Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom

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Yes biography
YES formed in 1968 with Jon ANDERSON (vocals), Chris SQUIRE (bass, vocals), Peter BANKS (guitar, vocals), Tony KAYE (keyboards), and Bill BRUFORD (drums). Well-known and influential mainstream progressive from the 1970's, and still around in some form ever since, they were highly influential in their heyday, especially notable for the really creative "Relayer", which included at the time Swiss keyboardist Patrick MORAZ who replaced Rick WAKEMAN

During the 1970s, YES pioneered the use of synthesizers and sound effects in modern music. Driven by Jon's artistic vision, they produced such timeless, symphonic-rock masterworks as "Roundabout," "Close To the Edge," and "Awaken". In the 1980s, YES pushed new digital sampling technologies to their limits, selling millions of records and influencing a generation of digital musicians with classics like "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" and "Rhythm Of Love". Moving through the 1990s and into the new millennium, the band keeps expanding its boundaries by using the latest hard-disk recording techniques and, most recently, working with a full orchestra to create their genre-defying music.

YES gained large popularity with their brand of mysticism and grand-scale compositions. "Fragile" and "Close to the Edge" are considered their best works as it's symphonic, complex, cerebral, spiritual and moving. These albums featured beautiful harmonies and strong, occasionally heavy playing. Also, "Fragile" contained the popular hit song "Roundabout". This was followed by the controversial "Tales from Topographic Oceans" LP, which was a double album consisting of only four 20-minute length suites centering on religious concepts. Also, "Relayer" was their most experimental, yet grandiose and symphonic. They broke up, until the new jewel "Going For The One" and its incredible "Awaken" was issued in 1977. In later years, YES would go through many transformations. There were other very good YES albums after "Going For The One" ("Drama", "Keys To Ascension" and suprisingly "The Ladder") but this is the last great album.

These albums can be found under Various Artists - Concept albums and themed compilations :
Yes - Solo Family Album (19...
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Buy YES Music

Heaven & EarthHeaven & Earth
Frontiers Records (Universal) 2014
Audio CD$8.25
$9.50 (used)
Songs From Tsongas 35th Anniversary ConcertSongs From Tsongas 35th Anniversary Concert
Eagle Rock Entertainment 2014
Audio CD$23.47
Elektra / Wea 2003
Audio CD$6.07
$4.65 (used)
Yes AlbumYes Album
Panegyric 2014
Blu-ray Audio$23.72
$28.53 (used)
Fly From HereFly From Here
Deluxe Edition
Frontiers Records 2011
Audio CD$10.99
$8.50 (used)
Close to the Edge [Blu-ray]Close to the Edge [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray · Import
Panegyric 2013
$24.99 (used)
The Studio Albums 1969-1987The Studio Albums 1969-1987
Atlantic Catalog Group 2013
Audio CD$41.38
$58.80 (used)
Elektra / Wea 2004
Audio CD$2.83
$0.99 (used)
Tales From Topographic OceansTales From Topographic Oceans
Rhino/Elektra 2003
Audio CD$10.66
$10.99 (used)
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YES shows & tickets

  • Yes Australian Tour on 15 Nov 2014
  • An Evening With Yes on 18 Nov 2014
  • Yes performing Close To The Edge & Fragile on 23 Nov 2014
  • Yes performing Close To The Edge & Fragile on 24 Nov 2014
  • Yes performing Close To The Edge & Fragile on 25 Nov 2014
  • Yes performing Close To The Edge & Fragile on 27 Nov 2014
  • Yes performing Close To The Edge & Fragile on 28 Nov 2014

YES discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

YES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.23 | 884 ratings
3.26 | 930 ratings
Time and a Word
4.28 | 1937 ratings
The Yes Album
4.42 | 2405 ratings
4.65 | 3144 ratings
Close To The Edge
3.88 | 1723 ratings
Tales From Topographic Oceans
4.36 | 2098 ratings
4.04 | 1400 ratings
Going for the One
2.94 | 1064 ratings
3.75 | 1166 ratings
2.92 | 1103 ratings
2.46 | 799 ratings
Big Generator
2.48 | 737 ratings
3.04 | 661 ratings
2.04 | 585 ratings
Open Your Eyes
3.27 | 686 ratings
The Ladder
3.77 | 796 ratings
3.45 | 777 ratings
Fly From Here
2.55 | 240 ratings
Heaven & Earth

YES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.29 | 685 ratings
3.63 | 351 ratings
2.24 | 180 ratings
9012 Live: The Solos
4.11 | 369 ratings
Keys to Ascension
3.95 | 346 ratings
Keys to Ascension 2
2.53 | 107 ratings
BBC Sessions 1969-1970 Something's Coming (2 Cds)
3.59 | 163 ratings
House of Yes: Live From the House of Blues
2.79 | 65 ratings
2.64 | 33 ratings
Extended Versions
2.91 | 29 ratings
Roundabout: The Best Of Yes- Live
3.22 | 118 ratings
The Word Is Live
3.82 | 123 ratings
Live at Montreux 2003
4.26 | 216 ratings
Symphonic Live
4.46 | 93 ratings
Keys To Ascension (I & II + DVD)
3.36 | 25 ratings
Astral Traveller (The BBC Sessions)
3.58 | 98 ratings
In The Present - Live From Lyon
3.49 | 26 ratings
Union Live

YES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.62 | 131 ratings
Yessongs (DVD)
3.14 | 81 ratings
9012 LIVE (DVD)
4.32 | 73 ratings
Yesyears - A Retrospective
3.70 | 37 ratings
The Union Tour Live
2.88 | 43 ratings
Greatest Video Hits
3.57 | 97 ratings
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (DVD)
3.65 | 103 ratings
Keys to Ascension (DVD)
4.59 | 258 ratings
Symphonic Live (DVD)
3.15 | 59 ratings
2.35 | 68 ratings
Live in Philadelphia 1979
3.09 | 27 ratings
Inside Yes 1968-1973
3.59 | 71 ratings
Yes Acoustic: Guaranteed No Hiss
4.28 | 139 ratings
Songs From Tsongas: 35th Anniversary Concert (DVD)
3.38 | 55 ratings
Live 1975 At Q.P.R. Vol. 1
3.27 | 50 ratings
Live 1975 At Q.P.R. Vol. 2
3.60 | 48 ratings
Yes (Classic Artists)
3.91 | 111 ratings
Montreux 2003 (DVD)
3.86 | 48 ratings
Yes - The New Director's Cut
3.81 | 42 ratings
The Lost Broadcasts
3.15 | 27 ratings
Rock Of The 70's
3.91 | 51 ratings
Union - Live

YES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.15 | 170 ratings
3.87 | 140 ratings
Classic Yes
3.23 | 87 ratings
3.40 | 60 ratings
3.04 | 63 ratings
The Very Best of Yes
2.58 | 30 ratings
The Best of Yes
3.55 | 435 ratings
2.72 | 21 ratings
4.30 | 96 ratings
In A Word
3.18 | 85 ratings
Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection
2.06 | 55 ratings
Yes Remixes
2.50 | 22 ratings
Topography: The Yes Anthology
4.16 | 25 ratings
Essentially Yes
3.42 | 17 ratings
Collection 2CD: Yes

YES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.21 | 24 ratings
Something's Coming
3.34 | 13 ratings
Looking Around
2.79 | 25 ratings
Sweetness / Something's Coming
3.24 | 13 ratings
Sweet Dreams
3.76 | 29 ratings
Time and a Word
3.89 | 38 ratings
Your Move
3.21 | 37 ratings
3.48 | 14 ratings
Yes Solos
3.17 | 34 ratings
Soon - Sound Chaser - Roundabout
3.61 | 36 ratings
Wonderous Stories 12''
3.89 | 35 ratings
Going For The One 12''
2.58 | 41 ratings
Don't Kill The Whale
3.18 | 29 ratings
Into The Lens / Does It Really Happen?
4.20 | 37 ratings
2.28 | 35 ratings
Owner of a Lonely Heart (promo single)
2.20 | 34 ratings
Owner of a Lonely Heart (EP)
3.27 | 29 ratings
Leave It 12''
3.49 | 26 ratings
It Can Happen
2.81 | 19 ratings
Twelve Inches on Tape
3.27 | 22 ratings
Love Will Find A Way
2.45 | 31 ratings
Rhythm of Love (EP)
3.29 | 19 ratings
Saving My Heart
2.44 | 35 ratings
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
2.82 | 19 ratings
Make It Easy
2.52 | 10 ratings
Yesyears - Sampler
2.81 | 13 ratings
The Calling (single edit)
3.17 | 54 ratings
We Can Fly - Single (Radio Edit)

YES Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Open Your Eyes  by YES album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.04 | 585 ratings

Open Your Eyes
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Rednight

1 stars Ouch! It's nice to see the boys efficiently harmonizing and playing snappy music, but it has to be good music, and that's hard to conclude for Open Your Eyes. There are enough good reviews here to adequately convey what a poor, money-grabbing effort this was by the Yes- sters, so there's no need to jump too high up on the bandwagon. I will say that the first three songs are somewhat likeable, and it's nice to here Chris Squire alive again on Man In the Moon, but the thing as a whole can be summed up in one word - sucky. And how foul it was to have over 14 minutes or so of ambient filler at album's end for the listener to have to sit through (or fast forward past). I bought the thing when it first came and got rid of it to a used record store just as fast. Over the years, I'd wondered if I hadn't been too hasty, so I snapped it up recently at same said used record store only to be assured that my first instincts had been sound. Unless you want to make the same mistake, just stay clear of Open Your Eyes altogether. For die-hard completists only, I'm afraid.


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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.55 | 240 ratings

Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Rikki Nadir

4 stars There is nothing particularly wrong about this album, all the key elements that had make Yes the best (prog) Rock band ever, are still here but displayed softer, slower and quieter. Howe is in very fine form, and that is enough to make a very good Yes Album. If you are an Anderson's widow, you should be surprised to listen to a young Jon Anderson clone singing lead vocals here. A priori, the only daunting thing is the involvement of Billy Sherwood but, thankfully, his presence doesn't spoil the overall effort, wich is miles away from the shame that Open Your Eyes was.

Not a Masterpiece, although a very nice listening experience.


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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.55 | 240 ratings

Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by oldfieldolli

3 stars Softer side of Yes! Not so bad album at all. Last song is excellent and I also like an opening track and To Ascend which is a very beautiful tune. The Howe composition, It was all We Know, is catchy. The worst song is Light of the Ages which is just dull. The cover art is one of the Dean's best works.One thing is disturbing me. Is it really so, that if you want to sing in Yes, you have to sound like Jon Anderson or your name must be Jon? Ok, as I said not bad at all, but maybe next time a bit more rock album. Three and a half stars.


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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.55 | 240 ratings

Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

1 stars "I don't want to end up like grandmaster Max Roach, the American living legend, he of the MacArthur Foundation Grant. Last time I heard him, and it was shortly before he passed away, there was daylight between him and the bass player. Not even close. How are the mighty fallen. You don't want to see Muhammad Ali in the ring again, do you? Get outta here."

- Bill Bruford, The Autobiography, 2009

Two major changes happened to Yes in the time between Fly From Here and this one. First: in one of the all-time great ironies, Benoit David came down with a serious respiratory illness, needed to be replaced for a tour in 2012, and learned through a magazine interview Squire gave that he was out of the band for good. For his replacement, Yes turned to one Jon Davison, another high-pitched vocalist in the Anderson mold, and somebody who had spent a couple of years as the lead singer of Glass Hammer. I've only heard a pretty small amount of Glass Hammer, a Tennessee-based prog band that started in the 90s and was still going strong when Davison joined, but based on what I've heard (some scattered YouTube clips, plus Davison's first album with the band, If, which seems to be the best-regarded of the albums he did with Glass Hammer), it would be hard for me to come up with a band that would appeal to me less. While Davison didn't have much to do with the actual music that I've heard from Glass Hammer (his contributions were mostly limited to his singing and to some lyrics), he is nonetheless the front man of those performances, and if his Anderson-knockoff vocal approach doesn't hurt the music he sings over, it doesn't help things either.

The second change was much more important, however, and it not only ended up amplifying whatever fundamental problems the band had at this point, it also helped make the new inclusion of Davison much more important than it should have been. Trevor Horn, who had produced Fly From Here and had provided a great deal of direction in the process of making that album, decided to leave and do other things. Well, the band had to find somebody to produce them, and they ended up settling on Roy Thomas Baker, a choice that seems innocent but should have sent a shiver of horror down the spine of every serious Yes fan when it was revealed. Baker's production credits are pretty decent on the whole, but I'd far prefer that Yes had hooked up with somebody with no history with the band rather than the person who had been in charge for the aborted Paris Sessions back in 1979. The selection of Baker (not to mention the inclusion of Billy Sherwood, who had some mixing responsibilities) makes it seem like the band had tried to get on board with anybody who had worked with the band in some capacity at some point, and I can't help but think of a lonely drunk flipping through his contacts on a Friday night and trying to find an old girlfriend to hook up with. The only choice that could have horrified me more would have been Jonathan Elias.

So why is it that replacing Horn with Baker would horrify me so much? There are a couple of main reasons. The first: back in 1979, the sessions with Baker heading things up essentially left the band for dead, and it was only when Horn and Downes came to replace Anderson and Wakeman (with Eddie Offord in tow) that the band was able to revive itself and make another pretty strong album (which I still insist Drama is). That the situation reversed course, with Horn leaving after helping to revive the band and squeezing a pretty good album out of them, then bringing in Baker to replace him, strikes me as rife with symbolic badness. The second: with Horn heading things up on Fly From Here, the album could be summarized in ways that would make it seem promising despite the sketchy circumstances that led up to its creation. It was a chance for something like the Drama sequel that never happened, with Howe/Squire/White tapping into a version of themselves from long ago! It didn't matter that they didn't have a bunch of new material ready, because there was a whole bunch of interesting old Buggles material, waiting to be updated and given a Yes sheen! Geoff Downes could tap into his interesting younger self, the interesting Buggles keyboardist who did such a good job on Drama, and ease the nausea of everybody who didn't really like what he'd become with Asia! With Horn's departure, all of this fell apart. Whereas the Fly From Here group+producer combo be spun as "the Drama band, together again, plus an acceptable Anderson/Horn proxy," the lineup suddenly became half of Asia plus the somewhat ideas-bereft Squire and the rapidly declining White (who puts on one of the all-time great "keep getting dem checks" performances here), plus an Anderson-wannabe from a Yes-wannabe band. Whereas it had been ok for Squire and Howe to not contribute a great deal of new material, since so much of Fly From Here was reworked older material, suddenly there was no older material to rework, and the band had to call on Davison to contribute a lot to the songwriting (he has a full or partial credit on 7 of the 8 tracks, while none of the other members are credited on more than 3). Whereas Downes had shown a good balance between the approaches of his younger self and his current self on Fly From Here, this album has Downes reverting entirely to his current self, and unfortunately his current self is nothing like the vibrant but restrained player that made me like The Age of Plastic and Drama so much. The point is, Horn's departure, without being compensated by the arrival of an equally strong hand that could provide clear leadership, set off a significant chain reaction that created a circumstance that would lead to a bad album unless all of the parties involved stepped up their game significantly ... which they didn't.

I've listened to this album several times, hoping (though with rapidly dwindling faith) that my propensity towards finding more to like in a given Yes album than many people typically do would prompt me to like it more than others tend to. What ultimately ends up dooming my feelings towards this album is that I can't figure out what this album generally does well (or, at the least, what this album generally does well that would fall within the bounds of what I tend to value in rock music, prog included). There are some instrumental passages that I like: I enjoy the brief stretches at the beginning of "Believe Again" and "The Game" with Howe's sustained notes on electric guitar; I enjoy the majestic Howe-driven passage that occupies the first minute of "Light of the Ages"; I like the out-of-nowhere "don't worry we're still prog" bit jammed into the middle of "It Was All We Knew." Of course, the passage at the beginning of "Believe Again" is immediately swallowed up by a chintzy rising synth line that inexplicably functions as a crucial element of a middling pop song that has the audacity to last 8 minutes when it can barely sustain 4. There's a "we've got to do some Yes stuff here" lengthy instrumental passage in the middle, a "dark" break to contrast with the cheery banality of the rest, but it's one of the least interesting Howe passages ever on a Yes album, with one of the dinkiest guitar tones I can think of, and I'm fairly amazed that this passage made it into release.

"The Game" is one of Squire's two contributions to the album, and it's essentially a sequel to "The Man You Always Wanted Me to be" in that it contains a co-writing credit from former Syn-mate Gerard Johnson, though this one does not have Squire singing. It's also significantly less interesting to my ears than its predecessor, which may have been my least favorite track on Fly From Here but at least was pretty memorable throughout and had a nice combination of Squire/David harmonies up against decent Howe soloing. This one does itself no favors by lasting nearly seven minutes when it could get by with four or five, but I quite like the combination of Downes' keyboards with the decent vocal melody and that fun hook in the backing vocals. The "climax" sections at the end of each verse section seem a little overwrought to me, and Howe's guitar parts seem to get weirdly tangled up in knots in some spots, but I basically like most of his parts, and I like the song more than I don't. Meanwhile, if "The Game" is more or less the counterpart to "The Man You Always Wanted Me to be," then "It Was All We Knew" is more or less the counterpart to "Hour of Need" (it's another mid-tempo Howe semi-ballad, though without any "Your Move" throwback guitars), and while I kinda like the guitar line that drives the song forward and the mid-section instrumental passage (even if it sounds like something the 70s version of the band would have done if on tranquilizers), it also has the same issues as "Hour" with lyrics that don't quite mesh with the meter of their attached tune (I seriously cannot be the only person who hears this problem in these two songs), and the song ends up seeming a bit clunky.

All of the rest of the songs feature Davison as one of the credited songwriters, and all of them are problematic in their own way. The aforementioned "Light of the Ages," at the very least, has that nice opening stretch, but it completely disappears without an explicit reprise after the opening minute (there's probably a cannibalization of elements of this introduction found somewhere else in the song, but it hasn't jumped out at me), and it gives way to a song that alternates decently atmospheric balladry with awkward melodrama over the next six-plus minutes. I do like the ending repeated "I will follow" near the end, though. The Davison/Howe collaborations are the aforementioned "Believe Again" (bleh) and "Step Beyond," a clunky shuffling pop-rock song built around a pedestrian guitar line over a pedestrian beat and a silly keyboard line that amused me the first couple of times I heard it but started annoying the crap out of me by the third listen, and I just don't like it at all. The Davison/White collaboration is "To Ascend," which is five minutes of go-nowhere fluffery with lyrics like "Taking the time/On the weekend of prayer/A wounded bird in the hand/With the eyes of a child come to understand" and "Take me from where I am/As a freed bird flies from the hand." Listening to this is like stuffing yourself full of marshmallows; right after you're done, you're hungry again and your stomach hurts, and a few hours later you regret it all over again. This is on the short list of Yes songs that provoke a feeling of rabid irritation within me, and I'm the guy who will defend "Wonderlove" and "Love Shine" to anybody who wants to throw down.

The album's other Davison/Squire collaboration, "In a World of Our Own," is a sort of jazzy/music-hall shuffle, and I like the idea of the song more than I like the final product. I can actually very easily envision this having been featured on a (completely hypothetical) Squackett follow-up project to A Life Within a Day, with Steve Hackett and Roger King finding some way to take the core idea and either give it a darker edge or go the other way and accentuate the music hall aspects for all they're worth. Amanda Lehmann could have taken lead vocals, Gary O'Toole or Jeremy Stacey could have messed around with the drum part a bit, Hackett could done something a little more adventurous with the guitars ... alas, it was not to be, and a decent melody and framework is largely wasted.

Finally, the album concludes with a nine-minute Davison/Downes collaboration in "Subway Walls," which is somewhat in the "New Languages" mold (remember that one?) in that it has a long dramatic introduction that eventually gives way into a herky-jerky pop song with a meant-to-be-rousing chorus interspersed with noodling instrumental passages to boost its prog cred. Now, I'm not an enormous fan of "New Languages" (which I still consider to be a good 4:30 pop song unnecessarily bloated into a prog epic), but it has this one beat in every way; the opening instrumental passage of "Subway Walls" is filled with bombastic keyboard and xylophone parts that should be beneath Yes, the verses of the pop section are nowhere near as memorable as the "New Languages" one, the chorus doesn't even come close to the one in "NL" (which doesn't just have the chorus but also has that great transition from the herky-jerky verses), and the instrumental passages are much duller here than there. This one also has a big bombastic coda (not just instrumental, but also featuring Davison/Squire singing lines that culminate in a big "TRANSCEND!!!!!!" over the instrumental parts) that breaks the mold, but while Howe's soloing is actually pretty decent in this part, it comes across as too little too late.

The knee-jerk defense from somebody who wants to defend this album (I'm definitely not saying this is the only possible defense, but it seems like it's a common one) could likely take the form of something like "It's unreasonable to expect something like Fragile or Close to the Edge, just accept it for what it is!!!" The problem I have with this album is not that there isn't anything that lives up to the standard of "Roundabout" or "South Side of the Sky" or "Siberian Khatru"; this would be a completely unreasonable expectation if somebody held reaching this level as a pre-requisite of enjoyment, and I certainly do not have this expectation. The problem I have is that I don't believe anything on this album lives up to the standard of "Into the Storm" or (if we're dipping into the list of reworked older material) "Sad Night at the Airfield" or "Life on a Film Set," and there's little on here that I would perceive as living up to the standards of perfectly decent Life Within a Day material like "Aliens" or "Perfect Love Song." Furthermore, as much as the material on the album strikes me as falling in the range of middling to bad, there's also very little in the way of a diversification effect in tempo and style to boost it up at least a little bit. Ok, there's a smidge of variation in presentation (boring pop vs boring prog-pop hybrids, I guess), but only a smidge; if ever a Yes album absolutely needed a Howe acoustic guitar instrumental or three, it's this one. Or, for instance, couldn't Squire's songs have been reworked to give him a more prominent place in the vocal mix, maybe making him the clear lead in spots? Again, this comes back to the question of leadership; the band really needed to have somebody around to throw out a bunch of goofy ideas that might be unworkable on their own but could spur the band to try something unusual, instead of settling for the path of least resistance in so many cases. As for the "accept it for what it is" argument: there's too much good music in the world for me to force feed myself something like this, even if it's from one of my very favorite bands.

Now, with all of these downsides, a once unthinkable question had to be considered as I listened to this repeatedly: could it be that Yes had finally made an album that I could consider worse than Union? After all, as awful as it might be, Union does have three songs I genuinely enjoy ("Masquerade," "Lift Me Up," "The More We Live - Let Go"), whereas this album doesn't have any songs that I like even as much as those. So, I broke my long-ago vow, popped the entirety of Union onto my iPod, gave it a full listen for the first time in many years ... and holy hell, that album is awful and definitely worse than this one. No, this album may not live up to the best material of Union, but it also doesn't have anything as astoundingly soul-sucking as the three-song "Angkor Wat"/"Dangerous"/Holding On" sequence, not to mention other low points like "Shock to the System" or "Silent Talking." Honestly, this makes sense to me: as bad as much of this album might be, it's still the genuine product of a past-its-prime version of Yes, whereas so much of Union was the product of Jon Anderson, Jonathan Elias, and the bowels of Hell. With that perspective in mind, I can rank this album a nudge above Union, which is something, I guess.

It's presumptuous to insist that anybody should retire from recording new music if they don't want to; Yes really wanted to keep touring at this point, and (best as I've been able to gather, though it's possible I'm misinterpreting what I've read) they had an obligation to have an album out before the 2014 tour where they'd be playing Fragile and Close to the Edge in full in addition to material from a new album, so this album pretty much had to happen. I will say this instead: if this is genuinely the kind of music that the various members of Yes (especially Howe/Squire/White) wanted to make at this time, and if they were genuinely satisfied with the final product, then this means that they had, by this point, lost all connection to the younger versions of themselves, the ones who made so much music that has made my life and the lives of others so much better. Fly From Here retained that connection, and so did Magnification, and so did The Ladder (Open Your Eyes didn't really, but I still like it for other reasons), but this album suggests that it was gone for good. As hardcore as my fandom might be, and as much as I've tended to find some level of enjoyment in pretty much anything Yes has done in its old age (or, for that matter, in the bulk of its career), I just can't get behind this album when it sounds like the product of a listless, directionless, old version of the band. Yes, it charted respectably, but it came out in 2014, when so few albums were being sold that charting numbers basically became pointless, and it's hard to envision a scenario where, 50 years after release, the album would be regarded as anything but an embarrassment.


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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.55 | 240 ratings

Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars One benefit of this album was that it made me appreciate what Yes was attempting on "Fly From Here", which at the time I found to be a dissapointment. Hearing what these old guys (the core band members are all approaching 70) do here makes me understand the previous album a lot more.

The traditional Yes sound does still exist, but much more understated than ever before. For example, Believe Again is mostly a pop-based song, like much of the Trevor Rabin Yes lineup, but has a much more prog styled break section, that brings the entire track to life. Most of the pieces are performed in this way, sometimes using guitar, sometimes bass or keybaords to spice up the music. It also helps that Jon Davison's voice sounds very much like a young Jon Anderson, giving the music a more familiar tone than when Benoit David was in front. While not as lush and exciting as classic Yes, is does provide for a nice relaxing listening experience.

There are two standout tracks, Light Of The Ages and Subway Walls. The first, written by Davison, has a very Anderson-like sense of rhythm, and would have fit well on a classic albim like "Going For The One". The second, the closing track written by Geoff Downs and Davison, is a powerhouse of a track, that more closely resembles the strong pieces on "Drama".

While I can't say this is a masterpiece, with the toning down of the majority of tracks, I do enjoy it immensely. I still miss Jon Anderson in the band, but I feel this lineup is not as weak as I initially thought.

3.5 stars, rounded up.


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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.55 | 240 ratings

Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by FXM

4 stars "Heaven and Earth" is the ninteenth studio album (not counting Keystudio) and has certainly come in for a lot of negative criticism. Although most of the reviews giving one and two star ratings appeared before the album was even released!! That makes me wonder if those reviewers even listened to the disk or just heard a few low-res samples on the internet, or are diehard fans of old school Yes who don't think the band can exist without Jon Anderson.

Having listened to the album many times since it arrived in the post a few weeks ago I have absorbed the music and all its nuances to feel that I can offer an objective unbiased review.

First thing to comment on is the artwork which is a fine piece of Roger Dean painting.

The production by Roy Baker Thomas is first rate, instrumentation is crystal clear.

So how does Jon Davidson perform? I have seen Yes perform live three times since he joined the band and thought his singing was outstanding. He has no trouble reaching those high notes which Jon Anderson could achieve at his peak. In fact I would now prefer to listen to Davidson perform with them on tour rather than Anderson as his voice is not what it was, the last time I saw Yes with Anderson was about 10 years ago during a long tour and his voice was really suffering. On "Heaven and Earth" Jon Davidson is excellent and sounds as clear as a bell. So full marks for vocal performance.

As for the music I can't understand why this album has garnered such negative comment. It is one of their more mellow works probably closer in mood to Tormato than anything else in their discography as some reviewers have noted. Yes are not going to record "Close to the Edge" part 2, they have moved on from that I just wish some "fans" would move on too.

"Heaven and Earth" is one of the better albums that Yes have recorded since "Drama". "Magnification" was a good one but marred by some of those wimpy Anderson ballads that make me cringe. Thankfully the new release is free of those.

The first track on the album is "Believe Again" which is an excellent opener.

The album ends with the magnificent "Subway Walls" which starts with a baroque theme on keyboards. This is Geoff Downes' time to shine.

Steve Howe's guitar playing is outstanding throughout the disk. Chris Squire's bass playing is not too prominent on many of the tracks although he does come to the fore towards the end on "It Was All We Knew" and puts in a fine performance on "Subway Walls". I have never been fully convinced by Alan Whites' drumming, he is a solid player but lacks the flair of Bull Bruford. However, he also makes a fine contribution on this track

The only track I didn't think much of is "Step Beyond". The most off-putting aspect of this is the 1980's sounding keyboards. What was Downes thinking, surely he could have come up with something better than that.

In conclusion, I regard " Heaven and Earth" as a excellent album, it is mostly a fairly mellow recording but contains some superb musicianship especially from Howe who throws in lots of short intricate guitar pieces which are probably his best work in a long time. An album truly worthy of four stars and nothing less.


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 Yessongs by YES album cover Live, 1973
4.29 | 685 ratings

Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'Yessongs' - Yes (90/100)

I'll start this off by admitting that, for the longest time, I've had my doubts surrounding the worth of live albums. There's a dimension of immediacy and spontaneity in experiencing a band live that a pre-recorded product could never emulate; to me, it often seems like a live recording in rock music becomes limited. Though little of this criticism has anything to do with Yessongs, it does feel like most live rock albums sound like garbled facsimiles of a band's studio work, with three-word introductions and a static howl from a crowd that sounds the same no matter which album you're hearing their applause on. I think the way Yessongs has wowed me in spite of these doubts only goes to show what an amazing album it is. Consider me convinced that a live album can offer something fresh and exciting to a band's discography. If a band's studio performance suggests a default manner in which a song should be performed, it is the live album's duty to play with those conventions in the hopes of creating a fresh experience. Though it's still a bit rough around the edges, I cannot think of another live album in rock music- perhaps save for Led Zeppelin's How the West Was Won- that encapsulates the essence of a band so successfully.

There are plenty of things you can peg a live album's quality on, but the most determinant factor usually is (as evidenced here) the choice of songs themselves. Prime cuts have been drawn from The Yes Album, Fragile and Close to the Edge, with the latter of the three enjoying a complete representation. All three studio efforts have earned a spot as generally acknowledged classics in the progressive rock canon, and while I've never been entirely sold on the 'give peace a chance' cheer of The Yes Album, there's no doubt that the album's uplifting tone translates well in the live arena. "Southside of the Sky" would have made for a better choice than "Perpetual Change" or "Yours Is No Disgrace", and it would have been pretty cool to hear Yes attempt "We Have Heaven" live, but I don't think the selection of music can be faulted without delving into obsessive nitpickery.

Praise of the music itself should come as no surprise to anyone with experience in any of the three albums represented here. "Close to the Edge" is a perennial masterpiece of a composition which alone would be deserving of a paragraph's analysis (the likes of which I've given in the studio review). "Siberian Khatru" and "Yours Is No Disgrace" are heinously energetic rockers, with more than enough sophistication to keep the mind engaged as much as the body. On the other end stylistically, the slower pieces "Mood for a Day" and "And You And I" demonstrate Yes' rare ability as a prog band in tune with feeling and emotion. It might seem undercut to offer a live album as a perfect place to introduce oneself to yes, but Yessongs is an all-encompassing document of what made the band's golden era so awesome.

A short detour from Yes' flagship material comes in the form of "Excerpts from the Six Wives of Henry VIII", a medley comprised of sections from Rick Wakeman's then-recently released solo album. Besides taking a break from the longer-form epics and giving fans a taste of Yes music they may have never heard before, this inferno of synthesizers pretty much embodies the Yes keyboardist's style and approach. Grand piano tones are traded in for Moog synths, all under the context of Classical pomp and bombast. The mellotron interpretation of Handel's "Hallelujah" in particular is shockingly good. I've never been too inclined towards Wakeman's contributions to Yes' studio material, but here and throughout the rest of Yessongs, he does well to convince me he's deserving of the lavish praise people have aimed his way. The live setting offers more liberty for solos and extended instrumentation, and Wakeman has capitalized on the opportunity wonderfully. The same goes for Steve Howe, whose lead guitar playing has only benefited from these live renditions in the form of added flourishes, improvising and conscious deviations from the studio versions. "Siberian Khatru" and the instrumental passages of "Close to the Edge" are plenty fertile landscapes for this sort of creative license, and it's no surprise they've ended up becoming my two favourites on the album.

Fans of Bill Bruford's drumming should find "Perpetual Change" and "Long Distance Runaround / The Fish" to their liking (they are, I believe, the last published recordings of Bruford in his original stretch with the band) but Yessongs is an incredible introduction to Alan White, then a newbie to Yes but destined to become one of the band's longest-lasting members. Listening to the aggressively packed fills on "Siberian Khatru", I get the strong impression White was clearly set on impressing and staking his claim in the band. For my money, I've usually preferred White's work in Yes to that of Mister Bruford's, but there are clearly those within the band's fanbase that disagree. If you're one such listener, give Yessongs another spin and see what you think afterwards. Alan White nails it.

Of the criticisms I've seen regarding Yessongs, almost all are directed towards the quality of the recording itself. Re-issues appear to have solved some of the more overt flaws, but the sonic clarity is still a far cry from the studio material. To be honest, it doesn't affect an appreciation of the music at all. Yessongs isn't trying to compete with the studio versions, it's operating on a different wavelength. The fact alone that Yes can stay true to the original wonder of these songs while simultaneously refreshing them seems to achieve exactly what a live album should set out to do.


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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.55 | 240 ratings

Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Typically, I have always written my review while playing the music of the album being reviewed. But not this time. I do it intentionally for one chief reason: I don't want to listen to the album again and I don't want to force myself to have a listen for the sake of writing the review. And ...probably I only played the album three times with the third one was actually I forced myself to have it spun but ... I could not afford to continue it. Big apology for Chris, Steve and Alan as I have admitted myself being a big fan of YES but in fact I am not a loyal fans. I put my self as loyal prog music fans irrespective who is the band. If the music I consider it as prog and good quality, then I am on it. But if it's not .....whoever plays it I don't really care if I can not enjoy the music.

The only good thing about this album is its fabulous artwork. Oh there is also another thing: the legendary prog band Yes is still producing an album after decades of their existence in the music industry. The other good thing also is that John Davison voice is quite good and quite close to Anderson in some ways. But the music ...which is the most important one is not the one that I expected to be. First, it's quite weak on composition as the main structure lies on the kind of ambient flow with all soft sounds of almost everything: keyboard, guitar, drums and even voice. The dominating sound is really Chris' bass sounds that represent on how he played with The Sync. I can still find the nuances of Rickenbaker in his playing.

Second, melody line is quite weak even though it sounds OK at the beginning of the album, the opening and second track. But on the third track and later I feel so sleepy and get bored with the music that to me does not sound like it moves. It's so flat to my ears as I can not any beauty in its subtleties. I then start to blame on the limited capability of Geoffrey Downes on keyboard innovation. He only chooses simple notes and not really catchy to my ears. If he does play excellent, I think he can provide such inventive keyboard sound being a melody line. Unfortunately, it's not happening at all. There are only mediocre keyboard sounds throughout the entire album - or at least I fail to identify it as he plays so mediocre.

Third, there is basically no changes of styles or I would say the music is less dynamic than typical Yes music in the past. All flow from start to end so flat with no significant changes of style or tempo that truly represent standard progressive music. There is no inventive keyboard sounds like Awaken or energetic guitar work like in Perpetual Change or dynamic drumming like in Roundabout. Nothing that sounds significant in terms of changes.

Fourth, you might consider the structural integrity is quite good as all songs are alike. But this creates problems, obviously, as it becomes sooo boring listen to the music with basically no movement or very little movement from start to end. What structural integrity of an album serves you if at first you don't enjoy any piece of song in the album?

So ...

What should I say? Of course I am not going to give a one star for this lackluster. And I think two-star rating is a good one and I am quite happy to give two stars, meaning ...it's for the die hard fans of Yes. But remember ...there are many excellent prog albums from younger generation that deserve more attention too .... Keep on proggin' ...!

Note: In fact, I like Glass Hamer "Perilous" much more than this album by Yes. Mr Davison should come back or focus with making Glass Hamer better and better... I think.. Yes is history.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW


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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.55 | 240 ratings

Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Bilkaim

5 stars This album touched me deeply. To be honest, after "Fly From Here" I didn't expect anything from the new Yes album. But after several listening to "Heaven & Earth", I'm more than positively surprised by the musical freshness and creativity by the old masters. This album has its identity, from the beginning to the end, and this is what differs it from the majority of its predecessors, excluding "The Ladder" and partly "Magnification". There is no doubt that Jon Davison has brought some new energy to the band and saved Yes from disappointing mean and lack of expression. "Heaven and Earth" proves that Yes can make a good album without Jon Anderson. A new perspective is open. Thank you Yes! I can't give less than five stars.


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 Relayer by YES album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.36 | 2098 ratings

Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by farmboy

5 stars This is one of the pinnacles of the entire progressive rock genre. This is where folk music, rock music, fusion music, and classical music are thrown into a mixing pot and emerge as a piece of art that musical fans will enjoy--if they have the patience to take it in--for many, many years. Relayer was beyond my understanding on my first listen; it doesn't have a song with an easy "hook" like Roundabout or the symphonic but understandable structures of tracks like Close To The Edge or And You And I...but repeated listening has moved it to the top of my Yes album list and competing for the top spot of all prog albums. This is not easy music most of the time--it is music that active listeners will love and love more with each spinning of the vinyl. If you have never heard Relayer realize that you might be completely overwhelmed the first time you hear the album. That is to be expected. As you listen to it more often you will grasp the incredible musicianship and incredible melodies that are all over this album...and you will continue to do so for a long, long time. Yes, as technical as they were as musicians and vocalists, were usually never in the same camp as a King Crimson for playing or a Gentle Giant for vocals--but this album is the rare one that is a listening feast for both fans of "players" and fans of "vocals." I cannot rate this album high enough; it is one of the high marks of intelligent music from any genre in the modern era. I am not sure that any other prog album even comes close to the overall sound, feel, and playing of this disc. This really does have it all--if you like symphonic prog music there is no higher mountain to climb.


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