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$8.49
$9.50 (used)
Elektra / Wea 2003
Audio CD$4.66
$4.66 (used)
Close to the EdgeClose to the Edge
Elektra / Wea 2003
Audio CD$2.71
$2.70 (used)
Elektra / Wea 2004
Audio CD$3.72
$1.76 (used)
Yes AlbumYes Album
Elektra / Wea 2003
Audio CD$3.94
$0.46 (used)
The Studio Albums 1969-1987The Studio Albums 1969-1987
Atlantic Catalog Group 2013
Audio CD$47.17
$44.79 (used)
Fly From HereFly From Here
Deluxe Edition
Frontiers Records 2011
Audio CD$10.99
$13.01 (used)
Tales From Topographic OceansTales From Topographic Oceans
Rhino/Elektra 2003
Audio CD$8.20
$5.94 (used)
Extra tracks · Remastered
Elektra / Wea 2004
Audio CD$2.78
$5.94 (used)
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YES shows & tickets

  • Yes at Greek Theatre, Los Angeles on 24 Aug 2014
  • 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 | 879 ratings
3.26 | 926 ratings
Time and a Word
4.28 | 1925 ratings
The Yes Album
4.42 | 2395 ratings
4.65 | 3130 ratings
Close To The Edge
3.88 | 1713 ratings
Tales From Topographic Oceans
4.36 | 2087 ratings
4.04 | 1391 ratings
Going for the One
2.94 | 1057 ratings
3.75 | 1159 ratings
2.92 | 1095 ratings
2.46 | 794 ratings
Big Generator
2.48 | 732 ratings
3.04 | 658 ratings
2.04 | 581 ratings
Open Your Eyes
3.27 | 683 ratings
The Ladder
3.76 | 792 ratings
3.45 | 774 ratings
Fly From Here
2.53 | 226 ratings
Heaven & Earth

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

4.29 | 680 ratings
3.63 | 348 ratings
2.23 | 178 ratings
9012 Live: The Solos
4.11 | 365 ratings
Keys to Ascension
3.95 | 343 ratings
Keys to Ascension 2
2.53 | 106 ratings
BBC Sessions 1969-1970 Something's Coming (2 Cds)
3.60 | 161 ratings
House of Yes: Live From the House of Blues
2.78 | 64 ratings
2.64 | 33 ratings
Extended Versions
2.91 | 29 ratings
Roundabout: The Best Of Yes- Live
3.22 | 117 ratings
The Word Is Live
3.82 | 123 ratings
Live at Montreux 2003
4.26 | 214 ratings
Symphonic Live
4.47 | 92 ratings
Keys To Ascension (I & II + DVD)
3.33 | 24 ratings
Astral Traveller (The BBC Sessions)
3.57 | 96 ratings
In The Present - Live From Lyon
3.45 | 25 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 | 96 ratings
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (DVD)
3.65 | 103 ratings
Keys to Ascension (DVD)
4.59 | 257 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
4.27 | 138 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 | 41 ratings
The Lost Broadcasts
3.13 | 26 ratings
Rock Of The 70's
3.91 | 50 ratings
Union - Live

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

3.15 | 169 ratings
3.87 | 139 ratings
Classic Yes
3.23 | 87 ratings
3.40 | 60 ratings
3.04 | 62 ratings
The Very Best of Yes
2.58 | 30 ratings
The Best of Yes
3.55 | 434 ratings
2.72 | 21 ratings
4.30 | 96 ratings
In A Word
3.18 | 85 ratings
Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection
2.05 | 54 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
 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.53 | 226 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 | 680 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
2.53 | 226 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
2.53 | 226 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 | 2087 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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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.53 | 226 ratings

Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars In my estimation, Heaven & Earth sits comfortably alongside Tormato and Yes's eponymous debut. If you find little off-putting about Anderson's deliberately uplifting songs from The Ladder or Magnification ("It Will Be a Good Day (The River)," "If Only You Knew," "To Be Alive (Hep Yadda)," "Don't Go," "Give Love Each Day," "Soft as a Dove"), this album will be fresh and buoyant, any flaws notwithstanding. If, however, you cannot abide clichés or limitless optimism, then you can justifiably pass this one by. While it is not my custom to comment on the rating of a given album or compare it to the ratings of other albums, I'll gladly make an exception this time: Prior to the time of this review's publication, Heaven & Earth had a rating equal to Big Generator and had a lower rating than Union. Uncharitable expectations are no doubt the main culprit. Objections that Heaven & Earth is not a return to Close to the Edge don't do the objector any credit. If you insert this disc for the first time hoping to be transported back to 1973, then you have already condemned it. Such condemnation is harder to summon if you were to load the album into your mp3 player (or portable vinyl record unit for you purists), set foot outside under a gorgeous sky, and go for a walk. And for goodness' sake, smile! It will be a good day.

"Believe Again" The first listen, not of this song but of the album, was still disappointing to me. I remember thinking in the car, "Yes is playing music you can shag to!" (Note the East Carolina usage of the term, dear Brits!) Even my wife, who was with me at the time and despises Yes, made the comment that this was "nice music." Oh dear, indeed. For starters, "Believe Again" does not feel like an eight-minute track. It has a lighthearted quality that breezes by, a perfect match for the graceful and stirring vocal harmonies. Maybe calling it "progressive beach music" will be a bit much for some people (I was, after all, in St. Petersburg, Florida when I first heard it), but for me, that designation in no way lessens my enjoyment of a simple and attractive Yes song that has become my favorite one from the album.

"The Game" Although the second song threatens to bring on a darker mood musically, it stops short of doing so, elevating the listener back into the relaxed mood of before. With delightfully catchy vocal passages and unpretentious musicianship all around, this is a charming song that showcases Yes' ability to dial back on the instrumentation and allow the song to breathe and move as a lissome body.

"Step Beyond" A bubbly synthesizer and a bouncing beat reminiscent of early 1990s pop music makes "Step Beyond" sound like it crept out of a twenty-year-old time capsule, stained with the multicolored artwork of Peter Max.

"To Ascend" The lyrics manage to score a point with every other Yes-like cliché imaginable: "Eyes of a child" and "Wing and a prayer" are but two. Befitting these words are gentle acoustic major seventh chords drifting by like a cloud.

"In A World of Our Own" An unusual one in the Yes directory, this song is a cross between gritty blues and symphonic pop, something a Yes fan might find unpalatable, but really it's like a close cousin to the Electric Light Orchestra, particularly the material from Zoom.

"Light of the Ages" A series of long notes from the electrified slide guitar leads into another acoustic-based song, making this a close relation to the darker songs featured on the previous album, Fly from Here.

"It Was All We Knew" With a main melody that is sweet beyond measure and mundane musicianship (one fine guitar solo excepted), I can understand the distaste for "It Was All We Knew." It's another one that I would label beach music, a label which, may I remind the reader, is not derisive).

"Subway Walls" With a pseudo-classical introduction and an lengthy instrumental passage in an odd time signature, it would seem that Yes was attempting to court fans of their progressive rock classics with their closing number. But at its essence, this is another lighthearted song full of bright melodies and smooth harmonies. The guttural bass riff forming the structure of the verses is the main unusual element, almost not belonging. Speaking of not belonging, the segment in 15/8 feels contrived and tacked-on, even if the organ and guitar solos sound terrific, as though to lend the album some progressive "street cred." But in the year 2014, Yes does not need to demonstrate progressive rock credentials, no matter what the naysayers keep saying.


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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.53 | 226 ratings

Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Argonaught

3 stars Whereas I do resent those one-star reviews that had been posted even before the album was released, I must concur with the folks who think the Heaven and Earth is "for the Yes fans only" and contributes very little to the prog's legacy.

But then again, should we expect Yes to churn out a new CTTE or Fragile every couple of years, without repeating themselves?

How about cutting Yes a little slack and judging this album on its own merits, without obsessively comparing it to the band's masterpieces from 40 years ago?

Overall, I'd assign the Heaven and Earth 3 stars. And if Yes were to come up with a 4-song EP, based on the Heaven and Earth, but foregoing the 4 dead boring filler tracks in the middle of the album (which would result in a healthy 27' EP), it could even garner 4 stars.


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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.53 | 226 ratings

Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

3 stars I confess. I'm not a huge Yes fan at all. Sure, their classic output is good, and I especially like Relayer. Yet, their sound and their wankery never really jived with me. I especially never really liked Jon's voice. Yet, for some reason, I do somehow like this unnecessary new release from the classic band, "Heaven & Earth". With the amazing cover art, I was actually expecting something even better, but an average, enjoyable album from a band that is over 40 years old is nothing to sneer at anyways.

Yes, I enjoyed this new Yes album. It isn't revolutionary. It isn't even that complex or technical. Indeed, the guys sort of just strum their way through some ballads, for the most part. I was actually impressed with some of the inventive bass lines from Squire, but that's to be expected, right? Yet, the melodies are there. And the songs sound nice enough. There aren't any pretentious, ridiculously long epics. There is, however, plenty of cheese.

Cheese abounds, from some of the sickeningly sweet melodies to the grimace-worthy lyrics in the first half. The album is definitely centered on ballads, and poppy ones, at that. Honestly, they all kinda blur into one soupy, sappy mess of lovesick frivolities. Jon's vocals are so hokey sometimes that I have to grit my teeth a bit. And, yet, there are memorable tracks, like "Light of the Ages". Finally, "Subway Walls" is actually a wonderful track. It's almost like the band wanted to give a nod to their stalwart progressive fans, as it is indeed an epic of sorts with wonderful instrumentals and real structure. Honestly, this track is awesome.

So, if we step back for a moment, this album isn't anything bad at all. It's not great, or even good, but to slap abysmal ratings on it is probably quite close-minded. It's an easy-going album with some highs and lows. That's it.


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 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.53 | 226 ratings

Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by DocB

4 stars I quite like Yes' new album Heaven & Earth (H&E). I'll second the reviews by Guillermo and Kjarks, but offer a few comments as well. No, this is not grand classic Yes with epic suites, though I could see some of these tunes being stretched out in concert. But no, it is not simple pop music either, though some songs have more prog element than others. These musicians are beyond simple pop music. Chris Squire has commented that there is more of a folk element to this album (see www.yesworld.com). The music has a fresh feel to it. It is definitely more laid back, but that makes it a good listen if you want to chill with some quality music.

All band members have contributed songs, with Jon Davison presumably having written most of the lyrics. The lyrics are very positive, which was a strong element of classic late '60s/early'70s prog, along with the exploratory instrumentation and playing in prog. It is spiritually uplifting, and has certainly struck a chord with the general listener. I see that H&E entered the UK charts at #20, and the Billboard charts at #26. That's good. It means people will check out other Yes albums, attend concerts by Yes, check out music by other good bands and broaden their musical horizons.

However, as for the low ratings, my observation is that a lot of people who review in the Prog Archives seem to like their music intense, loud and heavy. (Spoiler alert: I'm a fan of jazz and jazz/fusion, and I don't like heavy metal [or rap!].) I like to listen to more intense music sometimes, but nothing gets more annoying or boring than endless guitar shredding, or keyboard shredding, or whatever. Well, maybe comedians who think they're funny because they use excessive profanity are more annoying and boring. But anyway, music needs to breathe. Listening to intense music takes work, and can be rewarding, but mind and body need a break sometimes too. So having more choices from Yes is great, because if I'm wanting something more intense, I can listen to some of the epic stuff, and if I want to chill, I can listen to albums like Heaven & Earth.

Overall, H&E is not Yes' best album ever, but certainly not a bad album either. I think we sometimes criticize too much and don't enjoy enough. We need to stop and smell the roses, or whatever the bright red flowers are on Roger Dean's fantastic cover art for H&E. My son recently saw this lineup of Yes in concert and said it was a great show. I'll say 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.


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 Open Your Eyes  by YES album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.04 | 581 ratings

Open Your Eyes
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

1 stars 'Open Your Eyes' - Yes (29/100)

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

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

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

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


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