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Yes - Going For The One CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.03 | 1934 ratings

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3 stars As far as I'm concerned, Yes could be forgiven for failing to top their 1974 fusion-rock masterpiece Relayer. After their 1974-1975 tour, the members of the band worked on solo projects rather than immediately regrouping for another Yes album. Singer Jon Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow, keyboardist Patrick Moraz's The Story of i, and guitarist Steve Howe's Beginnings each were decent solo debut albums, while Fish Out of Water, by bassist Chris Squire, was as good as many Yes albums, both before and after its 1975 release. The band reconvened in 1976 for another tour before focusing on the follow-up to Relayer. Others know the history better than I, but at some point after the tour Moraz was fired from the band and replaced by former Yes keyboardist - - and successful solo artist - - Rick Wakeman.

In hindsight this seems like a poor decision, as Relayer, the only Yes album with Moraz, was so much better than Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973), Going for the One (1977), and Tormato (1978) - - the three 1970s albums by the Yes lineup of Wakeman, Anderson, Howe, Squire, and drummer Alan White. But at the time it was announced, the re-hiring of Wakeman probably sounded like a good idea. There's also been a strong implication that the band was going to fire Moraz regardless of whether they could get Wakeman back.

But they did get him back, and the result was Going for the One, which was as different from Relayer as Relayer was from Tales. The five-song Going for the One replaced much of its predecessor's jazziness and experimentation with more radio-friendly rock and pop. "Going for the One," "Wonderous Stories," and "Parallels" range from 3:45 to 5:52, and, along with the eight-minute "Turn of the Century," represent an attempt to return to a level of accessibility along the lines of The Yes Album and Fragile. Unfortunately, these more accessible songs aren't of the same quality as the average song on either of those albums. "Going for the One" and "Parallels" are pleasantly melodious but unnecessarily long; "Turn of the Century" is a bit more progressive, but it fits the progressive-rock stereotype of gratuitous and self-important solemnity. And by Yes standards, "Wonderous Stories" is pretty flimsy.

But the underwhelming first 25 minutes of Going for the One is substantially mitigated by "Awaken," The fifteen-and-a-half-minute track which closes the album. "Awaken" has been called the band's final epic, the Last Great Yes song, and so on. I'd argue that this is incorrect, citing "Machine Messiah" (1980), "I'm Running" (1987), "Mind Drive" (1997), and the "Fly From Here" suite (2011). But it is a great song. Among Yes songs, "Close to the Edge" is probably closest in terms of structure, although "Awaken" also has some similarities with "Mind Drive." While "Awaken" doesn't achieve the heights of "Close to the Edge" or "The Gates of Delirium," both its crescendo and its coda rank among Yes's very best.

On the whole, Going for the One is a fair Yes album. Its pieces don't hang together the way the songs on Tales or Relayer do, but the songs on the first side ("Going for the One," "Turn of the Century," and "Parallels") aren't bad, And "Awaken" is a Yes classic. A good, but not essential album.

patrickq | 3/5 |


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