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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover

CLOSE TO THE EDGE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 4371 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ElliotYork
5 stars Being a 90s kid who didn't get into prog until his early 20s, Close to the Edge was always this ancient behemoth of prog rock that loomed like a shadow over the bands I was familiar with (Rush and DT particularly). As such, I hesitated for a long time before diving in, afraid that I somehow wasn't ready.

One day, I finally decided to Youtube the title track. I was expecting something Floyd-esque, maybe with some of the edge and virtuosity of Rush. What I heard was ... unlike anything I'd ever heard before. I liked it, but I didn't quite *get* it yet. It sounded messy and chaotic and alien, almost. But I enjoyed it.

I left it aside for a while, until several months later I decided to play the album at the bookstore I work at. It was a quiet morning so I was able to focus my ears on the music while stacking books on shelves.

It was one of the finest music-listening experiences of my life.

From the opening intro chirps and chimes, the way Howe's guitar seems to come in suddenly from out of space, the absolute frenzy that follows, the reassembly of sound that happens when the verse riff kicks, the staccato vocal melodies, the sheer awe and bombast of Wakeman's "Dracula at the organ" moment (as my co-worker called it with a disapproving look on her face ... her loss) and Anderson's angelic, soaring vocals ... the song was from another planet and it was there to visit me personally.

This story may sound like fluff over an oft-revered prog classic, but it's as honest as I can be. The title-track is the quintessential side-long prog epic. End of story.

But none of that is to sleep on the excellent two tracks on the other side. And You and I is a gem in more ways than one, and any album that doesn't contain something as expansive as the title-track, this might have been the album's *epic*. As it stands though, it's a welcome change of pace from the frenzy of side A and a great track in its own right.

Siberian Khatru is also no slouch. This track has funk and riffs for days. Just like track two was the perfect pace to follow up on the title-track, Siberian Khatru follows that up again beautifully by closing the album full of energy. It's an incredibly fun song.

Comparing this magnificent album to modern prog releases makes me appreciate what the LP format brought to the genre - restraint. Prog, as we all know, is a genre of expansion and excess, but the (approx) 44 minute cap of the LP format meant that artists could only put forward their best work - rather than feeling the need to fill out every CD release to the full 76 minutes (Dream Theater) or two whole discs (The Flower Kings). It really shows on this album: Yes gave us a masterpiece epic track and two very, very great songs to go along with it. And that's it. They didn't throw in an extra filler track, they gave us just what we needed, and nothing more. THAT is why this album is a behemoth of prog rock, and THAT is why it is the highest rated album on this site.

ElliotYork | 5/5 |

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