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Yes - 90125 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.05 | 1847 ratings

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4 stars I've seen a lot of low ratings about this album. I think it's because of the band's name. Nobody could expect to find a new Close to the edge in the middle of the fairlight era, but it seems that a lot of people can't forgive the YES for their excursion into more commercial prog. Note. It's commercial but it's also prog.

Let's try to imagine if this album was published by a different band. Imagine somebody never heard before comes out in 1983 with Owner of a lonely heart, or with Leave it.

This is a great album. Only it's different from what YES did before and its follow-up, Big Generator was probably the worst thing ever produced by the band. This can be another indirect reason of the low-rating.

Trevor Rabin's synth-guitar is the leading instrument of the whole album. I think this is what the hard YES fans can't accept. With this album they changed their sound. Only Jon Anderson's voice is still the same. The music sounds different from the previous productions. Is it that bad?

What if Script for a Jester's Tear was published by Genesis instead of Marillion? Would people say "the worst Genesis album because they changed their style"? "Script is considered to be the starter of the so-called neo-prog. Would 90125 have been considered the same if made by actually unknown artists?

It has well played and arranged good songs, a skillful guitarist and Jon's voice. Is it commercial? In 1979 people was saying the same about Another Brick in the wall. Commercial doesn't always mean "bad" or "poor". It's just another attribute.

90125 has conquered a lot of people to YES music, giving them the curiosity and the possibility to dig into the old things and discover their masterpieces. 90125 is not a masterpiece, but I still love listening to it after 27 years. The main difference between good music and "just commercial" is that everybody gets bored of the second quite quickly.

In my opinion it's an album that has the right to stay in every prog collection. 1983 is the year of PF The Final Cut, Mike Oldfield's Crisis and Marillion's scripts. Is 90125 so poor that can't be compared to them? Any piece of art has to be evaluated into its contest. In literature nobody would write a poem in the Divine Comedy style, today, and nobody paints like Caravaggio.

So for people who has never listened to this album: the opening track, "Owner of a Lonely Heart" the most famous and probably the most commercial, has a captivating rhythm and melody. The use of "accents" is probably a bit excessive, but it doesn't disturb too much. The synth-guitar was really new at that time. I think Rabin and Pat Metheny were the only two known guitarists in these years to use it.

"Hold on" sounds a bit like SUPERTRAMP or TOTO but the chorus is nothing but YES. It's one of the best album's songs in terms of melody. Yes, it's commercial. I see no problems.

The SItar opens "It Can Happen" supported by Chris Squire's Bass. In the old times the bass volume would have probably been louder. The guitar below sounds a bit funky, but it's the same sound used by GILMOUR's guitar on "About Face" the following year.

"Changes" is a typical YES song. Its intro is one of the best things of the whole album. When it turns into pop is still a good prog song of the 80s.

"Cinema" is a short instrumental. It was functional as opener of the side B of the vinyl. Don't forget that we are at the dawn of the CD era. A CD reader was still very expensive actually. There's no solution of continuity between this track and the choir of "Leave it", that's in my opinion the best album's track.

"Our Song" is not too distant from some parts of "Going for the one". I don't like the intro that sounds like GTR's "When the heart rules the mind". (Strange as Howe isn't present here).

"City of Love" is nothing special, even though I remember that it rocked live (in Milan 1984).

"Hearts" is a good closure. It's in the territory that will be explored three years after by ABWH.

4 stars for me.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |


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