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Jon Anderson Animation album cover
3.37 | 145 ratings | 18 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Olympia (4:58)
2. Animation (9:07)
3. Surrender (3:53)
4. All in a Matter of Time (3:06)
5. Unlearning the Dividing Line (4:56)
6. Boundaries (3:20)
7. Pressure Point (3:20)
8. Much Better Reason (4:27)
9. All God's Children (4:25)

Total Time 41:32

Bonus tracks on 2006 CD release:
10. The Spell (previously unreleased) (11:40)
11. Spider (B-side) (2:51)

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Anderson / vocals, acoustic guitar, composer, co-producer

- Chris Rainbow / vocals
- David "Clem" Clempson / guitar
- David Sancious / keyboards
- Stefano Cerri / bass
- Simon Phillips / drums, percussion

- Dave Lawson / keyboards
- Ronnie Leahy / keyboards
- Blue Weaver / keyboards
- Chris Pyne / trombone
- Henry Lowther / trumpet
- Dick Morrissey / saxophone
- Tony Stanton / brass
- The Delme String Quartet / strings
- David Ogden / string arrangements
- John Giblin / bass
- Bill Kristian / bass
- Jack Bruce / bass
- Morris Pert / drums
- Ian Wallace / drums
- Brett Morgan / drums
- Brother James / percussion
- "Brazil Idiots" / percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Ed Prasek

LP Atlantic ‎- SD 19355 (1982, US)

CD Opio Media ‎- OPIOVP01CD (2006, UK) Remastered by Mike Petrini with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy JON ANDERSON Animation Music

JON ANDERSON Animation ratings distribution

(145 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (37%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

JON ANDERSON Animation reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lor68
4 stars With the support of one of the best session men (Clem Clempson, former COLOSSEUM member) and the unforgettable bass player Stefano Cerri, they performed a good material, not strictly progressive, but with a strong attitude to such work in progress!!

This could be a true testament, regarding a very young Stefano Cerri , unfortunately recently missed ever!! Please don't forget his job and his precious collaboration with Jon as well!!

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album was released when prog music was under crisis as many of prog bands, including YES, went pop. Fortunately, this album is still in the corridor of prog music. Jon's solo albums have always been different with YES. He has a different style of musical creation that I think is a blend of world music and latin music. Ahem .. I probably push to hard in categorizing Jon's music. For the sake of building a "close" or "similar" association with previous albums where Jon was involved, I thing if you have ever heard "Circus of Heaven" of TORMATO album . yeah . it's that kind of music, I think. Even though it's not perfectly the same.

"Olympia" is a very nice opening track with intense latin music components at its interlude. "Animation" is really prog to the corner. Not because of its duration that qualifies it as pog song, i.e. greater to 8 minutes (rule of thumb?), but it has a variety of musical roots. The tempo varies significantly from happy rhythm at the beginning goes softly to a slower tempo. It's a very nice composition.

"Unlearning" intro is similar of any PETER GABRIEL composition. The body of the song is different even though the drum-looping sounds similar. You may recognize how unique John Giblin bass playing style appears at this track. This song has a strong pop touch. One important thing is that at the end of the track, Jon adds traditional GAMELAN BALI deep rooted from Bali Island, Indonesia. It's beautiful closing, I think.

"Boundaries" is a ballad with nice acoustic guitar rhythm and melody. This track was one of my favorites in mid eighties when this album was launched.

Overall, this album is enjoyable. As other Jon's solo albums, don't expect that this album is similar to any YES album. Jon's voice is perfect, backed up with well-known musicians such as Jack Bruce, Simon Phillips, John Giblin, Chris Rainbow and others. - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This was better than the previous Song of Seven. To be honest I far preferred Anderson working with Vangelis. The works being more consistent and complete apart from Olias which is a classic. Animation has some pearls as in Boundaries, All in a Matter of Time and the title track but personally the Gospel song, All God's Children, is hard work.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars At least, buy this record for the song "Animation". This song ( "Animation") is a delightful track of near 10 minutes of progressive music: it sounds like the 90125 album: just hear those wonderful vocals arrangements and those expressive keyboards, followed by a smoother subtly symphonic second part, and finally ending in a floating keyboards + piano. ANDERSON's lead vocals are excellent, as always, and the other songs definitely are more rythm oriented, joyful, well made, but not extremely refined. When you listen to those songs, you immediately conclude that Jon ANDERSON is a philanthropist.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Staying within the "boundaries"

Jon Anderson adopted a far more commercial approach with this his third solo album. Having started off with his most progressive and arguably best work ("Olias"), he moved towards more straight forward songs on "Song of seven", and continues on that course here. That in itself is not a criticism, he carries it off well.

The distinctive voice is there of course, but unlike "Olias" he does not take on the instrumental performances himself this time. Instead he leaves it to a number of more proficient players such as Blue Weaver (STRAWBS), Clem Clempson (who among other things played in ROUGH DIAMOND with DAVID BYRON of URIAH HEEP), Jack Bruce etc. The opening track "Olympia" reminds me a bit of Yes' "Arriving UFO", probably just because of the way Anderson sort of chants at the top of his range. I reckon the best track is "Boundaries", a Celtic ballad which has a softer feel. The final track, "All God's children" has a child choir and inevitably a hymnal feel to it.

The one track I could do without is "Animation", which seems to be a very personal tale of childbirth, too much information.

There's not much of Yes or even "Olias of Sunhillow" here, but as long as you accept this as a pretty commercial outing by Anderson, it's actually quite enjoyable.

Review by Matti
4 stars This album belonged strangely to my brother when I was 14-15 and started to play our family's records. There were also some other influential albums including Yes: 90125, Rush: Signals, plus some Saga and Asia, that had something to do with prog - of which I at the time didn't know yet. Of all these albums Animation had the strongest impact on me; more precisely, it was the long title track. It simply blew my young mind and transferred me into new magical spheres of music, the kind I had never heard before. It was PROGRESSIVE instead of normal verse/chorus/verse song structure. So I could say it all started right here (honorary mention goes to 'Telegraph Road' by Dire Straits).

'Animation' is still written in my memory even if I have listened to it very rarely since 80s. It must be the deepest existing expression of emotions about childbirth - by a man who "was there". Some chaos, pain (described by instrumental sections), and after all has settled, love and amazement of life's wonder. "There is nothing like seeing the birth of a child." It is wonderful, but probably only if you totally surrender to it emotionally.

The rest of the album always remained less important. I liked some other songs too, e.g. energic 'Olympia' about sports spectacle, pastroral 'Boundaries' and colourful 'Much Better Reason'. Without title track I might say this is well produced - rather 80-ish - and arranged, but nothing very special, in a same category as 90125 or actually less interesting in compositions. But as it has that 9-minute 'Animation', I say sincerely it's clearly the best Jon solo album I've heard. (3,5* rounded up.)

Review by ghost_of_morphy
3 stars This is Jon's OTHER prog album. (The main one being Olias, of course.) It's a welcome return from the drivel that he released on Song of Seven. Much like Peter Gabriel's first album, this album showcases a talented vocalist larking through a variety of musical styles. Jon doesn't go as far as the Gabe did (there's no barbershop or blues here) but he doesn't stray too far from prog in most of the tracks, either. Let's take a look at this one track by track.

Olympia (2/5): The beginning of Jon's love affair with electronica. I find this one mildly annoying. Animation (5/5): The masterpiece of the album. This song is prog through and through. Heck it's more prog than anything Yes was releasing at the time. The lyrics are a fairly serious meditation on what it means to come into existence. Lots of interesting little musical twists in this one, and whichever guy is drumming on this one is spot on. Surrender (2/5): Ok, a quick excursion into reggae, with some of Jon's campier lyrics. I must like this to give it more than one star. All In A Matter Of Time (5/5): Unusual chord changes and an interesting rhythym land this single firmly in prog land. A really nice effort from everybody involved in this gem. Unlearning The Dividing Line (3/5): Jon goes industrial!!!! It's interesting, but not the high point of the album by any means. Boundaries (4/5): Jon has claimed that this folkish anthem came to him in a dream. It's a nice song. It's sad that Jon ended up reusing parts of it in the dismal Yes album, Open Your Eyes. Pressure Point (2/5): Back to the industrial sound again. This one sounds disjointed and half formed. Much Better Reason (3/5): Soft rock with a Latin feel, I guess. It's much better than what you'd imagine Jon singing soft rock with a Latin feel would be, though. The break foreshadows what Jon would be doing in the next decade. All God's Children (4/5): One of those inspiring choral songs that Jon is so good at. A good conclusion to a decent album.

To sum this up, the album is a bit uneven but generally a good one. Animation and All In A Matter of Time are must hear songs, and there are a couple of tracks that are nearly as good, while there is nothing that is absolutely awful here. This isn't an essential prog album, but it is a very good one. 3 stars.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Animation is a slight improvement over the previous, uneven Song Of Seven and almost as good as the Yes album 90125 that was released the same year (which I consider the weakest Yes album of all time). Some moments on this album are slightly similar to Yes music (of the time), but there are also some moments that would not have fitted well on any Yes album. Obviously, as with most solo albums by singers, the songs here are vocally driven rather than instrumentally driven. But there are still some vaguely interesting instrumental moments.

The music here is both backward-looking and forward-looking in the sense that some moments remind of Song Of Seven and the late 70's Yes album Tormato, while other moments remind of 90125 and the Yes of the 80's. The emphasis is sadly on the latter, though.

The first half of the album is much stronger than the second half. Especially the three last tracks I find rather unremarkable. The folky Boundaries (haven't I heard that one before?) is probably my favourite song from this album together with Olympia and the title track (weird lyrics though!)

Only for hard core Yes fans, but not essential even for them.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars Animation is more or less the same as Song Of Seven. I can hardly distinguish the two albums and I tendentially prefer the previous because of its title track. I own this album since when it has been released but I haven't listen to it very often and I'm playing it while I'm writing because the last time I've heard it entirely was a lot of years ago.

"Olympia" is exactly how I was remembering: an 80s electro-pop song of the kind of the A side of Song of Seven. The title track is better. There are some vocal experiments and the echo of the YES can be heard. This is a truly prog song less influenced by the actual (poor) standards, with changes in signature, different sections and all the things that us proggers usually like.

Unfortunately also on this album Jon has put a bit of Calypso. In these years Jon was used to place at least one Caribbean or South-American song. This is the case of "Surrender", that's not the worst of the songs of this kind.

The synth guitar that opens "All In A Matter Of Time" is similar to Trevor Rabin's, but what follows appears musically like a song written for "3 Ships". If we don't consider the quite good keyboard and guitar solos in the middle, we can expect that Santa Claus is coming from the chimney.

80s electronic drums open "Unlearning". This is a good song in the vein of "Drama". A small piece of YES brought into this album. The chorus is unfortunately not as good as the rest of the song but it can be forgiven.

"Boundaries" is a ballad made of simple chords with a 12-strings guitar base. There's something similar on "Short Stories": respect to "The Road" that's the weakest song of Short Stories, this is really better.

By coincidence there's a "Pressure Point" that doesn't have anything to do with the Camel's one. This one is an electronic jazzy song. I say jazzy because of the signature and of the bass line that reminds to a famous Weather Report's song. A good keyboard riff enriches it.

also "Much Better Reason" is jazzy. Very far from Yes in this case. This could have been the best song of the album. The problem is in the samba percussions and the forgettable Italian lyrics that don't have anything to do with the rest of the song when he says: "Ooh this victory, Holy Mary, I'll say this". Can somebody explain to me what it means? How to destroy a good song in 15 seconds.

"All God's Children" starts with vocals, bass and percussions and soon becomes a kind of anthem. "All those children shall be free..." Not bad if you are used with Jon's solo things.

In the end I can say that I was remembering it more than I was expecting. Probably I've listened to it more than I remember. I'd say 2.5 stars, but I'm about to review "City of Angels", so I prefer rounding it up, this time.

Review by Guillermo
3 stars This album was also released in Mexico (on the Polydor label) in 1982 or in 1983. At that time, PolyGram Discos was releasing here very good albums from VANGELIS, JON AND VANGELIS, RUSH and others. I did not buy then this "Animation" album from JON ANDERSON, but one cousin bought it then. In fact, that cousin lent me some very good Prog Rock albums in the late seventies to mid eighties. He had then a very good collection of LPs, most of them being imported LPs not released in my country.

In 1982, YES as a band had split since early 1981, after their "Drama" album and tour with lead singer Trevor Horn , who replaced Jon Anderson in 1980. Despite the "Drama" album was somewhat successful, the "Drama" tour was problematic mainly for Horn who sometimes had problems singing the old songs from the band which were originally sung by Anderson. So, the band split, while Anderson released his "Song of Seven" album and also toured for that album in 1980. So, by 1982 YES was out of action for some time (but with some plans to reform the band, first as a band called CINEMA , with Chris Squire, Alan White, Trevor Rabin and Tony Kaye, which later became YES again when Anderson rejoined the band for their "90125" album in 1983). Former YES`s guitarist Steve Howe was in ASIA and having a lot of success with that band. YES released in late 1981 a compilation album called "Classic Yes" . So, by 1982 there was not a new YES album, and some of their former members were trying to establish themselves as soloists or as part of new bands like ASIA in a changing musical enviroment which by the early eighties was more influenced by the Pop Rock music style than from Prog Rock music style of the seventies.

If Anderson`s "Song of Seven" album sounded more like a continuation of his work with YES in their aborted recording sessions in Paris in late 1979 (before Anderson and Rick Wakeman left the band), wiht more "light" Pop Rock songs with some inlfuences from New Age music and Prog Rock music, in this "Animation" album Anderson carried on with even more influences from Pop Rock with some New Age and World Music inlfuences, with even less Prog Rock influences, and even some influences from Gospel music (particularly in "All God`s Children"). So maybe he was trying to adapt his work as soloist to a more Pop Rock musical style. For this album he had David Sancious as keyboard player (a very good keyboard player who also has worked with ZUCCHERO and STING, among a lot other musicians), very good drummer SIMON PHILLIPS and other very good musicians like the recently late CHRIS RAINBOW who sings very good backing vocals. This album also has a song called "Boundaries" which Anderson recorded again as "Somehow, Someday" with YES for their "Open Your Eyes" album from 1997. I think that this song even has some Scottish Folk musical influences which made me remember a bit WINGS`s "Mull of Kintyre" hit single from 1977 (but without using bagpipes). "Olympia" is maybe the most Pop Rock influenced song. The New Age musical inlfuences are very clear in the "Animation" song.

Even if this "Animation" album is really a mixture of musical styles with the Pop Rock musical style of the early eighties being the main ingredient. I think that JON ANDERSON was then really establishing his own musical identity as a soloist, maybe a bit influenced by his work with VANGELIS. This "Animation" album is a good album, maybe a bit "light" for my taste, but very original in musical style. Unfortunately for Anderson, this album, like "Song of Seven" was not very successful in the record charts. So this maybe was the main reason that made him re-join YES in 1983 for their very successful "90125" album. He even toured a bit to promote "Animation" in 1982.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Jon Anderson's 3rd solo album was released in 1982 (a year before the release of Yes' "90125" and during a time when he was collaborating with Mike Oldfield and Vangelis. With this album, Jon strives to make his sound quite accessible, but he does it without compromising his overall sound and style. He seems to touch on several different sounds and styles with this album making it more like his own album with the Vangelis influence less present as on his first solo album. The music ranges from a long progressive track (Animation) to reggae (Surrender), to latin (Much Better Reason), to acoustic (Boundaries). He does all this by using several different artists (Jack Bruce, Simon Phillips and David Sancious) to help him out as he did in the album "Song of the Seven", though this one sounds much more polished. He even used producers (Neil Kernon who worked with Hall & Oates, Tony Visconti who worked with David Bowie and T. Rex) that were used to working with popular styles.

Olympia - Upbeat with a guitar-led intro and then a bunch of synths come in. Anderson uses his familiar voice for a try at more accessible music. The squeals from the synth are a bit unnecessary along with the electronic blips and bleeps, but the track overall is good. The guitar continues to have a nice presence. Some mixed field recordings in the break.

Animation - This is the album's centerpiece even if it is at the beginning. It seems that the track is placed here purposely to appeal to the proggers who might expect some more complexity, and that's what you get here with this nine minute title track. The music weaves around some changing and complex rhythms, moods and styles. It could have fit pretty well on a Yes album, but the lyrics are definitely personal to Jon which is why it works better on a solo record. The last part of the track turns to a quiet, pensive sound with Jon's vulnerable vocals backed by piano and keys.

Surrender - Rolling percussion and twinkling synths bring in a mid-tempo track with a nice soft reggae backbeat returns to a more accessible style. Vocal layers are mixed in a choral feel.

All in a Matter of Time - Another mid-tempo song but this time with a nice flowing feel. Nice mix of guitar and synth here.

Unlearning (The Dividing Line) - A bit of a funky rhythm heavy on the bass and percussion makes for a catchy track and a good melody which isn't necessarily typical, but still accessible. Multiple vocal lines make for an interesting center section.

Boundaries - Twinkling keys and acoustic guitar bring this nice track in which sounds somewhat similar to "Wondrous Stories", and that's a good thing.

Pressure Point - Tricky percussion line and processed vocals bring this in and the melody line is a tad more complex this time around, so you could almost pass this one off as progressive. Nice harmonies and use of electronic effects.

Much Better Reason - Mid tempo with some latin-jazz leanings.

All God's Children - Percussion heavy with a steady beat and what sounds like a large choir for an uplifting track with a tribal flavor.

There is a lot of variety to this album and the songs are all very positive and bright as you would expect from Jon Anderson. Even though the progressive style is limited to 2 tracks, this is still an album I enjoy mostly because of the wide variety here which is accomplished while still making the album rather cohesive. Quite frankly, none of it sound too contrived (except for maybe the last track to a degree), so it manages not to get on my nerves after all this time. As a side note, there was a follow up to this album planned, but it never came to be with some material reworked into "90125". I would rate this as a 3.5 album, but I'll round it down because of the limited use of progressive style.

Latest members reviews

5 stars "Animation" is an exceptional album by Jon Anderson that showcases his unique blend of poetic lyrics, soaring vocals, and diverse musical influences. Released in 1982, this album is a stunning example of Anderson's exceptional talent as a musician and songwriter. The album's opening track, "Olymp ... (read more)

Report this review (#2635914) | Posted by VanDerProg | Sunday, November 21, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a difficult record. It suffers from (too) loud production. Also Jon tries too hard to be both progressive (Animation and Olympia) and pop (Surrender, All in a Matter of Time, etc.) The songs that work the best for me, is when the band is more funky/fusion, especially on tracks like U ... (read more)

Report this review (#1597943) | Posted by Kingsnake | Tuesday, August 16, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is the second best album from Jon-- the first being Olias. While the music of this is album close to pop as most of them are very catchy. No matter what many others say, they are great and the songs are outstanding. The songs are straightforward; except for in the case of the title Animation ... (read more)

Report this review (#499139) | Posted by Sharier | Sunday, August 7, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Animation is a strong album from Jon that manages to be both fun and intricate. The pop- feeling on the album comes more from the tone of the music than the actual structure. It brings to mind Kaipa with their bouncing, symphonic style of prog. The album is largely keyboard- based with over-d ... (read more)

Report this review (#498740) | Posted by Earendil | Saturday, August 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great album of the great singer of the great community named Yes! At least definitely much better than Yes' 1983 album "90125". I had listened to this one when i was fourteen, and I loved into from first listening. There are many good tunes, amongst of may to mark out these. Of course, my belove ... (read more)

Report this review (#278805) | Posted by ssudak | Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars most of this album suffers from the early 80 synth and drum boxes, some have real drums on it, those songs are good enough songs with minor prog influences in it...there are alot of crappy songs here (Surrender,Unlearning The Dividing Line, much better reason and finally killing the album with ... (read more)

Report this review (#109187) | Posted by zebehnn | Saturday, January 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Please, please release this on CD! My vinyl copy has become warped. I really like this album. It's Anderson being more commercial without being slick and cynical. Catchy melodies, nice instrumentation thanks to a very strong lineup of session musicians. "All in a Matter of Time" got a lot of r ... (read more)

Report this review (#42034) | Posted by | Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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