of the sky" and I especially loved Bill Brufford's short "Five per cent for nothing" and Chris Squire's "The Fish".

I tried to listen to earlier albums and later albums and found them all real stinkers. Just the same problem I always had with Genesis; I absolutely hate singers like Peter Gabriel and Jon Anderson, who usually sings as if his thing is stuck between his zipper. This really is the ONLY Yes album that I like... even love.

This is an album with great music made by skilled musicians. Here at least Anderson's singing is still bearable. Here no infantile things like "Yours is no disgrace" or completely overlaboured "music" like on Close to the Edge and it's follow up.

And especially... the artwork by Roger Dean... One of his finest moments! For an album by Yes... I hesitate between 3 and 4 stars...

Considering this IS the ONLY Yes album I like, I'll be generous!

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Posted Wednesday, February 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one messed up album. Released in 1971, it has my favourite Yes line-up of Anderson / Bruford / Howe / Squire / Wakeman, and was the first Yes album to feature the latter, who had come fresh from The Strawbs. Fragile was an album that showed Yes increasing in creativity to prog rock perfection, a trend that had started with 'The Yes Album'. The album itself has 2 different parts to it; there are 4 songs which are arranged and performed by the band, and the other 5 are songs that are solo works, to highlight each member of the band. I have to say, I've never particularly enjoyed any of these solo songs, and I feel that they give the album a rather muddled feel. The fact that on the album itself, it describes how each of these pieces are solo songs, makes it easier to accept them, and possibly pretend they aren't there. I just feel that solo works have no place on an album by a band (the same is true of 'Clap' on The Yes Album, or 'Horizons' from Foxtrot). Anyway, I shall briefly review these solo spots first.

-Cans and Brahms- Yuck. This is Wakeman's spot, where he plays a classical piece (by, you guessed it, Brahms) that is not famous enough to be recognised by most people who have a limited knowledge of classical music. The liner notes go into detail about how he plays a different keyboard sound for each part of the orchestra. This is not a Yes song in any way, thank goodness its only 1:43. -We Have Heaven- A definite WTF moment! Fortunately this song is far more listenable than the preceding song. This song is Anderson's spot, where he recorded his voice many times to give the song an a cappella feel. You will definitely be interested when you first hear this, but since it doesn't really go anywhere, I think this song loses all its appeal quickly. I do like the door slamming at the end, imagining someone saying 'STFU Jon!' whilst doing so. (If anyone can tell me what the footsteps at the end signify I'd be grateful!) -Five Per Cent For Nothing- At 0:38, Bruford's solo spot hardly feels like music. This song sounds not only difficult to play, but completely unlistenable at the same time, which makes you wonder why they bothered! -The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)- Ahh this is more like it. Squire's bass spot is the best in my opinion. This song segues from the end of Long Distance Runaround and as a result I usually listen to both at the same time. This song gives 'LDR' a natural ending. It is quite minimalistic, with the 7/8 riff being repeated constantly throughout, and slowly more and more layers of bass guitar are put on top very subtly. With Bill and Jon appearing as well, this is easily the best out of the solo tracks. -Mood For A Day- Finally we reach Howe's spot. On the one hand I do really like how this song has a really good flow to it. Steve Howe is undoubtedly a fine guitarist, and he plays the acoustic guitar expertly. HOWEver (geddit?) just like Clap or Horizons, this is a completely solo outing which has no use on a band record. I feel that sections like this work much better when they are included in a longer peice, eg the guitar solo in 'The Ancient'.

With that lot out the way, we can now focus on the bare bones of the album, and what simply makes it so great.

-Roundabout- This song epitomises the word 'classic'. I would go as far as to say it's the best known song amongst fans of prog. It's amazing that they managed to turn this eight and a half minute masterpeice into a hit single! Starting with some guitar wizardry, the song quickly launches into a really catchy verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure that stays progressive with quick keyboard inserts from Wakeman. After the haunting bridge, the song seems to begin again before launching into a fantastic triumphant intrumental which is essentially a guitar-keyboard duel! Another verse and chorus are played before ending with an a cappella part by from the band (a sign of things to come). One of the most classic prog songs around, this is a song with a really special place in my heart.

-South Side of the Sky- Starting in true prog fashion with a wind sound effect, the amazing drum fill leads into a very interesting song indeed. There are 3 rather short verses and choruses before the band suddenly stop and give way to Wakeman taking us to a completely different place indeed: a place where a cappella reigns supreme and relaxing melodies intertwine with complex drumming. After this very welcome musical digression, the band gets back on track and returns to the original song, with seemingly more energy. Howe's guitar solo leads us to fade back into the wind effect we heard at the beginning. A truly underrated song.

-Long Distance Runaround- Out of Yes's shorter early songs, I believe this is probably my favourite. Indeed it is very simple, but it is also very charming in it's own way. Without a doubt there is some sort of polyrhythm occuring in the verse and possibly the instrumental but I can't work it out. It segues into 'The Fish' which stops the experience from being too short. -Heart Of The Sunrise- Besides hearing 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' on 80s compilations or elsewhere, this song was in fact the first proper Yes song I ever heard, and consequently part of the reason I got into 70s prog in the first place! If you needed a single song to accurately sum up all that prog is about, I'd make it this one. From the 10+ mins length to the wacky 3 minute instrumental at the beginning, to the strange cosmic lyrics, to the amazing orchestration in general, in my mind this is a song that set the standard in terms of prog. The first 3 and a half minutes are truly amazing, with extremely fast playing interrupted by a 2 minute long bass solo near the beginning. Afterwards, the song goes very quiet indeed, and Jon's angelic voice comes shyly into play. The rest of the band slowly filter in around him and the dynamics of all the instruments are simply perfect as they get subtly louder as the song goes on! Another mindblowing instrumental follows with a brief vocal section thrown in for good measure. After all this is done Jon comes back, not shyly but now in full force, singing his lungs out! The song ends with a triumphant feel, and the main riff leads us to a stunning conclusion to an amazing song! Unfortunately the mood is slightly ruined when the door you hoped was closed for good at the end of We Have Heaven, is once again opened and the comical sound of Jon's a cappella with himself fades you out of this otherwise stunning album. If you can separate 'Sunrise' from this hidden track, then I recommend doing so, since it leaves you with a bitter taste. All things aside though, Heart of the Sunrise is possibly my favourite prog track ever, and extremely required listening!

As you can see, the choice to include solo spots on this album weakens it by a considerable amount, but once you get over the fact that they aren't proper Yes songs, you can listen to the album without being bothered by them, and you can pretend they aren't there. After all the quality of the 4 non solo tracks is enough to make up for anything else on the album. You really owe it to yourself to get Fragile because it does not only contain some of the most important and essential progressive rock that has ever been produced by a band, but the quality of musicianship throughout the important songs is through the roof. 5 stars all the way.

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Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars As I mentioned in my review of the album following this, for me Fragile is the peak of the band, the very best of Yes. All the promise shown by the previous recordings came together in this glorious offering. The addition of Wakeman was the cream on the cake, the rich tapestries he brought in conjunction with his virtuoso performances took the band 'close to the edge'. Unfortunately, they then went over the ledge, but that's another story.

This album contains many of the Yes classic characteristics, wonderful intros, exact notation, clever breaks and arrangements. Most of these qualities obscure the already-obvious flaws, the weak lyrics and melodies, though on this album at least, there are enough pleasant tunes to at least put that reservation to one side meantime. Roundabout and South side of the sky come across well, even in that sense, and the wonderful soaring instruments, grounded by the always-excellent and very individual bass playing of Chris Squires, give us much too much joy to carp and moan about for now.

America is perhaps something of a backward look at the old Yes, and their debt to 1-2-3, but was it really necessary to include this reminder of the past? Surely the band have moved on from the Marquee days by this point? Perhaps it's there because of popular needs rather than musical wishes.

We didn't know it then, but this was indeed a fragile moment, the spiritual end of a marvellous band. But what a worthwhile soundscape they gave us in their passing.

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Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fragile by Yes is one of the most popular progressive rock albums ever, and stands out for being wildly accessible while also being very progressive and all in all a good album.

Everyone knows the opener, "Roundabout", and it's a fantastic song. Probably one of the best ever written in rock history. It was a major hit, is still played on the radio today, and is the pinnacle of progressive rock writing. There are only about two parts to the song, but Yes variate on the two parts until no longer possible, which not only builds this song on great structure but makes it memorable and recognizable. "Cans and Brahms" is a fantastically executed classical solo opportunity for Wakeman, and though it is a pleasant listen it doesn't really stick out. "We Have Heaven" is a simple solo opportunity for Anderson chant a short couple line of lyrics, and also is quite passable.

After the couple of nearly pointless but well executed foolery, "South Side of the Sky" starts, which is one of the classic tracks in all of Yes' repertoire. This track manages to rock pretty hard and has a very nice groove, but still maintains the great composition style that makes "Roundabout" so great while adding more variation, such as the beautiful piano section that makes up the middle of the track. A super catchy classic track. "Five Percent for Nothing" is funky jazz prog for 41 seconds, but is very unimportant.

"Long Distance Runaround" is my personal favorite track on the album. After a frantic opening, the music becomes subdued and beautiful with a nice groove. The chord progression on this track is just wonderful, and the drums are very well executed. "The Fish" is a song that I usually get no real joy from listening to, but it does serve as a nice psychedelic interlude before the next track and Squire's bass sounds fantastic. "Mood for a Day" is a Steve Howe solo composition owing much to flamenco and classical styles, and it is a fun listen and really displays how great of a guitarist Howe really is without the context of the rest of the band.

The conclusion, "Heart of the Sunrise", starts off very quick and rocky but soon reveals itself to have a funky serenity quality. The bass is line is catchy and memorable and there are some psychedelic keyboard and guitar touches that are mesmerizing before it reverts back to the quick paced theme that the track started with. It gets quite beautiful in the middle, but meanders a bit from then on. This track never really did much for me, but it is another one of the more popular in the Yes catalog.

This is the album where Yes really finds their voice and that makes this album the perfect introduction to Yes. I personally prefer their next three records as being their best, but given the historic quality of this album and the songs "Roundabout", "South Side of the Sky", "Mood for a Day" and "Long Distance Runaround" I have to give this album 4 stars. It only seems appropriate and I have no problem complying with my feeling.

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Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ah, my first Yes album. Well, today, Fragile turned 40, so I feel the need to redo my review on the album.

If there is one thing that really sticks out about this album, its the rhythm section, especially Squire. This may be the best bass album ever, with his bass just sounding huge.

Opening with Roundabout (which my dad use to sing around the house, but I had no idea of what it was) one of Yes's greatest tracks. I will never forget first hearing it and just being amazed by how an acoustic guitar and bass could be so heavy. Its got one of the most amazing hammond solos ever this side of Keith Emerson! I understand why this was a single, it is amazing (even if they edited it, why?). 5/5

Sadly, the following track is not as good. I understand the cans and brahms for what it is, but it just doesn"t sound fresh like roundabout. 3/5

We Have Heaven is actually very good, showing us that Jon is not one of those singers who is just the face, he is actually a very good musician whose voice is used like a guitar. 3.5/5

South Side of the Sky shows a little heavier side of Yes, along with some complicated guitar in the verses (I still can't figure it out!). The middle section is just beautiful, even if it is just La-La-Las. Unfortunately, Rick never got his credit for this middle section, or parts of Heart of the Sunrise. 5/5

No offense to Brudford, but 5% for Nothing just sounds offbeat and sloppy. Luckily, its over in 35 seconds. 2/5

Long Distance Runaround is really good pop-sounding sound with some good harmony lines that I find really interesting. 4/5

The Fish and Mood for a Day are both great showcases for Chris and Steve. One is densely-layered and the other is stripped down with a great sound. They've worn off of me a bit, but they're still good. 3.5/5 each

Finally, the epic closer. Heart of the Sunrise is just amazing. Opening with the heaviest Yes intro ever, it feels like it is going on forever (in a good way). The intro is mind-numbing, especially Bruford's fantastic drumming! It gives way to Jon"s beautiful contemplation of being rushed in the city, alternating between a man noticing the beauty of the sunrise, then being rushed to the chaos of the city. Funny outro, too, with a reprise of We Have Heaven.5/5

All in all a great record (4/5), sadly its not a masterpiece. The big tracks are amazing, but some of the solo tracks lose their novelty quickly. Luckily, with their next record, they would simply outdo themselves.

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Posted Sunday, April 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes has by now reach the classic lineup and everything from here announces greatness, which by the way has already their first flight tests in their previous album, but it's here when the epicness becomes their best.

A humming string in crescendo is shattering the silence and with a bow led the spotlight for an acoustic guitar playing in a renaissances esque, bring it back to that electronic hum. An break it again with a powerful bass exploiting with brothered instruments and a jolly Anderson's voice host you into an intense colorful world swinging around with vibrant energy. No better introduction for the record than 'Roundabout' and maybe one of the best opening track in the whole progg universe.

A little interlude, a classic study providing a simple diversion before the stage for the next act is presented. 'Cans and Brahams' also demonstrates the school and technique behind their new integrant; Rick Wakeman.

So this trip goes on again climbed over crazy rabbits with such an intrigue suggestion to "tell the moon, don´t tell the March Hare", psychedelically floating within a tornado of experimental sonority growing intoxicatingly into a joyful madness just before running childish to the door where 'We Have Heaven'.

And a fierce cold wind deviates the road to the 'South Side of the Sky' where a marching drum push up through adversity of blizzard storms pumped up by the electric bass, dodging obstacles and keep the pacing with la inclemency of the electric guitar executing passages of venture. Suddenly the keyboards lead a calmer and somber way. Underground the hope turns fragile and thin as the sharp keys piercing into the gloom. Cohesive voices nurture the soul and push constantly at the drum rhythm until the knives keys turns out to the cold winds over again. New fierce, new blood of the original melody squeals in an impeccable harmony that fades floating in eternity.

A second interlude, it's clearly the experimental blank for Bufford. The new act comes faster behind the chaotic rambling collector jester and 'Five per Cent of Nothing' has being claimed as an entrance fee. A closing curtain and then the keyboard playfully invite a more decisive bass, magically played by Squire, which lead pace for Anderson's voice open the 'Long Distance Runaround' into joyful even playful and hoping melodies, charismatically jumping from side to side, from a sweet and simple melody to an intricate leitmotif of absolute saturation and back until catch up a bridge among clouds and waves and bubbles right into deepness handed by a powerful bass that que at each strum plunges us more and more till reach the home of "The Fish" which shines and glows illuminating the deep end in search for sunshine.

The last interlude before the last act. 'Mood for a Day' has somehow announce the end of the function, has made the farewell bow before the final scene. A melancholic, devoted classic guitar walking alone in the spotlight lifting smiles with its instrumental fable of modern and classic times. This track itself overflows a whole new level, is like a new signature for a still young and magnificent artist.

The epic closure 'Heart of the Sunrise' once again the Squire's bass sets the pace. And a gloomy atmosphere once again explodes incandescent just as a journey to the underworld. Dante would feel the chills after hearing such intro: poetic, dynamic and bright. Instrumentally every single part shines with their own light, as well in the relaxing moods as in the voracious storm of sounds. The energetic pace slows down and a calm voice leads to a candle flame heat, barely alive but still firmly resolute to illuminate. Here and there comes a deranged passion but always turning into that sweet flame, but clam doesn't long, this beautiful bass force us move in growing circles climbing among sparks, ashes and stones until we reach another soft calm sight. And again this keeps rising in glowing explosions of passion pushing throughout and around the sun, leading the life and speed of the daylight over everything. Rays of fierce and power and life bursting out in crescendo altogether. A sudden void has end such trip and just as the traveler put down their baggage, a mechanical door opens and release its madness so now "We Have Heaven" again fading in infinity.

No progger should ever lost a listen to this marvel.

Report this review (#432938)
Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ah, Fragile. This was my very first Yes album, and it is still my favorite Yes album. In my opinion, better than Close to the Edge.

Roundabout (10/10): Roundabout has every making of a Yes masterpiece song; great guitar, epic keyboards, and strong bass.

Cans and Brahms (8.5/10): Nice short classical piece, but not my favorite from the album.

We Have Heaven (9/10): One of the better solo pieces, Jon Anderson's vocal overdubs make this a nice little ditty.

South Side of the Sky (10+/10): Second best long piece on the album. Excellent middle section with classical piano. Excellent guitar playing.

Five Per Cent For Nothing (6/10): My least favorite track on the album. Maybe because it is only 30 seconds long.

Long Distance Runaround (9.5/10): My favorite of the shorter tracks. Excellent keyboard/guitar interplay, nice vocals.

The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) (9/10): A great bass solo by Chris Squire. My second favorite solo piece on the album.

Mood for a Day (10+/10): Without a doubt, the best solo on the album. Steve Howe plays that acoustic guitar like nobody's business.

Heart of the Sunrise (10++/10): My favorite track on the album. Heavy mellotron, strong guitar, and maybe Jon Anderson's strongest vocal performance.

This is the essential Yes album. If you don't have it, buy it!

Report this review (#434425)
Posted Saturday, April 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my first review in PA, and so I thought I'd devote it to my first genuine prog album.

In late 1971 I was in the 9th grade. Foosball parlors were the rage (in rural North Carolina anyway), and I'd ride my Schwinn Continental 10-speed to the foosball parlor at the shopping center to hang out and thwack the foosballs into the goals. That place was my favorite foosball parlor because the tables were exclusively Bonzini and Rene-Pierre instead of the awful German tables. Something about the softer surfaces of the table and the balls made the game more fun for me.

There was no iPod, so I had to leave my small collection of LPs at home and depend on whatever was on the jukebox for tunes. I was listening to Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Jethro Tull, Jimi Hendrix, Steppenwolf, and ZZ Top at home, and the jukebox had some of that. Then one day I heard the 45 version of Roundabout. Wow. That was different. Play it again. How about the B-side? Long Distance Runaround. Also wow, though not quite so much. Next day, rode to John's Music Shop to look for whatever LP this magic music was extracted from. John looked it up. Didn't have it. Ordered it. Not only no iPod, but no FedEx. Wait. Wait. Wait. Several days later, Fragile was spinning on my little plastic record player.

The album opens with 8.5 minutes of Roundabout. I'd heard the 45 version of Roundabout several times by then, but the album version just blew me away. I've now heard it more than a dozen times live and Bog only knows how many times on the stereo, and I never tire of hearing Roundabout. The album also includes 5 "solo" pieces, all of which are somewhat interesting, but only The Fish and Mood for a Day bear relisten for me these days. (The Fish shows up in a HYPNOS 69's The Empty Hourglass -- nice.) Of course Long Distance Runaround is here, but it's the same as the 45 B-side version (or close enough). The other two long pieces are South Side of the Sky, which was another Wow for me -- provocative lyrics, exciting intricate rock and roll music. I still enjoy hearing it, but it's not on my "Desert Island iPod."

And then there's the other long piece: Heart of the Sunrise. This incredible 10-minute song still blows me away every time I listen to it. If there were some way for me to erase this song from my memory and so rehear it for the first time, I'd be tempted to give it a try. It could very well be my favorite piece of music, and is certainly in my top 10.

Even though the 5 solo tunes and Long Distance Around are not masterpieces, this album gets 5 stars from me based on Heart of the Sunrise, Roundabout, and South Side of the Sky.


Report this review (#437721)
Posted Friday, April 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yessound is born

The first album of classic Yes lineup, the probably most loved by the fans (Anderson, Howe, Squire, Bruford, Wakeman). The keyboards of the new member Rick Wakeman's are crucial to get the typical "Yessound", a sound characterized by a formal perfection that can not be found in any other band of the '70s, except, maybe, for Pink Floyd. Unlike the Floyd, however, the arrangements of Yes are very complex and marked by high technical difficulty, and now that Wakeman joined the band, there are four outstanding soloists that can show all their incredible virtuosity. The problem is to put the virtuosity of the individual in the service of overall sound, and this is not always able to Yes: even "Fragile" has its flaws, especially in the five tracks attributed to the individual members of the band, except for the beautiful Mood For A Day by Howe (a stunning piece of guitar in medieval style). Cans And Brahms (by Wakeman) and The Fish (by Squire) are not bad (but nothing special too). The experiments of Anderson and Bruford, respectively We Have Heaven and Five Percent For Nothing, are pieces end in itself, disappointing tracks that do not add value to the album.

Things are much better with the pieces performed by the band, where finally the explosive mixture of virtuosity of the individual can fully manifest itself. The excellent Roundabout and South Side Of The Sky and especially the legendary Heart Of The Sunrise, are the best compositions on the album. The melodic Long Distance Runaround, surprisingly catchy is overall pleasant. Unfortunately compared to "The Yes Album" the songs seem more cold and, despite being performed in an absolutely impeccable way, sometimes denote a certain lack of emotional. In addition, the amalgam of musicians has not yet reached the perfection to be acquired in the next album, "Close To The Edge."

However, "Fragile" is definitely an essential album. Heart Of The Sunrise, with the extraordinary intro where the musicians will compete with strokes of virtuosity, and the next amazing vocals by Anderson, is a legendary prog song. Although there are also other classics of the highest level, I can not put this album on the same level of "The Yes Album" and "Close To The Edge", for the reasons that I tried to explain. So I can not give the fifth star to this record. But it is just my humble opinion, the fact remains that it is an indispensable and highly recommended album to any fan of symphonic prog. Final rating: 8 / 10.

Four stars.

Best song: Heart Of The Sunrise

Report this review (#445310)
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars In many ways, this band broke the mould. Not always as well credited as they should be for setting prog on its way, Yes took the blueprint from 1-2-3, but proved they were no mere copyists by transforming that blueprint into something uniquely their own, shaking off the re-writes that were the province of the Scottish band, and blossoming in the light of their own compositions in a way that 1-2-3/Clouds singularly failed to do.

This album was the peak of the achievement, breaking another general rule by replacing two founder members, Peter Banks and Tony Kaye with Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman, thereby creating almost the perfect band, only the rather weak song-writing diluting the power and dazzle of a symphonic treat for the ears.

Report this review (#447432)
Posted Friday, May 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Awakemaning...

The fourth studio release from Yes and the first to feature contributions from the now legendary keyboardist.

The Good: Whilst Close to the Edge is probably their most accomplished work, Fragile is easily my favourite. The format of the album features four 'group' tracks and five 'individual' showcases, which give each member of the band room to express themselves. Whilst I'm not usually one to go in for bonus material, the brilliant cover of Simon and Garfunkel's America is also a welcome addition. My favourite track is probably Heart of the Sunrise although everytime I listen to Roundabout that keyboard solo gets stuck in my head for days!

The Bad: Never been a huge fan of Cans and Brahms.

The Verdict: Whilst I don't consider some of the tracks to be individual masterpieces, their collective effect makes this one of the easiest five stars I have ever awarded.

Report this review (#479302)
Posted Saturday, July 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rick Wakeman joins the Yes fold for this album, which is about as fragmentary as the disintegrating planet on the cover! Whilst the full-band compositions on this album are legendary, and deservedly so - Roundabout, South Side of the Sky, and Heart of the Sunrise are upbeat, foreboding, and uplifting epics respectively, whilst Long Distance Runaround is a delicious slice of Yes-ified pop whose simple structure is spiced up by Rick's synth interjections and other instrumental outbursts - the album is interspersed with shorter tracks intended to showcase each individual member's own skills.

These are a bit of a mixed bag. Wakeman's Cans and Brahms is a decent enough Brahms adaptation, showcasing both Rick's legendary instrumental ability and the potential of the range of synthesisers available to him. As a way of introducing him to the band's audience, it's reasonable enough - and since it's suggested that one of the reasons Tony Kaye left the band was down to his unwillingness to use newer keyboards, whilst Wakeman was more than happy to embrace any new technology that came his way, it makes sense that the band would be glad to accept a demonstration of the capabilities of Rick's equipment. But the fact is that it feels like a cross between an audition tape and a tech demo, rather than a fulfilling piece of music in its own right. Likewise, Jon Anderson's own We Have Heaven is technically innovative - Jon creating a wall of sound using only a multitrack studio and the power of his own voice - but it feels like a rough sketch paving the way to his first solo album.

The second side features solo compositions by Bruford, Squire, and Howe, and I personally find them to be a bit more engaging, but even so they do seem to serve little purpose beyond breaking up the full-band songs - and those songs are so wonderful that it seems like a waste of valuable space on the record to pad it out with this lesser material. Had the solo items been dropped, we could have had another 10-minute group track on here, and I'd have had no trouble giving the album five stars. As it is, I'll put it down for four - there's some really excellent material on here, but it's just too fragmentary to quite come together to a cohesive whole.

Report this review (#486850)
Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the few definitions of the word masterpiece lies in this fantastic work of Yes. My absolute favorite Yes album and one of the top 5 albums in general ever. I can't enough good things about this one folks. Roundabout kicks off with a bang and is a great 8 min single which became popular for the band at the time and still remains a famous track of theirs. With Cans and Brahms I'll discuss all the "solo" pieces on the album. Cans and Brahms is Rick's and is not bad but does leave a little to be desired. We Made Heaven is Jon's piece and always got stuck in my head and never let up. It even gets a reprise in Heart of the Sunrise which is awesome but we'll get to that later. Five Cent Per Nothing is Bill's and is very weird in it's time and rhythm and still confuses me on how to play it but I do enjoy it. Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) is Chris's and does show how great a bass player he is but he truly shines on the songs of this one. Mood for a Day is Steve's and is a great opener for Heart of the Sunrise. Now on with the songs. South Side of the Sky is one of my favorites of Yes and is just a flawless, somewhat underrated track with a great piano mid section from Rick Wakeman. Long Distance Runaround is another good single song that always worked with Fish perfectly and work better together than in two pieces IMO. Now, Heart of the Sunrise, is one of the best epics ever written. Everyone is top notch in musicianship, the lyrics are great, Jon as a soft singer with a huge emotional end is perfect for him. This is a classic song and album that I highly recommend if your just getting into Yes start here, you won't regret it. 5 Stars. Highlights: Roundabout, We Made Heaven, South Side of the Sky, Long Distance Runaround/Fish, and Heart of the Sunrise
Report this review (#505869)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fragile was the fourth album by Yes and the first to feature Rick Wakeman on keyboards in what is often regarded as the classic line-up with Anderson, Squire, Howe and Bruford. Fragile is, for me, an intermediate album sandwiched between the raw energy of The Yes Album and the majesty of Close to the Edge. It contains two classic songs in Roundabout and Heart of the Sunrise and two near classics in South Side of the Sky and Long Distance Runaround, but it is plagued by a number of lesser, vanity, pieces which feature the individual artists in relative isolation. Even on the four main tracks it feels like Wakeman is largely playing musical parts written for Tony Kaye (whom he replaced), albeit given the opportunity to add a few flourishes here and there. This is most evident on South Side of the Sky which sounds like it might be a track that wasn't quite good enough for The Yes Album getting dusted down and given a second chance. I've always been a big fan of the way Squire's bass growls and murmurs its way through the songs adding a rich vein of texture and indeed the only 'solo' song on the album I can tolerate is The Fish. His work on South Side of the Sky is the highlight of that song, As on TYA, Howe's guitar work largely dominates proceedings, though Heart of the Sunrise and Roundabout demonstrate how effective he and the other players are when they all collaborate and play together as a group.

In terms of ratings the guidance for PA doesn't really help. It is on one hand an essential document in the history of Progressive Music, but at the same time it has too much filler on it to deserve 5 stars.

Report this review (#539623)
Posted Saturday, October 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Overrated.

I'm a massive Yes fan but have struggled to fully understand the appeal of Fragile. It has four 'proper' songs, where the whole band has contributed to their creation. The rest of the album has been padded out with solo songs from each member, all of which aren't that great and give the album a disjointed feel. Fragile was trying to make prog more mainstream and accessible, and while doing so lacked the sort of depth heard in other Yes albums.

The sound of Fragile has a more harder and harsher feel than other Yes albums, containing little 'beautiful' or 'breathtaking' in-depth music. Roundabout and Long Distance Runaround are the most assessable songs and are pretty average; there's little that will keep the listener captivated. South Side of the Sky is better but is no masterpiece. Heart of the Sunrise is the only song that achieves the level of brilliance Yes are known for. The part near the beginning with the blend of drums, bass, and mellotron is something very special, and the rest of the song contains great complex arrangements. Not perfection but not far from it.

The solo pieces aren't good at all. They feel very pointless and like I said, disjoint the album. The only success here is The Fish which sounds like a band performance. For me it's a highlight.

So there's about 20 minutes of good material here, and only 12 of them really shine. The main problem is that album doesn't really work as a whole and doesn't flow well. 3.5 stars.

One more thing I will add; unlike most Yes material, everything on this album sounds heaps better live.

Report this review (#552462)
Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes, this is my first ever progarchives review and I promise the 5 star rating is not something I'm giving because it's my first review- but that seriously, this is the best prog rock album I have ever heard. Yes, I think this album is better than Close to the Edge (but not by too much).

I'm a huge fan of Yes thanks to my dad who made a mix CD when I was a kid of his favorite songs and one of them happened to be Roundabout. Needless to say, I've heard that song several hundred times by now and I am still utterly baffled by the insane amount of creativeness and originality put into this first song. Steve Howe's agility and virtuosity on guitar combined with Chris Squire's gritty bass (backed up by Bruford's drumming) tears through the mix and keeps you grooving along as Jon Anderson joins in with his trademark vocals. Then enter the new keyboardist. Rick Wakeman keyboards bring a whole new dimension to Yes's sound. Tony Kaye, still a well accomplished keyboardist, lacks the pure flair and showmanship the Wakeman's keyboards seem to convey to your ears. Needless to say, each musician's abilities are very much showcased in this masterpiece. I've never heard another song with this kind of song which makes it that much more special for me.

Next we have Cans and Brahms- Rick Wakeman's solo piece on the album. Even though most people don't seem to like it, as a pianist, I very much like it. Not only that, but it seems to add to the feel of the album which for me is creepy, nostalgic, but sometimes playful and silly. It also leads nicely into the next song We Have Heaven which is Jon Anderson's solo piece. Also a very creepy piece I think but feels at place.

South Side of the Sky is my second favorite song on this album. Steve Howe's opening riff is absolutely sick, and totally grooving. Despite this, the track is still very minor, and creepy. The Jon's lyrics pierce the mix and very much makes me think of the piercing arctic winds the song refers to. The brief moment of calm with switching major and minor piano and vocals leading up to the reprise of Steve's crazy cool guitar riff is an awesome climax to the song.

Long Distance Runaround is another slightly silly song that seems to me to really showcase Squires bass skills- I really like how loud it is in the mix. This leads into The Fish which is actually supposed to be the song that demonstrates his awesome bass skills. However I find the song quite relaxing and fun to listen to, and close my eyes, listening to each individual bass track finally letting everything wash over me.

Mood for a Day shows just how skilled Steve Howe is on guitar, moving from sick riffs from South Side to an almost flamenco-like acoustic song. I would take up guitar just to play this song. Also shows just how good of a song writer he is.

Heart of the Sunrise sounds much more like the up and coming Yes (from future albums) and is a taste of what's to come. One of the masterpieces of the Yes library. Everyone is showcased very well in this song. Rick Wakeman gets to demonstrate some of his mellotron along with his other instruments here also.

Overall, this album is a Yes masterpiece, and has some of Yes' most unique tracks ever. It's an album with a sound that defies both the older and the later Yes album's sounds. I consider it an essential prog album due to its sheer brilliance and ingenuity. Although the album seemed to have been pieced together from many different sounding songs, they all seem to define a mood that is hard to describe (creepy, funny, grooving maybe?), but totally awesome.

Report this review (#552699)
Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I listen to Yes, my reaction is in extremes, depending on what album Im listening to. In many of their works, Im frustrated (and even angry) at the silliness of it all, the waste of such fine talents on such drivel. But at their best, as in this, their finest hour, its wonderful stuff, the promise of all that potential finally rewarded, the legacy of 1-2-3 properly honoured (in the music, if not the acknowledgement). From here, I expected so much, and received so little. It reminds me of the feeling I had awaiting the next King Crimson album following Crimson King, and realising when I heard it that nothing would ever equal that sublime moment when prog became a true genre. Perhaps its something in the genes of the genre that two such magnificent proponents lose their way so easily. Perhaps invention reaps meandering and a loss of identity as soon as it has been found. But it would be mad not to celebrate this moment when these outstanding musicians reached the apex of their glory. Five stars absolutely.
Report this review (#574919)
Posted Friday, November 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another candidate for my favorite Yes album. Even though it was said to be patched together quickly, it does show nearly everything this incarnation of the band had to offer, together and seperately, thanks to the solo pieces, which all have their own distinct moods and styles, from the tone color poem that is Wakeman's "Cans and Brahms", to Anderson's exultant "We Have Heaven", to Bruford's avant-garde free jazz puzzle piece, "Five Per Cent For Nothing", to the multi-layered pysychedelic journey of Squire's "The Fish" to the arabesque for guitar of Howe's "Mood For a Day", all of these brief diversions glue the alternately beautiful and jamming "Roundabout", the psychedelic hard rock and classical "South Side of the Sky", the tougue-in-cheek hippie pop song "Long Distance Runaround", and the undebatable masterpiece of progressive rock "Heart of the Sunrise" into probably the most fun to listen to Yes album that turns out to be patched together very nicely.
Report this review (#584962)
Posted Thursday, December 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars How do you make a band worse? Enter Rick Wakeman.

Coming off of the groundbreaking "The Yes Album" with it's varied solos, time changes, timbres, and "epics", Yes felt it necessary to get heady, pompous, pretentious, and bombastic... and the worst was yet to come. Anderson's squeeky vocals, the periodic meandering of Howe, and the snarling bass of "all tone" Squire doesn't complicate the matter, it just reminds us of how this band truly relies on it's tone and instrumentation, not it's song writing, setting us up for future releases, as well as understanding the expendability (sic) of keyboard players.

On to the good:

An extremely accessible album. Great to get your feet wet. All the long players are extremely well written commercial prog songs. However, the vignettes could be scrapped save for Howe's solo acoustic "Mood For A Day", an excellent classical and classic guitar piece.

Bruford pounds away with that damn snare like a king and exercises precision behind the kit, as he always does.

Wakeman chimes in when he wants as long as his manager says it's ok. I think he was paid by the note, though his Mellotron on "Heart Of The Sunrise" is just divine... but Divine was also a drag queen...

Anderson is being Anderson. Those lyrics are open to arbitrary deciphering, though I wouldn't try it. You might open a rift in the time barrier.

Squire is such a powerhouse. That friggin' Rickenbacker. It's like a snowplow. It comes through the song and sometimes it's all you hear. He knows how to make himself noticed.

Howe shines the most with his chord arrangements and proficiency which shows during "South Side Of The Sky's" heavy parts, the jazz melodies of "Long Distance Runaround", and the swells in "Heart Of The Sunrise", which is among the best moments of prog, until you pass the 20th time you get stoned to it. This is a guitarist's album and he's a killer guitarist.

There isn't too much to say about this album because almost every prog head and AOR rock radio mutt, as I know them, has it. It often get over credited as the proper album to become introduced to prog. I span this album countless times and learned every blasted note Squire pooped out on my own Rickenbacker. That says alot if you ask me. Band rehearsals were grueling when Johnny (me) noodled on "Long Distance Runaround" between breaks.

Get it for the history lesson. Then get Gentle Giant's "Octopus" afterwards. Realize then that Yes, like Dream Theatre, isn't the only band in the world.

You'll see what I mean.

Report this review (#612363)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's getting colder now.

This album isn't as much of a hoot as the follow-up Close to the Edge. Still, Fragile does have its own merits. The keyboardist Rick Wakeman does the job of executing dynamic and atmospheric passages and completing the instrumental arrangements with melodic fills. Steve Howe's guitar sounds very mild-mannered at some times and as if it's out of control, speaking within a musical context when it needs to at other times. Bill Bruford's display of capability is really soaring here (in fact, I think on this album he is doing better than on Close to the Edge). Finally, Chris Squire pumps out some groovy and elegant bass melodies that are such gas (exhibit A: "Long Distance Runaround"). I just see a lot of creativity in terms of almost every fundamental musical element. Also, the band really tamed their sound in the dynamics department.

The one thing I wish this band could really work on would be songwriting. Jon Anderson's lyrics are of no priority as usual, but as per the music, some of the tracks and sections of music were just slapped together, and that is quite a mistreatment. I know that the band had done this rush job just to sell the album fast in order to be able to afford Rick Wakeman's large set of keyboard instruments. I guess that's just the price they had to pay: sacrifice some musical quality for financial reasons. That is how "Heart of the Sunrise" came to be a bit of a disappointment to me.

To sum up, we have a few musicians with immense playing talent and confidence aiming at a result with partly satisfactory songwriting. Some songs are well-structured, some not so well. Plus, the music on Fragile may not resonate emotionally with me on a grand scale except in only a few moments that I can count on the fingers of one hand. But this is still good symph prog that delivers the goods and will make a nice addition to your prog rock music collection.

Report this review (#613185)
Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars

Fragile was the first prog album I ever listened to while really being aware that it was in any way "progressive". (Unless you count 90125, which made me aware of prog's existence in the first place, oddly enough). However, I don't think it's just because of nostalgia bias that I am quick to give Fragile 5 stars; I really think this is one of the best albums Yes managed to pull together (right behind Relayer). The 3 long pieces are all exceptional, the poppier Long Distance Runaround is catchy but still interesting, and the solo spots, despite being by all accounts filler material, are very good (Except Cans and Brahms, but that's mercifully short).

Roundabout is probably my least favorite of the long pieces, but I still like it quite a lot. Chris Squire's driving bassline is a highlight, and the small synth flourishes Wakeman scatters throughout cement the importance of synthesizers for the band's music. The midsection, with its dense vocal harmony and rippling drums and bass, provides an interesting change.

South Side of the Sky is not only my favorite of the long pieces on the album, but possibly my favorite Yes song in general. It's very forceful and dynamic, and the whistling wind in the background of much of the song is an interesting effect. Steve Howe does a very good job of squeezing in between Jon Anderson's phrases, while also playing in unison with Wakeman and Squire on the main riff underneath "A million miles away..." and lending energy to that, while Wakeman gets a very nice piano solo in the middle alongside which the other members gradually join in, with more wonderful vocal harmony. Bill Bruford's drumming in this part is also excellent. Finally, unlike the majority of Yes's output, the lyrics actually make a noticeable degree of sense, and they are chilling. Literally.

Long Distance Runaround is somewhat of a deviation from the rest of the album, being about half the length of the long pieces, but it's a very nice tune. The instrumentation is relatively minimal, but there's enough underpinning the song to make it work. Chris Squire again takes the lead in propelling the melody alongside Steve Howe, and when the bass splits off into counterpoint with the guitar, the effect is wonderful. The song may be relatively simple, but it's also short enough that it doesn't overstay its welcome.

The final long piece is Heart of the Sunrise. Its starting guitar riff goes on just slightly too long (that is, it goes for 3 minutes before the song starts in earnest), but it's still an exciting riff, tempered by a bass solo and the addition of subtle keyboard parts, that could stand going one repetition shorter. The song then quiets down and begins an exquisite buildup from a relatively quiet theme through several rhythmically interesting, jumpy keyboard riffs and a gradual transition back to the thundering guitar theme. And the reprise of "We Have Heaven" at the end is both unexpected and fun.

As for the short pieces: Cans and Brahms is the album's only failing, as a somewhat clunky synthesized rendition of a classical piece by Rick Wakeman, which sounds like an unsuccessful attempt to be Wendy Carlos. We Have Heaven is lovely abuse of multitracking by Jon Anderson, which has so many layers by the end it's a fun game just to see what vocal lines you can pick out. It sounds great as well. Five Percent for Nothing is Bill Bruford's 35 second mark on the album; I actually feel like its quirky rhythms could have been developed further, but maybe Bruford wasn't that inclined to do much of anything. Chris Squire's The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) works along similar lines as We Have Heaven, and is almost as good; the 7/4 meter is a nice touch. And Steve Howe's Mood For a Day is a somewhat disjointed but very pleasant acoustic guitar piece which provides a break between the fast-paced Fish and Heart of the Sunrise

Overall, this album, along with the Yes Album, is somewhat of a transition from more poppy leanings to the rock epics that Yes would become (in)famous for. But this album is much better than the Yes Album, in part because of generally better songwriting and in part because of Rick Wakeman's new synthesizers. It is a classic of the genre. Highlights include South Side of the Sky, Long Distance Runaround, and Heart of the Sunrise.

Report this review (#621695)
Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Fragile continuing the set of a few prog masterpieces created by yes in the early 70's. Picking up about where they left off, and only improving what they had before, Yes manged to out do them selves and put out a masterful album. Fragile takes another step into writing creativity featuring intense musicianship , intricate rhythms accomplished by bruford and squire. you can not but notice the improve of the sound of the whole band , great job done by eddie orford.

Roundabout features one of the band's greatest songs ever with everything layed out perfectly , squire's bass is like gasoline driving the bands forward with that amazing sounding bass. Howe's guitar is doing so much and it is so diverse fusing his electric guitar and his acoustic guitar together in a magnificent way. the song is building up and doesn't stop until the right moment has come, it calmes down with good keys by Wakeman and vocals by Anderson , then starts again with a bang featuring some solos from Howe and Wakeman, purely delicious.

The album is divided to short tracks showing each members his prowess , when actually it really doesn't , and longer tracks which sound heavy and very intricate incorporating one of Yes's signatures which is a controlled mess. the performance is outstanding by all, everything is so tight and firm, and you have a feel of an entire band playing together creating all that sound.

No doubt about it that this is one of the classic prog albums ever, featuring a band on the rise, musically and commercially. not to be missed in any way!! 4 stars

Report this review (#635881)
Posted Sunday, February 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars 4.5 stars

This album has been hailed as one of Yes' best albums, and I believe that it truly lives up to that title. It is a great album from start to finish, and every song (including Bill Bruford's "Five Percent for Nothing", although it may be a bit too much Bruford for some people -> see Larks Tongue in Aspic) is a great one.

The first song is the one everyone knows, including just your standard rock radio listener. "Roundabout" really is a fantastic song, though. Chris Squire's fresh bassline never gets old, really. And Wakeman's keyboard solo near the end of the song is fantastic. 5/5 stars.

Wakeman's "Cans and Brahms" is up next. Show this one to your classical-loving friends (I have, he loves it). They will either love it or hate it. A great adaption of the original pieces, and performed so masterfully. The only thing about it is that it seems like filler on the album. And there is almost too much keyboard. 3/5 stars.

"We Have Heaven" doesn't even show off the best of Jon Anderson's vocals, but it does prove for a great transition into "South Side". I really love the part where the key of the song changes, and the slamming of the door at the end proves for a dramatic end, even though the song is only a few minutes long. 4/5 stars.

"South Side of the Sky" is probably the darkest Yes song until we hit Relayer. It really changes moods, even just between the Emin and C and D chords (I believe those should be the chords, not 100% sure). It has one of the best Wakeman performances available, although "Awaken" might take the cake for that. 5/5 stars.

"Five Percent for Nothing". This song is kind of weird for Yes. It may seem like 30 some seconds of random nonsense, but it fact is carefully timed. Not much to say about it. I like it, but not enough. 3/5 stars.

"Long Distance Runaround" and "The Fish". I might as well do them together. This song has such a great forward motion to it. Steve Howe's guitar is gorgeous and Chris Squire's bass during "The Fish" is obviously very unique and groundbreaking. There's nothing bad that I can say about it. 5/5 Stars.

"Mood for a Day" is great, but I don't like it as much as "Clap". "Clap" has a better energy to it. With that said, "Mood for a Day" has some great moments, particularly a pull-off run near the middle. A friend of mine who plays classical guitar said he liked it, as well. 4/5 stars.

"Heart of the Sunrise" was the first song (besides "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Roundabout") that I heard. I instantly fell in love, and had only heard the Yessongs rendition (I thought that Yessongs was a compilation). The bassline is simply amazing, flawless. The entire song is flawless. It is probably, in my opinion, the best song on the album, and I'm sure many others hold that same view. Jon Anderson's vocals are inspired, and this might be one of his best vocal performances. 5/5 stars, easily.

Considering every one of the longer songs is 5/5 stars, it seems appropriate that Fragile is given 4.5/5 stars. And it is probably only my fourth favorite Yes album.

Report this review (#646580)
Posted Monday, March 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I would not be adding much to the reputation of this supreme work of musical art. It's a little too late .. Fragile has been around for almost 42 years, and it's been reviewed innumerable times by legions of the professional critics and hordes of amateur music lovers alike.

In my opinion, Fragile is the best album in the whole wide category of progressive rock - not only in the symphonic subdivision. As far as I am concerned, it even betters the CTTE rankings in the categories of diversity, imagination and the album art (yes, good album art IS extremely important - it impacts you first and helps you settle into an optimal perceptive mood even before you begin listening to the album itself).

Let me just list the two special delicacies that are to be found exclusively on Fragile:

The 33 seconds of 'Five Percent For Nothing'.

The Fish

And, not a single track that I feel like skipping (not even the commonly scoffed Cans and Brahms, which I think is a decent piece of Wakeman's work, sitting in a right place)l.

Report this review (#766459)
Posted Thursday, June 7, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars With the acquisition of new keyboardist Rick Wakeman the classic Yes lineup was finally formed, and the results are shown on this album.

'Roundabout' (9/10) kicks things off with one of the heaviest and grooviest bass lines in all of prog. The rest of the members add their special touch, especially Wakeman, whose keyboard playing is a welcome addition to the band.

'Can's and Brahms' is a keyboard adaptation by Wakeman. It's a nice little transition, but I could have easily done without it.

The same also goes for 'We Have Heaven,' which is more of an Anderson focused song, but equally unnecessary.

'South Side of the Sky,' (9/10) however is a classic Yes song. If you wanted to know what Steve Howe sounds like, this is the song to listen to. He goes absolutely crazy on it. I also enjoy the middle section with the solo piano that builds into the wordless vocal part.

'Long Distance Runabout' (8/10) is a short, but fun and upbeat song with a driving rhythm section and some clean sounding keyboards.

'The Fish' is probably my favorite of the "unneeded" filler songs on the album mostly due to the cool rhythm Bruford is playing on drums.

'Mood For a Day' (5/10) is entirely acoustic guitar similar to 'Clap' from the previous album; that is to say it's nothing special.

Luckily the album ends strong, with the fantastic 'Heart Of the Sunrise.' (10/10) The song starts off in the bombastic Yes way, but quickly settles into a nice bass and drum groove with accompanying mellotron. The middle section is more laid back with some strong vocals from Anderson. The rest of the song reuses the beginning melody and has some interesting keyboard parts as well.

Overall, Fragile contains some of Yes's best songs, but is also littered with the unnecessary shorter songs which in my opinion just impede the flow. Still, this is a full band effort, and Yes find themselves in a comfortable sound that will be further expanded in future albums.


Report this review (#779547)
Posted Friday, June 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars The entry of Steve Howe brought flair to the table for Yes. With the addition of Rick Wakeman, they gain vital quirk and intrigue. While Yes have consistently crafted catchy and infectious prog that is yet sophisticated and inventive, it is the Wakeman years that brought them as close to emotional resonance as they would get. I don't think it is entirely on account of Wakeman and he may just have coincided with the most productive years of the band, but he certainly contributed to making this period a special one in Yes's journey.

It is not that I dislike happy music (on the contrary, celebration is a pervasive element of my native culture) but the Yes brand of happy-bland music seems to me to have more to do with happy chords than a powerful release of joy or ecstasy. Except, that is, on Fragile.

In this aptly titled album, Yes step away from the lingering Superman-OST quality of their previous album and attempt to confront emotions. I cannot say I am always overwhelmed by the depth of the emotions they project here. But, as usual, even when I don't find the proceedings so emotionally engaging, their sheer brilliance and creativity doesn't hurt at all.

South Side of the Sky is the one that resonates most with me. It is quite unique in the entire Yes canon, seemingly enveloped in imbalance and uneasiness. It never falls over or melts down, but the whole track seems to be as if at a tipping point, leaving me with a very powerful impression. It is interesting to note that even the melodies are not all happy this time. I don't know why they didn't try to tap this side of their music more, but I guess I am in the minority here as their happy-bland anthems (to me) have endured for years and created a huge following.

Heart of the Sunrise.....there's more heart in the lyrics here than the music. I feel the theme of confusion could have been exploited in a different direction and, possibly, a better one. It seems to be subordinated here by another showcase of quintessential Yes. The rather obvious nod to King Crimson in the beginning is not a great note to start on but the powerful Bruford-Squire rhythm section soon dispels these misgivings and paving the way for Anderson to do, er, what Anderson does. I do appreciate the clean and melodic quality of his high notes here but the lack of expression continues to be a problem for me and probably always will be. In terms of structure, it's a brilliant track and one of their best on that count.

There's not much for me to say about the rest. Roundabout is somewhat like an improved version of Yours is no disgrace. There is a feeling of familiarity that I could do without as even Wakeman veers towards John Lord-like organs here, but the execution is much improved.

I don't quite know what to make of the other tracks. They don't put together a cohesive impression to me and the album could have been better without a few of them. I usually skip them altogether while listening to the album so, practically speaking, it doesn't detract too much from my experience of Fragile. I don't really need Mood for a Day or We Are Heaven to make sense of Roundabout or Heart of the Sunrise. So should I just ignore it and give it all five stars?

What I cannot so easily overlook is the unfinished quality of these individual compositions. I cannot see the point of including these snippets of music. If it had to be done to, perhaps, please all members equally, they could have been developed and a double album released instead. I don't mind tracks that I dislike (because it's just about me) as much as I do rather dispensable affairs such as these which require a high level of devotion from the fan to endure.

I am fan of many artists and their best albums, but not a diehard fan of too many because I don't suffer filler too easily. Four stars for an album that I really love but one which is ultimately too flawed to warrant the masterpiece rating.

Report this review (#800516)
Posted Sunday, August 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars ''The Yes Album'' and the following tour promoting the album marked the last days of Tony Kaye with Yes during the 70's, as he was fired in summer 71' after the conflicts with Howe while the band was still in tour.Rick Wakeman, the Classical-trained keyboardist of The Strawbs was his replacement, thus forming the most talented Yes line-up.While Kaye had participated in the long tracks of the following ''Fragile'' album, Wakeman added his touch in several piano interludes on a couple of them.The work was originally released in November 71' on Atlantic.

''Fragile'' shows clearly the progressive turning point of Yes into more complex forms of rock music, as represented in the three long tracks of the album.In between every member contributed with a solo performance of his own, some of them are succesful (like ''Cans and Brahms, an arrangement by Wakeman on the Fourth Symphony in E minor by Johannes Brahms, or the great ''The Fish'', based on Squire's bass), some are not (I do not like ''Mood for a Day'', entirely acoustic, elegant but rather uninteresting piece by Howe).The long arrangements though are of first class and even a shorter version of ''Roundabout'' prooved to have a great luck in the Billboard charts.The original 8-min. version though is pretty outstanding, featuring nice both acoustic and electric guitar passages by Howe and huge organ runs (originally performed by Kaye) along with Jon Anderson's unique voice.''South Side of the Sky'' is another fantastic piece.The tremendous guitar chops of Howe and Anderson's essential voice are interrupted before the middle by the excellent Wakeman piano work with evident Classical and even Jazz leanings, not to mention the well-worked Yes multi-vocal arrangements and the solid drumming of Bruford.The short ''Long Distance Runaround'', despite the limited length, features an excellent Chris Squire on bass next to Howe's charming guitars.''Heart of the Sunrise'' is no less than a complete Prog and Yes classic.Fantastic bass lines by Squire, huge performance by Wakeman on pianos,organs and Mellotron and complex guitar workouts by Squire, a very tight group offering massive breaks and changing moods in a composition where harmony meets adventure.Even the smooth middle-part with Anderson's voice leading the way is pretty delicate and attractive.A total masterpiece.

A Yes classic Prog album?Definitely.A Prog masterpiece?Not exactly.The short solo tracks hurt the album's consistency, even if most of them are fine listenings.But it will be the longer compositions, which you will stuck with.Tight, complicated and balanced full-blown Progressive Rock of high quality.Highly recommended.

Report this review (#813570)
Posted Saturday, September 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think with Yes, when they were at their best, they had a certain level of 'playfulness' about them - from the actual compositions to the instrumental performances themselves - that kinda offset their more seemingly pompous tendencies. There's a certain level of vitality and purpose to their better material that, say, Tales From Topographic Oceans doesn't really have.

Basically what I'm saying is that, Yes at their best was a pretty fun band. Anyway, this is basically between their earlier, shorter material and the full blown 'epics' on the next few albums. The main meat of the album are the three longest tracks. What stands out to me the most about the album in retrospect is the absolutely fantastic bass playing; the lines are equal parts warm and infectiously groovy. The three main songs are lengthy, yet they're pieced together in an organic, natural sort of way - "Heart of the Sunrise", in particular, has some truly gorgeous melodies throughout it. The shorter tunes sort of vary in quality, but a couple of them ("We Have Heaven" and "Mood for a Day") are nice tracks.

It's a bit below Close to the Edge, but not really by a huge amount.

Report this review (#847306)
Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fragile is a legendary album coming from a legendary band thats for sure, what I'm not so sure is if this is their best album, to many is, to me is somewhere in the middle of Close to the edge and Relayer, but prefering Fragile over those two any second , any day, being among my fav Yes albums. Enter magician on keyboards Rick Wakeman and everything it changes for them from that point, becoming one of the most influencial bands ever prog rock had. Also Roger Dean appears for the first time here with a beautiful cover art going hand in hand with the majestic music Yes offered. Fragile have two of my fav Yes pieces ever the excellent opening Roundabout with powerful musicianship and great duels between musicians and Heart of the sinrise another worthy Yes pieces, the rest are also great. The combination of acustic parts with symphonic ones are excellent giving a very ethereal atmosphere and really fun to listen, I like this album a lot and anjoying this one as much as for example Going for the one. So, a very good album from that period who stood the test of time very well, sounds very fresh today after 40 years as it was back then. Recommened, nothing more to say..

Report this review (#850287)
Posted Sunday, November 4, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Certainly one of my favorite albums by my favorite band of all time. Fragile is as interesting as it is creative. Yes took one giant step closer to Prog rock while charting the singles at the same time. This album has always been a staple of my musical tastes, but I give 4 stars because there are moments I don't really care for, like the song 5% for nothing. I love Bill Bruford and all but there's just nothing there for me.

The three mini epics: Roundabout, South Side of the Sky, and Heart of the Sunrise display Yes in their prime. Each highly talented musician delivers both intense force and gentle peacefulness in successful doses, playfully weaving in and out of each emotion. When broken down individually, this album represents some of their best musicianship and offers fine examples per band member. We Have Heaven is Jon Anderson's way of taking us to Heaven. Mood for a Day is Steve Howe showing us his range of guitar sounds. Cans and Brahms is Rick Wakeman being Rick Wakeman. The Fish will drown you in Chris Squire's bass, but you're gonna like it. Each song is so unique in its own way, I find it hard not to give the entire album a listen the moment I hear Roundabout's reverse piano chord thingy. Overall, this album is quite essential to any prog fan IMO, unless of course it's not your taste.

Oh and Long Distance Runaround is good too.

Report this review (#873768)
Posted Saturday, December 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first meeting with Yes was with Tomatoes and I decided that Yes was not my kind of thing. It took at least two years after this that I accidently heard Fragile (Yeah, my parents don't listen to progressive music, so I had to discover it all myself) and I was captured immediatly. I bought this on vinyl and within a few months I owned all essential records of Yes and was amazed about the high standard of their music. Later on when the "hype" was over, I began to see that not everything was gold, but The Yes Album and Fragile always stayed my favourite records and were both released in 1971.

The reason these two records are so good is because these reveal a nice blend of symphonic prog, folk, heavy prog and even more. And although I do like the more epical period (especially Tales of Topographic Oceans) Yes never became so "catchy" anymore. Catchyness never seemed to be a critical point by most prog reviewers, but I think it's more important in music then instrumental outstandingness or even progression on itself, although this record also scores high on these measures.

Fragile is Yes's most fragmentated album, because all members of the band brought in their own composition whereby there own instrumentation is most important. Even Jon Anderson brought in a progressive composition where vocals takes the most attention. At first I didn't like all of it, but it kept on growing on me. Nowadays I like this record as a whole and would not see anything different on it. It's a symphonic prog masterpiece and what I like on it is that it also rocks on some of these tracks. Also the fragmentation could be explained as being diverse, what enhances the listening quality for me. Advised for every fan of progressive music.

Report this review (#883199)
Posted Friday, December 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hey all time for yet another Prog review. What album are we at now? Well, it is none other than 1971's Fragile by Prog masters Yes. With the previous album (The Yes Album) the classic Yes line-up was almost complete. However, it was still missing that special something (that keyboardist to put a grand scale to the band's music). In steps Rick Wakeman formerly of Strawbs to replace Kaye. One thing Yes never had up to this point was a virtuosic Keyboardist (Tony Kaye was good for what he was though). Rick brought another element to the band (of which they never had before). The classic line-up was now ready for take off. I'll be the roundabout for this mother of an album. This is also the first album with Roger Dean's legendary art work. Now, Yes has finally arrived

Here is the track listing for Fragile by Yes

1) Roundabout - From the moment you hear the opening natural harmonics from Steve you know you're in for a ride. This song is an essential piece of Prog Rock as it is right up their with the Musical Box and 21st Century Schizoid Man (from Genesis and King Crimson respectively). Rick immediately makes his presence known with a great keyboard solo to kick the classical music out of your behind, just a classic piece. Also, Jon's vocals are the best I've ever heard from him, period. 10/10

2) Cans and Brahms - Rick's interpretation of a piece by classical composer Johannes Brahms and it's quite lush. Short but really good. 9/10

3) We Have Heaven - I like this a lot as it shows creativity (unlike anything that I've heard from Prog). It's a vocal delivery from Jon and it's pure studio magic. It's impossible for one Jon Anderson to sing this but that's why they have the studio, to create such a short but awesome piece. it's creative. I love it. 10/10

4) South Side of the Sky - This piece has always been a favorite of mine from Yes. I love the semi- Led Zeppelin esque delivery of the piece (there is more soul and heart though). The piano around the middle sends this into limbo and it's other worldly. I get the chills everytime I listen to that little piano melody. No doubt one of Rick's finest moments ever in Yes. 10/10

5) Five Percent For Nothing - Nice display of drumming from Bill. My bro says this sounds like the Mars Volta (I actually think that the Mars Volta were inspired by Yes though). Good or not? You decide?? I quite like it. 9/10

6) Long Distance Runaround - I guess you can say tht this is the most accessible piece on the album but I love it. With that being said it's still pretty darn complex. 10/10

7) The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) - The definition of Yes. Just listen to it and think about Roger Dean and the landscapes that he created and of course that Yes signature sound. Repetitive as heck but Chris is abusing his bass guitar (hehe) and it sounds really cool. 10/10

8) Mood For A Day - A great classically based guitar piece from Steve Howe. Aside from the Leaves of Green and Turn of the Century (from Topographic Oceans and Going for the One respectively) this is my favorite acoustic guitar piece from him for Yes. I love Steve's guitar work. I'm nuts for Steve Howe's guitar playing. A huge influence. 10/10

9) Heart of the Sunrise - The epic of the album but never really a big fan of it (I know you think I'm crazy). It's good and it keeps you on your listening ears but it is somewhat repetitive. I guess you can say that it's my least favorite on the album( it's still good though). It ends with an insertion of We Have Heaven. I quite like that they put that in the record. 8/10

Overall, Fragile is a pretty damn great album (the best Yes album up to this point). If you are looking to get into Yes I highly recommend this one (or the Yes Album) as your start to this amazing band. Personally, Fragile holds a special place in my heart as it was the album that solidified my love for Yes (it was my second album. I got it after Close to the Edge). I love this damn album (and Yes too). It is a masterpiece of prog music. 5 stars!! Peace out!!

Report this review (#887406)
Posted Friday, January 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
1 stars I am sorry but I do not think this albums is really good. I think it is some times poppy and some times very weird but its harmonies does not fit at all with my taste. Sometimes Anderson does it a little well, but then the guitars are awful. Also the bass is dilikeful. I listen to this albums a couple of times every two years to see if I can find something, but I only find some music like written by children. I can give only one star, since I will never choose this album to listen. I only listen to it because its turn.
Report this review (#896486)
Posted Sunday, January 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes's fourth album, Fragile, is considered to be a cornerstone of progressive rock. While I like the album a great deal, I feel it's too inconsistant to warrant a 5 or even 4 star rating. While it does have some superlative tunes (Roundabout, Heart of the Sunrise, The Fish), while others are ones that are nothing but filler (Five Percent For Nothing, We Have Heaven, Cans & Brahms).

Roundabout is such a huge song, both from history and from playing, that it is not only a brilliant song for progressive rock, but its crossover ability to the classic rock area cements its legendary status. Heart of the Sunrise is another brilliant piece, with the massive juxtaposition between the loud and soft moments that cause one to sit up and notice. The Fish is Chris Squire's solo extravaganza featuring a veritable multitude of bass lines.

The remaing songs (Mood for a Day, Long Distance Runaround, and Southside of the Sky) are all very well done, but not at the level of the main songs.

All in all, a solid but not spectacular album, and a harbinger of things to come as the group moves closer to the edge.

Report this review (#913268)
Posted Wednesday, February 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great album , but the masterpieces were yet to come. Kaye is great, but Wakeman's genius was still to come with CTTE and Tales. Howe shows what a great guitar player can do for a prog band on this album. You can feel that Yes is taking off with this album and you can't wait to see where they will go next.

The only reason this album doesn't rate 5 stars from me is that there is some undeniable filler on this album that surrounds the masterworks. Roundabout, South Side, and Heart are as good as any prog band ever got. If Yes would have stopped at this point, they would have earned their place in the top 5 prog bands ever.

Fragile is a must have prog album, and points to the incredible heights Yes would soon hit with their next three albums.

Report this review (#922910)
Posted Sunday, March 3, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars My previous experience with the music of Yes was as such: I had seen the videos for "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Leave It" and I once owned "The Yes Album" on cassette, which I purchased after seeing an old video of "I've Seen All Good People" on TV. I am sure I had heard "Roundabout" on the radio but hadn't cared much for it at the time. But after a very intense period of loving Rush, I decided to check out one of the bands that were always cited as a main influence on Rush's progressive rock endeavours, and it was "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" which I downloaded from iTunes that told me there was something grand happening here.

While not a totally perfect album, "Fragile" is for me one of the mainstays of seventies' progressive rock. It took the music of Yes a step further than "The Yes Album" which was already a great album in my opinion, though it had not yet reached the climax that it did with "Close to the Edge". The band assumed its classic line up with the addition of Rick Wakeman and there was room for anything to happen.

In a way, "Fragile" can be divided into two parts: the group songs and the individual contributions of each member (Anderson's "We Have Heaven", Wakeman's "Cans and Brahms", Brufford's "Five Per Cent for Nothing"-a title reflecting his disdain over their manager's contract, Howe's "Mood for a Day", and Squire's incredible multi-bass track piece "The Fish"). The individual pieces are all rather short but exhibit the range of ideas and talent that the band members bring with them to Yes and progressive music in general. The longer songs, however, are where the real music is.

Except for the short but very good "Long Distance Runaround", the three tracks "Roundabout", "South Side of the Sky" and "Heart of the Sunrise" show Yes at their best. Each song includes extended instrumental sections, juxtapositions of classical piano with hard rock, virtuostic soloing, frequent tempo and time signature changes, pronounced bass guitar (that rollicking bass riff in "Roundabout" should have sat the bass playing world on its ass!), and precise drumming, not to mention some great organ playing and powerful, emotive vocals (love Anderson's performance in "Heart of the Sunrise"!). Put these three songs together with the three tracks on "Close to the Edge" and you'd have one helluva fine volume of symphonic prog.

I can't say much else without repeating what others have already written. This is a classic! And as my user name suggests, this remains one of my most beloved prog rock albums.

Report this review (#929086)
Posted Tuesday, March 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars A musically understated classic.

While Yes' subsequent releases are more pompous and majestic, "Fragile" manages to be a masterpiece without instantly shouting "here I am". The album is practically flawless, and in my opinion it is rather understated. What makes this album unique Yes' other releases, is that each member was given an opportunity to compose their own short piece of music to highlight their own musical abilities, conceptually similar to what Pink Floyd did with their studio album "Ummagumma".

Often when people speak about progressive rock, the words that come up are "complexity" and "virtuosity". "Fragile" is perhaps the most striking example of these aspects. The musicianship is superb, and the composition really brings out the best in each musicians playing. The sound of the band is very unified, yet the talents of each individual musician come shining through. I quote the inside of the vinyl gatefold cover, "Five tracks on this album are the individual ideas, personally arranged and organised, by the five members of the Band.". These five tracks are "Cans And Brahms" (Wakeman), "We Have Heaven" (Anderson), "Five Percent For Nothing" (Bruford), "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" (Squire), and "Mood For A Day" (Howe). Each of these tracks gives an interesting insight into each of the musicians' talents, even the cheesy "Cans and Brahms". The other four pieces have more of a unified sound, with three of these tracks being co-written by band members other than Jon Anderson. Jon Anderson is also given the entire writing credit for "Long Distance Runaround", which is a great track, but blends into the other solo composition tracks due to its short length.

"Roundabout" is probably Yes' second most famous song second to "Owner of a Lonely Heart", and with good reason. The band sound excellent. Each band member has a moment to shine in this track, and the track really brings the whole album together, due to the concept being that each member contributes their own piece. "South Side of the Sky" is another masterful composition, which contains some superb harmonies in the organ, guitar, and bass during the chorus. The cloud-like texture toward the middle of the song is a really wonderful moment, which leads us back to a reprise of the main melody, bringing Side One of the record to a climatic close.

The greatest of all the tracks on the album is "Heart of the Sunrise". This track is an incredible fitting end to a superb album. While "Roundabout" brings the album together conceptually, "Heart of the Sunrise" brings it together stylistically. This track binds together both the atmospheric and gentle atmospheres and the bombastic and fiery technicality that are portrayed within the album. Jon Anderson's vocals are spectacular in this track, and it shows several aspects of his vocal abilities.

The cover art is a superb summary of everything you will find inside...complexity, fragility, and at times atmospheric. While the album may pale a little in comparison to the three masterworks that come after it, it is an essential musical experience, and a masterpiece within its genre.

P.S. While the Elektra Reissue of this album has not completely butchered the album like the Rhino Reissue did with "Relayer", I highly recommend buying an old vinyl pressing of this album. Not only is the sound quality superb, the cover art is wonderful and adds to the whole musical experience.

Report this review (#937405)
Posted Sunday, March 31, 2013 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars The first Yes album to feature a Roger Dean cover. Also the first with one Rick Wakeman, previously a member of The Strawbs and a popular session keyboardist in England. When he joined he bought a bunch of keyboards which forced the record company to rush release the album so those keyboards could be paid for! While Steve Howe brought some country and jazz elements to Yes, Wakeman brought some classical sensibilities. Featuring what is considered the 'classic' lineup of Yes, responsible for the two most well regarded albums the group ever made. The band recorded their now classic version of Simon & Garfunkel's "America" at the same time but it was not included on the album.

There are solo pieces here which for me generally bring the quality and consistency of the album down a bit. Possibly inspired by Floyd's Ummagumma album, these solo pieces mostly sound like filler compared to the group pieces. Album opener "Roundabout" was a hit (in an edited form) on the radio. I've heard this song so much I never want to hear it again...but it's still a great song. Opening with a backwards piano note, this features some of Chris Squire's best and funkiest bass playing. Listening to this again reminds me how great these guys were at vocal harmonies. Love Wakeman's jazzy organ solo at one point.

"Cans And Brahms" is Wakeman's piece, although he didn't actually compose it. Sounds like Switched-On Bach; the least interesting of the solo pieces. "We Have Heaven" is Anderson's piece and in contrast to the last track is one of the better solo pieces. Nice vocal overdubs from Jon. It gets reprised at the end of the album. I never cared for "South Side Of The Sky" at first but it grew on me over the years. Still probably the weakest of the group efforts but contains one of the best parts of the album: the piano and vocal based middle section. Always loved the 'la-la' part, just puts me in a good mood. This track has some of Howe's best tones and playing on the album.

"Five Percent For Nothing" is Bruford's piece with a title that shows his sense of humour. More avant/fusion oriented but way too short. The contrast between the instrumental sections and the vocal parts in "Long Distance Runaround" always sounded forced to me; just doesn't flow well. Nonetheless, the vocal parts are some of Yes' best. "The Fish" segues from the last track and is the standout of the solo pieces here. Squire's piece is one of the highlights of the album. Everything except the vocals and drums were done on overdubbed bass guitars; this must have sounded like nothing else when this album was released.

"Mood For A Day" is Howe's piece. I never thought much of this, preferring "The Clap" instead. Album closer "Heart Of The Sunrise" is the highlight of the album and one of Yes' best tracks. Such an intense beginning - equal parts rock'n'roll and jazz. Then the Mellotron over that great bass line and Bruford's unpredictable drumming. Jon's vocal parts are the least interesting part of the track but not out of place by any means. Overall not the most consistent thing the group ever did but contains some of their best moments. I'll give this a 3.5 and bump it up to 4 stars.

Report this review (#940606)
Posted Sunday, April 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fragile is a good album with some standout tracks. Nothing more, nothing less. The power behind Roundabout and Heart of the Sunrise is undeniable, and a few of the other tracks, such as South Side of the Sky and The Fish have interesting moments, but the remaining tracks are either short enough to be forgettable or do not age well. I'm torn because Heart of the Sunrise is solid enough to stand alongside some of Yes's tracks of more robust length and scope, but the others are really dragging it down.

As a whole album, each piece is very much at home within the mix, but some of the transitions seem sloppy and abrupt. The more jarring examples are the out-of-nowhere annunciation and exit of Five Percent For Nothing. It sits between two tracks of very contrasting moods and texture, so a short transitional piece in theory would be suitable in this moment, but in my mind a transition should segue both smoothly and logically from one mood to another without compromising the energy or defaulting to neophyte writing to fill the space. The problem here is the fact that this wonky, haphazard piece is interjected and presents an entirely different mood. I get that it wasn't accidental and it might seem like a novel, fun addition to some listeners. I'm not convinced personally. I thought it was interesting and whimsical on my first few listens, but nowadays if I never heard it again I wouldn't ever miss it, I know this for a fact. I'd much rather listen to tracks that continually inspire and don't make me question whether their inclusion was justifiable or not.

That's a lot of harping on such a short section of the album, but its problem is symptomatic of passages within longer compositions as well. Whether it be a song that I still somewhat like, such as South Side of the Sky, or a song I don't, such as Long Distance Runaround, this is an undeniable trait that keeps reappearing and ultimately prevents this album from being a masterpiece in my eyes. Each of these passages only becomes more and more labored each time I give the album a spin, which admittedly is quite frequently these days, since I put it in my car all the time when making short, menial trips around where I don't care if it gets interrupted or if people I'm with talk over it. Because of the lesser tracks, it has ultimately become a background album.

In conclusion, I don't want to say this is a bad album, because it's actually not even close to one. It has very solid moments and the musicianship is top notch. I just don't care for it as much as others, and in comparison to what I regard as my picks for masterpieces, it's a far cry from that standard of achievement in my book. I give it 3.5 stars, rounded up for the sake of the rating system. Heart of the Sunrise and Roundabout saved it a lower rating, along with the musicianship factor.

Report this review (#948444)
Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I remember first hearing this. Roundabout came on, and I was like "oh, this song, it's ok" but soon found this album was extrememly great. Roundabout is now one of my favs, and is a sweet opener. Great solos by Rick and Steve, and Chris kills it with the bass intro. Definitely an accessible but very progressive song. Anyone reading this probably knows but this album has three main songs, and six experiments. These experiments range from just, experiments, to great songs. Cans and Brahms is a nice piano piece, but not to much to it,. Five Percent For Nothing is just, well, um, experimental. We Have Heaven is a nice song lead by Jon's vocals, but gets old quick. Still, nice song. Long Distance Runaround is a great pop song, and really shows how diverse yes is. Great flow, nice lyrics, and just a very cool tune. This is followed by the more progressive Fish, a cool space rock kinda song with Jon and Steve vocals in the back. Mood for a Day is a beautiful instrumental piece, and a complex one too. Not much to say other than it's sweet. The other two songs are South Side Of The Sky and Heart of the Sunrise. Both these songs really have a bunch to like. South Side of the Sky has a vibe to it that kinda takes you on a trip, at least I like to think so. Lyrically it's kinda lame but a cool song. Heart of the Sunrise is probably the peak of this album. A extremely progressive song with every member here doing so much, This song alone makes the album worth getting. It might sound like a trashed a few songs, the experimental ones really. I think everything here is great, but with that said from a standpoint of taking all content into account this one gets a four from me. Essential though for sure. Just be aware of the shorter and potentially out of place numbers.
Report this review (#958636)
Posted Monday, May 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars i'll never forget whe i listen this album by the first time, i love it, all the album, i had to say, that i think this album is the best work of YES, ever better than "Close To The Edge", in "Fragile" we can catch the spirit of the band, we can enjoy to the virtuosism of YES like band, but we can enjoy the virtuosism of all the musicians by their own. Steve Howe (guitar), Bill Bruford (drums), Rick Wakeman (keyboards, replacing Tony Kaye), Jon Anderson (Vocals) and of course Chris Squiere (bass). the lyrics of the whole album are impressing. "Roundabout" is the opening of the album with 8 minutes and a half (aprox) is an amazing song, when i listen this song by the first time i had to repite it. "i'll be the roundabout", the amazing work of Rick Wakeman, give to the song an amazing flavor, the guitar of Steve Howe, works very nice too. then we had the song "Cans And Brahms" a classic piece arregned by Wakeman, and we can catch the virtuosism of Wakeman like the fabulous tecladist that he is. "We have heaven" it's the third track, a wonderful track composed by Jon Anderson (showing his virtuosism too), and then we have my favourite piece "South side of the sky", with an aproximate time of 7 minutes 58 seconds clossing the first side of the album. starting the b-side, we have "Five per cent for nothing" a song with a time of only 37 seconds composed by Bill Bruford (i had to say he is my favourite drummer ever), accopling with the speed bass of Squiere the improvissing guitar of Howe, and the meticulous keyboards of Wakeman. the next song is "Long distance runaround", at the beginning, we can listen how Howe and Wakeman are doing exactly the same, then the second team (Bruford and Squiere), playing something different. then a change happens, and we have Wakeman and Bruford in the first team, and Squiere and Howe in the second, and of course Anderson singing alone, "long distance runaround, long time waiting to feel the sound, i still remember...THE TIME TO SAY GOODBYE", the song ending and inmediatly start "The fish (shindleria premataurus)", the 2 minutes 35 seconds improvisation of Chris Squiere, acopling with the nice works of his 4 companions, then one of my favourites "Mood for a day", the majestic solo of Howe, none of his buddies work in that song, it's only a work by Steve, it's simply majestic, and to close the album in a wonderful way, we had the most amazing song of the whole album "Heart of the sunrise" with a total time of 11:24 minutes, starting with 3 minutes and a half (if my memory doesn't fail me) of instrumental, then maybe 6 minutes of the singing, and to the top a little reprise of "We have heaven". when i heard this masterpiece for the first time i totally fell in love, and of course i know in that moment that the prog rock going to be my religion for the rest of my life. this album is classic, majestic and i hope, too many people still enjoy of this music in the future in the same level that we do.
Report this review (#992218)
Posted Friday, July 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I feel it's only appropriate to point out every time "yes" is uttered in this review, keeping "Tell the moondog, tell the march-YES" in mind. Really, I find that track so silly-sounding. Anyway!

I remember "Roundabout" being my first real introduction to Yes (Yes!) (before being a Proghead, I had only heard "Owner of a Lonely Heart"). The only people I could imagine not in love with the bass line are those who've heard the song far too many times. Yes (Yes!) is remembered for the performances of this album, being so iconicized into Progressive immortality. The bass is absolutely rocking on "Roundabout", "Long Distance Runaround" and especially "Heart of the Sunrise". The other instruments have major highlights, too, such as Rick Wakeman's keys on especially "South Side of the Sky". Bill Bruford created one of drumming's absolute greatest and unique performances in "Heart of the Sunrise". Most of the album is a highlight for practically every member. It's so well-performed and highly memorable in that aspect.

The songwriting is very Yes (Yes!) with Jon Anderson's thick vocabulary adding a curious texture gives the album an interesting blend. Some of the tracks feel a bit hokey at times. "Tell the Moondog; tell the Marc-YES!" I can understand the band's roots and the pieces representing various parts of the band. But "Cans and Brahms", "We Have Heaven", and various bits of "Roundabout" feel corny. They're good pieces nonetheless. "Five Per Cent for Nothing" is a decent start to songwriting for Bruford, but the piece just can't stand alone to me. I feel it could've developed into something. I wish the idea was either expanded upon or recalled/incorporated at another point in a later Yes (Yes!) song. "Long Distance Runaround" is a decent jam with, again, being a highlight bass track for Squire. "The Fish" features Squire in solo mode with some really good bass work. Another highlight for him I forgot to mention. "Mood for a Day" is a really good, relaxing Steve Howe solo tune.

But the shining moments on the album are mostly contained within "Heart of the Sunrise". It's the most intricately structured by far, with the first real experimentation of weaving in and out of previously introduced ideas. The song is exciting right from the start with the unison guitar-bass parts and the intense drumming and key tapping. The following section thirty seconds in is possibly the best moment on the whole track and album. The bass line is just so tasty and the highly experimental drums are solid and just add so much extra flavor. Then the mellotron. Then the guitar texture playing the line from the intro. The band sounds so good together on this track. It only gets better and more emotional when things are brought down to Earth with Jon chiming in on the first verses to the song. Then the chorus is a dynamic peak which rings through all the heart of the song. The rest is weaving through the ideas already stated with a dramatic ending slowed down for impact and all goosebump-raising purposes. The track really is fantastic?and then "Tell the Moondog tell the March-YES" comes back. Why, oh why! I'm joking. But the song is great. Definite head-and-shoulders above most of the tracks on the album, while I'd say "South Side of the Sky" is still a head above the rest. The rest are worth listening, but the album as a whole is not entirely consistent for me. Still, important and great album, and I think its praise received is not all undeserved.

Report this review (#993868)
Posted Tuesday, July 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars The perfect way to join Yes, or maybe join progressive rock.

At the same level than the almighy ones, Close To The Edge, this previous album is their first complete masterpiece, and what a relevant album! This was suddenly one of the most influential progressive rock piece and still rocks. Anderson + Squire + Howe vocals marked a whole woldwide generation. Lot of brazilian mpb/rock bands were sounding like a soft yes- influenced rock. Even symphonic, the band presented from classical acoustic tracks (Mood For A Day) to avant-garde and creative short passages (Five Percent For Nothing). Fragile is a very ecletic album.

Bruford shows the importance of the drums on making the music sound "progressive". Even in the supreme presence of Rick Wakeman, my favorite Yes characters here are Chris Squire and Steve Howe. Squire catchy bass lines are the meaning of awesome, right from Roundabout. Roger Dean art cover is intriguing, and perfectly represents the "Strong" sound of Fragile. After all those years, Yes early days are fresh more than ever.

Report this review (#1049020)
Posted Monday, September 30, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I didn't think I would like this one... but Yes weren't fully into the business of burying the vocals in the mix, that process had just started.

What is fragile? There's a bunch of fractured little pieces and three very impressive songs in the 7 - 11 minute range. Actually, that's a bit misleading, I really like 'Five percent for nothing', it's a very nice tune. I'm not kidding, it's one of my favourites and blends nicely with the likes of 'The fish' and 'South side of the sky' - speaking of which, that last tune, MAN I love that song. I mean as far as I can genuinely enjoy Yes.

For the most part I fully understand the lyrics and the meaning of the songs. 'Southside of the sky' is more or less brits complaining about the weather, 'Heart of the sunrise' is about the loneliness of the city, and the lack of anything spiritually pleasing. 'Roundabout' is a psychedelic love song, at least I guessed that what it was about.

While progressing into the 70's, this album is still a bit late 60's pscyhedelic rock sounding. It's a great collection of songs and if it's not five stars, it is definitely worth four stars and is probably in their top 3 albums ever (!)

Report this review (#1078814)
Posted Monday, November 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars What a great collection of songs this is. Even the short "filler" tracks have something interesting. Fragile was the first studio album with keyboardist Rick Wakeman. It certainly was a step in the right direction. Not that Tony Kaye was bad in any sort of way, but Wakeman's playing on piano and synthesizer was a better fit for the group, in order to make that full leap into progressive rock territory.

"Roundabout" is probably the most recognizable song in the band's catalog aside from "Owner of a Lonely Heart", and for a good reason. It is a very well made tune that stands beside many other classic rock favourites such as "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin, and "Hotel California" by The Eagles. "South Side of the Sky" would be lesser known compared to "Roundabout", but is also a worthy song. I especially like the middle section with the wordless vocals and ethereal piano. "Heart of the Sunrise" has to be one of the top 5 Yes songs. The intro is incredibly energetic and continues building for what seems like forever, but sounds absolutely amazing. The ending of this song mirrors the opening and somehow feels even more dramatic. It never fails to give me chills.

Those are the group compositions of course, the rest of the album contains solo pieces created by each member of the band. The highlights of these would be Chris Squire's "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" and Steve Howe's "Mood for a Day". Another standout is "Long Distance Runaround" which is recognized as a group composition even though it was written solely by Jon Anderson. The other tracks - Wakeman's "Cans and Brahms", Anderson's "We Have Heaven", and Bill Bruford's "Five Percent for Nothing" are quick segments which are more like ideas than songs. These are still entertaining to listen to.

If by any chance you don't own this record or haven't heard it, go out and buy it. If record stores aren't your thing, then just download the album on iTunes. The 2003 Rhino reissue even includes their excellent take on the Simon & Garfunkel song, "America".

Report this review (#1085745)
Posted Wednesday, December 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Four (five if you count "The Fish" separately) essential, masterful, brilliant, perfect progressive rock songs surrounded by somewhat uneven solo projects. I don't really enjoy listening to Fragile all the way through that much (only because of some of the solo pieces), so a kind of strange album for me. Roundabout, South Side of the Sky, Long Distance Runaround, Heart of the Sunrise. These stand alone as some of the best compositions in the genre. By far. If I had to pick only one song to serve as an example of symphonic prog to someone unfamiliar, it would probably be HOTS. Of the solo pieces, I love Mood for a Day, Steve's acoustic guitar solo. The Fish goes with LDR indelibly in my mind...the two are as one song. Cans and Brahams never did it for me, same for We Have Heaven. Five percent is fine, but there's just so little there.
Report this review (#1145892)
Posted Tuesday, March 11, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is my standard example of an album with a lot of great tracks, but as an album it doesn't work at all. I have no idea how this is allowed to be one of prog rocks most iconic albums. I have to admit Im not a huge Yes-fan, even though Close to the Edge, The Yes Album and Relayer is some of the best albums ever created. It´s probably a bit unfair because the Yes-sound has become kind of an blueprint for many of todays wannabe-prog bands who mostly just try to imitate what the bands in the 70s did much better. To imitate old bands is not very proggy, if you ask me. But thats not what this review should be about.

Fragile has never really been my cup of tea, because half of the songs feels like they're not complete or just rushed through. "Roundabout" is a great album starter, its one of the best songs of classic prog ever and it´s really gets me going and makes me hungry for the next awesome track! But next come "Cans and Brahms", and it´s a mystery to me. Why is it there? I really hate to say it, but it strikes me as unserious and badly written. It´s nothing but a short keyboard- doodle with no real beginning, no real ending and nothing in between. Not a good follow up to the great album starter, I tell you!

Next track "We have heaven" has a nice groove to it, but absolutely nothing more. Two album- fillers in a row? What is this? After that comes "South Side of the Sky", which is exactly what Yes should be doing! A real song with groovy rhythms, a strong melody and some attitude. The song goes through some phases, with the middle part being the right kind of experimental before going back to the songs lead theme. The song gets dynamic and exciting, just as Yes should be!

Next come "Long Distance Runaround" (yes, I am ignoring the fact that the hopelessly boring album filler "Five Percent For Nothing" really comes in between). At the beginning I actually didn't like this song ether, but its pretty happy and grows on you if you give it a chance. Also Long Distance Runaround bleeds into a dramatic ending in "The Fish". Super Cool!

"Mood for the day" is a really nice guitar solo and may sound as just another of those album fillers, but this one is great! Nothing but an acoustic guitar and is a great opportunity for the listener to land after Long Distance? and The Fish, before going on to the grande finale, "Heart of The Sunrise" It's a surprising track because I always assume Roundabout to the album's peak, completely forgetting about Heart of The Sunrise. It´s a pretty even race, but I would say this is the album's best track! It goes through all this different moods, without losing the listener on the way. It starts out as really aggressive, then becomes slow and dreamy before going back to aggressive again. It´s like the little adventure you was promised to get, but you started to doubt that you would ever get it! Well here it is, and thanks god, it´s appears at the right place! It´s an explosive way to end an album! Without that ending the listener would not have the same experience of the album, it would be remembered by an awesome opening track and a bunch of rubbish to follow! A good example how a nice ending can save a lousy album!

I feel like I should say something about the musicians as well. Jon Anderson is for many people the one and only voice of Yes. Understandable I would say, its a voice so unique and great! It never really sounds as aggressive as the rest of the album sometimes sound, but that is a beautiful contrast! Chris Squire is one of my all times favorite bass players, he's playing is both groovy and very melodic! Probably he is responsible for much of the Yes-sound, there is no other bass player like him. Rick Wakeman is a bit overrated, I never felt like I understood what he's up to. He is great when it comes to a big mighty sound, like great organs and pipes, but otherwise I think he's a bit lame... Don't kill me! Bill Bruford is a great drummer and he gave the band a nice jazzy sound that sadly were gone when he left the band! Steve Howe is great, he can do (and does) all kind of styles and is a perfect match for the dynamic and adventures songs of Yes. Classical or rock, he does it all! Also the album cover is one of the best things ever! I love Roger Dean for it! When I think of it, its probably answers my question in the beginning of this review; How can this album be one of the true icons of progressive rock? Well, this artwork is really the true face of the album! I just wish the album it self was just as good as the cover!s

Report this review (#1158940)
Posted Tuesday, April 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars For years as a preteen and teen, Yes was my favorite band. Fragile, Close to the Edge, and The Yes Album were the reasons. Fragile and The Yes Album especially are the pinnacle of the Yes discography, fully worthy of 5 stars.. Although I listened repeatedly to CTTE when I was young, now I find it a little too long. Three songs averaging about thirteen minutes each is simply too much for my tastes. I like what the band did with this album, giving each member a chance in the spotlight. Of the five compositions, "Cans and Brahms" is probably my least favorite for a possibly strange reason. I love classical music, and I listen to a lot of it. I just can't stand most of Brahms' music! This is Yes' best lineup. Steve, Rick and Chris play brilliantly together, and I revere Bill Bruford. My favorite tracks are probably "Long Distance Runaround" and "Heart of the Sunrise", but it's hard to pick favorite tracks from a 5 star album. Fragile is Yes, and progressive music, at their best!
Report this review (#1178413)
Posted Friday, May 23, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars I was always wondering why people regard this as a masterpiece. I'm writing this review in order to express a different opinion and not, of course, to convince you not to like it! So, please don't attack me because of the low rating I give. If you wish to help me discover virtues of it that still lie hidden (for me) please do so.

I really can't find anything so attractive in this one and haven't heard it more than 3 or 4 times, although I'm generally a Yes fan and I really enjoy the rest of their albums of the era. I even enjoy personal Yes members albums (of the 70s) more than this one. I find all of it too cold and sentimentally dull. There are long, repetitive parts in the longer tracks while the shorter ones are, in my opinion, just pointless fillers. Some of these evils recur in other Yes albums (and in the prog rock genre as a whole for some, but I'm not one of them!), but I find most of them more atmospheric and less annoying than this one.

I realise that all members or the band are top form in this album, their playing is excellent throughout (even when they show off in a boring manner) and Jon Anderson's voice is best than ever, but this doesn't really make me play the album...

Report this review (#1225983)
Posted Tuesday, July 29, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars What has been said about this album that hasn't been said before? Definitely YES's most known and popular album, Fragile is an absolute masterpiece of progressive rock. Instead of going into facts about the release and band status at the time, I'm just going to take you through the pros and cons of the album.

Opening up with one of the finest work of guitar and bass work I've ever seen, Roundabout drives the whole album to a fast start. The song switches back from dark and slower to fast and lighter, all the while still retaining a common theme of progressiveness. A similarly good song, South Side of the Sky, has most of the same qualities as Roundabout, but somehow is able to pull it off in a nicer, smoother way. Both are mighty enjoyable to listen to.

After the larger epics such as Roundabout and South Side of the Sky, there are short interludes like Cans and Brahms and Five Per Cent for Nothing. They are honestly just odd and slightly annoying, and don't intrigue me like the other songs.

Sadly, after Long Distance Runaround, the album gets significantly more boring and repetitive. Songs range from strange, like The Fish, to simply dull compositions, like Mood for a Day, and the outro epic Heart of the Sunrise.

However, I would say that this album is absolutely deserving of 5 stars. Even though the forgettable tracks are sort of lame, the better prog rock epics along with Long Distance Runaround are extremely enjoyable to listen to.

Go give it a listen.

Report this review (#1290573)
Posted Sunday, October 12, 2014 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars In 1971 YES was riding the prog wave by releasing not just one but two classics that year. After going through several lineup changes it was time for yet another. Tony Kaye was asked to leave the band for not wanting to adapt to the group's ever expanding musical vision and incorporating more modern keyboard sounds to the mix and as a result the band scouted out Strawbs keyboardist Rick Wakeman cementing the band's most famous and celebrated of lineups in their several decade career. Noticeably different between "The Yes Album" and FRAGILE is on the former it had a bluegrass and countrified feel at times whereas with the addition of the classically trained Wakeman, the emphasis is much more in the classical music arena but plenty of jazz related influences can be found as well especially in Bill Bruford's excellent drumming department.

This album marked huge success in the YES world. The album proved the power of prog and its holy progginess hit the top 10 on the Billboard album charts and even spawned a top 40 hit with "Roundabout." FRAGILE also marks a new beginning with Roger Dean hopping on board to create his fantasy inspired artwork which would be a staple of the band throughout the 70s. Without doubt the album cover and title are inspired by the recently invented Earth Day and the global awareness of just how delicate and FRAGILE the life support systems on this planet can be.

The album does have one thing in common with "The Yes Album." The four longer full band tracks alternate with five shorter tracks that each member of the band contributed as to give each member a glimpse into their musical vision that isn't always apparent when melding in a band situation. The idea was conjured up more for a money saving one than an act of brilliance because it saved time and money in the recording process. Consequently the album may sound a little disjointed but after listening to this for years i have kinda come to the point where it is ok and i actually like the turbulent changes ranging from Wakeman's Brahms cover (Cans And Brahms), to Anderson's vocal dubbing fantasy (We Have Heaven), to Bruford's 4/4 timing with proggy-to-the-max dressing (Five Per Cent For Nothing) and Howe's beautiful classical guitar piece (Mood For A Day).

The longer tracks, "Roundabout," "Long Distance Roundabout" and "Heart Of The Sunrise" have to be some of the most catchy sounding progressive music ever! Each delivers a different mood mixing beautiful melodies with hearty instrumental workouts. The new lineup melds well together and although this album could be deemed a rehearsal for the following more sophisticated albums, FRAGILE works wonderfully in its own right providing yet another transitory experience in the fluidity of YES' ever-changing career. This is one of my first prog albums so it has that specialness attached as well, but even listening to it now with a more objective ear, it rings a uniqueness and warmth that very few other albums in history do.

Report this review (#1354090)
Posted Monday, January 26, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is Yes' first album with the classic line-up that we have grown to know and love, all the cylinders are firing well and all of the geniuses are in place. The only difference in the line up from the previous "The Yes Album" is the addition of the keyboardist extraordinaire Rick Wakeman who replaced Tony Kaye. The difference in the keyboards is obvious almost immediately as we can hear the confidence in Wakeman's playing. Even though the previous album is a masterpiece also, if there was anything missing, it was a more up-front, in-your-face type keyboardist and they found that in Wakeman. The keys are more defined and technically complex, and thus, you have the classic amazing Yes sound beginning with this album.

This essential album is made up of songs credited to the entire band and also shorter tracks composed and credited to each single member of the band, sort of like ELP's "Works Volumes I and II" but more consistent. (By the way, "Fragile" was released long before "Works", but I just make the statement as a comparison to album structure.) We start off with the ever popular "Roundabout" which should only be heard in the full album version, not the edited versions that were made for radio play. This is the perfect album starter and immediately lets us know what we are in for when listening to this album. The mix is perfect as you can hear every single instrument and each contributor equally and as such you can hear all of the wonderful things that go into each of Yes' most complex works. I know this song has been overplayed, but the amazing thing is that I still love this song and it still has not lost it's amazingness to me like other overplayed radio songs have. Definitely still one of my all time favorites, but then this album has a few of those. Next is Rick Wakeman's solo contribution to the album called "Cans and Brahms" which is a keyboard arrangement of a composition by Brahms. Sort of underwhelming considering the pompousness of Wakeman's other compositions, but still short and enjoyable. Another solo contribution follows, this time from Jon Anderson. "We Have Heaven" is a complex composition of multi-tracked vocals all of Jon in an amazing harmonic blissfulness. There is some support of instruments, but they are minimal and drowned in the vocals. Once we get to the climax of this short song, we are swallowed up in harmonics each singing all the different hooks from the melody at the same time when this is suddenly stopped by the sound of a door slamming and the sound of footfalls of someone running away.

The next track is a long epic "South Side of the Sky" which is not one of my most favorite epic songs but it is still a great one. I do love the long piano interlude from Rick here though, and it is at this point that we know that Yes has made a wise choice. The interlude is full of flourish, beauty and excitement, and proves that you don't need special effects and fancy synthesizer to create a powerful passage, this time it is all done acoustically and it is amazing. The rest of the song is great, but not one of their best. The next track is the short contribution from Bill Bruford. At only :35 seconds, this composition has more going on in it than most other bands can put in a typical 5 minute song. It goes by quickly, but still begs to be listened to closely. There is nothing typical about this song, but it does plenty to prove that Bruford is an amazing musician. Another band composition follows, this time a relatively short one called "Long Distance Runaround" which ends up segueing into "The Fish" which is the outstanding contribution by Chris Squire. These two songs have always been expected to be heard together almost as one song. Of course, this features the bass which is amazing. The good thing about this entire album is you can hear the bass as much as all of the other instruments, but in later albums like "Relayer" and "Going for the One" the bass seems to be pushed down into the mix. Even though the version of "The Fish" is longer and slightly better on the "Yessongs" live 3 album set, this one is still amazing.

Finally, the last track is another one of my all time Yes favorites "Heart of the Sunrise". This has to have one of the best bass/guitar hooks in existence that switches back and forth from 6/8 to 3/4 time without even blinking. The introduction of the song goes on for quite some time and I love this part of it. It starts right off on a tension filled riff at high power and lots of energy before calming down for a while with a killer bass line and building back up slowly to the high energy riff again before the tension breaks again and it comes into the main melody. Jon sings softly in 6/8 with a 5/8 riff thrown in just to keep it unconventional and Rick adds a 9/8 meter keyboard riff and the song builds and releases several times repeating several riffs, especially that crazy powerful hook that is so entrancing. This song just has to be heard, that's all there is to it. If there ever was a perfect rock composition, this is it! I just can't say enough about it. Oh, then "We Have Heaven" has a short reprise thrown in at the end.

Anyway, yes I love "Heart of the Sunrise", but I love this whole album and even though "South Side of the Sky" is one of their weaker epics (except for that piano solo), it is still better than most musicians can even hope to come up with and still does not take away the fact that this is by all means an essential Yes album and essential prog album.

If you get the 2003 reissue, you also get the excellent cover of the Paul Simon song "America" which is Yes-ified completely and made into a progressive rock marvel sounding almost nothing like the Simon & Garfunkel version and stretched out to over 10 minutes. You also get an early version of "Roundabout" which has some interesting twists from the version we are used to.

Anyway, no progressive rock collection should be without this album. It's just as important as their next album "Close to the Edge". 5 stars, but if there was a 6th star for perfect albums, this one would have it.

Report this review (#1377871)
Posted Wednesday, March 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fragile is the 4th album by Yes and sees the debut of the long blonde flowing locked Rack Wickman. The whole shooboodle starts of with "Rondaboat" and a sort of bad mooded sounding opening before suddenly stopping and revealing a short acoustic guitar piece by Geoffrey Howe which is pure Ro in it's sound. The song then kicks off into a distinct tennis feel which brings to mind Illie Nastase, Virginia Wade, and several strawberry sucking Wimbledon watchers. The song itself appears to be about Jon Anderson thinking that he is a roundabout and proclaiming that the words will make you out and out. Jon also appears to spend the day somebody's way in this song too. Chris Squire stars with some excellent Bass playing and Bull Bruford drives the whole song along nicely. "Cans And Brahms" has a kind of a dirty cat litter tray feel and smell to it, and because of that it is not one of my favourite songs on the album. I cannot say i am a fan of it's jazziness either.

"We Have Heaven" has Jon Anderson singing lots of vocal parts, one of which sounds exactly like Sean Barnes. It is a short and sweet song and even manages to capture the footsteps of Ian Parsons running away at the end.

"South Side Of The Sky" has Yes in great rocking form with it's denton vocals, and the whole band in great form as a chilling wind starts things off before a clap of thunder brings forth Bull Bruford and Jon Davison singing "A river, a mountain to be crossed" Anderson normally has quite an Allenish quality to his voice, but here he is bringing in a pure denton sound which suits him. There is a lovely middle section with Jon, Steve and Chris singing "Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na" over some exquisite senior piano playing from Tony Kaye. For some reason Steve Howes outro guitar on this song always reminds me of Willinton Chimp looking a bit sorrowful at having no hands.

"Five Per Cent For Nothing" is a fantastic instrumental, amazing guitar from Howe, Jaw dropping Bass from Squire, Unbelievable piano from Wakeman, insanely brilliant drumming from Alan White (including a 7 minute drum solo) and angsty vocals from Jon Anderson - All packed into 30 odd seconds.

"Long Distance Runaround" is a more jaunty poppy song with it's pure foxen vibe, and Debbie Blackmore stylings. Has anyone noticed Stuart Farbrother snorting in the background in the middle of this song? Wonderful jaunty Moog playing from Richard Whackman, and some sweetheart lead lines from Stove Howe.

"The Fish" then takes us into Squire Bass territory, which is pure Probet in it's sound and also brings back to mind Illie Nastase and Virginia Wade, as well as taking in a fragile fingernail and some outside fatty rubbish. This song also has quite a 9 o'clock at night summer feel too and always makes me feel happy - And i like feeling happy.

"Moog For A Day" is standard Steve Hillage acoustic affair, pleasing enough, but not entirely pleasing if you are not pleased by this type of thing.

"Heart Of The Sunrise" ends the album in a crescendo of bad mooded guitars giving way to Geoff Downes blocky piano sounds coming in at intervals, before we enter into a quiet section with some laid back senior guitar sounds from Stove Howe, and further probetness from Squire. Anderson has a lovely sore throat quality to his vocals before we are galloping back off in a bad mooded way again. Then follows another quieter section with some excellent Bowden piano sounds from Wakeman and Anderson being easy in the chair that really fits him. More Farbrother sounds, both Stuart and Peter appear in this song too, along with more touches of denton just to give it that unique Lewis effect. There is in fact a reprise of "We Have Heaven" which really does end the album, but i find it to be too short and has too much of an overegged jolly denton sound to be really all that relevant.

All in all a great Yes album which should appeal to fans of Yes, Flash, Druid, Glass Hammer, The Buggles, Starcastle and Smither.

Report this review (#1422100)
Posted Monday, June 1, 2015 | Review Permalink
Magnum Vaeltaja
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars When I was writing my review of "Close To The Edge", I devised an analogy that compares the first 3 classic Yes albums to the movie Rocky. "Close To The Edge" is the triumphant prize fight, "The Yes Album" is exposition and "Fragile" is the intermediary training sequence.

The Rocky training montage is one of those iconic moments in cinema and is the most memorable part that everyone loves or at least knows about, even if they haven't seen the movie. "Fragile" is like that. With Rick Wakeman joining the band's line-up, the pieces were falling in place for the glory of "Close To The Edge" to eventually materialize. Yes had already established themselves and were now training to be the champions. The album is montage-like in ways, too, given that 5 out of 9 tracks are short solo pieces that, when their facets get stitched together, will turn the members of Yes into prizefighters of prog. "Mood For A Day" is Steve Howe sparring with the flank of beef, "The Fish" is Chris Squire's one-armed push-ups in the gym, "We Have Heaven" is Jon Anderson jogging through the industrial yards. And of course, "Roundabout" and "Heart of The Sunrise" are the triumphant scene where Rick Wakeman runs up the steps with the sun rising over Philadelphia and the city's streets following after him; cathartic, spiritual and iconic works of prog.

All in all, "Fragile" is a prog classic that is very close to being a masterpiece, but is just a little too disjointed to earn that title. But even though it isn't a "masterpiece", per se, the fact that this album contains "Heart of The Sunrise", which may very well be one of the most perfectly executed songs period, definitely pushes it towards being a prog essential. As it stands, though, I believe that "Fragile" is a (slight) step below the albums bookending it, so I'll reluctantly settle on a 4 star rating. Gonna fly now!

Report this review (#1433438)
Posted Wednesday, July 1, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Review Nº 30

"Fragile" is the fourth studio album of Yes and was released in 1971. However, it was only released in US, two months later, due to the chart momentum of their previous third studio album, "The Yes Album" released in the same year. It was the first album from the band, to feature the art cover of Roger Dean, which would become an emblematic artist in the progressive rock music. The album reached number 7 in England and number 4 in America.

The line up on "Fragile" is Jon Anderson (lead and backing vocals), Steve Howe (backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars), Rick Wakeman (Hammond organ, grand piano, RMI 368 Electra piano and harpsichord, mellotron and Moog synthesizer), Chris Squire (backing vocals, bass guitars and electric guitar) and Bill Bruford (drums and percussion). It's the first Yes album with Wakeman, who left Strawbs after their third studio album "From The Witchwood". The previous Yes former keyboardist was Tony Kaye who left the band in 1971. He joined to the ex-Yes guitarist Peter Banks, on the group Flash. Probably, this is the best line up of Yes, which is connected to some of their best albums.

"Fragile" has nine tracks. I'm going to divide the album's tracks into two distinct parts. The four tracks composed, arranged and performed by the band and the five tracks which are individual ideas, composed, arranged and organized by all five members of the group, individually. I'm going to appreciate them with a different attention.

The Yes' tracks are: The first track "Roundabout" written by Anderson and Howe became one of the best known tracks of Yes and one of the most played live by the band, with several versions, on diverse live albums. An edited version was released as the A side on a single, with "Long Distance Runaround" as the B side. It represents the result of the new, collective and more inventive sound of the group, never heard before, and shows the musical power of Yes. The fourth track "South Side Of The Sky" written by Anderson and Squire is another great composition with superb harmonies. This and "Roundabout" are two of the most powerful songs on the album. I want to draw your attention, for those who don't know yet, that there is a new version of the song released by Glass Hammer, which opens their ninth studio album "Culture Of Ascent" released in 2007. This album has also the participation of Anderson on vocals. In my humble opinion, Glass Hammer is a very interesting band, and this new version and the album itself, are really very good. The sixth track "Long Distance Runaround" written by Anderson is the smallest track of the band's songs. It's perhaps, the most charming of all "Fragile's" songs, with Anderson singing, while Howe's guitar and Wakeman's keyboards, noodle beautifully together in the mix. The ninth track "Heart Of The Sunrise" written by Anderson, Squire and Bruford, is the last band's song. It became as also one of the best and most popular songs to be played live by the group. This is the best track on the album and it binds together the gentle and bombastic musical atmosphere and the fiery technicality that are portrayed on the album. It also shows several aspects of Anderson's great vocal abilities.

The remaining five tracks are the individual songs of all band's members. The second track "Cans And Brahams" is an adaptation by Wakeman, containing extracts of the Brahams' 4th Symphony. The third track "We Have Heaven" is a personal idea of Anderson. The fifth track "Five Per Cent For Nothing" is the Bruford's track written on his usual percussive line. The seventh track "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" is the Squire experience, where he uses the different sounds on his bass guitar. Finally, the eighth track "Mood For A Day" is a classical piece of music, played on an acoustic guitar, and represents the Howe's personal moment on the album.

Conclusion: "Fragile" isn't clearly a uniform musical effort made by the group. The band's tracks "Roundabout", "South Side Of The Sky" and "Heart Of The Sunrise" are all excellent and deserve to be rated as three masterpieces. The band's track "Long Distance Runaround" is also an excellent track, but without quality enough to be comparable with the other three tracks. About the individual five tracks, sincerely I think they're in general uninteresting. With the exception of "Cans And Brahms", which is an interesting piece of classical music and "Mood For A Day", which is a good piece of acoustic guitar music, all the others three tracks are disconnected and don't deserve make part of this album. "Fragile" was completed in less than two months, especially because they needed a new album to pay all the new Wakeman's equipment. Probably, this was the main reason, why the group created individual songs to release the album as soon as possible. In my humble opinion, "Fragile" is an unbalanced album, and is far away from the quality level of "Close To Edge". Sincerely, I even think that "The Yes Album" has better and timeless compositions. But "Fragile", only because the band's songs, is a more adventurous album which defined their sound, for years to come.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1480577)
Posted Friday, October 30, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favorite Yes album. I generally like this work better than "Close To The Edge", which (despite its glory and my love for it) often puts me to sleep. This album could come out as disc 2 with "Close To The Edge" no problem, the transition in style is only very subtle from one to another. This is the first album that really marks the "classic" Yes sound. The listener is welcomed by amazing cover art by Roger Dean, taking us into the unknown lands. What I especially like about "Fragile" are the micro synthesizer touches, well visible on "Roundabout". Work of every instrument is a spot-on. A lot has been said about this album. Needless to say, this is a must for any rock fan, great, great album. The glory days of progressive rock!
Report this review (#1529912)
Posted Wednesday, February 17, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is good stuff, no doubt. It's pretty awesome to have a prog album like this one, however this record doesn't reach the "Close to the edge" greatness for me. After understanding the magic of "Close to the edge" I knew that I would have a hard time appreciating any other Yes album. But I wasn't disappointed at all listening to it, its a different record from "Close to the edge" so people have to learn how to appreciate each of them. This album features the usual greatness from every element of the band, amazing vocals,bass,guitar,keyboard and drums work as expected. The album structure is fine, I've seen better, even with modern prog, but the good thing about it is that it has really remarkable songs in between, but I really found some of the fillers really unnecessary as they only distracted me from the original sounding itself, tracks like "We have heaven" and "five per cent for nothing" are really meh, they lead into great songs but I wish they weren't there. As for my highlights: "Roundabout" , "South side of the sky" , "Long distance runaround" , "The Fish" and obviously "Heart of the sunrise"

I am giving this album 5 stars because it really is a masterpiece of prog rock and the feel I got from listening to it is that I want other prog rock lovers to listen to it aswell, specially if you know Yes and still didn't listen to this record for whatever reason... it's an amazing album!

Report this review (#1585202)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a solid first album for the classic lineup, and the improvement in the keyboard quality is obvious, but to me it's half a great album with a lot of filler. I'm not that big a fan of South Side of the Sky, it's really just a pretty simple song with one nice piano line repeated several times in the middle followed by some vocalizations and then back to the song. Long Distance Runaround is a cool little song with a nifty guitar/bass counterpoint in the intro, but it's mainly a setup for The Fish (which really came alive in concert, giving Squire his chance to shine). So, for me, there are two outright classic songs here: Roundabout (perhaps the ultimate example of a great prog song that charted high, reaching 13 on the Billboard Top 100) and Heart of the Sunrise. The gorgeous classical guitar solo, "Mood for a Day" fills in admirably; less so Wakeman's cheesy take on Brahms or the downright silly We Have Heaven or Five Percent for Nothing. I'm actually almost more of a fan of The Yes Album despite it's lack of keyboard presence. Both are very good albums, setting the stage for the magnificence that is Close to the Edge.
Report this review (#1618961)
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars The most essential not-quite-5-star album, ever!

This album contains two of the best pieces ever written: "Heart of the Sunrise" and "Mood for a Day". These were life-changing pieces of music for me, and even after listening to them >1000 times, I still love hearing them, and indeed, find it hard to turn them off if they are on, they are so great. "Heart of the Sunrise" is in my opinion the very best Yes song (followed closely by Close to the Edge, And You and I, and Gates of Delirium), and among the 10-best songs ever written. "Mood for a Day" is a song I taught myself on guitar when I was just a young teenager, and I still love it and play it! Why not 5 stars? While some of the remaining tunes have aged well ("South Side of the Sky") some of the others have not. I can hardly sit through "We Have Heaven" and "Cans and Brahms", and "Long Distance Runaround" and even "Roundabout" get tiring after 1000 listens. So, decidedly mixed. Since I am here scoring the entire album, and there are tunes I can no longer sit through, I can't give this a perfect 5-star review, even if the great tunes help lift it up the average quite high. On balance, I give this album 8.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is just shy of what is needed for 5 stars. But those two songs are essential!

Report this review (#1696009)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permalink

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