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OPEN YOUR EYES

Yes

Symphonic Prog


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2.04 | 598 ratings | 63 reviews | 2% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. New State of Mind (6:00)
2. Open Your Eyes (5:14)
3. Universal Garden (6:16)
4. No Way We Can Lose (4:56)
5. Fortune Seller (5:00)
6. Man In The Moon (4:41)
7. Wonderlove (6:06)
8. From The Balcony (2:43)
9. Love Shine (4:37)
10. Somehow, Someday (4:47)
11. The Solution (5:25)

Total Time: 55:45

Lyrics

Search YES Open Your Eyes lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Anderson / vocals
- Chris Squire / bass, harmonica, vocals
- Billy Sherwood / guitars, keyboards, vocals
- Alan White / drums, percussion, vocals
- Steve Howe / guitars, steel, mandolin, banjo, vocals

Occasional guests:
- Igor Khoroshev / keyboards
- Steve Porcaro / keyboards

Releases information

1997: Beyond Music/ Eagle Records EAGCD013/ GAS 0000013 EAG/ EDL EAG 013-2
CD (.U.S., 1997): Beyond Music BYCD3074

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Guillermo for the last updates
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YES Open Your Eyes ratings distribution


2.04
(598 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(2%)
2%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(7%)
7%
Good, but non-essential (26%)
26%
Collectors/fans only (36%)
36%
Poor. Only for completionists (30%)
30%

YES Open Your Eyes reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#13931) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Review by Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
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!

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Send comments to Marc Baum (BETA) | Report this review (#13939) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#13941) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 17, 2004

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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!

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#13951) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 01, 2005

Review by kunangkunangku
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to kunangkunangku (BETA) | Report this review (#43425) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, August 19, 2005

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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 Ascension², 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.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#90192) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 18, 2006

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#106459) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 07, 2007

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#114129) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 03, 2007

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
1 stars LOST IN TRANSLATION!!

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

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Send comments to febus (BETA) | Report this review (#127262) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2007

Review by ghost_of_morphy
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Monday, July 02, 2007

Review by progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Monday, July 30, 2007

Review by 1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Posted Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Posted Friday, November 02, 2007

Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
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!" True enough, which is why I'm able to recognize a discouraging lack of the same elsewhere on 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 early Yes?

The album doesn't even deserve a second "fans only" pity star, because 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!)

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Posted Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Posted Thursday, April 03, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars The solution: open your eyes and enter a new state of mind!

I can hardly believe the low ratings and the bad reviews this album gets. Open Your Eyes is by no means as bad as people seem to think. I can really enjoy this album. Steve Howe is back in the band here and his instantly recognizable guitar sound is clearly present. But the real star of this album is Chris Squire; his 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.

Billy Sherwood joined the band full time for this album and I suspect that Chris and Billy had a big part in the song writing for this album, the style of these songs reminding me of Conspiracy - the band that Chris and Billy would found a couple of years later. This similarity is not a bad thing for me, Conspiracy made some good music too in my opinion.

Open Your Eyes consists of good, very melodic songs. The three first ones are even great! I agree that this music is a bit less instrumental and perhaps more "commercial" in some sense than many other Yes albums, but it is still miles above 90125 and also better than Talk and Big Generator. Open Your Eyes is very much an album by the Yes of old, much more so than the albums just mentioned. 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 a 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.

Open Your Eyes is by no means among the best Yes albums, indeed it is among the least good ones, but hardly the worst - and it is still very good! I can understand why people are not too impressed by this, but I cannot understand how you can think that this is a poor album. I will not fall for the temptation to give it four stars just to compensate for other people's low ratings. I always give an album what I consider a fair rating and I give Open Your Eyes three solid stars.

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Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Monday, August 18, 2008

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
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!!

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Posted Monday, September 15, 2008

Review by poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
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 are:1.it is better than the previous one - Talk and 2.there are good looking songs like the listed above.

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Posted Sunday, October 05, 2008

Review by MovingPictures07
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#219570) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR 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!!!

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#232136) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 17, 2009

Review by TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to TheGazzardian (BETA) | Report this review (#257474) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#295842) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
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.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#357475) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, December 19, 2010

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion 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.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#383759) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review by thehallway
PROG REVIEWER
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!

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Send comments to thehallway (BETA) | Report this review (#409111) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 28, 2011

Review by Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Yes: Open Your Eyes [1997]

Rating: 4/10

After the sublime Keys to Ascension albums, it seemed like Yes had finally left their pop-rock dabbling behind. Those two albums represented a glorious return home, and it appeared that Yes was there to stay. However, the band quickly decided to embark on another inexplicable journey into mediocrity. That journey is Open Your Eyes. Much of the material on this album was originally intended to be part of a Squire/Sherwood collaboration called Conspiracy, but Anderson's interest turned it into a full Yes project. Open Your Eyes is a pop/hard-rock venture. It's similar to Union in many ways, even though it's a significant improvement over that album; there are some enjoyable moments here.

The opener "New State of Mind" is a heavy rock song centered upon an uncreative riff and vocal harmonies. The title track is an entirely vocally-driven pop song. It's nothing special at all, but I do like the chorus. The classical guitar intro to "Universal Garden" is a high point on the album. The rest is neither great nor terribly objectionable. "No Way We Can Lose" certainly doesn't contain any groundbreaking songwriting or musicianship, but it's too uplifting to inspire any sort of strongly negative reaction. "Fortune Seller" is another dull pop-rock song, even though Howe does do some decent work here. "Man on the Moon" is centered on a simple synth riff and is darker in tone. While indeed nothing amazing, it has subjective charm for me and is one of my favorites on the album. "Wonderlove" features unbelievably lame lyrics and boring musicianship. "From the Balcony" is a short ballad with decent acoustic guitar and crooning. The weak lyrics throw the song off, however. "Love Shine" is another vocally-driven pop-rock song. The "One Two Three Four Five Six Seven" sections are epitomes of lazy songwriting for the band. "Somehow, Someday" improves things; although stylistically similar to the rest of the album, it's uplifting and competently written. "The Solution" is another dull pop-rock song followed by a useless sixteen-minute hidden track of nature sounds.

Unlike many people, I don't consider Open Your Eyes to be Yes's worst album. It's surely the most disappointing considering Yes's status prior to its release, but there are some pleasant moments and nothing is entirely unlistenable. Regardless, it's an extremely mediocre album, and it's hard to understand why these incredible musicians, unrestricted by 80s cultural trends, settled for something this sub-par.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#420131) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review by colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#429359) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 08, 2011

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#518819) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 09, 2011

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#1236655) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Latest members reviews

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 nee ... (read more)

Report this review (#1265529) | Posted by Rednight | Sunday, August 31, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1207477) | Posted by Chewie | Thursday, July 10, 2014 | Review Permanlink

1 stars and close your ears. 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 end ... (read more)

Report this review (#920541) | Posted by ster | Wednesday, February 27, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 i ... (read more)

Report this review (#913562) | Posted by wehpanzer | Thursday, February 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 Stev ... (read more)

Report this review (#592302) | Posted by 7headedchicken | Tuesday, December 20, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 somethi ... (read more)

Report this review (#395544) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, February 06, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars TWO AND A HALF STARS FOR A MESSY, MEDIOCRE ALBUM 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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#358305) | Posted by Brendan | Monday, December 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#275859) | Posted by mohaveman | Thursday, April 01, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 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 ab ... (read more)

Report this review (#204754) | Posted by tmay102436 | Sunday, March 01, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#191004) | Posted by Erik Nymas | Saturday, November 29, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#190119) | Posted by stv jns | Friday, November 21, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Open your eyes and discover....so 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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#188566) | Posted by ignatiusrielly | Sunday, November 09, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#183747) | Posted by Rikki Nadir | Friday, September 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#182546) | Posted by Yes I am | Monday, September 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 t ... (read more)

Report this review (#178342) | Posted by Resurrected | Monday, July 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#173080) | Posted by nahnite | Thursday, June 05, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#159796) | Posted by AmericanKhatru | Saturday, January 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#131005) | Posted by sivadavis | Tuesday, July 31, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#113209) | Posted by Evandro Martini | Thursday, February 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#110082) | Posted by | Wednesday, January 31, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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