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Yes - Going For The One CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.03 | 1955 ratings

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5 stars Although I like quite a few of the albums Yes released from the early Eighties onwards, as others have said before me "Going for the One" is probably the last really great album from one of the most influential bands in prog. Released in a very difficult year for progressive rock, at the zenith of the 'dinosaur'-bashing punk era, this is a brilliant, in-your-face return to form for Yes, with prodigal son Rick Wakeman newly returned to the fold and drummer Alan White now perfectly integrated in the band's fabric. Only five tracks (nothing new for Yes, anyway), but each one a masterpiece in its own special way - GFTO offers something for every taste, climaxing with one of prog's most celebrated, intriguing epics, the mighty "Awaken".

I remember that, when I first listened to the album (it was quite a long time ago...), the first thing I noticed was its heavy, almost metallic sound. In a certain way, its musical content parallels (no pun intended!) the very un-Yes-like sleeve, with its futuristic landscape contrasted with the figure of a naked man - possibly an image of the conflict between technology and human values. The title-track opens the album with the aggressive, almost strident sound of Steve Howe's slide guitar, developing then into a song with a rather straightforward structure and great vocal harmonies, its dynamism reminiscent of CTTE's "Siberian Khatru". Then, all of a sudden, the hard-rocking, energetic atmosphere changes into the wistful, heartrending strains of the quintessential prog ballad, "Turn of the Century" (arguably one of the band's best-ever tracks), a story of love and loss magnificently interpreted by Jon Anderson (who sings mostly alone) , accompanied by Steve Howe's delicate acoustic guitar, and featuring an extremely beautiful, melancholy piano solo in the middle. A majestic church organ introduces the storming "Parallels", a Chris Squire tune powered by his inimitably chunky bass lines. Jon's graceful vocals get to shine again in the catchy, light-hearted "Wonderous Stories", berated by many for being either childish or too commercial, but in my opinion providing a bit of respite before the onslaught of the 15-minute-plus prog tour de force which is "Awaken".

This track is probably Yes' last great epic, and as Yes epics go it is somewhat more intense, less accessible than, for instance, "Starship Trooper" or "And You And I". Introduced by Wakeman's elegant, lilting piano and Anderson's soaring voice, it then develops into a brooding, almost chant-like theme, underpinned by Squire's dark, solemn bass lines. Midway through the song things calm down, creating a mystical, rarefied atmosphere to which the stately, distant voices of a choir and the gentle tinkling of bells add an intriguing dimension. The song climaxes with triumphant singing by Anderson and his cohorts and a stunning guitar solo by Steve Howe - then quiet comes again, and we can hear Anderson's voice sweetly singing the final lines, as if echoing in the vastness of space. Definitely no easy listening piece, this one - but utterly gorgeus all the same.

The remastered edition contains a further five tracks that, to be perfectly honest, don't add much to the album's value. What you really need is the five original tracks comprising this masterpiece, certainly one of the landmarks of symphonic prog - an imposing, magnificent cathedral of sound which is essential for any serious lover of the genre.

Raff | 5/5 |


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