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Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 2357 ratings

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4 stars Quite a controversial album. No wait... I'll take that back, it's a very controversial album. Many fans are divided on whether this is a work of art or a big pile of smelly crap. While I wouldn't call it a love or hate it album, it defiantly will not be up too everyone's taste. However taste can change overtime and I went from thinking of 'Tales from Topographic Oceans' as a gigantic overblown train reck to an album which is a brilliant, albeit with minor flaws.

People who only listen to 3-4 minute easy listening songs in which they can dance or tap their foot too, stay clear of this album. The length of these songs, combined with Anderson's weird and bizarre (hippie maybe?) lyrics and lots of key changes may make your head explode. It's a double album with two songs on each album (that's four songs, see I was always good at maths :D), all ranging from 18 to 21 minutes long. Think of it as Close to The Edge or Relayer, but with only the great big epic songs and no catchy smaller numbers like Siberian Khatru. Why they decided to have all the songs go for that long, I have no clue. It does make the album drag a little from time to time, and sometimes it fades into background music because I'm too busy concentrating on something else (this mostly happens on the second track 'The Remembering').

The first and last tracks ('The Revealing Science of God' and 'Ritual') are the best on the album, once you get over the bizarre song titles you know why thy earn that status, they are the ones that always grab my attention and I can almost hear Anderson say to me 'Oi, I can sing overcomplicated lyrics about topics most people like you are too dumb too understand, listen dammit!'. Track 1 starts out with weird chanting about some crazy sh*t that involves chance dancing and tender love in the air. It has many changes in tone and pace and resembles to Close to The Edge then any of the other songs on this album. Ritual might be the most catchiest of the album, especially at the beginning with the group chanting with 'da da da daa da da da daa' and it has a nice drum solo from the new drummer after Bruford left, Alan White.

The second track is good, but too me it seems drag way too much, especially for the first 7 minutes where it's has the same notes played over again, Anderson takes too longs sinning about a passage I have no clue what the meaning is, so frankly I don't care. It picks up and Wakeman gives us a fabulous performance. It's a shame he left after this album, I guess Anderson freaked him out with his weird visions about the world, I mean the guy sings about rainbows in some of the passages for god's sake.

Track 3 is very good, but the beginning can be frankly quite off putting with these strange noises coming from Howe's guitar. While I admire him for putting out unique sounds from his guitar, there's a line between creatively wonderful to just absurd. But it's still enjoyable, and anyway, all is forgiven when he gives us a wonderful journey of acoustic guitar from the 12 minute marks onward, simply beautiful.

If I could I would give this 4.5 stars, but to me this is not an essential album, since it's not for everyone, many still give it hostile comments about it being a spaced out pile of garbage. Even Wakeman openly admits that he does not enjoy the album, with one reason being that Anderson and Howe created the bulk of the album. So I give it 4 stars.

sam81292 | 4/5 |


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