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Yes - Open Your Eyes CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.03 | 882 ratings

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Evandro Martini
2 stars The worst Yes album ever!

This album is an almost complete disaster. In 1996/1997 Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood, a close friend of his, started doing some songwriting together, for what was supposed to be an album featuring only the two of them. Then, the label heard some songs and said "Why don't you do it with the band?". The recording industry had already destroyed the interesting ABWH, transforming it into the Union formation, that created a horrible album. And here, once again, they manage to do a poor album, that hardly ever sounds like Yes.

The best description of this album is given by Steve Howe, in the Close to the Edge biography of Yes, by Chris Welch. He says that when he was finishing his (great) own album Quantum Guitar together with his son Dylan, he was invited to play on a new Yes album, that was already almost entirely composed, by Chris and Billy. Said he: "So we all said "Yes, we'll do it". So the tracks on Open Your Eyes were basically initiated and put together by Chris and Billy. It's not really Yes music.(...)So before you knew it we had the management saying, "If you make this record quickly you can get on tour and we'll meet the autumn tour schedule" So it was like a hurricane"(...)It's not a fan based record. It's a "Get Yes on the radio" kind of record. (...)Open Your Eyes was a commercial record and Yes shouldn't have done that because they had just done it with Talk".

So this album, just like Talk, is impregnated of something that Steve defined, cleverly, as un-Yes-ness. Lots of pointless choruses, bad melodies, and other stuff you wouldn't expect from real Yes music. The compositions are poor and uninteresting, with most songs not fitting very well Jon's acute voice. Steve Howe's guitar has good moments, like the slide solo you can hear on New State of Mind if you don't pay attention to the noisy main riff that covers it, but his guitar always seems thrown into the songs at the last moment, and it doesn't belong there, properly. Surprisingly, although Chris composed most of the material, his wonderful bass style here has almost nothing to say. Don't expect another Fish out of Water, definitely. The best song is Steve and Jon's only contribution, From the Balcony, a short and beautiful song, although it seems unfinished... Listening to this song is like listening to the first two minutes of And You And I, and stopping there: you feel it is definitely a great piece of music, but it's not a complete musical statement, there's something missing. Probably they had very little time to record it, and couldn't come up with more.

I could give it one star, but I give two, because there are, although miles below their potentials, and covered by layers of un-Yes-ness, the Yes musicians: Steve Howe, Jon Anderson and Chris Squire (I don't even mention Alan, because there's absolutely no difference between what he does here and what a mediocre drummer would do to the same songs. He's so lazy in that album...), and I cannot deem an album with these three guys as absolutely bad.

Evandro Martini | 2/5 |


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