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Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 2348 ratings

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4 stars Recent whispers from my prog fairy urged me to purchase a CD copy of this much maligned and oft criticized opus. I had bought it when it came out in 1974 and even saw the supporting concert tour. I had recently read that many of today's stalwart prog musicians consider Tales to be a hallmark masterwork.( Nick Magnus, The Tangent, the Flower Kings and Glass Hammer among many others). Why was then this album so controversial, I must admit that I was also not blown away and gaga when this was release in the mid 70s, sandwiched between CTTE's brilliant aura and Relayer's exotic symphonics. Perhaps the answer lies in historical context. In 1970, pop music was still a 45 RPM single business, and the LP was really an innovation. The suddenly, there was a wind of change: longer songs meant longer albums , ushering in the advent of the double album which was a bit hard to digest all in one gulp (Beatles White Album, Elton's Yellow Brick Road, Who's Tommy) . It was very common to hear criticism by the Lester Bangs' of this world (read music journalists scorned by Zappa) that 1 hour plus musical statements were "overblown" and my favorite term, "pretentious"!!! Progfans had no problem flocking to the magnum opus/concept album, as the more music, the merrier. Let's not forget that RADIO was the motor of the music industry, three to four minute songs were the norm. There was no video or Internet yet!! Look back at the reality: How does "the Lamb" and "the Wall" rate compared to previous works by Genesis or Floyd. Few would argue that these extended vinyl were superior to the well known jewels. Epic albums are devoid of hits, that mega song that has everyone dancing in the isles. What makes "Tales" so lavishly difficult to harness is that it was created with the intention of being one piece of music in 4 movements, very much in a classical music setting and to underline this truth, the supporting concert was dedicated to the whole album plus a greatest hits package. The bottom line is that this work is one of those complex examples of what makes progressive rock so impulsive and personal. I know what I like and I like what I know . 4 soleils
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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