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Yes - Heaven & Earth CD (album) cover

HEAVEN & EARTH

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

2.34 | 591 ratings

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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.

DocB | 4/5 |

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