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YES

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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Tales From Topographic Oceans: Expanded EditionTales From Topographic Oceans: Expanded Edition
Import
Panegyric 2016
Audio CD$22.35
$22.36 (used)
Fragile: Expanded / RemixedFragile: Expanded / Remixed
Import
Panegyric 2015
Blu-ray Audio$14.02
$14.00 (used)
Yes AlbumYes Album
Elektra / Wea 2003
Audio CD$3.12
$2.99 (used)
9012590125
Elektra / Wea 2004
Audio CD$1.88
$0.26 (used)
FragileFragile
Elektra / Wea 2003
Audio CD$3.15
$2.02 (used)
Fragile (180 Gram Vinyl)Fragile (180 Gram Vinyl)
Atlantic Catalog Group 2016
Vinyl$19.71
$11.68 (used)
The Studio Albums 1969-1987 (13CD)The Studio Albums 1969-1987 (13CD)
Atlantic Catalog Group 2013
Audio CD$40.66
$39.73 (used)
Wonderous Stories: Best ofWonderous Stories: Best of
Import
Music Club Deluxe 2014
Audio CD$2.84
$5.63 (used)
Close to the EdgeClose to the Edge
Elektra / Wea 2003
Audio CD$3.92
$0.86 (used)
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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)

3.24 | 1114 ratings
Yes
1969
3.28 | 1170 ratings
Time And A Word
1970
4.29 | 2437 ratings
The Yes Album
1971
4.44 | 3019 ratings
Fragile
1971
4.65 | 3862 ratings
Close To The Edge
1972
3.89 | 2099 ratings
Tales From Topographic Oceans
1973
4.35 | 2600 ratings
Relayer
1974
4.04 | 1720 ratings
Going For The One
1977
2.96 | 1305 ratings
Tormato
1978
3.76 | 1436 ratings
Drama
1980
2.96 | 1335 ratings
90125
1983
2.50 | 980 ratings
Big Generator
1987
2.51 | 899 ratings
Union
1991
3.06 | 814 ratings
Talk
1994
2.04 | 714 ratings
Open Your Eyes
1997
3.28 | 849 ratings
The Ladder
1999
3.75 | 963 ratings
Magnification
2001
3.42 | 960 ratings
Fly From Here
2011
2.38 | 481 ratings
Heaven & Earth
2014

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

4.32 | 821 ratings
Yessongs
1973
3.62 | 424 ratings
Yesshows
1980
2.27 | 214 ratings
9012 Live: The Solos
1985
4.09 | 447 ratings
Keys to Ascension
1996
3.96 | 417 ratings
Keys to Ascension 2
1997
2.56 | 128 ratings
BBC Sessions 1969-1970 Something's Coming (2 Cds)
1997
3.59 | 192 ratings
House of Yes: Live From the House of Blues
2000
2.67 | 37 ratings
Extended Versions
2002
2.91 | 32 ratings
Roundabout: The Best Of Yes- Live
2003
3.84 | 159 ratings
Live at Montreux 2003
2007
4.22 | 265 ratings
Symphonic Live
2009
4.51 | 136 ratings
Keys To Ascension (Full)
2010
3.26 | 31 ratings
Astral Traveller (The BBC Sessions)
2011
3.56 | 117 ratings
In The Present - Live From Lyon
2011
3.62 | 50 ratings
Union Live
2011
2.92 | 45 ratings
Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome
2014
4.17 | 56 ratings
Progeny - Seven Shows from Seventy-Two
2015
3.44 | 43 ratings
Like It Is - Yes at the Mesa Arts Centre
2015

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

3.65 | 158 ratings
Yessongs (DVD)
1973
3.16 | 92 ratings
9012 LIVE (DVD)
1985
4.13 | 83 ratings
Yesyears (DVD)
1991
3.67 | 38 ratings
The Union Tour Live
1991
2.92 | 50 ratings
Greatest Video Hits
1991
4.80 | 5 ratings
The Best Of MusikLaden Live
1999
3.60 | 110 ratings
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (DVD)
2000
3.69 | 119 ratings
Keys to Ascension (DVD)
2000
4.60 | 300 ratings
Symphonic Live (DVD)
2002
3.09 | 69 ratings
Yesspeak
2003
2.37 | 76 ratings
Live in Philadelphia 1979
2003
3.14 | 33 ratings
Inside Yes 1968-1973
2003
3.57 | 86 ratings
Yes Acoustic: Guaranteed No Hiss
2004
4.29 | 157 ratings
Songs From Tsongas: 35th Anniversary Concert (DVD)
2005
3.43 | 64 ratings
Live 1975 At Q.P.R. Vol. 1
2005
3.34 | 58 ratings
Live 1975 At Q.P.R. Vol. 2
2005
3.62 | 52 ratings
Yes (Classic Artists)
2006
3.94 | 126 ratings
Montreux 2003 (DVD)
2007
3.82 | 43 ratings
Yes - The New Director's Cut
2008
3.83 | 40 ratings
The Lost Broadcasts
2009
3.19 | 28 ratings
Rock Of The 70's
2009
3.90 | 56 ratings
Union - Live
2010
3.00 | 3 ratings
Live Hemel Hempstead Pavillion October 3rd 1971
2013

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

4.25 | 4 ratings
2 Originals Of Yes
1973
3.09 | 201 ratings
Yesterdays
1975
3.80 | 162 ratings
Classic Yes
1981
3.26 | 106 ratings
Yesyears
1991
3.44 | 70 ratings
Yesstory
1992
3.03 | 68 ratings
Highlights: The Very Best of Yes
1993
2.58 | 31 ratings
The Best of Yes
2000
3.54 | 453 ratings
Keystudio
2001
2.74 | 21 ratings
Yes-today
2002
4.29 | 110 ratings
In A Word
2002
3.13 | 89 ratings
Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection
2003
2.14 | 59 ratings
Remixes
2003
2.52 | 23 ratings
Topography: The Yes Anthology
2004
3.23 | 133 ratings
The Word Is Live
2005
3.96 | 24 ratings
Essentially Yes
2006
3.52 | 18 ratings
Collection 2CD: Yes
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Wonderous Stories: The Best of Yes
2011
3.89 | 27 ratings
Progeny: Highlights From Seventy-Two
2015

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

4.30 | 22 ratings
Something's Coming
1969
3.47 | 15 ratings
Looking Around
1969
2.82 | 26 ratings
Sweetness / Something's Coming
1969
3.31 | 17 ratings
Sweet Dreams
1970
3.40 | 34 ratings
Time and a Word
1970
3.43 | 44 ratings
Your Move
1971
2.97 | 12 ratings
Roundabout
1972
4.67 | 12 ratings
And You And I (Part 1 & 2)
1972
2.82 | 43 ratings
America
1972
4.69 | 13 ratings
And You And I
1974
2.78 | 13 ratings
Soon
1976
3.26 | 38 ratings
Soon - Sound Chaser - Roundabout
1976
2.40 | 15 ratings
Yes Solos
1976
3.66 | 40 ratings
Wonderous Stories 12''
1977
4.00 | 37 ratings
Going For The One 12''
1977
3.91 | 11 ratings
Turn Of The Century
1977
2.64 | 47 ratings
Don't Kill The Whale
1978
2.99 | 35 ratings
Into The Lens
1980
4.24 | 40 ratings
Roundabout
1981
2.35 | 39 ratings
Owner of a Lonely Heart (promo single)
1983
2.15 | 43 ratings
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
1983
2.70 | 36 ratings
Leave It
1984
2.82 | 21 ratings
Twelve Inches on Tape
1984
3.10 | 32 ratings
It Can Happen
1984
2.44 | 8 ratings
Rhythm Of Love
1987
2.97 | 29 ratings
Love Will Find A Way
1987
2.27 | 37 ratings
Rhythm Of Love (2)
1987
3.33 | 20 ratings
Saving My Heart
1991
2.54 | 40 ratings
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
1991
2.43 | 9 ratings
Lift Me Up
1991
2.73 | 18 ratings
Make It Easy
1991
2.60 | 11 ratings
Yesyears - Sampler
1991
2.63 | 24 ratings
The Calling
1994
2.00 | 1 ratings
Lightning Strikes (She Ay ... Do Wa Bap)
1999
2.83 | 71 ratings
YesSymphonic
2001
2.13 | 4 ratings
Selections From The Word Is Live
2005
3.06 | 61 ratings
We Can Fly
2011

YES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Close To The Edge by YES album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.65 | 3862 ratings

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Close To The Edge
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars What is there to say about CLOSE TO THE EDGE that hasn't been spoken yet? What man would prefer my review over others, or better, what man would read reviews rather than follow the consensual intuition that calls this YES masterpiece as the epitome of progressiveness? If you're said man, then I shall do my duty to bring you my review.

My output for this is simple: CLOSE TO THE EDGE is the best progressive rock album I have heard thus far. Some may gift this title to the unsinful IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING, others might do so - although rather awkwardly - to PINK FLOYD's, some even to SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND. But the reason CLOSE is the top among my list so far is because it demarks everything that, for me, prog is supposed to represent: inventiveness, classical revival, "technical wankery" (what a derogatory yet fitting term), ethereal themes and musical performances that leave the listener thunderstruck. The use of several music genres and styles is something to be noted.

If I had to summarize each song, CLOSE TO THE EDGE would be "inventively chaotic"; AND YOU AND I "acoustically magnificent and gentle"; and SIBERIAN KHATRU "jazzy, funky and guitar-oriented".

The title track, CLOSE TO THE EDGE, begins with calm nature sounds: birds chirping, and a river flowing. Suddenly, your ears are blown by a staggering, chaotic, seemingly anarchical & cacophonical introduction composed of violent quick drums, an eerie background guitar playing and a poorly (purposedly) sounding distorted guitar, accompanied by soft keyboards. My first listen to it rendered me awed, "What the hell is this?". For as strange, it was pleasant. I had to admit, even though I had no clue what I was listening to, it was truly creative. Especially intelligent to bring a serene intro followed by an explosion of sounds. Eventually, the insanity ends with a mellow guitar riff, that develops into the main section - the verses. An... ukulele? So it seems. 6/8? Yes. Bass and drums are connected, as every loud drum beat happens along a bass note. Overall, it sounds a little amusing.

Particularly speaking, JON ANDERSON's vocals are great. His voice is very matching with the overall theme of the song. Lyrics speak about... I don't know, somewhere? Somewhere interesting, beautiful. The ukulele really brings us the tranquility of the ambient the lyrics speak about, yet the drums & bass' odd connection keep us aware this is a progressive track. Eventually, calmness intensifies on a much more tender - and rather melancholic - piece, and the song ultimately oozes to my favourite part: the organs. A very, VERY imponent organ playing begins on a solo piece, followed by spatial keyboards which refer, once again, to the outlandishness of the track's theme. It is followed by a drums and keyboard duet. The keyboard plains, once again, the "mellow riff" on its very own insane manner. While the keyboard itself is already upbeat, the ridiculously technical and speedy performance of BRUFORD increases the section by a notch. WAKEMAN then proceeds to play a very rapid solo, and after he's over, ANDERSON returns to finish the song with the final verses & repetition of the chorus. After this majestic insanity we've been subjected to, we're left with the same birds and river to perform the outro.

NOW, NOW. What makes CLOSE TO THE EDGE a spectacular progressive track is its absolute creativity; vast array of instruments, techniques, and sounds employed; the amount of tempo, time signatures, and melody changes; and a successful mixture of psychedelia with jazz and rock elements. It is, however, the type of song you should listen more than once to successfully absorb: the first listen leaves you flabbergasted; the second, impressed; and the third, inspired.

Then, we're presented to AND YOU AND I. A love song, progressive style. There's no direct reference to love, but the companionship the persona desires is undoubtfully fulfilled by a significant other. It's not the "I love you" song, but the "I want to spend my life with you" type. Besides, there's even this obvious love hint: "All completed in the sight of seeds of life with you". It initiates with a nice 12-string-guitar riff, timely keyboard riffs, and ANDERSON's vocals that evoke an undoubtful loveliness. It evolves to a more slow and symphonic piece which could easily be confused for the outro. But fool! This is progressive rock! After the "outro", the song returns with a softer form of the previous section. ANDERSON and HOWE are much more cheerful. Eventually, all instruments return, and the AND YOU AND I definitive version kicks in. Once again, by its ending, WAKEMAN plays a keyboard outro. ANDERSON swiftly returns to an even more sweet version of the song, a short sung outro, to finally end the song.

Alright fella, here it comes the weird-but-cool member of the CLOSE TO THE EDGE album family: SIBERIAN KHATRU! I don't think there's any cooler name than that. Just like I read on Rolling Stones' progressive album list, "is Khatru even a word"? Well, does it matter? Certainly not.

A very jazzy and Siberian (okay, not THAT much Siberian) intro, to get you all shaking and funky. HOWE's guitar is superb on this track. I can't say anything BUT this track being his shining moment. There's only one word for Khatru: FUNKY. The main riff is very jazzy, and the chorus, even more. HOWE, as aforementioned, is omnipresent in this track: every note he plays is perceived. Eventually, YES brings us a new section where several guitar solos tackle in. The steel-string solo is perhaps one of my favourite ever. It's less than thirty seconds long, but awesome nonetheless. Lastly, it ends, followed by - you guessed it - a (short) gentler piece. Only two minutes away from its ending, the song - and album - outro arrives. It is powerful, and it is implicit it's not the ending just for KHATRU but for CLOSE TO THE EDGE as a whole. Even CHRIS SQUIRE, whose bass has been the background hero, jumps in the protagonism with an interesting - and obviously equally funky - solo accompanied by HOWE, who kicks in a great solo. Our KHATRU ends with the same feeling it has begun, and as no sound is yet to be heard, we're confirmed CLOSE TO THE EDGE is officially over.

YES' attempt to invent, to create, to astonish and to inspire is triumphant. CLOSE TO THE EDGE is a historical name. One of RUSH's members agreed with me, publically. (Or better, I agreed with him. Or well, pretty much almost everyone else) YES brought the best frontman to the progressive genre. This album represents everything progressive is supposed to represent, and it does majestically. BRUFORD thought so, and he even left Yes because he felt he couldn't topple this. Well, not really, but it's fun to think that's the reason. RELAYER would be there to show YES could bring another album as genial as CLOSE TO THE EDGE. OWNER OF A LONELY HEART showed YES died. But that's not important.

What's important is that if you're reading reviews for this album rather than listening to it, well, just do it. You won't regret: there's no way you would.

 Talk by YES album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.06 | 814 ratings

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Talk
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by pacidy

3 stars This album suffers from monotony in almost every track. Even some of the longer songs, "The Waiting" and "Real Love," have basically one musical idea that runs through the entire 7 or 8 minutes, with only a fat and sassy Rabin guitar solo to add any variety. That's not counting the extended version of "The Calling," which does have a nice middle section, but this is a review of the album as released. The lone exception fortunately takes up nearly 16 minutes. From the swirling keyboard opening, you know it's not going to be the same Trevor Rabin Yes formula. But what's with the first few verses of vocals being so muted and distorted as to be nearly inaudible? And then the haunting middle section sadly gives way to a rather disappointing penultimate section (though the final reprise of the "Endless Dream" harmonies is wonderful, giving the feeling of a Bach chorale. All in all, this is the best album of the Rabin era, but only because of Endless Dream. The rest of it? I'd rather listen to 90125!
 Fragile by YES album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.44 | 3019 ratings

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Fragile
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by pacidy

4 stars This is a solid first album for the classic lineup, and the improvement in the keyboard quality is obvious, but to me it's half a great album with a lot of filler. I'm not that big a fan of South Side of the Sky, it's really just a pretty simple song with one nice piano line repeated several times in the middle followed by some vocalizations and then back to the song. Long Distance Runaround is a cool little song with a nifty guitar/bass counterpoint in the intro, but it's mainly a setup for The Fish (which really came alive in concert, giving Squire his chance to shine). So, for me, there are two outright classic songs here: Roundabout (perhaps the ultimate example of a great prog song that charted high, reaching 13 on the Billboard Top 100) and Heart of the Sunrise. The gorgeous classical guitar solo, "Mood for a Day" fills in admirably; less so Wakeman's cheesy take on Brahms or the downright silly We Have Heaven or Five Percent for Nothing. I'm actually almost more of a fan of The Yes Album despite it's lack of keyboard presence. Both are very good albums, setting the stage for the magnificence that is Close to the Edge.
 Close To The Edge by YES album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.65 | 3862 ratings

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Close To The Edge
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by pacidy

5 stars It just doesn't get any better.

This is the first great masterwork of Yes, and still their best, IMO, though I am a huge fan of Topographic and Relayer, plus the epic studio works of Keys to Ascension (That, That Is and Mind Drive). This is the album that best combines accessibility with compositional genius and instrumental mastery. The title track is an 18 minute epic that anyone with the least bit of appreciation for prog can get into. The atmospheric intro leads into a charging power trio-driven section that will be familiar to anyone who heard The Yes Album and somehow was living under a cave when Fragile was released, except wait a minute, the keyboards just got way more intense. This part finally settles down into a song with verses and choruses and all. Terra firma. But now Steve's guitar introduces a new section, soon joined by a counterpoint from Wakeman. This could have been developed further, but surprise! The music downshifts and comes to a landing in a dreamy, atmospheric soundscape, the beginning of one of the most miraculous musical segments in all of prog. When voices enter on the scene, they are those of Steve and Chris in a haunting harmony, with Jon finally coming in with the "I get up, I get down," line. Jon finally does take the lead, but is counterpointed by more harmony singing. All of this mellows the listener, preparing them to be blown away by the unexpected, a church organ passage from Rick. Even on my cheapo plastic stereo I had as a kid, the sound of that organ was among the highlights of my early musical life. After another few "I get up, I get downs," the organ comes back even louder and fuller, this time joined eventually by the guitar - and then, bang! bang! bang! bang! Back into the theme of the earlier music, with more dissonance, leading to a wailing Wakeman solo, one of his best. Finally, we wrap it up with magnificent singing, as the protagonist ascends to the spiritual plane s/he's been preparing to reach the whole song.

What could possibly follow such awesomeness? Well, how about a classical guitar intro leading to a simply beautiful song, almost a ballad, without any flashy sections, but with grand, ecstatic, sweeping climaxes, finally ending calmly (putting the lie to the title of the closing section, "Apocalypse") on an Anderson vocal line and an unresolved chord. Siberian Khatru closes out the album in hard-rocking fashion. This song would become a concert favorite and one of the few (along with Starship Trooper and All Good People) that would be used as an improvisational vehicle, as Steve would use the ending as an opportunity to solo over the charging rhythm and simple chords laid down by the band.

If you're a newbie to Yes, but you've listened to Classic Rock radio, you've probably heard songs from The Yes Album and Fragile. I recommend going out and buying this one before delving into the more esoteric material of Tales from Topographic Oceans or the avant jazz-rock of Relayer.

 Tales From Topographic Oceans by YES album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.89 | 2099 ratings

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Tales From Topographic Oceans
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by pacidy

5 stars I can't believe the hate some have for this masterpiece. Along with Close to the Edge and Relayer, this is Yes at their Yessiest, Yes at their proggiest, Yes at their most inspired. Whether it's Yes at their best, I'll leave to you to decide. Many prefer the more accessible but still prog The Yes Album or Fragile, and that's fine -- those are both great albums, as is Going for the One. Some say they like sides A and D, but not B and C. Did you take the time to really listen to B and C? The Remembering does take a while to get going, I'll admit, but once it does, it takes off. The "Relayer" section with its 14/8 rhythm and Wakeman's wizardry, is especially memorable. Even better to me is The Ancient, with it's chilling opening section and some of Steve's most evocative playing coming later. Actually, the only negative for me is the way Ritual ends on a reverse Picardy Third (major to minor) -- seems like a downer for such a driving and joyous song. And what needs to be said about The Revealing Science of God -- a magical, magical work. Repetitive, yes, but the repetition is meant to drive certain themes home so they stick with you, just like in a symphony.
 Open Your Eyes by YES album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.04 | 714 ratings

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Open Your Eyes
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by pacidy

1 stars I saw the overall average rating for this album and thought, "No way! This album can't be worse than 9012-Jive or Big Degenerator!" So I listened to it, and, uh, it's worse. It stinks. There's no real standout song anywhere in the album, no great instrumental passages, no lyric masterpieces, nothing. Just blah, boring AOR and pop, and not even good pop. I'd rather listen to Owner of a Lonely Heart than most of the songs on this album. I'd hoped the hidden track would bring the magic lacking on the rest of it, but it's just a long track of Newage punctuated by snippets of vocals from the other songs. Or outtakes of those. Well, OK, I've listened to it, now I don't have to do so again.

Putting on Relayer as the antidote.

 Big Generator by YES album cover Studio Album, 1987
2.50 | 980 ratings

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Big Generator
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by cfergmusic1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Like It Is - Yes at the Mesa Arts Centre by YES album cover Live, 2015
3.44 | 43 ratings

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Like It Is - Yes at the Mesa Arts Centre
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Welp, here it is, the latest-dated Yes material to feature Chris Squire (who died in 2015 from cancer, R.I.P.). After the release of Heaven and Earth, Yes did some token promotion of it in their concerts, but the main attraction was clearly the band's decision (after the success of the 2013 "Three Album Tour") to play both Close to the Edge and Fragile in their entirety. As before, Howe and Squire mostly sound fine, White sounds sluggish, Davison sounds anonymous, and Downes sounds passable but fairly generic. As before, this album is somewhat redundant and unnecessary, but it also features two of my favorite albums (and this time ups the ante by including two of my favorite 25 albums or so rather than two of my favorite 100 albums or so), so I ultimately end up enjoying it at a gut level even if I roll my eyes a little at an intellectual level.

The inclusion of a full performance of Close to the Edge (presented in original order even if, in concert, they did it backwards) is not especially noteworthy, seeing as most of their live albums since 1972 had included at least one of the three tracks (and in some cases all three). The performance of "And You and I" is extraordinary, an emotional assault that probably would have left me breathless if I had seen it in person, but both "Close to the Edge" and "Siberian Khatru," while perfectly fine (if a bit slow as had become customary), sound as if the band had long passed its prime in terms of playing them (which it kinda had). Now the Fragile material, well, this is where a bunch of novelty lies, for good and for bad. True to advertisement, they actually perform both "Cans and Brahms" and "Five Percent for Nothing," and while I think both are great tracks in the context of the original album, they sound kinda silly here. As for the other material, it's generally fine; the opening to "Roundabout" is tweaked in a curious way that I don't think is for the better, but I'll never get sick of hearing live "South Side of the Sky" versions (I don't care how many live versions have been put out in the 21st century, it was the great lost Yes gem for 30 years and is forever immune to any complaints about overexposure), and "Heart of the Sunrise" sounds especially crisp here (I'm kinda bummed that they didn't go full out and include the "We Have Heaven" reprise at the end, though). I do kinda wish that "The Fish" had been more stretched out in a more typical way rather than condensed to more closely mimic the studio version, but again, they were going for a specific performance vibe, so I don't especially mind it.

Frankly, I believe that a Yes fan should either get both this and its predecessor or get neither; even if the two albums are from two different tours, they serve identical purposes, and I feel nearly the exact same way about them. In a perfect world, neither of these albums would exist (Yes would have disbanded in 2004), but they're enjoyable enough and worth hearing a couple of times.

 Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome by YES album cover Live, 2014
2.92 | 45 ratings

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Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

3 stars In 2013, some time after Benoit David had left and Jon Davison had joined, but before the band recorded Heaven and Earth, Yes found itself in need of a gimmick for its next round of live touring. The solution they fell upon was somewhat simple and yet somewhat genius; they decided that, on a nightly basis, they would play three of their 70s albums in full, with a short encore (generally "Roundabout") at the end. Dubbed "The Three Album Tour" (haha), a typical show would feature the entirety of Close to the Edge, followed by the entirety of Going for the One, followed by the entirety of The Yes Album, and it would end with the encore. This live album does not capture an entire typical set; instead, it presents the performances of Going for the One and The Yes Album from a show the band did in Bristol (the band clearly knew at the time that it would do Close to the Edge in full in a subsequent tour and could release that portion in a separate live album, which they eventually did).

Quite honestly, I still can't figure out if this album and its successor are interesting curiosities or completely pointless cash-grabs, and while I slot them both in a general "pretty good-ish I guess" range, I can't really figure out when I'd want to go out of my way to listen to either of these as opposed to other live Yes albums. Just as on In the Present, Howe and Squire are generally in good form, while White does his best to keep the overall sound from dragging too much but sounds like he'll really need a warm bath to sooth his aching limbs when he's done. Regarding Davison, I initially found myself much more irritated at listening to him sing classic Yes material than I did at hearing David, but I quickly got used to him; I still find it a little unsettling to hear him work his way through "Turn of the Century," a song that clearly meant so much to Anderson when he helped write it way back when, but other than that I generally barely notice him. Downes, then, is a curious case when it comes to this material; he's fully competent with the material, and he manages to put his own spin on small details in the parts that make it so he's not just aping Kaye and Wakeman, but "his own spin" tends to involve streamlining some parts in a way that makes them blander and more milquetoast than in their original incarnations. His playing of older material is a good way away from the punchy, energetic playing that characterized his performances on the bootleg I have of one of their 1980 shows for instance; I get that he's more than 30 years older at this point at all that, but it's still a little disappointing.

With all of these quibbles noted, this live set is still a presentation of two of my 100 favorite albums or so, and thus there's a floor on how low I can reasonably regard it when listening to it. Plus, it's not like the set is without its own interesting quirks, especially in the portion covering The Yes Album. For this tour, the band made the decision to alter its live performances to more closely match the original studio versions than they'd typically attempt, and this leads to some interesting deviations from established patterns of live performance. A couple of examples: the mid-section of "Yours is No Disgrace" is significantly shorter and more restrained than had always been the norm for live performance, and the ending portion of "I've Seen All Good People," rather than crashing into the end after a build into a prog-boogie frenzy, instead quietly ratchets down in the mantra-ish manner of the original. Plus, this album features "A Venture," never performed live before this tour, and Downes clearly has a blast in taking ownership of it.

Nobody really needs this album or its successor, but "unnecessary" need not mean "unenjoyable," and if your tolerance for inessential late-period live albums is high (and boy howdy mine is apparently unhealthily high), you could still get this without feeling regret. Whether you would later feel a need to sell it or give it to Goodwill is another matter entirely, of course.

 Time And A Word by YES album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.28 | 1170 ratings

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Time And A Word
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Dopeydoc

4 stars This was the first Yes album I had the pleasure to enjoy back in 1971. The opening track "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" is a kind of UFO, like nothing else with a kind of "heavy violins". Each album track is very different from the others with special mention to Astral Traveller and Time and a Word which deserve 5 stars. The lack of homogeneity impairs the overall performance and therefore the album cannot be considered as a masterpiece. Yes is trying there to find its way to symphonic prog. Very interesting yet, and very promising. Recommended in vinyl. The bonus tracks on the CD do not present something really worth listening.
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