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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 4371 ratings

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5 stars There's probably something new to say about Close to the Edge, but I'm not sure what that might be. You already know that the album proper is made up of three songs: "Close to the Edge" occupying side one, and side two being divided between "And You And I" and "Siberian Khatru."

As the middle song, and the bridge between the two classics here, "And You And I" is simpler than "Close to the Edge" and milder than "Siberian." As longer Yes songs go, it's good, but not special. Especially during "Eclipse" (the second of four subsections of "And You And I"), we see Yes reaching for a grandeur that isn't quite attained, and in "The Preacher The Teacher" (section three) the band seems to be trying in vain for a recapitulation of section one - - a move they pulled off masterfully on "Close to the Edge."

OK, I've said it: Close to the Edge has a weakness, and it's "And You And I."

But I'll say this too: "And You And I" is a solid effort that pales in comparison to the album's title song, but in my opinion, all progressive-rock songs pale in comparison to "Close to the Edge." At nearly nineteen minutes long, the four-movement "Close to the Edge" is open to charges of pomposity. The last two minutes preceding the outro (beginning around 15:55) are certainly dramatic, and it's here that we can tell that the band is trying to pull off a symphonic recapitulation of the themes introduced in the first two movements - - which actually does sound a bit pompous for a five-piece rock band. But the attempt succeeds, and spectacularly. If somehow the preceding pieces of "Close to the Edge" didn't make sense, they do at this point. Scattered among those earlier sections were pieces to a puzzle that are fitted together at the end.

The album closes nicely with the energetic "Siberian Khatru." Unlike the pieces that precede it, "Siberian" is more of a song and less of a suite (although I've referred to all three as "songs" - - I know). It carries on the occasional religious references interspersed in the lyrics of "Close to the Edge" and "And You And I," but is in many other ways distinct from them. Where significant parts of "And You And I" had more in common with folk rock, "Siberian Khatru" is closer to what would be called "heavy prog" on this site.

All five members of Yes turn in career performances on Close to the Edge - - I say this realizing that it sounds like hyperbole, but then again, Close to the Edge is second only to Relayer among the band's work. Compared to Relayer, Close to the Edge is more accessible (although neither is as accessible as several other very good Yes albums; 90125 and Drama come to mind) and, at least prior to the release of Steven Wilson's remix of Relayer, Close to the Edge also has superior sound.

Bottom line: you really can't go wrong with Close to the Edge. As much as any other album listed on this site, it's "Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music."

patrickq | 5/5 |


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