Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Yes - Big Generator CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.54 | 1250 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
1 stars A toxic bi-product of the 80s

I bought this on cassette for a couple of bucks, as I saw it's horrid yellow cover glaring back at me. it had Yes written on the cover so I assumed it would sound like Yes at least. All the boxes could be ticked: it featured Anderson on vocals, check, Squire on bass, check, Kaye on Keys, check, White on drums, check, Rabin on.... hang on a minute, who the hell is Rabin and where is the brilliant Howe? I can deal with Wakeman taking a hiatus but Howe is another thing all together. So I knew I was in for a bumpy ride with this one from the outset. I had read the reviews panning the album, and I had heard Rabin saying on the documentary that this was the most difficult album he had worked on, with a foot note to the fact that Anderson hated the changes in direction and musical differences were creating tension in the ranks. The result is a genuine mess.

The proof is in the music. The commercial pop sound that began with "90125" was now a feature of the band, never to return to the glorious progressive albums of the 70s. They were all but a distant memory, so hoist the main sail and batten the hatches, make way for the good ship new improved Yes, with delightful slices of pop pap at its worst, and massive chunks of nauseating lovey dovey lyrics such as the appalling Love Will Find A Way. You might say "Tales of Topographic Oceans" was in another universe.

"Big Generator" begins with Rhythm Of Love that is almost unlistenable and a cringe worthy moment of the live DVDs. The radio friendly sound was now cemented in stone and it was a complete turn off for a prog band. What prog? There is not a sceric left. It seemed Yes were trying to appeal to a mass market, and as the girls came flooding in to hear this new Yes sound, the old fans exited because the magic was gone. The track Big Generator is drum heavy loud 80s kitsch at its most inane. The tin can drums sound programmed as was everything else in the techno new wave genre, programmed to squeeze dollars out of the teen saturated target audience. The horns are blaring, the harmonies are over produced and the bass is effects laden; in short, it is a manufactured popsicle, dripping with sugar coated lyrics and fairy floss mixing. It sits well with the likes of 80s icons Duran Duran, Pseudo Echo and Spandeau Ballet, except they are designed to manufacture radio tunes for teeny girls; Yes were not so it did not work.

The album is Yes at their worst with songs that are all but ignored these days, perhaps as a strategic move, such as Almost Like Love, Final Eyes, I'm Running and Holy Lamb, that desperately tries to be prog but is actually an oddity amongst all this mechanised noise. If you are in the right mood and you are doing the house work, this album may make a rather infectious little piece of background music. But the problem is Yes was never meant to be background rubbish. It was always the high standard of excellence that drew in the onslaught of fans and grounded the band as quintessential progressive virtuosos. This album totally alienated old fans who were already disillusioned by the previous album, which is a step up from this thanks to 2 killer singles and some inventive mixing. On the contrary this album is a product of the 80s as prog ground to a halt, and unfortunately, thanks to albums like this, Yes are partly to blame for the hiatus in the 80s prog scene.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 1/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this YES review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.