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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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The Studio Albums 1969-1987 (12CD)The Studio Albums 1969-1987 (12CD)
Atlantic Catalog Group 2013
Audio CD$44.99
$57.37 (used)
RelayerRelayer
Import
Imports 2014
Blu-ray Audio$16.18
$16.19 (used)
Close to the EdgeClose to the Edge
Elektra / Wea 2003
Audio CD$4.94
$3.54 (used)
Fragile: Expanded / RemixedFragile: Expanded / Remixed
Import
Panegyric 2015
Blu-ray Audio$15.98
$16.01 (used)
Tales From Topographic Oceans: Expanded EditionTales From Topographic Oceans: Expanded Edition
Import
Panegyric 2016
Audio CD$23.56
$23.56 (used)
9012590125
Elektra / Wea 2004
Audio CD$4.07
$3.50 (used)
Wonderous Stories: Best ofWonderous Stories: Best of
Import
Music Club Deluxe 2014
Audio CD$3.68
$7.38 (used)
FragileFragile
Atlantic 2011
Audio CD$2.02
$1.73 (used)
Yes AlbumYes Album
Import
Panegyric 2014
Blu-ray Audio$15.19
$15.18 (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 | 1136 ratings
Yes
1969
3.28 | 1189 ratings
Time And A Word
1970
4.29 | 2482 ratings
The Yes Album
1971
4.44 | 3069 ratings
Fragile
1971
4.65 | 3909 ratings
Close To The Edge
1972
3.89 | 2130 ratings
Tales From Topographic Oceans
1973
4.36 | 2647 ratings
Relayer
1974
4.04 | 1754 ratings
Going For The One
1977
2.96 | 1329 ratings
Tormato
1978
3.76 | 1466 ratings
Drama
1980
2.96 | 1358 ratings
90125
1983
2.50 | 997 ratings
Big Generator
1987
2.50 | 916 ratings
Union
1991
3.06 | 826 ratings
Talk
1994
2.04 | 725 ratings
Open Your Eyes
1997
3.28 | 859 ratings
The Ladder
1999
3.75 | 976 ratings
Magnification
2001
3.41 | 973 ratings
Fly From Here
2011
2.37 | 494 ratings
Heaven & Earth
2014

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

4.32 | 833 ratings
Yessongs
1973
3.62 | 430 ratings
Yesshows
1980
2.26 | 219 ratings
9012 Live: The Solos
1985
4.09 | 453 ratings
Keys to Ascension
1996
3.96 | 421 ratings
Keys to Ascension 2
1997
2.57 | 130 ratings
BBC Sessions 1969-1970 Something's Coming (2 Cds)
1997
3.59 | 193 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 | 161 ratings
Live at Montreux 2003
2007
4.22 | 268 ratings
Symphonic Live
2009
4.51 | 140 ratings
Keys To Ascension (Full)
2010
3.27 | 33 ratings
Astral Traveller (The BBC Sessions)
2011
3.55 | 119 ratings
In The Present - Live From Lyon
2011
3.61 | 52 ratings
Union Live
2011
2.91 | 47 ratings
Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome
2014
4.19 | 59 ratings
Progeny - Seven Shows from Seventy-Two
2015
3.42 | 45 ratings
Like It Is - Yes at the Mesa Arts Centre
2015

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

3.65 | 159 ratings
Yessongs (DVD)
1973
3.16 | 93 ratings
9012 LIVE (DVD)
1985
4.13 | 84 ratings
Yesyears (DVD)
1991
3.67 | 38 ratings
The Union Tour Live
1991
2.93 | 51 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 | 120 ratings
Keys to Ascension (DVD)
2000
4.60 | 302 ratings
Symphonic Live (DVD)
2002
3.09 | 69 ratings
Yesspeak
2003
2.37 | 77 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 | 158 ratings
Songs From Tsongas: 35th Anniversary Concert (DVD)
2005
3.43 | 65 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 | 127 ratings
Montreux 2003 (DVD)
2007
3.83 | 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 | 4 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 | 205 ratings
Yesterdays
1975
3.80 | 165 ratings
Classic Yes
1981
3.26 | 107 ratings
Yesyears
1991
3.45 | 72 ratings
Yesstory
1992
3.03 | 70 ratings
Highlights: The Very Best of Yes
1993
2.58 | 31 ratings
The Best of Yes
2000
3.55 | 455 ratings
Keystudio
2001
2.74 | 21 ratings
Yes-today
2002
4.28 | 113 ratings
In A Word
2002
3.13 | 90 ratings
Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection
2003
2.14 | 59 ratings
Remixes
2003
2.52 | 23 ratings
Topography: The Yes Anthology
2004
3.23 | 136 ratings
The Word Is Live
2005
3.96 | 24 ratings
Essentially Yes
2006
3.52 | 18 ratings
Collection 2CD: Yes
2008
5.00 | 2 ratings
Wonderous Stories: The Best of Yes
2011
3.94 | 33 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
3.45 | 45 ratings
Your Move
1971
2.97 | 12 ratings
Roundabout
1972
4.64 | 14 ratings
And You And I (Part 1 & 2)
1972
2.83 | 45 ratings
America
1972
4.71 | 14 ratings
And You And I
1974
2.79 | 14 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
4.04 | 38 ratings
Going For The One 12''
1977
3.91 | 11 ratings
Turn Of The Century
1977
2.67 | 47 ratings
Don't Kill The Whale
1978
3.01 | 35 ratings
Into The Lens
1980
4.25 | 41 ratings
Roundabout
1981
2.35 | 39 ratings
Owner of a Lonely Heart (promo single)
1983
2.14 | 43 ratings
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
1983
2.72 | 36 ratings
Leave It
1984
2.82 | 21 ratings
Twelve Inches on Tape
1984
3.10 | 32 ratings
It Can Happen
1984
2.33 | 8 ratings
Rhythm Of Love
1987
2.94 | 29 ratings
Love Will Find A Way
1987
2.25 | 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
2.60 | 24 ratings
The Calling
1994
3.00 | 2 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
 The Ladder by YES album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.28 | 859 ratings

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The Ladder
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars As their final hoo-rah of the 20th Century, Yes' "The Ladder" draws the millennium to a close with what may be one of their finest post-70's offerings. Before reading any further, just bear in mind that it isn't a prog album, per se. None of the material on here gets any more complex than "Roundabout" - or even "I've Seen All Good People" for that matter - but the characteristic Yessound could not be more prominently on display. The divine vocal harmonies of Anderson & Co. weave the fabric of the album, and the Squire/White rhythm section gives the material their distinct pulse and drive.

So if you haven't really followed what Yes had been doing since "90125" (or even "Relayer" if you're a true prog purist), what can you expect from "The Ladder"? This hour long work is a melodic rock journey around the world, taking ethnic instruments and sounds and weaving them into the Yes framework. Now I know what you're thinking - this is just a sappy New Age album. And that isn't entirely wrong, as such, but bear in mind that everything with Jon Anderson involved has a fundamentally New Age ethos, with his sun-worship-change-the-world-with-the-power-of- music lyrical motifs. So don't think of this as Yes stooping to the likes of Yanni or Zamfir, but more along the lines of the vapid New Age cliches getting a much-needed Yes facelift.

Ultimately, this endeavour is quite successful. "The Ladder" is a faithful marriage of the positive rock energy of Yes' classic material with the light and affirmative timbres typical of the New Age sound. That isn't to say that there isn't at least a little bit of cheesemaking on this album, of course. If you're the sort who gets openly offended by pop music, then tracks like "It Will Be A Good Day" or "If Only You Knew" will inevitably get you reaching for the barf bags. But as far as I'm concerned, this is an album that's enjoyable from start to finish, with two particular highlights. The ground-shaking, momentous "Homeworld (The Ladder)" and the catchy, driving "New Language" are both fantastic proggy rock tracks that I will shamelessly crank up and belt out each and every time they come on, and it wouldn't surprise me if you find yourself following suit.

I would never consider this to be an essential piece of the Yes oeuvre, but if you're looking for fun, well-produced, and infectiously melodic rock music, then this is a great album to pick up, whether you're a Yes fan or not. 3 stars.

 Fragile by YES album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.44 | 3069 ratings

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Fragile
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

4 stars The most essential not-quite-5-star album, ever!

This album contains two of the best pieces ever written: "Heart of the Sunrise" and "Mood for a Day". These were life-changing pieces of music for me, and even after listening to them >1000 times, I still love hearing them, and indeed, find it hard to turn them off if they are on, they are so great. "Heart of the Sunrise" is in my opinion the very best Yes song (followed closely by Close to the Edge, And You and I, and Gates of Delirium), and among the 10-best songs ever written. "Mood for a Day" is a song I taught myself on guitar when I was just a young teenager, and I still love it and play it! Why not 5 stars? While some of the remaining tunes have aged well ("South Side of the Sky") some of the others have not. I can hardly sit through "We Have Heaven" and "Cans and Brahms", and "Long Distance Runaround" and even "Roundabout" get tiring after 1000 listens. So, decidedly mixed. Since I am here scoring the entire album, and there are tunes I can no longer sit through, I can't give this a perfect 5-star review, even if the great tunes help lift it up the average quite high. On balance, I give this album 8.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is just shy of what is needed for 5 stars. But those two songs are essential!

 Relayer by YES album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.36 | 2647 ratings

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Relayer
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Sgai Friend

4 stars I would give it 5 stars, but for what many people regard as the lovely relief, namely "To Be Over". At least it's only nine minutes long. For me, this third piece is only good as a counterweight or soft cushion for what comes before it. First is "Gates Of Delirium". If you've enjoyed YES for their dreamy but bouncy off-world songs, then you'll reel at what this song delivers - nothing less than symphony at its cutting edge. Or is it a jam-session on steroids? Never mind having to count off eleven beats to the bar, you're so busy wondering what's happening and where it's going, but not a note out of place. It may take many sittings to break through into this piece, but "yes", it's worthwhile. I guess they had enough popularity, momentum and confidence as a band at this time (only 1974, remember), that they would try something as challenging as this.

Second track of 3 is "Sound Chaser". The intro shows off Alan White's drumming, such a different tone to Bill Bruford, and a smooth and reliable counterpoint to the bass and lead instruments (love his distinctive sextuplet runs). Then it gets a bit jagged. It's not as symphonic a piece as "Gates" but it's still very interesting. And this track has a wonderful surprise - who'd ever expect a ritardando/accelerando pattern in a piece of rock music?

My enjoyment of this album centers around the semi-classical, almost avant-garde quality of especially the instrumental passages. After hearing it in the year of its release, somehow many of their following albums would sound to me very humdrum.

 Relayer by YES album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.36 | 2647 ratings

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Relayer
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by War and Peace

5 stars After getting hooked into YES by listening to Roundabout, I dug deeper and found Fragile and CTTE to be wonderful gems within the genre, the musicmanship and skill of each member of the band is mindblowing, along with KC, YES is my favorite prog band.

Relayer is IMO, the point where the band reached its height in composition, virtuosity and experimentality, the only thing in this album that's weaker than the ones I mentioned is the drumming, Alan White is a very good drummer however lacks the technique of Bill Bruford, who was YES's drummer from 69 to 72. Keyboards are much more present in this album, Moraz and Wakeman play very differently so it's a matter of taste since both are excellent, Wakeman is more known for doing solos and fills, but Moraz accompanies the other intruments and plays very differently in each track, being synth heavy on the first one, jazzy with the Fender on the second one and very mellow and melodic on the last.

1.- The Gates of Delirium (10/10): My favorite Yessong and overall song, this 20 minute side-long epic based on the novel War and Peace is the best thing that YES ever produced, every musician plays top notch, the agressive Telecaster of Steve Howe is played in such a mind blowing manner, definitely his best guitar work. The first 8 minutes are described as the preparation and delcaration of war, it has everything you could ever want from the band, symphonic as ever with beautiful vocals. The intensity commences to build up and we reach a point where war has broken out and a battle is fought on the LOTR fantasy landscape from the album cover (at least in my mind), this section is filled with memorable bass riffs (again Squire is at his best here), intense drumming, fast tempo changes, killer synth solos and frenetic guitar. This part is know for the experimental sounds the band used, representing a battle with explotions and firearms going off, this helps to develop concept of the song and adds identity as well, I quite like it. At the 16 minute mark Soon starts, the most soothing, angelic piece I've ever heard, all the instruments in conjunction create the most beautiful and calming theme, Steve Howe's lap steel guitar is majestic and Jon Anderson vocals are a contrast to the initial section of the song, where he is agressive/hard. This song makes the whole album worthwhile.

2.- Sound Chaser (10/10): This song is very jazz fussion and weird, but in a good way, the rythm section of White and Squire is astounding, if someone says that White is a bad drummer you must show him/her this song. The fast tempos and key signature changes are the highlight as well as the beautiful jazz keyboards in the intro and the fantastic moog solo at the end. The cha cha chas sure are strange but they have grown on me. Oh I'm forgetting the best guitar solo by Howe, very fast and ever changing, I even hear some bits of Mood for a Day on it.

3.- To Be Over (9.5): My least favorite track on the record, still excellent of course. It evokes a real wintery and nostalgic feeling to me, very beautiful and melodic indeed. The track is very mellow but it gets heavier where Howe does a solo and the vocals come in after. This is a Steve Howe song so if you are a fan of his work you'll most likely enjoy this song.

Again the constrast of this album is masterful, 1st Track : Mellow as well as Agressive/ Mayhem and Fast Tempos ( beautifully constructed chaos)/ Angelical and Soothing Finale, 2nd Track: Fast Rythm Section/ Fast Solo with brief soft moments/ Crazy End with every instrument colliding, 3rd Track: Mellow and Melodic.

This album is definitely 5 Stars and is one if not the best prog record, the most epic artwork with the best music ever composed, Yes magnum opus.

 Close To The Edge by YES album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.65 | 3909 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.

10/10

 Talk by YES album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.06 | 826 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 | 3069 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 | 3909 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 | 2130 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 | 725 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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to easy livin for the last updates

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