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Yes - Fragile CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.46 | 4075 ratings

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4 stars Fragile is a good album with some standout tracks. Nothing more, nothing less. The power behind Roundabout and Heart of the Sunrise is undeniable, and a few of the other tracks, such as South Side of the Sky and The Fish have interesting moments, but the remaining tracks are either short enough to be forgettable or do not age well. I'm torn because Heart of the Sunrise is solid enough to stand alongside some of Yes's tracks of more robust length and scope, but the others are really dragging it down.

As a whole album, each piece is very much at home within the mix, but some of the transitions seem sloppy and abrupt. The more jarring examples are the out-of-nowhere annunciation and exit of Five Percent For Nothing. It sits between two tracks of very contrasting moods and texture, so a short transitional piece in theory would be suitable in this moment, but in my mind a transition should segue both smoothly and logically from one mood to another without compromising the energy or defaulting to neophyte writing to fill the space. The problem here is the fact that this wonky, haphazard piece is interjected and presents an entirely different mood. I get that it wasn't accidental and it might seem like a novel, fun addition to some listeners. I'm not convinced personally. I thought it was interesting and whimsical on my first few listens, but nowadays if I never heard it again I wouldn't ever miss it, I know this for a fact. I'd much rather listen to tracks that continually inspire and don't make me question whether their inclusion was justifiable or not.

That's a lot of harping on such a short section of the album, but its problem is symptomatic of passages within longer compositions as well. Whether it be a song that I still somewhat like, such as South Side of the Sky, or a song I don't, such as Long Distance Runaround, this is an undeniable trait that keeps reappearing and ultimately prevents this album from being a masterpiece in my eyes. Each of these passages only becomes more and more labored each time I give the album a spin, which admittedly is quite frequently these days, since I put it in my car all the time when making short, menial trips around where I don't care if it gets interrupted or if people I'm with talk over it. Because of the lesser tracks, it has ultimately become a background album.

In conclusion, I don't want to say this is a bad album, because it's actually not even close to one. It has very solid moments and the musicianship is top notch. I just don't care for it as much as others, and in comparison to what I regard as my picks for masterpieces, it's a far cry from that standard of achievement in my book. I give it 3.5 stars, rounded up for the sake of the rating system. Heart of the Sunrise and Roundabout saved it a lower rating, along with the musicianship factor.

Neo-Romantic | 4/5 |


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