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Yes - Fragile CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.45 | 3450 ratings

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5 stars As a stand-alone work, or as an integral incorporated point in their catalogue, Fragile is essential to not only my collection, but my life. As a pre-teen, I'd already been moved by The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, but this album seemed to open up a whole other part of my brain. Yet, strangely, I am not a Yes fanatic and I certainly have more love for the work of Genesis, Jethro Tull and a host of others. For example, my next favorite Yes album is honestly Tormato (go figure). But don't get me wrong, I have massive respect for the band, and this is an album that I am unable to exhaust entertainment value from start to finish.

Roundabout - possibly the Trojan horse for prog, the hook in my fish-mouth is the backward piano tones that are so perfectly interlaced with Howe's inspired harmonics. // Cans And Brahms - I'm a keyboard player, so obviously, I find this little snippet of fun to be inventive and forever listenable in it's humble charm. // We Have Heaven - I am not a singer and to blow me away, a vocalist really has to offer up something above the standard bar of mere singing to get my attention, and Jon Anderson gets my attention without being pretentious. // South Side Of The Sky - oh yes, YES! I am always enchanted by the steady pacing and how they all just meld together into a unified musical force. I think that if a lot of other bands attempted to replicate this song, it would come off as lumbering and not as cohesive. It also contains one of the best examples ever of shifting between the minor and the major. The hook in my fish-mouth is the judicious moog bit that precedes the main theme coda. // Five Per Cent For Nothing - a totaly freaky exercise that could have easily been cast off the album, but even in it's briefness it splashes a necessary color onto the aural surface and sort of says to me waste not want not. Cool. // Long Distance Runaround - so intoxicating it can make me dizzy, it never fails to make me feel good and childlike, kind of like spinning around in place and falling on the ground and watching clouds in the sky sort of trail around...but stay on the ground for // The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) - again seemingly inconsequential, but posessing a necessary color for the overall sound painting. // Mood For A Day - an amazingly beautiful composition that I'm sure would impress even the old classical masters if they returned from the dead. Kind of Bach-ish and folky at the same time, but even in 2008 it sounds contemporary. // Heart Of The Sunrise - this is one of the finest works in the entire history of recorded sound, seriously. The way in which all the separate parts are interwoven is mind-blowingly brilliant. This is where Yes write their bit in the text-book of progressive rock music, in stone, for all time. The heavy sections are truly heavy, the softer reflective sections are truly beautiful and moving. Every musician's part is so incredible on it's own, and together as a unit...well, words really can't touch what it is, but serendipity comes close. But, for me, the real special ingredient is Jon Anderson's heartfelt performance. The world owes him free lunch for life based on this performance alone.

We're treated to a nice reprise of We Have Heaven and there you are - Fragile. Just like life is. I imagine this album has actually saved lives, I know I've put it on at times when I'm down and it's lifted me out of whatever doldrums. Yes, it is essential and a masterpiece of progressive music. They may have better albums, those which others prefer, or whatever, but there's no other album by Yes, or anyone else, that is quite like it. Yes indeed.

classicalgasp | 5/5 |


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