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5 stars Superb album. I love the modern sound and feel. Trevor Rabin is a genius! Without a doubt one of the most innovative and progressive guitarists around. The songs are well written using very interesting sounds and structures to produce a very unusual and clever album. Highly recommended!
Report this review (#13745)
Posted Saturday, February 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It sounds like "90125"! It has the same style, and the songs are very catchy. We find the same musicians: Rabin and Kaye, who are responsible of producing a "90125"-like album. But the record is less good than "90125". The guitar sounds heavier, and the sound is more artificial, cold and metallic. Anderson's voice is outstanding. Instrumental bits are interesting, especially the keyboards. There are percussions which sometimes add some latin influences.
Report this review (#13748)
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
1 stars Came to this community with the idea of reviewing great albums, but reality is different, great bands also have mistakes. I bought this record believing that after 90125 anything had to be better, I was wrong.

This hybrid (not rock, not prog' not defined), mixes 80's POP, arena rock and some proggy remains of the original band, but has not enough quality to even reach a mediocre status.

Yes without Anderson ( Drama) was not really Yes (even when Jon's voice isn't my cup of tea) but still they played great music, Yes with Rabin instead of Howe is just another 80's arena band.

People who are searching for 80's pop can buy Duran Duran or something similar, it's terrible music IMHO but at least they get what they paid for, Yes fans always expect something different.

One lonely star because te system doesn't allow me to rate it lower.

Report this review (#13749)
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yeah, the album is quite a bit more commercial than, something like Tales From Topographic Oceans but then the band had gradually evolved into something more commercial over the years. The extraordinary muscianship and arrangements are still there(I'm Running and Shoot High Aim Low) as is Jon Anderson's mysticism(Holy Lamb). If Trevor Rabin is guilty of being too poppish so then is Steve Howe. Asia and GTR were even more guilty of "selling out" then the Rabin era Yes. Besides, we shouldn't be such snobs so as to denegrate other genres.
Report this review (#13747)
Posted Tuesday, May 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a fabulous album -hard and heavy pomp rock, I'm a total fan of TREVOR RABIN and rate him highly as a guitarist, producer and solo musician. This album especially brings home to the listener, the 'kick in the Ar**' that YES so desperatlely needed in the late eighties, I just wish he'd have replaced 'messy' STEVE HOWE sooner! production is slick songs are interesting -what are you all moaning about? I don't listen to yes much these days but consider this, 90125, UNION, CLOSE TO THE EDGE, and RELAYER to be my top 5 discs. That said, YES do put a load of old SH*TE out these days with all their nonsense 'greatest hits, half baked rubbish' but If you don't buy any other YES disc and are relatively new to this band (whats wrong with you?) or prefer the slightly pompier/AOR side of prog, then this one is for you boys and girls, check it out, it rocks!
Report this review (#13761)
Posted Thursday, August 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A power station

Many see this as a disappointing album by Yes, and its easy to understand why. The music is far removed from "Close to the edge", "Fragile" etc,. In place of the lengthy prog compositions we have an almost AOR sound, closer to the music of say Styx or Toto.

It's therefore essential before listening to this album to put any preconceptions aside, and hear it as if you were unaware who it was by. This I admit is a little difficult as Jon Anderson's distinctive voice is of course still present. I have to say that having (eventually) managed to rid myself of the disappointment of not hearing the Yes I expected, I am mightily impressed, this is an excellent album.

There's a freshness and energy here which had been lacking from recent albums by Yes, they seem here to be genuinely enjoying themselves. Most of the tracks have a pace and urgency to them which had been missing from "Tormato" and "90125".

Songs such as "Rhythm of Love" and "Love will find a way" are simply structured as little more than melodic pop rock pieces, and even the longer "I'm running" is hardly challenging. This however is the beauty of the album, its stark simplicity, this album is Fun with a capital F. When things do slow down, such as on "Shoot high, aim low", the power is turned up, only the final "Holy lamb" stands alone as a more traditional Jon Anderson led softer piece.

If you're looking for "Close to the edge" or "Yours is no disgrace", you won't find anything like that here. What you will find is high quality melodic rock.

Report this review (#13763)
Posted Thursday, September 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars In the "Yesyears" video, Trevor Rabin called this album "the most difficult album I have made". Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin (as Rabin said in the same video) had some frictions because they had different views about Yes` music. Chris Squire said that he and Alan White recorded their parts almost two years before it was released. If "90125" was easier to make because Squire, White, Rabin and Kaye had composed and recorded most of the album`s songs before Anderson arrived to the band again, this album was more difficult to make because the different views about the musical direction for Yes. But it has good songs, even if some of them are for Radio playing.Trevor Horn left the production of this album, and Trevor Rabin became the co-producer with Yes and one of the engineers.The best songs are "Rhythm of Love", "Love Will Find a Way", "Final Eyes" (the best of all) and "I`m Running". It seems that in this album Tony Kaye had more freedom for his keyboard arrangements (as Horn left "Big Generator", with whom he had problems during the recording of "90125", and Kaye left for some months in 1983). "Final Eyes" has very good keyboard arrangements maybe done by Kaye and Rabin together (as Rabin also was credited for playing keyboards). "I`m Running" has interesting percussion arrangements (a Marimba?). "Rhythm of Love" has a very good keyboards arrangement at the start of the song, with very good backing vocals in all parts of the song. Jon Anderson left the band again after the 1987-88 tour,maybe because he didn`t want to record pop Radio songs as the record label wanted. Yes depended very much on Rabin. Some people doesn`t like his style, but he was doing his jobs (guitarist/keyboard player/composer/producer) very well, but some people made him responsible for the change of style for the band, but he was only doing his jobs the best he could to keep Yes alive and to please the record label.
Report this review (#13764)
Posted Sunday, September 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Sorry but IMHO this is nowhere near as bad as people make out. I urge you to relisten to ' I'm Running' and ' Holy Lamb' again. They are beautiful songs. The Rabin flavours are there for sure but the commercial ' Rhythm of Love' and ' Love Will Find a Way' are not that bad if you accept the change that the 80's forced onto so many bands.A lot of Big Generator is good solid rock-period!
Report this review (#13766)
Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars How bad can a collection of songs be? Well relatively speaking an album can be totally unlistenable if compared to the achievments of others, but still be acceptable within the confines of a groups back catalogue. This however is a reversal of that thinking. If this had've been a Trevor Rabin solo album, it MIGHT not have been as savaged as it was, not only by the public at large, but mainly by a normally patient and accepting cadre of fans. To my YESears this album is almost totaly unlistenable except (and this is a big except) for "Aim high, shoot low". Both of my stars are for this song, an absolutely essential song in the history of Yes. If you get this album do so for this one track, and then see if there's anything else on it you might like from there, but approach with extreme caution. This album might be the single worst product Yes have released.
Report this review (#13769)
Posted Monday, November 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hard to see what they were trying to achieve here. Whilst this is a very similar sounding "sister" album to 90125, it lacks the cohesiveness that album had. For the first time ever, Yes seemed to have lost the idea of recording an ALBUM, with a connecting theme or purpose. This sounds like just a collection of rock songs. This was the first new album Yes brought out after I'd started listening to them. It's a million miles from progressive, and I was struck by how much parts of it sounded like the stuff Fleetwood Mac had just brought out (I later learned that one of the tracks, "Love Will Find A Way", had originally been written for Stevie Nicks!). Polished, overproduced and overtechnical, this album does not age well, and at times is fairly bog-standard stadium rock. Characterless keyboards and multi-layered guitars make things sound a little sterile, particularly on side 1 (I still have the vinyl copy). Still, the aforementioned "Love Will Find A Way" is a lovely song, as is the simple-but-powerful "Holy Lamb". And on "I'm Running", Yes show they have not lost the ability to record epics.
Report this review (#13770)
Posted Wednesday, January 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars To be honest, this one was the first Yes-album I've ever heard.

Of course, there are obvious similarities between BG and 90125 - producing style, style directions (speaking of music), songwriting... But still I can say without any semtiment that this is an album full of inteligent music, well composed and well reocorded.

I like especially "Rhythm"..., "Shoot...", "BG" and "Love will...". Maybe it looks like I'm more pop-oriented listener - could be true. But it's well done pop not acting like something else. If it's prog or not? I don't mind about this. I'd better listen to five nice songs than to one 100 minutes composition that tries to look like the good old days... This album, I think, represents well the only possible way how to wear the name Yes and live in 80's.

Report this review (#13773)
Posted Sunday, February 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars the worst album of yes. After you listen to masterpieces as close to the edge, relayer or any 70s record, this is really a waste of time and money. Some of the songs can be nice, but other are really terrible, just listen to love will find the way or final eyes, those songs are really bad, a shame. If you are a big yes fan and you want to own all their discography, buy it, if you don´t want to be disapointed of one of the best progressive bands in history, don´t even look at it. It has nothing to do with 90125, this one is worst, the worst of the worst. I give 2 stars, just because it´s yes, but it deserve as much only one.
Report this review (#13775)
Posted Friday, March 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars This record continues the style of it's predecessor, and it is therefore directed to a different consumer group than progressive rock fans. A joyful disco pop rock album is something I wouldn't want to have form a classic symphonic rock band, but it's a world of free will. Luckily these lovely hit ballads have enriched the days of many people, so this terrible release isn't unnecessary when it's evaluated from a bigger perspective.
Report this review (#13777)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I don't know why most people are putting down this album. Listenig to it today, okay, it just sounds eighties-like (and honestly speaking: most of that eighites sound was crap) but comparing this album with other albums of the eighties it stil is a very good work, wether you like Trevor or not. One should not forget that Rabin was the one who wrote "Owner of a Lonely Heart". Who knows what would have happened if had not written that song. Come on - look at the songwriting of "Soot High, Aim Low", "Rhythm of Love" or, of course "Love Will find a way" - these are very good pop songs other people couldn't write in years! There were good songs for the eighites and are they still are today. I actually hate people that are so fixed on just one member of the group, saying "Rabin was the bad one" and stuff like that. This a good album!
Report this review (#13779)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes enjoyed a spectacular, but short-lived, comeback with 1983's terrific "90125," the best selling Yes album of all time. Its follow-up, "Big Generator," equals some of its predecessor's heights, but is not even close to as innovative or consistent.

The problems resulted from handing the producer's controls from the gifted Trevor Horn to the ego-maniac Trevor Rabin. Whereas Horn gave "90125" a crisp, sharp focus, "Big Generator" swings wildly between great prog-pop and unlistenable 80s AOR, hair metal and even quasi-rap. While Rabin is multi-talented, he's a jack-of-all-trades, master-of- none, and his producing skills were unable to repeat 90125's commercial and critical success.

The problem arose when Rabin got too much credit for 90125's multi-platinum success, and Horn too little. You see, Rabin was the lead writer of the #1 single "Owner of Lonely Heart." But it was Horn who spun a simple hook into a great song.

There are three great tracks on the album. The opening "Rhythm of Love," while derivative of "Owner of a Lonely Heart," is equally great, and is embossed with a lush production and wild, Beach Boys-style vocal opening.

"Final Eyes" is a sweet, acoustic-guitar driven track reminiscent of the "Your Move" section of "All Good People." Finally, "I'm Running" is an awesome prog tour-de-force, with eclectic influences, wildly varied movements, terrific tempo changes, and big choruses.

The rest of the album suffers. "Shoot High, Aim Low" is lumbering AOR like post-Waters Pink Floyd. "Love Will Find a Way" was written for Stevie Nicks and should have stayed with her. "Holy Lamb" is as exciting as, well, a lamb.

The best Yes albums have all resulted from group efforts and, in most cases, a strong producer. "Big Generator" was the effort of one man, laboring away for the better part of four years while the rest of the group partied. Unfortunately, this led to the end of an era for Yes - "Big Generator" was their last album ever for a major record label.

"Big Generator" is clearly among Yes' weakest albums. So why four stars? Because even at its worst, Yes is better than most. Enjoy.

Report this review (#13780)
Posted Thursday, May 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Like with 90125, it ain't Yes, but it's still brilliant. Yes have so much energy on this album, and although it's not prog, it's still some of the best pop/rock stuff around. It still has a few splashes of prog here and there, but on the whole, it's pop, but what pop it is. Complex, energetic, catchy - it's got the lot. Fans of Yes' earlier work most certainly won't be impressed, but as a fan of bands like Asia, and on the whole as a fan of the 80s sound, I love this album. It's head and shoulders above the rest of the 80s pop around, and indeed, the pop that's still around today. You may complain that it's not prog, it's not rock, and it sure as hell isn't Yes, but pop doesn't get any better than this. 5 stars, but not a 'masterpiece of progressive music', as a masterpiece of pop.
Report this review (#13781)
Posted Saturday, May 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars Well ladies and gentlemen, here we are once again for another fine adventure.....My deepest question is....WHERE THE HELL WAS STEVE HOWE AND HOW COME THEY DIDN'T GET HIM TO COME BACK FOR THIS ALBUM??!?!?!?!?!

Make no mistake, I am a hardcore YES fan, but I detest, absolutely detest 80s YES. It's horrible. Well perhaps that is too harsh, but not by much. What can I say about Trevor Rabin that has not already been said? I don't despise him, but I feel that the direction in which he led the band was truly wrong. YES is a progressive rock band......which means they are different.....the goal is not to be commercial, or radio friendly, but rather to create works of art. If there were two people in the band that stood for such, it would have to be Jon Anderson and Steve Howe. But Trevor Rabin destroyed the sanctity of the progressive haven. Then I think to myself...what kind of evil foothold did Rabin have over the band that he could force them to bend to his will? But in hindsight, it was a blessing and a curse......without Rabin YES probably would not have made it through the 80s......but with Rabin they sunk to the depths of trite commerciality. I believe that in the whole grand scheme of things, Trevor Rabin served a purpose, and that was to help YES sustain itself in a time where it was of the utmost importance to do so. But when his goal was accomplished it was time for him to move on, and I'm glad he did. Now certainly I do not intend to blame Rabin entirely for the disgrace of Big Generator and 90125, or even Talk...because quite frankly the rest of the band should have put him in his place......but I think there was fear there. Lets face it the times were changing and YES felt they had to change with the times, as did alot of great bands from the 70s era. (the greatest decade for popular music period, by the way). If you want my honest opinion, Yes should have continued writting 10 more albums like Close to the Edge, 20 more albums like Tales from Topographic Oceans, and 30 more albums like Relayer. I will praise albums such as Tormato, and even Drama, but I refuse to acknowledge the Trevor Rabin period as being anything more than a stepping stone for YES to get to the 90s.

Report this review (#13782)
Posted Saturday, May 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars Sorry guys but this has to be the worst YES album of the whole set. I don't care how many times you listen to it, or how hard you rpetend it's by someone other than YES, it's got no redeeming features at all. I like the early stuff (even the very early rock), I love Fragiel/Close to the Edge, and I think The Ladder is better than any of them. Heck, I even quite like (most or) Union, and I'm one of the people who wore out Tapioca Oceans ('Nous Sommes Du Soleil', indeed)

Relayer - a bit of a mess. 90125 - yes, it sounds like YES, and it's passably good. 'Big Generator' however is just plan bad. Awful. Ghastly. Well no, it's still better than 50% of 'popular' music of the era, but for YES it's Awful. For completists only.

You'll also notice that no tracks from this album ever seem to figure in their live shows, their 'best of' albums, or get covered by other groups. There's a reason for that. Now let me go wash my easrs out with "It'll Be a Good Day".

Report this review (#35981)
Posted Friday, June 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Many Yes fans despise this album, and I can understand why - to be honest, it's strictly Yes - if Jon's voice was not here, you could barely tell it's by the same band who made such classics as Close to the Edge and Fragile. You don't have the soaring, majestic solos of Steve Howe or the insane keyboard of Rick Wakeman, but despite all of this, I still love this album.

Yes had pretty much shed their prog skin, so to speak, some of which was still intact after 90125 (see Hearts), but by no means does that mean it's a bad album. It still has a few progressive moments, like in the longer track 'I'm Running', but on the whole it's not really prog. It leans more to the arena-rock side of the spectrum, but I don't hold anything against them for that. I don't mind a band taking a different direction as times change - in the case of a lot of bands, it's an 'adapt or die' situation, and Yes adapted very well here. I don't think there's one weak track here - the strongest are Love Will Find A Way, I'm Running, Holy Lamb and Almost Like Love, but all of the tracks are great. Love Will Find A Way could be mistaken for some of Rabin's solo work (which I am also a fan of, by the way), but is still a great song - as is the Jon Anderson composed end track, Holy Lamb. Jon's lyrics on this track are as good as ever. Tony Kaye's keyboards sound much better than they did on the previous album; it's clear he was allowed to do more of his own thing. Chris Squire's bass doesn't stand out as much, although it still has some nice touches; the stand out thing for me though is Rabin's guitar. He seems much more comfortable in the role of lead guitarist - he has some brilliant solos in here, and he has a huge talent for writing some of the catchiest riffs around.

Overall, this album won't be for those who don't like 80s rock, or are fans of Yes' 70s work, but if you're a first time listener who is a fan of 80s rock, you'll love this album. I don't compare it to Yes' 70s albums, because I don't see the point, but I do compare it to 90125 - this is superior in almost every way. Well done lads!

4.5 Stars!

Report this review (#36388)
Posted Monday, June 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I gave it 4 stars only because Holy Lamb is the weak spot.

One thing that is in error about this album is its current CD version, which has a reverse stereo version master used. Everything's flipped from the way it should be, easily told by the ''Movin' to the left' vocal section of the title track. It should move to the left as it did on the original vinyl version, but on the current European CD, it moves to the right. The second thing is this album seriously needs a re-release and remaster, and I would seriously suggest a SACD/DVD mix of it, because it takes 90125's production and ups it by about 10. This album was let down by cheaper Vinyl production in the late 80's, so it doesn't translate as well coming across home stereo systems, but with a truly decent pair of headphones (recommend Sennheiser, anything above HD-25SP's), you'd hear how incredible this album's mixing and engineering is. There's some truly beautiful production on this album, only to be bested by 1994's Talk, and its forays into the then new world of hard disk digital recording.

And I don't see how anyone can say Rabin lacks ''personality'' in his playing. I really can't. Especially on a song like ''I'm Running'', which opens up Latin, goes to Africa, comes back again, switches to Rock, then into Broadway Musical territory, THEN into Latin Opera, back to Heavy Metal, and all over again in its 7.34 minutes. It's one of the most challenging and progressive pieces Yes has recorded, and certainly more challenging than Teiko from ABWH that tried going into the same territories, and ''Lightning Strikes'' from The Ladder which dared not venture out of one particular groove. In fact, this band stopped 'progressing' as soon as Rabin left, because there is no justification for a song like That. That Is exceeding the 19 minute mark based around 4 ideas in non-relation to eachother. BIG GENERATOR is a great album, it's high benchmarks being 'Shoot High Aim Low'' and ''I'm Running'', its melding of 'classic' yes and 'new' Yes in Final Eyes, and Rabin's incredible knack for Pop in 'Love Will Find A Way' and 'Rhythm of Love'.

I think many should check out more about ''ART'' history, and see how many ARTISTS had to 'pimp' their work just to make a living, before anyone starts ascribing 20 minute pieces as more 'artistry' as it describes seasoned witches that rearrange livers.

Report this review (#37421)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Sure, Yes has choose the way of pop-rock in the 80s with 90125 . Leaded by Trevor Rabin, the band launched a very well produced and executed album that brings them back to music scene in the early 80s. 90125 was a pop album, but a good pop album indeed,although not enough for many Yes fans.

What about Big Generator? First of all we have to recall that Jon Anderson joined back Yes when 90125 was almost ready . He did not discussed his ideas , he just give some personal touches and add his voice to the album . For "Big Generator" things has changed. It was hard for Anderson to accept Rabin leading the band, but the commercial success of 90125 forced him to try it . Rabin way of work was different than Anderson with 70s Yes. He does not accept many opinions in his compositions and the atmosphere becames very heavy. This was a hard album to be released . It tooks more than 2 years to be finished .The commercial failure of this record was directly related to this delay. Maybe it is true, but "Big Generator" probably deliver the worse Yes has to offer. Like 90125 , is a pop-rock oriented album,but with a bit of prog-rock apeal( i mean "I'm running" and "Final Eyes") . The result is that the album can be bad for both sides . For those who looks to good old Yes stuff, this is a nightmare. Who has enjoyed the fresh pop-rock music Yes delivered in 90125 will find a band trying to find his progressive rock verve-and definitelly not finding it. Just listen to the title track and the infamous "Holy lamb" and "Almost like Love" and you will understand what i mean.

Fortunatelly "Big Generator" has it's positive points ! Anderson felt he could not continue this way of working and formed the Yes revival band A,B,W& H. Even More - It is not the Yes worth album! They have surpassed themselves in the awful "Union" ! This is by far the worst Yes albums of all( if we can call it an Yes Album - I really have it is a Jonathan Elias Album)and "Big Generator" cannot beat it!

Report this review (#37968)
Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm sitting on the fence with this one. Enjoyable, yet not quite there for me. The songwriting still shows itself to be top class, the instrumentation is also still high quality. I can't put my finger on it, but it's still worth a listen on the odd occasion. Not quite as good as 90125, but a fairly good successor Personal favourite: I'm Running.
Report this review (#38841)
Posted Friday, July 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I can't think of a good way to start this review, so I'm just going to come out and admit it: I like Big Generator and I think it's the best of the Rabin-era albums.

There we go. I think I just managed to offend everybody.

Old time Yes fans hate Big Generator because you won't hear anything truly "progressive" on it. There are no progressive songs here, despite a couple of reviewers who will try to convince you that one or two songs have progressive echoes here and there. "I'm Running" is a really interesting and complex song with a lot of world influences, but to claim that it is progressive is an act of desperation on the part of fans intent on rationalizing the Yes canon. "Holy Lamb" is one of those slow, spiritual meditations that Jon does that would fit in perfectly with his solo work. It's nice work, but you can't really claim that it's progressive. The same goes for "Shoot High, Aim Low," which demonstrates better than any other song just how strong Yes was vocally when Anderson and Rabin played off each other's voices. These guys really brought out the best in each other. And "Final Eyes," the last song where fans look in vain for some hints of progressive sounds, isn't progressive. It's a pop ballad with an awkward verse section, (probably the only part of this album where the word awkward is appropriate.) The rest of the album contains straightforward pop songs where no one would even dream of looking for progressive sounds.

That said, this a collection of pop songs where the quality of composition and execution is fairly high (although without the brilliant production that 90125 enjoyed.) Love Will Find a Way was the single and is a very likable song, although it lacks a bit of the edge that made the 90125 songs so popular. Rhythm of Love, Big Generator, and Almost Like Love are all cut from the same mold and are all generally likable but a bit too sugary songs.

What really makes this album stand out is the vocal work. Jon and Trevor combine so well on this album, whether it is the antiphonal parts on Shoot High, Aim Low, Love Will Find a Way or the amazing group vocals that end I'm Running. This album easily contains the best written vocal arrangements Yes has ever used, and they are executed flawlessly.

Report this review (#40155)
Posted Sunday, July 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, I will admit... I like this album because I lived in the 80's, and I have to say that this is the best Rabin-era work... The combination of vocals of Anderson-Rabin were magnificent, and if they were in a pop-way... well the other album was in the same style, and is a really crap (I dislike 90125)! The songs here are not progressive really, but they have nice moments, even in the pop tunes, like "Love Will Find a Way" or "Rhythm of Love"... And the beauty of "Holy Lamb", "Final Eyes" and "Shoot High, Aim Low" is certainty... Even the caribbenean "I'm Running" is a good song. And in this album you will not hear stupid songs like "Leave It"... I will not give 4 stars because this is not a prog album, but it's a nice work of music, for the non-radicals that looks for decent songs with a good message and a nice execution by brilliant musicians...
Report this review (#40180)
Posted Sunday, July 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I'm submitting this to fight back on behalf of the much-maligned Big Generator. Let's look at the tracks 1. Rhythm Of Love (4:49) - good orchestral opening, but an average Rabin-era song. 2. Big Generator (4:31) - don't like this, especially the discordant chorus. 3. Shoot High Aim Low (7:59) - a bit of a slow one, good drumming from Alan. 4. Almost Like Love (5:58) - speeds things up, do I detect a Motown influence here? 5. Love Will Find A Way (4:48) - now things get interesting. This is one of the best Rabin songs. A good riff, nice chorus and a great solo starting off on harmonica and the guitar comes in alongside it half way through. 6. Final Eyes (6:20) - things get better. Nice vocals with swirling echo effects and a very deep keyboard bass sound. Highlight is the crashing drum and guitar chords in the middle. 7. I'm Running (7:34) - the best song on the album and IMO the best Rabin-era song along with I am waiting. Starts with a bass riff and features a fantastic solo. The vocals towards the end are really good. 8. Holy Lamb (3:15 - a typical Jon Anderson song. Starts with guitar and vocals and gradually builds up similar to Wonderous Stories. I think Rabin said he didn't like this, but it's not too bad. Nice guitar/keyboard work at the end.

Overall I give it three stars, mainly because of the high standards Yes set with their previous albums (up to 90125). It's obviously not as good as these but still better than a lot of bands' best. I prefer it to 90125 on the whole.

Report this review (#42459)
Posted Thursday, August 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars SHOOT HIGH, AIM LOW is a more apt title for this album. Whereas 90125 attempted to compromise the band's original progressive yearnings with the market-driven music industry of the 1980's, BIG GENERATOR tosses any thoughts of progressivity out of the window. The album is slickly-produced arena-rock, pure and simple, no better nor worse than Asia. Actually, worse, as there's not even the trappings of prog here. Nothing to distinguish it from say, an REO Speedwagon album. Yes, Anderson's unmistakable vocals are still there, but I get the distinct feeling he had very little say in the most un-Yes-like music.

"I'm Running" and the previously mentioned "Shoot High, Aim Low" are fairly pathetic attempts at placating their old fan-base; a brace of seven-plus-minute...things that meander with no real point, purpose or inspiration. The dated production muddles things even more. Quite possibly the band's artistic nadir: there's nothing here to offer fans of classic Yes. Nothing at all.

Report this review (#43156)
Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ahh, the album you're meant to hate if you're a Yes fan. But to be honest I'd rather have this than any of the later 'classic' lineup stuff such as the Keys mess or albums like Magnification. I find there's a great energy to the tracks and it's easily my favourite of the three Yes-west studio albums. It's like a shiny metallic version of my favourite band. My favourite review of this album was on the BBCs teletext service - 'they just make a great noise!' I couldn't put it better.

Yes I love the good epics (CTTE, Awaken etc.) but I also love this brash techno-pop Yes. You gotta have a bit of variety. I think that for the time Trevor only did the band good and I'd love to hear him work with them again ('though I can't see that happening).

My only complaint is that the sound can seem a bit thin on the original CD release. A nice beefy remaster would be great.

Report this review (#43535)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Four big years after 90125 Yes came back with...a poor album. This was really the group's last hit album and not even making it up to "Owner of a Lonely Heart's" level. Songs on this AOR-record (Love Will Find a Way and Rhythm of Love) both broke top 50. Yes' slight return to their roots is utterly weird compared with their new conventional material. This is a highly passable album, and collector's may enjoy having the album with 2 more hits.
Report this review (#44059)
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars Yes,needed to come up with a follow up to "90125",that was similar and here we have "Big Generator".Which at the time sounded bland,but now sounds truely dated and pretty horredous,this is the biggest piece of worthless garage Yes have ever released.Its basically the mix and the sound of Trevor Rabin on giuitar,he's competent but next to Steve Howe,"Rabins just a metal axeman".This is total trash and shows Yes were ready and willing to sell themselves to the masses,with this the public were'nt interested and neither were the diehard fans."Big Generator is pure waste product".
Report this review (#46076)
Posted Friday, September 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I first listened to this album with the distinct advantage of knowing very little of early Yes works and therefore not tainted with preconceived notions of what a Yes album should sound like. While I still prefer 90125 as a whole, this album starts where 90125 ends and expands the musical horizons in many ways. This collection of music is not for the casual fan of rock or even 80s music in general. There are many unexpected surprises here and the album as a whole requires a special understanding and appreciation of progressive music. While Holy Lamb is perhaps the most traditional song here, and not bad in its own right, I feel it just doesn't belong here, especially as the finale track. That being said, the rest of the album consists of seven truly outstanding songs. Rhythm of Love starts out with a very classical feeling with gorgeous intricate vocal passages before exploding into a true heart pumping anthem of hard driving drums, haunting melodic themes with interwoven multipart vocals, and spine chilling instrumental passages. Just when you think you've come to terms with what this song is about and where it is going, along comes a totally dissonant organ passage nearly hidden behind the driving energy of drums guitars and vocals, followed by another near classical vocal interaction before resuming the driving rock theme. This song is masterfully constructed and the execution is first rate. This song alone might be enough to give this album its 5 star rating. Big Generator is up next with an intro of multipart jazz vocals that in no way will prepare you for the almost Robert Palmer grunge instrumental section and then just as unexpectantly launches the listener into a gentle, yet driving vocal and instrumental passage before dumping you into the grunge sound again. The true genius here is the bouncing of the vocals from side to side as they sing "moving to the left, moving to the right". Then, suddenly, we get a short bridge complete with Philly horns before melting back to a reprise of the early serene theme. The song then continues to jump back forth, in and out of grunge, Philly, and chorus, before launching into a very jazz like vocal interlude and just as quickly back to the chorus. This song is another masterpiece in combining multiple seemly contradictory themes into a very convincing cohesive song. Shoot High Aim Low is a very slow, almost mystical ballad that gives you a false sense that now its time to relax a bit after Big Generator. But just as you become part of that mystical grove along comes a wild, exciting guitar solo to remind you that this album is anything but predictable. Then it's a return to the slow, yet driving ballad. This is another five star song with a five star performance. Next up is a very rocking Almost Like Love. We get a Philly like start here before the verse takes on a very funky beat accentuated by a very spirited, highly articulated set of lyrics. The chorus is very driving with multiple part harmonies then we are back to that funky verse. This time the chorus blends in to a very lyrical relaxing bridge, then the Philly chorus returns. A short intricate guitar solo quickly ends with a barrage of heavy grunge and once again its time for that hard driving theme again. We are treated to one final short lyrical interlude before the song launches into its chorus theme which repeats as the song fades away. Love Will Find a Way starts with a very beautiful string quartet section before exploding into another rocking anthem. This song may be the most typical rock song in this collection with few surprises and theme changes that typifies the majority of songs here. This is truly an enjoyable straight forward little rocker. Final Eyes starts out as very relaxing ballad with gorgeous multi-part harmonies, over top a nearly acoustic instrumental base. But if the other songs here have shown us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. Thus we are treated to the chorus which is very heavy rock in sprit with a heavily processed vocal lyrics. This quickly changes to a very acoustic like bridge which is augmented with a wild, inspiring guitar solo over the top of a steady drum beat. Suddenly, the relaxing ballad theme returns. But this time it quickly melts into that chorus and rock based bridge again. Another fade is then upon us, this time into a very mystic instrumental before the chorus helps fade out the song. Nothing so far could have prepared us for I'm Running. This is easily one of the most outstanding pieces of music I have ever experienced. (I refuse to call this a song). A very nearly calypso beginning gives way to a very haunting exchange between marimba, guitar and vocals consisting of intricate melodic themes with complex articulation beneath a beautiful melody . A slowly building tension hints that something special is about to happen when the driving drums proudly announce the heart pumping "I'm Running" chorus with solo guitar providing the moving counterpoint. We return to the haunting marimba and guitar texture, but this time the vocals are multipart. Just as quickly the "I'm Running" chorus is upon us again. A quick guitar "duck call" sound is heard just before the Calypso theme returns. This time the calypso theme continues longer with very jazz like solo vocal. The tension and excitement continues with a section somewhat reminiscent of "On Broadway." A moment of silence gives you the impression its over, but the guitars and marimba theme with multipart vocals returns.. Once again the excitement and tension continues to build before the driving but this time unpredictable drum solo again leads to the "I'm Running" theme further extended and explored from the original visit. An extremely short rapid guitar solo extravaganza again brings us back to the calypso section, this time with a banter of jazz vocal exchange. The theme continues, the excitement continues to build instrumentally before we are totally surprised with a Broadway chorus type multipart vocal exchange of melodies and lyrics in a very Dave Brubeck choral like setting. All the while the excitement continues with the addition of an exciting guitar solo, before the multi-part Broadway chorus comes back bigger and better than ever. It then explodes into a grand finale of lead vocal and guitar battling for your attention. Then all is silent. Your heart is beating like it never has before. The pure adrenaline rush continues as you wonder what has just hit you! This song definitely requires multiple listenings in order to fully appreciate the special gift of music that Trevor Rabin and friends have given us here. Definitely a 10 out of 10 with this musical composition. The final song, Holy Lamb, I spoke of earlier. While it is a nice song in its own right, I just don't like it in this setting. The intention here may have been to provide us with a very relaxing benediction of sorts to provide us with a let down both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't ready for this emotional let down yet. I think I'll give I'm Running another listen to in order to get my pulse racing and jeart pounding again. The rating system doesn't allow for a 4.5 so I'll pretend Holy Lamb isn't here and give Big Generator a five star rating.

Report this review (#49061)
Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars I originally gave this a two-star rating without review back in November 2005. I have recently listened to it several times and have decided it isn't worthy of such a high rating. Most of the songs lack any form of progressive rock on them. The only exception is "I'm Running." Unfortunately for this song, it sounds like it was recorded for Sesame Street or Spongebob Squarepants. In other words, kind of silly and childish. I like silly and childish (and Sesame Street and Spongebob Squarepants), but not on a serious piece of music from a group known as one of the foundations of 1970s progressive rock.

The production is, well... 1980s-like. The keyboards are, hmmm.... 1980s-like, too. The guitar work is, well just Trevor Rabin. Jon Anderson sings beautifully, but the musical backdrop doesn't fit him well on this. Alan White sounds like a metronome.

Definitely not worth the two stars I had originally thought it was worth. Downgraded to one star and the only encouragement I can give is to avoid it. At least 90125 was a decent pop rock album. I can't say the same for this.

Report this review (#54948)
Posted Sunday, November 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars After having heard some of their earlier stuff, I can now safely say that this was a bit of a mis-step. Why? Well, the production is the only thing I can take umbrage with here. It's a bit bi-polar, moving from dirty to clean at the drop of a hat. That's not something that should be done with precise-sounding pop songs of this nature. For a collection of songs like this, you need a big-sounding pop production, which is noticeably missing. Now...take a look at that last sentence. Notice the word "prog" was never used. Why is that? Because there is no prog (IMO) to be had. Look all you like, but you'll find none. This is what frustrates the average prog elitist. They look and look for something proggish, only to have it backfire. So there's no prog here. But it's still not as terrible as some (many) would have John Q. Music Listener to believe. To judge an album by what the group did in the past (especially 10-15 years prior) is fruitless and silly. Besides, as a pop record, it's perfectly fine to listen to on its own. RHYTHM OF LOVE kicks things off quite nicely, with soaring harmonies aided by metallic- edged guitars and an underpinning of throbbing bass and drums. It's got a great melody, with some hot leadwork from Rabin; totally underappreciated, IMO. What else do I like? Well, let's see: LOVE WILL FIND A WAY, with its bluesy, funky harmonica solo, I'M RUNNING, which is a fantastic song in its own right. The way the band performs this track moves me to tears, and I can't exactly point out why. Is it the guitar? The keyboards? The vocal(s)? I dunno. All I can say is: listen to it for yourself; judge it by its own merits, and not what they've done in the past. You might feel the same way reagrding the record as a whole.
Report this review (#69351)
Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I heard this album entirely years ago but only after hearing select songs on the radio. I can honestly say that I love this album!!!! No it's not Steve Howe on guitar, but the rest of the band produced some excellent moments with the help of Trevor Rabin. I understand some of the the non-accepting reviews of other Yes fans who claim this album is garbage, but I see them as being unfair to the review of the album.

This album is excellent with headphones or blasting through my 5.1 system as I recently found out. Very full sound throughout the entire musical travels, including different music styles...a testimony to the musicianship. I also think the harmonies work well layered over the music. My favorite cut is SHOOT HIGH followed by FINAL EYES. They leave me feeling like I just heard music that was not throw together but crafted.

I simply can't agree with the poor reviews.

Report this review (#69358)
Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I understand that this isn't the typical Yes album full of progressive movements and ultra-long songs, but it isn't a bad album. If anything, Yes has progressed more on this album by changing styles and trying new things....if that's not progressive, I don't know what is. The songs on this album are indeed radio-friendly and poppy, but is that a bad thing? Now you might actually have a chance to catch a Yes song while driving. Songs like "I'm Running" and "Final Eyes" are absolutely great songs and have awesome vocal parts. Trevor Rabin is an excellent guitarist and should not be brushed off for not being Alan White. This album has a lot of fun songs too like "Almost Like Love", a great tune with some heavy guitar you normally wouldn't hear on a Yes album. For those looking to skip over Big Generator, you're making a big mistake. This isn't "Going For The One" or "The Yes Album" but it is a very good album with lots of strong melodies and songs. Don't judge until you've spent a week listening to this album all the way through a few times. I give it 4 stars but it is non-essential.
Report this review (#70318)
Posted Thursday, February 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars After the wonderful 90125 for which I have given 5 stars, came this album. I have to say that when it came out I wasn't really impressed with it but then it grew on me and at one point didn't leave my player for a long time. Of course it's not the Yes sound of the 70s but who needss a band that keeps re-writing the same album over and over? This is pure 80s rock with VERY good songs; some of them even excellent. It is a step further towards a more polished sound and Trevor Horn has done a wonderful production job again. This man is a genius. The music is so rich, in an 80s way, that you keep discovering things you haven't heard before every time you listen to it, and this makes listening to the album more and more interesting with every new listen, which is why some people dismiss it before giving it a chance. I personally think it's FAR better than some of the stuff they did in the 90s (which is supposed to be the revival of the "classic" Yes sound). I'll give it 4.5 stars.
Report this review (#70327)
Posted Thursday, February 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars It's hard to believe that this is the same band that brought us classics like Close To The Edge and Relayer. Yes made a foray into pop before with 90125 but it was done tastefully and while having little prog value, produced a few good pop hits. However, here Yes falls flat on its face trying to produce another commercially sucessful album. Songs are obviously oriented toward pop sucess but fail to contain any memorable melodies, and one quickly forgets that the album ever played after a completed listening of it.

The sound here is so over produced that I fail to even recognize that people produced the music here, at some point it stops even sounding like music. Even loyal Yes supporters have to be disappointed by this album which has no redeeming qualities; let's face it even the album art has a mechanical 80s feel, and far from the majestic covers of Roger Dean, does nothing to attrack the listener. When the most enjoyable aspect of an album is its title, there's a problem. A big one.

Report this review (#80666)
Posted Thursday, June 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars These negative reviews I think are mostly predjudices of yes-purists. Forget it and listen to Big Generator carefully! I'm Running is one of the best, fantastic pieces of music in all Yes catalogue IMO. (even beside the very best music of them in the 70s) It requires a few listens, but it's insanely arranged, technically amazing, though very emotional. Adrenaline rush will come with the grand finale. Final Eyes is wonderful lenghtly ballad, with different parts, great changes and climax. It has the same intensity like And You And I or To Be Over. Shoot High aim Low is very deep and atmospheric somewhat heavy piece, with excellent vocals and soloing. Rest of the music here is more straightforward but always very well crafted music. So open your ears!:)
Report this review (#82072)
Posted Tuesday, June 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars I can put up with '90125', I actually like 'Talk' but "Big Generator" is one album I just cannot stand. It is the biggest load of drivel I have ever heard come out of Yes, everything about the album seems very weak, and commercial. Something which I liked about Yes is that they never went terribly commercial until '90125.' The Only song worth mentioning is "Holy Lamb" which, coincidently is written by Jon Anderson. Songs "like Almost like Love", "I'm Running", "Shoot High Aim low" I cannot stand. Yes however did get commercial success with "Big Generator", in particular the singles which were released from the album. "Big Generator" reached number 17 in the UK and number 15 in America.

1.Rhythm of Love (1/5) 2.Big Generator (2/5) 3.Shoot High Aim Low (1/5) 4.Almost Like Love (1/5) 5.Final Eyes (1/5) 6.I'm Running (1/5) 7.Holy Lamb (Song for Harmonic Convergence) (4/5) Total = 11 divided by 7 (number of songs) = 1.5 (rounded down) = 1 star Poor. Only for completionists

"Big Generator" really is a flop ('90125' is not bad) by normal Yes standards and it really disappointed me, I knew it was not very good but not this bad. I recommend "Big Generator" only to hardcore Yes fans. Luckily the band were able to redeem themselves with 'The Ladder', 'Magnification' and in particular the 'Keystudios' stuff. It is with a heavy heart I give a Yes album 1 star but it must be done.

Report this review (#84798)
Posted Wednesday, July 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is an excellent album, for several reasons.

1. A musical standpoint. Excellent use of melody, harmony, counterpoint (Intro to Big Generator), vocals, innovative rhythms and instrumentation, all while being encapsulated in an 80's envelope. If you are a true musician, you will appreciate Big Generator (except for Holy Lamb, which is a purely spiritual song with little musical innovation).

2. THICK vocals. Wow, the vocal work on this is amazing! Great harmonies, interesting intervals. WHO CARES if it's processed in studio, it's all about the sound, not how it was created! Trevor Rabin did a great job on this one.

3. It has appeal to the musician, the YES fan, the 80's fan, and the casual listener. No matter what category you fall into, there is something on this album for you. Classic YES fans are used to the eclectic sound of YES, with their offbeat rhythms and vocals. I'm Running fulfills this role with their 7/8 time signature and fluctuating drums, while adding 80's feel with the keyboard sounds and gated snare and drums.

As a musician, I am impressed with this album. I like the mix of artistry and sellability. The complexity of the music and the soundscaping has created countless analyses and discussions amongst musical circles. I look forward to their next work (if it happens).

You must take this work on its own merits! Don't try to compare it with older YES works. This is not your grandfather's YES...The band proves that they are flexible and adaptable. These are two traits that are necessities if survival over time is desired.

My only gripe with this album is the song Holy Lamb. Jon Anderson, while having an excellent and unique voice, is a bit too weird for the rest of this group. If he would just stick to singing, this band would be better off. After seeing them in concert several times, I'm convinced that if Jon didn't have a great voice, he'd have been out a long time ago.

However, he DOES have a great voice, which is what it's about. It's about the music, not the philosophy. If the sound isn't good, it doesn't matter why you're doing it.

Pure musicians will love this album. Pure YES fans probably won't, because they will miss the epic songs that take an entire album side to finish. This album is marketable to the masses as well as the musicians. It's a shame that some YES fans will be upset that their exclusive club has been breached by the average listener, because Trevor Rabin made it so. Way to go, Trevor!

Report this review (#86387)
Posted Thursday, August 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
1 stars Horns! What is this, Yes or Huey Lewis? Don’t get me wrong, I love brass instruments. It’s just not the kind of thing you really expect to hear with Yes, and you really don’t expect to get completely overwhelmed by them like this album does. I think there’s something like six different guys playing horns on this thing, mostly trumpet I believe. Oh well, the 80’s were certainly a time for changes…

I guess 90125 wasn’t the bottom for Yes, Big Generator was. At least 90125 had a great live tour supporting it, and there was a very faint inkling of a recognizable Yes sound in a couple of tracks (“Cinema”, “Leave It”).

This album doesn’t even have that. “Rhythm of Love” and “Love Will Find a Way” a pure schmaltzy pop, horns and dance-hall beat included, and “Big Generator” is simply forgettable (emphasis on the ‘simple’).

I’m not sure what the band was targeting with “Shoot High, Aim Low”, but they missed. ! Trevor Rabin’s guitar is actually mildly interesting for the first minute or two, but the nauseatingly repetitive arrangement simply gets boring by the fourth or fifth minute (and there are still a couple more minutes after that). This is one of the longest tracks on the album, and also one of the least inspired. It’s clear by the time this track rolls around that the respective muses of Jon Anderson, Rabin, and Chris Squire are not dancing to the same beat on this album. It’s no wonder Anderson wandered off to do his solo thing again after this one.

“Almost Like Love” sounds like Big Country being fronted by an aging vocal queen. I can almost picture Anderson in a flowery polyester blouse doing a lounge-act shuffle while singing this one on stage. Liberace look out!

I actually think “Final Eyes” is the best track on the album, although that isn’t saying much. The vocal harmonies are pretty well done, and the odd key is kind of catchy. This is one of those songs that really stuck in my head back in the 80’s, but for a long time I was sure this was Survivor, not Yes. It was only after I actually bought the album that I found out I was wrong.

Chris Squire finally shows his face on “I’m Running”, some sort of flamenco-meets-cast- of-Hair kind of thing. Again Rabin has a few flashes of brilliance on guitar, but really – I don’t know what the hell is going on here! Sounds like a street party scene from a Broadway musical.

On “Holy Lamb (Song For Harmonic Convergence)” Anderson is trying for a Chris De Burgh reflective let’s-all-hug kind of song or something. Squire’s bass is mildly interesting on this one as well, but not enough to make a difference.

Seriously, this is a really bad album. Totally forgettable and all copies of it should have been buried in a time capsule for some future nuclear holocaust-ravaged generation to uncover and ponder. Move along citizens, nothing to see here. One star.


Report this review (#89729)
Posted Friday, September 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars Strange album this one. So many different ratings (lots of 1 star as well as 4 or even 5; meaning that it is a masterpiece) ! It seems that according your YesBackground you would like it or hate it. Since I am a passionate YesFan since 1973 (aged 14) I belong to the the latter category. The only positive point are the vocal arrangements which are quite good. Apart from that, I would say that this album is on par with "Abacab" and that the YesBottom here is reached. The problem is that we are at the start of an awful trilogy of YesStudio albums.

The intro for the title track sounds hard-rocking with some reminiscence of "Owner", but the chorus is quite awful. "Shoot High, Aim Low" is a long and boring number. Almost no rythm and again very, very poor chorus. The last part is dreadful. "Almost Like Love" is more to be hated than loved. Again, another attempt to hard-rock but it is really a ridiculous number. "Love Will Find A Way" is an AOR ballad. The first listenable track of the album (do not expect a jewel though). "Final Eyes" is the best song of this album. At times, we hear the Yes that most of us once loved. "I'm Running" reminds me a bit some songs from "90125" because of short Oriental sections. But globally this track stinks. "Holy Lamb" is a candid song with stupid lyrics, I quote : "At the start of every day, A child begins to play, And all we need to know, Is that the future is a friend of yours and mine". This shows Jon's attempt to reach his peace of mind trying to convinced the world that love is the key to all of our problems. As far as I remember, peace & love started in 1967 and ended in 1969. My only "Wholy Lamb" lies down on Broadway, on Broadway.

"90125" showed definitely a drastic change in the YesOrientation but it did contain some good numbers which is absolutely not the case here. I am not against evolution in the live of a band. Others did that reaching the highs in the new genre they were approaching (Bowie for instance; but I'll discuss this when he will be available for reviews; which will soon take place I guess). Stay away from this album. BY ALL MEANS. One Star.

Report this review (#106077)
Posted Friday, January 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars I hoped that 90215 was as low as Yes got. Nope, instead the faithful are hit with Big Generator. Whereas 90215 had Owner of a Lonely Heart, a hopelesy commercial yet ever so slightly catchy little number, Big Generator creates, nay generates, a black hole where the band's immense talent is stretched and warped before being sucked through to the great unknown. Only Jon Anderson manages to grab a pipe or something as his band mates are pulled into this gaping maw. His vocal arrangements hint at the glory of yesteryear, but they are placed on some of the worst songs from a once great band since Abacab (Genesis would respond to this challenge to authority when they released Invisible Touch, an album that inspires a brief fit of depression coupled with an eating disorder).

"Rythm of Love" and "Big Generator" open the album with banal dance beats. "Shoot High, Aim Low" is a fitting description of this album's effect on me, as after finishing I felt a throbbing pain below the belt and tasted blood for about a week. This song is FAR too long. Yes has crafted much longer numbers, but they were musically innovative and interesting. This sounds like someone's ABBA record started skipping. If the "Holy Lamb" on this disc is the same from Genesis' controversial concept album, then the lamb must have committed suicide on Broadway. Anderson does some very weird vocalization ("singing" is a stretch).

The rest of the songs offer no standout lyrics, vocals, or musicianship. Trevor Rabin, an underrated guitarist in my mind, gets no chance to shine here, and neither does any other member of the band. Anderson's lyrics, usually thoughtful and metaphorical, now are trite pop that are even less good the predominant crap pop of the day. His vocals are also a disappointment. I hesitate to even call this an album. An album contains music; this is a very portable toilet. In a parallel universe, this would be Yes' greatest work. Perhaps then it is appropriate that it forms a black hole of music; it created its own portal to the bizarro world where it will be loved (or hated, however it works there). I would continue talking about this failure of a disc, but the area between the right and left halves of my brain has threatened to take us both out if I keep hurting him with the memory of this.

Grade: F

Report this review (#106854)
Posted Tuesday, January 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars An absolute disgrace to the name of Yes, Big Generator, released in 1987, is a very good contender for the worst album on this fine site. This is Yes at their lowest, 90125 was an already shocking blow in quality control/style difference, but had it's slight redeeming qualities like the intro to Leave It, and the scattered, low quality solos. Here, it is pure and total pop nonsense, and not even decent pop. Every track is riddled with horribly cheesy vocals, paper thin guitar lines, and despicable, toddler level composition/lyrics.

Not reccomended to anybody, stay far, far away. There's enough music in the world to keep you well occupied before this incredibly terrible album would gain the right to access your ears. It pains me to write about it.

Report this review (#109375)
Posted Monday, January 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Big Generator is probably the most controversial release by Yes.

On this release, they display what was a modern soundscape at the time of it's release, catchy and memorable chorus lines in quite a few songs, and what at first may sound like simple and superficial music in quite a few tracks.

There's archetypical 80's sounding synth work all over the place, a guitarist that is given some space for hard rockin fuzz, strong and catchy melody lines.

Beneath the surface, it's still easy to hear that this is a prog band though; but unlike most of their other releases the complexities are more hidden away on this release. The subtle approach is used instead of the prog complexity overkill Yes more often displayed pre 90125.

But when that is said, this isn't a gem of a release. It's not the trash the diehard fanboys claim it is, but neither is it a forgotten jewel or a hidden musical gem.

It's a collection of tracks with varying quality, in various styles - all of them with a distinct 80's tinge to them due to synthwork and production.

All in all an average release.

Report this review (#109768)
Posted Tuesday, January 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I was very into Yes by the time this record came out and really anticipated its release, and hoped it would be a return to the old ways after 90125 (which I now like over the years). I recall my pal worked at a record store and gave me a promo copy, which I still have... he remarked that "there sure are a lot of 'love' titles on there' which was discouraging... however, I really like the guitars on this record. It is very well produced, the intsruments and drums sound great. Very pop oriented but also prog for the late 80s. But, there are some weak and annoying moments on this album. Ultimately, its a mixed bag, but mostly good stuff.

"Rhythm of Love" The best part of this tune is the catchy "morning daydream midnight fever" repeating chorus.. terrific imagery. Perhaps isn't Yes in its proper form but for what it is a passable tune... (6/10)

"Big Generator" the title track is not one of my favorites... the harmony in the chorus is tough to take, and suffers from some bad keyboard sounds..."Movin to the left" sounds too much like an appeal for a line dance... but, it sort of rocks (5/10)

"Shoot High Aim Low" I really like this song, I like the beat & the Holdsworth/later Lifeson souding guitar work.. the bass fills after the lyrics are genius, like after "in the blue sedan we couldnt get much further" , a dark number... like the guitar solo (9/10)

"Almost Like Love" dont really dig this one.. too poppy, the keyboard line is excruciating, too repetitive. (2/10)

"Love will find a way" I like this one a lot. The guitar hook is very catchy and is a great sound. More of the Holdsworth-esque fills. I really like the lyrics. Interesting guitar effects throughout that add a lot of variety to the number. (9/10)

"Final Eyes" a really good song, and is definately 'prog' the flute sound in the intro is cool. Detracts some with bad 80s keyboard hits in the middle of the song, would've been better to do those notes with guitars... Sounds stupid, but whenever I finalize a DVD Ive recorded, this song pops in my head, haha... (8/10)

"Im Running" Sounds like it could've been on Drama to me. Squire solo stuff sounding too. Has a great break in the middle..."to a new world" bam bam bam... I also like the carribean sounding parts, they make me hyper. The song finsishes in glorious fashion, very climactic (9/10)

"Holy Lamb" this is a really great tune, great semi-acoustic and very progressive. A long song, about 8 minutes, only complaint is it does not variate much, great lyrics, some forgettable keyboard moments... (8/10).

A worthwhile addition for hardcore Yes fans, maybe not for hardcore or metal progheads.

Report this review (#121379)
Posted Wednesday, May 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

After the mega-success of 90125 ( still the most sold YES album as of today) you could only except the follow-up album to sound kind of similar as like the saying ''don't fix it if it ain't broke''. If the ''modern'' cover of 90125 was ugly enough , we haven't seen anything yet. The band surpassed itself with one of the most horrible artwork i have seens so far ( i am talking about the yellow cover as i have seen another one ,green in this case). We are definitely far from anything ROGER DEAN produced in the heydays.

Musically, the band (same line-up) is just using the same formula than in 90125, but not completely! Yes, we have 2 attempts at AOR top 40 charts with ''Love will find a way'' (what a title, not Siberian Khatru anymore) and the hard rocking''Rythm of Love''. Though they would not be as successful as ''the lonely heart'', they will still get good airplay and garnish a little more the bank accounts of our 5 musicians here.

However the rest of the album is not quite that commercial. You have some indigest features like the horrible ''almost like love'' or the industrial ''big generator'', but the rest of the album is DECENT! ''Shoot high, aim low'' is a guilty pleasure and the rest of the album ,all what comes after ''love will find a way'' is highly listenable with yes, YESmoments ,sure not of the caliber of FRAGILE, but ''final eyes'' ''i am running'' are good YESsongs. And the album even ends up with a acoustic solo tune from JON ANDERSON. I wonder about the reaction of RABIN when ANDERSON came up with the idea to add this solo song; not great i am sure.

The story of the king and the former king who wants to be king again!!!

Not great, but not as bad as some people want you to think: a decent 80s pop/prog album. And TREVOR RABIN is a good guitarist.indeed!! 3 stars

Report this review (#127187)
Posted Saturday, June 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars three stars or lower by YES' own and everyone else's standards - but i like the album immensely for what it is. hence the four stars, yell at me if you must. this album is by no means faultless but it has the one ingredient that is vital to creating a great YES-album - it has every band member's contribution to the music. this has resulted in an at times patchy collection of songs - indeed, the term "album" is somewhat misplaced here, as the music is hardly cohesive - however, the upside is the diversity to the songs, which is certainly not everyone's cup of tea but a good thing in itself. another downside - a track-by-track review is probably required:

"rhythm of love": the other (minor) hit, a straightforward, slightly undistinguishable AOR-song, that has little to do with YES' legacy and it is only jon anderson's unmistakeably singing that tells us what band may be at work here. still, pleasant to listen to - not sure if the lush strings/harmony-opening needed to be sellotaped to the beginning - and to rock along to (if you must), however, it is still a mystery to me, just how and why this tune has survived in the band's live set for so long.

"big generator": now we're talking! many people accuse this of being patchy and (by today's terminology) being a cut-and-paste-job, but the shifting moods from the crunchy guitar riffs to the YES-like verses with lots of exciting sounds, effects and gimmicks inbetween make for a great headphone-augmented listening experience.

"shoot high aim low" is the definite high point of the album. the sparse arrangement creates an all-engulfing ambience and jon anderson's and trevor rabin's alternating vocal lines add an urgency to the proceedings that make the song genuinely exciting to listen to. this is music that creates images. this is what YES is good at. this is YES music at it's finest.

"almost like love" sees the album taking another u-turn, it's a funky, fast-paced rocker augmented by a driving brass section. probably a mistake for YES, even more so for YES' audience, but everyone's performance on it is top notch, squire had the idea for it, rabin plays one of his most relentless solos, kaye lets rip on his beloved hammond organ, white hammers home a relentless beat and jon anderson hits the stratosphere during the final part.

"love will find a way" is the hit single that the ATCO execs were breathing down rabin's neck all those years that the album took to become finished, but it works well enough with its jangly guitar motif and west-coast-rock like vocal harmonies - albeit staying well clear of YES' own template (it even boasts a short harmonica solo). good but hardly essential. i personally don't care much for the string quartet intro.

"final eyes" is another song that sees YES being the most true to themselves with a more intricate arrangement and trevor rabin probably coming closest to steve howe's commanding legacy on the acoustic guitar. everyone else plays a supportive role, if a little nondescript, however it is a pleasantly poignant and very moving track, however esp. towards the end a bit on the polished side. they certainly take things further on "i'm running", a full-throttle tour-de-force that once again has everyone's input and is an undeservedly forgotten YES gem. i personally am fond of that latin feel and the way jon anderson (who delivers some of his best performances on the entire album) just lifts the whole song into outer space at the end. "holy lamb" is simply another one of those esoteric little ditties that jon anderson loves to close albums with and thus once more sneaks in the final word as to who is the true spiritual focal point of YES.

alas, spirituality does not fill up refigerators and that made the album a painful experience for everyone involved. it is a remarkable collection of diverse and challenging music but YES payed a very high price for it, as "big generator" saw the band off into a decade of internal and external turmoil, from which they never truly recovered, despite many more fine attempts at creating their very own brand of music.

Report this review (#127318)
Posted Monday, July 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
Crossover/Symphonic Teams
1 stars Since 90125 sold millions for Yes, the band followed up with Big Generator. This album is basically 90125 Part 2 as it isn't really any different. It is chock full of AOR/pop rock/stadium anthem material with only the very slightest of "progressive tendencies" (notably on Shoot High Aim Low and Holy Lamb). The harmonies are still there, but they seem more "in your face" and louder than they should be. Rabin's guitar work has improved, but the worst part of this whole thing is that the pop-style songs aren't even any good making this an annoying listen of skipping nearly every track just a minute or so into each one. An uninspired mess that should have been labeled as Cinema's second album, as it is far removed from the skilled performances of earlier Yes works. One star for one of the worst albums by a prog band in the 1980s. For completionists only.
Report this review (#130070)
Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Oh my...

Another title that should be quickly disposed of with little fanfare. There's no need to waste must site space with a long review. I can remember my friends and I standing around laughing as we watched the video for "Love Will Find a Way" simply amazed at how far the band had fallen in 10 years, heck, even since Drama. We savaged it back then and I don't see much reason to go easier on it now. Listen to it again and you'd have to ask yourself what they could have been thinking.

I don't hate pop music at all. Though I love prog I am entirely able to enjoy music that people consider empty calorie music or a guilty pleasure. But this album can't even manage that in my opinion. Perhaps I hold them to a higher standard which may not be entirely objective, nevertheless, "no quarter" for Mr. Rabin and his influence on the band that a decade prior released Awaken and Turn of the Century.

As much as I hate to award a one-star review I feel almost a solemn duty to save Yes newbies from potentially making the mistake of exposing themselves to this unfortunate release. My advice is to avoid this album unless you thought 90125 was a masterpiece.

Report this review (#130657)
Posted Sunday, July 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Sometimes I wonder just what Yes has to do to please their fans. Go for maximum epics on Topographic Oceans and get slagged for being excessive, pompous, overblown etc. Me, I love TFTO and consider it a crowning achievement in all music genres especially progressive Prog rock.

But things had changed for Yes and admittedly it began when Anderson quit in 1979. He should have returned for Drama and then things probably would have been very different. Perhaps if Trevor Horn had sung on 90125 instead. While that album resuscitated Yes it is too sugary melodically for me. However it was and is a deserved success and I'm glad it is just to keep things going. After all, had Yes been recording Close To The Gates Of Topographic Oceans then the complaints would be repetition and inability to progress. In fact of all bands I find Yes are the most constrained by their fans whatever they do. 4 x 20 minute songs, too much.10x 4 - 6 min songs - not enough. Please play 8-12 minutes featuring the Howe Guitar, symphonic keyboards with lots of drums fills and lightning bass runs with Anderson singing about who knows what. It's easy when you have a fan base this easy to please. So why not? Where did all the prog fans go that required Yes to" go commercial?"

Operating in a commercial environment is a difficult one for a band required to produce art and commercial success. But they did they latter and did very good work on material that is formatted to standard radio acceptability. Being Yes it is far superior to standard rock radio fare. It is very positive and happy music, something which would normally depress me. But Yes have usually been a positive sounding band. So what was the problem? Melodies? Not really I don't think. Anderson seemed to cope very well, as one would expect for him. Complexity? Probably. This is where a progressive or a Prog fan will think Oh no, where have all the complicated times gone? to paraphrase the Kinks.

So does an excellent AOR album become a bad Prog or progressive album? It makes for an awful punk album obviously so the trouble here is the context in which it is viewed. Shoot High Aim Low is a stand out track, lyrical spacious atmosphere and quite different to most anything else anywhere. Trevor Rabin is held up to be a guilty party. For someone who is a terrific musician this is quite outrageous. Cinema was his and Squire's idea, it was only the record company suggesting Anderson otherwise Cinema would probably have been left alone to become another arena rock band. Colliding Cinema with Yes would give unreasonable expectations on anyone. Instant compromise and Trevor Rabin finds his position in less regard by the fan base for doing what he intended to do. Blame the commercial requirements rather than Mr Rabin. Imagine being an Owner Of A Lonely Heart fan and having Oceans presented to you. No wonder Big Generator took a few years to record. I give Mr Rabin credit for writing, playing, producing and being quite a determined visionary in his own way.

The album is arena rock for the most part. Holy Lamb is an Anderson track that sounds lie a Fish out of water (heh) compared to the mainstream sound of this album. Shoot High is the highlight for me, it is instead of being packed like the fantastic Sound Chaser, it is allowed to breathe and become fantastic on its own merits.

Being a progressive fan I find requires some effort on the part of the listener. Usually this effort is to give a complex work a lot of spins before all is revealed. In this case it is required to just pop the album on and you have some excellent tunes. Okay it will never be heart of heart stuff for Yes fans generally but on it's own merits it is quite a fine album.

Four stars does not mean I think it's nearly as good as... whatever album. It is cohesive, concise, coherent, consistent (words beginning with a C this time... oops, sorry wrong band...). It doesn't set my world alight but it is fine for being a strong release with a difficult birth.

Oh yes, compared to virtually any other contemporary release it is stand out stuff indeed (the 1980s were dire). 20 years on this album is now and it is sounding quite fresh. Must be something in the production.

Oh one thing. The Trevor Rabin era Yes have the most awful art covers. I mean talk about shrill primary stuff. Now that is something that could do with a re-master, the terrible artwork!

Excellent rock album, bad cover artwork, in Prog terms... A good album, but while not essential to a progressive or Prog collection not too bad at all 3 1/2 stars. Just put it in a paper bag....

Report this review (#132260)
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Yes tries to survive the 80s with a pop-prog offering.

Now, I'll say right now, that I am a very big Yes fan, and I do like this album, I actually kind of have a soft spot for it, so I don't think you should dismiss it entirely if you're a Yes fan, just be ready for something very different from their 70s stuff. However, this is a review from a prog standpoint, and as a prog album it's mediocre at best.

Onto the review.

Throw in the synthesizers and get ready for some 80s pop, it's "Big Generator!" One of the most controversial albums this side of the 80s. Now, it's a fact that prog died in the late 70s and would later be ressurected, so the bands that managed to make it into the 80s were going to have a tough time, Yes being one of them, especially riding on the huge hit, OWNER OF A LONELY HEART, off their album "90125". The result is a very poppy sounding album, with tracks like RHYTHEM OF LOVE and the title track BIG GENERATOR having a very average song structure, something Yes usually avoids. It's not all bad, though, SHOOT HIGH, AIM LOW is a great track as is I'M RUNNING, if you can get over the fact that even they have a dominating 80s sound to them. Other tracks, such as HOLY LAMB are totally ignorable, and a couple of the other "love" songs in the middle all seem to run together at points to create a poppy mess.

This album definately is for fans only, and even the fans need to be warned ahead of tme. This is not a bad album, it's just not a very good prog album. If you are looking for a very good post-70s Yes album just skip right to "Keys to Ascention". 2 stars.

Report this review (#134118)
Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Most albums with the word "love" in the name of three tracks don't fare well on this site!

This is big improvement over their previous one, "90125". It is still very poppy and eighties, but the quality of music has grown a lot. I don't much care for the first two songs. But the third is brilliant. "Shoot High Aim Low" is the best song on here and features some really nice guitar work on it. I don't like the next two at all, although "Almost Like Love" has an impressive guitar solo. "Final Eyes" is really nice and focuses on Jon's voice and keyboards. "I'm Running" is my second favorite here and again with some good guitar work and good drums and keyboards. "Holy Lamb" finishes the album nicely. It is simple, but that's why it's good. Overall, I really like half the songs on here. The other half are comparable to the stuff on "90125". 2.5 Stars.

Report this review (#136643)
Posted Thursday, September 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars 90125 proved that Yes could still make accessible pop music but not royally blow, and Big Generator proved that Yes could make accessible pop music that put permanent damage on the ears. Big Generator took all of the worst parts of Yes and put them into one album. I can think of no redeeming quality of this album. Yes is one of my, if not my favorite bands. They really dropped the ball on this one. Even the album cover misses. Esthetically, those are the worst colors ever. It looks like the cover got into a fight with an easter egg... and lost. Rhythm of Love could be the only decent song on this entire album. Though Yes would recover, Trevor Rabin should be ******** for even making me (a Yes completist) spend money on this.
Report this review (#140909)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Eclectic/PSIKE/JRF-Cant Teams
1 stars NO!

I was 19 and working as a dishwasher when I first heard 'Rhythm of Love'. I thought, "Gee, that sounds like Jon Anderson, but he wouldn't sing for a horrible band like this". This album is an abomination. Let's examine the songs.
1. Rhythm Of Love - An attempt at being heavy pop. 1 star
2. Big Generator - Had this song been more popular, Homer would sing it in place of 'We built this city on Rock n Roll". 0 stars
3. Shoot High Aim Low - Almost tolerable mellow hit. 2 stars
4. Almost Like Love - Almost like music. 0 stars
5. Love Will Find A Way - Another attempt at a pop hit, AAAAIR BAAAALL! 1 star
6. Final Eyes - Tempo slowed way down for this yawner 1 star
7. I'm Running - Hey! this is actually a good song. Very fun transitions. But wait, the that...umm...'Tequila!' ? 4 stars
8. Holy Lamb - This song actually goes the next album! Yay. 2 stars for ending this misery.
One good song does not save this album. .75 stars.

Report this review (#141653)
Posted Wednesday, October 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars What perverted instinct led me to recently borrow an old audio-cassette of this embarrassment from my local library, after pointedly avoiding Trevor Rabin's pop facsimile of Yes for over two decades? I'd like to believe it was simply a masochistic urge to see for myself if the album is as bad as (almost) everyone claims. But in retrospect it was probably something closer to the rubberneck instinct that makes us unable to look away from a fatal highway accident.

And that ugly metaphor just about sums up the entire "Big Generator" experience: hardly surprising for a born-again Yes fan who first heard the band on their "Relayer" album back in 1975.

But let's not compare bad apples to good oranges here. I carry no grudge against the sort of undemanding pop music Yes was playing at the time, which I'm sure can be enjoyed on a strictly superficial level. And I can even feel a measure of sympathy for the group after hearing how dated (and how quickly) the sound of this 1987 album has since become.

I do, however, have a problem with the crass mercenary decision to continue marketing this band under the same name of the very different group responsible for stretching the limits of popular music in the previous decade. Progressive Rock in the early 1970s, and maybe Yes in particular, was always about (among other lofty ideals) the quest for some sort of spiritual truth / harmony / redemption (take your pick). But in the corporate entertainment culture of the 1980s that aim was corrupted into a simple pursuit of cash, always the death of true creativity.

You can hear it clearly on "Big Generator". At its relative best ("Rhythm of Love", "Shoot High Aim Low") the music achieves a kind of flashy grandeur that at least helps to compensate for the lack of any real depth. But at its worst (which is most of the album, including the horribly slapdash cover art, maybe the anti-prog nadir of its kind) the songs present only the sad spectacle of aging rock stars trying desperately (and failing miserably) to remain hip and relevant.

Exactly how bad is it? Enough to suggest that Alan White's pile-driver drum fills might just as easily have been programmed rather than played. Enough to likewise eradicate any hint of personality from the playing of old veteran Tony Kaye, who all but disappears behind an opaque digital curtain of generic synth patches. Enough to make the technically proficient guitar runs of Trevor Rabin sound utterly anonymous. And enough to note how awkwardly Jon Anderson's delicate high tenor fits within the steroid-juiced testosterone of the music (that's a compliment to him, by the way).

Yes wasn't the only ex-prog band unable to adjust to a dumbed-down music market in the 1980s. The commercial success of "90125" kept them afloat for a while, but trying to reproduce that fluke after four long years out of the studio (compare that to the number of quality LPs they released between 1970 and 1974) should have underlined the sad truth that sell-outs of this caliber, even when successful, aren't designed for anything more than a strictly limited shelf life.

Report this review (#160204)
Posted Tuesday, January 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
1 stars Yes, this album is bad-- easily among the band's weakest releases for the numerous reasons discussed above; however, despite its rather ineffective pop-hooks and general mediocrity, I would STILL reach for it before going for Union, Ladder or even Tormato for the simple fact that is "Big Generator" is completley disposable, idiotic pop music. There is a care-free likeability these songs bring to the table which those bloated, messy disasters utterly lack. Big Generator, when listened to knowing that it is not REALLY Yes, can actually be fun; it's just big, dumb '80's pop-- no more, unlike the afore mentioned albums which try (and fail) in attempting something smart and new. Comparing it to the band's iconic releases is folly and a waste of time... this is hardly the same group.

Songwriting: 1 Instrumental Performances: 1 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

Report this review (#165595)
Posted Thursday, April 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes released Big Generator in 1987 amid internal and external stress. Externally new fans were excited for a sequel to 90125, while old fans would have preferred a sequel to Tormato over a sequel to 90125. Internally Trevor Rabin and Jon Anderson were diametrically opposed about the direction of the band. Trevor supported the direction of 90125 and was looking to progress further in that direction, while Jon longed for a return to a more traditional sound. Rabin apparently won this conflict because the results were much closer to 90125 than Close to the Edge. Although he seemingly didn't win this argument easily, because Big Generator took nearly two tumultuous years to record.

Big Generator opens with Rhythm Of Love, a rather uninteresting and commonplace song, prepackaged and glossily produced for the radio. The most interesting thing about this song, and all that will follow is the very unique snare sound the White employs on this album, it sounds like a poor attempt at replicating Bruford's snare, but it sounds fantastic and really ads some sparkle and a really unique percussive flavor for the album. Next comes the title track which really sounds like a slight reworking of "Owner of a Lonely Heart". This song displays strong use of sampling, and if they hadn't done the same thing, and done it better, just one album earlier it would be really interesting. Not really much from this song either, luckily the album makes a turn upwards from here. Shoot High, Aim Low, Big Generator's next offering is a wonderful ambient piece that shows some nice restraint from the band and is marvelously produced. Good playing from all members of the band, especially from White who delivers a perfectly placed driving rhythm. I also thoroughly enjoy the short clean guitar solo Rabin turns in. Almost Like Love is a very strange song. It feels like a mix between heavier metal drumming, island percussion passages and vocals, and heavy layered 80's style keyboards. I have listened to this song multiple times but cant decide what I truly think of it, but I will say it it nice to see Yes trying something very different and unique and I must commend the effort. Love Will Find A Way is brutally pop and glossily produced, but is tightly played and wonderfully orchestrated pop, and I absolutely love it. I think this song is one of the few places during the 80's where brilliant musicianship is displayed within a pop song. Chris Squire's bass smokes through the whole song and his wonderfully melodic bass fills add a lot of character. Final Eyes is another bizarre song meshing electronic percussion tones and acoustic guitar. This song would be really commonplace if it were not for Horn unique production style that provides the songs with a fresh and dare I say progressive feel. I'm Running is another unique song, employing the island percussion in places again and featuring many changes in time and melody. At this point though one begins to realize that this inst really an album, but instead is merely a mosaic of singles and have no cohesiveness whatsoever. Holy Lamb is by far the weakest track on the album. It has some interesting ideas within it but never gets proper time to progress or to develop in any interesting ways. All in all this is an 80's pop album with moments that cause one to remember the glory days of Yes. This album is progressive, it tries to experiment with many unique styles within 80's popular music(an experiment in itself for Yes), and it provides a lot of enjoyment if one simply for what it is, an exploration of the boundaries of the 80's pop scene.

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Posted Friday, June 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Cinema's second album

This album is only slightly less bad than the previous one. Still, this music does not have very much to do with the Yes of old. Indeed, this is not really the real Yes at all. When this version of the band began work on their first album (that eventually became 90125) they were calling themselves 'Cinema' and not 'Yes'. Big Generator continued the in the style of 90125 and both these albums (plus the 1994 Talk album) should, in my opinion, have been released under the name 'Cinema'.

However, this album is somewhat closer to the original Yes-sound than 90125 was. As with that album this is not bad music. But it just isn't the progressive Yes we all know and love. Personally, I get some pleasure out of listening to this. But that is because I am the biggest fan of the band.

Around this time another band started working on a new album. This band involved Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Jon Anderson and Bill Bruford. They were not allowed to use the name 'Yes' so they called themselves 'Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe' instead. This band is really the real Yes of the 80's! They released a very good, self-titled, album in the same year as this album was released. This album sounded much more like Yes than Yes (read Cinema). I consider the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album to be the first real Yes album since 1980's Drama.

Well, this review is about Big Generator so let's get back to it. If you like 90125 you will most probably enjoy this album too. If you like the Yes of the 70's you should check out the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album first. The best tracks here are the longer ones plus the title track and Holy Lamb.

Good, but absolutely not essential.

Report this review (#176985)
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Second opus by 83' Yes lineup is the 90125 follower. I realy thought it would be better (or at least at the same level) than 90125, but i'm dissapointed. One thing i can say with confidence: this is not the worst Yes album ever, hear their 90's albums first! This isn't classic prog rock like in the 70's, same as with 90125 the style here is AOR/Pop-rock, sometime melodic rock, and at 10% progressive (rather 90125 was much more progressive than this). Prog rock of the 80's doesn't have any contact with 70's sympho prog stuff, so sometimes this Prog- AOR mix called Neo Progressive rock. But this album is not neo prog, it's almost aside to AOR and Pop- Rock, very small part of prog.

Rythm of Love is such a good pop and AOR song for hearing it on a radio, Rabin's style, Owner of a lonely heart #2. 5/5 Big Generator is much boring than the first track, Jon's piece. 4/5 Shoot high aim low is a long song, language doesn't turn to call it ballad, just a slow song. 4,25/5 Almost Like Love is my favourite on this record. Marvellously tempo and cheerful track, one the best 5 minute Yes performed in 80's, i'm serious! 5/5 Love will find a way is a pure pop-rock song for radiostations and TVs. Most unloved on this album. 3,5/5 Final Eyes is a pleasant thing to hear in difference from the previous. 4,75/5 I'm Running sounding not so serious for band such like Yes at first 20 seconds as a latin music. But after this intro it comes progressively up to the end. And this is not a radio format. 5/5 Holy Lamb is a short ballad by Jon, not bad for ending. 5/5

So this album is an example of Yes creativity not only in pure prog! And my estimation is 4 stars!!!

Report this review (#178207)
Posted Friday, July 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Not much to say about this 'sound-alike' album, except we made it this way. Our trenchant criticism of '90125' meant that YES knew they wouldn't keep us as fans no matter how technically proficient they played, no matter how outstanding the songs were compositionally - so why bother?

This album sounds like '90125' but don't make the mistake of thinking it's in any way related musically to that slice of 80s excellence: 'Big Generator' is fairly awful, a cross between hair metal and dissolute, directionless pop-rock. But what makes it unacceptable are the poor compositions, not its sound or its commerciality. All the sweet or complex intros the band came up with can't mask the paucity of ideas here. In the end it comes down to the songs, not the sound or production or arrangements or style, and there are no songs on this album worth listening to. And no wonder: the major composers did not see eye to eye. ANDERSON wanted to return to YES's former gory, while RABIN wanted to go beyond '90125'. In the end, of course, they did neither. Go with a vision, not a compromise by committee, or end up with this sort of thing.

Having said this, I don't think this is quite as dire as some say. 'Shoot High, Aim Low' almost works - and an early demo of the song definitely does work - and there are moments of cleverness scattered throughout the record. And that's it. Move along.

Report this review (#179400)
Posted Monday, August 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.25; The Big Generator of mixed feelings and controversy...

This seems Yes' most controversial album, and not just among my prog friends but apparently on this site as well. Here you will not find anything to do with the band's epic masterwork of their earlier days, but rather somewhat musically interesting and (for the most part) more or less well written pop-ish songs designed for the time. It has a strong and obvious connection with the sound introduced on 90125, but I personally find this one a bit less repetitive with more layering and keyboard work that is slightly more in touch with the band's older work. So, the pop sound combined with the slight musical elevation are probably the main reason for the controversy behind the album.

Even the issue of how progressive this album seems pretty controversial. I have at some point in my life been into the more eighties sounding music and am now a full progger, so I have been on both sides of the isle and can say it does, indeed, hint if not taste of progressive elements. If you put this album up to the ears of someone who was a fan of eighties music, they'd probably tell you it's progressive rock, and up to the ears of a progger, eighties rock. So I say it's a combination, and what balance that combination is seems up to the listener to decide. It's already evident that the opinionated Yes symphonic purists dismiss this album as pop rubbish, but I however acknowledge this as at least tasteful, somewhat progressive eighties music. Really, if you compare it to Genesis' work in the eighties', Big Generator is much more musically variant and interesting, especially the second half of the album.

So what is progressive about this album? I'd say, the keyboard work has a large play in it, especially in achieving certain atmospheres and sounds. There's a some guitar work and use of the vocal lines that contribute to that mentality as well. Final Eyes is a pretty good example of these qualities. If that's it, than what isn't progressive about this album, you might ask? It's mainly in the drumming department. When I particularly focus on the drum parts, they are BORING as HELL. There are some parts where their simplicity works pretty well, particularly in Big Generator and Love Will Find a Way, but come on! I think I could probably play a lot of it (hey, I do know some drumming... sort of). The only interesting parts were the competent transitional fills. The songs are also generally somewhat repetitive in nature, at least as far as progressive rock terms go, but not too bad.

As far as the actual writing, I though it was overall in the album quite splendid. I suppose it's a bit similar to Genesis' eighties music, but a lot more notes and chord changes in a shorter amount of time, keeping one far from becoming bored to death. There's a lot of energy everywhere in the album, whether it's put to a heavy rock use or more passionate atmospheric use. The melodic lines are at times blissful, others mediocre. I think the band had a good time making this album, and I don't understand it when others say it's uninspired. Other than the drums, everything sounds pretty good to my ears, at times beautiful and dripping with emotion, others sort of mediocre and a sign of what is to come in Yes' future.

There's more to this album than one might perceive at first listen, certainly a bit more than 90125, which wasn't all too terrible of an album to begin with. When I first heard this album a few years ago, half paying attention, I certainly didn't think much of it and dismissed it as another crummy Yes album. But the second time I listened more closely, with a more musically educated mind, I was very surprised to enjoy it as much as I did. I'd say this release was probably their best since Going for the One, and is probably at least one of if not their best studio album since (though that still isn't saying very much, unfortunately).

The songs themselves are a bit of hit and almost miss. I enjoyed Rhythm of Love and Big Generator, both pretty good rockin' songs, but are probably the most pop-ish on the album, and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people simply heard the first few songs and assumed the whole album was that way, thus all of the bad ratings. I found Shoot High Aim Low ok, but pretty boring overall, and Almost Like Love overly repetitive. But then come the two songs that I now hold very dear in my Yes collection, Love Will Find a Way, the song in which I originally discovered Yes when I heard it in on satellite radio (which then lead me into prog, so there's a lot of sentimental value there as well, what a great intro!) and Final Eyes, probably the most progressive and atmospheric song on the album. I'm Running and Holy Lamb where good songs too, the later alluding more than perhaps anything to Yes' early music.

So I think you can see know why this album seems so controversial, why some people review it four or even five, and others a one or two. It has many brilliant parts and mediocre (or less) parts, and for some the eighties sound itself eliminates the brilliant parts altogether. I, however, am not allergic to eighties sounding music, and I in fact occasionally (though rarely) embrace it. Put simply, this album sounds good to me in its totality, and I recommend it for people with an open mind and those who enjoyed 90125 as well as other eighties albums by progressive bands like Rush and Genesis. There's nothing more to say!

Report this review (#181851)
Posted Saturday, September 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars From the beggining i say - not bad. Well is diffrent from the '70's works, no doubt, less inspiring and creative, with AOR influence, but is not a bad record, seriously. It sounds typical for mid to late '80's prog - AOR but has some very fine moments like Rhythm Of Love, Shoot High Aim Low (maybe the best piece from here) and beautiful slow one Holy Lamb. Not very much to add, i know is a controversial album in Yes catalogue, but i like it, quite far from what is Drama , Going for the one or The yes album( my fav albums of Yes), but is enjoyble to me all the way. The progressive music is here on every track but in other form like in early to mid '70's albums. They change the style and grow with the times, because almost every prog band from early days of '70's, in the '80's they were different or entirely other band, in sound, in manner of composing , interpretation. So a good album to me, not something to listen every day or groundbreaking, not by far, but well played and produce. 3 stars.
Report this review (#182178)
Posted Thursday, September 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Twelfth album by british progressive rock band Yes!Oh ...No,this is a sort of joke.It's the second album by new wave band Yes West.If you listen to this album it's just not Yes really.It's weaker that the debut album of Yes West,but it's weaker even by the debut album by original Yes.That means this is the weakest album by Yes up to that time (1987) and maybe the weakest in overall for the band.Good pop guitar works by Trevor Rabin,but that is everything positive about the album I think.Some songs contain boring repeats,which make some of the fresh Rabin's ideas not quite good.This is the symbolic end of Yes West,because the next album is a return for Yes in terms of genre!
Report this review (#184388)
Posted Thursday, October 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
2 stars I realy liked '90125' . It wasn´t exceptional, but it did mix well the classic Yes sound with some pop sensibilities and gave them a modern arrangement. Not their very best, but good anyway. The same cannot be said of Big Generator. Here those guys went too much over the top. Their techno-pop approach is no convincing at all. The songs are very weak, the arrangements are forced and the gereranl feeling is of that they´re in for the money.

No that the album is a total disaster. Things improve from Love Will Find A Way on. Ok, that tune looks like a an Asia rip off, but at least it works. It is a good AOR song. Final Eyes and I´m Running have a more progressive feeling to them, but still they are below '90125' best moments (not to mention their classic, 70´s stuff). Holy Lamb is a cute little song that is quite diffferent from the rest of the album. And I really don´t like most of the keyboards and effects (too much Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and the like. I´d rather hear the original ones for this kind of music).

I cannot recommend this CD to anyone but completionists, collectors and hardcore fans. Yes released much better stuff, even in 80´s. 2 stars.

Report this review (#187225)
Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars The often maligned _Big Generator_ is an underrated Yes gem. I have always enjoyed Jon Anderson's contributions to Mike Oldfield's mid-80's period albums and this is no different, really. Points of reference for _Big Generator_ would be song structures in the vein of Rush's _Hold Your Fire_ or _Power Windows_, Saga's _A Beginner's Guide To Throwing Shapes_, non-radio tracks from the first ASIA album and the better tracks from Yes _90125_ such as Hearts, Cinema, Changes and Leave It. Yes seem to be more assertive on this album, whereas 90125 sounded like an uneasy experiment not unlike Tormato(although, 90125 had a few hits). A return to form with an '80s bent with longer tracks such as Final Eyes (6:20), I'm Running (7:34) and Shoot High Aim Low(7:59) creating the kind of ethreal prog.rock ambiance form the Yes album _Going For The One_ or Jon Anderson's _Olias of Sunhillow_. BIG GENERATOR doesn't sound quite as dated as TORMATO or 90125...but generally fits right in with Yes albums such as _Talk_ and _The Ladder_. Yes are doing as Yes does here...writing excellent melodic rock. It has its proggy moments, and of course it's no _Close To The Edge_, but the songwriting is very strong. Going out on a limb here - but this could be THE Yes neo-prog album and it's as strong as anything Marillion, Pendragon, IQ, Saga or Rush were putting out at the time. Give it another try. 3.5 stars!
Report this review (#190646)
Posted Thursday, November 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Believe me it is always difficult to see without any preconceptions many of the albums produced during the 80's-most of the already veterans of rock movement had to catch the spirit of the constantly changing musical directions of the times-some of them had excellent results while some of them did not make it up so well. In any case Big Generator is a very good album and makes me wander for all those 2 or 1 star given to it. Musically this album is very strong and wins you from the beginning. Rhythm Of Love, Shoot High Aim Low, Big Generator, Love Will Find A Way and Final Eyes are all excellent songs carefully balanced between popular music of those years and the band's past-it's easy to hear the progressive rock potential or tendency if you like in those songs. The production is awesome,even with today's standards and as for the musicianship, words are needless-those guys were maturing year by year in terms of technical development. Commercial yes, not decent?...not a chance
Report this review (#190701)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Why Big Generator gets chided so much here at PA is really perplexing. Agreed, it's football fields away from the groundbreakers that are Close To the Edge and Fragile - but what it does do is propel the slick commercial 90125-era Yes into a land of risky daring-do not seen on a major international musical front since Fleetwood Mac's Tusk (the unusual and quirky follow-up to its mega-seller Rumours - not that Yes & Mac sound remotely alike, of course).

Maybe it's the mindless cliche-ridden hit single Love Will Find a Way that chased people away. And yep, that tune is pretty darn awful. But literally every other track here on Big Generator is just a thrilling ride in dynamics, heavy rock, soaring choruses and a couple of musical vistas that even Yes have seldom visited.

I'm certainly no Trevor Rabin fan, but his guitar work here is just exemplary. His very rocking and loud riffing on both Almost Like Love and the title track can really shake a house's foundation (it sure has mine!). Even the normally unspectacular Alan White shines like never before or since. Producer Trevor Horn certainly knows how to get the most out of these guys.

The album also offers what I feel is Yes' finest collected example of ensemble singing (perhaps studio-enhanced, but, hey, this IS a studio album!). And for one of THOSE classic Yes moments, check out 3:25 into Final Eyes. Whew! Man, just breathtaking stuff, this!

Recording this album was from most accounts not a pleasurable one for the band. But you'd never pick up on that based on what all's coming out of the speakers! Cheap copies of this album are seemingly available everywhere. So part with a few cents 'n' shekels and treat yourself to one of Yes' finest, if unheralded efforts. Nice payoff, trust me. 4.5 stars from me.

Report this review (#198869)
Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Nearly every track on this album is pure ear candy, and while a couple songs are rather silly, each is a very solid composition with clean production, immaculate instrumentation and delightful vocal harmonies. The music definitely has progressed from 90125 with a broader sweep of style and substance.

Rhythm of Love is probably the weakest of the set, but the harmonic vocal themes do much to alleviate the straightforward pop presentation that dominates the rest of the song.

Big Generator is definitely one of the sillier songs, but it succeeds in creating a sound that Yes had never yet achieved, what with the combination of delicate keyboards and grinding guitar sounds.

Shoot High Aim Low is one of my favorites. Moody, catchy and clean, the vocal interplay between Anderson and Rabin is a perfect complement to the overall sound.

Almost Like Love is also a little silly, but what a fun melody! Anderson's rapid-fire stream-of-thought approach is a departure from his more typical ethereal approach, and it's entirely refreshing. The backing guitars are also an understated strength.

Love Will Find A Way is the other straightforward pop-oriented song on the album, pure Trevor Rabin. It has a strong melody, but beyond production value, it doesn't add much to the album. Move on.

Final Eyes is a beautiful tune that revisits the Anderson/Squire harmonies that help put Yes on the map. Not much here in the way of outstanding musicianship, but it has all the right elements to stand strongly on its own.

I'm Running is the most ambitious piece on the album, and the first Yes tune to offer a distinct Latin flair. Of all the songs, this one seems most like an extension of 90125, particularly in the distinctive key and time signature changes.

Finally, Holy Lamb gives us everything we love about Jon Anderson. This uplifting, metaphysical song is accented by beautiful nonsense phrases that only Anderson can deliver. Concluding the album with the syrupy sweet message, The future is a friend of yours and mine, how can you finish the album without a smile in your heart and a fuller sense of wellbeing? I know I can't.

Report this review (#199088)
Posted Wednesday, January 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Son of 90125, this album took an age to record and release, had Kaye bussed out to be replaced by Eddie Jobson of UK fame, and then Kaye bussed back in again. It was an attempt to reproduce the commercial success of 90125 but does not pull it off at all. In addition, Anderson left not long afterwards (again) in a huff and so led the way for the farcical situation where there were two Yes bands effectively in existence. And we thought that Floyd had the monopoly on crass egotistical nonsense!

The album itself is nowhere near as bad as some make it out to be, but it is, without doubt, one of the weakest LPs the band released.

The start of Rhythm of Love is encouraging, with dynamic vocal harmonies and rather sampled effects before becoming a stereotypical weak pop tune. It has little of the charm that Owner and It can Happen possess.

The title track is equally poor, and could almost be described as a dance/pop/rock fusion. The vocal harmonies are, at best, confused and the backing guitars merely chug along. Very disappointing after the heights reached with the equivalent tracks on 90125.

Things improve with Shoot High, Aim Low, which shows some progressive tendancies when things degenerate again with Almost Like Love which has the band playing almost as if they have overdosed on gallons of speed. This is the central problem with this album - it's not the fact that they play pop/rock, it's very poor pop/rock.

It picks up with Love will Find a Way, which has, as its central part, a nice Anderson chorus line with the first interesting interplay with Squire & Rabin. I'm Running also is a good track, although, as with most of the tracks, it is far too disorganised to merit anything other than a casual listen every now and again. Whereas I revisit 90125 very often, and (as I will state when I review it) Talk is a terribly underrated classic, this just does not hold any interest, for prog or pop fans alike.

The saving grace for me is the final track, and the one that, allegedly, moved Rabin to fury. Holy Lamb is clearly Anderson's attempt to inject some more traditional Yes feeling into the album. Whereas on the predecessor, he succeeded across the whole piece, with this it is only really with this one track which is essentially a solo effort. I adore the Hold the Light sequence of vocals and Rabin at least has the decency to put in a good guitar solo at the end.

This album should only really be purchased by those who have to own every single Yes album, or who really want to splash out on Anderson at his best on the final track. Otherwise, it really is one to avoid, and it augured in the era of absolute high farce as far as band lineups were concerned. That, though, is a story for different reviews!

Two stars to be generous to a band that has given so much pleasure over the years.

Report this review (#205173)
Posted Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars The making of this record involved a laborious two years, due in no small part to Jon Anderson's wanting to create more traditional Yes music, and Trevor Rabin's urging the band in a more commercial direction. While it may have been a point of contention, I'm thankful for the compromise, given that this was the time many great progressive rock acts were taking a pop-oriented approach. A fair bit of what's here is inescapably hackneyed (three of the eight titles have the word "love" in them, for crying out loud), and some of the arrangements are atrocious. However, the vocals are just as sophisticated as they were on 90125, and again make up the album's best quality. While Big Generator lacks the consistency of its predecessor, I find myself drawn to certain songs on this album.

"Rhythm of Love" Beginning with a lovely wave of voices, the music very quickly becomes exactly what one might expect following an album like 90125. It is a great-sounding pop track, full of drive and complex vocal arrangements.

"Big Generator" The initial vocals of the title track are clearly a takeoff of "Leave It" from the previous album. Rabin's guitar is extremely crunchy on this bouncy but really disjointed song. All of the instruments seem to be all over the place with no coherence.

"Shoot High Aim Low" I particularly enjoy this song, from it's slightly experimental introduction to Chris Squire's subtle bass groove. Rabin's vocals are pleasing alongside Anderson's. The organ backing from Tony Kaye adds depth to the chorus, which is catchy without being irritatingly so. Rabin's machine-gun clean guitar helps make this one of the best songs here, and an underrated gem from Yes in my opinion.

"Almost Like Love" This track is an eclectic mess. It has a fair opening, making use of heavy synthesizer, but soon turns into a much-too-fast pop track in double time with Anderson sputtering the copious lyrics along the way. The instrumental section is a noisy jumble, and even Rabin's rapid-fire guitar solo sounds directionless.

"Love Will Find a Way" This is somewhat new territory for Yes- in fact, the first time I heard that chamber orchestra introduction, I wondered if my player had changed to a different album. But once the strings are finished after a brisk fifteen seconds, Rabin's clean guitar punches in, and soon the band joins him. Squire's vocals are especially prominent in the harmonic verses. While nothing to write home to mom about, it's fairly enjoyable.

"Final Eyes" Over acoustic and clean electric guitar, Anderson and Squire sing just as well as they always had together. With the bright synthesizer and the interjecting bass, the first part of this song is really reminiscent of "And You and I." The heavier portions are refined, and Rabin sounds great singing during his part. Kaye's keyboards are not lost among the rest of the instruments. "Final Eyes" is a stellar track, one I would daresay ought to please a fan pining for the arrangement and sound of Yes's 1970s output.

"I'm Running" Squire lets loose a growling bass solo at the beginning of this quirky introduction (that inexplicably comes back later)- I don't know what to say about it except that it sounds kind of goofy; I can't help but picture Pee Wee Herman doing his little dance to it. The song itself makes me think of Fleetwood Mac (I could actually picture them doing this song). Had the arrangement been less ludicrous, I might've liked this one more.

"Holy Lamb (Song for Harmonic Convergence)" A wonderful, gentle acoustic song finishes the album. Remove Alan White's heavy, 1980s drumming, and this would sound very much like something from Olias of Sunhillow. It is quite a lovely piece.

Report this review (#205971)
Posted Tuesday, March 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Those Yes fans who were horrified at the direction the band seemed to be taking on 90125 would have been equally repulsed, if not more so by Big Generator, the second Yes album with guitarist Trevor Rabin taking Steve Howe's place. 90125 had seen the band return with a more slick and commercial melodic rock approach with prog moments sidelined. Big Generator continues in that tradition with an even more commercial and popier side on display for the most part. Sounds pretty awful? Well much of it is and this ranks as one of the worst albums of their illustrious career though not as bad as the abysmal Union album which would follow I have to admit.

The lightweight Almost Like Love with its thin sounding and sterile 80's production is a classic example of what I dislike about this album. It's an uptempo pop/rock song with even a mock brass section, its only redeeming feature being a half decent Rabin guitar solo. Anyone remember Haircut 100? Yes really! But for the distinct vocals of Jon Anderson it's heading in that territory!

Other tracks in this commercial pop/rock vein are Rhythm Of Love and Love Will Find A Way though do benefit from a bit more musical muscle and stronger melodies and are listenable. Final Eyes starts with the band in largely acoustic mode and thus suffers less from that 80's sound until it kicks off with full band present and turns into more lightweight fluff.

I'm Running amazingly starts with a calypso feel before descending into more commercial rock though admittedly it does contain more time/tempo changes than most songs keeping it marginally more interesting.

And so it goes..with only a few moments of interest to make me sit up and listen but even they are substandard when put alongside classic Yes. Though not what I want from a Yes album I did quite enjoy the previous 90125 which had some strong AOR moments but unfortunately I can find little to recommend here.

Report this review (#216835)
Posted Thursday, May 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars Though there are some slightly redeeming qualities, this falls under Yes' worst album ever, honestly. It's really a carbon copy of 90125, which was slightly more successful, let me tell you. The musicianship is fairly good on all of the songs, it's just that sometimes you can't get that real Yes sound. Jon Anderson is the only thing you can it from the others. You can't hear that Rickenbacker 4001 from Chris that was more prominate on their other albums.

"Rhythm of Love" is trying to be something it's not. Heavy metal pop is what it was, but Jon just didn't have the voice for that kind of music. The rickenbacker sound is just not very loud like I would want it to be. The lyrics honestly don't bring this track back to the surface either. "Big Generator" has a really annoying intro, but I can respect the musicianship of the vocal intro, though slightly unbearable. The metal riff after that really dosen't fit in with anything, and it just makes the song usless. The lyrics aren't up to par, but I do like Jon's vocals. "Shoot High, Aim Low" is a fairly redeeming track. Odd but interesting intro, it sounds like a train or something, I can't really pick it up. I still can't hear the bass, but I really like the keyboards on this one, and the drums are fairly cool. The vocals aren't my favorite because they just don't sound very good to me, I think it's Trevor singing a little bit because it's slightly lower than normal, or it's both because it sounds like falsetto then normal. I do not like the vocal harmonies, they sound terrible to me, and the lyrics are slightly subpar. "Almost like Love" has a nice rhythm section, you can actually hear the bass a little bit, but the keyboards seem to drown out everything, especially the bass and drums. The guitar is very interesting to me, so are the keyboards, but overpowering. The vocals are really fast for Jon, but I don't like the lyrics at all, they are boring and not like Yes at all. "Love will Find a Way" has an excellent orchestra intro, but it goes away instantly. The drums are the only thing that really interest me, as the guitars are a little too overpowering for the most part. Vocal harmonies kind of annoy me on this one. "Final Eyes" is your standard wannabe old Yes, but with some nice clean electric guitar sound, oddly. It's very uplifting, sounds a bit like something of The Yes Album, honestly. It's a very good track and is much different from some of the others, and is my favorites. "I'm Running" is the only time you can actually hear the bass at all, which is a suprise. But after the interesting intro, it gets sort of drowned out. It's the longest and proggiest of all the tracks on the album, and is another favorite. I really like the guitar part for some odd reason, I just like the overall atmosphere of this one. "Holy Lamb" is alright, the only song with song with some decent lyrics, and some darkness in the album. It's a little different because it's not a wannabe heavy metal single type of song because of the darker lyrics and the darker feeling of the song.

There are some good parts and good songs, but most of it is not very good at all. I cannot give it more than 1 star, honestly.

Report this review (#252342)
Posted Monday, November 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars It took Yes four years to follow up 90125 with this album. During that time, they tried recording in various locations, in various ways, to come up with something that might have the dynamite commercial success that Owner of a Lonely Heart had brought them. But the truth was that Yes was not that kind of band, and trying to be that kind of band did not work for them, even with Trevor Rabin still behind the guitar and helping with the songwriting.

The fact that this album took longer to produce then it took for Yes to lose three members, break up, reform, bring in three different members including two former members, and record a hit single, pretty much is indicative of what you are going to hear. Eight songs that were constructed well and could have been pop hits had Yes still had the inertia from 1983, and that were even a bit proggier (if still distant from their previous works) than 90125. The reason for this being that Jon Anderson actually got to be involved in the songwriting this time, instead of just appearing to help sing vocals after the album was mostly complete.

There's not much about this album to attract the fan. If you liked 90125, you'll probably like this (and I know there is a caste of Yes fans who exist solely because of the Rabin era), but it still shies away from the music they were making in the '70s.

I tend to think of this album as "the one with Holy Lamb", which is my favorite track off the album and very clearly a Jon Anderson track. And that is probably what this album will be to most Yes fans ... the album with maybe one song that stood out to them.

Report this review (#255752)
Posted Saturday, December 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Yes to the big money, please.

This was my first ever Symphonic Prog purchase some days after it's release. On cassette no less. I liked it back then, but I could not understand what the fuzz was about.

Well, this album is only Yes in it's name and so far from the 1970s Yes as you can come. Music wise, it is not a Yes album. It is Jon Anderson's voice over some horrible AOR. When I am listening to it now, it actually reminds me a lot about Rush's Hold Your Fire. Did these two albums have the same producer ? I don't think so. But the sound is exactly the same. Gosh !! I love........ well, like Hold Your Fire. Spooky......

I am not a great lover of Big Generator and I am tempted to give it one star. The music is horrible AOR with the horrible 1980s plastic fantastic sound. Yes, and their record label, is going for the money here after their big hit single Owner Of A Lonely Heart from their previous album 90125. Big Generator is therefore a commercial minded album, catering only for their new fans. The teenyboppers and the AOR crowd. The pictures of Jon Anderson in colourful baggy trousers and big hair from that period also confirm my views.

Big Generator does have some OK songs though. The title track, although desecrated by some dramatic 1980s type sound effects, is an OK track. The same is I'm Running. But the rest is best forgotten. I don't think Yes themselves rate this album and neither do I. But Big Generator is not a disaster area. But I will return this cassette to the box in the loft where I found it and probably never play it again.

2 stars

Report this review (#261700)
Posted Wednesday, January 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars One of the problems with this album is that Jon Anderson is not credible as counterpart of Simon LeBon. Commercial doesn't always mean bad, but the title track is nothing more than a bad imitation of the Duran Duran sound, in addition released when the Duran were already on their "sunset boulevard".

Not everything in this album is totally bad. "Shoot High Aim Low" is a good song in the mood of 90125 with some good acoustic/classic guitar. This is immediately followed by "Almost Like Love" that I think is the lowest peak of the album.

The B-side opens with "Love will find a way". A pop song with a strings intro. Quite poor lyrics.The guitar is something already listened somewhere else. Here we are at the same level of GTR, even if Steve Howe is not in the band. "Final eyes" has a bit more of Yes and is a kind of song that we will find later on "ABWH" and on "The Union". "I'm Running" is not that bad while Holy Lamb is just a filler. Better than the A-side, in any case.

I'm sure that the strong fans of yes will enjoy also this poor album (as I did), but I can't reate it more than 2 stars

Report this review (#297826)
Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars "Shoot low, aim low, score low"

The opening track "rhythm of love" starts well with 40 seconds of delicate sounds. Then the metronomic hard drumming symptomatic of this era, kicks in, and, as they say, it all goes downhill.

The title track is truly horrible, banal with gimmicky effects pasted over it.

"Shoot high, aim low" is better and is actually very listenable even with the cliché ridden 'screaming' guitar sounds of the period which I hate. This track has a good atmosphere and is the best track of the album.

An absolutely headache inducing drum introduces "Almost like love", an ordinary album filler.

A string quartet opens "love will find a way" and we think this might, for once, have a bit more imagination than is the norm for music in the mid 80s. But no, it only lasts a few seconds before going into a rockier part (with the now bog standard over emphasised drum natch). More gimmicky effects. The song again is rather ordinary.

"Final eyes" despite the naff title (finalise) this has a touch of older Yes, with strumming acoustic guitar and subtle keyboard effects. Unfortunately this goes into the formulaic harder rockier sections, with banal tunes, platitudinous lyrics and slick production. If these parts had been better, this could have been a more rewarding track. Still it does not drag for its 6 and a half minutes.

"I'm running" is even longer. This is composed of two elements. The first, a routine song, last for 3 minutes before it then goes into a more interesting section, a chorus of sorts, with some of the feel of Yes of old.

Finally "Holy lamb" (with the pretentious subtitle of "song of harmonic convergence") could be an attractive piece, but the usual production formulas hold it down.

Report this review (#302410)
Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars The second-lowest rated Yes album (that Union isn't the first still amazes me, but hey!).

This follow-up is not only four years late, but it sounds about forty-four years dated. Strange, when 90125 was actually quite modern, flashy and cool. There are some neat little songs here but they are unsurprisingly buried amongst the cheesy and cheesier, almost embarrassing cuts, which retain all the warmth of this record's vulgar artwork. Pink and Yellow have never been so obviously juxtaposed! The listener's vomit will be of similar colours....

Now that is harsh because 'Rhythm of Love' is a respectable opener, in the vein of 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' of course. But while this upbeat bundle of catchiness is groovy and dignified, the likes of 'Almost Like Love' are not; this track sounds like the soundtrack of an American movie about some high-school cheerleaders. Come on guys. 'I'm Running' is undoubtedly the prog effort, and this song I love, with it's latin percussion and strangely timed interludes. Compiling this and the quite lovely 'Final Eyes' onto 90125 (while dropping perhaps 'Hold On' and 'City of Love' from that record) would have resulted in a monster 80's prog album, better than anything those neo-recycling-Genesis-bands would come up with. The rest of the songs here are mediocre and forgettable, sharing genuinely good melodies and cringeworthy production in equal measures.

Not for any non-Yes fan of course, Big Generator does have it's moments. They can be found in the first track, and the last three. I will state again that the cover is easily my least favourite from the band, and potentially from music in general. Roger Dean must have been laughing for days.... A high two-stars from me.

Report this review (#308784)
Posted Sunday, November 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes in the '80s, became very pop and it caused the loss of many fans. which the Genesis, I like the two phases-progressive and pop, but while Genesis pop remained until the end, Yes returned to symphonic rock in his last álbuns.Mas that's not the case.

In "Big Generator", the band tries to reconcile his sound with the 70 that experienced in your previous album.Comercially, this album did not make the success of "90125" (because there's no band with the power of a hit as "Owner of a Lonely Heart ") But the production here is decent.Tracks as" Rhythm of Love, "" Almost Like Love, "" Love Will Find a Way "(what is this? looks like they're doing a concept album about love!) and the title track are pretty easy trade-chorus, simple rock-away "Love Will Find a Way" stands today as one of my favorite songs of the band during Rabin´s period.

The other tracks are less commercial. "Holy Lamb" is a song with more face than Anderson of the band, while "Shoot High, Aim Low" is a bit too slow, but both are very good. "Final Eyes" is just too good, is my preferred of the album and one of the best pop period,already "I'm Running"is the song most clueless here, he is happy and insane.

Overall this is a good album, without the glare of the masterpieces of the 70s, but more than or even equal to his fellow "90125"

Note: In my opinion the order of tracks on the album should be:

1-Rhythm of Love / Almost Like Love (any one of the two would be good as the opening track) 2-Big Generator 3-Final Eyes 4-Almost like love / Rhythm of Love 5-Love Will Find A Way 6-I'm Running 7-Shoot High, Aim Low 8-Holy Lamb

Report this review (#319931)
Posted Sunday, November 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars While this is way down on the quality list of Yes albums, I do not believe it is the stinker that many reviewers here have rated it as. Sure, it is one of the poppiest allbums that Yes has ever done, but is does have some very lush vocal harmonies, great production, and a few very good, but not great tracks. And it's way better than the stinkers by Yes' contemporaries, ELP and Genesis.

I seem to be one of the few people here that likes the title track. While not very progressive in structure, Tony Kaye's almost random synthesizer blasts and Trevor Rabin's occasional oddball guitar synth fills make this, to me, a fun song. And the sound definitely is BIG.

I'm Running is the song most like traditional Yes. It has a bit of a island flavor, like Teakbois from the ABWH album. While not a masterpiece, it still provides some prog enjoyment. And Shoot High Aim Low, if I'm in the right mood, sounds good. But mostly because of the vocals.

All in all, I like this album more than "Talk" and "Open Your Eyes". But I can only give it 2.5 stars, which sadly, I must round down.

Report this review (#329907)
Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars In defense of an album highly criticized, I feel the need to lighten the air with some of the dense reviews that have plagued Big Generator. Much of these bad reviews stem from Yes not sticking with their standard "Prog" sound. In their early years they defined a sound that would forever change music. Many have become influenced by this sound and fans would forever define them by that sound. So, for them to ever steer from it is like a spit in the face for the fans, evidentially. But Yes fans, or Prog fans in general, suffer from the same fandom that could be found in almost anything.... Proggies? Trekkies? Is there really a difference?

When I first heard the title track, I thought to myself what many have thought, "What is this crap?" This isn't Yes!" But! I found out it was only bad remix from the 35th Anniversary Collection. Some time later, I got to listen to the album that so many were grumbling about and I found it to be a solid release. Sure, Trevor Rabin's Beatles-esque pop sensibilities just candy coats whatever house Steve Howe built, but to pass it off as "the worse Yes album" is an overstatement, by far! I agree, Trevor Rabin is no Steve Howe. But Trevor Horn is no Jon Anderson and very few seem to have any issues with Drama.

Tracks like Holy Lamb and Shoot High Aim Low are so emotionally intense that to not get goosebumps is inhuman! Final Eyes has some great guitar work from Trevor Rabin. The acoustics are bliss. "Bah! It's not Steve Howe!"

Solid album. A+ release whether it is Prog or not.

Report this review (#346531)
Posted Tuesday, December 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars I have tried several times to fairly listen to this album, but as it seems to be pretty much a clone of the last record (which I disliked), I have given up. Power-pop would be a good description of this mess. Any Yes album that contains Trevor Rabin just doesn't qualify as a true Yes album in my mind. Steve Howe is sorely missed here. This is an album of it's era- similar to Duran Duran, poppy-MIke Oldfield, and synth-driven Rush. Not really a terrible album, but not at all prog. "I'm Running" has proggish tendencies, but that's about it, here. 1 star. Which is 1 star more than I would give Open Your Eyes. Now where did I put that Close to the Edge cd?.......
Report this review (#411059)
Posted Friday, March 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars You have to consider the time.

The 80's were a decade that wanted to look to the future and distinguish itself from the past. In music, the idea of rock as art had been soundly rejected in favor of leaner, aggressive, songs with quick payoff in the riffs and melodies.

That's just what you had to deal with. If you listen to any music of the time period, you don't hear a culture that's listening to things like "Close to the Edge" anymore.

In addition, the late 80's are a particularly difficult time for music because of the advent of digital recording and digital synthesizers. Both technologies held promise, and sounded new and interesting at the time, but both of these elements sound tinny, artificial, and hollow today.

But in the midst of a very restrictive time, Yes tried to continue to make music. Our guys were fully committed to remaining relevant, even though the ears of the public had turned away from their original sound.

"Big Generator," like the Rush albums of this period, arguably makes the most of a musical language and technology that pervaded the 80's. I think that, given that these are the tools they had to work with, Yes did much more interesting things with them than, say, Mr. Mister or the Hooters.

And with Jon as a real part of the writing process, you do hear some of that lovely, hopeful, dreamy-eyed spirit that defined Yes in the 70's. "Final Eyes," "I'm Running," and "Holy Lamb" are authentic manifestations of the Yes sound within the late 80's context. Even lust is transformed into poetry in "The Rhythm of Love."

If you compare this album, where Yes were honestly and earnestly trying to make good new music in a changed marketplace, to later efforts like "Keys to Ascension," where they appear to be trying anything to re-ignite their fan base, I think you will find that "Big Generator" sounds more authentic and vital, given the time period in which it was recorded.

Report this review (#413266)
Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Big Generator is even less a significant album that 90125 in that the compositions are less interesting. The pop element on this album has taken over completely. The only song that sticks out as being mildly progressive is "I'm Running", which I actually do like quite a bit. Unfortunately, that one song isn't enough for me to give this album more than one star. I've listened to this album many times and nothing sticks out. As I said before, the only stand out track is "I'm Running", and other than that, this album is quite easy to skip over without feeling bad.

I wouldn't recommend this album unless you are a fan of the '80s material by Yes or stereotypically '80s sounding music in general.

Report this review (#429356)
Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars 90126? As much as 90125 is better than this album, there is nothing on it as good as "I'm Running." This is easily the best thing 'Yes' had done since "Machine Messiah." This is even the best song they did from 1983-1991 (I'm including ABWH in there too). At times this song almost sounds like a hybrid of The Yes Album and GFTO. This song is simply head and shoulders above anything else on this album in every conceivable way. A Caribbean flavour to this track. Begins with some bass playing you wouldn't expect to hear in the late 1980s. Nice mallet percussion. A little bit of organ in this song. When it gets to the short guitar solo after 5 minutes, I have to remind myself two things: 1) this album was released in 1987; 2) Steve Howe is not in this line-up.

Oh, there are some other songs too. Imagine, in an alternate universe somewhere, that Yes released an album in 1987 and "I'm Running" was the *worst* song on it! Well I'm going to describe the rest of the album we have in this universe. Most of the songs are not bad for what they are: late '80s commercial rock. Apart from "Running," "Shoot High, Aim Low" is the best of the rest. "Rhythm Of Love" was the main single from the album. I like the Beach Boys style harmonies at the beginning. Probably the third best song. The title track starts with some "Leave It" like a capella vocals. You can hear the guitar solo from "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" in this song. Is Jon trying to rap in "Almost Like Love"? "Love Will Find A Way" has chord changes similar to Rick Springfield's song "Jessie's Girl."

"Yes" of the 1980s was a different beast than the Yes of the 1970s. Apart from "I'm Running" you wouldn't notice a connection between the two here. Just as Phil Collins did not ruin Genesis, Trevor Rabin did not ruin Yes. Both these bands just had slowly ageing musicians who had to cope with an era where it was more important to get paid than to make any kind of artistic statement. For fans only. 2 stars.

Report this review (#434338)
Posted Saturday, April 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars "90125", Volume 2?

Oh; dear God in Heaven...what have they done?

Is it more poppish than "90125"? Oh, yes. What prog elements that record possessed have here been stripped away, leaving a surprisingly sturdy (it must be said) framework for a batch of some rather splendid guitar-based rock tunes. The atmosphere (a word I will never stop using) is well and truly maintained here, and there are traces of the past in the songs here, most notably in White's frantic percussive pummel (check out the opening of "Almost Like Love" for a taste). The guitars are heavier, the bass more up in the mix than usual, and the vocals seem to be a tad more harmonious than they were on "90125"; as much as I love that CD (and always will), it appears that Yes made a conscious effort to include more vocal harmony and melody here, and the results, found on such tunes as "I'm Running", "Shoot High, Aim Low" (my favorite song from the record, and my 2nd favorite song from the band) and the driving, flashy "Rhythm Of Love" are lovely, breathtaking, cinematic. And yes...ATMOSPHERIC.

All in all, that seems to be the driving force here; the atmosphere. Yes doesn't attempt anything off-color or ludicrous. Yes; it does a trifle busy ("Almost Like Love", after that blistering opening and the title track seem like random bits rather than real songs) but it's more than made up for by most of the other tracks, such as "Shoot High, Aim Low", a wonderfully orchestrated seven minute piece that Jim Steinman (himself a master of epic, Wagnerian pop) is probably still shaking his head over. After an opening of some ambient noise, it slowly builds, taking its time to form a gorgeously melodic track with a quietly breathtaking guitar solo. It's not technical, or even really progressive (as mentioned above), but to these ears, it's some damn good rock.

With all this said, though, I DO have something nagging at me about this disc. Rabin had been in several bands throughout his teenage and early adult years in South Africa. But it appears that Yes were his first taste of worldwide success. Rabin, though subdued and restrained, seems rabid, hungry for flesh and thristy for blood (in the form of more success). It comes across as if he's trying too hard; though the miles of guitar, keyboards and bass leave plenty of room for both Rabin and Anderson to writhe upon, neither seems to eye the entanglement with much gusto. I rate this a four, most definitely...but I have to wonder just what Rabin's trying to prove.

Report this review (#459018)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars "Big Generator" stands as an album that sometimes people try to establish as controversial. And this for different reasons, mainly: 1) That the 80's brought a new era of music characterised by a commercial-poppish approach; 2) That essential prog rock was becoming old fashioned, and 3) That the changes in line-up unevitably led to a drastic change in the classic Yes sound.

However, none of these are excuse to what we hear in this album. The fact that the 80's represented a big change in music instigating towards commercial approach actually means nothing, because progressive rock was never a genre oriented towards that kind of "horizons". As a matter of fact, progressive rock was considered some kind of a "mainstream" type of music because of the cultural background and political enviroment in the 60's and 70's. That also goes for the argument that sustains a view of prog rock as old fashioned, because nowadays it seems that it is beginning to have a "rebirth" with new, fresh and young exponents.

On the other hand, the changes in line-up might be the most reasonable argument. Let's not deny the pretty good musicianship manifested in Big Generator, as demonstrated in songs like "Rhythm of Love" or "I'm Running", but always keeping in mind that we should draw the comparison with the rest of the 80's pop scene. Never with progressive rock as a musical achievement. I would agree with saying that the heavy influence of Trevor Rabin makes the difference here, in terms of the poppish/poorish inclinations.

The only thing that made me think of giving this one a lone star is the fact that great musicians are standing behind this embarassing proyect, such as Alan White, Jon Anderson and Chris Squire.

Report this review (#460963)
Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
1 stars A toxic bi-product of the 80s

I bought this on cassette for a couple of bucks, as I saw it's horrid yellow cover glaring back at me. it had Yes written on the cover so I assumed it would sound like Yes at least. All the boxes could be ticked: it featured Anderson on vocals, check, Squire on bass, check, Kaye on Keys, check, White on drums, check, Rabin on.... hang on a minute, who the hell is Rabin and where is the brilliant Howe? I can deal with Wakeman taking a hiatus but Howe is another thing all together. So I knew I was in for a bumpy ride with this one from the outset. I had read the reviews panning the album, and I had heard Rabin saying on the documentary that this was the most difficult album he had worked on, with a foot note to the fact that Anderson hated the changes in direction and musical differences were creating tension in the ranks. The result is a genuine mess.

The proof is in the music. The commercial pop sound that began with "90125" was now a feature of the band, never to return to the glorious progressive albums of the 70s. They were all but a distant memory, so hoist the main sail and batten the hatches, make way for the good ship new improved Yes, with delightful slices of pop pap at its worst, and massive chunks of nauseating lovey dovey lyrics such as the appalling Love Will Find A Way. You might say "Tales of Topographic Oceans" was in another universe.

"Big Generator" begins with Rhythm Of Love that is almost unlistenable and a cringe worthy moment of the live DVDs. The radio friendly sound was now cemented in stone and it was a complete turn off for a prog band. What prog? There is not a sceric left. It seemed Yes were trying to appeal to a mass market, and as the girls came flooding in to hear this new Yes sound, the old fans exited because the magic was gone. The track Big Generator is drum heavy loud 80s kitsch at its most inane. The tin can drums sound programmed as was everything else in the techno new wave genre, programmed to squeeze dollars out of the teen saturated target audience. The horns are blaring, the harmonies are over produced and the bass is effects laden; in short, it is a manufactured popsicle, dripping with sugar coated lyrics and fairy floss mixing. It sits well with the likes of 80s icons Duran Duran, Pseudo Echo and Spandeau Ballet, except they are designed to manufacture radio tunes for teeny girls; Yes were not so it did not work.

The album is Yes at their worst with songs that are all but ignored these days, perhaps as a strategic move, such as Almost Like Love, Final Eyes, I'm Running and Holy Lamb, that desperately tries to be prog but is actually an oddity amongst all this mechanised noise. If you are in the right mood and you are doing the house work, this album may make a rather infectious little piece of background music. But the problem is Yes was never meant to be background rubbish. It was always the high standard of excellence that drew in the onslaught of fans and grounded the band as quintessential progressive virtuosos. This album totally alienated old fans who were already disillusioned by the previous album, which is a step up from this thanks to 2 killer singles and some inventive mixing. On the contrary this album is a product of the 80s as prog ground to a halt, and unfortunately, thanks to albums like this, Yes are partly to blame for the hiatus in the 80s prog scene.

Report this review (#530108)
Posted Friday, September 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars In 1987, with the same lineup as on 90125, Yes released a further development of their new sound, and I always found it to be more rewarding musically. The opener, "Rhythm of Love", has an enthralling mix of catchy poppiness with the fresh and somewhat aggressive production from the 90125 album, with beautifully arranged harmonies, and I enjoy it a little bit more than the hits from that album. There are couple numbers ("Big Generator" and "Almost Like Love") where they seem to be more focused on the sound than the actual song, but for the most part, the album is more consistant and has more substance, as good as the previous album already was. That makes for a highly listenable experience full of excellently produced pop/rock like "Love Will Find a Way" along with intruiging pop/rock/prog hybrids like "Shoot High, Aim Low" and "I'm Running," not to mention Anderson's spacious, "Song For Harmonic Convergeance (Holy Lamb)." Those last two sport some of Yes' best lyrics for a long time, and the other song I haven't mentioned yet, "Final Eyes" may be my favorite from the album, mainly because the melody is so good, and the production is effectively dynamic. I don't own a copy of Big Generator currently, but I used to, and I would like to get it again. Another 4.5 album, and a very strong one that I would never want to piss off.
Report this review (#591720)
Posted Monday, December 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars I can't blame Yes for falling into the trap. It was bound to happen. After years of earning adulation from the prog rock populace but still having the average man-on-the-street give them a brutally honest "I just don't get it" opinion of their art, the runaway success they experienced via their 1983 album "90125" with its #1 Top 40 smash hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart" was no doubt intoxicating. (Even a dedicated fanatic like me found a lot to like about its fresh boldness and figured that neo Yes was better than no Yes.) The group's inevitable collective attitude was "Wow! Look at all this cash! Let's do THAT again!" and anyone who says they wouldn't be sorely tempted to do the same is either naive or a bald-faced liar. Universal acceptance is a powerful, addictive drug and Yes got hooked on it pronto. Touring the record took over a year but it was their most profitable ever and pushed sales of the CD over the 6 million mark. The members of the band were on top of the pop/rock world and they liked the view from up there so their credo became "When in Rome wear a toga" as they started planning their follow-up record, wanting to make sure it'd be chock full of more of the same catchy fare.

Cindi Lauper had a song out about that time called "Money Changes Everything" and it certainly applies to "Big Generator." The story of the strife and conflicts that went on during the two years it took to finish the project is a soap opera so I'll just say that it got ugly and the details are out there if you care to investigate. The gist is that guitarist Trevor Rabin eventually emerged from the herd as the head honcho of the album (after many attempted coups and threatened mutinies) but he erred in steering the boat way too far into the commercial waters that looked so safe and warm. Instead of using the newly-found fame/attention that "90125" bestowed upon them to expand the horizons of the MTV virus-infected public by now rejuvenating their dormant spirit of adventure with a healthy dose of progressive rock, Yes took the road most traveled. I'll grant them this, however. The disc's sound quality is so remarkable that if you were to hear this record from a distance you'd be duly impressed. But a closer listen would reveal that it's no more than a hollow porcelain doll that lacks guts or substance.

"Rhythm of Love" has an alluring Beach Boys meets ELO beginning that's kinda cool but then they strangle the mood immediately with drummer Alan White's hard rock bass/snare pattern that makes the track indistinguishable from the horde of wannabe bands indigenous to that plasticized era in music. In fact, if it'd been any of those other outfits it would've been a breakthrough song but this was YES, for Pete's sake, and I expected more. Jon Anderson sings (as if to the group) "Your charms are frozen/no emotion falling through your arms" and I must agree. Trevor's monstrous guitar tone is compelling at the opening of "Big Generator" and the contrast they present between the airy verses and the heavy-handed chorus isn't blatantly formulaic but I can tell they were intent on injecting the same startling effects that characterized "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and it quickly turns into a tired case of been there, done that. Again the lyrics ring true. "Second nature sacrifice/even if you close your eyes/we exist through this strange disguise," Jon intones. "Shoot High Aim Low" is next and it's one weird booger of a tune. The fog machine-worthy beginning has prog potential but all they proceed to do with it is decorate the droning atmosphere with a lot of state-of-the-art electronic ornaments. Rabin demonstrates that he's got a bagful of fancy licks to whip out but to what end? The words are of the usual Yes roundabout variety but one line sticks out: "We looked around the open shore/waiting for something," he sings. This uninspiring song is significant not for where it goes but for where it doesn't.

The only one without a credit for writing "Almost Like Love" is Alan White and he should be grateful because this tune is foul trash. The pounding snare they had him play is more in the vein of The Blues Brothers than Yes and its "get up and boogie" vibe is beyond embarrassing. Someone should've told them that Anderson's wispy voice and R&B mesh as well as oil in water and saved them from themselves. This horrible mistake of a song is so patronizing it gives me the creeps. It blows. The chamber orchestra opening to Trevor's "Love Will Find a Way" sounds like another respectful nod to ELO and it does help to clear the odorous air. But soon it morphs into yet another riff-based number so predictable as to be indistinguishable from the vacuous pop/rock offerings of Night Ranger, etc. Guest James Zavala's brief harmonica flurry provides the cut's only interesting moment. "It's so hard for me to draw a conclusion," he warbles. Not difficult for me, pal, this is lame. Hard to believe this was a #30 hit single. Tells you volumes about the dank dungeons where musical tastes dwelt in those days.

"Final Eyes" starts optimistically as one of Jon's signature, madrigal-like ditties and then broadens expansively to a cavernous depth, giving the prog monster in me a ray of hope that these talented boys haven't been completely corrupted. You keep waiting for them to screw it up but, to their credit, they allow it to be the inoffensive power ballad it was born to be and don't overdo it. The intro to "I'm Running" is passably inventive and the tune has progressive elements aplenty. Yet don't get me wrong. It'll never be confused with "Heart of the Sunrise" but, all things considered, this is about as good as prog got in the MTV-shrouded 80s and these two cuts keep the album from French-kissing the coral. They end with an Anderson-penned, can't-we-all-just-get-along-themed tune entitled "Holy Lamb (Song for Harmonic Convergence)" that starts out better than it finishes because they stubbornly force the song to include the prerequisite "rawk" aspect that effectively drains it of any and all subtlety. "See the world we started/is it so low again?" Jon inquires. 'Fraid so, my man, 'fraid so.

To be a follower of Yes one must be willing to fly with their Fragile eagles Close to the Edge as well as suffer the humiliation of being soiled by the occasional rotten Tormato and this one leans heavily toward the latter. Despite sporting one of the most banal covers in the history of prog rock, "Big Generator" rose to #15 on the album charts and sold over 2 million copies, illustrating that slick production that made your stereo system sound good always trumped meaningful or challenging content circa 1987, thanks to the infernal "video revolution." Unfortunately, this wasn't to be the last hurrah for this particular version of Yes as they would circle their wagons once more 7 years later to compile the questionable "Talk" disc, demonstrating that the hit single sirens never stop beckoning once you've slept with them and even groups as revered as this one will risk destroying its sterling reputation in the effort to just get one more taste. A pity. One and a half stars.

Report this review (#611734)
Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Interesting to see such a mixture of ratings for this album. I rate it the same as 90125, becaue this one makes up a lot for its energy. As I said on another review, don't bother comparing it to the earlier albums! "Rhythm Of Love" starts on a fair pace, Anderson's vocals on this album are brighter and angelic sometimes too. He couldn't have been on much higher form than on here. There are some weaker points, "Rhythm Of Love" and "Almost Like Love" are not such good songs but "Shoot High, Aim Low" is very good indeed. It has a different pace to the others, and seems to have a darker theme and mood as well but well worth listening to. "Love Will Find A Way" is also a really decent song. I have noticed how many songs have the word "love" in them. And when it comes to lyrics on the album, I am not especially fussed, but "Final Eyes" one of my favourites has a very nice line "like a river without a stream, nightime without dreaming". Nice melody as well and nice arrangements with acoustic guitar and Tony Kaye's keyboards. The last two songs on the album are great too "I'm Running" and "Holy Lamb". I would recommened revisiting the album for those songs. There is a good amount of variety again on "Big Generator" like on their last album, including some exotic influences. Three solid stars.
Report this review (#885008)
Posted Monday, December 31, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars Big Generator is in the bottom third of Yes albums. It's definately not the worst (Open Your Eyes), but it isn't good. People complain about Trevor Rabin, and the fact that his guitar doesn't sound like Yes, that his songs don't sound like Yes. Well, they sound like a different version of Yes. No, that's not a popular stance, but there it is.

The radio friendly songs of Love Will Find a Way and Rhythm of Love are pretty decent pop fare. No, they're not prog, but it's not like they are bad. The only song I really enjoy is Shoot High Aim Low. I really, really like this song. In fact it's the only reason that I rate this album higher than one star.

The rest of the songs are forgettable.

Report this review (#913349)
Posted Wednesday, February 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars The second blistering pop/prog performance by the band. Original and fresh sound effects that never pass unnoticed by the attention of the common ear which, in my opinion, is a quality that, even alone, has a great value on my review criteria. It has a balanced distribution between high and low tempo songs giving a pleasant flow along the listening of the whole album.

Jon Anderson, as always, with the attribute of his angelical voice giving that unique melodical touch to the songs, namely "Shoot High, Aim Low". Trevor Rabin once again showing that he came to save the band's break-up by contributing with striking guitar riffs specially featured on "Big Generator", "Almost Like Love" and "I'm Running".

Despite the hatchet blows on this album, from a more pop perspective you barely have any reasons to criticize it at all .If you consider the songs that were in the billboards at the time, is it so simple to indicate a more complex (harmonically and lyrically) album than this one? I don't think so.

I give it 3 stars for the lack of prog boldness they used to have in the old days, however the 80's were not an era that had crowds appreciating innovation in that sense.So within the possible limits, the final result is rather praiseworthy.

Report this review (#920924)
Posted Thursday, February 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars "Big Generator" is a strange album, as the creative directions of each individual member were obviously clashing. There is evidence here that some of the band member wanted to make progressive rock music, but Yes had fallen into the trap. The 80s trap.

This album is by no stretch terrible; there are some very good songs and the band is tight. The undeniable 80s-ness of the album does not affect it's quality, but there is only a small amount of progressive rock tossed into the mix. The only songs that stick out as being progressive are "I'm Running" and "Holy Lamb", and even these songs are in the vein of 80s pop.

All in all, Big Generator is a good album, but pretty average in terms of prog. I recommend to fans of 80s pop/rock.

Report this review (#933605)
Posted Thursday, March 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
1 stars The problem with the 80s is not the 80s music. I love a bunch of music from this decade, including post-punk, ebm, and genres that most of prog fans would deny. The problem is the 70s guys wanting to sound like the new wave. And doing wrong. Is something like Pearl Jam (90s) making music like the Backstreet Boys (2000s). They weren't trying to make good music. This album has no creativity. I am sure that you can remember cheesy songs from the 80s but catchy, songs that got rhythmn, just check some of your favorite movies soundtracks and I know you will find. So why a band like Yes, who knows how to write hard songs, made an album full of scum in such easy musical area? This was the last thing I want to try again in my life. Big Generic. Ashamed of themselves, they masqueraded the oldschool Yes logo in the previous album, and now, they hided the album among poor pop & rock albums at the store, and hided the band name - you will notice a big "Big" and not a "Yes" if you look at this album cover without any attention. After 9834573232894 the Yes band exchanged a lot of hardcore followers for a million of momentary fans. While the thing was goin, they tried out again, and god knows the hell is this. Big Generator is the worst. My hand kept shuddering every song, wanting to skip to the next track, or better, eject the cd. A final warning: If you want to change the turn of your non-ecletic band, make it great, or at least change the band's name.
Report this review (#1037339)
Posted Tuesday, September 17, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Big Generator. Big disappointment, espeically if you were waiting for a 20-minute epic suite. Won't find that here.

Looking for GREAT POP MUSIC. Won't find that here either. 90125 had that stitched up with brilliant production and chorus vocals.

Looking for a complete dud? Well, you might find that here, considering everyone likes dudding it. You could get carried away joining in...

Looking for great and varied songwriting? I can guarantee, that will DEFINITELY find it here!

The opening 'Rhythm of love'; well, yeah sure, it's a crappy 80's pop song, and the production, while slick, seems greyscale compared to 90125. Zeesh I just confirmed to myself this sucks, I'll just go and change that four-star rating... then again, it's a nice song, and those airy vocal chorus breaks, they really add a nice and melodic touch to it.

Then comes the beloved title track ;-) If you hate punchy 3-minute hard rock songs, well you're gonna wanna break this disc hearing this song... well sure it's a 3-minute hard-rock song, but what a fun and crazy song it is, with Trevor's guitar CRANKING IT through the chorus.

"Shoot high aim low", well sure a lot of people aren't so keen on it, but... for me, an absolute classic! A power ballad that makes you salivate with anticipation as it builds to the masterful chorus.

Then there's the dreaded monstrosity, "Almost like love", which revels in the worst excesses of the garbage 80's - and it's so irresistibly cathcy too! It's frenetic and energetic and I love it!

Then begins side two, which isn't always irresistibly 'cathcy'. But the opening 'Love will find a way' definitely is. It sounds something like 80's Harrison or Travelling Wilburys, and is quite melodious, and is one of my favourite tunes here.

'Final eyes' is something more akin to progressive rock; sure, 6 and a half minutes in not 20 minutes, but it's not three minute either. It's all very pleasant sounding and romantic and kind folksy. Actually, that's ANOTHER TRACK I really like.

Well here it is, finally... after all this time... (well, six songs) 'I'm running', which is the shortened title. It was originally going to be 'I'm running away as fast as I can from this song because it is so hopeless' but, insiders have it, Jon and Tony decided Yes fans were too smart to be told such a title. They would figure out from hearing the song that it definitely was 'I'm running away as fast as I can from this song because it is so hopeless', not just 'I'm Running' Although Trevor argued 'Okay, yes fans might realise that, but, seriously, if you're a YES FAN, you're the last person who's going to buy this album (Big Generator)' but anyway it ended up simply 'I'm Running'. And if you were wondering why I said 'here it is, after all this time', well, obviously, this was the first song on the album I didn't like...

Sure, it's more 'progressive' than the ABC-like 'Almost like love' or the log-sawing 'Big Generator'. But it's just a crappy song... it's got this psuedo-carribean beat and the usual Yes thang of burying vocals in the mix and stuff. Otherwise it's alright.

'BIG Generator' finishes with the diminutive 'Holy Lamb (Song for Harmonic Convergence)' - a quaint, cute song with a BIG title. Again, another song I really like, it's melodious and sweet and dripping with all that Eastern-Religion inspired goodwill from Jon Anderson's heart. Which is what you want to hear from him, cause that's his 'thing'. If he started singing about wanting to 'tear down the forrest' or 'hit the town with some sexy ladies', that's NOT VERY Jon Anderson.

Listening to Big Generator, although, on paper, it's a crappy album, it's actually one great album. The songwriting is very strong and the melodies and hooks are always right there. Definitely four stars.

However, this is prog-archives, so I would add that if you are expecting a very 'progressive' or 'complex' album this probably isn't for you. There's definitely style, tempo and chord changes in there, but only 'Final Eyes', 'I'm running' and maybe 'Holy Lamb' are anything prog, 'Shoot High Aim Low' lasts seven minutes so it's an outside chance of being a 'progressive ballad' but that's pushing it.

Report this review (#1078792)
Posted Monday, November 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars If I can find progrock elements in 90125, they are almost dissapeared now in Big Generator, so in the prog context of this site, this album is not essential. But, not because of this Big Generator is a bad album, on the contrary, IMO is a really good album. With a bit mechanical sound, the songs are catchy and well developed, the guitar job is stunning and Jon Anderson shines with the power of his voice. The opening Rhythm of love sounds great, just like the selftitle song. Shot high aim low is another good piece. Love will find a way is an exclusively Rabin track, sang by him, and for my taste is too much commercial, but is not bad. Almost like love, is a track that I don't really like and Holy lamb is a typical Anderson soloist ballad, a good one. The last two songs, if you look for meticulously maybe could find some proggy, but beyond of this they are great tracks, mainly Final eyes.
Report this review (#1110188)
Posted Wednesday, January 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars A tricky album to listen to: If you're expecting the classic Yes sound, meh, you'll probably think "crap". It happenned to me. But then one day I decided to play it again and, hey, the music is actually quiet good, better than a lot of stuff made in the 80s. So, it turns out that an album I thought was unlistenable rubbish is actually good (but -definitely- not essential). In fact, I think that it can stand side to side with 90125 without problems, I don't know why after that album this similar follow-up was rated so poorly (okay, 90125 had a bit more force than this one, but it is not THAT good, and Big is not that bad) My point: give Big Generator a chance, it is underrated and it deserves one. And all this applies toTalk too.
Report this review (#1207472)
Posted Thursday, July 10, 2014 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Big Generator' - Yes (52/100)

Although I'm part of the clear minority when it comes to my appreciation for the much- loathed 90125 album, there's no doubt that Yes' music became increasingly difficult to defend as time went on. Even sparing the fact they had shifted gears to the point of being virtually unrecognizable, the pop-centric Yes lost creative impetus pretty quickly. Big Generator was released four years after 90125, and two of those years were spent working on it. Clearly, the honeymoon period brought on by Trevor Rabin was over by this point; Tony Kaye and Trevor Horn had been at each other's throats, and Jon Anderson was expressing doubt around the direction the band was taking. It's this sort of artistic division that first sent Yes on the downward slope with Tormato, and Big Generator saw fit to reproduce this scenario with their pop era. It's undeniably a weaker album than 90125, even possibly the first album the band released I might consider truly weak. Much like Tormato though, Big Generator has some strong moments. It's not enough to earn a recommendation, but its enough to deserve some sort of defence against some of the 'worst album ever' comments made against it.

I'll admit, even if my initial instinct is to defend it, Big Generator is a pittance compared to just about everything that came before it. Had it been received more warmly by others, this review would have likely turned out much nastier- such was the case with the terribly overrated Drama LP. I had written a bit of a review about Big Generator Yesterday after my first couple of listens, and much of it agreed with the generally panned reception. Listening to it on the coattails of the far-superior 90125, it was instantly clear that Big Generator wasn't as coherent or effective- if you take a look at the album's recording history, it's hard to blame it. Perhaps it managed to grow a little bit with some more intent listening, but a few tracks really stand out to me now. As much as I cannot stomach the song titles, "Rhythm of Love" and "Love Will Find A Way" are solid pop tunes. The former even has some surprising Beach Boys-y vocal harmonies, which is totally coming from left-field on a Yes album. The chorus on "Final Eyes" is admittedly weak, but the verse is a beautiful showcase for Jon Anderson's voice- the same goes for the mellowed "Holy Lamb" at the end.

"Shoot High, Aim Low" is probably the most impressive track here, and it sounds like something Rush may have released on Presto or Hold Your Fire. There's an exotic and meditative atmosphere to the song that distances it from the more straight-laced pop rock. Speaking of which, "Almost Like Love" is probably the worst song they had put out up to this point- I guess Anderson's weird vocal phrasing is interesting enough, but I'm probably digging for gold in a coal pit at this point. I suppose its a testament my generally contrarian nature, but the song people point towards as Big Generator's only saving grace- that being "I'm Running"- is probably the most irritating song on the album for me. "Almost Like Love" is easy enough to ignore for how bloody middle-of-the- road it is, but "I'm Running" tries to conjure up some of Yes' adventurous spirit. The result of which is a peppy, unfocused mess that somehow reminds me of Ska enough to cringe. I guess it's a sign of hope that the Rabin-era Yes was still interested in pursuing longer songs, but for the sake of Big Generator, they may as well have forgone it entirely.

There's a certain masochism when it comes to reviewing. Sometimes I find myself looking for albums I know I'll hate, in the hopes that it might result in an enjoyably heated rant of a review. Before giving Big Generator a listen, I might have pegged it as such an album. The album art is atrocious, and any LP with a song called "Rhythm of Love" would almost certainly make faeces smell good in comparison. It's really not the case here; call it a guilty pleasure or an outstretched effort to hear quality in one of my all-time favourite bands, I think Big Generator's got some great moments. Other than that, it's an inconsistent record at best; each of the band members seem to have wanted something different to come of it. Oh well, we'll always have Fragile.

Report this review (#1214946)
Posted Friday, July 18, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars First, I must say that I love this album. For me personally, it's four stars. However, I recognize that it's not *really* prog... and therefore "excellent addition to any prog rock music collection" doesn't make too much sense. Taken as an island unto itself, though, without any previous expectations that Big Generator *should* be prog, I think this is a great album. The whole thing has a super '80s feel to it - you can date it immediately upon hearing the first few bars - and I rather think Yes managed to do that style much more successfully than a lot of other bands did. I think this is, in no small part, due to Chris Squire's choirboy-like voice (and Trevor Rabin's, too) combining with Anderson's. They sound very thick together and make satisfying vocal walls-of-sound that don't come off as hokey as a lot of other 80's rock vocals did.

In the context of Yes' history, this is one of few albums on which they came up with some incredibly catchy tunes. Big Generator is nowhere near as artistically ambitious as the vast majority of Yes' discography, but it *is* fun. I think of it in a completely different light from serious, artsy prog.

1. Rhythm Of Love - Catchy and fun right off the bat. Morning daydream, midnight fever - one notices that the lyrics here make considerably more sense than those on some other Yes albums. However, they don't have that sense of awe that I find Anderson's usual lyrics-for-their-sound inspire. 2. Big Generator - Okay. A little plodding. Still rather fun to listen to. 3. Shoot High Aim Low - A much more laid-back song with lyrics that seem to either be talking about making out in a car or getting caught in the middle of a slaughter. It has an expansive feel, a lot of organ, and a lot of thick vocals. 4. Almost Like Love - Another catchy fun one in the vein of Rhythm of Love, but I enjoy this one more. Somehow Yes injected some of that "awe" quality they usually have in more proggy songs into this one, and it's one of my favorites on the album. 5. Love Will Find A Way - A heartstring-tugging song about resisting becoming involved in a relationship - rather similar in topic to Owner of a Lonely Heart. However, I find this song more emotionally compelling. The guitar work in this one is at once melancholy and quick/catchy - a nice combination, making the song relatively light but still carrying a lot of feeling. 6. Final Eyes - Definitely my favorite of the tracks. It's basically a proggy ballad done seamlessly well. Every part of it has a hook and it sounds so thick I feel fully immersed in it the entire time. Some nice shiver-inducing chord changes. The lyrics in this one are a high for Anderson, not only understandable but emotionally engaging. 7. I'm Running - I think this is Yes' attempt to still be "progressive" on this album, but in my opinion it falls flat. It loses that catchiness that many of the songs on here have, and yet does not recover the performance flair of their earlier work. 8. Holy Lamb (3:15) - Unfortunately, a waste of a track. Nothing much occurs in it at all, and it makes for a disappointing ending to an album that previously had a great deal of energy.

So... not one of my favorite albums of all time, but an '80s rock album executed well overall.

Report this review (#1367039)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2015 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars BIG GENERATOR is definitely the point where YES jumped the shark. I can honestly say i love 90125 as much as many of YES' catalogue beginning with the first album to that very one, but on this one it is clear that the great decline has begun. Not saying there weren't some good albums after this but it was never quite the same. Having said all that, i actually like BIG GENERATOR and despite it being a substandard album for one of the best bands ever to grace the planet, it is nevertheless a decent listen.

Part of the decline stems from the fact that the progressive pop era of YES which was supposed to be a new supergroup called Cinema had dropped some of the progressiveness that 90125 had. The sound went a little bit more towards the new wave and pop sound and despite the huge hit they had with 90125 they decided it was a good idea to distance themselves from it. Were they convinced at this point that ANYTHING progressive was lethal? Who knows but it probably is more a result of a group of talented individuals just going through the motions having displayed their utmost chemistry together and now just having to fulfill a contract.

Still though this is YES and even though this is not in the top ranking of their output they are quite talented in crafting clever, catchy and interesting pop songs. Upon my first experience i found a few tracks on here very good such as the total pop sellouts "Love Will Find Away" and "Rhythm Of Love" as well as the title track and the excellent "Shoot High Aim Low" which takes a political stance regarding the horrific illegal wars of the US in Nicaragua. It is a fairly lengthy song for this phase of YES and it has a very subdued melancholic sound.

Many tracks on BIG GENERATOR sound rather new wave but nothing on this one sounds as original and unique as 90125. Despite the pop sounds reigning on this one, there are some moments of past glory. "Final Eyes" has some hippy dippy "And You And I" acoustic guitars going and "I'm Running" has some cool proggy time sigs and instrumental prowess despite its calypso type of island feel at the beginning.

This is a decent album despite being a major step down from anything YES had previously done. I actually don't mind listening to this on occasion. Yeah, i know. This is not what anybody wanted to hear from their favorite supergroup in prog history but this isn't really a YES album. Maybe there should be a human rights law at the UN that mandates anytime a band loses a certain percentage of its members it should be required by law to change its name. Couldn't they have called this era of their career MAYBE? Ugh. It is what it is. Not their best but certainly not their worst.

Report this review (#1438721)
Posted Thursday, July 9, 2015 | Review Permalink
1 stars Travor Ravin did it again. This time the man takes Yes even further from the band identity. Even reading Anderson and Squire statements to the press, I don't understand why they went way so far this time. "90125" wasn't a prog album, but a pop one, this one is even more pop. Did they think that was the way they should go? Listening carefully to each track I can't find any prog sign. OK Jon and Chris are there again, but they play cheesy songs. I know they liked pop, in fact both of them collaborate on many pop projects, but this was Yes. If you think that a few years after this they could deliver "Keys to Ascension" you can see they were not deaf. I don't think I'll ever listen to this album again.
Report this review (#1459093)
Posted Thursday, September 3, 2015 | Review Permalink
2 stars Ok so I gave 90125 four stars. I liked the freshness of the material and the way they mixed in some prog sensibilities with the pop hooks. So what in the hell happened here? Well we all knew sooner or later there would be a power struggle due to the fact that they had two alphas in the band. When this new Yes started, Chris Squire and Alan White gladly handed the artistic reigns over to the new young guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Trevor Rabin. On 90125, Jon Anderson entered the project in the final hours and really didn't have a lot of time to force his ideas into the fold. By the time they got around to creating Big Generator the two silverbacks went head to head. Jon Anderson wanted to go back to being non-commercial and Trevor Rabin wanted the opposite. But that wasn't the only problem. They had trouble recording in Italy and had to move on to LA to finish the album after Trevor Horn left and finish producing the record themselves.

As a result of all of this and some questionable decisions, the music itself suffered. At the time of BG's release I will admit that I was somewhat satisfied with it as a fan but I was such a fanboy in those days and time really did a number on it.

1. Rhythm Of Love. 3/10 An above average pop song for the 80's. That is saying little though. In the Yes canon it's close to being a total disgrace. After the promising vocal intro we get that ugly 80's arena rock sound. The lyrics? Yes were now doing sexual innuendo.

2. Big Generator. 3/10 It's like a twisted up Owner of a Lonely Heart. I actually liked this when it came out but I laughed my face off while listening to it recently. I kind of like the lyrics though. It seems in some way based Jon Anderson's criticism of big record companies.

3. Shoot High Aim Low. 7/10 Here we get Alan White playing the same pattern as the bassline from Mr. Mister's Broken Wings. (Am I the only one who notices this?) But I actually like this one. Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin trading lines in the verses and the tune has a nice dreamy feel to it.

4. Almost Like Love. 1/10 A nice drum intro that leads us into a bad song. It also has latter day Genesis-like horns. Execrable.

5. Love Will Find a Way. 3/10 A very bland song. A Rabin penned mid-tempoed song about love finding a way.

6. Final Eyes. 5/10 A Rabin era Yes attempt at a new "And You And I." Not even close. No terrible but did not age well.

7. I'm Running 1/10 I don't even know what to say here. The longest song on the album is also the worst. The musicianship is there but it has terrible Caribbean feel to it. Yikes!!

8. Holy Lamb. 5/10 Here Jon Anderson sounds like he is in his element...vocally. Singing about the harmonic convergence. I have always felt that the song wasn't finished and it probably wasn't.

So unfortunately, Big Generator was pretty much an artistic failure. As it turn out it was commercially as well. Consequently all of this led to Anderson leaving and forming ABWH (Be gone you ever piercing power play machine, cutting our musical solidarity...I am out of thee with a vengeance!)

Report this review (#1506681)
Posted Monday, January 4, 2016 | Review Permalink
3 stars The 90125 success story has been oft-repeated, but for the uninitiated, the "new Yes" was a big hit with music lovers the world over and gave the band a new wave of popularity. Here we have a similar situation to Genesis in that both these bands met with great success in their second decade after re-inventing their sound, which was well-deserved for them (because it probably got new fans to check out the old stuff!). Anyway, this version of Yes (the Trevor Rabin edition) quickly garnered the nickname "YesWest," when the sweet smell of success necessitated almost the entire band moving to Los Angeles (with the exception of Alan White, who remained in Seattle). The follow-up to 90125, Big Generator, was almost two years in the making and was unfortunately produced amid endless courtroom squabbling and creative differences between Jon Anderson and the rest of the band (which may be why he has so little input).

For all those problems, though, I actually rate this album higher than 90125, strange as it sounds. Why? Because of an important point I mentioned at the end of my 90125 review: more consistent and generally concise songwriting. There are very few "prog" exercises here (with the exception of a couple of tracks), but there are also no significant, bloated missteps in the vein of "Changes" or "Hearts." It still sounds like an 80s Yes record, sure, but the band seems more sure of itself this time and Rabin just keeps getting better as a guitarist. Call this the Time and a Word of YesWest.

The leadoff track is "Rhythm of Love," probably not a favorite here but I've always liked this one. Opening with Beach Boy-esque vocal harmonies that echo the chorus, it soon turns into pretty much your standard 80s rocker. It may have the same drum beat and sound as every other 80s tune, but at least it has a good pocket. I've heard that the lyrics are sexual in nature, but damned if I can figure out whether that's true or not. It doesn't really matter, though, as the track rides a solid groove throughout, even in the more ethereal bridge. An unlikely winner.

The title track (which always makes me subconsciously think of Sade's "Smooth Operator") is basically a B-level rewrite of "Owner of a Lonely Heart" (it even has similar random production noises like that track does). The band keep it moving along, though, with some unusual twists including a Steely Dan-ish vocal bridge. Not exactly bad, but for the most part uninspired.

"Shoot High, Aim Low" is something of a Yes-style power ballad. One of the longest tracks here, it runs seven minutes, most of which are used wisely. The harmonic structure of the song is basically a pattern of three power chords that go into minor-key territory at certain points, and I would guess that the lyrics are about some sort of hunting trip. Though not transcendent, it's all done very effectively, helped out by appropriate "wall-of-sound" power (check out Alan's BIG drum sound!).

After the relative bombast and slowness of the previous track, "Almost Like Love" feels like driving a Porsche by comparison. It's the first real up-tempo song here, reflected by Anderson's rapid-fire lyrics which may come across as being too preachy for some. This track is also notable for being Yes' first to feature a horn section, which is probably buried in the mix somewhere behind the synth blasts. Overall, very musically exciting.

Speaking of outside musicians, "Love Will Find a Way" unusually enough opens with McCartney-style chamber orchestra?I'm pretty sure these aren't just Rabin/Kaye keyboards because they sound a lot like real string players. After about 15 seconds, though, the rock feel takes over, spotlighted by one of Rabin's best guitar riffs. Although the tune is generally pleasant enough, I do have a hard time with the pre-chorus lyric, "Here is my heart/Waiting for you/Here is my soul/I eat at Chez Nous," no matter how well it's delivered. The harmonica break is by James Zavala, who also played saxophone on "Almost Like Love." This is also the third and last track here to feature the word "Love" in the title. I guess the word really IS Love (OK, enough Time and a Word references).

"Final Eyes" is a great atmospheric track, parts of which strangely remind me of Tales, notably the 12-string guitar in the intro and clean vocal harmonies in the chorus (on which Squire can be heard quite well). Tony Kaye contributes a very nice organ obbligato in the bridge (at least I assume it's Kaye), and this part of the song is a journey unto itself, containing perhaps the most beautiful passages on the entire album. Fans of classic Yes should find plenty of like about this one.

For a change of pace Chris Squire is featured right up front on "I'm Running" (literally, as the first occurrence of the bass line is just him solo!). This is probably the "proggiest" track on the album, riding the aforementioned bass line in 11/4 for the intro and all recurrences of such. Parts of this tune sound almost Caribbean/tropical, due to the pairing of acoustic guitar and marimba in the instrumentals (great touch). Although this song shows Yes going back to the old prog days again, it does get a bit repetitive and has a definite "kitchen sink" feel to it?like they just threw in a bunch of stuff because they could. In that respect it's almost a more focused version of something from Tormato. It's mostly very good though.

The final track is "Holy Lamb," solely written by Anderson for (apparently) the Harmonic Convergence which took place in 1987 (the year of this album's release). Nothing much to say about this one, as it kind of comes and goes in about three minutes without leaving much of an impression at all. Maybe the whole "new age" thing turns me off to this tune, but whatever.

The bonus tracks on the 2009 Atco reissue (originally Japan-only, but later finding a home in the Studio Albums 1969-1987 box set) consist entirely of multiple remixes/edits of the same two songs and, apart from the single edit of "Love Will Find a Way" (30 seconds shorter and preferable to the album version), are not really worth talking about in great detail. Listening to 7-minute remixes of "Love Will Find a Way" and "Rhythm of Love" is not my idea of a good time, especially when the actual drums are replaced with obviously over-programmed electronic percussion and the whole mix has been drowned in flanger and phaser effects (I actually got a headache after listening to some of these on a good system).

But really, who cares about bonus tracks? The point is to review the actual album, and taken by itself and on its own merits, Big Generator makes its case quite well, even if most people didn't agree. Whereas this seems to be looked upon as a re-hash of 90125, I posit that the musical vision of YesWest was more fully realized with this album, and would reach even higher levels on my favorite Rabin-era Yes album, Talk. Both of these albums have stronger production values and songwriting than 90125 on the whole, and it doesn't seem like they're trying to re-do anything on these (with the exception of this album's title track), so I would recommend them for any listener who enjoys halfway well-made and complex pop/prog rock. 3.5 stars out of 5.

Report this review (#1617011)
Posted Thursday, September 29, 2016 | Review Permalink
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars So, I'll put in my 2 cents worth on this one. I feel that too many people have lambasted this album, and, while I agree it is not their best, it definitely isn't their worst. I would consider "Open Your Eyes", "Far From Here" and "Heaven and Earth" easily their worst albums, especially since the last two I mentioned were recorded by imposters. It is true that Yes has set a high bar on many of their albums that if one comes out that isn't quite as good, it can have a rather exaggerated response from the fans.

"Big Generator" does not deserve a one star rating however. While it is true it has two very radio friendly songs in "Love Will Find a Way" and "Rhythm of Love" which are very poor by Yes standards, the remaining songs are still quite decent, and at least four of them are very good at least. "Shoot High, Aim Low", "Big Generator", "Final Eyes" and "Holy Lamb" are all stellar songs which most lesser bands could be very proud of.

Compared to "Close to the Edge", "TfTO", "Relayer" and several others, it does pale overall, but, really? One Star? It is better than that. I know I have rated it at 4 stars because I round it up from 3.5 since I find it enjoyable. But I don't know how anyone could rate it lower than 3 stars.

Report this review (#1873979)
Posted Saturday, February 10, 2018 | Review Permalink
3 stars Big Generator was the first Yes album I owned, on cassette. Here, I'm reviewing the 1987 Atco CD.

Big Generator does not start off strong. The first two songs on the first side are the weakest on the album, although each has its redeeming factors. Lyrically, "Rhythm of Love" is a dumb song - - so is the Beatles' "She Loves You" - - but, like the side-one closer, "Almost Like Love," it's fun enough. The intro to "Rhythm" is good, as is the bridge, in which guitarist Trevor Rabin, bassist Chris Squire, and lead singer Jon Anderson each sing a solo line overlapped by the next vocalist's line. "Big Generator" isn't much better, although I've always thought of it as commentary on the demand they felt to follow up 90125, their prior album and their biggest hit, with more of the same. Speaking of which, the second side of Big Generator opens with another nice-enough, radio-friendly tune, Rabin's "Love Will Find a Way." This song, taken with "Rhythm of Love" and "Big Generator," is what earns the album its reputation among some Yes fans as Rabin-heavy, commercial AOR.

For sure, Big Generator is commercial AOR, and if that's a crime, leader Jon Anderson is hardly an innocent bystander. He and Rabin co-wrote six of the eight songs with Squire, keyboardist Tony Kaye, and in most cases, drummer Alan White.

Generally, the album's songs are sequenced from worst to best. The strongest song on the first side is "Almost Like Love," and the best two songs on the album are the sixth and seventh (of eight) in the running order. "Final Eyes" seems to be a mostly successful merger of separate ideas by Rabin and Anderson. Other than bits and pieces on earlier tracks, "Final Eyes" is the first really Yes- sounding song on the album. This is followed by "I'm Running," the only song on which Squire stands out. It's clear from interviews that Squire's addiction problems were significant at this point, and, in my opinion, it would be another decade before Yes albums once again bore his trademark contributions on more than a single song.

"I'm Running," along with "Hearts," "Solitaire," "Endless Dream," and "Mind Drive" is one of the absolute best Yes songs of Anderson's second era with the band (1983 to 2004). It's a severely underappreciated masterpiece, rarely included in compilations and hardly ever played live - - not that playing it live would be an easy task. It doesn't approach the heights of "Close to the Edge" or "Yours is No Disgrace," but its vocal arrangements equal those of either of those Yes classics, and it is expertly executed, especially by Rabin and Squire.

Anderson's solo composition "Holy Lamb" closes the album. In a strange way, it reminds me of how the "Soon" section closes "Gates of Delirium." Musically, "Holy Lamb" is pretty elementary for a Yes song. But it is a nice compliment to "I'm Running," especially given the feverish way "I'm Running" ends.

Big Generator is not as good as other three-star Yes albums, but in my estimation it's better than two-star albums like Tales from Topographic Oceans and Tormato. It's also both "good" and "not essential," so I rate it three stars.

Report this review (#2150419)
Posted Thursday, February 28, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars IGNORE THE PROG SNOBS!! This a great rock album!

Many reviewers have come on here to express their disdain at this supposedly 'sellout' album by prog masters Yes. Get a grip people! This is a wonderful album in it's own right. Are you saying Yes didn't have the right to change or evolve? You indeed have the right to reject this album but you are frankly missing out.

A great rock album performed by masters of their craft....who wouldn't be impressed? Only those who believe they have some 'god given' right to influence a bands creative output. Get over yourselves. Or you can continue to be smugly satisfied with your arrogant rejection of is your loss!

So change they did and this album and it's predecessor '90125' actually made them some decent money off the back of excellently performed and produced 'prog lite' rock music.....and good luck to them.

If the detractors hadn't noticed, pure prog rock was hardly filling bands coffers in the mid 80's. Feel free as a musician to 'stay true to your musical self' and be poor if you don't impress the buying public...or if your musical roots become passe. One couldn't count the amount of musicians who have lived to regret their own stubborn arrogance by refusing to evolve and grow with the times....

Opening with the superb 'Rhythm of Love', a song which rocks along with gorgeous vocal harmonies (a feature of this album) and a driving 'up tempo' beat.

The title track follows with Rabins crunching guitar taking centre stage....and it does rock! There's a lot happening here but it's not muddled....the production values shine through on this fact on every track. The SQ on the whole album is superb!

'Shoot High, Aim Low' is a brooding prog-lite track that builds and takes you away....

The first side ends with the up tempo 'All About Love' with it's 'Sussudio' style brass section kicking it along. (Rabin apparently didn't approve of the addition of the brass section but I think it's fine). It's a joyous uplifting song that gets the feet tapping.

Side two opens with 'Love Will Find A Way', a beautiful if slightly commercial offering that is a wonderful combination of excellent musicianship and collective vocal prowess.

'Final Eyes' is another excellent prog lite track highlighted by superb vocals by Anderson with superb audio production again shining through.

'I'm Running' is a latin beat inspired prog rocker which strangely is the longest song on the album and with it's really excellent vocal harmonies and at times, propulsive hits the prog spot!

Finishing with 'Holy Lamb', a nice Anderson spiritual ballad that, while probably the weakest song on the album, is still a worthy contribution and a nice reflective conclusion.

This album is a winner....for those who appreciate great rock music from a band of Class A performers.....for those who respect a band for evolving and exploring other possibilities....and who maybe just wanted a decent return for their efforts for a change. Well, they succeeded on all fronts.

I didn't give it 5 stars, only because in the words of the rating system, an album that receives 5 stars is "Essential: a masterpeice of progressive rock music." This album probably doesn't fit that description but it is a "masterpiece of prog inspired rock music" and I give it 4 stars. As a straight rock music album and for it's production values, I would give it 5's a beauty!!

Report this review (#2184647)
Posted Sunday, April 21, 2019 | Review Permalink
3 stars When I first started listening to Rhythm Of Love with that very hopeful introduction that we were returning to the more progressive Yes, Alan White's drum kit reminds us that that time was already past. In 35 seconds the illusion is over. It is a warning that we are once again facing a new stage of the group, with a strong rocker influence from Trevor Rabin, who is undoubtedly a great composer and excellent guitarist, and who led the group in other ways, such as in 90125, a little more accessible and commercial. And so we find the promoted Love Will Find A Way, a beautiful melody that has little to do with the group's sources and a style similar to Rhythm Of Love.

I do think there are two songs that are very remarkable. One of the best they did at this stage with Rabin, the stormy and powerful Shoot High Aim Low related to war and humanity, with a slow but dramatic development, the best song by far from the album. And on the other hand, we have Holy Lamb (Song for Harmonic Convergence), with which the work ends, an excellent melody by Anderson, which seemed more appropriate for a singer's solo album.

Of the rest of the songs, the introduction of Final Eyes is interesting, with the voice of Anderson and the acoustic guitars of Rabin, and of the others (Big Generator, Almost Like Love and I'm Running), except for some isolated flashes, they don´t add much value to the album.

Big Generator is a correct job that has more to do with hard rock than with the progressive world.

Report this review (#2408754)
Posted Monday, June 1, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of the albums which the hardcore fans tend to dislike, and it's not hard to see why. There are many pop elements and even bits that sound like they had the record company on their back for a commercial hit. However there is plenty to recommend this album. There are some truly fantastic pieces, and as with all the Rabin led Yes music there is playing which in my opinion always surpasses the Howe material. 'I'm Running' is one of the most under rated songs they have done with the fantastic vocal harmony section towards the end, whilst 'Rhythm of Love' is in the 'Yes go pop' mould that began on 90125. Shoot High is wonderful, once you accept that this is not Relayer or CTTE. Even when they are at their most AOR sound they still manage to throw prog elements in to surprise (i.e. 'flying out the soft machine' bridge in Big Generator) My personal opinion, not shared by some Yes fans is that the band play so much more dynamically under the Rabin line up, and I think everyone ups their game. Watch the live videos of Howe Yes and Rabin Yes and tell me which ones the other band members smile more in. As I said, not for everyone with some very 80s production going on but containing some great moments.
Report this review (#2448278)
Posted Thursday, September 17, 2020 | Review Permalink
3 stars Review #54

"90125" carried to the next level!

With this album YES continued with the pop sound they played in "90125" but in here they explored a most interesting style of music with a little more experimentation that took their music a couple of steps closer to a Neo-Prog style in the vein of IQ and MARILLION (just give a listen to "Shoot high, aim low") without losing the catchy form of the previous album. Trevor RAVIN's guitar lines are very fresh with intense riffs and solos. Tony KAYE's keyboards give the album a very nice touch and Chris SQUIRE's punchy bass lines keep the album jumpy and interesting.

When "The rhythm of love" is starting, the little flute arrangement reminds me a lot of a CHAC MOOL's song called "Aymara", but I don't believe that a British band would copy a Mexican band so I guess it's just a coincidence.

In general, the album is very enjoyable.

SONG RATING: Rhythm of love, 4 Big generator, 3 Shoot high, aim low, 4 Almost like love, 3 Love will find a way, 3 Final eyes, 3 I'm running, 3 Holy lamb, 3




Report this review (#2482165)
Posted Thursday, December 3, 2020 | Review Permalink
2 stars The twelfth album by YES, with the same line up as the previous '90125' album. Well, if ever we can accept the band's musical transformation to fit better to 80's music trend, probably we can still find good moments here.

Trevor Rabin guitar works dominate this album with strong rock-feel sound and riffs, although in some tracks, those are a little bit cheesy. I like his guitar work in 'Shoot High, Aim Low' (both acoustic and electric). The remaining YES' past artistic values is perhaps the vocal harmony, in which Trevor Rabin also fits very well with the band customary way of singing.

The intro, first verse and end sections of 'Final Eyes' has pleasant vibes of the band past music. 'I'm Running' is a unique track with a bit of Latin flavour. I like these 2 tracks as they have elements that also remind me to the music of ABWH.

'Love Will Find a Way' is a nice pop-rock track however quite strange to come from a band like YES. This track has catchy phrases and riffs, and enjoys a commercial success as single.

It is quite fair to compare this album with those of more or less the same period and line up. The '90125' and 'Union' are to me, has a stronger concept and overall better musical creativity.

Report this review (#2497315)
Posted Tuesday, January 26, 2021 | Review Permalink
3 stars Big Generator is the twelfth studio album by English band Yes. Its the third and last album by the band that released in the 80s. Which is the era in which the appreciation for their music went down. Mainly because its less progressive and tries more to fit in with the era, and you can definitely hear it on this record, but it still sounds like Yes most of the time. For what it is its not a bad record. I personally enjoyed it. But when compared to other albums by the band its lacking in musicianship and memorable songs. I will rate it a 3/5.
Report this review (#2526193)
Posted Thursday, March 18, 2021 | Review Permalink
3 stars Review - #19 (Yes - Big Generator)

Big Generator is the twelfth studio album by Yes which was released in September of 1987 by Atco Records. After completing a worldwide tour in support of their previous album, 90125, the band began working on their upcoming album, Big Generator. The band's previous album saw them change directions towards a more pop-oriented and commercially accessible sound when compared to their previous progressive works. That change in sound only continues on this album. Big Generator has been said to not have been an easy album to make; recording began at Carimate, Italy, but internal and creative differences resulted in production to resume in London. Trevor Rabin has said this remains to be one of the most difficult albums he has ever made due to the creative differences he had with vocalist Jon Anderson about the direction the band was moving in. Eventually, the album was completed in Los Angeles in 1987 by Trevor Rabin and producer Paul DeVilliers after Trevor Horn left as the role of producer. Big Generator received several mixed reviews from music critics when it was released, and the album reached number 15 on the Billboard 200 and number 17 on the UK Albums Chart. In April of 1988, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling one million copies in the US. Similar to 90125, the album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Group with Vocal. The line-up on the album is exactly the same as 90125, it contains Jon Anderson on vocals, Alan White on drums, Trevor Rabin on guitar, Tony Kaye on keyboards, and Chris Squire on bass. This album featured more contributions from the entire band when compared to 90125 such as keyboardist Tony Kaye having an influential role in writing numerous tracks. However, releasing three years after 90125 this album does not reach the same heights as its predecessor. Nevertheless, there are some truly brilliant moments found here which are mainly discovered on repeat listens.

The album opens with Rhythm of Love which commences some interesting vocal harmonies. Not too long after, the song shifts into a more straightforward pop-inspired track. While still nice, it doesn't go too far beyond that. Rhythm of Love contains some solid vocals and a driving rhythm section in addition to some pleasant keyboards from Tony Kaye. The next track, Big Generator, is one of the weaker moments found on the album. I wonder why they chose to name the album after one of the weaker tracks? I guess titles like Holy Lamb or I'm Running don't roll off the tongue as well. This is one of the album's three tracks credited to the whole group. It developed from a riff by Chris Squire and Trevor Rabin, originating from a specific tuning Squire had on his 5-string bass which helped to create the song, which involved contributions from Alan White on drums. Besides the uninspiring chorus, there are actually a few nice moments uncovered on this track. The transition found at the three minute and eighteen second mark is something I always happened to appreciate. In addition, the enchanting vocal harmony at the three minute and fifty five second mark is very interesting. However, it doesn't go on for nearly as long as I would have hoped. Shoot High, Aim Low is up next and practically clocks in at seven minutes. It is the second group composed track and was one of the songs recorded in Carimate. It features reverb that was captured naturally around a castle's acoustics, rather than reverb added electronically in the studio. Both Trevor Rabin and Jon Anderson complement each other incredibly well with this exceptionally tranquil track (in the good sense of the word). Alan White's drumming is sparse yet impactful. This also contains a few progressive rock tendencies and is an impressive moment on the album. Definitely the best found on side one of the album. Almost Like Love begins with a high-energy instrumental section with nice keyboards coming from Tony Kaye. However, it soon deteriorates when Jon Anderson's vocals are introduced that are Almost Like Rap. The instrumental sections have always been enjoyable as every musician is undeniable skilled in their own right, but it always feels as if the band needs to take a breather during this song. Trevor Rabin once said that the track did not quite work as well as he wanted and in the end, he wished it was not included on the album.

Love Will Find A Way begins side two and is solely credited to Trevor Rabin. He had initially worked on the music and lyrics with singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks and was close to recording it with her. However, Alan White heard the song and suggested Yes record it for Big Generator. This is a terrific pop-influenced track that takes the listener on a journey back to the 80s. I truly feel like this could have been an even bigger hit then it already was. It begins with strings and eventually transfers to Trevor Rabin playing a riff on his guitar. The melodies are exceptionally catchy and contain wonderful vocals from Trevor Rabin. Not to mention, Trevor Rabin's guitar throughout is somewhat straightforward but fits perfectly. Final Eyes is yet another lengthier track that nearly reaches the six and a half minute mark. Trevor Rabin has stated that he enjoyed working on the production and arrangement for this track, but deemed it a remarkably challenging song to make due to the numerous changes found throughout. The vocal harmonies are actually fairly beautiful while Tony Kaye's keyboard work is simple yet brilliant which adds a bright atmosphere to the track. Final Eyes is without a doubt one of the highlights of the album in addition to the upcoming track, I'm Running. I'm Running begins with a Caribbean style arrangement that is full of energy. It is the last of three group-written pieces and contains numerous transitions into very diverse arrangements. In addition, the track goes past the seven and a half minute mark which makes it the longest piece on the album. After the five minute and twenty second mark the music presented is truly up the par with anything Yes made in the seventies. The arrangements are complex and without a doubt progressive with a breathtaking vocal buildup near the end. Unquestionably the highlight of the album! The last track, Holy Lamb, is a terrific closer. Jon Anderson's vocals are beautiful as ever and still give me the same stunning impression as when I first heard it years ago. In addition, Trevor Rabin provides some wonderful guitar playing which builds up especially near the end. I sincerely wish they would have extended this song which fades out right when it's getting good. However, it does seem to be a bit out of place on an album which feels so eighties throughout. Nevertheless, it is a solid track which ends the album wonderfully.

Big Generator is an overall solid Yes album that seems to be overly criticized due to its considerable eighties sound. However, the somewhat mediocre side one brings down the album from receiving anything higher than good, but non- essential. There are several superb moments found all through the album, but they are interspersed with moments of questionable quality. A mixed bag, but still recommended for any Yes fan who enjoyed their previous album. "There, in the heart of millions!"

Report this review (#2545079)
Posted Sunday, May 23, 2021 | Review Permalink
4 stars What is one of the great powers of music and art?--the stimulation of memory. Roughly contemporaneous with the 1987 release of Big Generator was the October 19, 1987, Stock Market Crash. In one day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 508 points, 22.6% of its value . . . . There are some among the membership of who consider Big Generator (and the earlier 90125) on the level of that dark day in October of 1987. A review of Big Generator these years later can reveal quite the contrary.

I'd like to assert that Big Generator's eight songs move through a variety of Progressive Sub-genres:

Symphonic Prog: "Shoot High, Aim Low"; "I'm Running"; "Final Eyes"

Progressive Metal/Psychedelic/Space Rock: "Big Generator"

Crossover Prog: "Rhythm of Love," "Love Will Find a Way"; "It's Almost Like Love"

Prog Folk: "Holy Lamb"

It would appear that, although a product of four laborious years in studios in three different countries, Big Generator is a "group effort," born of an ample supply of internal dissent. If one watches the 1991 video interviews with the eight members of the touring version of Union, Chris Squire states Alan White and he basically played their rhythm section parts over four years. The recording process began in Italy, with Trevor Horn again the producer. Yet, this time, Trevor Horn left and Tony Kaye remained . . . . The recordings moved to London, and then to Los Angeles, where the entire project received the final production approval from Trevor Rabin.

Jon Anderson had more expansive musical designs focusing on Trevor Rabin's diverse compositional and instrumental prowess, something that might hearken back to the Seventies. But these designs would have to wait until the end of the Big Generator tour in 1988, and Anderson's departure: the occasion for Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe.

And, yet, on Big Generator there are "microcosms" of the Seventies' "expansive musical designs": "Shoot High, Aim Low," "I'm Running" and "Final Eyes." In "Shoot High, Aim Low," Squire and White deliver a rhythm section suggestive of the paradoxical title of the song. Anderson and Rabin share the lead vocals, narrating this "mind-numbing" Nicaraguan quest. On the keyboards, Tony Kaye provides the song's "backbone."

To a degree, "I'm Running" further evokes the band's previous larger scale works. The music, especially Squire's bass, has mesmerized me since 1987. To me, the keyboards are the result of something of a "committee" consisting of Kaye and Rabin. With his well-known voice, Anderson sings, "A simple peace/ Just can't be found." That is the nature of the Human Condition. To paraphrase the Buddha, "all existence is sorrow; the cause of this sorrow is desire . . . ." And, yet, every day, we desire. The song incessantly lays bare our daily struggle for transcendence. This pursuit may be grounded in the natural as suggested by the opening appeal to the jacaranda bush or tree. Jacaranda is cosmopolitan, and can be found in tropical and sub-tropical regions from Southern California to Brazil to South Africa. So, whatever the goal towards which humanity runs, it begins with nature.

But is this ultimate goal synonymous with Nature or based upon a reality that begins with the "stuff of the Universe," and is informed by the One and All? We are propelled by desire:

I've heard the thunder Underground Tunneling away At the very soul of man

The key is what choice we make regarding the nature of our desire:

See through science Part of a back door A door made up of doors To an endless time To a new world

This leads us to "Holy Lamb" and its assertion, "And all we need to know/ Is that the future is a friend of yours and mine." With the realities of global warming, Covid-19, the world's stockpile of thermonuclear weapons, political/economic instability, and world hunger, the Holy Lamb is "the one to lead us to the New Jerusalem." Without reference to "the One and All," humanity hurdles on an ominous track.

If I may, I'd like to differ with Trevor Rabin on his dislike for "It's Almost Like Love." It appears to me that Kaye's keyboard lines constitute the structure of this song with the rhythm section of White and Squire. Rabin's guitar hardly illustrates any disapproval of the proceedings. And, here, the lyrics demonstrate a somewhat more grounded idealism than those of "Holy Lamb." The presence of the horn section only accentuates Kaye's Hammond Organ.

Big Generator surpasses its predecessor in being more of a group effort. Somehow, though, this did not satisfy "Maestro Anderson" (what Bill Bruford later in the pre-Union tour tape I mention above would call him). In the 34 years since Big Generator's release we have witnessed a "truly perpetual change" of what we have called "Yes." Might I suggest that a fine manifestation of this change would be something of a renewal of that relationship in 1973 that led to the lyrics to Tales from Topographic Oceans?"

Report this review (#2654102)
Posted Monday, December 20, 2021 | Review Permalink

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