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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
1 stars ... and close your ears. How could they have made such a crappy album after the two Keys To Ascenscion albums? There is absolutely nothing on this album to please the classic Yes fan and even the most complacent ones will have a hard time dealing with this one. I believe this album to be even worse than the 80's albums , were they had to adapt to survive, but here they had no such excuses!

Easy , this was supposed to be a Squire solo album with a Vegas Kid and it got transformed into this horrendous album. At least the tour that they did in Europe was , however a five star , as they did just the title track of this one and Owner and Big Generator and the rest was simply the classic stuff.

Report this review (#13931)
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars While "Open Your Eyes" is certainly one of the weaker Yes albums, its sunny harmonies and positive vibes make it worth a listen.

"New State of Mind" is a thundering opener with a big chorus. "Fortune Seller" has a terrific hook and enough lead guitar and keyboard solos to satisfy. "From the Balcony" is a delicate, moving ballad featuring singer Jon Anderson and guitarist Steve Howe.

However, the dramatic musicianship and serendipitous song structures that made this band famous in the early 1970s are nowhere to be found.

The fact is this didn't start out as a Yes album at all. It started as a solo album for bass player Chris Squire with some assistance from Billy Sherwood. Needing "product" to promote on tour, the other band members sent in some bits by Fed Ex and they quickly slapped the "Yes" moniker on it. Anderson and Howe have since practically disowned the album.

"Open Your Eyes" is one of the least recommended of Yes albums. But it has enough sunny harmonies and good vibes to warrant adding to your collection.

Report this review (#13954)
Posted Thursday, June 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
1 stars The only really "bad" Yes album of their career. The technical playing of the brilliant musicians is the only reason for I give one star, but the song ideas are poor 'til average. This album sounds like a bad "Talk" copy (best album with Travor Rabin on guitar) and should be forgotten soon in the big Yes-backcatalogue. For a band, which is alive since over 30 years and made a lot of classic records, it's not so bad when they lost some creative ideas someday. But the follow-up "The Ladder" was a big step forward to old strength, so there's no time to argue!
Report this review (#13939)
Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Either through contractual obligation or simply lack of time to work up new material, the decision was made to take material slated for an upcoming "Conspiracy" release by Squire and Sherwood, and mix in contributions by Anderson and Howe over the top. Thus giving it enough of a "Yes" sound to slap the "Yes" moniker on it. Fans of the classic Yes, and evenTrevor Rabin era Yes will certainly feel shortchanged. With far too little guitar work from Howe, and no real keyboard presence to speak of, this work lacks many of the hallmarks that have made Yes such a great band. Having said that, "Open Your Eyes" is not all that bad. Squire's bass and vocal work are both in good form here. The title track is the best of the bunch. Overall, this recording is far from earning an "essential" rating, and more suited for the ardent Yes fan and collector.
Report this review (#13940)
Posted Thursday, September 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album has some good songs, despite it doesn`t sound like Yes in some parts. After helping Yes to record this album for contractual reasons (new management/new label) with most of the songs originally destined for a Squire/Sherwood album, I think that Yes felt obliged to include Sherwood in the line-up, but his role in the band was problematic for Howe particularly, who really didn´t want another guitarist in Yes.Sherwood is on guitars for most of the time, also adding keyboards. But this album is more pop rock oriented. The recording and mixing of this album are very good. The best songs in my opinion are:"New State of Mind", "Open your eyes", "No way we can lose" (with Howe`s "country guitar solo"),"Somehow, someday" (with very good acoustic guitars) and "The solution" (with the last two being the best of all, in my opinion). Igor Khoroshev added some keyboards in two songs and joined Yes as tour keyboard player. The tour for this album was the first time I saw Yes in concert in my country, and they only played "Open your eyes" from this album. In late 1997 (after Christmas), I went to a record shop, and I saw the "Keys to Ascension 2" and "Open Your Eyes" CDs, but I chose to buy "Keys to Ascension 2" instead, buying "Open Your Eyes" some weeks later.
Report this review (#13941)
Posted Friday, September 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes, I like the Yes, and I cannot help giving 5 stars to every their work. And it is the same with this album. It is close to my heart, I understand this music. Yes have always been clear, direct, umabiguous, with no obscurities, no haze in expression; with only pure musical mastership. And it is here again. Strong melodies, revolutionary ways of singing, warm and profound lyrics. And again, original and unique. By the way, did you ever listen to it till the very end? I feel pity for people arguing about what is the real YES and was i not. Their music is like a river running through marvelous countrysides, always different, still the same. Enjoy the river, and do not lose the pleasure of listening to its deep songs.
Report this review (#13946)
Posted Sunday, January 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars I really try to never give zero star reviews, but this is one of those few albums that really deserves it--and I'm a huge Yes fan that has every Yes album! This is simply terrible. It's not Yes in any way, shape, or form. Even Yes during their "pop" phase kept interesting playing and a prog tune or two on each album. This actually sounds more like a Billy Sherwood solo album with Jon Anderson singing than a Yes album. This disc will certainly appeal more to the people that like Yes for "90125" and "Big Generator," although both of those albums have both better songs and better progressive songs.The opener is a nice rock tune, but after that the album just goes track after track after track of uninspired music. There are few good melodies, little quality playing, and really no reason to give this CD the hour's worth of your life to listen to. Buy any other Yes album, but leave this one far behind.
Report this review (#13949)
Posted Thursday, February 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Though TREVOR RABIN is no longer in the band, YES continues to produce material which doesn't match my tastes. It's irritating, that the band which did so fine classic progressive material, has chosen to do this basic pop/rock stuff. The overwhelming new age joy and catchy gospel melodies are not my cup of tea!
Report this review (#13951)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars FURTHERMORE: Listen to "The Solution". Early on, I tended to pass over it because it starts out with rather dreary voices, but when the "prog machine" starts, it is transformed into as intense and edgy a piece as anything in in Yes's best, Relayer and easily expandable to 20 minutes. All right, the 20 minute+ New Age section at the end is a little over the top but even that can entertaining if you have the time.
Report this review (#35409)
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars This album is the pits of the earth. It's definitely not Prog & it's the lowest form of rock. What's even more appalling is the fact that Yes possess musicians of such high quality. If musicians of any standard try to do Pop music they normally come a cropper. For me the title track is a rip-off of Asias Open Your Eyes of I think 1983. If these Guys make a deserved living out of unique why do they then take the pea with this drivel. Talking about selling your own Mum for Ł5. They did it & it's unforgivable.
Report this review (#13956)
Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Their last stab at commercial success, a cynical and weak effort that makes the Rabin years look like pure art for art's sake. The title track actually is appealing power pop with nice vocal harmonies and a strong bass line, but most of the rest of the album is dreck. Embarassing stuff, and really disappointing seeing as how it came on the heels of the encouraging "Keys to Ascension" material. That made it look like classic Yes was back, but Wakeman split and Squire's club-buddy Sherwood came in as a cheap Rabin knock-off. Squire's desire to be "hip" and commercially relevant betrays the Yes ethos.
Report this review (#40501)
Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars It is funny how I always seem to like the Yes albums that most people do not. Like every album they have produced there are some tracks that I generally skip on playback, but "Open Your Eyes" always lifts my spirit when I hear it. "Fortune Seller", Howe can you argue with that? Give it a listen, it will lighten your day.
Report this review (#42679)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is not an easy album. But if someone advice me to give this album the time to sink in, I will say thanks but no thanks. I did try to spin the disc time and time again to which there were no positive results. I give up.

Being the first full studio album after guitarist Steve Howe rejoined the band, this album does not meet the high expectation of dedicated fans -- well, at least me. True, there are intriguing, tasty songs such as the title track, which successfully blends the classic (1970s) and the new (1980s) Yes style, or another highlights such as "Universal Garden" and "Wonderlove". But, on the other hand, there are more weak songs than the fine one, including "No Way We Can Lose" and "Man on the Moon".

While it appears that the weak materials tend to drive out the fine, this is still far from being a disastrous effort. This is true only if we try to imagine that the fine materials are released as a different album.

Report this review (#43425)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars When I first heard this album, I wasn't particularly interested in it. I was willing to accept the general consensus that this album was one of their weaker ones.

However, looking at the song list, I'm inclined to believe that this is in fact one of their better albums. Sure, it's not Close to the Edge, and it's not epic - but it DOES have an excellent selection of catchy tunes, and interesting themes. This album has so much energy, it's a pleasure to listen to. The first two songs, New State of Mind and Open Your Eyes, are interesting to listen to: and besides, just like 90215, they make Yes a more mainstream band; hopefully, so everyone can appreciate them. No Way We Can Lose is a nice little song, too; the lyrics are a bit sickly - talking about resolving differences - but that doesn't detract from the decent quality of the tune. The Solution is a waste of time, though, with 5 minutes of singing, and 18 minutes of birds singling, in the style of Close to the Edge.

Fortune Seller is also brilliant, having a good harmonisation of vocals/backing vocals. It's not always immediate, but this song is defitely one that will grow on you. Man in the Moon has been considered trite, but it's still an enjoyable song, if not a little pop-esque.

Other than that, there are no serious problems - the only fair complaint would be that Yes are selling out: although personally, I believe that Yes's music change is hardly a sell out - indeed, there are many parallels that can be drawn from this album, and their earlier ones. It has the same enthusiasm, but just with more energy.

Report this review (#51956)
Posted Sunday, October 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars HEY!!! DAMN! I hate this! Why people are always telling that YES work's are bad when they do not create PROGRESSIVE album. HEY!!! WHO WILL SAY THAT THE BEATLES ARE LOOSER BECAUSE THEY DID NOT PLAY PREGRESSIF MUSIC IN THEIR BEGINNING??? OK OK!!! Open your eyes is REALLY NOT a progressive album. THAN? It can be very nice too! It is the same thing for Big Generator: «Bla bla bla, I cannot believe that they do such a crappy album like this, bla bla bla etc etc ETC ». HEY WAKE UP GUYS!!! It doesn't only existing prog music on earth! Groups can try and do a different kind of music then what they do normaly, and that does not means that it is bad for more!!! Open your eyes is a simple and honest rock album. It is sweet and you feel glad when you REALLY listen to it. All of you seem to forgot that this album ISN'T THE SAME KIND OF MUSIC THEN THAT MUSIC THAT YES DID WITH CLOSE TO THE EDGE!!! Surely, close to the edge is thousand time better, BUT CLOSE TO THE EDGE IS VERY, BUT VEEEEEEEEEEERY DIFFERENT!!!! Listen to close to the edge with your girlfriend, after, LISTEN TO OPEN YOUR EYES!!! You'll find probably Open your eyes a little more beautyful then before, and probably that Close to the edge will seem a little bit worst. Why? Because, for some, a atmosphere is require to understand it. What I realise is people don't seem to look for good music. It seems that they try to find music that is going with a category of music, with a style that they judge good for them. They look if it sound good without trying to understand it as it is suppose to be understand.... I talk to those who are judging all the non-progressif YES album's (Big Generator, Union, Open your Eyes : except 90125, and probably Talk, I must listen to it again) For those who are acting like this.... You really do not understand what music is.

I cannot give more that 3 stars because, this is not a progressif album, but if it was different, I would give it a 4 stars.

PS: I speak french, sorry if it is hard to understand what I want to say and to mean. Well, you just have to know that I am hungry against people who judge easely.

Report this review (#69115)
Posted Sunday, February 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars I may be one of the few Yes fans who feels this album is an improvement over Talk, Big Generator, and probably even Union. Sure, the arrangements are still well into pop territory, and the lyrics are pretty shallow for the most part. But at least Trevor Rabin is gone and Steve Howe is back.

I guess the band felt like they had to throw Billy Sherwood a bone and add him to the lineup too, which gives the album a little heavier guitar feel since Sherwood really can't compare to Rick Wakeman or even Tony Kaye on keyboards. And I'm not talking about his talent specifically, but more his style, which is pure pop, something Wakeman never attempted and Kaye never perfected (to his credit).

By the late 90's I really wasn't paying attention to Yes anymore, and judging from their album sales not too many other people were either. Other than a casual interest in Keys to Ascension˛, I hadn't really listened to any of the band's new stuff in quite a while (I picked Open Your Eyes up only a couple of years ago). Maybe that helped me to evaluate it in the context of the band's history instead of the context of the mid 90's. I'm quite sure I would have hated this album ten years ago, especially after I read that this started out as a Wakeman solo album, very few of which I can spend much time listening to.

Anyway, as I said Howe is back, and the guitar work shows definite signs of improvement. I really liked Rabin live back then, but I have to say that he was always leaning much closer to pop and radio-friendly rock in the studio than I ever felt was healthy for this band. The album still suffers from a heavy residue of pop-sensibilities though, so few of these songs will ever rank among my favorites. Still, it's not all that bad of an album.

The opening "New State of Mind" sets an upbeat tone that lasts the entire album, and probably makes the music more palatable even when it sometimes borders on boring. Howe adds a bit of mandolin here and elsewhere, an instrument that for some reason always makes me smile. The three or four-part harmonies are pleasant enough, but overall the arrangement seems to be a bit aimless.

The title track sounds remarkably like an Asia tune, and the emphasis on Anderson's Sybil-like two-register vocals is surprisingly well done. This is a tune that would have been considered a very good effort by most bands of this era, but for Yes it comes off as decent but a bit uninspired.

You have to like any track that includes the phrase "cosmic tapestry" in its lyrics and was written after 1975. "Universal Garden" opens with some very nice acoustic guitar and spacey keyboards from Howe and Sherwood, including some synthesized strings that set a nostalgic and mellow tone. In fact, a good portion of this album seems to suggest Anderson (and probably Squire) are coming out of a tunnel (represented by the 80's and The Trevor Rabin Experiment®©T), and are at least attempting to rediscover themselves. They just don't quite get there. Howe has some very decent guitar work here and throughout the album, but the production has several minor gaffs that the band seems to be in too much of a hurry to correct. This is one of those tracks.

On "No Way We Can Lose" there are several more of these production glitches, with several spots sounding like overdubbed keyboards and guitars were just 'dropped in' in post-production. Otherwise this song is kind of a hippy-days throwback, with more pleasantly cheesy lyrics like "we will free ourselves from the chains that bind" and "if we can all find a way to resolve our differences, there's no way we can lose". Well, we can only hope at least..

Howe gets a bit funky on "Fortune Seller" with a sound I really like, but admit would have been more appropriate for one of his solo albums. I've played this song over and over trying to figure out what it is I really don't like about it, and have concluded it's the vocals. Anderson's voice is heavily echoed here, and it's really a distraction from what would probably have been a much better song if it had been an instrumental.

"Man in the Moon" sounds like some kind of weird goth nursery rhyme written for a Tim Burton film. Just a goofy tune.

The mandolin makes a return on "Wonderlove". The lyrics are again pretty cheesy; some catchy guitar although not all that complex or challenging; an awkward thumpy drumbeat that sounds like something an art school student would have done... by God, this sounds like the Police! Go figure.

I've actually heard "From the Balcony" somewhere before - a movie soundtrack or a video game or maybe a Friends rerun, not really sure. Howe goes acoustic again and Anderson's voice is only slightly echoed this time for a really mellow, 'miss-my-gal' (or some sort of significant other) kind of tune. Pretty average stuff.

Ha-ha! Anderson dredges up an old outtake duet with George Harrison from his Cloud Nine album with "Love Shine"! Not really, but it sure sounds like that. This is actually not too bad of a song, but again it leans very heavily into pop territory, and there are several mixing glitches here that are a bit distracting.

"Somehow, Someday" sounds like Ye Olde English Drinking Song dressed up with the kind of slightly pompous treatment that only Squire and Anderson can pull off. Not much more to say about this one.

I don't know what the band was going for with "The Solution", but it comes off as just a bunch of leftover cutting-room floor scraps all stuck together with moody nature music backing it all up. Strange, but I have managed to put myself to sleep a couple of nights playing the last twenty minutes of this thing.

All in all not a bad album, certainly shows a greater display of pure talent than Talk or Big Generator. But not very memorable either. In 1997 I would have easily given this thing one star and considered myself generous, but today I'll go for 2.6 considering Anderson's voice is quite strong, I really like Howe's guitar work when he isn't doing solo albums, and the nostalgic and rather upbeat overall tone makes it difficult to be too hard on the guys. Not exactly a classic, but not complete crap either. A nice completion piece.


Report this review (#90192)
Posted Monday, September 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
Crossover Team
2 stars Open Your Eyes is not at all a bad album, but to YES standards, it is their weakest efforts. The music seems faint and lacks energy, I think this is the main problem. Another problem is that the music is pretty forgettable; honestly, you can't remember much after a listen, no song really draws the attention of the listener (and mine), as much as one listens to the album. The songs are correctly played and sung but the music seems to be going nowhere and seems plain; I cannot even select a song as a highlight, as best song.

I'm not overpretentious or expect only masterpieces from my favourite bands; I enjoy 90125, Big Generator, Talk and Union, but I cannot say the same thing about Open Your Eyes. I can live without this album. All these being said, my conclusion is avoid this album. I never thought I would say that about a YES album.

Report this review (#93339)
Posted Wednesday, October 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars For more than fifteen years, classic YesFans have been suffering like hell with the Yes production (last great album IMO was "Going For The One" in 77. There were some hopes after what Yes delivered in both Keys albums (a total of approximately seventy-five minutes of new studio works, with long epic songs like in the good old days). Line-up is also quite bizarre : a guitar duo (???) and half a keyboardist (exit Wakeman again). The offical Yes website mentions though that Igor Khoroshev plays on "New State Of Mind", "No Way We Can Lose" and "Fortune Seller". What is obvious before listening to this album, is that there is no talk about epics : the longest track peaks at 6'16". So, shall we have another nightware (like "Big Generator", "Union" or "Talk") as we were used to ?

The answer is more yes than no. Yes, because this album is far from being brilliant. But no, because at times one has the illusion to listen to the GoodYes (not very often though). "New State Of Mind" opens this effort. This is quite a good overview of what to expect : vocals sound horrible (!) at times, nice at others. The sound is rather AOR oriented during most of it. During brief moments, it seems that we are listening to the Yes of the seventies. What happened again ? "Open Your Eyes" is a poppy and catchy song. The best here (I really cannot talk about highlight). "Universal Garden" is a melodious song. Starts with acoustic work and turns into a nice YesTune. Not complex in structure. At times AOR but still Ok. "No Way To Lose" is a weak track. Most of the times awful, at time not bad ! How is this possible ? "Fortune Teller" and "Man In The Moon" are really poor. The weakest tracks so far. "Wonderlove" is a nice YesBallad in its first part, then rocks quite a bit. Vocals are great (finally) ! "From The Balcony" is an acoustic insipid song. Real bad. They should have made this one all instrumental. At least we could have listen to Steve good acoustic guitar part. "Love Shine" is dreadful. Boring AOR. We go on with the crappy stuff with "Somehow, Someday". The last track of this release (I survived the effort to listen to it from start to finish !) "The Solution" is on par. Very poor.

The first thing that comes to my mind is that without Trevor the AOR influence is still there. So, he was not the only one to push for this (maybe Jon, since "Talk" is mostly a combined effort between them) ? Or Chris ? What's for sure is that it is not Steve's fault. I can't tell whether or not Alan had enough influence in the band to influence their music to such an extend (but my guess is no). So, Chris or Jon ?

The second one is that Yes NEVER produced such crap with Rick (although he is not always brilliant in his solo career).

There is even a limited edition with surround sound that will coincidate with the launch of the tour (also using surround technology).

Regarding the "Open Your Eyes" tour, the band had severe problems to come up with the setlist for it. Figure out : Anderson is opposed to "Drama" material but in favour of "Mind Drive" together with Steve (but others don't). "Yours Is No Disgrace will be a common choice for replacement ! Squire is against any ABHW tracks although Jon is in favour ! etc. It will be their most intensive tour (with 147 shows) since the supporting tour for ... "The Yes Album" in 1970 - 1971 (with 164 dates). As a "teaser" for the audience, an "Open Your Eyes Ambiance Track" will be played before the show : it is a compilation of about twenty-five minutes of the album "Open Your Eyes". What a great start ! I'm afraid we are back with the lowest rating. One star.

Report this review (#106459)
Posted Sunday, January 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars (Two and a half stars, really)

I think every band who'se been in it a while eventually gets around to making an album like this one. A more relaxed, simpler affair that's done purely for the joy of playing music, that shows the band's influences more clearly, both classic (Beatles) and modern (grunge), that defies the pressure of creating up to the expectations of others and ignores the pressure from fans, lables and critics, and simply is whatever it is. Queensryche's "Hear in the Now Frontier" is another good example, and was similarly panned, but in the case of albums like these, I don't think the bands really care so much about how these albums are recieved. These are created in a more relaxed sense, seeming almost a reconnecting of the band to their love of playing and creating music. And it is easy to pan this kind of album if you bring to it that very sense of expectation to "perform" up to the standards of past releases, rather than simply going along for the ride, as the music gently suggests.

To me, the Yes magic finally returns here for the first time since fizzling out on "Tormato", only glimmering faintly through on "Union" and missing from pretty much everything else. (omitting the "Keys" tracks) Albeit in a distilled, very simplified form. The songs here are still short and basic in construction. In fact, a fair amount of this album is astoundingly boring! But it does at least finally sound like Yes again, and don't be fooled. There are some truely enjoyable moments on this album.

The first four tracks start things on a high note, as all of them are good, if of course not on par with the classics in several ways, though again, for me this album mostly defies those kinds of comparisons. The title track "Open Your Eyes" and the pleasantly ambling (if overproduced) "No Way we can Lose" in particular really shine, and if the rest of the album were as good, it would deserve no less than a three and a half star rating. Listen to those, and if you can enjoy them, you'll probably find a fair amount to enjoy on this album. It does sound like Yes, the alchemy has finally returned, but the problem is that a lot of these songs, "Wonderlove" and "Somehow, Someday" in particular, just tend to meander aimlessly, even limply along the Yes sonic landscape, not reaching, or even trying for the magnificent, exhilirated heights of their classic, much more challenging and engaging work. Worse, the strong start of "Open Your Eyes" tends to even more acutely draw your attention to the lacklustre quality of the later tracks.

I tend to think of this album as a suppliment to their better work. If you're in danger of completely wearing yourself out on their classic greats and the other notable releases after years of repeated listenings, it's safe to kind of beat this one to death by throwing "Open Your Eyes" into the player and passively listening to it whenever you cant commit attention to their better work. This album is definitely geared for passive, rather than active listening and does have a definite "backdrop" quality to it, and can be truely enjoyable if approached in that way.

Report this review (#110082)
Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars The worst Yes album ever!

This album is an almost complete disaster. In 1996/1997 Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood, a close friend of his, started doing some songwriting together, for what was supposed to be an album featuring only the two of them. Then, the label heard some songs and said "Why don't you do it with the band?". The recording industry had already destroyed the interesting ABWH, transforming it into the Union formation, that created a horrible album. And here, once again, they manage to do a poor album, that hardly ever sounds like Yes.

The best description of this album is given by Steve Howe, in the Close to the Edge biography of Yes, by Chris Welch. He says that when he was finishing his (great) own album Quantum Guitar together with his son Dylan, he was invited to play on a new Yes album, that was already almost entirely composed, by Chris and Billy. Said he: "So we all said "Yes, we'll do it". So the tracks on Open Your Eyes were basically initiated and put together by Chris and Billy. It's not really Yes music.(...)So before you knew it we had the management saying, "If you make this record quickly you can get on tour and we'll meet the autumn tour schedule" So it was like a hurricane"(...)It's not a fan based record. It's a "Get Yes on the radio" kind of record. (...)Open Your Eyes was a commercial record and Yes shouldn't have done that because they had just done it with Talk".

So this album, just like Talk, is impregnated of something that Steve defined, cleverly, as un-Yes-ness. Lots of pointless choruses, bad melodies, and other stuff you wouldn't expect from real Yes music. The compositions are poor and uninteresting, with most songs not fitting very well Jon's acute voice. Steve Howe's guitar has good moments, like the slide solo you can hear on New State of Mind if you don't pay attention to the noisy main riff that covers it, but his guitar always seems thrown into the songs at the last moment, and it doesn't belong there, properly. Surprisingly, although Chris composed most of the material, his wonderful bass style here has almost nothing to say. Don't expect another Fish out of Water, definitely. The best song is Steve and Jon's only contribution, From the Balcony, a short and beautiful song, although it seems unfinished... Listening to this song is like listening to the first two minutes of And You And I, and stopping there: you feel it is definitely a great piece of music, but it's not a complete musical statement, there's something missing. Probably they had very little time to record it, and couldn't come up with more.

I could give it one star, but I give two, because there are, although miles below their potentials, and covered by layers of un-Yes-ness, the Yes musicians: Steve Howe, Jon Anderson and Chris Squire (I don't even mention Alan, because there's absolutely no difference between what he does here and what a mediocre drummer would do to the same songs. He's so lazy in that album...), and I cannot deem an album with these three guys as absolutely bad.

Report this review (#113209)
Posted Thursday, February 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars 2.6 Stars

Not as bad as most people make it out to be. It is a quite enjoyable set of songs with the classic yes style and a modern sound. This is probably the album that sounds closest to Yes since Tormato, though it still is barely "prog" and sounds quite a bit commercial and overproduced sometimes (mainly the vocal harmonies). I believe that the presence of Steve Howe helps this record sound like Yes, as Rabin's songwriting was focused on pop and hard rock. Speaking of Steve Howe, he elevates Open Your Eyes from a mediocre album to a good one.

The first 3 songs are pretty good. New State of Mind is an effective opener: A song with an interesting and catchy guitar riff and energetic vocal harmonies. The song is slightly overlong and a bit aimless and incoherent, but it mostly enjoyable regardless of those two issues. Open Your Eyes is a decent pop number with some good, if overproduced, vocal harmonies and some good Steve Howe moments. Universal Garden has a great acoustic guitar solo at the beginning, with floating and shimmering synths backing it up in a new-age fashion. While the choruses are slightly irritating with high-note vocal harmonies and a "mind-drive" sound, the verses are quite beautiful and features nice vocal melodies. After the first chorus, there are gorgeous acoustic guitars and synths again, this time even better. The song ends with Steve Howe solos.

The rest of the songs are mostly decent, though a drop of quality after the great "Universal Garden." We have the No Way We Can Lose which is mostly overproduced vocals which are a bit irritating. As always, there is some good guitar playing scattered throughout but it doesn't redeem the mediocrity here. Fortune Seller starts a bit funky and upbeat with the nice rickenbacker bass. Overall an ok happy tune with nice guitar playing and catchy vocals (though they still are overproduced). Man on the Moon is a catchy pop tune with a string riff. Nothing special, but not bad. Wonderlove is a nice yesballad, with many musical details to explore, and vocal harmonies that sound better here than in most of the album, though the song suffers a bit from having a long duration. From The Balcony is just Jon singing and Steve Howe playing nice acoustic guitar. It sounds incomplete as it sounds more like an introduction to a song rather than a song itself. I don't really like the song. Love Shine is easily the worst here: a boring and painful AOR song that is at least as bad as 90125/Big Generator at its worst. The vocal arrangements are pathetic at best and there is no great guitar solo to be found. Somehow, Someday is nothing new as it sounds like a typical average yes song and not much different from the music in this disc.

The Solution is another highlight, with catchy hooks (like the chorus), nice vocal harmonies and good musical arrangements with many many details in the background. The best part is at minute 3, with a beautiful and powerful 3/4 symphonic riff and Steve Howe soloing wildly. I don't know why the solution has about 18 minutes of near-silence with some vocal harmonies featuring familiar melodies popping out every now and then after the song is finished. It's quite pointless, so I skip it.

1. New State of Mind (6/10) 2. Open Your Eyes (5/10) 3. Universal Garden (7.5/10) 4. No Way We Can Lose (3/10) 5. Fortune Seller (5.5/10) 6. Man In The Moon (5/10) 7. Wonderlove (5/10) 8. From The Balcony (3/10) 9. Love Shine (1.5/10) 10. Somehow, Someday (5/10) 11. The Solution (7.5/10)

While I don't really recommend this album, it is not as bad as other yesalbums I have. It has nice musical arrangements most of the time, good guitar playing, the signature yes sound, and some great hooks. I think that Universal Garden and The Solution are some of the best tracks written by Yes during the 80s and 90s.

Report this review (#114129)
Posted Saturday, March 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

I don't know what to make of this!!! Supposedly , YES was back in our hearts,with more new good old YESmusic being composed for years to come!! and then, comes this.....thing!!Rick WAKEMAN has left- again- and is being replaced by a buddy of CHRIS SQUIRE, BILLIE SHERWOOD mainly.....a guitarist. As if STEVE HOWE needs another guitarist behind his back!

I guess YES at this time was between a rock anf a hard place, not knowing exactly what to do next after the KTAs. Maybe these 2 albums didn't sell according to plan , and maybe was not the time to embrace full prog again. So what we have here is a bastardized version of the 2 yes; You can notice that just on the cover; we get rid of (AGAIN) ROGER DEAN artwork, but as good measure, we still keep the classic logo; let's look new and old at the same time.

So Yes go back to a short songs format, in the Tormato style. Try to get something that can be played on radio for all those 90215 old fans, but it never happened! Thanks god!! otherwise we would have gotten ''open your eyes-part2 '' later on. Another thing i thought i would never say before as i always have loved his voice, is how JON ANDERSON is getting on my nerves on this album; First of all, he doesn't stop, leaving no room for the instruments to do something interesting, but again he sings forced trying to deliver too fast, too much; Yes, the ''angel'' can be heard, but only sometimes. When the CD stops, i feel relieved.

Most of the songs i would say are almost unlistenable ! just try ''open your eyes'' or ''man on the moon' or ''fortune seller''. Horrible. A few redeem a little bit the level of the album like ''no way we can lose'', but nothing to go on a best of, or maybe on a best-of of YES crappier songs.

I don't know what STEVE HOWE is doing on this musical titanic, but i guess he had no say as it seems it's more SQUIRE/ANDERSON oriented ( no, not the SQUIRE from Fish out the water',more of the 90215 style'l

Again, we thought that we lost YES, but they will be back in style.

I have to be honest; i like YES, but i can only give a full one star to this one, even the RABIN ones are BETTER than that. 1 star

Report this review (#127262)
Posted Sunday, July 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars Fans of Tormato, rejoice! Here is the album that supplants Tormato as the crappiest album in the Yes cannon. You can tell that Yes didn't bring anything at all to the table when they went into studio for this one. Anderson is raiding his solo work for material and Squire is trotting out a song he wrote ages ago and never bothered to record.

New State of Mind: OK, this song gives you a really good idea of what the sound on this album is going to be like. Choppy, clunky and blocky are adjectives that come to mind. You can sort of compare this song to Future Times off Tormato, except this one is modernized, way overproduced, and Steve's guitar solo is far worse. I don't like this song. I don't like this sound. I don't like this album very much either.

Open Your Eyes: This song is way overproduced too, but at least it's catchy and guitar work from both Steve and Billy is up to snuff this time. It kind of reminds me of "Magnification" off the latest studio album, but not quite as good. Still, this is the high point of the album. From here it goes downhill.

Universal Garden: The only song that catches any of the old Yes spirit at all. Some nice guitar work and spacey keyboards are played here. It's not great, but it won't make you feel like you are wasting your time like the rest of the album.

No Way We Can Lose: Well, you sure aren't going to win anything with this laid back, bluesy number that is completely lacking in any creativity or intelligence. Might as well listen to Jon singing "Hey, hey, hey, it's gonna be ok" over Chris playing syncopated quarter notes monotonously for all of the thought that went into composing this one.

Fortune Seller: This joins Open Your Eyes as the only song that is really worth listening to on the album. Yep, it's overproduced, but this time it's a neat song with some good riffs, a driving bass, some good keyboard work, and nifty vocals. Not a masterpiece, but this deserves to be on a better album than this one.

Man In The Moon: We delve deep into Chris Squire's juvenalia with this song. This one should have stayed lost at the bottom of the trunk or desk drawer where he found it. This one is just STUPID!!!

Wonderlove: This one starts out promising, but quickly devolves. It doesn't know where it is going. Is it a bright pop song? Is it a thoughtful ballad? Is it an anthem? Or is it a muddled trainwreck with some of the stupidest lyrics Jon has ever penned?

From The Balcony: A throwaway song where Jon sings over Steve's acoustic guitar. That the OYE tour featured only this song and OYE off the album ought to tell you something. Oh well, at least this one won't make you retch. The next one might, though.

Loveshine: Unlike Wonderlove, this song knows exactly what it is. It's a bright (but muddled) pop song with more stupid lyrics. Yuck.

Siomehow, Someday: It's pretty bad when you are so hard up for material for Yes to play that you have raid Jon Anderson's solo catalog. But that's what happens here. "O'er," which was a fairly good, simple ballad, gets grafted onto this plodding monstrosity. Oh, the humanity!

The Solution: Not quite as bad as the last one, but the solution is clearly not to buy this album in the first place.

This one gets 1.5 stars, because, as crappy as it is, there are worse albums out there. (Rick Wakeman's Rock and Roll Prophet or Tony Banks's The Fugitive are recommended for people who are curious to see just how bad bad can get.) But, as I could not recommend this one even to fans of Yes, I'll round this down to one star.

Report this review (#127342)
Posted Monday, July 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars In the same year as the amazing Keys to Ascension 2 was released, Yes released another studio album. 1997 saw Yes release a five-star masterpiece and also the worst album of their career. The latter was called Open Your Eyes and you certainly will when listening to this. However, you won't be opening your eyes to enlightenment or even some good music, you'll be opening them in absolute horror as you see a mutated Yes monster spewing forth some of the most atrocious sounds this side of the galaxy. Well... that is an exaggeration. It really is bad though and is probably worst than 90125 and Big Generator, and even Union in some regards. The reason I say that is because there is at least one or two decent enough songs on those albums I can make it all the way through. Open Your Eyes is a CD player skip-fest. Every single song on this album leaves a bad taste in my mouth and a bad sound reverberating around in my brain resulting in headaches every time I try to give it a chance.

You might ask, really? Yes, really. The production is overdone, for a lack of a better word. The vocals and harmonies are mixed too loudly. The guitar mix is so overwhelmed by everything else that I cannot even tell if Steve Howe is on this album sometimes. The keys are horrible. What were they thinking when they let Billy Sherwood perform keyboard duty? Yes isn't Yes without a good keyboard player. The song format is all radio-friendly style, which isn't bad if done correctly. The problem is these are terrible songs, lyrically and musically. One star. Completionists will even cringe at this.

Report this review (#130787)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I think that at the time of its release (1997), OPEN YOUR EYES was the best album output of YES since TORMATO, 19 years before. It was yet another attempt of YES to venture the realm of pop with shorter, simpler structured songs - this time without the (doubtful) aid of Mr. Rabin. Hence, the album is not progressive at all, but most of the songs are well crafted, recognizable YES, and yes, I really do enjoy the CD each time its in my player (although that does not happen too often). Especially, Jon Anderson's voice is great as ever. In my opinion, OPEN YOUR EYES is way more credible than their convulsive attempts on epics on KEYS I and II. I even don't start to compare OPEN YOUR EYES to the really bad albums with Rabin (including UNION), which for me undoubtedly are the true low points in the bands discography so far.

3 Stars.

Report this review (#131005)
Posted Tuesday, July 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars Oh lord, I thought Big Generator was bad. After many promises of a return to the epic sound of old, Yes released Open Your Eyes, which proceeded to ignore those promises. Wakeman quit once again in a manner that calls to mind the childish lineup antics of Deep Purple. He was replaced by the very talented Billy Sherwood. Only problem, he played more guitar than keyboards. Why? You have Steve Howe, Chris. Don't make your buddy play second fiddle to one of prog greatest axe-slingers. Let him play the keyboards like he should.

What you get is a return to the AOR sound of the 80s, with some truly horrid vocals from Anderson, complete with dull composition. I think the band lost their keys to ascension. The opener is the only song that does not make me want to carve out my eardrums. It only makes me want to run headfirst into a wall. Big Generator at least has moments of tolerable music.

I first heard this album when I was driving. Luckily, I did not have to drive over any bridges, because I might have swerved hard to the right in an attempt to escape the pain, and then I wouldn't be here today writing this cautionary review. The album is called Open Your Eyes, which is funny because all I wanted to do when listening to this is to firmly seal them and my ears in a futile effort to make the bad men stop. If you still want to spend good money on this, send the cash to me instead. I could use it, and think of all the money you'll save on health bills from not listening to this drivel.

Grade: F

Report this review (#133048)
Posted Tuesday, August 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Conspiracy theory

In terms of overall sound and structure, this album is really the follow up to "Big Generator" consisting as it does of similar sounds and shorter songs. For many Yes fans, this is a poor relation to their classic works, bearing little resemblance to the lengthy prog masterpieces and intricate performances of yore. The fact that this album came out around the same time as "Keys to Ascension 2" sent mixed messages to fans of the band. The "Keys to ascension" albums emphatically indicated that the classic line up was back together and committed to returning to the long prog tracks of yore. "Open your eyes" implied a completely different direction.

The album started out as a collaboration ("Conspiracy") between Yes bassist Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood who then joined the band. Sherwood effectively replaced Wakeman who left again before "Keys to Ascension 2" was released. While primarily a guitarist, he does contribute some keyboard work. Igor Khoroshev, who played with the band at live gigs, is also around; providing keyboards for 3 tracks while Steve Porcaro adds them to one.

Although Steve Howe is still officially a band member here, his contribution is limited, since he only worked on the album towards the end of its recording. Jon Anderson's involvement was greater, as he had been impressed with what he heard of the "Conspiracy" project, and was keen to add vocals. The songs though, although credited to the band collectively, are very much Squire/Sherwood works. Anderson and Howe would later criticise the album as being "rushed" and too focused on the ideas of Squire and Sherwood. Sales of the album were poor, and the supporting tour relied on the classic material to draw the fans in. Few of the tracks from this album have ever been performed live, and those which have, have not appeared on a live album.

So is "Open your eyes" as bad as it is often made out to be by Yes fans? Well yes and no. There is no doubt that this is not the type of music we expect of our heroes. It is lightweight, pop orientated material, with simple arrangements (in Yes terms!). It is therefore necessary when approaching this album to put all expectations to one side, and consider it as a non-Yes, and indeed non-prog album.

The opening "New state of mind" has the feel of an inferior "Going for the one", probably due to the harmonised vocals and wall of sound. The title track I do like. OK, so it is airy and poppy, but I find it uplifting, with a fine vocal arrangement and a catchy hook. Chris Squire comes through strongly on the song, both vocally and through his bass contribution. This number also features on the Conspiracy album, under the title ""Wish I Knew".

The songs which follow are all much of a muchness in terms of style, sound and content. They range from the relaxed let's all be friends of "No way we can lose" to the equally schmaltzy "Wonderlove". Only "From the balcony" really breaks out of the mould, and that is simply because it is an acoustic Jon Anderson and Steve Howe duet. The piece had previously appeared in instrumental form on Howe's "Homebrew 2" album. "Somehow.. someday" may sound familiar to those who are acquainted with Anderson's solo albums, as part of the melody is lifted from "Boundaries" a track on "Animation".

After the final listed track, "The solution", the song ends, but the time counter keeps going. We are then treated to a 20+ minute ambient mix (by one of the band's engineers) of extracts from the entire album. It may sound appealing, but there are frustratingly long pregnant pauses between the selected extracts, the piece as a whole being rather pointless. This mix was played prior to the band arriving on stage on the subsequent tour.

For me, while "Big Generator" was by no means a classic Yes album, it had strong compositions which worked well. That is the main difference between that album and "Open your eyes". The compositions here are adequate, but lack the combined strength required to make this a good album. I do actually enjoy it when heard occasionally, but it is one I can just as easily pass by, and not feel I have missed anything.

Report this review (#148525)
Posted Friday, November 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Okay, I'll make this very simple. There's some stuff I liked, and stuff I didn't

What I Liked: Clean Sound: Nice and crisp New State of Mind Powerful, In-Your-Face, and with a beat; something Yes isn't known for doing Universal Garden Andersonian influences ring well here Fortune Seller Good bass line, decent all around playing, nice mix = decent song The Solution Best song on the album. Steve FINALLY sounds like himself again

What I didn't Like From the Balcony Nice lyrics by Anderson, but Steve, PLEASE pick some better chords. Sounded off-tune almost the whole time No Way We Can Lose Worst Yes song ever. Not even close. Don't listen to this if you have any respect for Jon Anderson. In fact, everyone should really just stay clear of it Wonderlove Too syrupy, and it dragged on for an eternity. Lack of Billy Sherwood: I loved some of his stuff on The Ladder but he needed to be more visible on OYE. Playing second guitar to a god like Steve Howe doesn't help much. Steve Howe: Never really settled in nicely to the album until the very last song!!! Okay on Fortune Seller but too little too late

So what's the easiest way to try to enjoy this album? Stop comparing it to Yes of old. Consider it a Squire/Sherwood project, with guest appearances by Anderson, Howe, and White. Some of the stuff is respectable, and I wouldn't mind The Solution showing up on a setlist again. I will give this album the benefit of the doubt. Don't expect too much from it, which is very common due to the logo on the front jumping out at you. But it's not awful. Really it isn't.

Report this review (#159796)
Posted Saturday, January 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars I'm reassured to see the lowest rated Yes studio album also boasting the fewest reviews: proof that most fans would rather not waste their valuable time scraping the bottom of the Prog barrel.

In retrospect it's a shame this 1997 CD had to follow the excellent "Keys to Ascension" double-discs, which at the time sounded like the progressive rebirth of a long dormant creative spirit. But don't pin the mediocre ratings for "Open Your Eyes" entirely on disappointed expectations: even on its own merits the album is close to coyote awful, meaning I'd happily chew my own leg off rather than hear it again *.

What's even more frustrating is that the album actually kicks off with six minutes of very strong music, lasting through the macho adrenalin rush of "New State of Mind" and into the exhilarating instrumental opening of the title track. But after that the songwriting collapses into sudden rigor mortis, and you can hear exactly when it happens: at the moment the headlong rhythm pauses for Jon Anderson to sing, "You've got a great imagination!"ť True enough, which is why I'm able to recognize a discouraging lack of the same throughout the rest of the album.

From there it's all downhill: a precipitous slide into the same, inane mainstream pop conventions most fans must have hoped were a thing of the past. Grace notes are rare, but they do exist, for example in the delicate acoustic guitar introductions to "Wonderlove" and "Universal Garden". But otherwise the album sinks under the weight of too many lackluster power(less) pop songs, all of them smothered in a thick syrup of multi-tracked vocals and New Age, Norman Vincent Peale lyrics. Whatever happened, by the way, to the arcane, evocative poetry of classic Yes?

The album doesn't even deserve a second "fans only"ť pity star, because true Yes aficionados would be the last people on Earth to embrace it. This one is strictly for ambulance chasers and curiosity seekers; to anyone else the album is only worthwhile as negative reinforcement, validating all the acknowledged classics in the band's back catalogue.

(* Credit goes to writer / radio film critic Michael Marano for coining this pithy phrase: thank you, Mad Professor!)

Report this review (#163179)
Posted Tuesday, March 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
1 stars Writing this review is surprisingly hard, because it is so difficult to even know where to begin. Perhaps the most challenging thing about reviewing "Open Your Eyes" is accepting that this is the band which gave us some of the most powerful and important music of the genre; it's genuintly depressing, and a little scary. While there is not shortage of bad Yes albums, at least they each have a few redeeming qualities, or can be accepted as campy prog-pop. When I listen to this release, I hear nothing but fart sounds. Dissapointing on every level, "Open Your Eyes" is like a wounded animal which staggers from the woods only to die convulsing and unnoticed in a backally dumpster. Stay away from this one, or, listen as an experiment to discover just how high the mighty can fall.

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

Report this review (#165596)
Posted Thursday, April 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Nowhere near essential, yet nowhere near what I was thinking. The melody and other factors are through the roof here, which is why I like it enough to give it four stars. Coupled with a clean, excellent sounding production, what's not to like?

My fave tracks are as follows:

Man In The Moon: A great guitar line, coupled with massive sounding harmonies, make for a catchy tune. It also seems to reach back to the Wakeman years (somewhat), with that well-played organ.

The title track gives me goosebumps. Despite some clumsy lyricism on Anderson's part, it flows and comes together nicely, which is always a good thing. Again, strong guitar melodies MAKE the song.

Wonderlove is, I feel, masterful. Off-kilter drums, swirling guitars and thudding bass make for a great tune, and when you put Anderson's glass-clear, crystalline voice atop it, you get a great song.

New State Of Mind has a catchy beat and some more excellent vocals from Anderson and company.

The arrangements are another thing I like. It doesn't harken back to the 70''s not supposed to. The music is tight, catchy and streamlined, but not overly simple. I like it!

Dream Theater once said The 90's bring new answers to be found... and that fits in nicely with the music presented here. This was a new era, full of possibilities, and I feel Yes took full advantage of the capabilities offered to them. It's a fun-sounding disc, and at the end of the day, I feel people are too quick to judge. You have to give all records a chance, poor, excellent, or mediocre.

Report this review (#173080)
Posted Thursday, June 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars The solution: open your eyes and enter a new state of mind!

Steve Howe is back in the band here and his instantly recognizable guitar sound is clearly present. But the real stars of this album are Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood. Squire's unmistakeable bass guitar sound is as heavy and loud as ever and his bass lines are all over the place. Chris also does a lot of backing vocals that blend perfectly with those of the eternal Jon Anderson. Sherwood was finally made a full member on this album after years of association with the band as session man and backup musician on tour. Sherwood had a big part in the song writing for this album and the style of some of these songs remind me of Conspiracy, the band that Chris and Billy would found a couple of years later.

Open Your Eyes consists of good, very melodic songs. The three first ones are excellent. This music is a bit less instrumental and perhaps more commercialť in some sense than many other Yes albums, but it is still miles above 90125. The long-standing and classic rhythm section of White and Squire is intact; the distinctive vocals of Anderson are as strong as ever; the distinctive backing vocals of Squire and Howe; the aforementioned distinctive guitars and basses are also strongly present. In addition, the classic Yes logo by Roger Dean once again graces the cover (quite boring cover art overall though).

Some songs are quite heavy - Yes rocks harder here! But they have not lost their subtlety. The relative scarcity of keyboards might be a reason for complaint since there is no Wakeman or Moraz here, or even a Tony Kaye for that matter. But there are indeed still keyboards on this album, played by Billy Sherwood and also by guests Igor Koroshev (who will join the band for their next album and tour) and Steve Porcaro.

Somehow...Someday is based on the song O'er that has been on some Jon Anderson albums under different titles and in different arrangements. It is a very folky song. The Folk influence goes beyond this too, Steve plays mandolin and banjo on this album to nice effect.

A good album!

Report this review (#176988)
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Open your eyes, here is a new state of mind of what Yes do!

Goddamn, this is the worst Yes album i ever heard, this is even worse than Union, that i gave 3 stars in my rewiev. I'll tell you why this tape is so horrible. Some tracks here i really like, it has memorable and charming suff, but this album is the clone of Union and Talk with nothing new. It hasn't new ideas, arrangements, instrumental or other innovations, in this way it demonstrates nothing new to us, especially if you an old Yes fan. Sounding on this tape is similar like in Talk and quality is similar like Union. The band do not progress and it's a big shame. Hearing this you may feal like deja vu, if this album Union, Talk or something else. The record contains of 11 tracks, at lest some of them aren't so bad and here we have no any pointless peaces like Angkor Wat or Evensong. It pleases, doesn't please only that this album demonstrates the recurrence of the passed stage, without any new ideas, it is simple copying the previous albums with nothing more. You don't expect such act from Anderson, Howe, Squire and White, guys have disappointed me!!!

1. New State of Mind - 5/5 - good melodic song, beginning promising, similar as I waoul have waited forever or The Calling. 2. Open Your Eyes - 5/5 - the best thing in this album in my opinion. Sometimes it sounds like a real prog song. Fortunately this one is not similar on what the rest. 3. Universal Garden - 5/5 - good melodic one, beginnigs with beautiful Steve's acoustic riffs, then passed into a good anthem-like song! And here all positive moments, concerning this album, end. 4. No Way We Can Lose - 3,5/5 - wost song on this tape, a copy of Saving my heart. Both songs have strange, not clear style, which i dislike. 5. Fortune Seller - 3,75/5 - this is only a poor attempt to create new version of I've seen all good people with repeating of a same phrase. 6. Man In The Moon - 4/5 - melodic, but boring piece, demonstrates nothing special. 7. Wonderlove - 4,25/5 - beginnig as a ballad, remains Pink Floyd style in A pillow of wings of Yes' And You and I. One minute after i hear the same stretch-song like other tracks on this album. Such a Union course. 8. From The Balcony - 4,75/5 - beautiful ballad from Jon and Steve. Reminds me of that old stuff like And You And I. The only reason i didn't give it 5 stars - too short and not complete. 9. Love Shine - 4/5 - vigorous song, there is no only that classical enthusiasm. 10. Somehow, Someday - 4/5 - same thing as with previous song, copy to copy. And it's a pity. 11. The Solution - 4,5/5 - somelike Give and Take clone, good enough, but the clonning is the main defect on this album.

I wouldn't give this one 4 stars, and even 3, that i rated Union and TFTO. As i said, the tracks aren't so bad, but the style is nothing new but copying the previous albums, and it's a big shame for one of the most experemental and infuative band. Among others, this is the worst Yes album for me.

I never give 1 star for Yes work, so 2 stars from me.

Report this review (#178342)
Posted Monday, July 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars And here it is, ladies and gentlemen, the most despised album in YES's uneven catalogue.

Does it deserve such vilification? Yes and no in my opinion. YES continued to be the authors of their own demise, putting this album out just after the acclaimed 'Keys to Ascension' albums, which signalled a return to YES's glory days in structure, if not in composition. This, however, sounds on first listen to be an extension of the so-called RABIN era. I guess fans can only stand so much disappointment.

But if that background is put aside, I think the few high points of this album compare tolerably well to the fare many other proggish bands were offering a decade ago. 'New State of Mind' is particularly strong, having a real progressive vibe, even if the ending of the song is rather weak. Other cuts, such as the insipid title track, do nothing to erase the awful memories of such clangers as 'Big Generator' and 'Union'. STEVE HOWE's presence here is very much the ASIA veteran and not the masterful sound colourist at the heart of classic YES. 'Universal Garden' plods along in acceptable fashion, but it's about at this point you begin to wonder if the band have sacrificed substance for style. It's a puzzle to me why the band, freed now from the expectation of a million-selling album, didn't try to go all-out to make the record they wanted to make: no one can convince me this meets any of the participating musicians' aspirations. 'No Way We Can Lose' is dreadful. Clang. 'Fortune Seller' is a second highlight, and might almost have commanded a place on '90125' with a bit more energy. At one point near the end the band get it absolutely right: with 45 seconds remaining SQUIRE accidentally gets funky with the bass and the keyboards swirl agitatedly around him for a moment, as though unsure what had provoked this moment of musical excellence. Unfortunately, normal transmission is swiftly resumed. 'Man in the Moon' trundles on respectably, more sheen than necessary perhaps, but with a nice keyboard layer to nag away at the listener. We're deceived by the opening to 'Wonderlove' into thinking we might have a winner, but nope. 'Somehow, Someday' might have worked with a faster tempo, or something to breathe life into it. Plod plod. And so it goes, almost as though at the first meeting of the band the decision was taken to alienate both sets of fans, those from the 70s and those from the 80s. It worked, lads.

The fundamental problem here is not the sound, nor the style. It is the substance, which, as always, is composition. There's little here worth a second listen. How frustrating: like being forced to eat all the ingredients for a cake before they're mixed and put in the oven, this album looks and smells promising, but does not satisfy. YES no longer rock, they no longer funk out, they no longer swing, they no longer amaze you with their enormous palette, the withheld note, the syncopation, the counterpoint. Instead they plod. Plod plod plod. The only vestige of the old YES - even the YES of the 80s - is the tight vocal harmonies, all the more essential now as ANDERSON's voice, never the strongest, is eroded by age.

Plod plod.

Report this review (#179896)
Posted Monday, August 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars The worst Yes album ever in their career. While there are a few okay pop moments, it overall stinks. It's amazing to think that these are the same guys who made Fragile or Going for the One because this album is really really bad. I think that this could be partially because of the presence of Billy Sherwood, but it could also partially be from the fact that later Yes albums were never as good as early Yes albums, but either way, this album is inexcusable. From some of the dumbest songs I've ever heard, to the 5 minutes of silence and 15 minutes of nature sounds in The Solution (what was the point of that anyway??), this album is a disgrace to Yes. While it could just be a turning point in their career (the next album The Ladder was great), this album still is really bad. DO NOT BUY OR YOU WILL REGRET IT!!
Report this review (#182532)
Posted Monday, September 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars TOO PROG TO BE POP I got to admit that this is not the best YES album, not even in the Top 10, but the problem with YES is they are so good that comparison with their master pieces are a handicap even for themselves. Being objective this not a bad album at all and this could be one of the top 3 allbum of some other bands (with all respect). If you show this album to a pop listener he/she will tell you this is not pop and it is because is not. I think this is the most underrated album Yes album ever and obviously I am not going to give a 5 star but still is a good non essential prog album, so per definition is a three star.
Report this review (#182546)
Posted Monday, September 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars The idea to turn a Sherwood / Squire project into a formal Yes album, had proved to be worst than the idea to turn the 2nd ABWH album into a reUnion album. The material that fills this effort has nothing to do with the studio sections of the previous two Keys albums, wich are IMHO masterworks in its own right. Obviously this has nothing to do with the absence of Mr. Wakeman (only a quick listen to any of his solo albums from the same period can demonstrate it), the original coneption here is what is wrong, the genesis of the album is a bad apple, that got rotten the rest of the box, the average pop and overproduced pseudo prog rock that "Conspiracy" writes, played by the top one prog rock band in the world.

Highest: From the Balcony...nothing else.

Report this review (#183747)
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars If I compare this album to the previous full studio album I would say it is better,but if compare it to the other Yes' album it is much weaker than most of them.This album is characterized with so much incompleteness.Even if I mention the songs from the album I like - New State of Mind,Open Your Eyes,Fortune Seller,Man in the Moon - I would say that the ideas are chaotic.Definitely there are good ideas,but are not made in the right way.The other thing about Open Your Eyes is the unsaturated sound.There are moments when you listen to only two instruments.The other thing is about the wrong synchrony between the parts of the instruments each to other.The positive thing about the album is better than the previous one - Talk and 2.there are good looking songs like the listed above.
Report this review (#184771)
Posted Sunday, October 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Open your eyes and many better ways to spend your money Without a doubt Yes´weakest album, and surely the biggest dissappointment from a favourite band of mine. I remember being in a record store not even knowing that there was a new Yes lineup or album (I had no access to internet back then), seeing this album and inmediately buying it, going home and....well...the rest might not be said. The first two songs are actually good , and are what save this album from an even worse rating. The opener New state of mind has a strong Shock to the system feel and I really like it, same as the poppier Open your eyes. The intro to Universal garden is quite pleasant, but the rest of the album...forget it!! Yes here were clearly trying to recreate their 80´s success, with no success. Most of the songs are too bad to be even B-sides from Big Generator. No way we can lose is an attempt to re-write Saving my heart, in a very poor way...the chorus is particularly awful. One of the many problems with this album is that there are so many backing vocals that many times you don´t even know who is actually singing the song. From the balcony shows a very uninspired Howe trying to play something in the vein of John Lennon´s Imagine. Songs like Wonderlove, Loveshine and Somehow, someday are just too bad to be true. 1234567 all good people got to feel the love...come on!!!! The performences are mediocre for Yes standards, even though there are a couple of good Khoroshev solos, a nice bass line in Fortune seller and...not much more, really. Oh, the lyrics... some of them make I eat at chez nous sound like poetry. An album lacking in inspiration, geometry...and even the production is not so good. There must be more to this life and we all know.
Report this review (#188566)
Posted Sunday, November 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best, and perhaps the most sophisticated of the YES albums. Boy, it took me many many listenings to learn to hear this incredible work. Several of the pieces are so multi-layered with understated polyrhythm that they sounded chaotic and uninteresting upon first (20 or so!) listens. I really had to LEARN HOW to hear this stuff. When I first got this record I couldn't hear it at all, and I reported to friends who are also long-time YES fans that OPEN YOUR EYES was a major disappointment. BUT there were a couple of tracks that kept calling me back to listen, UNIVERSAL GARDEN and the title track OPEN YOUR EYES, and slowly but surely I started to BE ABLE TO hear things I hadn't noticed in the other parts of the album. I think I had to grow new neural networks to be able to hear this record! I am so grateful that I was drawn to do this growth, because I get such a deep and unique musical experience from this amazing work. The poetry and composition on this record demonstrate true masterful genius. But I know that it is not for the uninitiated. Thank you, YES! for this great joy in my musical life.
Report this review (#190119)
Posted Friday, November 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars This cannot be!

As the title of the review say that was my words listening to it.

I've compressed all the 20 years of dark age of Yes in few months and maybe that was a fault, but I've a strong rembering of this album, almost forgotten in my disc collection and used at least 5 times to listen only a single track it's the worst album from Yes (really it's a work between Squire and Sherwood, Anderson & Howe have a little part in this), there aren't some small weak recalls of the glorious past or something to keep the Yes-fan tuned on what happen to the band, OyE isn't a mistake: they have made KtA1 & 2 (with Wakeman) and then a mere pop-like album that's like a waste of time, after they have released Ladder, so they cannot be apologized for this. The only reason that I made this review is for Universal Garden (the only hint to the prog group called Yes) , simple hope to find something good in it since I listened to it few times and then forgot about it too.

So rating? I cannot rate since I think that OyE don't deserve any star, so 1 little star: poor even for the most fanatic of Yes, if you want to try for Yes go elsewhere.

Report this review (#191004)
Posted Saturday, November 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars I own this album, but I never plan on playing it ever again.

What the HECK is this?!

How did this get printed under the name Yes? This isn't Yes! This is of absolutely no importance or significance to a Yes fan, let alone a prog fan. The songs do not bare any Yes resemblance at all other than the fact that some Yes members are playing on it. This isn't even like 90125 which had SOME artistic integrity. This has no artistic integrity. Not only that, it's absolute crap.

If you looked up the definition of a 1 star album in the encyclopedia, you would find a picture of this album.

Report this review (#191672)
Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, after reading some of the reviews (thank god we have a place like Progarchives!!!) it's amazing how this album is so disliked. Of course, to each his own.

I really like this album, especially in retrospect of what's going on today in prog. It has a very focused sound without completely abandoning the trad Yes sound. I believe that Steve Howe's playing is quite good, and the overall production to be wonderful.

Call me a weirdo (my wife of 25 years does all the time when she see's me with tears in my eyes while listening to music that she doesn't even discern as music!!!) but I really enjoy this. No, it's not Close to the Edge, but neither is anything else they've done since then. But, maybe give this another listen before completely abandoning it?

As always, different strokes for different folks applies, and thank goodness we still have prog music today!!!

Report this review (#204754)
Posted Sunday, March 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars Shocking. Awful. Appalling. Think up any similar superlative, and you have the essence of the state of this album, by far the worse thing that any of them put their names too.

Wakeman had gone (bye bye part five) owing to the management chaos inherent in the band, so Igor Khuroshev from Eastern Europe was drafted in for the subsequent tour to this LP, whilst Squire had insisted upon Billy Sherwood, an American Yes tribute guitarist he had been working with, being involved in the recording of the LP, most likely because most of it had started off as a collaboration between the two of them.

Sherwood adds absolutely nothing to the band, and the inevitable falling out between him and Howe came after The Ladder.

I have not even got the heart to review each individual track. Suffice to say that it was a completely misguided attempt by the band to recreate the sound and commercial success of 90125 without the involvement of Trevor Rabin who, by this time, was writing soundtracks. Well, Sherwood is many things, but Trevor Rabin he ain't.

I saw the subsequent tour in Birmingham, and the band redeemed themselves somewhat by only playing From The Balcony, a pleasant Howe & Anderson duet, which is pleasant and at least reminiscent of Yes, from this LP, the rest of the setlist being older stuff, with, amusingly, Owner of a Lonely Heart played in Howe's absence.

This really is only for people who simply HAVE to own every single Yes LP (like me I suppose!). If you don't feel that urge, then please don't waste your money. This was undoubtedly the lowest point of a great rock band. Thankfully, things did improve with what was to come.

Report this review (#205969)
Posted Tuesday, March 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars I think Yes should be given credit for at least attempting to throw off the yoke of the pop-oriented glam of the 1980s, but unfortunately they assume the burden of a flashy and overproduced 1990s sound, which is thankfully a tad better than the borderline hip-hop they attempted on some of Union. Billy Sherwood's keyboards and guitars dominate the mix. The drums lack the subtlety or character they somewhat retained on the Rabin-era recordings, and almost sound like a machine at times. Chris Squire gets plenty of vocal time, which is certainly a plus, but his signature Rickenbacker bass tone is nowhere to be heard. There's a lot of reverb on Jon Anderson's vocals (and the vocals overall), which I find annoying most of the time. Anyway, Sherwood's input cannot be the main factor of this album: He contributed on The Ladder (a stellar album), but was absent from Keystudio, which I think Open Your Eyes sounds an awful lot like. On the other hand, the album is close in sound to The Unkown by Conspiracy, which I really enjoy.

"New State of Mind" Here's a full, thick sound, with Sherwood's guitars and keyboards in full force. It's a strong opener.

"Open Your Eyes" The guitar is the dominant instrument, using nice clean lines in rapid-fire fashion, but the arrangement is hard to follow. Chris Squire's vocals are excellent on this track, as I've always favored his unique inflections. Overall, I enjoy the song, even if it has a real pop flavor.

"Universal Garden" Howe's guitar introduction is nothing less than beautiful, and frankly, I think Sherwood's atmospheric keys make what is wonderful sound cheesy. The song bobs along okay, but it's Howe's guitar work that just shines throughout.

"No Way We Can Lose" The vocals and lyrics sound like they belong on an Anderson solo album. The guitar sounds like it belongs on a Howe solo album. But the song overall doesn't belong on a Yes album. The lyrics are schmaltzy, even for them, and the music is downright laughable: "When we all realize that there are no difference, there's no way we can lose." Wait a minute- should we recognize and celebrate differences or ignore them? I'm confused.

"Fortune Seller" It's hard to pin this song down; there's just so much going on in it, from Alan White's jazzier drumming in certain spots to seemingly random instrumental interludes. The lyrics contain some eye-roll-inducing mystical platitudes that are hard to overlook ("They say that time is like a river that flows, and where that river ends nobody knows," and "Giving into the power"). However, the organ solo (played by Igor Khoroshev, I think) is surprisingly good.

"Man in the Moon" I don't know what the bad was trying to accomplish with this darkish-sounding, The Nightmare Before Christmas silliness.

"Wonderlove" Lovely acoustic work begins this relatively lengthy track. Had that flavor been maintained, this could have been the "Soon" of the album, the respite after so much colorfully noisy music, but no- it doesn't take long before everyone is involved again, lending the song that same thick, overdone sound. The guitar solo is terribly muddy and doesn't exactly fit.

"From the Balcony" Finally, the listener does get a break from the onslaught of giddy noise, with Howe accompanying Anderson's voice on acoustic guitar. It's not a terribly great song, but it is pretty, and as I mentioned, a welcome relief.

"Love Shine" This song sounds like a throwback to Big Generator, and second to "Man in the Moon," it's the goofiest song on the album.

"Someday, Somehow" The band teases the listener with thirty seconds of a pleasant, soft introduction before going right back to the full speed ahead sound of the rest of the record. The arrangement doesn't flow very well, but during the gentler moments, the music is very delightful.

"The Solution" By the time the album arrives at the last song, the music passes by in a blur. The sound has largely remained the same with little variation or deviation, and that generic prog-pop sensibility has numbed the mind. This is just more of the same.

Report this review (#219570)
Posted Tuesday, June 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
3 stars First of all, if you're one of those 'Progressive Rock just existed in the 70's', well, you're not Prog Rock fan, but a fan of one certain period of our entire musical history. Period.

What we have here, it's a really good album, if they have not recorded 'No Way We Can Lose', 'Man In The Moon' and 'Fom The Balcony' it must be a 4 stars.

It's kind of pathetic how most of the people judge Progressive Rock from 80's on. Yes, for sure it's not the same in the 70's, and you know why? IT"S NOT 70's! Easy don't you think? It don't seems to be like most of 'prog rock fans' use to think. It's 90's Prog Rock with 70's feel, like The Flower Kings for example, who had similarities in his first couple albuns.

'New State Of Mind', 'Fortune Seller' and 'The Solution' shows us the way.

You know, if I had bought this CD back in 1997 I'm pretty sure it was one of my favorite Yes albuns. I'll make sure it'll be from now on.

One more thing! Don't follow the 'specialists' words, listen this and wathever other music with YOUR own ears!!!

Report this review (#232136)
Posted Monday, August 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars The second large disappointment by Yes in the '90s. The first was Union, where fans were teased by the idea of the two Yes' combining. This one was disappointing, because it came on the heels of Keys to Ascension, the albums that finally gave Yes fans hope in great new Yes music that they might not have had since Trevor Rabin joined the band. The Studio tracks on the two KTA albums had been a big return to form, and so, with this their first studio album proper since that period of time, fans could not be blamed for having high expectations.

Thankfully, there was no Roger Dean artwork this time. I say thankfully, because it gave Yes fans a warning. Yes hadn't even really tried with the album arts, so Yes fans had time between when they picked this up at the record store and when they got home to wonder why that might be. To wonder if perhaps the music wasn't the return to form that they had hoped.

In this way, they wouldn't feel quite as disappointed when they played the album for the first time. It starts off alright, if not particularly amazing - up until Universal Garden, it is enjoyable, although nothing comes close to the quality of music that Yes had released prior to that point. But after that point, the music just doesn't work anymore. And being familiar with the story behind this album - that like 90125, it was music not originally intended as Yes music, might make that make a bit more sense. Rick Wakeman's absence (for the fourth time now) might have warned some listeners, although I find that the keyboardist rarely matters in Yes music, for all the keyboardists before this point had been good. But having two new members - Igor Khoroshev on some tracks, and Billy Sherwood joining Steve Howe on guitar and Igor on keys - pretty much tossed the idea of the classic lineup re-uniting out the window. Unlike many previous members, on this album, the new members didn't take the band in a great new direction - a new direction, for sure, but one that not many fans can appreciate.

When I first inserted the disc into iTunes and the fact that the final track was 20 minutes was revealed to me, I was actually excited. Another Yes epic? Surely this album could not be as bad as everyone claimed it was. But it is not an epic in the way that any would expect. It is, in fact, just water sounds with occasional vocals from Open Your Eyes sung overtop. If they had had music from other Yes albums, it might have been a nice moment, a neat medley of the highlights of their career. But with the music being from this album, one of Yes' worst, it is merely tedious.

Overall, even Yes fans should steer clear of this album, and leave it for the completionists.

Report this review (#257474)
Posted Wednesday, December 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars Ouch!!! Wow, is this bad or what? This is even worse, hard to believe, than Talk, which I can't stand. Excellent musicians doing cruddy pop songs with little inspiration, even. The ideas behind the songs would have been thrown out for about any othr Yes album effort. Can this be the same band that gave us CLose to the Edge and Going for the One? Heck, even the dreadful pop-synth bilge of Talk and 90210 had a little redeeming value in their skill, but nothing like that is evident here. I listened to this 3 times and than it went straight into the trash bin where it probably killed a few cockroaches with it's syrupy sweetness. 1 star because that's the lowest possible.
Report this review (#275859)
Posted Thursday, April 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Note that there were hardly any keyboards on Open Your Eyes? That does tell a story about the final result even if there was a bit thrown in for good measure here and there. The live version of this where Igor Khoroshev played the keyboards is much more accessible. They followed up some great live shows after this 97 studio album in 1998. I was fortunate to see them in 1998 in Edinburgh, Scotland.Billy Sherwood and Chris Squire had great energy together on stage and as some may feel that even though this could have been a Squire solo release I am glad that the finished product ended up as Open Your Eyes. So I may well be in the minority but this is not a bad album especially listening to it today. It has dated better than Union for example even without the legions of Yes membership participants. " Music from The Balcony" a lovely dedication to Jon Anderson's " Janey" and the title track showing some interesting twists and turns. Billy Sherwood was a great ingredient to the Yes sound in those days and it does hold up because of this. And perhaps my opinions, because they were brilliant live at this time, are slightly biased. Three stars.
Report this review (#295842)
Posted Sunday, August 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars I am one who wants to own everything of Yes, so even after having read a lot of bad reviews and having seen several 1-stars ratings I was expecting something very poor. Well, this is the surprise. We have a very pop-oriented album, but Jon's voice and Steve's guitar are probably enough to make me enjoy this music.

It's still Yes music. Not very different from Jon Anderson's solos, specially the title track, with the usual newage flavour in the lyrics. I prefer Talk and The Ladder to this album, but listening to it I'd never been pulsed to switch it off.

In terms of being progressive I don't know if we can pretend innovations from a band with about 40 years of activity at the time of this release. But let me underline the fact that the changes in the signature that are frequent also here are not properly what is called pop today.

I agree, this is not the best contribution that yes have given to the history of music, but it's not so bad. I think that the second half of Universal Garden, for example, is not so far from Going For The One.

There are many weak moments but at the end this is an average Yes album (intended as after 1980). But my opinion is that it's not only for completist. Having to suggest a Yes album to a newbie, this one together with Big Generator would be the very last choice, but if anybody who doesn't know anything of their glorious history buys this album by mistake, will find some good pop-oriented prog songs.

2.5 stars, but I'm happy to round them to three.

This is not so bad. Pop but not bad.

Report this review (#357475)
Posted Sunday, December 19, 2010 | Review Permalink

BACKGROUND: Yes were a highly successful progressive rock band from the 70's. To this day they are one of the most popular progressive rock bands around, if not the most popular.

However, in the 1980's they reformed with an altered line-up. At this time they were lead by a South African guitarist by the name of Trevor Rabin. He took the band into more pop music territory, especially with the commercially successful albums '90125' and 'Big Generator'. In 1991 Yes tried to go back to the more progressive sound of their early days, mainly because the music was written largely by people other than Trevor Rabin. 'Union', however, is one of their least popular albums, to this day.

Although dominated by Rabin, 1994's 'Talk' continued Yes' progression back to their roots. After the 'Talk' album, Rabin quit the band and key members of their 70's heyday rejoined for the live/studio mixed albums 'Keys to Ascencion' and 'Keys to Ascencion 2', most notably guitarist 'Steve Howe'. They also acquired multi-talented 'Billy Sherwood' around this time, who could sing, play guitar and keyboards. This studio album followed in 1997, 'Open your eyes'.

ANALYSIS: The songwriting varies from song to song. The opening 'New state of mind' feels like a dull remake of 'Shock to the system' from 'Union'. The title track, the second song on the album, is the best song on the album, nice and hummable, and that is followed by a fairly good spiritual-sounding song 'Universal Garden'. However, the songs that follow are all meandering messes that have good ideas that soon disappear. 'Fortune Seller' is almost fun but there is a lack of focus in the song, and a lot of the music is padding rather than the 'meat'. The acoustic 'From the balcony' is nice, and the joyous'love shone' is another excellent song, very enjoyable. 'Somehow someday' has two parts, acoustic parts and more loud parts, the acoustic parts are much prettier but this song is better than most of the others. The closing 'The solution' is nothing special.

A lot of fans complain about Rabin but I think he was a wonderful influence for the band. I find that when he was in the band the music was more heartfelt. There is definitely a lot less feeling in 'Open your eyes' than there was in 'Talk'.

As for being progressive, well, it is true this album makes a few strides towards their 70's sound, which could be expected with Steve back in the band, but there is also a strong influence from 90's Brit-pop, which is not a bad thing.

Many of the songs on this album are a jumbled mess, forever going from one style to another, or from one riff to another.The production is very muddled and garbled, everything is more or less the same volume and rarely something comes into the foreground to capture your attention.

CONCLUSION: This album is quite enjoyable as background noise, and there are a few good songs in there, but ultimately it is unfocused and messy, and from what I have read it is unfinished too. It's not bad music but not particularly satisfying from beginning to end, a middle of the range rating should work fine, so 2 1/2, rounded up to 3.

Report this review (#358305)
Posted Monday, December 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars After the "Keys To Ascention" disks, it seemed that Yes was back on the path of prog after veering away from it for those Trevor Raqbin Albums. But alas, it appeared that they had one more left in them. In fact, this album sounds like the rest of the band, with Steve Howe and Billy Sherwood (as in, "I Sherwood love to be a member of Yes") along for the ride, were trying to prove that from "90125" through "Talk", they were more than Rabin's backing band.

The music, as pop, is not completely terrible. Howe has some okay (but not outstanding) solos, and the layered vocals gfive the music a well produced, big sound. But as soon as it's over, the whole album slips from the mind, as if it just oozed away on a bed of grease.

And tacked on the end, after a long pause, is a "hidden track", a bunch of bird sounds, a la Close To The Edge, with random sung phrases dropped in very sparsely. It's much more irritating than intriguing.

Report this review (#383759)
Posted Thursday, January 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars How would the reviewer Sean Trane, "Open your eyes and close your ears .... ". This album is disappointing in all aspecos.Steve Howe is back, they just released the excellent "Keys to Ascension", but things not like earlier.The albums are the period 1983-1994 are infinitely melhores.There is something wrong.What is it?

I think they did not realize the potential they had in hand.The classical training is almost all here (except that of Wakeman, once again, abandoned the boat), but the sound is not the same.Well see, I like the period pop-rock in some bands, but I can not stand it here. "Open your eyes" is to produce more disappointing since Yes "Tormato". Only the first two tracks deserve to be heard, the rest is disposable.

It's a shame that I have to give one star to an album from one of my favorite bands, but I'll do that.

Report this review (#395544)
Posted Sunday, February 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars A disappointment.

Open Your Eyes is not 'pop' by any positive definitions of the word, it is rather, that cheesy, over-produced, too-thick-to-tell-what-the-hell-anyone-is-playing, very 90's kind of pop. Think S-Club 7 in their 50's; uninspired and unimpressive. The main problem is that this was the kind of sound Billy Sherwood was fond of (and good at creating), and here he is the album's primary writer along with Squire, who ran out of ideas 20 years before. It seems harsh, but I really can't pin the blame on anyone but these two; Anderson and Howe merely overdubbed their parts when the album was near its completion, adding only one song of their own (which just so happens to be beautiful, sweet, and under-produced) while White would have given his usual minimal contribution of increasingly annoying powerhouse drums. There are also no keyboards apart from those airy fairy, obligatory textures of the 1990s, something that I thought would make the album sound thin, but it is, in fact, overflowing with noise. Every instrument is maxed out and the vocal harmonies are just piercing. This removes any sense of separation between instruments and often, I can't even tell what sounds I'm hearing and who they are coming from.

It doesn't really matter because two thirds of the songs are boring anyway. 'New State of Mind', 'Wonderlove', 'From the Balcony' and particularly the title track, are the only ones worth listening to. And these are still a far cry from any of the music on good Yes albums. The deceptive 23-minute song is actually 5.... with the remaining 18 a shoddy amalgamation of random vocal snippets and tropical sound effects (like that's going to make us mistake the song for Close to the Edge).

I was wrong to assume that the lack of Trevor Rabin makes a Yes album worth listening to. 90125 beats this mess by two-stars, Big generator by one. Open your own bloody eyes and buy something else!

Report this review (#409111)
Posted Monday, February 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Open Your Eyes is roughly a darker and heavier sounding version of the previous Yes album, Talk. The cheesiness is still fully present as before, but the songwriting is overall more interesting than 90125 and Big Generator, and only slightly more so than Talk. I've listened to this album a few times over for the sake of reviewing it and forming an honest opinion on it, and I just can't get into it. There are no standout tracks, and the only interesting parts are short guitar lines that are barely significant. But, while listening to the album everything sounds fine, if not just a little bit random in some spots.

The musicianship is still on par with previous albums (this is still Yes), but that doesn't mean that this album really works well within itself. I can't honestly give this more than 2 stars.

Report this review (#429359)
Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
2 stars By the time Yes released this record I had completely lost my hopes with this band. And, in a way, it was a good thing. I only heard this album this week and I don´t hate it as much as most people do. Well, I can understand their radical stand upon it. Had I heard it at the time I would probably have joined the choir of complaints. After all, Open Your Eyes is the follow up of one of their best, if not the best, latter day record, the excellent Keys To Ascention. That CD was not only recorded with the classic line up, but also showed the band in an inspired moment as songwriters. As far as I know Open Your Eyes has a completely different story: not only Wakeman is absent (replaced, in part, by Billy Sherwood), but also this was to be not much of a ´true´ Yes work but more a follow up to the Squire-Sherwood project´s debut album, Conspiracy. In that light is easy to see why so many people hated the disc: gone is the symnphonic prog rock of Keys... in comes the short, pop-ish stuff of Conspiracy.

The songs in general are not really bad at all, I guess, but totally uncharacteristic.Definitly different (the CD´s title should be Open Your Mind!). Even if there are several hints of the "old' Yes (Wonderlove for instance), the general sound reminds me more of their 80´s works like Big Generator than anything they have done in the classic pahse of 10 years before. Besides, Steve Howe input here is quite limited (a real shame!!), while Sherwood takes much of the control. To top it all, there is not much keyboards either. The production is a bit too modern this kind of sound. Yet, there are quite a few good moments if you´re not a too demanding listener.

By the way, don´t be fooled by the length of the last number, The Solution (over 23 minutes). The song itself is just 5 minutes, the rest is silence and, at 8 minutes we have birds noises sometimes interrupted by a kind of collage of sounds from the previous songs. A big waste of time.

All in all this CD is definitly for collectors and (hardcore) fans (specially of the Trevor Rabin era). Open Your Eyes is easily forgetable and not recommended at all for newbies. A 2 star ratying is the most I can give it and, even then, just barely. Even in the 80´s they had done far better records than this one.

Report this review (#518819)
Posted Friday, September 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I did miss a couple of stops on the Yes journey after Big Generator, but when Open Your Eyes came out, I was very impressed with not only the sound, but also the songwriting. Firstly, they were now injecting even more creative sounds into the songs, with two guitarists, one of them being Steve Howe, who's obviously grown in terms of originality in guitar tones during his time off with the band, and the other being Billy Sherwood, who also covers the keyboard parts. The arrangements have a somewhat similar sound to the 90125/Big Generator albums, but slightly less aggressive, more shaped, and more unpredictable. There are some astoundingly adventuously full arrangements on a lot of these songs to get your mind working, and the whole thing is mixed to make for an exremely pleasant listening experience. Take for example the exciting fireworks of keys and guitars in the intro to the title track. You gotta admire Yes for keeping things fresh each time around. As for the songs, they have largely gone back to the writing style of Time and a Word, with relatively shorter songs than their most progressive period, but with more of a purpose and personality than their pop/rock records. The lyrics are all very good, optimistic, and universally understandable, and "Universal Garden", "No Way We Can Lose", and "Fortune Seller" are just great, great songs, the latter of those resembling something from their late 70's period. It's also refreshing to hear a simple, relaxing song with just acoustic guitar and Jon Anderson's plaintive vocals on "From the Balcony", and the amusing descending vocal harmony chord progression of "Man In the Moon" is really something different for them. If the second half of the album was as jaw dropping as the first half, I would consider the album a masterpiece, but as it stands, Open Your Eyes is an excellent collection of really good songs, that happen to be arranged and performed immaculately.
Report this review (#592302)
Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Open Your Eyes, Yes's follow up to the last Rabin directed album Talk, is without a doubt the absolute worst thing that Yes has ever produced. The material is trite, the instumentation is lazy, and the band, to me, seems to be going through the motions of "putting out an album." To me, this is inexcusable.

The only songs that are mildly listenable is Fortune Seller and the title track, Open Your Eyes. Even then, they seem rushed and not fully complete.

The rest of the songs on this album are not even that good. Lyrics go from cute (Universal Garden) to trite (Man on the Moon). The entire rest of the album is mindless, sounding unplanned and uninspired. There is nothing, repeat nothing, redeeming about this album. Possibly the worst album by a prog giant since ELP's Love Beach. It's that bad.

Report this review (#913562)
Posted Thursday, February 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
1 stars

Man, when this album came out. I was extremely disappointed because it did not contain the Anderson, Squire, Howe, Wakeman and White line-up that had just recently graced us with the Keys To Ascension collections. I, like many Yes fans were relieved when the Rabin era ended and we can get on with a more classic and agreeable line-up. Not that I didn't like Rabin, I just yearned for old Yes! This was not the case. Then I thought, "Well Ok, maybe this new line-up will give us great new album." Nope. Not even close. I actually dig the first two songs. They're pretty good. But the rest of the album, for lack of a better word, sucks. There are a couple of moments here and there that aren't too bad but I am not sure if it doesn't sound bad next to rest of the crap. I am not going to bother going song for song on this one because they are all basically forgettable and they'll never be played live again. They sure as hell shouldn't end up on any compilations either. The songs sound rushed and Steve Howe just fritters on top and around the songs.

This album fits perfectly in the "for completionists only" category.

Report this review (#920541)
Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
1 stars Open Your Eyes. The One. The biggest disappointment, Yes' BAD album. I've tried, but there is nothing that stands outin this one, it is, from track one until the end, weak, painfully weak unmemorable and boring. And I think that "weak" is actually the word to describe it, there is nothing in it actually horrible, the music is not unbearable, but it simply doesn't go anywhere, reaches nothing. Even the best moments look pale when compared to good Yes. Fortunately Yes opened their eyes after thisand went on to make the Ladder, not especially remarkable but more than decent.

Conclusion: you can avoid this one, it well deserves a one star rating.

Report this review (#1207477)
Posted Thursday, July 10, 2014 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
1 stars 'Open Your Eyes' - Yes (26/100)

It seems mediocrity is the only thing that doesn't excite me these days. Unfortunately, there's a disproportionately large amount of it out there. In progressive rock especially, scores of bands are ultimately able to disguise their lacklustre art with flashy technique and production standards, and listeners are none the better for accepting it on surface value. Thankfully, one band that's never been able to get away with making a bad album is Yes- if the way the recently released and thoroughly disengaged mess Heaven and Earth has been panned is any indicator, fans of the classic prog outfit are quick to call out the band when they're undercooking their product. But when an album is as lowly rated and near-universally loathed as this one, I become masochistically interested in it. True to Victor Hugo's comment that "[t]he beautiful has but one type, the ugly has a thousand", anytime an album is held in such devastating poor regards, there must be something about it that shocks or offends, even if the effect is shallow. There's no such catharsis or rise in Open Your Eyes. Although it easily deserves the dubious pleasure of being considered the lowest point in Yes' discography, there's nothing about it that warrants heated debate or analysis. In the fallout of trying to redefine themselves in a post-Rabin career, Yes have fired a blank. An hour-plus of indistinct songwriting blown up with faux-prog orchestrations have resulted in a pretty joyless album. Even with the pathetic addition of "Heaven and Earth" to Yes' oeuvre, Open Your Eyes still stands as the most underwhelming, empty statement in their career.

I suppose Open Your Eyes makes better sense when taken into context. It wasn't supposed to be a Yes album per se; rather, Chris Squire and the much-loathed personnel addition Billy Sherwood outlined this material for a new project. Whether it would have fared better with a different band is up for half-hearted debate, although I'm guessing things wouldn't change. The Keys to Ascension duology gave some strong hopes that Yes were going to push their career forward post-Rabin with some strong new material, but Open Your Eyes shows the band unsure of where they want to go. As much as I preferred Yes' prog side over the later pop, Trevor Rabin was a clever songwriter and leader for the band. In his wake, there is confusion. Yes obviously want to harken back to a proggier sound, but they lack the drive or ambition to push themselves past predictable songwriting. Unlike Rabin's contributions throughout the 80s and early 90s, you'll find very few interesting hooks or melodic lines on Open Your Eyes. What was it someone said about absence making the heart grow fonder?

Style isn't the issue on the album, ultimately. Yes have let themselves fall into a disappointing AOR snag, but that's nothing new for them. The thing that hurts Open Your Eyes moreso than any other album in the band's discography is the songwriting itself. Even on the most disastrous albums (their latest one included), there were always a handful of tracks that stood out, at least a passage or two that stuck after the record ended. I would like to call "New State of Mind" and the catchy title track the highlights of the album (which they are), but those songs would have felt lacklustre even on Big Generator or Union. I'm up in the air whether the declawed anthem rock they're going for on Open Your Eyes is worse than the first half of Talk, but Talk at least offered the amazing suite "Endless Dream" to make the grinding worth it. There is no such redemptive value to enjoy on Open Your Eyes.

Hell, I'm not even sure there are standout awful tracks either. I've listened to the album a few times now, and "Man in the Moon" and "Love Shine" do seem particularly moronic, but there's nothing that really seeks to offend or disgust. It's a boring, boring album, and the twenty minute loop of birds chirping that follows "The Solution" might have been a good ambient addendum, had it not been ruined by reprising vocal hooks from the album every 45 seconds or so, reminding me why the album does so little for me in the first place. It's such a goddamned frustrating thing when mediocrity metastasizes like this and becomes something nigh-unbearable. I'm left to wonder if I'm overreacting, or if my intolerance is justified due to the consistent lack of quality. Yet, Yes haven't broken any grounds of bad taste with this one, so I'm not even going to justify it by calling it one of the worst albums ever. By all means, it's not, but that's not to say silence wouldn't be more compelling.

Report this review (#1236655)
Posted Wednesday, August 6, 2014 | Review Permalink
1 stars Ouch! It's nice to see the boys efficiently harmonizing and playing snappy music, but it has to be good music, and that's hard to conclude for Open Your Eyes. There are enough good reviews here to adequately convey what a poor, money-grabbing effort this was by the Yes- sters, so there's no need to jump too high up on the bandwagon. I will say that the first three songs are somewhat likeable, and it's nice to here Chris Squire alive again on Man In the Moon, but the thing as a whole can be summed up in one word - sucky. And how foul it was to have over 14 minutes or so of ambient filler at album's end for the listener to have to sit through (or fast forward past). I bought the thing when it first came and got rid of it to a used record store just as fast. Over the years, I'd wondered if I hadn't been too hasty, so I snapped it up recently at same said used record store only to be assured that my first instincts had been sound. Unless you want to make the same mistake, just stay clear of Open Your Eyes altogether. For die-hard completists only, I'm afraid.
Report this review (#1265529)
Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 | Review Permalink
1 stars I saw the overall average rating for this album and thought, "No way! This album can't be worse than 9012-Jive or Big Degenerator!" So I listened to it, and, uh, it's worse. It stinks. There's no real standout song anywhere in the album, no great instrumental passages, no lyric masterpieces, nothing. Just blah, boring AOR and pop, and not even good pop. I'd rather listen to Owner of a Lonely Heart than most of the songs on this album. I'd hoped the hidden track would bring the magic lacking on the rest of it, but it's just a long track of Newage punctuated by snippets of vocals from the other songs. Or outtakes of those. Well, OK, I've listened to it, now I don't have to do so again.

Putting on Relayer as the antidote.

Report this review (#1618952)
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2016 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
1 stars Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White, and Billy Sherwood kept Yes albums ticking over after a few line up changes and it has to be said that they were able to keep the Yes sound well and truly refined, but the song writing and production suffered. The harmonies on this album are occasionally phenomenal and of course Anderson's vocals are always a delight to the ears. "Open Your Eyes" is certainly not a great Yes album in the catalogue though it has a very bright uptempo feel, only ruined by over production and some really woeful tracks. There is little of any prog on here but it has a few decent vibrant rock songs nevertheless.

New State of Mind is a rocker that blows the cobwebs out of the speakers, with killer harmonies and welcome back Mr Howe. This is followed by OPen Your Eyes, a wonderful trtack with some vocals from Squire and Anderson trading off, you have to love that. This has an awesome bassline and some beautiful keyboard melodies. This is a definitive highlight on the album and indeed should have recognition in the 90s Yes catalogue as a highlight.

No Way We Can Lose is very unlike anything Yes did in the past but its radio friendly sound will appeal to some. Its nice but forgettable to be honest. The positive sound generated makes one long for a nice dark Wakeman keyboard melody or a Topographic moment, but you'll get none here. Its accessible for sure but that keyboard solo by Igor Khoroshev is dreadful. And Chris Squire get off that harmonica please.

Universal Garden has some spacey atmospheres, very good lead breaks and the vocals by Anderson are well executed. It may be the best track on this mediocre album.

Fortune Seller takes a funk dive into the depths of over produced drivel. Its a slam dunk in the face of a progressive band that have simply lost their way here. The harmonies are grating on the nerves and its too glossy and bright with nothing much to recommend it in the way of a decent instrumental break or lyrics.

Love Shine has an over produced bright crispy sound with too many harmonies. Its just saturated with saccharine sugar and sprinkled over with dollops of maple syrup. I had syrup dripping out of my speakers after this it is so saccharine.

From The Balcony is a gentle approach and a very pretty tune that I have heard live somewhere. It is a shining light amidst a lot of dull tracks. Anderson is virtually solo and it works well.

Somehow Someday is really annoying and frustrating as there are shades of the classic Yes style but is ruined by music that does not seem to fit.

Billy Sherwood does nothing to augment the Yes sound, but this album is worth one listen to hear some of the experimental solo album styles of Squire and Howe. It does not sound like a Yes album because they had shed their old style and not many were impressed. It has to go down as one of the worst in the catalogue. Now I am off to wash my ears out with a dose of "Fragile".

Report this review (#1819307)
Posted Sunday, November 5, 2017 | Review Permalink

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