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4 stars Is it real Yes? Who cares! This is the most commercially successful Yes album. Cleanly produced serious pop songs with an aggressive sound which appealed to the record company and a younger audience. Owner of a Lonely Heart had an inspired riff and Anderson's voice soars!
Report this review (#13699)
Posted Thursday, December 18, 2003 | Review Permalink
3 stars I reckon most of these songs were Trevor Rabin's, as apart from Jon Anderson, this bears no resemblance to Yes at all. If it wasn't for Jon Anderson it would be a decidedly average album as Rabin has a poor voice. To be objective, a good AOR album, but not a good yes album.
Report this review (#13665)
Posted Friday, December 19, 2003 | Review Permalink
1 stars You won't believe this is a YES album! Really, after "Tormato" (perhaps "Drama"?), YES died. Don't tell me about evolution and changes, this kind of music deserves a first place in MTV.

I know that a lot of people thinks that this album isn't so bad, but I can't forget when I listened "Owner Of A Lonely Crap" by the first time: I felt a sort of "alien shame" (I feel the same sensation right now). A prejudice? Maybe, but thinking how great this band was, it's a hard job to justify them.

Report this review (#13696)
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2003 | Review Permalink
2 stars this album is divided in two parts; the very good, and the duds . The good songs that appeared on this album are: Leave it, Hearts, Changes (in that order). The Really Bad Ones were: Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Hold On and the rest ones. But in this album we can find a really great and groundbreaking song that helps the album to not become vomit flood; Cinema, a neo master piece (sort of) that is very different from what we have heard from yes. This album is OK but is certainlly not their best album, in fact it could be one of their worst.
Report this review (#13682)
Posted Friday, January 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
1 stars 1,5 star really!!

Owner Of A Lonely Fart! That is all I ever had to say about that album! Having Jon back in the fold and I had high hopes for the return of Tony Kaye , but obviously he had no room for comfort (but at least he cashed in), Howe is now gone and the Buggles out , this was probably a transition album , but seeing the mega commercial success (assisted by MTV videos) , it sort of set out the new direction of Yes

Actually the sound of Yes is almost the same than on their previous Drama album , but the quality of the tracks is definitely down. But Yes never plunged as low as Genesis did with Abacab or Invisble Touch. But if you are a real classic Yes fan , this can only deceive you!

Report this review (#13693)
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, this isn't Fragile or Relayer or whatever your favorite Yes album is, but I can hardly think of anything more stupidly obvious. The "70's prog element" is gone, because the 70's are gone, right? What Yes managed to do with this album was maintain their incredibly high standards for music-making, while entering a new direction more oriented toward the mainstream of the day (the 80's, remember). So, naturally, those of you out there who don't respond to good music in all forms, but only to good music in certain select forms (real 70's prog); you will not like this album. I can't really blame you, considering how overwhelmingly amazing that era's music was, but on the other hand, this is also amazing music, and you should open your ears. The vocal harmonies are what shine here, and are totally magical throughout the whole album -- 100% authentic Yes. Really, dubious YES FANS, just listen to "Leave It" once for me, and try to see its awesomeness, because I assure you it is indeed awesome. If you don't like at least this song, I wonder how much you could really like any of their music.
Report this review (#13695)
Posted Saturday, February 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Yes, we know it's not Yes

To understand how the music of "90125", came about, a brief explanation is required. Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman both left Yes prior to the recording of the previous album, "Drama". In their place came Trevor Horne and Geoff Downes, ex of Buggles. While the album is generally acknowledged to have succeeded musically, the band did not gel, and effectively fell apart after a promotional tour.

Downes and Steve Howe joined up with John Wetton and Carl Palmer to form Asia. Horne moved away from performing and took up a successful career in production. The rhythm section of Chris Squire and Alan White decided to continue to work together, briefly considering forming XYZ (ex Yes &Zeppelin) with Jimmy Page. Squire then heard demos by Trevor Rabin, which impressed him and they got together with White to work on a project under the Cinema name (also the name of a track on this album). Squire met former Yes keyboard player Tony Kaye, and invited him to join the trio. Interestingly, Kaye had never worked with White, Bill Bruford being the Yes drummer during his time with the band. While the band were happy with the music they were making, much of which was based on material written by Rabin, they felt they needed a front-man. Rabin's vocals were adequate if not distinctive, but his multi instrumental capabilities made it difficult for him to sing, play and act as front man simultaneously.

Squire therefore met up with Jon Anderson, and played him some of the Cinema demos. Anderson was immediately impressed, and signed up with the band. It was quickly decided that trading under the name of Yes would be a sensible option, given that four of the five present had been members. The decision was not however a no-brainer for two reasons.

A) Any band with the Yes name will be expected when touring to perform a selection the classic Yes numbers. B) The material they had recorded was heavily Rabin influenced, and hence did not have the traditional Yes feel.

It is this latter point which has led to Rabin being so derided by many Yes fans. It must however be understood that Rabin never intended his songs here to become Yes songs. He was writing and performing originally for his own solo output, then for a project known as Cinema.

With that in mind, what of the album? There's no doubt it is far more commercially orientated than what had gone before. Yes had ventured into singles territory with tracks such as "Don't kill the whale", and "Wonderous stories", but these had been little more than simplified traditional Yes fare.

The first few notes of "Owner of a lonely heart", make it immediately apparent that things are radically different here. Trevor Horne's immaculate production joins together more disparate noises in the first 20 seconds than other Yes albums have in total. The track was of course a massive hit single, and served to open up the music of Yes to an much larger audience than they had ever previously enjoyed. That new audience was of course much more fickle and transient, and not that interested in who the band were, just whether the music had a good beat! The song did however restore, nay enhance, Yes' credibility with their record company. Enough of the new found fans did start to explore Yes' back catalogue too, and thus they rode the Genesis inspired train to fame and fortune.

The remaining tracks on the album are rather hit and miss. All have an AOR sound, with bands such as Styx and Kansas coming to mind as comparisons. "Leave it" has some excellent harmonies. There are three versions of the song on the extended remaster including the original Cinema version, and an appealing a-capella version.

The track "Cinema" is a live version (for no apparent reason). It's an enjoyable if brief instrumental which bizarrely won a Grammy award as best rock instrumental performance. The final track "Hearts" is probably the best on the album, at least in terms of what might be expected from a Yes album. Like almost all the tracks here, it is still dominated by vocals but Anderson appears to be performing what is predominantly his own composition.

In all, an enjoyable AOR album bearing the Yes name but not really performed by Yes.

The expanded, remastered version of the CD has six extra tracks, four of which were recorded without Anderson. The two which are repeated on the album with Anderson's vocals give an interesting indication of how Cinema would have sounded had they not been stillborn. Also included is an extended version "Owner of a lonely heart" which claims to be previously unreleased, but appears to be taken from the 12" single.

Report this review (#13697)
Posted Saturday, February 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
The Prognaut
1 stars Bill BRUFORD... where were you when all this happened??? Can't believe this is the same band. One of the worse albums ever! not only through prog rock history, I mean EVER! For you people out there, if you feel like keeping a good memory of the good old YES, stay away from this 80's nightmare. There's definitely no cohesion, there's a relevant lack of commitment on the songwriting, like the surrounding ambient didn't matter at all. And if it weren't enough, the arrangements are definitely the resemblance of that irremediable detachment YES suffered right after the seventies. Ridiculously, the essence of the English band gets severely exposed, letting too much to think about this 1983 production. Not that it's of any relevance at this point, but "90125", released more than two years after YES' initial disbanding, is the group's eleventh studio LP and fifteenth overall. The title refers to the album's number in the Atlantic Records catalog.
Report this review (#13688)
Posted Friday, April 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars First Yes Album I have listened to. And I'm sorry about that till today. Early 80's, Michael Jakson is the most popular singer ever. And he made better music that Yes at that time. Evveryone encouraged me to try listening to thier first albums. i could't imagine that this is the same band I played before. Simply unbeliveable. Just a bunch of pop songs which apperantly made Yes so popular at that time. Compare to close to the edge and topographic, it is a shame they printed that album at all.
Report this review (#13689)
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars YES without Wakeman, Bruford and Howe!! At first, it sounds odd, but actually it just gives another very interesting output from YES! Well, YES never sounded as professional as on this record! The album is VERY accessible and catchy. All the tracks are at least very good! The catchy lead & backing voice are enhanced with excellent echo effects: those miscellaneous vocals are a very strong point on this record: indeed, not only Anderson has an OUTSTANDING voice here: Squire and Rabin do a GREAT job too! At last, here, a pure and good sounding electric guitar: technically, the electric guitar is inferior to Howe's skills, but the quality of the sound is quite superior, not coarse at all! Actually, it is very expected for a sophisticated pop & accessible album like "90125"! Chris Squire's bass takes a small break here, rather focusing on the correct easy listening rythm to impose. The keyboards are not extremely elaborated: they rather efficiently participate to the catchy rythms and contribute to create a pleasant fresh atmosphere: that's a total success! For those who think the new YES members cannot be elaborated, then just re-listen to "Cinema", and maybe you will change your mind! Compared to ASIA, this record is less progressive, more accessible and better recorded.

Definitely, 1983-1984 were wonder years!!

Rating: 4.5/5

Report this review (#13723)
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars ASIA sold millions of records sounding like YES so, turnabout being fair play, YES rejuvenated their career on "90125" by sounding like ASIA. The new version of YES looked a lot like the old version of YES on paper: CHRIS SQUIRE and Alan White invited original keyboardist Tony Kaye and vocalist JON ANDERSON to join, with guitarist TREVOR RABIN the only "new" member. But Rabin turned out to be the heart of "90125" - a brilliant student of contemporary rock who oozed good ideas and guitar licks - and producer TREVOR HORN its brain. HORN makes a point of announcing the band's break with its past right up front: the opening track's arena-size guitar chords and electronic effects declare that the band's once magical machinations are to be replaced by studio wizardry. Using the band's considerable talents (not to mention its brand name) to launch TREVOR RABIN's ideas might seem musical effrontery on the scale of ASIA, but the fact remains that most listeners were willingly duped by the sophisticated production. While some rational part of us knows that "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "It Can Happen" and "Hearts" are nothing more than love songs, the dialogue is elevated to epic proportions by the soaring vocals, masterful arrangements and razor- sharp hooks. It represents a much different chapter than their earlier music, but "90125" is well regarded by most YES fans. Personally, I think the album isn't a good fit for JON ANDERSON; "Hold On" and "City of Love", for example, don't gain anything from his presence. But bringing TONY KAYE back into the fold, even if he sounds nothing like his original self, was a nice move. Even so, the YES moniker is more a convenience than an accurate description.

Critics had long charged that YES' music was pure product, and that appears to be the case here. But what wonderful product it is.

Report this review (#13705)
Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars When listening to this Cd you certainly shouldn't expect to hear "symphonic progressive rock". If those are your expectations you will be disappointed. If you listen to this album with an open mind and enjoy that power pop ballady stuff with the eighties sound then you probably will enjoy 90125. Great power pop stuff with all the hooks, the clean glossy sound with all the notes in just the right places...catchy sing- a -long choruses and even some cool soudning rock leads from Rabin... CLassic pop - almost formula but a step above. Trevor Rabin really could put together some great compositions and with Squire, Anderson, White, and Tony Kaye he the band to do it with.
Report this review (#13701)
Posted Wednesday, May 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm going to split the fence and say this is better than some may have you believe, but definitely a step below the usual fare from the band. I honestly don't believe they set out to make a commercial success, it just sort of fell in their laps. "Our song" is still one of my favorite Yes songs, it's all in perspective. I know when I want to listen to this, it's a far cry from "And you and I". When you play music for over 20 years, you HAVE to mix it up in some way, shape, or form. It's different, but easy to listen to.
Report this review (#13704)
Posted Saturday, May 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yeah -- I know; it's not "Close to the Edge". I started listening avidly to Yes back in '71 and quickly lost interest when "Tormato" came out in '78. Trevor Horn seemed to bring the band back to life a bit with "Drama" in '80, an album which I actually still enjoy listening to at times. Here, as producer (apparently he helped out the production a bit on "Drama, too) plus the other Trevor present, a new Yes comes out. No, it's not prog, but so what? The songs here make the rest of the MTV drivel from 1983 pale by comparison. The outake/bonus tracks here are killers, too. They show accurately how Cinema was progressing before eventally morphing back into Yes with Jon Anderson back with his infamous pipes again. I still consider this an important work as Art of Noise and other noted projects coalesced out these sessions. That early digital sound here is now kind of dated, but for some twisted reason my ears still want to hear it.
Report this review (#13707)
Posted Wednesday, June 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars I'm only giving this one a 2 star because they took so much care (so long?) to decide what to do with it and record it (fortunately with Jon Anderson). Very commercial riffs/etc, Rabin's guitar really sounds pedestrian compared to Steve Howe, and the business of making 'rythmn' songs rather than layering melodies really makes the album suffer in comparison to earlier work. By the way, Rabin seems to be full of himself, hmmm, what is he doing now? I must say that Tony Kaye should have stayed in semi-retirement, the keyboard work sounds like it came ouot of a can. All of these comments are for the non- top-40 listener of course. I'm sure the Album-followup tour drew an immense amount of mid-teens, (enough said).

Complete your Yes portfolio with this one, but after tapping your foot to it a few times, you'll find it gathering dust in the loft after a short time.

Report this review (#13709)
Posted Thursday, July 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply put, this is one of Yes' top albums. Many people criticize 90125, but those people just can't handle the idea of Yes doing something DIFFERENT. The fact is, this album is brimming with creativity, brilliant musicianship, cutting-edge production, and the wonderful sunny harmonies that are a key Yes trademark. Owner of a Lonely Heart is a snappy, driving single; Cinema is a mind-blowing prog instrumental; Leave It is an acapella vocal tour-de-force that will leave you smiling from ear to ear. This album shines from start to finish. Is it anything like the all time Yes masterpiece, Close to the Edge? Not at all. But it's equally brilliant.
Report this review (#13710)
Posted Saturday, July 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars I enjoy this album and listen to regularly. For my taste the Cinema/Leave it and Hold On tracks are the best on the record. As a long time Yes fan I look at 90125 and can accept the differences between sound of this album and their earlier material bearing in mind that they were more than 10 years removed from the period that produced The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close to the Edge (arguably their finest works and their defining works). From my perspective this album served more to expand their audience than to expand their musical horizons, but it is still an enjoyable album.
Report this review (#13712)
Posted Thursday, September 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars In 1983, there were: Michael Jackson (still with a lot of success with "Thriller"), Quiet Riot, Van Halen, Lionel Richie,Thomas Dolby, The Police, etc. Song videos in many T.V. channels. The "Golden Age of MTV".In this pop music enviroment, Yes reformed, first as a band called "Cinema". The band "Cinema" was formed in 1982, after White and Squire spent sometime rehearsing with Jimmy Page. Squire and White met Trevor Rabin later, and the 3 decided to form a new band. The first choice as keyboard player was Eddie Jobson, but he declined the invitation because he was busy recording a solo album. Squire then called Tony Kaye, who had been playing and recording with a new version of the band Badfinger. Kaye joined the new band, which was called "Cinema". They recorded some demos, mainly with songs by Trevor Rabin. Atlantic/Atco liked the demos. They started to record an album. Squire invited Anderson in 1983, who said "Yes". Anderson contributed vocals and some lyrics to the new songs recorded by "Cinema". The band changed name to YES. They continued recording the album, but Tony Kaye and Trevor Horn (the producer) were not happy working together, so Kaye left the band to play again with Badfinger during the last months of that band`s career. After Kaye left, some keyboard parts were recorded by Rabin and Horn. Jobson is asked again to join, and he joins the band. He didn`t record anything with YES, but he reheased with them and appeared in the video of "Owner of a lonely heart". Kaye rejoins the band, and YES suggest to Jobson to share the keyboards with Kaye, but Jobson is not interested, and leaves the band after staying with them for about 3 months. The album is released in November 1983, with a single of the song "Owner..." and a video which has most of Jobson`s images cut. This album has some good songs, and it is not bad in comparison to other albums released in 1983. Compared to GENESIS`self-titled album of the same year, this "90125" is much better. Yes, this "90125" is commercial, but with quality. Every song has something good. Trevor Rabin`s guitar is very good, and very different in style from Steve Howe`s (in fact, at the start of the band ASIA, Rabin was invited to join the quartet, but after rehearsing with them for one day Rabin declined the invitation). Trevor Rabin have recorded several solo albums before he joined YES. Some of the songs for his then planned new solo album were recorded for "90125" (there is a Rabin`s album called "90124", released last year, I think, with demos of songs which were recorded for "90125"). My favourite songs from this "90125" album are: "Hold on", "It can happen", "Changes" "Cinema", "Our song" and "Hearts" (the best of all). "Hearts" has two very good guitar solos by Rabin and good keyboards by Kaye. "Leave it" has a lot of influence by Trevor Horn`s productions for other artists in the eighties (he is also credited as co-writer of the song), and I don`t like it very much, but it has interesting vocals, and it also had a video with YES`s members singing the song with their heads pointed to the ground.
Report this review (#13714)
Posted Tuesday, September 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is not as bad as many people say about it.Sure it's pop and it's not the real (much better) Yes music, but it is still very enjoyable.I hated this album and I was very sad when I first heard this album but then I realised that this isn't so bad at all.Trevor Rabin is not Steve Howe that's sure but I don't care.It is a nice album by yes.Not recommended but still worth listening to.Don't overlook this album!
Report this review (#13715)
Posted Thursday, September 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The story of Yes is adventurous and exciting. And it is also because they were not afraid of changes. Fragile is the one, close to the edge is also the only one (one cannot go further than to the very edge), as well as relayer or tormato. That is fascinating about yes, that they provide the amazing array of musical worlds. And 90125 is also unique and perfect. They produce here nine inteligent and juicy songs. I like yes, I like this side of yes, too. Listen without prejudice.
Report this review (#13666)
Posted Monday, October 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The 80's came and Yes survived. Even with Trevor Rabin at the fold. If you listen to a lot of rock that came out in the 80's, very few managed to pull off good material releases. Yes were one of the few. I see no comparison to Asia as other reviewers do, to me the Yes material was always more superior than Asia from a material ' quality' perspective.90125 has some excellent music and some mediocre music too, hence the three stars but songs like ' Changes' ' Leave It' and ' Hearts' rise above the rest. Sure it is way more commercial from Drama backwards but so what the music is good and pleasant enough to indulge in. Good to see Tony Kaye on keyboards again as well.
Report this review (#13717)
Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars This allbum has gotten alot of flack from the Progressive purists. True, it does not have any of those motifs that made YES famous in the 70s, the long mesmerizing suites, the mystical lyrics and the powerful keyboard solos of Wakeman. The album is good on an other level. Trevor Rabin has gotten so much flack from the masses that he is overlooked as musician and songwriter as well. My personal favorite songs are, Cinima and Leave It. Those tunes show that their musical intricacy is still in tact despite the commercial motiffs like Owner Of A Lonley Heart and Hearts. LIke the above rating says it is good but not that important if you are a Prog-Purist
Report this review (#13719)
Posted Saturday, December 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hey come on now this is not 70's YES...But pretty good nonetheless...The prodution is excellent...Does anyone remember the video for owner of a lonely heart?Pretty much blew the doors off the rest of what was played on MTV in '83...Sound was obviously a concern here & it shows Three stars for this one...
Report this review (#13720)
Posted Thursday, January 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars After listening 90125, I started to like Yes music. There are 5 songs were easy to listened, meaning to say ear catching i.e. Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Hold On, It Can Happen, Changes and Our Song. These songs comfort for dance, if you want. Meanwhile the rest City Of Love, Hearts, Cinema and Leave It more difficult to be enjoyed and more complex. Without these songs, may be Yes will be categorized as new wave band, like The Police for instance. When polularity going down, apparently created album compromise with the market does not matter, but idealism should be strongholded. 90125 combined market compromise and idealism.torro-karawang-indonesia
Report this review (#13722)
Posted Wednesday, February 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes it's not Close To The Edge, but it's excellent in a different way. And it's healthy for a band not re-record the same album over and over again. So it had a hit single in it , so what? Why not. The music is still powerful, rich and very cleverly arranged and produced, thanks to the wonderful Trevor Horn. Not a wasted second in there.
Report this review (#13667)
Posted Friday, March 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Started as a new band called Cinema, with trevor Rabin on guitars and the former Yes members Chris Squire, Tony Kaye and Allan White, it was only logical they transformed their name to Yes, when Jon Anderson joined, but their music bore little resemblence to the music we had grown to know as Yes music. Still progressive rock, but with a complete new direction focussed more on mainstream rock, with compositions being more straight forward, comparable to bands like Queen (News Of The World/The Works), Genesis (Invisible Touch), Asia (debut), Rush (late 70's early 80's period), but maintaining some progressive influences, and still recognisable as Yes. They made a smash-hit with Owner Of A Lonely Heart and for many people outside the progressive rock community Yes's best work to date is 90125.

the music is not completely unlike Yes, on Tormato they already started with their transition to more Radio-friendly progressive rock (Release, Release), and also Drama was a prelude for the new direction they were taking. The new guitarist, the south African trevor Rabin had a huge influence on the direction and music of the new Yes, and on this record it works fabulously, also the return of Tony Kaye to Yes works out great.

Basicly 90125 sounds like classic rock, with intelligent writing and very skillfull excecution of the songs. Core elements on the album are Jon's distinct vocals, combined with Chris/Trevor additional vocal lines, Heavy Brian May influenced guitar style, strong bass and drums, and great organ'keyboard play from Tony Kaye.

The album has no bad songs, the best songs include the hitsingle Owner Of A Lonely Heart, The progressive art rock of Changes, Hearts and Cinema, the first two are ballad like songs, while Cinema is a 2 minute instrumental. It Can Happen, and the other songs are all very good also.

If you expect something similar to Yes's early 70's albums, you might feel cheated, but when approached with an open mind, there surely is some good rock to be enjoyed. Rewarded with 4 stars, but only because it's not as progressive as their early years, but not really less good, just different.

Recommended, with a little warning for the prog-purists.

Report this review (#13670)
Posted Monday, March 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars a new line-up, anderson, rabin, squire, kaye and white. This album is the less worse of this new line-up. I like it, it has good songs, it´s not progressive at all, but it sounds really interesting. "Changes", "Cinema" and "Hearts" are really great songs, the rest is nice, maybe the worst is "owner of a lonely heart", maybe because it´s they most known comercial hit. Trevor Rabin made a good guitar job, not as creative and fantastic as steve howe, but it´s nice, a good and interesting change in yes music. Don´t expect too listen something like "close to the edge" or "relayer", this is more 80s rock, but it´s nice. It´s a good record for your "Yes" collection.
Report this review (#13671)
Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars 90125 is always critisized by the devout prog followers as being 80s pop. But it's good 80s pop, and there isn't much of that. However, yes is being used as a tool for a songwriter named Trevor Rabin to release all his songs. Rabin had all these songs before he started working with yes, and jon took a minor spin on the lyrics. It's definetly not bad, but it's NOTHING like the Yes we remember. I suggest The Yes Album, Fragile, and Going for the One if you want an introduction to real Yes music. It seems that there is an entirely different sect of 90125 followers which quite outnumber those of us who actually like prog.

I like it, but I would have liked it 10X more if someone else had done it so I didn't have to see Yes turn away and die from what I loved. The only remotely good release prior to this not done in this same "air" is keys to ascension.

Report this review (#13672)
Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Occording to my copy of the album in the inner sleve notes YES were actually a different band , it quoted. Well this album has a very different sound a Pop Prog sound this time this album took a while to get used to. but I like "Owner of a lonely heart" but "Cinema" is the class one on this album, "It can happen to You" is also a great track. Although I prefer Cinema's version of the song yes I said "CINEMA" it's a bonus track on the newly re-issue. Prog Rock is gone but have done a effort to keep up with the 80s Market, unfortunately these things have got to be done. Or they will lose sales and get criticised and nobody wants that. All in all this album has good tracks , fans it's up to you. I'll give it 4 out of 5.

Yes become a full AOR outlet by now, but the after the album "Big Generator" etc, they went back to their Prog roots, and these days Yes are better than ever before!!!

Report this review (#13726)
Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars arrrggghhh !!!

When i listen the first lyrics of "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" and the pop-sound, i couldn"t believe it. All the magical competences of the band was out. The band was dying... Trevor Rabin was a generic guitarist and didn't possess the genius of Howe. The songs were bad, poor, and it was completely choking for a band like Yes to make a pop album as pitiful as that.

To be honest, i found even "Love Beach" from ELP was better.

Yes without Howe is not Yes, sorry.

Report this review (#13674)
Posted Monday, March 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars This disco pop rock album brought Yes lots of commercial success, but the line-up with Trevor Rabin did not create in my opinion anything successful in the field of art music. I believe this album was produced well and the songs probably please many people, but do not bring redemption to the deeper needs of mystic hungry mind through it's aural possibilities. I documented the era started by this release with an unofficial live triple vinyl, which I found from a flea market, wrapped up to appropriate Boris Vallejo album ripoff covers. And I confess danced awkwardly to the hit song on this at a local teenager drunk discohall. For myslef better to stick pre 1980's albums, but I'm happy for anybody liking this album; the amount of joy brought for mankind matters more than it's compactibility to my own personal tastes.
Report this review (#13676)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is brilliant IMHO! Trevor Rabin is a breath of fresh air. Although I'm pleased that Steve Howe is back with the band now, this was a great alternative to what we're used to having. Alan's drumming is cool, and this is DEFINITELY one of my fave Yes albums. A lot of my yeshead friends have heard this, and not one bad word has been spoken about this album. This would show Rush how 80's prog SHOULD be played!
Report this review (#13728)
Posted Sunday, April 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm torn here. The five star rating says that the album must be a 'masterpiece of progressive music', which this certainly is not. It is masterpiece of rock. Many fans resent this album (and Trevor Rabin) for steering Yes into more pop-rock territories, but the way I see it is that this album was not originally intended to be a Yes album; the fact that it contained four former members still does not make it Yes. It was originally intended to be 'Cinema, and that's what I see it as. It still has some Yes-esque touches, but the heart of the album lies in pop-rock that became so popular in the eighties. If you are a fan of 80s music such as Asia, you'll love this. At first, I was pessimistic about this album, but when I saw it for 4 Euros whilst holidaying in Germany, I thought I'd give it a try. After the first familiar track (Owner of a Lonely Heart), it came straight in with 'Hold On', and then it struck me: this album is sheer brilliance. There is not one weak track on here, not even the two-minute 'Cinema'. If you're a big fan of Yes' older works, I'd steer clear, but if not, you'll regret not buying it. Prog it most certainly is not, but a masterpiece? Most definetly.
Report this review (#13731)
Posted Friday, May 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars there's something in this world called "selling out" and it occurs when for some reason...great bands decide that they want to "please the masses" personally, as a musician, i've never understood this. on this album...the beauty and magnificance that was "yes" the real yes...was lost. certain people involved in this, trevor horn, and trevor rabin....they aren't what you would call..."prog artists" don't get me wrong, as a guitarist, trevor rabin was great, tho...not a steve howe by any stretch. trevor can look at that guy and see he's just not a "deep" person with the ideas that would promote a real yes album. eddie offord was the man behind the scenes when yes was at their best. 90125 is just aweful...there's one good song on there in "cinema" and's not even that much of a song. owner of a lonely heart...i never know what to say about this song, other than....popular. every person that i have met in my life, when i tell them yes is my fav group....only knows that song, and that is a VERY SAD THING. yes is so much more than owner, and for this to be their best known just terrible. i've always wanted to sit down and ask jon or chris, what exactly they were thinking when the 80's go from such wonderful music to this...i will never understand it. in fact, in my opinion, after drama up until the ladder, most of yes' new stuff regretablly just isn't good. i don't reccomend this album, unless you are into popular sounding love songs, and the average everyday sounding music, cause that's what this is all about. yes were about pushing the envelope, and doing something no one had ever done before...but they fell from grace here. jon always said, "music is a spiritual thing, a danceable thing" well...what happened jon? there was nothing spiritual or danceable on this album to me.
Report this review (#13732)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars 19% says "masterpiece of progressive music"! Come on guys you must be joking! "Owner of Lonely Heart" is good pop song and that's it. Caput! The rest should be flushed down the toilet. One of the best examples (along with "Asia" the 1st) how deep down some old prog rockers fell during the 1980s, trying to catch with commercial mainstream. Shame. After this one I never bought any later YES albums.
Report this review (#35210)
Posted Saturday, June 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars This is the WORST YES ALBUM IN THE BANDS HISTORY!!! I am being absolutely serious when I am saying this, and this is coming from a HUGE YES fan. With the absense of guitar master Steve Howe and keyboardist Rick Wakman, this change in lineup is one too many.

90125 is missing essential elements of YES... the complex themes in the music, the prophetic lyrics, and the overall feeling of astonishment that devoted fans feel when they finish a song is gone. It's all gone. I relied on YES to make me feel better, to feel loved, and I always thought people like Jon, Steve and Chris were touched by God. This album is a disgrace to everything YES, and the very first time I listened to it, I cried.

Infact, every album after the brilliant Going For the One is bad. Tormato and Drama were horrible as well, but 90125 goes a step further, and spits on the face of Fragile and Tales From Topographic Oceans. I am very, very sorry to inform other YES fans about this album, but if you truely want to do yourself a favor, steer clear from 90125. Only buy it if you absolutely have to have every single YES album ( like me).

Buy The Ladder or Magnification instead, both great new YES albums.

Report this review (#35214)
Posted Saturday, June 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars I decide to write a review to this album in the same time I discover the obscure recordings of... Peter Banks... I know, it's crazy to think to 90125 by listening to Banks, but... I'm sad, so sad... Since Drama, the name of YES doesn't mean anything left. Why YES??? Because the name just keep an historical signification, because several members came, left and came back... but the trademark is definitively gone of their studio albums. But even if YES has a signification just because of the presence of several former musicians, NONE of all the musicians that play for YES recorded on all the albums of YES... (as Squire doesn't appear on ABWH album but this album is considered as a YES album by the members of YES, and on UNION, he just play on his songs and make backing vocals, nearly just to say he recorded lol) So I don't search some sense anymore... I just listen to an album and I enjoy it or not. And at least, just two songs are touching me... Changes and Hearts. Everything else is nothing but fashion effect, and I'm hurt to see how YES is assimilated to Owner of a lonely heart ... Otherwhere, their live prestations since the reunion with Keys of ascension are the best. But I still can't understand why they often close their concerts with Good people, then OOALH and then just after ... Roundabout.
Report this review (#37952)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars One very single tip for anyone who wants to check it out this album: forget that this is an Yes album, do not compare with another Yes works , because the idea is completely different here! You will not find the complexity of Wakeman/Moraz or even Downes solos or textures. Here the keyboard player is Tony Kaye, from the original line-up (although there is a lot of keyboards from Trevor Rabin himself and even Edie Jobson ) who is a very limited instrumentist for Yes parameters but can be a very good player of...pop-rock. Just to have an idea, in the 9012 tour Yes used a second keyboard player under the stage to suport Kaye performance. In this album even Chris Squire's bass has pop-rock aproach! Who heard his solo in the end of "Does it really happen" in Drama or his work in any other Yes previous albums will not regognise him in 90125. Alan White? He got the picture and played ...pop-rock drums ! Jon Anderson? Sometimes he is even the 2nd voice .He came later to the party , when the record was almost ready.

So, it is easy to understand why so many Yes fans dislike 90125: they bought the record to listen tipical Yes music and tipical Yes music is something that 90125 does not offer at all! 90125 is a pop-rock oriented album with marvelous Trevor Horn production , good compositions and arrangements, which has Trevor Rabin as the front creative man along with 4 Yes ex-members.The record was not intended to be a Yes album, but from a band called Cinema, with Chris Squire,Alan White , Eddie Jobson(ex- Jethro Tull,UK,Roxy Music )or Tony Kaye and ... Trevor Rabin. Well, Yes fans treats Rabin with arrogance nowadays, but he was one of the most disputed guitar player of the early eighties, a shiny promisse that was invited to play with Jimy Page, Keith Emerson and Asia,but choose to be with Alan White and Chris Squire when called by them to join a band intended to be called Cinema. For those who says that Rabin is not a good guitar player,just check his performances in live apearances with old Yes material stuffs ! Or Chris Squire and Alan White opinion about him! Really a great guitarrist, with intentional Rock aproach intead of the classical style of Steve Howe.

And was Rabin the key for 90125 . He had lots of material ready at that time and his way of work was completely different than Yes. While Yes used to spent days discussing where they should put or remove a single note, Rabin came with the song ready for record with not so many discussions .What a change! Of course ,this sound could never have the complexity or the aproach of previous Yes works! It was intensively different . "Owner of a lonely heart" was something that Yes was trying to achieve since roundabout - a radio hit! If you recall ,even Roundabout was not properly a "radio hit".For the 1st time Yes was #1 with a single and they really enjoied the recently achieved popstar status."Hold On" can bring you to very early Yes times , but the best moments cames with "It can Happen" and "Changes". The rest of the album is all pop-rock ,very well produced indeed, having "Leave it"as the best moment. No virtuosism, no big solos, no intrincated arrangements ,just good music very well executed!

Veredict- 90125 is a very good album of ... "pop-rock" , better than any other contemporany ones ,but maybe not enough for many Yes fans. I am not included in this list . For me 90125 is a real party and i really like it! Believe me , a very good album of pop-rock is not easy to achieve! Just check the Yes next album after "90125", the ordinary "Big Generator" or the later infame "Union" and you will see how a very bad pop-rock album can be easily done.

Report this review (#37962)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Welcome to the three star era (the Trevor Rabin era.)

After the Drama lineup split up, Yes looked like it was never coming back. Howe and Downes were riding high after the incredible reception that the first Asia album had received. Anderson had released a decent solo album (Animation) and was in a productive collaboration with Vangelis. After the failure of the Paris sessions, Wakeman was devoting himself to his solo career, releasing five albums in three years. Yes had scattered to the four corners of the earth, never to return.

Squire and White were trying to form a new band around the old Yes rhythm section (originally called Cinema.) South African import Trevor Rabin (whom the record company had been trying to attach to various projects) was brought in and most of what would eventually become 90125 was developed from songs he had been working on. Keyboard player Tony Kaye, who had been with Yes up until Fragile, was brought on board (and quit and rejoined, which leaves us with the question of how much of the work on this album was and how much was Horn and/or Rabin covering for him.) And somewhere, somehow, a lightbulb clicked on, and Anderson was asked to supply vocals, despite the fact that Rabin was a competent vocalist in his own right. After all that, how could you not call this product Yes?

90125 represents a considerable change in the style of Yes, though, and as such is disliked by many old-time Yes fans. Yes no longer has that progressive sound that it managed to keep even through the merger with the Buggles on Drama. This is basically a collection of edgy pop songs. Strangely enough, this album was not villified like the other Rabin-era albums. Yes fans saw enough progressive elements in the long ballad Hearts and the technically complicated Changes to hope that Yes would be coming back to the progressive fold, energized and revitalized, in short order. Boy, were they wrong!!!!

Probably the most controversial part of this album is the idea that in bringing Yes a hit single and bunch of slick pop songs, Trevor Rabin somehow saved Yes from dissolution. That's about half right. Without Rabin's contributions there would not have been a single or an album that caught the public's attention. But we could just as easily claim that Anderson saved Yes by returning to the fold and keeping the Yes franchise alive.

This is not a bad album. Probably Rabin's most important contribution to Yes was that he managed to keep Yes from releasing anything really crappy in his tenure (except for the Union album.) If there aren't as many instrumental high points on the albums he contributed to, there also aren't nearly as many low points. And vocally, Rabin and Anderson worked together extremely well: the vocals of the Rabin era are the best that Yes ever had.

Owner of a Lonely Heart: I really hate this song. I really, really hate it. Yes doing dance music is an abomination before the gods. The only way I can listen to this is to listen to the Trevor Horn contributions. Geez, he put that sound there? Is that Horn doing that backing vocal? Listen to what Horn is doing with left and right balance on that solo. Trevor Horn really enhanced his reputation as a producer on this album, and it shows in Owner, even if you can't stand the song.

Hold On: A competent if unexceptional song.

It Can Happen: Below Average. This one wouldn't sound too out of place if it had been released on Drama, but it wouldn't have been one of the best tracks.

Changes: Good. Again, production values really punch this one up, but there was a good core here to work with from the beginning. And this one sounded so good when they would do it live.

Cinema: Good. A short instrumental piece (with the original band name) where White and Squire really show off their stuff.

Leave It: This almost sounds like a novelty song. Of course, it is designed to show off the vocal talents, but cheezy guitar and backing vocals ruin it for me.

Our Song: This is my favorite track on the album. Anderson takes a Rabin track and manages to make it his own here.

City of Love: I like this ttrack too. Probably the edgiest song from the Rabin era.

Hearts: Average. A long (perhaps too long) ballad that manages to salvage itself by building to a realy good ending. This is a hallmark of the longer tracks during the Rabin era. They don't start out as much but they manage to get somewhere worthwhile by the end of them.

Report this review (#40255)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Really, one of the more unfairly maligned items in the Yes catalogue. The band nets a #1 single and suddenly all their old fans turn against them. Which is perfectly foolish as, on its own terms, 90125 is a perfectly fine album.

The band clearly were trying to transform their sound into a marketable way, reeling in South African pop-star Trevor Rabin on guitar and Trevor Horn (who, of course, already sang on DRAMA) as producer. Yet they managed to keep enough of their old prog-rock identity to produce something that was at once modern and in keeping with the Yes legacy.

Yes, much of the album is AOR. But the thing that separates this from, say, Asia is that it's an album of good rock tunes, operating in the AOR mode, as opposed to an album of half-assed arena rockers with proggy fanfares tacked on as an afterthought. Lots of prog snobs think it's cool to dump on "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" and while it's true that the song has been overplayed into obsolescence (not their fault, blame "classic rock" radio programmers and their complete lack of imagination), it is by no means a bad song. It's an EXCELLENT rock song, not just for Yes, but for anyone. Of the MTV era, it deserved to be a #1 hit a lot more than other tunes of the era (certainly more so than novelty trash like "I Come From A Land Down Under").

Definitely a much livelier song-oriented album than the lamentable TORMATO, from the "cigarette lighter" anthem "Hold On" to the driving, semi-a'cappella "Leave It". (oh, if only Gentle Giant "sold out" with such panache!) And there are definite and inspired moments of prog-rock, from the intricate "Changes" to the old-fashioned Yes of "Hearts". I thought that 90125 was aging with grace. It was a compromise, sure, but it was an agreeable, well thought-out compromise. Like Genesis' DUKE, it showed a fascinating paradigm for prog rock bands blending their 70's style prog with something newer and fresher.

Cool album. Too bad it wasn't to last.

Report this review (#43155)
Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars An album that was not intended to by under the name of Yes. Trevor Rabin had been maligned because of that. This music was for a project called cinema, but the other members wanted to change it into a Yes Album instead. the result is an album that doesn't sound like anything that could be expected from Yes. This is instead a good pop album with absolutely no prog elements. The guitar here is more generic and metal-ish, while the keyboardist Kaye seems to have forgotten his hammond organ.

Owner of a Lonely Heart begins the album, and without a doubt, this massive hit is the strongest song of the album. It begins with the electric percussion, the famous (or infamous) simple guitar riff, and the orchestra-like punches. The verses and choruses are extremely straightforward, but they have a good beat, nice acoustic work, and great melodies. The short drum solo is extremely fun to listen to. Unfortunately, the guitar solo is not very pleasant at all.

Other highlights are The rocking "Changes", the short instrumental that won a grammy (Cinema), and the song holding complex vocal harmonies (Leave it). The rest are AOR songs that are nothing too special.

This album if it is not seen as Yes selling out, is a very enjoyable fun listen that brought many new fans to the band.

My Grade : D+

Report this review (#43245)
Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album was released during the dark years of progressive rock music where the genre was about to become a legacy as many pioneers of prog went pop or swept away by new wave / punk era. YES also one of the bands that went into pop bandwagon through this album that made the old fans - the Fragilers, the Close To The Edgeers and The Topograhicers - by surprise with radio hit that no one had ever imagined the band with prog reputation like YES went this way. Nothing wrong at all with the music but most people could not understand why YES was doing it this way.

On the other hand, I have to admit that through this album YES became much more popular as the listeners base had expanded tremendously. Many of my friends who knew YES from "Owner of A Lonely Heart" which became radio hit at that time finally collected previous albums of YES. What surprising was that most of them were very welcome with Yes oldies. I usually recommended "Fragile" after they knew YES from 90125 album. It's probably songs like "Roundabout", "Southside of The Sky" were in an upbeat tempo. I'm happy that many people know YES and this album was a huge commercial success for the band, with millions of copies sold worldwide.

Musically, this is not a bad album at all. Most tracks are accessible especially due to straight forward structure for most of songs featured here. "Changes" is a very good track with stunning guitar work by Trevor Rabin combined with great keyboard layers by Tony Kaye. The composition, melody and harmony are really good. The short track "Cinema" us one of my favorites even though the follow-up song "Leave It" is too poppy.

Even though this album does not represent the best of YES composition, but this album has given an excellent milestone for the band's career in music industry. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#43255)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Theres little Question this CD is great, at the time it was made progressive rock was almost dead (thanks to punk and new wave) it is great albums like this that kept the progressive flame alive, each song is timeless it has a few of yes`s big hits and even has some odd time signatures in some of the songs this CD has it all . For the new Yes fan this is the place to start. I consider this to be some of their greatest material for many reasons ... primarily its artistic direction and good clean production.
Report this review (#43279)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the debacle called 'Tormato', the band needed a shot of new blood. In came Horn and Downes, out came 'Drama'. An album that just breathed new life into a band slowly deflating and becoming an also-ran. Okay, now what? How does one progress? How about if we disband and form another band with a whole bunch of new guys? Wait, why not just throw away some old baggage, bring in a new songwriter/guitarist and call it YES. AHHH, vunderbar! Folks, please use an open mind. The band was running out of ideas. 'Tormato' just about buried the band. 90125, taken as a whole is what progression is all about. Sure, it's not 'Close To The Edge', it's not 'Fragile', that was another era. The boys found out that with a little help, (Mr Rabin) they can come up with some inspired play. "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" , "Changes", "Leave It" all stick in your head for days. And if you listen closely, you'll hear that touch of 70's prog. It's just sheened for 80's ears. Anyway, the instrumental "Cinema" is a throwback and the last song, "Hearts" has all the elements of classic YES, but with that 80's sheen. Why would any musician with any kind of talent want to record the same old thing over and over? The wouldn't, they couldn't. Not if they care. 90125 is fantastic piece of music. Masterpiece? Maybe not on a website that focuses on a particular sound and if said piece of music doesn't adhere to 'that' sound, it's not prog. But I'll be damned if this one is not classified as excellent. And it is.
Report this review (#43779)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Occasionally, perhaps only once or twice in a lifetime, an album of music is writen, recorded and released that remains as powerful and to the point over twenty years after it is originally released as it must have been upon original release. In the case of YES: 90125, it is album written and performed by a group of very talented muscians combined at perhaps the peak of their muscial prowess, and consiting of music that was not exactly what was what they were known for. Witness, if you will, the collaboration of Chis Squire, Alan White, Tervor Rabin, Jon Anderson, and Tony Kaye with producer Trevor Horn. Recently, for the small sum of $8.88 retail I was fortunate to pick up this rerelease/remaster and must ask myself, how could I have left this outstanding album unnoticed all these years. And, indeed wondered if this collection of music was truely over twenty years old. Not only is there no bum tracks here, but every song is a masterpiece in its own right. In particular, "Owner of a lonely heart" remains as haunting and timeless today as is was over 20 years ago. Perhaps it is partially because no new music style has come along that even comes close to what was being done by groups such as YES in the early 1980s. Perhaps it is because even those old war horses of Rock and Roll that are still around have totally lost their music creativity. The true brilliance of songwriting lyrics and harmonies is further exhibited in "Leave it." Those with any doubts need only listen to the acapella version as presented on the 2004 rerelease of this masterpiece of an album. While YES has undergone countless personel changes, each producing a different sound and music style of its own, this combination of past and somewhat more current members combine to give us an album of truely outstanding music, definitely worth much more than the small price I paid. For those of us who feel that music creativity has definitely been at at standstill for many years, I recommend a listen to this timely classic. For me, it has gotten my music creative juices flowing for the first time in many a year.
Report this review (#46368)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars You can't last 20 plus years with out your sound changing with the times. Sometimes it is smooth but most of the time it is rough. Me being a YES fan and a Prog fan in general I take this album as a transition album and if you look at it that way it is not that bad. The sound is like 77-78 time frame with the pop turned up 10 fold so if you are not an 80's fan in general I would warn you that you might be disappointed with this album. If you are new to YES start off at The Yes Album and work you way up this will tell you when you get to the later years if you care for this sound.
Report this review (#47704)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is so underrated. 90125 is not Yes's best, but it is still a masterpiece. Anyone that has reviewed this album saying "ONE STAR BCAUSE OWNER OF A LNOLY HAERT SUX!!!!1!!" should not only give the song another listen, but also the entire album. Owner Of a Lonely Heart is a great song. It isn't my favorite song off the album though. "Changes" has an unbeleivable intro, and I love how Anderson sings the chorus. My second favorite song on the album is "Leave It" followed by "It Can Happen". The rest of the songs are "All Right" like Hold On, City of Love, and Our Song. "Cinema" is a nice 2 minute instrumental song, too. "Hearts" is probably the weakest song on the album, but I still like it, it has a nice chorus. Anyway, 5 Stars because every song is okay, if not great. 90125 is my third favorite Yes album after Close To The Edge and Fragile.
Report this review (#48178)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars It's great Pop Rock, far far away from progressive past. Of course, "owner of a lonely heart" is for someone, the most pop and catchy Yes song. Really, for the progressive listeners its a boring, tedious and disappointment album. The comercial influence its remarkable, it's a shame, but alway, if you like, whatever can be provoke encomium.
Report this review (#48755)
Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not as crummy as you could pretend.

I'm wondering why people are so harsh about 90125 when Genesis, Jethro Tull and Emerson Lake and Palmer gave birth to so much turd in the 80's. I know the 80's were pretty rough and ingrate on the prog dinosaurs of the 70's, but from all the stuff from those bands 90125 is by far some of the best you can find (except for the King Crimson trilogy).

With it's exceptionnaly catchy riff, Owner of a Lonely Heart is not only one THE single of the 80's, but a very successful blend of pop and prog. Man, back in the dayz of '83, I didn't heard much complain towards this album. Guess there's a running gag about that album.

At last, Changes is to me one of the best songs to put on the mantlepiece with the other classics. It's a vibrant song, full of emotion but it's not putting aside the rock aspect. Anderson's voice has all the goodies that made my heart beat on And You And I for instance.

Of course it's not the best but far from the 1.5 stars and such. Come on man, search a bit in that era: in the same year you had IQ, Pendragon, Saga, Triumph and Marillion...not ALL classics and equal interest in my opinion.

So with it's superb production, enormous keyboard work and surprising catchyness, 90125 is not half bad!

Report this review (#60680)
Posted Sunday, December 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 90125 was released after a period that saw YES lay dormant for nearly two years, up to that point, nobody really knew what was to become of the band, Were they finished? Enter Trevor Rabin, singer/songwriter and guitar virtuoso that also had a knack for impeccable production. So now the band had become a three piece, consisting of Rabin, Squire and White, soon afterwards they were joined by none other than original Keyboard player Tony Kaye. Squire and Rabin were initially set to share vocals and the band would be called 'Cinema'. Jon Anderson was called up to guest on a few tracks to spark a bit of interest and to add his unique touch to the vocal delivery. Anderson then became a full time member and with him back in the fold there was no other option but to call the band YES again. So how does the material sound now?

Well looking back at Yes during this period it's obvious they wouldn't win any beauty contests, but the music they recorded still sounds incredible. The album is a cohesive and powerful effort. Highlights include the 'Roundabout of the 80s' Owner of a Lonely Heart, with its distinctive Rabin guitar riff, state of the art production and dazzling guitar solo, a whole new generation of Yes fans were spawned. This was also where most fans of previous Yes incarnations left off. However, 90125 had material that could easily match, if not better the well known Owner of a Lonely Heart. 'Changes', the more accepted track among prog fan, has an excellent percussion led intro and is possibly the strongest track on the record, great guitar work again from Rabin. The short yet breathtaking instrumental 'Cinema', sounds stunning and packs quite a punch over just two minutes, winning a grammy in 1984 for best instrumental. 'Leave it' has an odd vocal intro that reminds me of 'Knots' by Gentle giant, throughout the album the vocals are excellent between Squire, Rabin and Anderson. 'City of Love' is also not a bad track, another rocker with a nice chorus. The albums closer 'Hearts' is one of the greatest songs Yes did during the 80s, melodic, beautiful and touching. As the song builds it almost becomes a rocker at one point, but towards the end of the (almost) 8 minute track, it dies down and ends gracefully. Fantastic.

It's easy to pass this album off as Yes trying to become commercial, but the album sounds very natural, nothing sounds forced, the material is excellent and it still sounds fresh and exciting today. Fans of all sorts of music should give this album a try, it is much more 'ROCK' rock than 'PROGRESSIVE' rock, yet the quality of the album should shine through to the open minded music fan, prog or not.

As a progressive rock album I would give this 3 stars, as an album regardless of genre I would give this 4 stars, so i'll meet in the middle and award 90125 3.5 stars. Very much an 80s album, but one of the better albums of the 80s.

Report this review (#67985)
Posted Thursday, February 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wonderful album by Yes, this time with the distinctive guitaring of Trevor Rabin providing a solid, study backing. I don't have the same problem with the album that many of the other reviewers seem to. It's commerical. It's's polished. Big frickin' deal. People; I don't care if you're part of a necro-sounding black metal band; you DON'T get on a record label to not sell records. It does NOT happen, at all. I don't care if you're on Epic, Atlantic, Roadrunner, or a minor label like Inside Out or Laser's Edge. As far as the music is concerned: OWNER OF A LONELY HEART is (IMO) a great song, with an excellent vocal (naturally) by Anderson, who seems to be (moreso on this record than the others I've heard) an inexhaustible supply of vocal melodies and great vocal arrangements. It even has a killer (IMO) guitar solo, with Rabin going buck wild yet keeping things melodic and tasteful. I also happen to like CINEMA, which won a Grammy in '84. In fact, I can't find a single thing wrong with this record. I can't even take issue with the production; Horn did a great job. It's an immediate record, which shows itself quickly and unrepetantly. Whether you choose to go along for the ride or not is up to you. I was tempted to only give it 3 or 4 stars, but...screw it...when the music is this good, I refuse to be a hater and blast it for not sounding like "classic Yes". 5 stars all the way.
Report this review (#69347)
Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars Lightyears after my then last Yes album (YesSongs) i got 90125 and couldn`t believe my ears. 9 songs with some good ideas within but without any clear direction, kinda lightweighted Asia clone with Andersons voice. The only songs which made a deep impact on me were Changes & Cinema, but not through proggers view, Changes is a perfect Asia style song with some Dire Straits elements while Cinema reminds me on early Genesis (w. Gabriel).
Report this review (#71396)
Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars You have to get past the seventies Yes albums and the Asia-like qualities of the day to see what what has actually come about of this sometimes exhillerating album.The starkness of "City of Love",the unsinkable attitude of "Our Song",the whole Football-rally we're-the-winners sound of it.Do not be fooled by the pristine recording techniques of circa 1983,as some of the shine here is real.The album as a whole is played out as a series of stories,and was crafted in a mindset that it does not matter what anyone is making.This is not a Toto album.The unfortunate clarity of some of its bells and whistles only serves as a backdrop to the larger picture.Dare I say that "It Can Happen" contains soulfulness?Or that the rolicking rythym of "Leave It" just sound good enough to play again? This is not an all-purpose album,but it contrast to today's prevelant cynicism,this peice of escapism is sometimes a welcome relief,and that IS what Rock'n'Roll is all about.
Report this review (#71415)
Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's all been said already -- Although this is not what we usually connect with the name Yes, this album is a really good stand-alone effort.

The problem is that this is pop music, and as I see it, pop music is like a stone throw -- it either hits or misses. This one hit me, and it hit me hard! :P I don't know what it is, but you know ... these incredibly catchy tunes, the energy, the beautiful vocal harmonies, etc., etc., - it's just perfect! Although I really not usually love "perfect" music, this is just ... wow! I love it! The thing with pop music is that it is easy listening, and, you know, sometimes you feel like you just need something like this. I needed it at that time, and, occasionally, I still do!

So if you haven't heard this album and you're considering to buy it, I can't give you any really sensible recommendation. (...but when did musicians become sensible?) If you would like to hear something really different from the typical Yes, and you don't close your ears immediately when you hear something which is not as challenging to the ears as typical prog... (you may for example be the type with an image to maintain as "the alternative guy" :P) ... well, what are you waiting for? Excellent pop tunes created and performed by legendary prog guys RIGHT HERE! :D

Report this review (#74661)
Posted Tuesday, April 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars First of all, being a huge fan of the 70' area of Yes, i must say that this album is not as bad as it looks. I definitly say that if this album didn't came as popular as it became, i would't have put a ear on the band, and i don't think i would have wanted to go and listen to their way better and insteresting catalog of the 70's. So for me, Owner Of A Lonely Heart was a starting point. What that album is for me, after having listen to all of their album, is well dam record and produced pop oriented Yes record. I really like the songs Changes, It can Happen, Leave It and of course the piece of resistence: Heart. So if i feel to listen to something a little lither, i prefer a Yes pop album to all the crap that is out there. In my point of view, Yes as done way more crappy album than this one and with Steve Howe on guitar non the less (Ognion and Open "Close" your Eyes "Ear") + I prefer 90125 way better than the Genesis comercial discs or worse... GTR and ASIA. So o.k. 90125 comercial but i still feel the Yes sound on it and the production is remarkeble for it's time. Nothing in those days sounded like Owner Of A Lonely Heart. In conclusion, i still think that this album is what made Yes carry on after that for our listening pleasure, especially the last couple of tours.
Report this review (#76527)
Posted Friday, April 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars As it is quite evident from most of the previous reviews, this is one of the most controversial albums in the history of prog - and rightly so. Yes go pop? Yes go DISCO?!? Horrorshock! Legions of faithful fans of one of the milestones of '70s prog felt let down, even betrayed, when their favourite band chose a distinctly different path from what they were accustomed to. No matter that Yes' previous effort (1980's "Drama"), though excellent from a musical point of view, had obviously suffered from the absence of Jon Anderson's legendary vocals - Yes doing a track that would become a disco hit was something not to be borne.

We all know what happened to the various members of the band and how this album - different from the rest even down to the title and sleeve design - came to be. The question is, is it so awful as the many 1-star-reviews here purport it to be, or does it have any saving graces? Did Yes really sell out, or did they rather go for something which would be more in tune with the decade, and at the same time not completely oblivious of their past? Personally, I tend towards the second hypothesis. This does not mean that the band were averse to making a bit more money than before; however, this album was also a way to get more people to listen to Yes and possibly explore their back catalogue - something which indeed happened.

Having been recorded in the hedonistic, appearance-loving '80s, "90125" is sleeker and more polished than its predecessors, but not as shallow as the output of other bands in the same period. Beyond the choruses and the disco-ish beat of hit single "Owner of a Lonely Heart", there is a hard, metallic edge to this album, which is especially evident in tracks like "Changes" and "City of Love". The much-maligned Trevor Rabin may not be as classically-minded and sophisticated as Steve Howe (who will always be very difficult to replace), being much more of a hard rock guitar hero - but he's undeniably a more than competent songwriter. Moreover, he's also got a strong singing voice - reminding me at times of such greats as Greg Lake or Steve Walsh - which complements Jon Anderson's higher, airier tones perfectly. As a matter of fact, the vocal harmonies on this album are quite stunning, even though they may not be to everyone's taste (let's not forget that Yes' s third vocalist, Chris Squire, has got quite a respectable voice in his own right) - as shown by "Leave It", another very successful track.

The album's closer, the 7-minute-plus "Hearts", is the one song which could have definitely come straight from their '70s output. It's not my favourite, as I find it a bit heavy going, but it's undeniably a bonus for those who are longing for more 'traditional' fare. I'm also not very keen on "Our Song", a standard Anderson number; while the harder-edged "Hold On" and the intense "Changes" (with a fantastic intro and great vocals by both Anderson and Rabin) are much more to my taste, even though they are a clear departure from the band's more typical style.

Obviously, this review won't make the album's haters change their mind, which is a good thing, as everyone is entitled to their own opinions. As a longtime Yes fan, I clearly prefer "Fragile" or "Close to the Edge", but I've never found this album to be the abomination that it's widely held to be - not to mention that I vastly prefer it to the much poppier offerings of Asia and Genesis of the same period.

Report this review (#78240)
Posted Monday, May 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Allright guys,

this album isn't bad but it isn't really convincing. It has some good appendages, but somehow the ideas that distinguished Yes in the 70's and today, are missing in generell. I don't want to misconceive that "Owner Of A Lonely Heart", "Hold On" or "Hearts" are some really catchy tunes, but the only song that might be progresive is "Cinema" and that song is too short for my taste. Which song I really disliked was "City Of Love" because it is really wishy-washy. 90125 is an acceptable pop-album, but nothing more, it has nothing to do with progressive rock and has no parts which astonish you, like I said, no real ideas.

2 stars...

Report this review (#80714)
Posted Thursday, June 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars 90125

90125 is Yes's eleventh studio album and was released in 1983. It was the first album for Trevor Rabin in Yes, also for the first time after Jon Anderson left the band in 1979. Also, it was the album to feature Tony Kaye, the first or original keyboardist. This version of Yes actually is different with the "normal" Yes, since Jon Anderson had left the band before this, basically it was "not that Yes", but it was another Yes. So just by looking at these changes, you probably could imagine what will the album like.

Well actually, this album is not as great as Tales From Topographic Oceans, Relayer or Close To The Edge. In fact, I believe that this album is the border of the classic Yes and newer Yes. The songs on the album are just "not-that-Yes-prog". Also, until now, I still don't know why they did this, seems they had changed from a master progressive giants into a pop commercial band (no offence).

On this album, there is absolutely no such thing like epic song, great solo, progressive time signature or things like that. I don't know whether I have to be happy or what, but this album was the most success album commercially by Yes. It was also the album to reach number 1 on US chart. The song lengths are about 4 to 6 minutes, which I consider is not very good, cause then the band wouldn't be able to experiment or improvise. Also, just like I said before, the songs are very poppy to be Yes's songs, lack of progressiveness, what a really disappointing album. I think I don't have to go in depth to each song, since most of the songs have the same structure, 4/4 time signature, pop style, "verse chorus verse chorus" structure and lack of progressiveness.

In the end I can only give two stars (sorry for die hard fans!). But I believe even Yes die hard fans also don't really appreciate this album, as those people who know the real Yes won't appreciate this album as high as the classic Yes. I know that every band has to have an experiment on their musical style, but this album is just not for me. Or maybe, Yes took their musical style far too different, which I consider is bad.

Peace Love Unity and Respect!!

Report this review (#84513)
Posted Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars The eighties presented us with bad hair styles, plastic earrings on girls, all white dresses and a lot of bad bad commercially driven music. The eighties cultural scenario was driven by the artists' desparate attempt to capture the mainstream American market. No wonder why bands like Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull et al tried to copy bands like Cars. The album 90125 should be taken in the context of the 'new-wave' eighties. In addition, Yes had the strong influence of Trevor Rabin in this album and the follow up albums. Plus, the story behind making of this album (that Squire and White approached Anderson for vocals in their newly formed band Cinema) actually tells us that its all a brand new stuff. Its not really Yes. This is the album where Yes performed like mainstream rockers. If you do not know anything about Yes history, you might think this is a superb rock album. The opening track Owner of a lonely heart is Yes's only true US chart topper and it is still heard by Yes and non-Yes fans. This song has recently been used in a Hollywood flick Breaking Up. Owner of a lonely heart also came out in the MTV along with a music video. It was rather odd for Yes. Changes, leave it, Hearts are some good highlights of this album. However the remaining songs are not too bad, not too great. If you can accept Yes as a "good rock band" for this album-- you will like it. But if you even expect anything like CTTE or even Drama, you might want to trash this. Its a good specimen of a supergroup performing mainstream rock.
Report this review (#84520)
Posted Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars "90125 " is Yes's transition into the realm of pop/rock music, it also heralds the arrival of the invocative Trevor Rabin. Weather you like it or not, Trevor got Yes back onto the high road with this album, in particular the "Owner of a Lonely Heart" single which went number 1 in the US for quite a long time. Yes basically loses all it's prog elements if Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman aren't in the bands, which can be proven by this album and the next few that followed. Luckily Steve and Rick re joined the band and made some very good albums reminiscent of their legendary period. As for this album, well let's just say it isn't that bad. Even though it is not progressive there are some nice songs such as "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Changes", "Hold on" and "Leave it". One Reflection there isn't really anything terrible on this album. When compared to most other drivel that forced its way onto the music scene, "90125" is very good. The Vocal harmonies on "Leave it" are a highlight of this album.

1. Owner Of A Lonely Heart (3/5) 2. Hold On (4/5) 3. It Can Happen (3/5) 4. Changes (3/5) 5. Cinema (2/5) 6. Leave It (4/5) 7. Our Song (3/5) 8. City Of Love (2/5) 9. Hearts (3/5)

Total = 28 divided by 9 (number of songs) = 3.222 = 3 stars Good, but non-essential

All up not a bad album and it would not hurt having it; I would recommend "90125" to all Yes fans, especially a budding fan. "90125" is a pretty good place to start with a band like Yes. No where near as good as stuff from their classic era though.

Report this review (#85054)
Posted Friday, July 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars This was supposed to be the debut album of yet another 80s supergroup - Cinema. There was a lot of press and speculation about the Cinema project in the early 80s, so when instead 90125 materialized under the name Yes it was a bit of a surprise. But not nearly as much of a surprise as the music. The band appeared to have followed the lead of fellow 70s stalwarts Moody Blues, Genesis, ELO, Jethro Tull, and the Go-Gos (okay, that's kind of a low blow) by abandoning their progressive sensibilities in favor of glossy, highly synthesized, and danceable music, ready-made for heavy MTV rotation. The result was the band's most commercially successful record to-date, multi- platinum and even with a Grammy award for "Cinema". A truly remarkable, and utterly boring comeback.

I've spent this fall reacquainting myself with the Yes catalog, spending dozens of hours reliving the entire suite of studio albums from the self-titled debut through Magnification, including a number of live albums and compilations. And I have to say that when laid alongside everything the band did up to this point, 90125 pales in comparison to even Drama, which I had thought was the weakest album the band had ever recorded. I stand corrected.

With the possible exception of "Leave It", which I saw the band perform on their 9012Live tour and found to be pretty decent, none of these tracks should be included in any kind of representative sampling of the band's better works. They range from inane and poppish ("Owner of a Lonely Heart"), to awkward ("It Can Happen"), to just bland ("Hearts"). Heck, "Changes" could have been an Asia tune were it not for Anderson's distinctive voice. And speaking of that, Jon Anderson had returned to give the band back its real voice, and those pipes hadn't lost anything in terms of quality, but the lyrics here are simply trite compared to the grandeur of "Gates of Delirum" or "Yours is no Disgrace" (or even "Harold Land"). Gone are the sweeping and complex arrangements that made Close to the Edge, Fragile, and Tales From Topographic Oceans such mesmerizing musical adventures. And while Trevor Rabin was pretty entertaining on guitar when I saw him live in concert, he definitely does not have the inherent artistic ability of Steve Howe (although I'll admit he probably has a more engaging personality, if that is worth anything).

The harmonized vocal arrangements are pleasant enough, but even this isn't enough to raise the bar for this album. Coming off the revenue-generating releases of Classic Yes and Yesshows, this blatantly commercial offering just kind of puts the nail in the coffin of the band as a legitimate progressive band. The group would come back around with Keys to Ascension˛, but for the 80s at least the operating agenda appears to have been making money. Perhaps instead of 90125 this one should have been called "$60,000,000", which is approximately the amount of revenue the album generated.

Perhaps this is a bit of a harsh assessment, but there is just no way that the simple and rather boring tracks on this album can stand up to the highly artistic and inspiring works the band churned out in the 70s. I suppose fans will want this in their collection (heck, I have it in mine), but beyond that I'm not sure there is any compelling reason to spend any money on this one. Two stars.


Report this review (#89551)
Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars The problem with this album by YES is not that it's not as progressive as its predecessors, for many albums I like a lot are just as not-so-progressive as this. The problem with this album is not that it has no epics, for the same reasons mentioned above; the problem with this album is not that its main single aired and was a hit in MTV, for in those days MTV, as commercial as it was, was not the utter sewer crap that it is today...

The problem with this album is that's just plain BAD.

Owner of a Lonely Heart (7/10), this is hard to recognize, but this ultra-pop song is actually the BEST (or second best) of the album, if only because, as POP goes, is catchy and it's enjoyable Hold On (3/10), worst Yes' song ever (disclaimer: still haven't heard Big Generator) I usually don't like blues-like, 3/4 or 6/4 rhythms, as they tend to make songs really slow and dragging. Good insomnia-medicine, that's for sure.

It Can Happen (5/10), This one is marginally better than the disaster that preceded it, but it's not good, the chorus specially is awful.

Changes (7.5/10), the best track, pretty enjoyable. Good chorus, good verse.

Cinema (4/10), a poor, weak instrumental. What was the point? To show that White can do eternal snare-drum-rolls?

Leave It (5/10), most every track from now on would be boring, not atrocious like Hold On, but boring, and above all, forgettable.

Our Song (4/10) , what is this song? Again, when Trabin sings it sounds less terrible than when Anderson does it.

City Of Love (5/10) , bad and boring.

Hearts (5/10), it lasts only 7+ minutes, but it's too-long.

If you have every YES record, get it. If you like to be prog-music culturally informed, get it. You have to listen to everything that made our music like it is today.

But if you want a good album, spend your money somewhere else.

Report this review (#98372)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've never understood the hatred of this album from Yes fans. Without this album, I'm pretty positive there would be no YES today. It put them back on the map with an entire new generation of fans. I saw them in concert after this album and there were actually WOMEN in the stands. Trevor Rabin pulled this group out of the morass it had been in during the early 80's and kicked them into high gear. Sure the songs are more poppish (try putting that it your spell checker), but they are better than 99% of the crap that came out of the 80's. As a progressive band, by definition you're supposed to progress through different sounds and head down different paths. I've enjoyed most of the variations the group has gone through and can't figure out why there are so many T.R. haters out there. As much as I enjoy listening to 'classic YES', you can't say, "Honey, I'm putting Relayer and Tales from Topographic Oceans in the CD player for our trip!" without serious repercussions. So, I'm giving an enthusiastic 4 stars to the band for this effort, and thank the heavens it came out, or YES would no longer exist.
Report this review (#99719)
Posted Monday, November 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars Boring, and not just because Yes changed.

I can certainly understand why Yes decided to move on to something else. After all, money talks. It's not the worst album in Yes's catalog, although it may be one of the most despised. This was the last straw for many, and I can understand the anger by many of the original fans.

My dislike for this album has little to do with the discourse of the band, and moreso with the fact that regardless of what band name it is under, it's just plain awful. I have little if any interest in pop music or variations of it. As such, I find no value in it, no moving listening experience. The only means to listen to this album might be at a party entertaining guests, and even then I'm not sure I could really handle hearing it in the background.

Yes would dip lower than this on other albums. However, it would be wiser to spend one's time exploring other bands and finding unheard gems than milling through Yes's entire catalog. The 70's material is what one should concern themselves with.

Report this review (#104182)
Posted Friday, December 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars My poor, poor Yes.. the marked demise of the band that was once incredible in all aspects.

No, this is NOT prog, it's your standard 80's filth pop album. Each song is a poor idea exploited beyond it's worth and center around an average unexciting riff. The intrumental is poor considering what most of the band were capable of (excluding Rabin) and gone are the great vocal harmonies, good song writing and general quality. There is one good moment on the album, and that's the first few seconds of Leave It. The vocalisations are neat.

Another reason why I loathe this album and the three that came after it, is the black mark it put on the bands image. Say one of your friends ask you what your favourite band is and you say "Yes".. then they respond with "Oh them.. yeah owner of a lonely heart has a good guitar solo" then you go through the process of explaining what they REALLY were, and that you don't listen to the 80's filth. It's a burden every prog fan has to deal with.

If you're a fan of classic Yes, stay away from this album. If you're a prog fan, stay away from this album. If you're a music fan, stay away from this album.

Report this review (#104772)
Posted Thursday, December 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris H
1 stars Folks, this is not the Yes we of the prog world know and love. This is the Yes that MTV knew and loved when it actually played music videos. Now when you say your favorite band is Yes, somebody will go "Oh, the Owner of a Lonely Heart guys!?!" GRRRRR!!!!

First off, this is the most commercial Yes has gone, and "Owner of a Lonely Heart" contains no prog elements, its more of a techno-esque number. "Hold On" is a perfect title for the song. As in hold on to a railing so you dont get blown over by its pathetic-ness. "It Can Happen" and "Changes" both feature weird attempts at percussion variation with xylophones and what-not but they fail miserably. "Cinema" is a short-but-sour track that you don't want to bother with. Dear I say it, but the beginning of "Leave It" is actually decent! Yeah! well then it goes downhill from there. It's like a world champion skier on a gold medal run, but then he trips and rolls dwon the hill in one of those big snowballs you see on cartoons. "Our Song", "City Of Love" and "Hearts"? Don't even bother with them. Crazy lyrics, more percussion mess-ups, just, well ugh.

Are you a completionist? No? Well then keep this out of your collection. I mean come on, what kind of an original name is your album's catalogue number??

Report this review (#104818)
Posted Thursday, December 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars And then they were two. Another earthquake in the line-up : Steve has left the band to explore FM music with "Asia". Only two members of the ClassicYes (Squire, White) are still on board. In 1982, they will meet a South African guitarist : Trevor Rabin. They will experiment a bit and this will be the foudation of the "Cinema" project, produced by Trevor Horn the former Yes lead singer on "Drama". The good old Tony Kaye (a founding member of the band) returns to the keys. Chris suggested to Horn to join again as the lead vocalist but he will turned the proposal down arguing that he could not stand the negative comments of the traditional YesFans. During a party in L.A. in 1983, Chris Squire met Jon Anderson who was quite enthusiastic to join the "Cinema" project. With three former founding members (plus White who is on the drums since 1973) they decided to switch back to Yes instead of Cinema (against Rabin's opinion).

As for Genesis, hords of new fans will enter the YesWorld pushing the sales of the album to more than six (6) million albums sold between 83 and 85 (this is their best selling album ever). I incidently had a chat with a colleague yesterday about "90125". What he told me was exactly what was going on at the time : he had never liked the "old" YesFormula, but quite liked their new sound. So, a broad new market was opened for Yes, but I think that it is very hard to find lots of fans appreciating both YesPeriods with the same love.

"90125" : the title of the album shows that Yes was short of inspiration (as for the cover). Still, they managed to release a great hit-single out of this : "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" : with an almost hard-rock intro (!), it is a good rocking song, the bass from Chris being in the foreground. The chorus is catchy, and definitely I quite like it. "Hold On", is a good song, but it frankly does not belong to the Yes we all once loved (they remind me more of Kansas in this one). "It Can Happen" starts as a nice rock ballad with Oriental influences, and turned into pure FM sound. This will be the trademark of the NewYes but this song is above par in comparison with the majority of their production to come. "Changes" (again Oriental influences) has a more complex structure (almost like before) in the intro (1'30"). It switched then between melodious passages and more AOR sounds. "Cinema" is a vigourous and excellent (but too short) instrumental : powerful and complex as Yes has produced in the good old days (although they were not short back then). It would have been either an intro or a grand finale of a YesEpic some years ago. "Hearts" is also a good song : it really starts after 2'30".The "Chineese" sounds are well integrated into the track. Great vocal harmonies (at last). The rythm is quite rocking at times but not disturbing (to my ears at least). "Our song" has a great intro. It has a very commercial sound but the melody is quite alright. Bass playing is again very good (but who has ever doubted about Chris's skills) ?

The lows of the album are "Leave It" and "City Of Love" : believe me, there is only one thing to do : leave it and trash it ! On the remastered and expanded version lots of bonus tracks will be featured. The only one of the very few valuable tracks is "Make It Easy" (again very much influenced by the Kansas sound and quite poppy but good). I do not understand why Yes did not include it on the original album instead of those two crappy songs I mentioned above. The absolute nadir of the bonus tracks is the incredibly poor remix of "Owner" : absolutely awful. The alternate versions for "It Can Happen" and "Leave It" (obviously) are real bad as well.

At the end of the day, this album is not as bad as that (there will be much worse to come). It is very much Rabin oriented. Three stars.

Report this review (#105789)
Posted Friday, January 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars Yes displayed an alarming change in direction starting with Tormato and continuing into Drama. 90215 is where this change is painfully obvious. Steve Howe is gone, which should alert you that something is out of place. Trevor Rabin is a good guitarist, but he never gets a chance to shine on the studio material. Gone are the instrumental displays, the soaring vocals, the intelligent lyrics. Now the band writes run of the mill pop songs that sound like they came from a new wave band.

The most famous song here, and perhaps in the entire discography, is Owner of a Lonely Heart. This became a radio fav because the good lord has a twisted sense of humor. Jon whispers his vocals like he's hiding from someone. There's no springy bassline from Squire, no inventive keyboards, no complex drumming. It's the kind of song that's okay the first time you hear it but quickly becomes an atrocious listen. The rest of the songs can be used if you've swallowed poion and need to induce vomiting. Leave It, It Can Happen, and the far too long Hearts have awful lyrics and worse delivery.

While not as bad as Big Generator, 90215 can still get you arrested for child endangerment if you play it to your kids. The fire of the band is now gone. I tend to divide Yes' career into two periods: from the debut through Going For The One then picking back up with The Ladder and Magnification comprise the "Yes" era. From Tormato through Open Your Eyes makes up the "No" era (lame I know but it takes so little to make me happy). Trevor Rabin proved himself worthy playing classic songs live, but he is wasted in the studio. Chris Squire abandoned the style that made him a god. Alan White might as well be a drum machine. This is where Jon Anderson begins his annoying trend of experimenting with his vocals in a way that isn't exploration, it's just awful. I encourage fans of Yes to avoid this and Big Generator at all costs, and suicide-watch patients shouldn't be allowed to listen to this because it'll push them over the edge.

Grade: F

Report this review (#107624)
Posted Monday, January 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Compared to the Neo bands who were putting out records at this time (and getting 3 to 5 star ratings) I think "90125" holds it's own very well. This is accessible music with some clever vocal arrangements and great instrumental work. This is a good record.

"Owner Of A Lonely Heart" has such a good beat thanks to Squire and White. Of course the vocals are outstanding and there is some scorching guitar as well. "Hold On" has a nice drum intro as guitar comes in. Not a bad heavy sound to this one. The vocal melody before 3 minutes is cool bringing back the past. "It Can Happen" is a favourite of mine. There is an Eastern feel at times and Squires' bass lines are fabulous. Mood changes aplenty as it can get pretty atmospheric at times.

"Changes" opens with an almost 2 minute instrumental. Nice. The chorus is uptempo while the verses are melancholic. "Cinema" is an instrumental that was recorded live at Air Studios in London. Some screaming guitar, synths, and great drumming on this one. "Leave It" features some terrific vocal arrangements. "Our Song" is an ok uptempo song with lots of synths. "City Of Love" is probably the worst song on the album. "Hearts" has an Eastern sound at times and some aggressive guitar solos.

So yeah it has it's highs and lows but overall this is a recording I would recommend.

Report this review (#117949)
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars With the exception of Owner of a Lonely Heart, a half decent pop song, and Changes, a well-constructed 80s prog tune, this album fails to please. All I hear is commercially appeasing songs with no sense of experimentation, creativity, or artistic influence. I'm really disappointed with this (not a) Yes album. There are virtually no remnants of the old Yes, at all. There's nothing here to engage interest. It's this sort of music that prog stood and stands against
Report this review (#118354)
Posted Saturday, April 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's the album that progheads love to hate...and YESfans hate to love...or something like that.

Some of the songs are very radio-friendly with a touch of Prog sensibility. The others lean toward full-blown Arena Prog. It's Styx, Foreigner, Asia, and Jon Anderson all wrapped-up in one!!

Don't even bother to look for that "Classic" 70's YES sound in the year 1983 -- because you're not gonna find it. This YES is louder, leaner and (quite frankly) has a bit more bite than before.

The crisp, yet fat, production on this album is top-notch ... and the vocal harmonies on many of the tunes are downright awesome. This is a sound that the band unsuccessfully tried to recapture time and time again for the remainder of their recording history. Don't forget: This album was produced by future grammy-winning producer Trevor Horn...and it shows.

I know, I know...You wanted something to meditate to. Instead, you got something to drive to.

2 stars on the Prog-ometer.

5 stars on the Personal Taste Meter.

Report this review (#123013)
Posted Monday, May 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Suddenly, it was over.

I have to admit that when I saw the 90125 tour a good number of the fans seemed to enjoy the new material. Perhaps they were happy to be seeing Yes in the flesh as these songs have NOT held up over time. The Rabin years are Yes' biggest flaw. And I'll never forget the flip side when I saw Yes 10 years later. After about three new songs (from Talk?) the fans around me were getting awfully restless. A guy near me who waited patiently for a quiet moment after the applause died down suddenly screams, REALLY loud: "Play something from the 70s!!!!" Everyone laughed, but it worked. The next song was "And You and I."

I have little to say about 90125. 'The T' covered my feelings very well a while back on this title. I suppose as pop music its fair but this is supposed to be Yes. Insipid themes, awful 80s fashion and imagery, those terrible sugary choruses, and Owner of a Lonely Heart. It's all one big WTF?

Apparently Yes figured that progressive rock was dead and rather than try to save it they would just go for the dollar signs. Because of that they produced music that is now stale and entirely forgettable. I'll give them the second star out of respect for the occasional glimpses of stellar musicianship but that's the best I can do here.

If you are new to Yes, take note. Avoid this album and Big Generator at all costs.

Report this review (#124791)
Posted Tuesday, June 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album shows exactly what Yes should never be, in my opinion. Actually, I cannot accept this as a Yes album, because many of its characteristics are the exact opposite of former Yes, the glorious Yes. Yes used to be a collaborative band with long songs that were filled with ideas from every member. This was part of the magic. Here, we listen to a band dominated by Trevor Rabin, and he even has said once that his style of composing is having just one single musical idea for each song, and expanding it. Is it Yes? Yes used to be a very melodic band where every instrument was almost all the time doing what pop music would call a "solo". All of them "soloing" together, with voice, that was another instrument, created a very distinctive sound. Yes sound. Here we have songs where voice is definitely more important, and other instruments just accompany it. I can hardly hear my favourite bass player, Chris Squire. Is it Yes? To me the answer is no. In Drama, from 1980, Yes showed us a new style, more "modern" facing the 80s, and closer to mainstream music. But they managed to do it without destroying their particular Yes sound. Chris was already destroying on the bass, Steve showing many timbres, styles and such a technique, and Alan was in one of his best moments. How I wish they would keep the style from Drama. But Steve left the band, the record company demanded hit songs, Trevor Rabin came in and here musicianship was left behind! What used to be one of the biggest bands from the 70s (to me the best one) became another pop band from the 80s, just like thousands of others. Production (by Trevor Horn, the singer in Drama) is as bad as it could be. The instruments are not clear and the timbres of guitars and keyboards chosen are terrible. And where the hell is Chris Squire's bass? I can't hear it most of the time, and when I can, it's not good either. Trevor Horn said that on this album, being himself a bassist, he put the bass in evidence. He couldn't have lied more. No Yes album before this one has such a inaudible bass. I don't give it one star because some of the material is reasonably good, though spoiled by production. Examples are Owner of a Lonely Heart, which becomes a good song alive with Howe, without the horrible effects on guitar and voice; and Cinema, a decent instrumental that passes the feeling that it must have twice the time it does, but the record company would not permit an instrumental with more than two minutes. Besides, Leave It is a good song, despite the horrible pop melodies, it features great vocal harmonies, very original, with the multiple voices serving as instruments, just like on old Yes. This is the only song here that has something to do with Yes. But, rather than Yes-like, it's something like "Gentle Giant meets Michael Jackson", reminding me both "Knots" by the first and "Thriller", by the latter. Not totally good, but should be checked. Listening to this album, I often think have two thoughts: "Why there had to exist the eighties!?" "How I miss the old Yes!"
Report this review (#126335)
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes were trying to adapt to the 80's. And they did in great style. But to put things in perspective: I hate almost all music of the 80's..... it sounds awfull because all the then new digital technique sounded realy cold and midi cut out all humanity of recordings.

Having said this I must say that in it's time it was a great effort.

Nowadays you better listen to The Flower kings, Neal Morse and Spock's Beard.

Report this review (#126697)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

What a schock it was for me back then when i saw this new album at my favorite music retailer back then in 1983!!!! From the most beautiful artworks in the 70s, YES will do the opposite now trying to have the ugliest covers possible!! and YES, the classic logo is gone as well! welcome to the 80s!

You know all the story of this reformation, one old member at a time reuniting around a ''project'' named CINEMA from guitarist TREVOR RABIN meaning don't look for STEVE HOWE name on the credits. Anyway HOWE at the time was becoming a millionnaire with ASIA.

This is the album a lot of YESfans love to throw their anger at. I think you can judge this album under 2 angles; compare it with CTTE or FRAGILE, or just think of it as new product made by a new band in the 80s! And i think we have to be fair to this album and just listen to it not waiting for a ''And you and i'' moment. The prog bands, at least the ones that have survived were only given 2 options at the time by the recording companies: die or adapt; so tell me what do you do in this case?? do you go working as an aisle manager at your neighborhood manager or do you prefer to adapt your sound to the MTV crowd? Damn ,be honest!!!

TREVOR RABIN never wanted to use the name YES in the first place, but the company thought it was making more sense commercially than starting at zero.So this is new YES.

So what do we have here? a lot of AOR songs, but dare i say, well crafted, well arranged, well performed!!! Yes there are some good songs on 90125. Yes they are catchy, yes you can sing them when walking the streets, the choruses are well predictable, but some of the songs are GOOD!!! tell me about IT CAN HAPPEN, CHANGES, CITY OF LOVE or HEARTS? great pop songs, good guitar play.

I always wondered about the relationship between RABIN and ANDERSON as RABIN was then the main songwriter and influence and ANDERSON was trying to recapture the throne he held for a decade within the bandI am sure a battle of egos was brewing at the time nd RABIN wanted to sing as well. Jon anderson had to share vocals duties with him; not a problem he had to experience with Steve howe.

There is nothing wrong with a good pop/rock album and this is one of them! We may not be fond of TREVOR RABIN, but surely he brought o lot of freshness to the band with his guitar sound and compositions.

So i am not bashing this album for the sake of bashing: 3 stars

Report this review (#127186)
Posted Saturday, June 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars 90125 was an accidental Yes album. Yes had been disbanded in 1981 and Chris Squire and Alan White had met up with South African guitarist Trevor Rabin in 1982 and recorded songs for an album under the name of "Cinema." Former Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye, who had been fired in 1971, joined Cinema. When Squire played some of the material to Jon Anderson in 1983, Anderson became interested in the project. With four former Yes members in the band, it was decided to use the Yes brand on this album. Rabin was dubious at first as he did not want to be known as Steve Howe's replacement (Howe was with Asia at the time), but rather wanted to be the lead guitarist of a new group. Rabin changed his mind when Anderson added lyrics and his distinctive vocal style to the existing tracks. Besides, it would have more marketability under the Yes brand name.

So, 90125 was not originally intended to be a Yes album as it sounds nothing like Yes, with the exception of Anderson's voice. Thus, it seems unfair to compare it with earlier Yes works. Rabin has a completely different guitar style from Howe and Squire takes a more relaxed approach to bass on this album. Instead of the complex bass riffs of the past, he basically imitates the typical bassist one would hear on an average AOR song.

Judging 90125 on its own merits and not comparing it to any prior Yes album, I'm left with the conclusion that this is simply a pop rock/AOR collection of songs with some showing prog tendencies. If one does compare this to previous Yes works, it easily ranks as the worst Yes album in their career up to that point. However, as a pop rock album, it's not bad. Hearts and Changes are really nicely done. But as a progressive rock effort, two stars is as high as I will go. For collectors and fans only. Even Yes fans might want to avoid unless they are completionists.

Report this review (#129921)
Posted Monday, July 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album might not sound like the Yes of the 70s, but then again, when it was released, the 70s were over, having given way to the 80s. The sound and atmosphere of 90125 is poppy and perhaps slightly commercial, but while many consider this a sign of an artist having sold out, an alternative interpretation is that of an artist that has developed or been reincarnarnated (and in a sense, Yes had been reincarnated). I tend to go with the latter definition, and I do actually think this album is a quite progressive affair.

Compared to a lot of the pop/rock releases of the 80s, 90125 is miles ahead in many ways. Most of the compositions, including 'Owner of a Lonely Heart', are, while shorter than many of Yes' earlier compositions, fairly complex, adventurous and sophisticated at the same time, making use of the music technology that was available in the early 1980s. 90125 creates an almost perfect balance between musical, lyrical and vocal complexity and sophistication on the one hand and catchy sing-along-chroruses (like in 'Waiting for the Night' and 'Owner of a Lonely Heart') and simple, catchy power chord driven guitar riffs. Even the hyper poppish 'Our Song' displays this equilibruim. It is this balance that, in my view, earns 90125 a full handful of stars.

Among the tunes that are worth several listens are 'Owner of a Lonely Heart', 'It Can Happen', 'Changes' (which is my favorite), 'Leave It', and 'City of Love'. All of these tunes desplay the above-mentioned equilibrium, containing both highly accessible pop-element and more unusual progressive elements (at least seen in the perspective of the pop music of the early 1980s). 90125 is not just an essential part of any prog rock collection, it is an essential part of any rock collection in general. It is highly recommended for anyone who likes rock music.

Report this review (#132930)
Posted Monday, August 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars I have been dreading the day I have to review this album, this is the turning point for the most brilliant band of all time. 1980 Yes releases Drama, and tours for a while, then the band breaks up for three years. During this absence, Squire and White, work with Jimmy paige for a bit just to have the project collapse, SteveHowe joins the prog super group asia to make a vry embarassing album, Jon makes various solo albums and works with Vangelis. The bands gets back together in 83' and recruits the terrible poppy mind of Trevor Rabin, and the old and untalented Yesman Tony Kaye, then everyone sits down to write some of the worst songs in Yes history.

The music of the album is pretty bad, though songs like, it can happen and Hold on are the only songs keeping me from rating this album so terribly. If you want this albums description in a sentence it would be: stereotypical eighties pop. Trevor does have some nice moments, but his solo's are constantly cut short to maintain radio play time. Alan Whites drumming is very boring, strictly beats, but this is to be excpected since he started this trend since Going for the one. Chris Squire quits making intereting basslines, and Jon's voice is no longer the flowing harmonious river it once was. Tony Kaye is just a typical eighties keyboardist putting in random sounds at random times, I guess this is better than his terrible display of power on the Yes album, which out dose this album a million to one.

The songs are all the same except the first three, The overly poppy owner of a lonely heart, the very nice hold on, and the suprisingly artistic it can happen. The rest of the songs are completely useless, I have tried a couple of times to get into into the latter side of the album, but I cant even seem to get past cinema. I honestly do believe that big generator is a lot better than this one, but Drama was also very bad, so, I do not know where to place these two.

I was displeased at first, and I am unsatisfied now. A whopping...


Report this review (#133696)
Posted Saturday, August 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars I just don't like it. It isn't because it's pop and was on MTV, I just think it is generally bad music. Not my cup of tea. The best song is "Cinema" and it's a two minute instrumental. The intro to "Changes" is awesome but it just gets ruined when the song actually starts. "Owner of a Lonely Heart" is a good pop song. Other than that, there's just nothing I find good about it. 1.5 stars.
Report this review (#136452)
Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars You can't call this a prog-rock album in the same vein as most of Yes' output. However, it brought them back to life after the dark times, put Horn where he really belonged, and modernised their sound. Bringing Kaye back in was a strange idea, as he really hadn't changed in style or sound - using two keyboards is never going to equate to the great arsenals that Wakeman, Moraz and Downes used - but it didn't really detract from the sound.
Report this review (#137836)
Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Maybe it's because I was young and impressionable at the time of release or maybe I'm just not a "real" Progoholic, but this is an album, that really had an impact on me way back, and I still enjoy returning to it from time to time. The guitar intro on "Owner of a lonely heart" was something of a revelation for me, not to mention the brilliant vocal harmonies of "Leave it" or the inspiring chorus of "It can happen". In my opinion, the least successful Yes albums are "Tormato" and "Open your eyes". That said, I still haven't listened to every single one of them. Yes, this is in a way an 80's pop effort, but made with considerably more skill and attention to detail than most of the music of that era, the music I grew up being influenced by, but Yes of the 80's definitely have more of a lasting impact than the majority of bands from that period, and maybe more than most of the now legendary band's fans from the 70's give them credit for. It may all depend on where you're coming from, and certainly, you can't please everyone everytime. I happen to like Trevor Rabin's guitar stylings (maybe more than Steve Howe's, he added blasphemically) and I think Jon Anderson is a fascinating singer in the right environment. On his solo albums, things tend to get too sweet, but not here.
Report this review (#151827)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album/Trevor Rabin always seem to get a negative response. I have taught/played music for over 20 years and Steve Howe is my favorite guitar player. That being said, I can say with confidence that this album is most certainly progressive, however the progressive stylings are hidden in the great songwriting. Just because the songs are catchy, they don't wander endless for 20 minutes, or they don't have confusing time changes, doesn't mean they've sold out. Any bar band who has attempted to play these songs will tell you how progressive they are. The songs are so well crafted that you don't notice time changes and key changes. I realize that some people do not enjoy the songs on this album but any one who questions Rabins skills on the guitar simply do not know what they are talking about. For taking progressive songs, trimming the fat, and producing timeless tunes that could actually be commercially successful, I give this album 5 stars. That's coming from a HUGE Steve Howe/Topographic Oceans fan!!! Its a different era of Yes, but it is still Yes. Lets just enjoy it all. Take Care.
Report this review (#151935)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Is it a good rock album? Yes! Is it a good progressive album? Nooooo....

Anderson's back! Howe's!.... not... no, instead we have Trevor Rabin, a talented, if misdirected, musician (oh yeah, and Wakeman's gone too). Now, many fans know that Rabin would be a lead force in Yes's music for the next 13 years, and only maybe one of those albums was any good. This may be out of anger (about the lack of Howe) that most fans think this, but really, compare the quality of guitar in something like CTTE against something like OWNER OF A LONELY HEART and you'll see what I mean. Not to mention that OWNER... was the song that turned me off Yes until i finally brought up the courage to buy CTTE (and how surprised I was!). Anyways, this was more of an adaptive move by Yes, change with the market to survive. They did, so the plan must've worked, and we fans would later be rewarded with some great albums, but we had to put up with some bad ones along the way.

Let's get onto the songs, shall we? I've already registered my distaste for the first song, so I'll skip that one. HOLD ON is a decent rock song with some good melodies and general catchiness, but this is not good prog music. IT CAN HAPPEN gets annoying after the 50th time someone repeats "It can happen to you, it can happen to me, it can happen to everyone eventually...", however, I will credit Rabin on this one for coming up with a pretty cool guitar riff. CHANGES is the band's apparently stab at 80s prog... and it doesn't really work, losing itself somewhere in it's length mixed with poppy verse and choruses. CINEMA is a /wonderful/ instrumental that's very refreshing, but that's only until the voice-stumental segment of LEAVE IT pierces your brain like some kind of ice pick. OUR SONG is their average pop song, but CITY OF LOVE is actually a cool song that actually leaves a good taste in your mouth after you listen to it. HEARTS concludes the album on a kind-of-prog note that's not bad, but not too overly great.

So, in the end, this is a great 80's pop record, but as progressive... it's... not.... well....

...any good. (It makes my heart feel lonely)

Decent album, and at least it kept the band alive so we culd still have them around today. Fans might enjoy it, 2 stars, people who want really good post-70s Yes should skip right to the Keys To Ascension albums.

Report this review (#153179)
Posted Thursday, November 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars The album 90125. A piece of trash or worth one's hard-earned money? In my opinion, neither. I will say the music is at least well written and produced, and when you especially compare it to Big Generator you get a sense of musical decency about the album. Back in the day (about a year ago) I was really into 80s bands like Def Leppard and Journey, and some songs off 90125 fit well with my tastes and at the time, and at least put it into my mind that Yes was a band worth listening to. I'm pretty sure that if it really were a piece of crap album it wouldn't have done that, even if my musical tastes were a bit degenerate compared to the present. I still occasionally like to listen to some of the album sometimes and I think it's at least worth having it in your Yes collection if you are a fan. It obviously doesn't compare with any of their 70s albums. I mean, I do believe later crappier albums by a band should be still compared to their early stuff (like Rush), especially given this IS a PROGRESSIVE website, but I honestly think this album really isn't that bad. Nor do I think it is absent of progressiveness at all, it certainly is lacking, but it isn't exactly mainstream music, especially as an 80s album. Let me put it this way, there's other Yes albums I'd be happy to give only one star (cough union cough) but this isn't one of them. I'd say... a 2.3 covers it.
Report this review (#155996)
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Just because is a Yes album I think that this album isn't bad, at all. Not Prog but New wave. But if you try Prog, true Prog 90125 isn't this type of album. Certainly for 1983 standards in music is a good album with the immortals Owner Of A Lonely Heart and Cinema. But for the other... Good Anderson and great Trevor rabin. 90125 is the album of Tony Kaye's return with Yes, the only positive news.

For me 90125 is only a pure New Wave album with Yes atmospheres. For this i think that 2 stars are better than 1 star.

Report this review (#160335)
Posted Thursday, January 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hmmm, well, this is it. The album that got me truly interested in prog for the first time. It's funny now, thinking back, since this album is clearly not a progressive rock album, but I can't help but feel a slight partiallity towards it since it did spark my interest in the genre in general. Before this, I didn't even know who Yes was. Oh, I'm sure my father most likely played me bits and pieces of ''Fragile'' when I was younger, since that is his personal favorite Yes album, but I was never aware of who the band exactly was or what type of music they played until I listened to this album for the first time.

I was thirteen or fourteen years old, and my uncle had ''Changes'' playing in the car sterio. I remember enjoying the track immensely, and requesting him to play me some more stuff from the album. He then backtracked and played me ''Owner of a Lonely Heart'', and I was hooked from that point on. Now, in retrospect, this is not a very good album by Yes standards, but you must ask yourself- - if this were a completely different band that didn't have the name ''Yes'' attached to it, would you feel as dissapointed by it? classic Yes fans went into this album with certain expectations, and of course they weren't met, but had Trevor Rabin gone through with the Cinema idea, maybe the response to this effort wouldn't be as negative on the whole.

Now, am I defending it? Perhaps, but I still intend to give the record a fair and balanced review. I just want to urge anyone going into it for the first time to realize what the original plan was behind the 90125 project. Had Chris Squire and Trevor Rabin not given in to that power-hungry idiot Phil Carson, Cinema could have been Squire's equivalent to Howe's Asia project, and this release could have been appreciated as an entirely seperate device, rather than the 're-vamped' Yes that everyone of the old fans grew to despise. But, in all of their wisdom, Cinema listened to Carson's suggestions, got Anderson and Kaye involved late in the game, and became Yes West.

As I listen to this album, I find that I enjoy it, but not as a Yes project. I enjoy it as Cinema's debut release. When I file away this CD, I sometimes find myself temped to put it among the ''C''s in my Prog-related section of the shelf. Why? Because it is so different, and I can actually enjoy it as longas I don't look at it as a Yes record. That may be a strange way to interpret it, but for me, that is what works, and it also helps me find some enjoyement out of listening to 90125 that would be absent if I thought of it as the follow-up to ''Drama''.

With those aspects in mind, allow me to review 90125, Cinema's debut LP.

''Owner of a Lonely Heart'' Is the album's opeber, and as I found out later was a track that would have never made the album had Trevor Horn not coaxed Rabin into recording it. Luckily that happened, because it gives the album alot of it's appeal, not to mention saved Yes' life, serving as their biggest hit single to date. It begins with Trevor Rabin's superb guitar power-playing, which already lets the listener know that what will follow will be nothing like anything a Yes fan has heard from them before. The drums sounds are awful, but that is to expected, since apparently the trend for bands in the 80s was to tune the drums as high as they could do, then only play on one of them, with an occasiol cymbal strike thrown in for good measure. While this certainly takes quite a bit of getting used to, it is possible to do just that. Alan White (as he proved on ''Relayer'') is an excellent drummer that could rival Bill Bruford on anything, as far as I am concerned, yet this over-simplifying of his instrument--and ultimately his role is the band-- takes a toll on the record.

The song itself is actually quite nice, though, with some great voce work from Anderson, though he is clearly singing ''the hits'' now, as the melodic, ever-moving style of his voice is nowhere to be heard here. There is a great breakdown in the song in which just the guitar is featured, playing the riffs repeatedly, and while I'm not a big fan of the distortionwhen it comes to a Yes album, Trevor Rabin is without a doubt a great guitar player. Much more modern and contemporary in style as opposed to Howe's classical training, but he shouldn't be scoffed at, and even though he has been considered the ''Yes-wrecker'' by many, I hope that my singling out of Phil ''Moneybags'' Carson has laid that assumption to rest, as Rabin really never set out to do anything wrong to Yes.

Another casualty in the wake of Carson's BRILLIANT idea of reforming Yes way too late in the album's production is the lyrics. Nothing on this album lyrically is worth anyone's time of day as far as I am concerned, and I attribute that to the sloppy way in which this album was done. I mean, here is Trevor Rabin trying to do something completely different with Cinema, but because he happens to be working on the project with a couple of ex-Yes members, the pressure to reform Yes is placed upon his shoulders long after the original songwriting took place. After coming it at this late of a stage, Jon Anderson could only do so much with the already-existing material, and as a result the typically intelligent lyrics and voice work of Yes is gone on 90125.

''Hold On'' is dreadful. Period. A typical pop song if I ever heard one. Feel like I am listening to any number of long-forgotten top 40 one-hit wonders from the same era. How Jon Anderson and Chris Squire, the two founding members of Yes, stood for half the stuff on this record is beyond me. Truly. Around Two minutes and Thirty-three seconds in, the familiar vocal harmonies of the class Yes era actually makes an appearance, but only for a moment, and the presentation is still emotionless and flat. Not enough to redeem the song, in any case.

The fake sitar intro to ''It Can Happen'' is . . . sort of interesting, I guess. The absolutely horrible lyrical adventure of ''Look up, look down, look out, look around'' makes me ill just to listen to. The over- produced reverb sound to the whole damn song doesn't make it appear any greater to me, either. Another pass in my book.

''Changes''. Ahhh, classic opening to any song. I mean that. I love the way the keyboards build, followed by an abrupt guitar power play before the song attacks full force. Hark, is that some odd time signature work I hear? The guitar riff Rabin introducs at a minute seventeen still wells me full of emotion. Maybe it's merely a sentimental thing, bringing back my memory of first hearing it, but this in my opinion is the best song on the whole damn thing. Trevor Rabin's vocals are actually quite good, as well, although I'm sure Anderson wasn't happy that he wasn't singing lead vocals on ALL of the songs, but hey, this particular incarnation of Yes wasn't his baby, now was it? Even the chorus to the song seems to have so much stronger quality to it when compared to every song that preceeded it. The mini- solo at 4:03 is also very tasteful and doesn't draw attention to itself at all. This track manages to hold a constant atmosphere to it the entire time, something that classic Yes was always great at, and Yes West never really accomplished again. The song's outro revisits its intro, and the sudden ending packs a certain punch that seals the deal for me. A very solid track through-and-through. Probably the only ''great'' song on the record, aside from the next song, of course . . .

''Cinema'' always made me think that it is the sort of thing classic Yes would have been doing all along had they been a space-rock band, since the instrumentship is still top-notch, but has a very psychedelic vibe to it that Yes never had before. The only the real problem with this song is that it is too short.

''Leave It'' starts out great, with more of that classic vocal harmonizing taking place. So much for keeping THAT up, however; it ends almost as soon as it began, and turns into a very poppy scat-fest that is very annoying to hear. Once again Trevor Rabin is the first to sing on this song, followed by ridiclous sampled drum beats-- a mixture of real drummer, electronic beeps, and hand claps. We've all heard it on the 80s collection CDs. For this effect to be found on a Yes album is very disturbing, however.

''Our Song'' - Well . . . not exactly ''Roundabout'' part two, but . . . okay, it just isn't any good. The organ work here makes the cheesiest prog song you can imagine look like a hardcore metal scream- fest. Squire's bass work, however, is actually very prominant here. The only time he really gets to shine, sadly.

''City of Love'' - ''City o' luv, city o' luv, city o' luv, city o' luv, city o' luv-- HEY!'' Lets us know that the horrible lyrics haven't even begun yet, and the random shifting between metal-esque guitar chords and Air supply-ish keyboard pounding is a recipe for disaster. Acrtually sounds at one point like they wanted to sound like Led Zeppelin, and to be honest, that is the best part of the song. It actually kinda- sorta redeems it a bit. At least I don't always hit the '>>|' button on this song because of that section, so that's something, right? So the bottom line is, the second half of this song is absolutely amazing hard rock, while the beginning is all over the place. If you have the patience to sit through nearly two minutes of poorly-exouted pop rock, you may just enjoy this track. Oh, but the crap lyrics merely continue on the way they were, unfortunately. But, what are we really supposed to do? Expect good lyrics from Yes? Nah . . .

''Hearts'' 's intro actually reminds me quite a bit of ''To Be Over'' from ''Relayer'', which is a good thing, of course, at least where I am concerned. This is the longest song on the album, clocking in at almost eight minites. *whew!* Wouldn't want them to break a sweat, now, would we? It's pretty boring in the beginning. If any song could have gone this long, it should have been ''Cinema'', but alas, it was this. An awe-inspiring guitar solo from Rabin kicks in soon enough, though, that actually reminds me of something Dam Jones would later do on the Tool racords. I'm almost certain this is just coincidence, but I bring this up simply because that right there shows that Rabin was actually a very revolutionary guitar player for the time, and was playing feedback-clad guitar solos that were actually intelligab;e long beofre it was common. Any other time you were able to hear something like this at the time was in metal music. Actually, several solos ensue throughout the track's unfolding, and by the end, Rabin alone has left you feeling some sense of accomplishment. While it may not be what the Yes fans expected, I truly don't think it is a 'bad' album.

So, why three stars? Well, because I honestly feel like had it been releasedas intended, under the Cinema banner, it would have been accepted alot more in the long run as a very good side-project, much like Asia. But since that didn't happen, and the new Yes was pretty much manufactured by the record label at this time, 90125 ended up being twisted and contorted into something that was never meant to be. I look at Yes West as Cinema, and because of that, I cannot bring myself to give 90125 a two star rating. It isn't a bad Yes album, it is a good stand-alone album that had a spot of bad luck, which hurt it ultimately. As ar as the music itself goes, however, it is quality stuff. It just isn't Yes.

You be the judge. Give it a whirl, and as long as you keep in mind that it wasn't written with the intention of being a Yes record, I think you will be able to enjoy it.

Semi-happy listening.

Report this review (#162080)
Posted Monday, February 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
3 stars OK, let's be honest:

This is not a true progressive-rock album, at least in the conventional sense, and is only really a YES album because of the names which appear on the liner notes. That being said, I don't think it's very fair to judge it alongside the better, classic Yes albums because, well... it doesn't even come close to being a competition-- 90125 is not even in the same sphere of existence as Fragile or CTTE.


As a absurdly fun and cheesy diversion into a distinctly '80's sound, 90125 is tops. It's OK to admit that you like Owner of a Lonely Heart and sing-along to It Can Happen to You-- that's what they were written for! Go slumming; you may just walk away satisfied. After all, Anderson's (and Rabin's, for that matter) voice sounds better here than on anything else he's recorded since. I can almost guarantee that even the die-hard Yes fan will find more real music to like here than just about anything the band has produced up until now, despite the fact that it doesn't sound anything like our classic proggers. Besides, this is the kind of album available for $3 in the bargain bin.

MUCH better than the band's other pop albums.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Report this review (#165593)
Posted Thursday, April 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I first heard the song Changes from this album. It was in some compilation of Yes in a C-cassette I had many years ago when I wasn't yet so familiar with Yes. From all the songs in that compilation, it was just 'Changes' that grabbed my attention in a first place and I thought it was a great song. Well it still is, but the others in that compilation were way more complex and thus a bit harder to get into. Later I purchased 90125 and I've been pleased of it ever since.

The album starts with Owner of a lonely heart, a simple pop tune in 80's spirit, driven by a strong and simple bass line, catchy riffs and poppy, repetitive lyrics and vocals. It's a nice pop song, but nothing original really. The most remarkable thing is that this song makes it very clear what is the new sound and style of Yes: Pop! Anyhow, the album then changes and turns into a better direction and the progressive background starts to push through and steer the machine. Hold on and It can happen are still somewhat poppy, but much more rich in ideas and execution. Then, Changes is way more progressive to any previous song here combining brilliantly the elements from prog and pop into a very enjoyable whole.

The rest of the record keeps up the high quality into the end, for example City of love being almost heavy track and Hearts representing some brilliant vocal melodies. Leave it is the only song in this album, an exception which I don't like. In my opinion the vocal harmonies on it are clumsy and they just don't work, pretentious, i'd say. Anyhow, the vocals are of TOP level on this album overall, sung by Anderson, Squire, Rabin and White, and actually the thing that Rabin and Squire takes some lead vocals only points out the high moments when Anderson opens his mouth. They're like a counterweight to the high, angelic tone of Jon.

I really enjoy this album as the most pleasing moment of progressive rock going pop in 80's. And what it has to offer, is some superb vocals, vocal harmonies and melodies, uniquely combined 80's pop and progressive rock, strong songwriting and high standard performance of Yes.

Report this review (#165632)
Posted Friday, April 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I like this one because of atmosphere of the 80's. Really great stuff. Somehow it's arguably one of the most dislikeble albums among yesfans. I'm yesfan to, i really like their 70's albums, but this one has a different style. I think it's almost prog than something else, because prog music can't be boundared only in composing 20-minute songs with very different musical parts. Prog must describe musician's feelings and creativity, how they are. Every song (Exept ) i may give 5 stars, it's a good mixture of rock, disco/pop of 80's and of cource prog. Favourite album!
Report this review (#165786)
Posted Saturday, April 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Shortly after the dawn of the eighties Yes as a cohesive band had scattered to the winds and was no more. They had mortified/ humiliated their faithful fans with their rotten "Tormato" album in 1978, then rolled out a revamped lineup with the ambitious but flawed "Drama" LP in 1980 that failed to generate much more than a ripple in the music world. Afterward bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White attempted to put together a totally new group called Cinema by enlisting the multifaceted musician/songwriter Trevor Rabin and original Yes keyboard man Tony Kaye (who ended up having very little input on this album) but the resulting studio sessions were less than earth-shaking. So Chris (in one of the smartest moves he ever made) brought in Jon Anderson to add his signature golden tones and considerable experience to the project. Voila! Yes was resurrected from the dinosaur exhibit just in time to deal with the MTV virus pandemic that had reduced the attention span of the global populace to no more than 4 minutes, killing all progressive sensibilities. What they were able to produce under the stifling conditions of that woebegone era is nothing short of remarkable.

Consider what was happening in music at the time. Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was thought to be an undisputed masterpiece and, therefore, worthy of worship by most citizens of planet earth. Punk was dead, Def Leppard was breaking through and creating a pop rock trend with "Pyromania," the Police were finishing their new wave run with "Synchronicity" and Duran Duran was labeled "cutting edge." In the decaying prog world the commercialized Genesis had shamelessly put out their namesake/worst album and the mighty Pink Floyd was riding off into the sunset with "The Final Cut." I daresay that if Yes had delivered their exquisite "Close to the Edge" to their label at that point in time they would have been summarily thrown into the traffic by the scruff of their necks. Cute videos with half-naked girls running around were what the kids were paying attention to, not symphonic prog. The band had no choice. Adapt or become extinct. The slick 90125 was the result.

Say what you will about the group's only #1 hit, "Owner of a Lonely Heart," but it's a near-perfect single. It grabs your attention from the first gated drum spasm, it's tighter than a carpenter's nail pounded into a 2x4, Rabin's synthesized guitar ride is one-of-a-kind and Jon's unique timbre has never been more appealing. Add a very dynamic arrangement to all that and you have the ideal tune for cruising. "Roundabout" it ain't but I have nothing detrimental to say about it. "Hold On" follows and its bluesy shuffle and "live" feel are irresistible from the get-go. The vocals are hot and crisp throughout, White cleverly teases the downbeat from time to time and the unconventional guitar sounds going on in the background give it a state-of-the-art aura. I like it a lot. A faux sitar effect starts off the next song, Squire's excellent "It Can Happen," that features a dense depth of field and inventive background vocals. It also has the album's most memorable lyrics in the piercing "it can happen to you/it can happen to me/it can happen to everyone eventually." I'm thinking "it" is enlightenment.

By now it's clear that this ain't your daddy's Yes and that makes the concept of "Changes" a case of understatement if there ever was one. It has the most proggy opening of all the tunes but it's ultimately a compositional step down from the first three cuts once they introduce the somewhat standard verse and chorus. However, its undeniable catchiness succeeded in getting it into heavy FM radio rotation and that helped sales. Mission accomplished. I never thought that Yes performed anything reminiscent of Genesis but I have to say that the two-minute instrumental "Cinema" comes pretty darn close. Kinda weird if you ask me. (Yet they did earn a Grammy for it so what do I know?) Which leads to the last great track on the album, the surprising "Leave It." The vocal work here is extremely intricate and engaging and may be their finest ensemble singing ever. The rhythm track is seamless and the gated drums fit the modern mood well. You gotta admit that it doesn't sound like anything else they ever did and I think it's fascinating.

Jon's "Our Song" is more representative of the direction music was flowing down at the time which is to say that bright, sterling production techniques still couldn't make a mediocre song all that much better. It has typically cryptic/silly words from Anderson like "there's method in the key of C/Toledo's got to be the silver city/in this good country." Right, Jon. Whatever. "City of Love" has a heavier motif that distinguishes it from the previous cut but it's really just more of the same mindset. At least it's interesting in spots. "Hearts" is a mix of Yes-style rock and sentimental schmaltz but somehow it works and provides a strong ending for the original album.

The extra tracks included on the reissue start with the single edit of "Leave It" that only pares a whopping 18 seconds off the original, proving my point of the unshakable belief held by the label executives of that day in the sanctity of the 4 minute limit. Stupid, really. Rabin's "Make it Easy" only goes to show what a nonentity Cinema would have been if Jon hadn't been brought in to the fold. Trevor's voice is ordinary at best and the keyboards sound a lot like the ones on "Stand Back" by Stevie Nicks and that's not necessarily a good thing. The demo-quality, Anderson-less rendition of "It Can Happen" also highlights Cinema's vocal shortcomings as Chris and Trevor come off like they're shouting the chorus. Not pleasant. Another Rabin original, "It's Over," follows and it sounds like an indistinguishable weak pop ditty from bands like Jefferson Starship or Loverboy. Decidedly underwhelming. If you're able to sit all the way thorough the extended remix of "Owner of a Lonely Heart" then you're a better man than I. In those days record companies like Atlantic had an ugly habit of taking any hit tune and making a long disco version so that the hip crowd tripping on Ecstasy at the local rave could dance mindlessly to something vaguely familiar in their altered state. It marks the low point in the catalogue of Yes recordings. Yark. Without a doubt the best and most listenable bonus track is the A Capella version of "Leave It" that ends the CD. The vocals are incredibly clear and accurate and, by leaving out the instrumentation, you get a rare chance to hear every nuance and countermelody that was buried in the original mix. Very cool, indeed.

The pristine engineering and overall sound production of this album is impressive. I was squeezing out a meager sustenance in retail audio/video sales at the time this was released and when it came time to wow a customer and convince him/her that those odd, shiny new CDs were the only way to go I would simply plop 90125 into the changer, crank it and stand back. Slam dunk. I sold a lot of stereos that way. Don't get me wrong, in no dimension does this album rate with their earlier landmarks of progressive rock but in its own way it more than entertains/involves me and it still manages to hold its head far above the banal crap that was being passed off as high quality in 1983. 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#166499)
Posted Saturday, April 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Ok, I like this album. Well, most of it. It has some quite pop oriented songs, Steve Howe is nowhere in sight and it was not entire convincing for the average proghead. Still it was something interesting for the tiem and many songs stood well the test of time. It was released maybe in the worst possible time for progsters in general and 70´s legends in particular. Unlike Genesis, which by this time was totally pop, 90125 has a very progressive feel on all songs. Certainly they did not sound like much of that was being played at the time.

It is only a pity taht they could not come up with a strong follow up, neither hold a stable line up for long. But eventually I like to think this album as a good answer to anyone who thought Yes was through by the time they released 90125. Their enormous commercial success only enraged those who thought prog music was past.

A minor CD in their discography, but at the time an important statement. And it still has some great songs on it like Changes. Good, but nothing´s essentia herel. Get their 70´s stuff first before hearing this one. But still worth to listen. 3 stars.

Report this review (#168621)
Posted Thursday, April 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars Owner of a lonely heart was my first encounter with Yes:fortunately I made my own way through music discovering all time greats such as Tales from topographic oceans or Close to the edge.Actually 90125 could have been called Close to the bottom for it is such a bore.The famous hit single is music for businessmen,jet setters and people who don't care about music.Moreover Trevor Rabin is a third rate guitarist(to be fair).Money had won and prog was almost derelict.Save your money!
Report this review (#171159)
Posted Friday, May 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars Cinema's debut album

This is not really the real Yes! Indeed, the band who started working on this album was originally not going to be called 'Yes' at all. Yes had broken up after the Drama album in 1980. Even though there were a couple of ex-Yes members involved in this new project, they were going to be a brand new band, under a brand new name; they were going to call themselves 'Cinema'. This new name should, in my opinion, have been retained because musically this does not have very much to do with the original Yes of the 70's.

The essential members Rick Wakeman and, especially, Steve Howe were no longer with the band at this time. Chris Squire and Alan White brought Trevor Rabin into the band as well as original Yes member Tony Kaye (who played keyboards in the band before Rick Wakeman). Soon after, Jon Anderson also joined Cinema (and now they were three original members of Yes) so they decided to call themselves 'Yes' after all. This might have been a good idea if the music would have been in line with what the original band did. The problem is that this album does not sound like Yes! It's not particularly progressive; indeed, it is rather radio friendly, poppy music.

Don't get me wrong though, I don't dislike Trevor Rabin or this album. There are some good bits here. The short instrumental Cinema is great, for example. I do hate the song Owner Of A Lonely Heart though (in this version at least - there are better live versions of it like the acoustic version on the Songs From Tsongas DVD, for example).

Hearts, being over seven and a half minutes long, is a bit boring - it becomes tedious after a while. This song is the first time I ever got bored while listening to a Yes album. The rest of the songs are fair, I suppose.

I consider the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album to be the first real Yes album since 1980's Drama. In the early 90's these two versions of Yes merged, producing the album Union. If you like the classic Yes of the 70's, you should check out the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album first, and then the underrated Union, and skip 90125 and Big Generator. Even bands like Asia and GTR (both featuring ex-Yes member Steve Howe) is much better than the Rabin version of Yes.

The progressive low point of the band's career. For fans and collectors only.

NOTE: the bonus tracks on the CD reissue of this album include a song called Make It Easy, sung by Trevor Rabin. This song is actually much better than any of the tracks on the actual album. It rocks! It is a wonder that they didn't include that song on the album given the overall lower quality of the material there.

Report this review (#176984)
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars A drum crash, that smooooth, highly processed guitar and those infamous chord stabs: it must be the beginning of 'Owner of a Lonely Heart', a worthy candidate for the most maligned song on ProgArchives.

YES's return from the wilderness has divided opinion ever since it was issued. After 'Drama' and a compelling return to form, the band broke up, members going their separate ways. The world came very close to being graced with the ultimate supergroup: sessions with JIMMY PAGE almost led to the formation of XYZ, a band that would have featured WHITE, SQUIRE, PAGE and PLANT. Ooh err. Didn't happen, though, and in one of life's ironies, HOWE and DOWNES went and formed a supergroup of their own, ASIA, though I use the epithet 'super' under extreme duress. SQUIRE and WHITE put together a band called CINEMA with TREVOR RABIN and old YES teammate TONY KAYE, recorded some of RABIN's material and played it to ANDERSON - who then decided he wanted in. With his addition the band felt they should adopt their former name, even though the sound they'd come up with was different - and so YES was reborn.


Many old-time fans hated the new sound. The old YES was gone: the band had unashamedly closed the door on another 'Drama'-like reprise, nailed the door shut and burned the house down in which it stood. This was a new sound, combining the best of early 80s production (if that isn't an oxymoron - more of that later) with earnest songwriting to produce riff-heavy, catchy rock with some progressive tendencies. That wasn't going to satisfy those hide-bound proggers who, having been into all sorts of music in the early 70s, now refused to countenance anything outside their narrowing conception of 'prog'. YES were consciously exchanging one set of fans for another, always a difficult and controversial process.

The new YES owed a tremendous debt to the genius of TREVOR HORN. The vocalist on 'Drama' and a former member of THE BUGGLES, HORN had decided to pursue a career in production, but had not forgotten his former bandmates. His was the hand that added the crisp, artificial sheen to the sound. I've often wondered whether the dislike of the so-called '80s sound' is really more about the music: whether, like PHIL COLLINS or 90215, the 80s sound isn't another scapegoat for people to sound off at. For me - and I can't speak for anyone else - I thoroughly enjoy 80s production values, and TREVOR HORN was at the forefront of it all. His work with THE ART OF NOISE was sensational, and he achieved artistic and commercial succes with FRANKIE GOES TO HOLYWOOD, CHER, ABC, PET SHOP BOYS, SIMPLE MINDS and GRACE JONES, among others.

If those names send a shudder through you, I sympathise - but I have nothing more of interest to say to you.

So, back to 'Owner of a Lonely Heart'. This is an outstanding pop song dressed up in the most modern, spangly clothes the band could find. The high chord stabs were sampled by THE ART OF NOISE and became their trademark, one of the most evocative sounds of the 80s. And the mid-song break, where the chords were set against processed drums and the vocal screams, is genius. Of note is the seamless interplay of vocals between ANDERSON and RABIN, one of the album's highlights. Remember that the original reason for the formation of YES was SQUIRE and ANDERSON's desire to explore vocal harmony, and this strength is nowhere more evident than on this album. RABIN's outstanding contribution, in my opinion, was neither his songwriting nor his guitar work, but his vocals. SQUIRE even has time to roll out some impressive bass licks, though there is, of course, not a skerrick of jazz to be heard on '90125', the greatest loss of all. You don't like the song, you say? Fine. Up to you. But let me respectfully ask whether you dislike it on its merits, or because of what it stands for.

'Hold On' is a rather fine bluesy rock song - NOT a pop song, there IS a difference - that manages to capture the rhythmical magic of early YES and add a crunch of faux-metal. Again, the highlight is the vocal treatment: the odd vocalisations backing the verses almost go unnoticed, but they are certainly interesting. And note the mid-song break: yes, again it revolves around a vocal experiment. And you thought this album had nothing to do with the band formerly known as YES? You thought this was a commercial album with no experimentation? Wrong.

'It Can Happen' is a constant fight between ANDERSON and RABIN on vocals, backed by eastern-tinged sounds and SQUIRE's fabulous bass. Again, this is top-drawer rock with a risky edge: how this could be compared to the ultra-conservative material ASIA offered us is beyond me. 'Changes' finishes off side 1 with a roar: a complex, proggy rhythm leads into another rock number, a slow-building ballad that has at its heart real fire and drama. The chorus is masterful, a real feat of songwriting. The track is filled with riffs, breaks, tempo changes and that wonderful slow build leading to a satisfying conclusion. This is progressive rock, with emphasis on the rock.

How on earth can anyone call this a pop album?

Particularly given what is to come. The two-song suite leading off Side 2 is superb: the complex 'Cinema' - a stillborn band's entire history compressed into two spectacular minutes, entirely worthy of the Grammy it received. Just listen to it! And the segue into the fantastic, experimental, vocal rich, wondrous 'Leave it' leaves me gasping. Simply glorious. Now 'Leave It' is the absolute bee's knees. Sounds like this on the pop charts? How unlikely is that? It is great fun, and again I emphasise how vocal playfulness is YES's raison d'etre. It's telling that the remix of this track features an acapella version, a sure sign of what the band thought its strength was. There's some complex rhythms here - don't tell me you wouldn't prick your prog ears if something like this came on the radio. As a vocalist myself, this song always leaves me with a smile on my face.

'Our Song' is the nearest the band gets to their earlier sound, even choosing to check some of their old lyrics - see if you can spot them all. Another rock song, not the album's best, but I love SQUIRE's parts, with his trademark octave rises and some wonderful runs. Compact and full of energy, lasting not a moment longer than it needed to. 'City of Love' slows the tempo and hardens the sound to the point of heavy metal. Though it's a personal favourite, I'm not blind enough to miss the rather cheesy, 'try-hard' sound here - but the compositional craftsmanship gets me every time. Good on them for having a crack, and in certain moods it almost works. The problem, in the end, is ANDERSON's ethereal voice: a less likely candidate for a heavy metal vocalist I've never heard! To compensate, the chorus is beefed up with multitracked vocals. The mid-song break features a spectacular riff and solo, and a finale that leans heavily on the crunchy riff. OK, I'm a sucker for this sound, what can I say?

'Hearts' finishes the album in fine style, a lovely ballad that works its way slowly to a fitting climax. The vocal beauty goes unnoticed, which is a pity: there is some truly outstanding interplay between RABIN and ANDERSON, particularly at the beginning of the song. The complexity of the opening gives way to a wonderfully simple chorus, and this juxtaposition carries the song to its sweet conclusion. We get a heavy excursion on the way, along with some gorgeous swirly organ and dramatic vocals. This is clever stuff.

[Note: next paragraph edited after initial review posted]

'90125' deserved to be successful. It also deserved to be critically acclaimed. In one of the ironies that makes humanity so endearing - and so frustrating - the only people who weren't prepared to consider the possible merits of this album were a group of those most familiar with the band. YES moved on, successfully engaging with the new musical landscape, and - judging by the many arguments I had with my mates at the time - a small core of YES's 'trooper fans stayed anchored in the 70s.

You gotta laugh.

Report this review (#179395)
Posted Monday, August 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not full 3 stars really.Maybe musically it is full 3 stars,but if we get to our minds this is Yes' album it become 2.7 stars really.At the horizon is the eleventh studio album by british progressive rock band Yes - 90125.It is ridiculous,not because of the quality of the music - it is not awful,it is even good enough,but because of the name of the band that released it - it's just not Yes,it's not comparable with their genre,it's not progressive rock at all,it's new wave,it's not the philosophy of Yes for making music.Maybe it would be better for the album to be Cinema's album,not Yes'.I'm sure if this album was Cinema's one,it would has better average marking,then the actual.And for me it is not exactly the eleventh album by Yes,but the first one by Yes West,like some people called it,because of the west,american sounding.
Report this review (#184384)
Posted Thursday, October 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars You are now entering the atmosphere of Planet '90125' - fasten your seat belt and prepare for Death to prog - welcome to the 80s!

Before I knew the term prog even existed and before I had been blissfully blown off my sofa to 'Topographic Oceans' or forked out hundreds of dollars on box sets such as 'Yes - In a Word', this little album somehow fell into my grip and I found myself drawn into the world of Yes. I played it ad infinitum and loved every moment of it. I had been at a friend's house and he played it and I knew I had to get this. What harmonies, what musicianship, what a single with 'Owner of a Lonely Heart'. That was then, and I would have easily given '90125' 4 stars, however.... this is now, and as a bonafide unashamed proghead the verdict is... no thanks. To be honest, I rarely play the thing anymore. All the best songs sit very comfortably on the aforementioned Yes box set and that's enough for me.

The album is incomparable to the likes of prog genius works 'The Yes Album' or 'Fragile'. In fact to compare them would be futile because they come from totally different planets. Planet 'Fragile' and planet '90125' are even from different universes! As a result of course, this much maligned album alienated a multitude of fans, and yet gained scores of new fans with it's commercial success. The charts fairly blazed with the opening track, and for my mind it is the best thing on the album. Yes, it is the most commercially accessible as far as marketing goes. Look at that brutally retro film clip and you will see what I mean. But I love the guitars and the crunching riffs and the over produced echoed vocal performances, and even the lyrics are memorable - in other words uncharacteristically commercially viable.

'Leave It' was another barnstorming chart success too but it is dull without the cool clip to compliment it. 'It Can Happen' is a wonderful song with a catchy chorus and great vocals from Anderson. So what else is new? 'Changes' is terrific - in fact the lyrics really spoke to me when I was going through changes recently in my life. But... the rest of this is not much to write home about... so I won't here.

Suffice it to say grab a cheap copy and get it over with then once the CD ends, breathlessly shove 'Fragile' into the CD player and regain your faith in Yes.

Report this review (#185082)
Posted Wednesday, October 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Damn...this is good.

The best Yes record of this eighties follows on from the somewhat bland and overproduced DRAMA record of 1980. With it, Trevor Horn of South Africa came onboard. Not only did he take on guitar duties, but he had a hand in writing every song, arranging every song , as well as playing keyboards and handling lead/backing vocals. The tight performance on the lead single and massive hit, Owner Of A Lonely Heart give an indication of where the record is heading...

Or does it?

Y'see...after that undoubtedly awesome tune, comes another awesome tune. Hold On is full of catchy hooks, lonely melodies and choruses the size of houses. Yeah; it's pop-rock, but GREAT pop-rock, and it still seems that it has its hand in the cookie jar of 70's prog, what the the trademark vocal harmonies and guitar-keyboards battles Yes had become known for.

Futher down the line comes Changes. Starting off as a rather pensive ballad, especially in the verses, it moves to full-tilt rock with slashing guitars, warm synths and sharp-edged vocal harmonies. In fact, rather that review every song, let me say that the rest of the record is just as good. It is NOT, in fact, a pop-rock record. It is a ROCK record with prog and pop trimmings. 5 stars.

Report this review (#186659)
Posted Wednesday, October 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Yes - '90125' 2.5 stars

Yes goes pop!

I'll keep this review short, since the sensibility of describing pop music is short in itself. I think Yes did a pretty nice job, hell, there was some pretty nice tracks on here. The standouts include 'Owner of a Lonely Heart', 'Cinema', 'It Can Happen' and my favorite 'Changes'. Part of this change was due to the most controversial Yes member to grace the band, Trevor Rabin. A successful pop artist added into the group made Yes survive the 80's, which isn't bad considering a short bounce back in their late years.

Nothing on this album is comparable to anything preceding it. The drums are extremely processed and Steve Howe's guitar eclecticism was non-existent. Well, there is really no way else to describe what goes on in the album. Yes going pop is an easy summation of the album and what to expect.

Report this review (#190025)
Posted Friday, November 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Accommodating to the circumstances was something very important and surely very difficult for all the older rock bands at the 80's. Music industry pressured them hard for hit singles or many times you were withdrawn from the company. We have to see things through and within the circumstances of every era and not judging things with today's aspects or with the 70's aspects, so Yes and all their colleagues have many extenuation s. And another matter is that as musicians some of those bands felt the need to try something different and new than continuously producing 10 minutes or 20 minutes songs and to be honest they really had no need to prove anything-they had already proven it in the 70's with all their masterpieces. Musically 90125 is not bad at all-you can find all the core elements of progressive music in the structure of the songs: Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Cinema, Changes(how many bands of that era had the ability to create an AOR song with such intro), City Of Love. All right it is very commercial but it is not disrespectful at all(If pop music, as the previous reviewer said, was so sophisticated maybe I would have been a pop fan...ha) And Yes even then left out a trademark used so many times by bands of other music genres and it isn't anything else than the effect in the bridge to Trevor Rabin's solo at Owner Of A Lonely Heart, you know what I mean...Very clever one! Of course the musicianship is as always excellent and the production too. All in all a very decent album, not progressive rock of the 70's but progressive rock accommodated and polished at its edges, able to adjust in those times.
Report this review (#190029)
Posted Friday, November 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Hoo boy! The new Yes. Some decent musicianship, but evident in the songwriting department is the need to attract an introduction by Kasey Kasem. There's a sheen to this album that bothers me, especially on _Owner Of A Lonely Heart_ and _It Can Happen_. Too many repetitive choruses in the lyrical department. I've always enjoyed the final track _Hearts_, which is the direction they thankfully continued with on their next long player _BIG GENERATOR_ in 1987. _Changes_ is another great track with excellent xylophone and great time changes. _Cinema_ is a flashy instrumental but much too short. _Leave It_ is a Trevor Horn production tour de force(credit for a great vocal performance as well). Other than that, there's a lot of filler, especially _City Of Love_, which sounds like Loverboy at their most progressive(wink, wink). Promising album, but the better and more sold album is their 1987 effort - BIG GENERATOR.
Report this review (#190673)
Posted Thursday, November 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars I will NEVER forgive Yes for such a bad and deliberately attention-gaining record.

In this album, Yes just wants to gain popularity and it bothers me. Anyway, for the review:

Owner of a Lonely Heart kicks off the album with a DJ-type moment, a popular move for hip-hop stars, yet Yes was supposed to be prog!

Why the hell did Cinema get a Grammy for instrumentals?! C'mon guys, listen to La Villa Strangiato!

Changes actually was not too bad, but still doesn't exactly capture the prowess of Yes' earlier albums.


So, altogether, I really didn't like the new Yes, but I know that there are people who do, even some prog fans suprisingly! It just isn't my taste in music, though. I mostly like classic Yes, and this was not it, guys!

Report this review (#190682)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is Yes? Really now?

This actually is a decent pop album, well-produced, wonderful harmonies, and artistic tendencies. This definitely isn't the Yes that we once knew, but simultaneously is far from the absolute disaster that is Big Generator.

If you're looking for progressive rock, however, I advise that you stay away from this. This album is only good if you're in the mood for well-crafted pop rock. "Changes", "Cinema", and other songs feature instrumentation that is definitely not typical to most pop music, and that is what makes this a good CD. Nonetheless, it's not near enough to warrant this being a prog album; it's just a solid rock album with good compositions that don't break any boundaries.

One hell of an album, to be honest. but hardly prog at all! As much as I enjoy this album when I want to hear something like this, I have to say this is a release only for collectors/fans only.

Report this review (#191149)
Posted Sunday, November 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars In my opinion, to fully understand 90125, one has to consider the time and the environment in which this album came out. I guess many progheads know about the 'dark 80's' and the 'progressive rock decline', but for those who have been around those years, it is much more realistic. Due to this negative relation to prog music, releasing a true prog-rock album became an impossible act, at least for the major bands of the genre, who left experimentals to much lesser known bands and artists. The 'dinosaurs', as they where called, tried to survive and suit their music for the ever changing realm.

Due to these circumstances, YES did a great job. The entire album suggests, among other things, excellent musicianship, beautiful vocals and vocal harmonies, and great sound and production, fitted to that time, in shorter, simpler forms.

There where always line up changes in YES, and this album makes no exception. The new prominent acquisition here is guitarist, vocalist and composer Trevor Rabin. An excellent musician, albeit being more commercial than the other mates. His guitar riffs remind me of Steve Howe sometimes, and when participating in vocal harmonies, and even doing some lead vocals, it seems that he always has been an organic part of YES.

THE song that could not be overlooked here by any means would be 'Owner of a lonely heart'. Personally I don't have any problem with that song, especially the power opener riff, and I don't remember myself suffering while listening to it, back than.

Overall, great intros are all over the place here: for instance, the twinkling piano and tuned percussion which opening 'Changes' , 'Leave it', featuring a-capella singing, with that groovy 'dum ch - tu du dum' at the beginning, or the sitar notes, hint for BEATLES 'Love you to' from the Revolver album, that starts 'It Can Happen', before the Bass and some kind of talking drum join in, in one or the production tricks done by the other Trevor in this project - Trevor Horn. Whom I assume there is no need to introduce.

Rating this album is not an easy task: IMO this album belongs to the vast and vague range between 3 and 4 stars. In all, this is a very good and enjoyable album, and though I wouldn't say you have to peek it up as one of the prog highlights, I do recommend it as a representative of an era in which making progressive album seemed a harder mission than ever before. YES managed to bring here something fresh, a bit commercial and simpler than in their previous albums, but still, rooted in progressive rock and in YES music particularly.

Report this review (#191386)
Posted Monday, December 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars aaaaah, the controversial 90125 alum...

this album is kind of yes, and kind of not. for many people who are oriented with yes, the issue lies within trevor rabin: not only did he give a completely different guitar style to the sound of the band, he also had a terrible pop influence on the actual yes members.

the tracks do have some progressive elements in it, like the odd timings of alan, prominent bass by chris, and evident keyboards from tony (now actually using synthesizers than just organ and piano!!)

this is good music, but not EXCELLENT music. recommended for parties and car rides with friends and for background music, not for the pure joy of listening to music. you would most likely get bored after a while haha.

Report this review (#197280)
Posted Sunday, January 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars With this album Yes enter in a new musical direction, less complex, a little pop sometimes , specialy for the new MTV , who started in those days. Well despite the fact that MTV was a big deal for many bands in those days, helping to promote the video clips and share their fame, to Yes was even a bigger help, they've (MTV) made to rise the Yes flag so high that even a novice in music were heared about them only because of that Owner of a lonly heart single and video clip. If it wasn't that mega single Owner Of A Lonely Heart promoted heavinly by MTV in that period this album for sure were falling low. Yes survived quite good with entering in the '80 with Drama, a real excellent album, and by reaching the 1983 they were still in bussines but with a diffrent aproach of their music. To me this album is a decent prog with pop elements all over, well written of course, they are still Yes, but the shining moments of golden era are gone, is even weaker than Drama. Steve Howe is gone leaving place to Trevor Rabin who has not by far the ability and unmatch manner of his predecesor but integrates pretty well in Yes music machine. Entering after a couple of years on stand by or some solo activity Tony Kaye and Jon Anderson did a good job here, showing that they are Yes, no matter what other members said. The musicianship is ok, even in places realy tight, in comparation with other prog giants from the'70's Yes with this album manage to create , for sure not something special, but as whole pleasent for my ears. While sometimes the album falls in easy listning just right for parties, some moments are quite strong like It Can Happen or Cinema. So as a whole this album desearves 3 stars from me, less intristing than any other Yes previous albums, but not bad at all. Rember we are now deep in the '80's when pop on one hand and hard/heavy on the other leaves no place to progressive music like it was before.
Report this review (#202965)
Posted Monday, February 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Doesn't deserve it's bad reputation.

I can't understand why people hate this album so much. Yes is tamed here compared to earlier releases but most song is at least catchy and you can't say that the album as a whole doesn't have any prog elements. Owner Of A Lonely Heart is, as many has stated, not much prog at all. Commercial? Yes. Rotten? No. It's still a rather good song, and I think you can enjoy it without being a brainwashed radio guy. Many synths in this track, but also some nice guitars in the background and a raw, violent guitar solo.

Hold On and It Can Happen follows, both being good rock songs with many guitars and synthesizers. Rather much pop of it and maybe a little bit repetative at times, but catchy and there is still some prog left in the music. Next comes Changes. It starts with some psychedelic mess, which gradually developes into the real song. Mellow with great guitars and synths (like the rest of this album). A very good song, and the best on this album. Next comes an instrumental, but for being an instrumental it's not very progressive in it's structure. It's a good thing that it last's no longer than 2 minutes. Leave It is a very different song that much consits of sampled voices and powerful drums, powerfull bass and some synths in the chorus. It's OK at its best, rather repetative and here I almost understand why some people hate like this album. Not much to say about the three remaining songs. Our song is OK, City of Love is rather good and Hearts is OK.

An album thats better than it's reputation. It's good overall, and I think even a progger could enjoy it. Just keep it in your mind that this album is rather commercial and not at all as progressive as prevous Yes records.

Report this review (#203866)
Posted Saturday, February 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars An album that is both hated and loved with equal fervour - I take the latter view. It is a fantastic achievement by a band many of us thought were dead after the Drama lineup broke down.

Squire and White had teamed up with a relatively little known guitarist and songwriter from South Africa called Trevor Rabin, following an aborted liaison with Jimmy Page, whilst Howe had hit commercial heaven and oodles of money with Asia. The project was called Cinema, but when the material was played to Anderson by Squire (who, no doubt, had half a mind on the commercial prospects of bringing him back into the fold), Anderson loved it and Yes was reborn. To add even more credibility to the project, they recruited...err... Tony Kaye, virtually unheard of since The Yes Album.

This is pop rock with shades of progressive music. It is NOT classic Yes prog, but, as with some of the Collins era Genesis LP's, it contained more than enough of past glories to keep everyone happy.

Owner of a Lonely Heart was a massive hit, and deservedly so. It is simply a joyful pop song, with great lyrics and musicianship from a band enjoying each other company. People who would not have thought about purchasing a Yes track flocked to buy it, and I'll wager that more than a few ventured onto Close to the Edge and other classics as a result.

I like Hold On, especially Kaye's keyboards, which are simple, but very effective. It Can Happen was the second single, and it is equally as good as the first, it contains exceptional guitar and bass lines, whilst White excels, as always, on drums.

Changes is a vast departure from previous Yes, but Anderson belts out the lyrics again to a thunderous rhythm section. It also features terrific xylophone. Cinema is the track that celebrates the original intention of Squire, White, and Rabin and is a fantastic instrumental that features all three at the top of their game, especially Rabin who produces a magnificent solo. I also love the Anderson chant at the end. Leave It features acapello and is probably the weakest track on the album - enjoyable, different, but ultimately a curiosity really. I do love Squire's vocals on it though.

Our Song is a track more in keeping with previous albums, and I again really enjoy Kaye's keyboards - he shines on this LP. City of Love is probably the weirdest thing that Anderson has ever agreed to sing lyrics to. No twee hippy posturing here, just a very bleak song about the darker side of life and love. It's also very good, especially Squire's bass.

They leave the very best until last. Hearts is simply stunning, with both Anderson & Rabin excelling on vocals extolling the virtues of love and being together with someone who cares. Yes, it is romantic, but what on earth is wrong with that? Rabin's guitar work is spectacular, and, again, the harmonies by all doing vocals are incredible. A fantastic way to end the album.

In the distance, Howe, somewhat hypocritically given Asia's material, fumed and moaned about it not being Yes and being too commercial. A lot of traditional Yes fans also hated it, for much the same reason. I consider myself a traditional Yes fan, and I thought, and still think, it is a marvellous LP. It is full of great music, lyrics, and excellent production from Trevor Horn of Drama fame (easily better as a producer in my opinion).

On the basis of the music alone, this is probably a four to four & a half star LP, but I will upgrade it to five, for one simple reason. It is an essential purchase for anyone wishing to have a full understanding of the history of the band, the change in direction the band took in the '80s, and the subsequent machinations between Yes West & East.

Five stars - utterly essential commercial progressive music. Ignore the doubters - buy it and enjoy.

Report this review (#204872)
Posted Monday, March 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Had Yes's debut (which was, for its time, something of a pop album) achieved a much larger measure of commercial success, Yes may very well have taken the more comfortable road of mainstream rock music; they certainly made some excellent music on this 1983 release. The music here is decidedly unlike that of their 1970s output, but that in no way makes it unpalatable. Chris Squire, Alan White, and South African guitarist Trevor Rabin were ready to begin a recording project as the band Cinema, but with the addition of Jon Anderson and original keyboardist Tony Kaye, they reestablished Yes. This album has a number of vocalists, namely longtime and beloved singer Anderson, Squire, Rabin, and former lead singer Trevor Horn. Speaking of Horn, he assists the band as the producer of this record, and his skills in such a role should not go unnoticed. I happen to think this album showcases the collective vocal prowess of Yes perhaps more so than any other album. The rather uninspired title of the album is based on the original catalogue number.

"Owner of a Lonely Heart" With the band's most commercially successful song, the listener knows immediately that this is not his father's Yes. Back when I first heard this song, I couldn't figure out if that was Anderson or someone else singing, and with good reason- the singer in the chorus is none other than Trevor Horn (along with Anderson). The guitar solo uses a harmonizer, making it sound similar to two different guitars.

"Hold On" This is another ear-pleasing rocker, although perhaps more progressive than the hit song. The erratic vocal section by Squire sounds like something that could have been left over from Drama.

"It Can Happen" My favorite song on the album, with the sitar and a fantastic bass riff, does a great job fusing 1980s sensibilities with the more classic sound. I also like Squire's lead vocal role in the pre-chorus (everybody seems to get in on the action vocally, and the result is phenomenal). Echo and panning effects on the vocals show the mastery of Horn on the other side of the studio.

"Changes" That introduction is one of the most complex moments on the album, with shifting time signatures and stunning instrumentation. It soon becomes a more mainstream pop track, with Rabin singing over a squeaky clean guitar. The heavier chorus involves the other vocalists, who can all be heard very clearly despite blending so well.

"Cinema" This is live performance of a brief instrumental that bears the name the band was going to adopt before Anderson and Kaye returned. It showcases Rabin's screaming guitar, Squire's chugging bass, and White's powerful drumming. Even though it is only just over two minutes long and still fairly complex, it won an award for best rock instrumental in the 1984 Grammy Awards.

"Leave It" A Squire-led vocal arrangement introduces an a capella introduction. The music focuses on multifarious vocals, and each singer takes some time in the lead position. The bass playing, particularly during the chorus, grooves right along and is one of the best parts of the song.

"Our Song" The lighthearted synthesizers, the heavier guitars, and Anderson's wispy voice make this sound precisely like something that could have been on Tormato.

"City of Love" The introduction to this is a touch on the experimental side, but other than that, it's a fairly bland, moderate rocker.

"Hearts" The album ends with a grand closer, something more akin to the music of Going for the One or Tormato. The lyrics are a fair bit more on the mystical side, also. Rabin's guitar solo screams again, but this is a performance with more feeling than anything else on the album; it is truly an exquisitely crafted solo. I highly enjoy this song, even if it is not my favorite here.

Report this review (#205200)
Posted Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Really a pop rock music album, TONY KAYE return to YES only for play pop music and RABIN, oh... not say... But even pop prog music, they are really good songs, I think the better is OUR SONG because it has very good rythm, this song say about the new YES. Even when is a pop song is fantastic, the keyboards of TONY KAYE making that symphonic da.....da..da....da..da......dada, and the guitar of TREVOR RABIN joining with another rythm, it´s simply great! My favorite YES song in that period... There are another good song's like CINEMA and HEARTS... still have that prog heavy YES making 90125 another not very special YES album...
Report this review (#211255)
Posted Monday, April 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 90125 did for Yes to a lesser extent what post Hackett, particularly 80's albums did for Genesis - alienated a lot of older fans but brought onboard plenty of new ones. Those music fans who were not prog orientated but enjoyed commercial heavy rock would find much to enjoy here.

90125 was never meant to be a Yes album; originally a project of 3 former Yes men, bassist Chris Squire, drummer Alan White and keyboard player of way back Tony Kaye teaming up with guitarist Trevor Rabin in a band to be called Cinema. With the introduction of vocalist Jon Anderson into the equation and bowing to management and record company pressure the name was changed to Yes. Because it bears little if any resemblance to the Yes of old; there's no sweeping symphonic epics here, 90125 is hated by many fans of the band. However while my love of Yes lies largely with their classic 70's albums taken on its own terms this is a very good slice of slick, modern sounding (at the time at least) slice of commercial melodic rock with a great sounding production courtesy of Trevor Horn, the man who stepped into Jon Anderson's vocal shoes for the Drama album in 1980.

The only thing to tie the sound of 90125 to previous Yes is not surprisingly the distinctive vocal presence of Anderson and Squire's backing vocals and bass. Kaye exchanges his Hammond for 80's synths and Rabin's guitar playing is a heavier more solid style than Steve Howe's clean and busier sounding chops. White's drumming while solid as a rock could be any one of a thousand drummers of the era.

90125's strength lies in the instantly appealing melodies of the songs, backed by Rabin's powerful riffy guitar work. White keeps things simple and solid in the main driving the songs along with mid tempo rock rhythms though nods to the past are there in slightly more complex playing here and there like on Changes and instrumental Cinema.

Owner Of A lonely Heart can't go without a mention for its catchy hit single potential and indeed was a rare single hit for the band still receiving fairly regular daytime radio 2 airplay in the UK to this day.

So while 90125 is not what I really want from a Yes album if I think about it as an album by a band called Cinema there's no denying the quality of these melodic rock songs. 3 ˝ stars.

Report this review (#215719)
Posted Thursday, May 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
2 stars Uh oh, only thing remembering me old Yes times is Jon's voice. This effort reminds me Asia's work, it sounds very similar. Maybe they inspired each other. Asia with Anderson's vocals, that's funny.

Well, not so much. This album is average, good rock though. Maybe they turned little bit neo- progressive, some quiet parts reminds me their later "Homeworld" song. In fact, this album is not so bad at all. It was probably just that they had their better years. Lucky me that I'm not so touched by their "golden" years to be so greatly disappointed by this effort. Strange name, why 90210 ?

"Cinema" for example, sound very proggy. Sign of better times ? Would it be so sinful to give it 4 stars ? I don't think so, but we shall see. Maybe it's just temporary euphoria by this song.

Indeed, it was just for these two minutes, then music returned to better 80s rock sound with "Leave It", which is sad, bad true. Three stars guys, no cheap tricks this time.

Report this review (#231250)
Posted Wednesday, August 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars This album is quite a change for Yes. Again they learned a thing or two from King Crimson and just like their peers; they successfully assimilated the 80's knack for writing catchy pop music that was not only accessible but also very innovative and intelligent.

The style changes are huge: concise songs that are to the point, catchy guitar licks, unobtrusive keyboards and groovy rock drumming. Not very Yes right? Well I don't know. If you haven't listened to Yes for a few good years and then go chronologically through their albums (for example in order to come up with some reviews for this demanding site...), it is surprising how very much Yes this record actually sounds! Yes it does. Both the rich melodic vocals of Jon Anderson and the rumbling bass of Chris Squire are solidly in place. Even the guitar sounds very Yes. (Please note I don't mean the style of playing, but that sharp dry sound).

But of course that won't convince any of the 70's Yes fans that were disappointed with the album. I suppose they don't (or don't want to) hear all the excellent and focussed songwriting here. It sounds like bashing the album because it isn't prog and reached such a huge audience outside the normal gang of starship troopers, who probably felt the band wasn't 'theirs' anymore.

Whatever you make of it, there sure must be an explanation why this album is so badly appreciated. It certainly can't be due to the good music that is on it.

Report this review (#239937)
Posted Friday, September 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars When this album was released back in 1983, I received it as a new refreshing sound to what Yes had done before. Indeed, people who expected a new Yes album were dissapointed. It is is really different to previous albums, but as I said refreshing, more rock than before. Maybe it would have been better that the band had used another name.

More commercial as well. After having heard Owner of a lonely heart so many times, even on radio, I must admit that it have heard this song too much. The older albums have a more stable value for me than this one. Still, I think the album is underrated. It is still very good music.

Report this review (#244790)
Posted Thursday, October 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars 90125 has been thrown under the bus quite often, and reasonably so- it must be hard to see one of your favorite bands turn into a generic pop band- not to mention that, by today's standards, 90125, and it's even harder-hit companion Big Generator, sound extremely dated and corny. 90125 isn't that bad of an album, in my opinion- the songs are often well-written and catchy, and I sometimes catch myself humming one of these tunes- however, there is SO much music out there that is SO much better, that the only real reason to get 90125 would be to complete your Yes collection. Thus, the album earns a one star rating- if you are a progressive rock fan, then just about everything Yes has made before this is more deserving of a place in your collection, especially taking into consideration their early-70's gems.
Report this review (#247724)
Posted Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "90125" is the eleventh full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Yes. The album was released through Atco in November 1983. Guitarist Steve Howe was replaced by Trevor Rabin and new keyboard player on the album was a returning Tony Kaye. Lead vocalist Jon Anderson, who had left Yes after the "Tormato (1978)" album, also returned to the fold. Ex-Yes member Trevor Horn was chosen to produce the album.

The music has taken on a much more commercial pop direction compared to earlier releases. I´ll call the style on the album semi-progressive pop/ rock with a contemporary and polished eighties pop sound. If you generally don´t enjoy the cold, synth heavy and reverb laden sound productions from the eighties you probably won´t enjoy the production on "90125" either. The progressive rock elements in Yes music are now only a very small part of the overall sound and I find myself longing for some progressive moments. When they do occur they are great and that´s when the the band shine (coming from the perspective of a progressive rock fan). Mostly the album is just commercial pop/rock though and overall I find "90125" a bit hard to appreciate. It´s easy enough to digest but not very interesting.

"90125" features what is probably Yes biggest commercial hit in "Owner Of A Lonely Heart". The rest of the songs are not quite as catchy but they are of high quality when we´re talking musicianship, production and song writing. Because of those things I can´t give less than a 2.5 star (50%) rating . Those who enjoy AOR/commercial pop/rock with a semi-progressive edge (read: Asia) might enjoy "90125".

Report this review (#249127)
Posted Monday, November 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars Well, this isn't too much of Yes. It's more a good pop metal hair band sound that they are going for here, maybe because it's because of the new guitarist Trevor Rabin. This album does feature a long time no see member, Tony Kaye. That means no Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, and no Bill Bruford (which I'm pretty sure some of us live with it because Alan White is a fairly good drummer, but some of us are still a bit mad after Close to the Edge).

"Owner of a Lonely Heart" is a song that I thought I would never hear Yes do. It's a good pop song but it is so different from the normal sound we hear from them. I want to hear more Rickenbacker on this track, and other than Jon's voice, it dosen't sound like Yes. "Hold On" is an alright song, kind of inspirational sound, but I really don't catch the lyrics very well. The bass can actually be heard on this song! I knew that Chris Squire could pull out a good bass sound on this album, even though the album isn't amazing. "It Can Happen" has a very nice intro, but that about it. The drums on this track are very nice and the bass is good, but the vocals don't make me feel right when listening, and the music isn't that great when I listen really closely. "Changes" again, has a nice intro, but the rest of it is slightly boring. It's a very upbeat song, but it really isn't so uplifting with it's keyboards and it's odd bassline. "Cinema" is a short instrumental, and won a grammy. It's a farily interesting track with some nice guitar playing, for sure a nice solo. It's very much on the poppy song, but has some very nice drums on this track. Chris plays with the effects on this track with the bass, and it really comes out very well. No bass solo. It kind of fades into "Leave It" which is a boring song, but has a nice intro, but the rest of the song just dosen't cut it. it's like most of the songs on here, nice intro, but the rest is terrible. "Our Song" has some really nice keyboards in the beginning, for sure. Not too long after, the rest of the band joins in with som really upbeat and uplifting playing, and it truely is our song. "City of Love" is okay, odd intro, okay much, but overall it's a fairly forgetable track because it just dosen't latch onto your attention. Lyrics aren't good at all, to me at least. "Hearts" is the longest track and is fairly poppy like the rest of the album. I don't care for the intro because it gets a bit annoying with the happy noises by the keyboards and percussion instruments, but the vocals are nice by Jon. I don't like Trevor Rabin's voice at all, thats why this track never stands out.

Besides one good track, this is a forgetable album. One star, sorry Yes.

Report this review (#250022)
Posted Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Hearing Owner of a Lonely Heart still makes me happy. It is not the Classic-Rock goodness, nor the way that it reminds me of a childhood listening to the radio stations my father would pick out, which always played classic rock. It is not the syruppy goodness of the chorus, nor the way that the interplay between Jon Anderson's vocals and Trevor Rabin's actually works quite well.

No, it is because Owner was my 'gateway' track. I never even thought it was that amazing, but I liked it enough to download some more Yes mp3s and see what this band was about. The lead to Does it Really Happen?, which made me curious enough about what these guys were doing to buy some albums. This was the first, and, having no concept that there even was a genre called progressive rock at the time, or that this was Yes' departure from that field, I loved every minute of it.

Having now heard almost the rest of their discography, the only feeling I really get from this album is a feeling of joy that it was what lead me on the path to the rest of their music, and through them, to prog rock in general. There is very little else about this album that still stands out to me. There were dozens of albums released that sounded like this throughout the '80s, and while this one was good, it was not seminal or even the best. (Personally, I'd give that honour to bands like Tears for Fears). Other than perhaps Cinema, there is not much here that would appeal to fans of previous Yes music.

It must have been quite a shock to hear this album for the first time. With the Buggles gone, and Tony Kaye and Jon Anderson back in the fold, this lineup was closer to Yes' classic era. But this album was never meant to be a Yes album, and guitarist Trevor Rabin, who replaces Steve Howe here, took the band in a completely different direction. Thus enters the era of Yes as a New Wave band.

The cover art on this album pretty much perfectly describes the music. Nothing that is really worth a second look.

Report this review (#255751)
Posted Saturday, December 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars The Reason Why the 80's Are Regarded as the "Dark Ages" of Prog

When progheads talk about the 1980's as a whole, they usually refer to them as "The Dark Ages". Even though the neo-progressive rock movement began and progressive metal was born, people still think lowly of this entire decade. I wasn't alive to experience this, but I do understand how people can ignore these two movements and still call the 1980's a bad decade for prog.

It's because of this album I'm reviewing right now. 90125 by Yes was the "beginning of the end" for many prog fans. This isn't completely because of this album - Abacab by Genesis also played a huge role. This is just like a stab in the neck for all traditional prog rock fans.

The music that is played here is standard pop/rock. No extended compositions, no lush arrangements, and no emotion, to be honest. This is just pure pop in every sense of the word. There are a few experimental and progressive overtones, but they are scarce. The absence of Rick Wakeman on keys really shows. Tony Kaye is a pretty mediocre keyboard player in my opinion, and it really shows throughout this album.

However, if you get past the fact that this is a largely commercial oriented album, you will find some good melodies and riffs beneath the muddy production and uninspired musicianship. This is a solid pop album from beginning to end, even though I don't enjoy it very much.


"Owner of a Lonely Heart"- The first moments of this song always make me cringe. The guitar riff is decent ? I'll give you that. The annoying pop sensibilities with the dance music overtones are just awful. I like the chorus, and I think it has a decent melody. Overall, this is a mediocre pop song with nothing really worthwhile for a prog fan especially. It just amazes me that the same band that once made Close to the Edge can make a song as terrible as this.

"Hold On"- After a short drum intro, a guitar solo enters with a catchy beat. Unfortunately the entire song builds off of this same idea in a verse-chorus-verse format. This has good melodies and riffs, but this is no different than pop music you'll hear on the radio. This is far from the best the album has to offer.

"It Can Happen"- The song opens up with a psychedelic-sounding sitar (well, I think that's what it is). This has good melodies and chord progressions, but again, this is average pop music. The lyrics are pretty laughable for the most part, but at least this is decent musically. As a pop song, this is a success.

"Changes"- After the previous songs left the progressive rock fans in the cold, this intro immediately brings us back. The opening is excellent with exceptional bass playing from Chris Squire. Unfortunately, after the great intro this turns into another verse-chorus-verse pop song with Trevor Rabin on vocals. This is disappointing because it definitely had potential to be great.

"Cinema"- This is a short, but effective, instrumental piece. The guitar playing is excellent, and I like the drum fills as well. This is a solid composition, and it will appeal to progressive rock fans more than anything else on this album.

"Leave It"- This song opens with vocal harmonies. They honestly leave me quite cold, and the following section doesn't do anything else. It sounds honestly like a song you would hear at a dance club. To think these guys were once the leaders of symphonic progressive rock. This song is repetitive, annoying, and a compositional failure.

"Our Song"- This has airy synthesizers with heavier guitar riffing that sounds typical of the 80's. The melodies that open up this song are actually really good, and the opening as a whole is solid. It turns into a standard verse-chorus-verse format song, but at least this song has memorable sections. This is one of the better songs from the album.

"City of Love"- This song is absolutely terrible, and I will say that from the start. This has no compositional qualities whatsoever, and the entire song builds off of the same two notes and an irritating chorus. This is a sub-par pop/rock song.

"Hearts"- The closing song is the longest, and the only actually progressive song found on the album. This has some good melodies and bass playing from Chris Squire. I particularly like the progressions between different sections in the song. This is not my favorite from the album, but it's a decent closer.


90125 is a decent pop album by Yes. From a pop perspective, this is a solid album with enough memorable melodies to be worth a purchase. From a prog perspective, there's no way this will keep you interested. I don't find much enjoyment out of this release at all, and I don't think many other prog fans would either. This is only for collectors and fans of Yes, so a 2 star rating is deserved.

2 stars.

Report this review (#261333)
Posted Sunday, January 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars UPDATE: I've shocked myself and changed this to four stars. It really is a cool album full of high-quality music. It just isn't very proggy or Yessy music. The 3-4 songs that never bothered me before have also grown on me. Couple this fact with the relatively poor songs on Big Generator, and 90125 becomes a good friend......

REVIEW: If the name 'Cinema' was chosen this album wouldn't even be on this site. The fact that the three most recognisable letters of prog were written on the cover of this album, leads to a lot of controversy. Was revamping Yes a mistake? Was is the right band with the wrong name? Did it kill prog rock? I don't really feel the need to consider such things; when I write a review, I try to base my ramblings on the music alone.

'Owner...' is a respectable single. I'm not overlly fond of it, the album, or the 80's in general. But it obviously worked; it made number 1 on the charts! And I can understand why many people on this site aren't interested, but we must be fair, it won over it's target audience with flying colours. Trevor Rabin, although an inherently vain bastard, is a good single-generator and knows just how to write a hit. The older Yes-men's bank accounts became full because of him, and the public were happy too (blissfully unaware of the weird and wonderful past of this "new" band). So with regards to the style of '90125', I can't really fault it's intentions. 'Leave it', the other single, really grooves and I prefer it to 'Owner...'. I'm also fond of the rocking 'Changes', Anderson's sweet 'Our Song', Squire's anthem-esque 'It Can Happen', and the semi-epic closer 'Hearts'. The rest of the album can be considered filler, but it's not unbearable. Horn's production is FAULTLESS for the era. The sound is consistent and bright, and lots of energy is carried through.

But I wish people would stop even mentioning progressive rock when slaughtering this record. It's not punk; it wasn't specifically designed to counteract the efforts of prog-rockers. It goes nowhere near the genre and therefore doesn't "ruin" it or even "ruin" Yes (they would return to their earlier sound in due course). 80's pop and progressive rock are two completely unlrelated subjects. They co-exist happily and go nowhere near each other...

...except when they use the same band name.

Report this review (#278990)
Posted Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is the same band that did Close To The Edge ?

Yes went through a bad patch during these years and adopted the worst imaginable hair styles and clothes. The band photos from that time makes even the band cringe these days. Let alone those of us who regard Yes as a fantastic band. Yes, this was the 1980s. A decade which will go down as a fashion disaster. Ditto for the music, btw. This album proves my point.

Abysmal is the word that best describes this album......... with the exception of the hit single Owner Of A Lonely Heart. A song that alone saves this album from a turkey rating. The rest of this album is AOR without quality and with little artistic integrity. This album has a very commercial sound and it was meant to win the band a big chunk of the big AOR market. Most of the older fans left them with this album and with good reason. Besides of Owner Of A Lonely Heart, there is no other good tracks here. None whatsoever. These tracks just annoys the blood out of my veins. What an abysmal album.

2 stars (barely)

Report this review (#283363)
Posted Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Of all the pseudo-prog Yes that came after Going for the One, why does this one get hammered more than the rest? It's true, this is pop, but Yes pop is for the most part preferable to regular pop, at least to me. I'll take this over the Def Leppard's of the day anytime.

In full disclosure, this was one of my first CDs. Let's see, my first 5 were Fragile, Dark Side, Who's Next, Grand Illusion...and 90125. Can you guess which of these things is not like the others? I'll chalk it up to one of the curiosities of "strange things that teens buy", but it also means that I may have some fond memories of this album beyond the quality of the music.

Which isn't bad, by the way!

Of course we have the radio singles, Owner of a Lonely Heart, which is of course poppy but still fun to hear live, and Changes, which even mixes some fun prog sensibility (nice xylophone work!) with a balled that could have been written by the Scorpions in between. Our Song is also fun, in a poppy, Jefferson Starship-ian way, and I like sitar-like effect in It Can Happen.

That's about one side's worth of decent tunes. Unfortunately, that's all we get. I'm fine with leaving the rest back in 1983 with the other unmentionables of the era.

So, I'll go with 2-stars, because of the pop factor. But I do genuinely like some of this stuff, as long I keep the right perspective and avoid being biased--at least too much--by the band's previous glory.

Report this review (#285481)
Posted Monday, June 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
2 stars 90125

After the unfortunate bowel movement that was Tormato, I approached this with some reservations about Yes' more openly pop career. 90125 has some equally distasteful eructations but a few gems in with the dross. Squire is rather subdued, Rabin is generally at the forefront, White is very 80s and Anderson sounds nothing like he has before (i.e. on occasion, he emotes ;)).

Interesting how much of the aesthetic appears to be artlessly modelled on the hugely commercially successful Asia. I suppose that many of the things that ruin bits of this album for me are the same things that wreck Asia (i.e. the keyboard sounds) for a lot of this site's members but really, the difference is that Asia's first album has memorable individual songs and doesn't dumb itself down whenever it approaches the territory of hard rock. This album has three, maybe four songs a dedicated Yes fan should hear plus a quick instrumental that they'll like more than I do.

Owner Of A Lonely Heart... the harmonies are lush, I like the various soloish bits, which represent a genuine combination of imaginative writing and pop sensibilities. The whole song is good, has personality and is memorable.

Hold On isn't quite hard rock. The vocal harmony that forms the lead vocal is just not really very compatible with the rest of the (very bland) song and Rabin's guitar tone is unforgivably cheap. We can do without any of the five minutes of this. It Can Happen... the chorus and indeed most of the song is dreadful, bawling stuff and Squire's cool bass flourish is the only feature we might want salvaged into a rather better six minute song. Changes... and wow. After two dreadful pieces that only by virtue of their intelligible but still bad lyrical content and production couldn't be on Tormato, we have one of the greatest songs Yes have ever offered up and a pinnacle of early 80s attempts to make synthetic pop more complex and progressive rock more directly emotive. The lush, dense progressive, tuned-percussion-heavy intro and outro are neither of them hugely relevant to the glorious, direct song they surround but still fits with it superbly. The singing is fantastic, the harmonies again sound like something that only Yes could do and the song is simply so much more imaginative and punchy than anything off the album yet.

Cinema will maybe hold more attractions for those who feel instrumentals for their own sake are still events. I personally have as little affection for this moodless though technically impressive and dense piece as I have for YYZ. Short instrumentals do best with a mood, dammit. Leave It... outrageous, outrageous vocal harmonies completely with a bass voice that sounds like a strange merger of 10cc, Gentle Giant and the Drama Line-Up. So utterly out of character for this album that the vaguely shiny disco chorus seems merely hilarious and the rest inane genius in thankfully relatively compact format.

Our Song... the fairly quick if not hugely imaginative rhythm section is done a disservice by the horribly omnipresent tacky keyboard choices from Kaye. City Of Love has comedy value in excess of the various bad songs here; Jon Anderson trying to sing in a streetwise manner contrasted with stereotypical AOR harmonies ('no woman don't cry! No woman don't... cry!'). Has to be heard for that reason alone. Musically tolerable.

Hearts is a bit more carefully constructed than the remaining songs, with decent development on existing themes, cryptic lyrics put over some very nice harmonies. More of the Trevor Rabin show. A bit too much repetition. Not a bad song, just loses focus a little.

One song elevates this album to the lofty heights of two stars. If you can listen to Changes and still believe that an 80s aesthetic and pop format is incompatible with superb creative music, you are quite beyond help. Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Cinema, It Can Happen and the comedy value of City Of Love further rescue this from the bin and/or toilet I'll keep Tormato. I am hopeful I will never listen to at least three songs from this album ever, ever again. If you're a Yes fan, you need look no further than 1978 to do worse than this.

Rating: Two Stars, some/15... maybe a 7 Favourite Track: Changes

Report this review (#289858)
Posted Saturday, July 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars I've seen a lot of low ratings about this album. I think it's because of the band's name. Nobody could expect to find a new Close to the edge in the middle of the fairlight era, but it seems that a lot of people can't forgive the YES for their excursion into more commercial prog. Note. It's commercial but it's also prog.

Let's try to imagine if this album was published by a different band. Imagine somebody never heard before comes out in 1983 with Owner of a lonely heart, or with Leave it.

This is a great album. Only it's different from what YES did before and its follow-up, Big Generator was probably the worst thing ever produced by the band. This can be another indirect reason of the low-rating.

Trevor Rabin's synth-guitar is the leading instrument of the whole album. I think this is what the hard YES fans can't accept. With this album they changed their sound. Only Jon Anderson's voice is still the same. The music sounds different from the previous productions. Is it that bad?

What if Script for a Jester's Tear was published by Genesis instead of Marillion? Would people say "the worst Genesis album because they changed their style"? "Script is considered to be the starter of the so-called neo-prog. Would 90125 have been considered the same if made by actually unknown artists?

It has well played and arranged good songs, a skillful guitarist and Jon's voice. Is it commercial? In 1979 people was saying the same about Another Brick in the wall. Commercial doesn't always mean "bad" or "poor". It's just another attribute.

90125 has conquered a lot of people to YES music, giving them the curiosity and the possibility to dig into the old things and discover their masterpieces. 90125 is not a masterpiece, but I still love listening to it after 27 years. The main difference between good music and "just commercial" is that everybody gets bored of the second quite quickly.

In my opinion it's an album that has the right to stay in every prog collection. 1983 is the year of PF The Final Cut, Mike Oldfield's Crisis and Marillion's scripts. Is 90125 so poor that can't be compared to them? Any piece of art has to be evaluated into its contest. In literature nobody would write a poem in the Divine Comedy style, today, and nobody paints like Caravaggio.

So for people who has never listened to this album: the opening track, "Owner of a Lonely Heart" the most famous and probably the most commercial, has a captivating rhythm and melody. The use of "accents" is probably a bit excessive, but it doesn't disturb too much. The synth-guitar was really new at that time. I think Rabin and Pat Metheny were the only two known guitarists in these years to use it.

"Hold on" sounds a bit like SUPERTRAMP or TOTO but the chorus is nothing but YES. It's one of the best album's songs in terms of melody. Yes, it's commercial. I see no problems.

The SItar opens "It Can Happen" supported by Chris Squire's Bass. In the old times the bass volume would have probably been louder. The guitar below sounds a bit funky, but it's the same sound used by GILMOUR's guitar on "About Face" the following year.

"Changes" is a typical YES song. Its intro is one of the best things of the whole album. When it turns into pop is still a good prog song of the 80s.

"Cinema" is a short instrumental. It was functional as opener of the side B of the vinyl. Don't forget that we are at the dawn of the CD era. A CD reader was still very expensive actually. There's no solution of continuity between this track and the choir of "Leave it", that's in my opinion the best album's track.

"Our Song" is not too distant from some parts of "Going for the one". I don't like the intro that sounds like GTR's "When the heart rules the mind". (Strange as Howe isn't present here).

"City of Love" is nothing special, even though I remember that it rocked live (in Milan 1984).

"Hearts" is a good closure. It's in the territory that will be explored three years after by ABWH.

4 stars for me.

Report this review (#294711)
Posted Monday, August 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After really strong "Drama" album, released as Yes, but with very renewed line-up, "90125" is kind of return to " more classic" line up but with strong changes in musical direction.

Anderson is on board, as well as Squire and White, so in big part this album is still Yes. Music played is melodic keyboards-based AOR, well played and arranged. Few songs has some progressive smell, others - not too much. In fact, sound you hear there is very characteristic and successful for early 80-s Asia-like well arranged pop-rock.

There are myriads of critics for this album, and I really can agree with many of them. It's really far not the flagman of symphonic prog from 70-s. But I don't think this album is extremely bad - musicianship is very competent, arrangements professional, and musical material, even if danceable and mellow in moments, is still of high quality (ok - high quality pop-rock).

It's difficult to compare that album with best Yes works from 70-s, but comparing with many bands prog releases from 80-s (and even more - comparing with many clones neo-prog bands from 90-s), this album is still sounds as very quality release.

My rating is 2,5,rounded to 3.

Report this review (#307085)
Posted Thursday, October 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Believe it or not, this was the first Yes album that I listened, and even after listening to the masterpieces of the 70s I can not help liking him (although now I think he is worthy of 4 stars and prefer the his successor "Big Generator", call me crazy).

"Owner of a Lonely Heart" is the most famous song in the Yes rock in general and (call me crazy again) is one of my preferred.Is a great song.

"Hold On" takes something more rhythm-and-blues (I think) and is also great.

"It Can Happen"is my favorite song here, I love your introduction with oriental sounds,and henceforth Anderson comes in with her ​​ethereal voice (not that song), to a large section.I'm ecstatic from 3:15 minutes when Trevor Rabin enters with his guitar-I always considered him a good guitarist.

"Changes" is below the previous, but has some good moments.

The next tracks form one. "Cinema" is a great instrumental that was even nominated for a Grammy, while "Leave It" has a more electronic beat.

"Our Song " and "City of Love " are the weakest, while "Hearts ", the final track, ends with a flourish this album-that's a beautiful song!

Overall this album is good,so i give 4,5 stars.I like it!

Report this review (#319930)
Posted Sunday, November 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars This was the "great" comeback album from Yes that basically alienated most of their original fan base. Although its nice to know that a band of such high caliber finally got the attention they deserved, this was definitely not the sound most of us were hoping to hear.

Make no mistake about it, 90125 is a solid AOR album of its time. Unfortunately, much like Asia and other '80s reincarnations of classic prog acts from the '70s, this album feels extremely dated and will therefore only appeal to a selected few who enjoy this '80s-flavored sound. I'm definitely not one of these people which meant that I had to simply take it like a man and suffer through it. There is very little progressive rock music on this album and everyone who would tell you otherwise are simply lying in order to justify their guilty pleasures.

I know that most people blame this whole change of direction on Trevor Rabin, but anyone who has heard Going For The One and Tormato will know what some commercial exposure could do to this band. It's not like Rabin was one of the core members that should have known better. Jon Anderson, Chris Squire and Alan White should have been experienced enough to spot similarities of what was about to unfold, but instead chose to carry on as if everything was hunky dory. I guess that it kind of was.

If you're, like me, a fan of the '70s sound and can't handle the cheesy '80s production, then make sure to stay away from this release. 90125 might not be a completely dismissable album, but I lack anything that would make it anything more than a collectors/fans only release.

**** star songs: Owner Of A Lonely Heart (4:27) Changes (6:16) Cinema (2:09)

*** star songs: Hold On (5:15) It Can Happen (5:39) Our Song (4:16) Hearts (7:34)

** star songs: Leave It (4:10) City Of Love (4:48)

Report this review (#329024)
Posted Sunday, November 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I thought this a pretty good album when it came out--especially for the 80s. Plus, at the time I was big into Trevor HORN and his Zang Tum Tum projects--ART OF NOISE, ABC, FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD, GRACE SLICK, PROPAGANDA, etc. The odd idiosyncrasies that the Fairlight CMI was able to add to the music I thought interesting, okay. The tight, "in a box" sound engineering I was never a fan of, but there were some nice songs if not really up to old Yes standards in terms of demanding musicianship. I liked "Changes" (6:20) (9/10), "It Can Happen" (5:28) (8/10) (a great Jon Anderson performance) and, yes, even "Owner of a Lonely Heart" (8/10) and "Leave It" (4:13) (8/10), but my absolute favorite--to this day--is "Hearts" (7:38) (9/10) (which Jon ANDERSON did an AMAZING job with on his 1994 solo album, "Change We Must" [see my review]). It builds a little too slowly but has such a wonderful sound and its bass and background vocal support are to die for. A Yes song for the ages! This album never impressed me enough to dive into Trevor Rabin's catalog of music (which is extensive) but it is worthy of a 3.5 star commendation--recommended for those hardcore fans of Yes and/or Trevor Horn.
Report this review (#330918)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
2 stars As most Yes fans are aware, this was not originally intended to be 'Yes' album. After Drama, the band was pretty much finished. Squire and White formed a short-lived group with Jimmy Page called XYZ; Steve Howe joined Asia; Jon Anderson was making albums with Vangelis. At some point Squire and White got together with original Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye and Jon Anderson to form a new group. Hooking up with relatively unknown South African-born musician Trevor Rabin, they decided to call this new group Cinema. The record company had the bright idea that they could sell more copies if the album was labelled as a 'Yes' album. The album title of course being a reference to the album's catalogue number.

Basically this album is a mix of '80s pop/rock with hard rock guitars. The only song remotely prog is the short instrumental "Cinema" which I think was recorded at a rehearsal. "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" was the groups biggest hit, but it has been overplayed. I always thought "It Can Happen" was the best song here. Nice sitar and bass playing. Love the instrumental section with the talking and guitar solo. "Changes" has an interesting beginning with the xylophone or whatever. Then it goes straight into '80s pop/rock. "Leave It" is the most poppy and '80s sounding song. Never liked it. The synths at the beginning of "Our Song" make me feel like I'm watching a special on the Olympics or something. "City Of Love" is one of my favourites from 90125. Love the mid-paced hard rock groove. Good chorus.

An average '80s rock album that has not aged very well. If you are a fan of Yes, you either already have this album or will get it in the future. The music here has more in common with Asia or '80s Genesis than it does with anything Yes did in the '70s. Barely any prog elements whatsoever. 90125 gets 2.5 rounded down to 2 stars.

Report this review (#395772)
Posted Monday, February 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars 90125 is the first of Yes' cheesy pop-prog albums. The album is undeniably cheesy from the get-go, made obvious by the random studio sounds and synthesized hip-hop percussion hits on "Owner of a Lonely Heart", and this track also features an absolutely gross sounding synthesized guitar solo. Fortunately, this is not one of the best tracks on this album.

"Hold On" starts off as a pop-rock song, but it lightly progressive with its subtle time changes. "Changes" is also lightly progressive with odd instrumentation, and manages to be quite catchy and interesting. My only gripe with this track is that it sounds like something the Scorpions would write. "Cinema" is a short and noisy instrumental that serves no purpose except to sound very '80s, which it does well. Quite cheesy indeed.

"Leave it" is a super cheesy song, more than any other on this album. The electric chorus doo-doo-doo's on this song are a huge turn off, as is the ridiculous sounding jungle beat. I always found "Our Song" to be highly unmemorable, and is mostly just an average pop song. "City of Love" is another heavy pop-rocker and is very simple. "Hearts" is the longest, most interesting, and most progressive song on this album, but it still doesn't manage to stick at all.

Reviewing this album is really hard; there isn't really much to say about it other than all the tracks sound the same. I do consider this to be better than Tormato even if only for the change of direction in sound. This album was my introduction to Yes, and I don't think that is a good thing. I wouldn't consider this to anyone unless they are a fan of Yes and love the stereotypical '80s pop sound.

Report this review (#429355)
Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars "Where art thou, Steve Howe?" Here it is- the album that ruined Yes for me for a number of years. Even TORMATO looks like a masterpiece compared to this poppy collection of overplayed songs. To me, anything by Yes featuring Trevor Rabin just doesn't measure up to the Prog classics of earlier and even some later years. This could be considered one of the most popular AOR albums ever released. Which of course is not a positive on this particular website. Songs here range from the overplayed-"Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Leave It" to the just really, really, really bad- "City of Love". This ain't FRAGILE, RELAYER, or even MAGNIFICATION. This is somewhere down around the bottom of the Yes pool, swirling around the drain with TALK and BIG GENERATOR. One of the few Yes albums I don't own. I had it on vinyl then disposed of it. 2 star (barely).
Report this review (#434163)
Posted Friday, April 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Radio killed the symphony star...

90125 marked the return of John Anderson and original keyboardist Tony Kaye, as well as welcoming new guitarist Trevor Rabin to the lineup.

The Good: This album is used to taking a good old beating as its generally considered an abomination within the prog community. However, whilst it does show a far more commercial approach, and is certainly less progressive than their previous work, none of this stops it from being one of the best pop-rock albums ever written. It certainly has stood the test of time where so many others of this era have fallen into obscurity. Sure the songs are cheesy as hell, but that doesn't stop them from being both catchy and, to a certain extent, interesting.

The Bad: The album's final track is probably its weakest.

The Verdict: Progressive pop's finest hour.

Report this review (#441224)
Posted Sunday, May 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Essentially the return of Yes with Trevor Rabin in the name of New Wave. Without infamy and without praise. Luckily for them here is a big hit immortal (unfortunately): "Owner Of A Lonely Heart".

I do not want to make judgments on the fact that the transition to the New Wave is right or wrong but... How odd, Yes fall back in the gender change when fashion... Now the change of genre is due to a new reformation with a new axeman. But the other times? Two Proto Prog albums a la Deep Purple (cover+ new songs) and a first change of genre in Symphonic Prog, on the other made ​​only with the arrival of Rick Wakeman. After the unfortunate "Tales from Topographic Oceans" and the strange (but extremely good) "Relayer" Yess pass to Art Rock with too Prog insertions. Not good, for me. But with Symphonic prog in the veins this phase is not good. No Anderson in 1980 and with a good album as "Drama"... Now, in 1983 with Trevor Rabin and Tony Kaye Yes return with a New Wave album (and a future changes in 90's... Another changes... With the return in Symphonic prog and in Art Rock...)! Strange band Yes!

"90125" is not a bad album. Not Prog, this is it! That, after all, is a pure normal New Wave. course, after inventing the Neo Prog Art Rock playing, I would have expected something different. I read reviews extraordinary ("Yes are back with the the choirs of beginnings of career and YesSound") that I had pushed to buy "90125." Hmmm... It is almost better to listen to Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet!

At the end of the road with "90125" I think that this album is great for 1983 and for Yes. And it is aged in great manner. But in my opinion Prog is not in the DNA of these Yes (with Trevor Rabin).

Report this review (#469006)
Posted Saturday, June 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars However you look at it, Yes's '90125' is an important album. Moreover, it's an iconic album; no other piece of art can more precisely represent the downfall of prog. The lavish Roger Dean covers were gone, the average song length was under 5 minutes, and the tracks themselves were cheesy pop tunes. It seemed like the time for prog was now definitely at an end. Naturally this album has since become infamous within the prog sphere. And I kinda like it.

You see, once you've realised that Yes are not perfect - and if you haven't realised that after listening to 'Fly From Here' or 'Union' then you should seriously get some help - it becomes easy to forgive the group for making mistakes and straying down the wrong path. When you stop comparing this album to 'Fragile' or 'Close to the Edge', and just appreciate it as an ordinary pop album with some familiar faces on it, you may start to enjoy yourself.

Honestly though, the Anderson-Squire-Rabin-White-Kaye line-up should never have called themselves Yes; that much is surely a mistake. Apparently they battled with the decision to name the band Yes, but they should have realised that Owner Of A Lonely Heart isn't - or perhaps shouldn't have been - what Yes was all about. Indeed, a band should change to stay fresh, but this is just wrong. Until this point, the Yes name had been a symbol for high quality progressive rock (discounting 'Tormato' that is). Now it seemed that Anderson and co. were ready to chuck the name about like a koosh ball, bringing the band money, but losing the reputation they'd once had as musicians of art.

Although it is good to question the band's judgement on calling themselves Yes, one must accept that this is what happened, and it is now history. So, with the name Yes being arbitrary, how is the album itself? Not as bad as you might think! However, there are some songs on here which will make you wonder why you bought this album in the first place. On the first side, Hold On and It Can Happen are just as awful and boring as each other. Even worse, they both last around 5˝ minutes, leaving you in musical hell for about 11 minutes! On Side 2, we have the worst Yes lyrics I have ever heard in Our Song: 'Singing Rule Britannia / And this is where it grabs ya / There's method in the key of C / Toledo's got to be the silver city / In this good country.' As you can plainly see, this is utter drivel. Even the use of odd time signatures in the chorus fails to redeem this track. City Of Love is also a poor song, which feigns sounding heavy to mask the fact that there is little substance to it. The lyrics are poor here too: 'Good girls they work the city / Good guys they spike you hard.' If you can find it in yourself to overlook these songs, you might just like this album.

The rest of the album, by comparison, is great fun! For starters, you've got the smash hit Owner Of A Lonely Heart, with it's bizarre yet memorable drum sampling and catchy chorus. Before I ever listened to prog, I knew I liked this song a lot, and I still do to this day. Changes also manages to win a few brownie points by actually sounding slightly progressive: the minute long 17/8 intro will definitely make those hardcore prog fans look up. The rest of the song isn't bad either; I quite like the chorus and bridge.

Side 2 is where the real entertainment happens. We begin with Cinema, a short track that won Yes a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Although entertaining, the novelty quickly wears off, as this track feels too repetitive and uninspired. The next track, however, is a work of genius. Leave It is an incredibly unique track, as all members of the band sing a cappella throughout. With a catchy rock structure to back it up, this is easily the best song on the record. I must have played this song about 20 times in a row the first day I heard it. The constant doo-ing and ah-ing throughout will have you in stitches, it's that funny. How they ever performed this live without cracking up, I do not know.

If you make it to the end of the record, there's an 8 minute treat waiting for you. Hearts is a wonderful song if your prepared to put up with the tedious verses. The chorus section, whilst being as cheesy as cheddar grated over a raclette fondue, is actually really beautiful, powerful and uplifting. Jon's voice has the same magic as when he sang 'Coming quickly to terms of all expression laid,' back in 1972. I have to say, I'm glad that the longest track on this record isn't one of the bad ones.

While I don't give this album a spin that often, I usually enjoy myself a whole lot more than I expected to whenever I do. I heartily recommend this album to anyone, but must stress the fact that there is more pop on here than you can shake a stick at. If you're in any doubt that you will like this album, give Leave It a spin and see! It maynot be a proper Yes album, but in some small way, '90125' is something of a triumph.

Report this review (#510291)
Posted Saturday, August 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Five stars. Yes. On these pages this means "a masterpiece of PROG music". Now, many times reading reviews on this site I get the impression that PROG has become a word oh its own, forgetting what it stands for: PROGRESSION! We live year 1983 in the history of rock music. We have survived punk rock, which by the way was a total regression to rock roots, and the main word on musicians mouth is "poliphonic synthetiser" made affordable since a couple of years. Marillion came out with "script" and as a fan of OLD rock music I was more than happy, but I can tell you that at the time they were considered mere copies of genesis, also known as "Genesis for poors" since Genesis was doing pop music at the time. Consider this: when Cinema ( Rabin, Squire & White ) gave sign of life back then, for people like me, grown up in the 70's, sounded like salvation team to the rescue. The main point against this album is the succes it had! So it has to mean that those fabulous musicians responsible for such master pieces like CTTE or Relayer had decided to go mainstream and ( horror!!) COMMERCIAL...Totally wrong, my dear friends. In music it is impossible to know in advance how the public will react to your music, believe me! If such thing was possible, then all musicians would be millionaires, would'nt they? In fact Yes took a huge risk putting this one out under hteir name. The possibility to loose all your remaining fans was really there. But to musicians, and I mean REAL MUSICIANS, it does'nt matter. They do what they think is good music. Hey, seriously, do you think that Jon Anderson needed to join back the band to cash in? Really? Then stop reading, it's your choice. For those who understand the word PROGRESSIVE in music, otherwise, this album is an excellent exemple of music created for the only purpose to evolve. You still have the sound of the band, still have the odd tempos, the solos, and believe me in1983 it was not in to play like that. The sound of this album, Trevor Horn producing, was top notch and really new. The guitar sounds were out of the world. The keys were revolwing around the Yamaha DX7, the latest and technologically advanced synth on the market. Go and see what was these for rock fans to listen to as an alternative in 1983! Is this as important as CTTE? Yes, because the driving force behind the music is the same: the desire to sound different, new, interesting. But of course if you like Foxtrot and Animals ( I do, by the way, very much!!! ) and think that the world of music should have stopped to evolve after 1977, then don't listen to 90125, you loose your time. I forgot one thing: if PROG bands like Yes would'nt have played with orchestral arrangements in the seventies, then rock would still sound today like Elvis Presley. Would you like that?
Report this review (#516902)
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars I last rated AWBH with two stars and I'd like to continue by saying that this (for progheads very controversial) pop album is much dearer to me! Though simply because it was among my first "favourite" albums (owned by my brother or sister) in my early teens before I started to buy my own vinyls - starting with Marillion, by the way. 90125 works pretty well in its own style, which naturally has very little to do with any YES music before it. It would be unfair to use that fact against the album.

I don't like to call this a prog album. I'd call it radio-friendly mainstream pop/rock of its time but with prog elements, no doubt. The same way as RUSH or SAGA albums of that era. The main reason why it's so different from earlier YES (even from Drama) is guitarist Trevor Rabin whose contribution to this music is very crucial. But enough of general speculations. What do I like in this album?

First, it's so energetic and bright that it's hard not to take some (guilty) pleasure of it. 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' took Yes into charts and even to the MTV. It's nearly a perfect pop song, as is e.g. 'Advice For The Young At Heart' by Tears For Fears, though I like the latter more. Anyway the guitar sound and the rhythm section are very enjoyable. 'Hold On' is not among my favourite tracks but 'It Can Happen' is interesting. Side One ends with a highlight, dark- toned 'Changes' featuring Rabin as the main vocalist. Prog-rock meets hard rock ballad.

Second side includes five tracks, two of them my least favourites and the closest to irritating techno-pop, 'Leave It' and 'City Of Love'. The first one is still quite listenable. Maybe funny but perhaps I like most on the whole album the short instrumental 'Cinema' (named after the proposition for the alternative group name). What a ride in just two minutes! 'Our Song' is a bright, fast pop song and very uplifting. Another highlight besides 'Changes' is 'Hearts', the longest track (7:34). I love the dreamy ending ("... I see the stars blow one by one...") but maybe the song is a bit too stretched by solos and choruses following each other.

A nice proggy pop album from 1983. I spoke of it very friendly, but lets' be realistic: most likely you'll hate it if you're a YES-fan and a proghead and you listen to this album for the first time.

Report this review (#537645)
Posted Friday, September 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars My position towards this album is neutral, although i find myself enjoying it sometimes, I don't really blame them for the changes they made to their sound. One thing is certain, the 80's were a rough period to this kind of bands due to several factors, among them being the punk fever in the late 70's and shortly after, the emergence of MTV. I know that the early albums were much better in almost every perspective but in the old days complexity and differentiation were the main criteria to evaluate a prog album. The Pop Revolution happened and Progressive Music, as it was originally interpreted and apreciated, suddenly plunged into a never ending darkness. Take ELP (my favorite band) for example, they stood firm with their musical style and that's why they never managed to resurface again. One cannot simply judge a band that tried to create radio oriented music while preserving the personality. Besides, i think the mood you're in determines if you feel like listening to this mild pop-prog album that has its moments once in a while.

In conclusion, this metamorphosis was a double-edged sword. They gained more fans than they lost, therefore gained more profit with the shows. In spite of the group survivability being insured, the music quality does not live up to the multi concept band that once was. Either way, it deserves more airtime than the majority of commercial crap (excuse my french) that is made nowadays.

Quoting the great Darwin: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."

Report this review (#589614)
Posted Friday, December 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Over the 3 preceding albums preceding this release, Yes had started to gradually move toward a more accessable sound and songwriting approach, and it can even be said that they'd arrived at full pop/rock with 90125. It's not entirely devoid of prog, though, as the intro and outro to "Changes" is very complex, with an odd meter marimba riff giving way to an intricate fabric of sounds and counterpoints, and even though all of the songs are pop/rock songs, the production is full on prog, with very full arrangements using really fresh sounds that still don't sound dated (orchestra hits aside) even decades later. It's obvious that Tony Kaye did some serious updating for his keyboards, and there are plenty of moments where I even have trouble distinguishing the keys from the guitars, which are played by Trevor Rabin, a very skilled guitarist who I think has a style that was just right for a band like Yes making an album of songs like these. The thing that really makes 90125 as excellent an album as it is, though, is that the songs are all really good. The song order is perfect, hearing the powerful reverb- drenched choruses of "Hold On" after "Owner of a Lonely Heart", followed by the vividly sonic "It Can Happen", with its electric sitar and superbly mixed Squire bass, going into the aforementioned "Changes" intro, was a great production move. The instrumental that opens up Side Two that's named after the original idea for this lineup of the band, is very Asia-like in sound, but also very progressive in composition. That's followed by 3 more very well produced and written pop/rock songs, and the album concludes with the ballad, "Hearts," bearing one of Anderson's sweetest medolies. 90125 is what I'd call a very strong 4.5 album.
Report this review (#590156)
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars A lot of noise for a bluff, 90125 is a deceptive album. A good single, no doubt, with a big success to insuflate a stream of royalties into a decreasing account... but, what, appart of a Lonely Heart? Not much. Some claim Leave It and I repeat: leave it! For Yes followers there is nothing but Hearts as a penny /cent to their name. Really, "Two hearts are better than one "(lonely)... as the lyrics go. The instrumental Cinema deserves listening, too.

The CD reissue can torture you with different versions of Leave it, including an a capella one but it doesn't include the right one: the one without music and without voices, too!

Report this review (#618892)
Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
1 stars Punk rock has a lot to answer for. Thanks to Johnny Rotten, Malcolm McLaren, The Damned et al the cream of Britain's progressive talent had to find new ways to express their 'musical integrity', ways that didn't involve imaginative flights-of-fancy, complex instrumental flourishes, long-winded conceits and the occasional dabble with mystically impenetravle worldplay. Suffering first-and-foremost were those princes of bombast Emerson Lake & Palmer, public enemy number one for the new spitting upstarts thanks to their highly-concentrated mix of pseudo-classical ingredients and edgy, organ-laced rock. The failure of both the frankly rather dismal 'Works Vol.1' and the disgustingly-expensive tour that followed saw the once lauded trio producing glutinous pop crap in the form of career nadir 'Love Beach', an album made purely to satisfy greedy label demands. Genesis, who by the decades end had slimmed down into a slick pop-rock three- piece, managed to sidestep the punk onslaught by sheer dint of touring the globe, thus missing much of the vitriol that surely would have been aimed there way. Of course Pink Floyd didn't really need to bother, their enormous popularity insulating them from much of the abrasive criticism, whilst King Crimson had, by 1974, split up, leaving them free to sit on the sidelines, relax and wait for their time to reappear(as it would during the early 1980s). But what of Yes? For many, especially the new punk guard, they were the quintessential progressive rock group and therefore public enemy number one. Despite producing an elegant near-classic in the year zero of punk's inception - with 1976's 'Relayer' - the late-seventies had not been a vintage time. 1977's underwhelming 'Going For The One' felt patchy; the following year's 'Tormato' was simply wretched; 'Drama', an album made with the assistance of the electro-pop duo Buggles, split the fan vote right down the middle. Diminishing sales, poor critical reactions, half-empty tours, financial mis-management and squabbling band-mates had, by all accounts, vurtually destroyed the once hugely-successful group by the time the new decade had begun. Unable to count on past glories and no longer considered 'hip', it was time for a very big change. So, up steps South African writer, composer, guitarist, producer and vocalist(in that order) Trevor Rabin. Alongside a newly-formed line-up of long-term bassisy Chris Squire, returning original keyboardist Tony Kaye, drummer Alan White and squeaky-voiced frontman Jon Anderson, Rabin would help transform Yes into a new deal for the new decade. Out goes the fantasy-themed Roger Dean artwork, the far-ranging keyboard solos, the epic song-suites and dextrous experimentation of yore, in comes bright-eyed synthesizers, slick digital effects, drum machines, colour-coordinated clothing and pop-gleamed melodies. The results of this not-so-proggish mutation? Success like they never dreamed of. Yes, despite sounding more like Asia than 'Close To The Edge', 1983's '90125' would prove to be the biggest-selling Yes album of all-time. Thanks punk. Thanks a lot.


Report this review (#707570)
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Anyone who fails to see this as a progressive rock album has not listened to it or analysed it properly. Whether or not to takes into account the innovative production techniques on "Owner of a Lonely Heart", one cannot dismiss the lyrics of "Hold On" as being distinctively prog, in fact, they're the proggiest lyrics I've ever heard! The first time I heard the intro to "Changes" I actually thought it was from an earlier Yes album, and "Hearts" could easily have been from a 70's Yes album. Lastly and most importantly, "Leave It" is possibly the most musically accomplished top 30 hit in history. The vocal harmonies are brilliant and echo choral music from throughout the centuries. The way they use syncopation and the way they transition the sections of the song is stunning. I would go as far as to suggest that compositionally, this is one of Yes' most unique and most well-crafted songs.
Report this review (#753835)
Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars This was the new Yes, and I must admit that I didn't enjoy the different sound as much at first. I have been revisiting all of the post Drama albums and am glad I have done so. It may be more polished soft rock that lacked the grit the earlier Yes works had. I am not the first to say that I think, but it is better not to compare this to the Yes of before. This is a good album and I think a lot of people underestimate the performances on it. The good song formulas are there, strong arrangements, melodies and instrumentation and the dueling vocals are brilliant. It is well produced and fresh sounding, a lot better than Tormato. Concerning some of the individual tracks, I have never been overly keen on "Owner of lonely heart" but it is made better by Anderson singing it. "Hold on" stands out more, it is essentially arena rock, but there is improvement again in my opinion with "It Can Happen" which is one of the best, an interesting song with a very memorable melody. The sitar/guitar riff is great. "Changes" is the most complex piece on the album. It is another highlight for sure. Trevor Rabin's guitar playing is well worth listening out for in the instrumental passages and it keeps the excitement up. "Leave It" actually has some good multi-layered arrangements in it as well. For those who did enjoy the old Yes more, "Hearts" is on a more epic scale, and the rock guitar parts are great. Three solid stars for this as a whole. There is lots of variety and energy in the songs, some songs don't work as well as others, but it's worth going back to if you didn't like so much the first few listens.

Report this review (#884664)
Posted Sunday, December 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars This review is kind of like a latter day Genesis review. As the times change, prog bands mainly have two choices. They are change your sound or die sticking to the old guard. In fairness to Trevor Rabin, who is the main songwriter here, this was never supposed to be a Yes album. First, it was a solo album, then a Cinema album with Chris Squire. Only after Squire asked Jon Anderson to join after much of the music was written, did they decide to call this a "Yes" album. Without this album, I doubt there would have been another "Yes" album.

So much like Genesis albums from ATTW3 on, there is not much prog here but that does not mean there isn't very good music. The production is stellar, the single Owner of a Lonely Heart is a massive hit , the rest of the has some great vocals and playing from all involved.

I have given this plenty of spins back when it was released and I still enjoy it today.

3.5 stars rounded to 4

Report this review (#884719)
Posted Sunday, December 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars First off, let me weigh in on the pro-/anti- Trevor Rabin thing. IT DOESN"T MATTER. This is just a different version of Yes, but it's still Yes. If the individuals mattered so much, then why bother following after Peter Banks left? THAT was Yes. Or after Tony Kaye was forced out? get my point. Each version is different, yet they all are Yes. So get real.

Musically, this is much pop-ier than the 70s Yes, no matter how hard they tried on Tormato. Rabin brought into Yes a strong pop sensability and his songs are definately more radio friendly than the 10 song, three album stint in the 70s. Once again, it's not horrible, it's just different. And he IS a talented guitarist.

This album, along with their accompanying videos, brought Yes to the forefront of the music industry, in a way they understood: it sold. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because they retained their reputation as a musically tight, experimental group. Their back catalog started selling again when this came out as people enjoyed this album and wanted to find out more about Yes.

Owner of a Lonely Heart is the most well known song from the album, having charted in the top 10 upon its release. However, the two songs that are the tour-de-force of the album are Leave It and It Can Happen. These are some of the best songs the group has ever done, IMO. The bonus track of Leave It acapella is absolutely sublime. I've had it for years on the 45 (yeah, I'm that old). There is really not a weak song on here, though some are not as strong as others.

If they allowed me to give half stars, this would be a 4 1/2 star job.

Report this review (#901098)
Posted Monday, January 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'll admit I wasn't to thrilled with this line-up of musicians when it first came out with a new guitarist and no Rick Wakeman. But I was happy to see Anderson, White and Squire back together. It was also cool seeing Tony Kaye back in the fold even though he hardly contributed. As everyone should know by now, this wasn't supposed to be a new Yes album but when Jon Anderson came in to sing lead vocals that all changed. People who give this album bad reviews I think are a bit unfair. In the 80's, prog was DEAD as dead can possibly get. 1983 was filled to the brim with crappy machine-made music. Break dancing was all the rage and Madonna and Michael Jackson were dominating the airwaves. If you wanted to have any relevancy and a record deal of any sort in those days, you needed to have a more accessible sound. I think Yes did a fine job of not sounding like a typical arena-rock band and crafting an original sounding album with some prog flourishes that was accessible. It became a big surprise hit. It is not a prog album I will admit, but you can't deny that the musicianship is still well above average. Great vocals and fun songs throughout.
Report this review (#920545)
Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars Come on everybody, Yes returns! And this time, an album for the whole family. Call your mama and your papa, and dont forget your uncles and grandparents.

Who's Tony what? The line-up doesn't care if the album is great. But it's cheesy enough, and not catchy. If you are trying to make cheesy and commercial music, please, try something catchy. 90125 starts with Owner of The Lonely Heart, the radio hit. A good song. But the rest of the album is just fillers. The instrumental are uninteresting. It's the kind of album that you have to listen to once. But just once in a lifetime. I'm telling you because I tried more than once. And it wasn't a good experience.

Report this review (#977375)
Posted Thursday, June 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Once Rick Wakeman said "90125 was an extremely important album, it saved the band" and "If that album had stiffed, there's a fair chance there wouldn't be a Yes out there today", and I think by this way too. In the eighties those big bands as Yes or Genesis, if they had not aproached to a commercial sound, they had been dissapeared. IMO, much of the music of this bands in the eighties is even in the prog side, of course, with a diferent format, but far far better than many other bands. And 90125, even being mainly a pop album, is great, with some prog feel, and I really like it. The longest tracks as Changes and Hearts, I quietly could call progressive rock, great songs with some instrumental and rather complex structure, specially Changes. Leave it and It can happen, are two great tracks too, with some non conventional sound. The same I could say about City of love and Cinema, a short but good instrumental. The rest is good too. I really like this version of Yes, and for me they were still Yes. Squire and Anderson were there and both too were part of all the songwriting, being in some songs, one or the other, the first composer in the list. I think that is a mistake to identifie the album with the biggest hit Owner of a lonely heart (with Rabin maybe as the main composer in this track). Thinking about the old greatest prog bands became as crossover bands, and in the '80s musical universe, 90125 deserves the four stars.
Report this review (#1078807)
Posted Monday, November 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars NO! YES! NO! YES! YES! YES!

Groovy lil pop album by former 70's prog giants that turned a whole new generation of hip kids onto the existence of "prog," because even though "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Leave It" are definitely "pop" songs in essence, there was something a bit different about them, this sure ain't the Cars and it ain't 867-5309 either, but what is it?

Well, for starters it's a hell of a lot better than Asia (which is loathsome) and WAAAAYYYY better than Phil Collins era 80's pop Genesis...I don't care how well Phil is channeling Peter Gabriel on "Mama" or whatever, that Genesis might as well stick a saxophone in its nethers and play Kenny G through it because to these ears there's not a lot of difference between the two.

But we are here to discuss "90125" by Yes, which is this record which is a really great record! I know that it's not CTTETOTOTAWTYA but so what? By this point in the 80's most prog bands were really, really out of touch, coming across as goofy wannabe new wavers without the first idea of what the hell new wave (which isn't even a real genre) was...Let's face it none of the prog masters made anything half as progressive as "Remain In Light" by the Talking Heads or anything near as cool as the Von Lmo Lp. There was nothing going on in the prog world at this time that was half as interesting as Chrome (Really, that Chrome isn't on here under space rock is a shame, Listen to "Red Exposure" for instance, truly progressive and future seeing on the highest level!) or even Television. But what Yes did was take a 70's niche genre and take it to the masses with a slick, clean 80's sound while somehow managing to not sound like a bunch of goofy bastids trying way too hard to be "hip."

"90125" is an excellent pop album, and there're enough prog touchstones to keep those who are into that sort of thing (all of us here, I'm sure) at least somewhat amused. Head and shoulders above so much of the pop that surrounded it, I think this is a classic album, maybe not prog in the strictest of terms, but still interesting, experimental and at least they are trying to stay in touch with their original musical vision enough to not alienate all of progdom (they failed it seemed).

I would listen to this album four hundred times a day without being able to get up to use the bathroom before I would listen to Marillion again. In fact I need to make sure there's a bathroom close by if ever I am forced to hear Marillion again. Why? "90125" is prog putting on pop clothing and running around the mall, where as Marillion is really just the worst of 80's crap pop pretending to be much cooler than it really is. At least the lyrics on this album aren't all about how displaced the lead singer feels because his childhood sucked.

This album is also better than "Tormato" because at least there seems to be some sort of passion and drive here, where as "Tormato" sounds like a tired, tired band making tired, tired music. I just don't hear the major decline in Yes' 80s albums that all the seventies Yes lovers hear. Jon Anderson singing goofy yet earnest lyrics about transcendence? Yes! Cool keyboard lines? Yes! Fake sounding drums that are still really good? Yes! Memorable hooks, angelic vocal melodies, and a couple longish songs? Yes! I think if this would have had a Roger Dean cover it would have a Three and a Half at least. That's why it's getting a Four, that and the fact that I really do love this album.

At least it doesn't have a stupid space ship shaped like a guitar on the cover. That would be lame.

Report this review (#1178402)
Posted Friday, May 23, 2014 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars '90125' - Yes (71/100)

If there's anything Yes' latest disasterpiece Heaven and Earth has taught me, it's that I will always prefer a solid pop album over a dog[&*!#] prog one. Writing a set of catchy, concise and effective tunes is potentially just as much a challenge as penning a grandiose epic; it just requires a separate set of skills. Yes had long-since established themselves as masters of the latter, and the decade prior to the release of 90125 was filled with lasting testaments to their skill as a band. With that inspiration having shown its end with the patchy Tormato and largely outsourced Drama however, in retrospect it makes perfect sense the band found themselves in need of some renovation. Yes' transition on 90125 has made it the most polarizing album among fans after "Tales from Topographic Oceans". Even if it's a disappointment in retrospect that Yes didn't have another decade of prog masterpieces left in them, 90125 stands as a remarkably well-crafted pop record, and one well-deserving of the success it enjoyed throughout the 80s.

Like any mid-life career change, the transition Yes made with 90125 was a risk, but it certainly paid off. Someone with no idea what a mellotron or moog is will almost surely be cognizant of their hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart", and it's unlikely they would be able to hum out the first few lines. Sure enough, I don't think a song penned under the Yes name was so concise and effective since "Roundabout". Cheesy electronic embellishments and lyrics are easily offset by the song's perfect melodic writing and indomitable hook factor. With Steve Howe's absence, the instrumentation sounds a world away from the 'classic' Yes, and might have passed for another band entirely had it not been for Jon Anderson's vocals. If any of classic members truly benefited from the newfound pop leanings on 90125, it would be Anderson. Granted, there's no longer any room for his New Age lyrical dawdling here, but the his distinctive voice feels perfect for the approach the band took here.

90125 pleasantly evades the stereotype of the pop album as being shallow or inconsistent; from a point of songwriting it was the most consistent record they had produced since Going for the One or even before that. It's granted there are none of the sonic highlights that past records offered (including my much-beloathed Drama) but there's a sense of purpose to each of the songs that Yes had struggled with on their best days. Say what you will about the dated 80s cheese, almost every song on the album manages to feel memorable and distinctive. This ability to write distinctive tracks served Yes well in the past, but it is especially relevant on 90125; strangely enough, the only forgettable track included- that being "Cinema"- seems most like a trace of their proggy past, a longform introduction to "Leave It" with ambient guitar flourishes that that don't sound entirely unlike what Howe would have done, had he performed on the album.

The pop direction is shouted loud and clear from virtually every orifice of the album; with that said, Yes were clever to include proggy detours as well. The first couple of minutes of "Changes" sound particularly adventurous, navigating time signatures and vague polyrhythms you would never expect to find on an album so decisively brushed off as 'pop'. Though "Hearts" is about as saccharine as the title suggests, it's got a more epic feel to it that might not have sounded out of place on "Tormato". It's this thoughtful balance of the adventurous and commercial that makes 90125 sound exciting in an entirely new way for the band. A full-bodied production (also heard on Drama) does a lot to bring Yes into the new era as well.

Of course, as successful as 90125 is as a pop album, it's certainly not what I would have hoped to hear from Yes. Distancing oneself from progressive rock is pretty forgivable, considering the genre's dire state at the turn of the decade. Whatever reservations I have towards the album have everything to do with how little it rewards repeated listening. Many will peg that off as an expected result of shorter, simple songwriting, but I don't think that's necessarily true. The human heart ultimately cares little for how many keyboard solos are in your nine-part suite epic; it cares about an artist's intimacy and expression of feeling. Whatever you might make of that, there doesn't seem to be much of that sincerity on 90125. Perhaps Yes had just become too functional or mature for their own good, but the music lacks the personal touch their prior work revelled in. It's a funny thing to call the album impersonal considering it was the most coherent the band had sounded in over five years. Then again, with the band's personnel becoming increasingly different from what the popularly declared 'classic' lineup, perhaps it's unfair to judge this as a Yes album to begin with.

Like a Summer blockbuster movie, 90125 isn't particularly filled with depth or return- value, but it's skilfully compiled and plenty of fun. Sadly, Yes' pop-rock ambitions would take a turn for the dark and dismal following the album's success.

Report this review (#1214593)
Posted Thursday, July 17, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is my first review on this site. Excuse my poor English, helped by Google translation ;-) Obviously, the recent death of Chris Squire prompted me to write here. I was 16 when 90125 was published. I immediately loved "owner of lonely heart", when I saw the clip on TV. I bought the album and have listened loop for weeks. Initially, I was an exclusive fan of the Beatles, which made me love rock music. Gradually, I enjoyed other groups: Supertramp, Queen, u2,... I listen for almost 30 years that almost prog. When he saw I like Yes, my cousin, older than 5 years, then played me "close to the edge" and "selling england by the pound". I did not understand and appreciate this complicated music. You do not become a fan of prog rock overnight. It's a long way of gradually musical discoveries. Obviously, for me today, these two albums are gems. But 90125 is the album that sowed the seeds of prog in me. Today, when I listen to this album, I find it poor and I quickly bored. Certainly, it is good pop, but just pop. But I do not forget that without this album, I certainly not be here to write these words.

RIP Chris

Report this review (#1385041)
Posted Friday, March 20, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first ever, and maybe only, written review comes after the death of the great Chris Squire. This album was the one that took me into Yes fandom. My late Uncle, who was heavily into prog, tried getting me into them with some of the earlier stuff, i.e., roundabout, starship trooper, etc.. I thought those songs were ok but they didn't make me a believer, or fan for that matter. I was more into heavier, more popular (gasp) music at the time. AC/DC, Van Halen, Zeppelin, Rush, so on, so on. This album tired out my turntable getting played many o' time. I loved it's heaviness, melodicness, lyrics, and the tightness of the band. For me this is a classic and a 5 star gem. I realize to the true diehard prog fan that it isn't "progressive" and is thought of more as a piece of sh*t. I tend to not look at music as "prog" or "not prog". To me if the music is enjoyable, has a wow factor, and is well performed then I'm in. I saw a video on that pushed me to write this review. The band were playing "Owner of A Lonely Heart" live in concert. There was energy, cohesiveness, a rejuvenation it seemed. Most importantly though, there were smiles, and an overall feeling that they were happy and having fun with what they were doing. For me that's classic in itself, seeing those pro's letting go and having a great time playing for their fans, prog or not. I saw them on tour for 90125, one of the best shows I've ever seen. So, I ignore the rating guidelines for what should be deemed a masterpiece of progressive rock music and give, what my heart feels, 5 hardy stars for the album and the meaning it had for me and the band members who created it.
Report this review (#1432689)
Posted Wednesday, July 1, 2015 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars After the experiment of "Drama," the first YES album that replaced Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman with members of The Buggles, the band did a whole tour but unfortunately Trevor Horn was unable to perform to the band's likings as far as sustaining the passable vocal abilities in the vein of Jon Anderson as heard on the album. The band decided perhaps the 70s meets 80s experiment had run out of steam and reluctantly called it day. The band known as YES officially ceased to exist after the end of the "Drama" tour. The plans of the members were to create new supergroups that would take elements of the YES era and incorporate them into the contemporary sounds of the early 80s. For progressive rocks lovers this was a tragedy. Commercially speaking, the then former members of YES would soon see some of their most economically beneficial music surpassing anything they had ever experienced.

While Steve Howe and Geoff Downes would go on to form Asia, Trevor Horn would go on to be a successful producer (starting with this one), Chris Squire and Alan White decided to create something new altogether. Originally they hooked up with Jimmy Page which didn't work out but the fruits of which ended up on Page's band The Firm's albums. Despite a lofty idea it was a no go and they had to recruit some new blood to the mix. They settled on Trevor Rabin who was somewhat successful in his native South Africa with a band called Rabbit and after a chance meeting with YES' original keyboardist Tony Kaye, Chris Squire rekindled musical ideas and invited him to play keyboards on the new project. This new super group was supposed to be called Cinema and was never intended to be a YES project at all. The final ingredient in the new group was unfilled: the vocalist. The disbanding of YES was totally amicable so when Squire played some of the new material to Jon Anderson, he really liked it and decided to sing on the new album. Someone thought it was a great idea to be under the YES moniker and thus the 11th YES album was born. Like it or not, YES released their most successful album with 90125 and even had a #1 single in "Owner Of A Lonely Heart." The title simply comes from the original Atco Records serial number of the original LP: 7-90215-1.

I would say that the success of this album is due to a mix of circumstances. First of all, the progressive pop tracks are all extremely catchy and well written as well as impeccably performed, but as we all know there is no reason any brilliant album should catch on to a larger audience without some sort of delivery to the larger public. Like many 70s bands of the day, YES was prescient enough to see the power of the video and when "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" caught on with a new generation of fans totally oblivious to the previous incarnations of YES, the video became a HUGE hit propelling the album to sell mass quantities to the chagrin of progressive rock snobs who only found the war of complexities to scratch their itch.

I absolutely adore this album. Not only was this the very first YES album i encountered, but it is one that stays with me over time. It was indeed my gateway drug to the affirmative one's unique style but was so well crafted and beautifully delivered that it holds a strong place in my musical world. While some early albums in my world are respected for their introductions to a band's discography, 90125 remains high on my personal list of albums simply because i enjoy the hell out of it. Not progressive enough? Gimme a break! This album may not take you to Saturn's rings like "Relayer" or "Tales From Topographic Oceans" but it is not meant to. This is an Earthly concoction of extremely well played progressively constructed ideas that find a more accessible rhythmic structure that fits nicely into the day and time but still sounds totally unique and is really unlike anything else not only released under the YES moniker but stands out from any other album ever released as well.

Personally i find the biggest hit "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" to be the weakest track on here and even so i still don't dislike it. This album is just filled to the brim with catchy progressive new wave and pop tracks. "Hold On," "It Can Happen," "Changes," "Leave It" and "Our Song" are simply just beautifully well crafted pop songs stuffed with progressiveness that doesn't feel forced or over contrived. The odd time signatures of "Changes" are particularly noteworthy of showing just how well this incarnation of the YES lineup could easily meld two seemingly opposite spectrums of the musical world together so brilliantly. I just cannot understand any negativity behind this one. Only the last couple of songs keep me from giving this a full five star rating. The difference between this and the most progressive of YES' albums is that like the previous couple albums, the melodies are the focus with the progressiveness being the icing instead of the cake, but on 90215 they really succeed in balancing these elements like a fifty foot stack of rocks on a river bed. Great music doesn't have to be based on a "complexer- than-thou" principle and 90125 is a wonderful example of just how satisfying well constructed songs that have recurring melodic themes can be.

Report this review (#1436180)
Posted Monday, July 6, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars How did Yes, one of the world's premier prog-rock bands, manage to completely retool their sound and make a hit record in the age of MTV? Well, a good deal of it has to do with Trevor Horn. After the Drama line-up (and effectively Yes) split up in late 1980, Horn decided that his talents were better suited to producing (which he probably helped out with on Drama) rather than singing, and managed to parlay that into a rather successful career with many top-name artists before the current album was even considered. Meanwhile, Chris Squire and Alan White put together a few different bands to pass the time, notably XYZ (with Jimmy Page) and Cinema, a joint collaboration with South African guitarist/songwriter/singer Trevor Rabin. Most of the songs written with Cinema wound up on this release; in fact, even when Jon Anderson came back into the fold (no small feat in itself), Rabin was not keen on calling the new band Yes because the music was so different from the 70s material. However, when previous lead singer Horn got the call to produce the record, and when original keyboardist Tony Kaye also returned after a 12-year absence, it seemed as if no-one could do anything about it. This was Yes, and they were back in business after a couple years off. (By the way, the title of this album is not a Los Angeles ZIP code, but rather the original catalog number issued by Atco.)

Unlike, it seems, a lot of "classic Yes" fans, I actually have great respect for Trevor Rabin as a musical craftsman. At his best, he's one of the greatest in his field and generally underrated on the whole; at his worst, though, he's uninspired and entirely derivative of any other 80s corporate rock bands, despite his best intentions. For someone who basically turned the world of South African rock on its ear with his late-70s band, Rabbitt, and who would later go on to write tons of Hollywood film soundtracks, I'm a little bit surprised that his first outing with Yes is as uneven as it is. I won't go as far as to call it "overrated" since the tracks that everyone knows it for are actually the best ones, but it's never sat quite as well with me as I think it should. Whether that's my problem or Trevor's, I'm still not sure.

Anyway, we begin with "Owner of a Lonely Heart," which has the distinction of being the very first Yes song I ever heard at the ripe old age of 8, before I even knew it was Yes! (At that time I always misheard the title lyric as "Owner of a lonely hut.") Opening like no Yes record ever before, with drum cadences leading to that guitar riff, this song immediately says "Welcome to the 80s." It's not a terribly jarring transition as Jon Anderson's voice is still the first you hear, although his lyrical contribution is limited to the typically Jon-like rumination during the tonic-chord vamps after the chorus. Other aspects of the 80s are found in the "high-vocal" and "orchestra hit" samples which apparently came from another record that Trevor Horn was working on at the time. Rabin's guitar tone is heavily processed (a novel idea for 1983), and his solo halfway through is bolstered by the use of a harmonizer. The bell-like video-game keyboard tones at 3:30 are also reminiscent of "Going for the One," showing that Yes hadn't lost touch with their past. Without a doubt the "signature" track from this album, objectively great and with a fantastic video to boot (remember, these were the days of MTV), and to this day Yes' only #1 hit.

"Hold On," despite having a horribly unoriginal title (seriously, do an AllMusic search), is another powerful track. The first ballad here, it benefits from a rock-solid 12/8 groove that is occasionally tripped up a bit (in a good way) by Alan White, who otherwise suffers from the typical "80s drum sound" for most of the album. This piece manages to avoid complete "power-ballad" territory due to its minor-key verses, cracking vocal harmonies and a cappella 3rd verse, with vocal arrangements more intelligent than any to be found in this kind of music. Rabin's guitar solo at the end vamp is cool but I wish the track didn't fade out just when he gets going. Speaking of Rabin, I think some of the keyboard work on this album may be split up between him and Kaye; however, since they have pretty similar playing styles, it's hard to tell who's doing what (although some of the more technical runs may be Rabin).

"It Can Happen" introduces a new sound to Yes: an actual sitar instead of the electric sitar/guitar that Steve Howe used to play. This addition makes for one of the more interesting tracks here, with one of Jon's best vocal contributions. Rabin takes over lead vocals for the chorus ("Look up, look down"?) and I think we even hear a bit of Squire's backup harmonies there as well. Speaking of Squire, his contributions on bass are not exactly up to the standard set by previous albums, but then again, I suppose that comes with the territory of 80s rock, as accomplished as this is. Anyway, hooks aplenty here and most of them are very good, and there's also a bit of "walkie-talkie" going on after the 2nd chorus (not sure if someone in the band is doing that or if it's another sample). Jon's voice rides out the fade with the others chanting away behind him; it all makes for one of the best tracks on the album.

Unfortunately it all comes to a screeching halt with "Changes," the intro to which must be the most obvious way to appease the classic Yes fans. I'm not particularly a fan of it, but the song itself is even worse. Rabin sings lead vocals and evidently he wrote the bulk of the song; this certainly isn't a comment on him because he's written too many great songs to let one bad one spoil it. However, there's just something about this track that makes me hate it far more than I should and actually ruins my enjoyment of the album a bit. Maybe it's the grade-school lyrics, the minor-key stasis of the main tune (which basically only has one chord for the most part), or that the track is about one or two minutes too long to begin with (due to needless repetition of the out-chorus). Whatever the case, I just can't bring myself to enjoy any part of this, and it's really too bad; again, Rabin is capable of so much better.

Speaking of references to classic Yes, "Cinema" is the opener for side two; one could think of this as being the "theme song" for the early version of his band before it became Yes, again much to Rabin's consternation. An exciting tune, to be sure, and it definitely shows that Rabin could write more prog-oriented stuff when he wanted to?but really I see it as just an intro to?

"Leave It" was the other Big Hit from this album, featuring more of those delicious vocal harmonies in the intro. Rabin sings lead on the first verse and Jon takes the second verse (why do I have a feeling Jon wrote all the lyrics though?); the bass movement in the chorus is some of Squire's best work here, even if it is doubled with Kaye's (or Rabin's) synth bass. The choruses also contain some violin in the background; like about a million other people, I used to think it was Eddie Jobson (Kaye's very brief replacement) until I learned that the violinist is actually someone named Graham Preskett, whoever he is. Anyway, the best part about this tune is the vocal arrangements, which utilize some counterpoint, metric displacement and even hemiolas (against the rhythm section, but still)?very hip stuff for its time. (I think the mega-high harmonies on the intro-reprise?"I can feel no sense of measure"?might be either Squire or Rabin. If that's Rabin, he's even sicker than I thought he was.)

"Our Song" seems to be Yes' love letter to? Toledo, Ohio? Not sure why they're referencing this town so much in the song since Yes only played there a couple times, and I doubt I'll ever know the answer. Another strange aspect about this song is the ice-rinky-dink (how's that for a turn of phrase?) keyboard riff in the intro, a bit cheesy but not that easy to count to. The chord movements at the ends of verses are nice, but this is just a "fair-to-middling" track for me. At least we get to hear Alan's real drum sound for a while.

"City of Love" was apparently written after Rabin landed in a bad part of New York, and parts of the intro are appropriately spooky and menacing (in an 80s sort of way). Unfortunately the song itself reeks far too much of nondescript arena rock, as exemplified by the chorus of "We'll be waiting for the night to come" as well as Rabin's whammy-bar theatrics (subtle but noticeable). I'm still not sure why Trevor Horn thought it was a good idea to include tracks like this on the album, but then again, he's producing multi-platinum records and I'm not, so yeah.

With "Hearts" we reach possibly the nadir of the album. This track tries way too hard to be the 80s version of "And You And I," only with a far less interesting structure. Like "Changes" at the end of side one, this is an overlong, overdone mess, hampered further by the failed "faux-ethereal" effects of the first 2 1/2 minutes, after which the weak, sappy chorus finally enters. There's barely any interesting instrumental work on this track, and the band sounds tired?all of which I suppose could be forgiven if the track ended halfway decently. As it is, the band essentially gives up, with nothing but keys and vocals leading to an overly quick fade-out that seems to say "We couldn't save this record, so let's just bow out now." Just awful, not even a good track to end on (I felt ripped off by the ending for years).

So, you know how bands will occasionally release remastered versions of their albums with bonus tracks, and most of those are better than the actual album? Well, that is certainly the case with the 2004 Rhino/Elektra 90125 remaster, which contains six bonus tracks, to wit: two remixes of "Leave It," one each of "Owner" and "It Can Happen," and two Rabin-penned tunes, "Make It Easy" and "It's Over." The alternate "It Can Happen" is the original Cinema demo which actually betters the album version in some respects (the drums don't sound like amplified pizza boxes, for one), whereas the "extended remix" of "Owner" sounds like a 3-year-old hijacked the master tapes and dumped every possible effect from "My First Sony" onto the tracks (not a fan). The single version of "Leave It" contains more prominent violin in the foreground, and the a cappella remix is exactly that?the isolated vocal tracks from the album version (without those pesky silences in between, like "Because" on the Beatles' Anthology 3).

As for the originals, "Make It Easy" (which first cropped up on 1991's Yesyears box) is far and away the best of the extras; here Rabin shows great care in making the chord movement subtly different in each verse, with plenty of great hooks and nifty background figures throughout. This track also contains some of Alan White's best drumming in years (he once again pulls a Bruford in the second verse by using only kick and snare, and pulls off some sick fills in the middle instrumental section), and a hilarious, slightly discordant ending. I can only imagine that the reason it didn't make it onto the album is because the keyboard figures behind the chorus sound similar to Journey's "Faithfully" (which I believe had just come out, even though this song was written earlier), but so freaking what? It's a freaking great song and I freaking love it to death. "It's Over" (previously unreleased) is about the same tempo and not quite as cool, but very good in its own way?I love the oscillating organ lines in the chorus breaks, and the instrumental hook is quite catchy and a logical addition to the piece as a whole. The long fade-out also helps bring the listener back down to earth, and partly because of that, I feel this would have been a more appropriate ending to the album than "Hearts."

So 90125 did its part in making Yes accessible to a new generation and (wouldn't you know it?) became their biggest seller ever, outselling the classic 70s albums even to this day. To my ears, if "Changes" had been replaced with "Make It Easy" (as it's about the same length) and "Hearts" replaced with "It's Over," this distinction would be more justified and it would easily be at least a 4-star album. However, as it was on first release in 1983, as I first discovered it as a budding Yes fan in 2003, and as I listen to it again in 2016, the whole is significantly underwhelming. This album would have been helped greatly by a bit less of an obvious "corporate-rock" feel, as well as a bit more consistency in the songwriting, and again, something about "Changes" just ruins the entire rest of the record for me. However, if that doesn't bother you too much, and you have a weakness for 80s production values or are otherwise a child of the 80s, check this album out anyway. Incidentally, I rate this exactly the same as Tales from Topographic Oceans; make of that what you will. 3 stars out of 5.

P.S. I just discovered, as I was finishing this review, that Tony Kaye actually played on a song called "Hold On" with the band Badfinger in 1981?two years before this album and the song that Yes chose as track 2. Do you see my point about how played out that title is?

Report this review (#1450063)
Posted Friday, August 7, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars Quality Pop.

Trevor Rabin met Chris Squire, and they decided to make a band called Cinema with Alan White. When producers heard the music, they suggested bringing Jon Anderson in for the vocals, and with Tony Kaye on keyboards, a new Yes was born. Much of this music originated from Rabin, or Rabin and Squire, although Anderson insisted on re-working many of the vocals, and so also shares in the credits. The music sounds like Yes largely because of Anderson's presence, and the occasional odd-time chord progression. But for the most part, this is a new sound. It is aimed at 1980s radio play, and it sits firmly in that decade's sound. Saying this, it is quality pop, fairly memorable and some of these tunes have strong melodies and staying power. Songs like 'Changes', 'Leave It', and the big single 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' are among these. I have to say I don't put this on hardly any more, but I did attend the concerts, which were fairly good, and I enjoy hearing these tunes if they ever make it onto the radio. The negative is Steve Howe is missing, big time. Rabin is an excellent guitar player, but his sound is so commercial and (to paraphrase Frank Zappa) electric ham sandwhich-like, it just makes you pine for Howe's unique and distinct soulful playing. But this album is still decent - on the albums to follow Yes would spiral down the hole of chasing commercial success, but here they just sound fresh and new (or reborn). I give this album 6.8 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to mid 3 PA stars.

Report this review (#1696016)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permalink

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