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YES

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Yes biography
Active since 1968 with varying formations - Two major hiatus between 1981-1983 and 2004-2008

YES formed in London (UK) in 1968 with Jon ANDERSON (vocals), Chris SQUIRE (bass, vocals), Peter BANKS (guitar, vocals), Tony KAYE (keyboards), and Bill BRUFORD (drums). Well-known and influential mainstream progressive from the 1970's, and still around in some form ever since, they were highly influential in their heyday, especially notable for the really creative "Relayer", which included at the time Swiss keyboardist Patrick MORAZ who replaced Rick WAKEMAN

During the 1970s, YES pioneered the use of synthesizers and sound effects in modern music. Driven by Jon's artistic vision, they produced such timeless, symphonic-rock masterworks as "Roundabout," "Close To the Edge," and "Awaken". In the 1980s, YES pushed new digital sampling technologies to their limits, selling millions of records and influencing a generation of digital musicians with classics like "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" and "Rhythm Of Love". Moving through the 1990s and into the new millennium, the band keeps expanding its boundaries by using the latest hard-disk recording techniques and, most recently, working with a full orchestra to create their genre-defying music.

YES gained large popularity with their brand of mysticism and grand-scale compositions. "Fragile" and "Close to the Edge" are considered their best works as it's symphonic, complex, cerebral, spiritual and moving. These albums featured beautiful harmonies and strong, occasionally heavy playing. Also, "Fragile" contained the popular hit song "Roundabout". This was followed by the controversial "Tales from Topographic Oceans" LP, which was a double album consisting of only four 20-minute length suites centering on religious concepts. Also, "Relayer" was their most experimental, yet grandiose and symphonic. They broke up, until the new jewel "Going For The One" and its incredible "Awaken" was issued in 1977. In later years, YES would go through many transformations. There were other very good YES albums after "Going For The One" ("Drama", "Keys To Ascension" and surprisingly "The Ladder") but this is the last great album.

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YES Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy YES Music


Fragile (Expanded & Remastered)Fragile (Expanded & Remastered)
Elektra Catalog Group 2003
$5.39
$3.68 (used)
Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection (3CD, Digi-Pak)Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection (3CD, Digi-Pak)
Elektra Catalog Group 2004
$18.01
$13.11 (used)
The Steven Wilson Remixes (6LP)The Steven Wilson Remixes (6LP)
Box set · Remixes included · Remastered
Atlantic Catalog Group 2018
$99.05
Close To The Edge (Expanded & Remastered)Close To The Edge (Expanded & Remastered)
Elektra Catalog Group 2003
$6.28
$3.22 (used)
Fragile: Expanded / RemixedFragile: Expanded / Remixed
Panegyric 2015
$16.81
$23.65 (used)
Yes AlbumYes Album
Elektra / Wea 2003
$5.41
$2.96 (used)
Tales From Topographic Oceans (Expanded & Remastered) (2CD)Tales From Topographic Oceans (Expanded & Remastered) (2CD)
Rhino/Elektra 2003
$15.78
$15.26 (used)
DramaDrama
Extra tracks · Remastered
Rhino 2004
$3.96
$5.00 (used)
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YES discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

YES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.25 | 1253 ratings
Yes
1969
3.29 | 1302 ratings
Time And A Word
1970
4.29 | 2718 ratings
The Yes Album
1971
4.44 | 3354 ratings
Fragile
1971
4.66 | 4247 ratings
Close To The Edge
1972
3.90 | 2295 ratings
Tales From Topographic Oceans
1973
4.36 | 2891 ratings
Relayer
1974
4.04 | 1903 ratings
Going For The One
1977
2.97 | 1441 ratings
Tormato
1978
3.77 | 1592 ratings
Drama
1980
2.98 | 1481 ratings
90125
1983
2.51 | 1082 ratings
Big Generator
1987
2.50 | 997 ratings
Union
1991
3.05 | 910 ratings
Talk
1994
2.04 | 795 ratings
Open Your Eyes
1997
3.26 | 932 ratings
The Ladder
1999
3.74 | 1060 ratings
Magnification
2001
3.41 | 1054 ratings
Fly From Here
2011
2.37 | 575 ratings
Heaven & Earth
2014
3.06 | 75 ratings
Fly From Here - Return Trip
2018

YES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.33 | 914 ratings
Yessongs
1973
3.64 | 475 ratings
Yesshows
1980
2.26 | 242 ratings
9012 Live: The Solos
1985
4.11 | 494 ratings
Keys to Ascension
1996
3.96 | 463 ratings
Keys to Ascension 2
1997
2.59 | 139 ratings
BBC Sessions 1969-1970 Something's Coming (2 Cds)
1997
3.59 | 207 ratings
House of Yes: Live From the House of Blues
2000
2.66 | 38 ratings
Extended Versions
2002
2.88 | 36 ratings
Roundabout: The Best Of Yes- Live
2003
3.85 | 178 ratings
Live at Montreux 2003
2007
4.22 | 287 ratings
Symphonic Live
2009
4.48 | 161 ratings
Keys To Ascension (Full)
2010
3.30 | 37 ratings
Astral Traveller (The BBC Sessions)
2011
3.53 | 133 ratings
In The Present - Live From Lyon
2011
3.63 | 60 ratings
Union Live
2011
2.77 | 60 ratings
Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome
2014
4.25 | 86 ratings
Progeny - Seven Shows from Seventy-Two
2015
3.34 | 67 ratings
Like It Is - Yes at the Mesa Arts Centre
2015
3.51 | 49 ratings
Topographic Drama: Live Across America
2017
4.05 | 34 ratings
Yes ft. ARW: Live At The Apollo
2018

YES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.67 | 170 ratings
Yessongs (DVD)
1973
3.19 | 101 ratings
9012 LIVE (DVD)
1985
4.12 | 88 ratings
Yesyears (DVD)
1991
3.69 | 42 ratings
The Union Tour Live
1991
2.93 | 54 ratings
Greatest Video Hits
1991
4.25 | 8 ratings
The Best Of MusikLaden Live
1999
3.61 | 118 ratings
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (DVD)
2000
3.70 | 128 ratings
Keys to Ascension (DVD)
2000
4.59 | 315 ratings
Symphonic Live (DVD)
2002
3.07 | 73 ratings
Yesspeak
2003
2.39 | 82 ratings
Live in Philadelphia 1979
2003
3.12 | 35 ratings
Inside Yes 1968-1973
2003
3.60 | 93 ratings
Yes Acoustic: Guaranteed No Hiss
2004
4.29 | 169 ratings
Songs From Tsongas: 35th Anniversary Concert (DVD)
2005
3.41 | 68 ratings
Live 1975 At Q.P.R. Vol. 1
2005
3.32 | 62 ratings
Live 1975 At Q.P.R. Vol. 2
2005
3.63 | 55 ratings
Yes (Classic Artists)
2006
3.96 | 136 ratings
Montreux 2003 (DVD)
2007
3.83 | 46 ratings
Yes - The New Director's Cut
2008
3.83 | 43 ratings
The Lost Broadcasts
2009
3.18 | 30 ratings
Rock Of The 70's
2009
3.91 | 64 ratings
Union - Live
2010
3.04 | 6 ratings
Live Hemel Hempstead Pavillion October 3rd 1971
2013
3.49 | 21 ratings
Yes ft. ARW: Live At The Apollo
2018

YES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.58 | 12 ratings
2 Originals Of Yes
1973
3.10 | 216 ratings
Yesterdays
1975
3.78 | 181 ratings
Classic Yes
1981
3.27 | 113 ratings
Yesyears
1991
3.46 | 76 ratings
Yesstory
1992
2.94 | 79 ratings
Highlights: The Very Best of Yes
1993
2.56 | 32 ratings
The Best of Yes
2000
3.55 | 466 ratings
Keystudio
2001
2.71 | 22 ratings
Yes-today
2002
4.27 | 122 ratings
In A Word
2002
3.15 | 98 ratings
Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection
2003
2.13 | 64 ratings
Remixes
2003
2.52 | 23 ratings
Topography: The Yes Anthology
2004
3.24 | 143 ratings
The Word Is Live
2005
3.88 | 24 ratings
Essentially Yes
2006
3.52 | 18 ratings
Collection 2CD: Yes
2008
5.00 | 2 ratings
Wonderous Stories: The Best of Yes
2011
4.08 | 44 ratings
Progeny: Highlights From Seventy-Two
2015
4.70 | 20 ratings
The Steven Wilson Remixes
2018

YES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.28 | 22 ratings
Something's Coming
1969
3.47 | 15 ratings
Looking Around
1969
2.82 | 27 ratings
Sweetness / Something's Coming
1969
3.34 | 19 ratings
Sweet Dreams
1970
3.41 | 36 ratings
Time and a Word
1970
3.45 | 46 ratings
Your Move
1971
3.12 | 15 ratings
Roundabout
1972
4.63 | 16 ratings
And You And I (Part 1 & 2)
1972
2.89 | 49 ratings
America
1972
4.74 | 19 ratings
And You And I
1974
3.24 | 16 ratings
Soon
1976
3.24 | 38 ratings
Soon - Sound Chaser - Roundabout
1976
2.40 | 15 ratings
Yes Solos
1976
3.66 | 39 ratings
Wonderous Stories 12''
1977
4.04 | 38 ratings
Going For The One 12''
1977
4.20 | 11 ratings
Turn Of The Century
1977
2.71 | 51 ratings
Don't Kill The Whale
1978
3.01 | 36 ratings
Into The Lens
1980
4.23 | 43 ratings
Roundabout
1981
2.36 | 42 ratings
Owner of a Lonely Heart (promo single)
1983
2.17 | 46 ratings
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
1983
2.69 | 37 ratings
Leave It
1984
2.85 | 23 ratings
Twelve Inches on Tape
1984
3.09 | 32 ratings
It Can Happen
1984
2.39 | 9 ratings
Rhythm Of Love
1987
2.81 | 31 ratings
Love Will Find A Way
1987
2.23 | 39 ratings
Rhythm Of Love (2)
1987
3.33 | 20 ratings
Saving My Heart
1991
2.56 | 40 ratings
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
1991
2.48 | 10 ratings
Lift Me Up
1991
2.59 | 21 ratings
Make It Easy
1991
2.60 | 11 ratings
Yesyears - Sampler
1991
2.60 | 25 ratings
The Calling
1994
3.00 | 2 ratings
Lightning Strikes (She Ay ... Do Wa Bap)
1999
2.83 | 71 ratings
YesSymphonic
2001
2.08 | 5 ratings
Selections From The Word Is Live
2005
3.05 | 63 ratings
We Can Fly
2011

YES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Close To The Edge by YES album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.66 | 4247 ratings

BUY
Close To The Edge
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Close To The Edge" is the number ONE in the ranking of Progarchives. Is it the best progressive rock album of all time? My personal answer is no.

The Lp includes three songs: "Close To The Edge" (side A), "And You And I", and "Siberian Khatru" (side B).

"Close To The Edge", the song: Everybody here knows this suite very well... But is it a real suite? How is his structure? After having heard this suite for many years, here's to you my evaluation.

Close To The Edge (18:42) begins with country noises and a carpet of keyboards that gradually increases the volume, then comes an instrumental intro guided by Howe's guitar, which works on two lines: one does the solo, the other an underlying phrasing at great speed, which in fact marks a faster pace than that of Bruford's drums, which he prefers, with his creative jazzy style, not to beat too much on the snare drum, but works the rhythm at the hips. Meanwhile, Squire throws slashes with his mixed bass very high. The impression is therefore of listening to a polyrhythmic piece, without true melody, very well chiselled, refined, sophisticated, produced by the virtuosity of the musicians, which lasts about two and a half minutes, when Anderson's singing arrives to signal that it is time to start with the serious part, the storytelling. It is always Howe's guitar that leads, this time painting the melody, flanked by Squire's bass. The melody continues for a minute (up to about 3:50), then the rhythm stops and, punctuated by Bruford's drums, begins the hyperspeed rhythm that characterizes the verses of this long song. This time the keyboards of Wakeman arrive to support Howe's guitar, and together with Bruford's drums they beat the rhythm, while Squire produces some turns of bass to make it more lively. Anderson's singing begins, with its glacial timbre, and the very high, contralto tone, which somehow transcends the rock music in the background, turns off the heat like covering it with a white, pure, celestial liquid, and this it is the contradiction of Yes, well-marked by the critic Scaruffi: the romantic, warm, sentimental rock base is accompanied by the vocals of Anderson, cold, celestial, like icy water that extinguishes the fire. Therefore, a discrepancy is created, a conjunction of opposites, which produces a conflicting result, because Anderson's voice would be more suitable for slower, fluid, rarefied atmospheres of air or water, such as some kraut rock music (Hosianna Mantra) or some Canterbury (Wyatt's Rock Bottom) or the more recent post-rock. Instead this voice is associated with a melodic rock music, with a good rhythm, which tends to act more on a corporal than an astral level. All this produces conflict but also fascination, leaving in the music of Yes something that clashes, conflicts, but that makes it at the same time more fascinating, more stratified, less univocal, less simple, because it moves simultaneously in two opposite directions.

It is clear that Anderson's voice really characterizes the music of Yes and not everyone likes it. The fact that it goes on another level with respect to the music, combined with its super-high tone, almost falsetto, it could irritate or tire many listeners. Personally it took me several years to get used to Anderson's vocals, since I come from the classic (heartland) rock. I know that many lovers of classic rock don't tolerate Yes more for the voice of Anderson than for their songs, convoluted and full of virtuosic instrumental pieces.

But ... Let's go back to the song! The singing arrives: verse, second verse and immediately the chorus that then fades into a short solo by Howe that connects it to the bridge, at a more relaxed pace, then again comes the refrain, which in the final salt of tone touch a solemn epic climax ("I Get Up, I Get Down").

This structure, in fact an easy-listening melodic pop (beat style) song, represents the backbone of everything in Close To The Edge.

A piece of connection follows where Squire's bass is in evidence, then the keyboards report to the main melody: verse, second verse, chorus. All played with a different rhythm by Bruford and with greater use of the bass. In the refrain, more Wakeman's keyboards begins to be heard. Then bridge (where Howe's guitar feels good and there is an intermittent super high-pitched sound, I don't know if it's still produced by Howe or by Wakeman), then new chorus, which ends when we're at 8 minutes.

Following is a piece centered on low tones that introduce us to the instrumental break dominated by Wakeman. The music slows down, the rhythm section disappears, the song is deconstructed, leaving only abstract landscapes dominated by keyboards. It seems to be in a cold cave and in fact you can hear the sound of drops falling. Wakeman combines the sound of the synthesizer with that of organ and mellotron, and comes the singing of Anderson, in a doubled voice, at ease in this ethereal atmosphere. He starts again from the bridge, sung with slow rhythm, alternating with choirs of the chorus. This time Anderson's singing is intimate, confidential, and alternate to the choirs: my opinion is in this context that gives the best of himself, when his singing is confidential, and does not stand on the high notes ... or alternatively, when it grows on the high notes, if it is flanked by a melodic musical crescendo, and it's just happening now: the vocals "I Get Up, I Get Down, I Get Up" push the music to its peak, a marvelous epic, majestic, solemn climax after the long bridge / chorus; the voice rises in tone, and then the Wakeman church organ follow the vocals, and it sounds perfect for this musical juncture. We are a little longer than 12 minutes, and finally the song touches one of the highest peak of quality in the entire Yes's discography. Still Anderson, singing: "I Get Up, I Get Down", he leads the organ to lower notes, and after just over 14 minutes, the rhythm of the melody returns, with Bruford distinguishing it again from jazz preciousness.

The keyboards come back, and finally the singing starts again, on the hyperspeed rhythm with which it started the song: verse, second verse, bridge this time before the chorus, and finally again: "I Get Up, I Get Down", which closes in fading returning to the initial country noises.

Close To The Edge, in my opinion, is not a real suite. It is a song verse-chorus dilated to no end, which repeats the chorus (refrain) 6 times in total. Yes have created a new song format, they take a commercial easy-listening pop song with a verse-chorus (refrain)-bridge-chorus (refrain) structure and then they dilate it, speed it up, slow it down, accompany it with changes of rhythm and arrangement, support it with instrumental digressions and get to almost 20 minutes: and here's to you a beat song disguised as a classical suite. The (high-class) operation unites a simple substance: an easily accessible music, to a complex form: its clothing with a high quotient of virtuosity, refined arrangement, polyrhythmic instrumental pieces.

Rating high: 8,5/9. Successful song.

Now side B. Will side B be able to maintain the same level of quality?

"And You and I" (10:08) begins acoustically with a pastoral guitar phrasing, then comes the singing of Anderson, who sings two verses with a folk background, marked however by Wakeman's synths. The melody is pretty, but nothing more. Bruford's drums come together for a nice bridge "in crescendo", where Squire's bass performs numbers on the bass. The verse returns, which ends by raising the tone, and introducing a multi-level Wakeman solo, which brings the song from pastoral-folk to almost psychedelic-space rock, until the singing of Anderson returns, on the notes of the bridge, to making this orchestral crescendo celestial which, in effect, tends to rise towards the sky. In this way a nice climax is reached, which ends around 6 minutes. The music stops, the acoustic guitar phrasing returns, quite similar at the beginning, it comes to support it the rhythm section, then again a solo of keyboards / synths, this time a digression on the theme, above which the voice of Anderson returns, accompanied by the choirs, for the third bridge. The music rises for the "great finale", but again it stops, and Anderson's voice returns for the last 40 seconds. They should have avoided closing by repeating the verse, as the song has already repeated itself too much.

The song was virtually finished after 6 minutes, after reaching the climax. The remaining 4 minutes do not add much in terms of musical material, and would at least be cut by a minute. In this case, in expanding the song to get a mini suite, Yes don't get the same remarkable result achieved in Close To The Edge. As a quality, the song would have been better if it ended after 6 minutes. But even if they wanted to repeat the initial folk melody, they would have to end the song in an instrumental way without extending it so much. Rating: 8.

"Siberian Khatru" (9:00) brings the atmosphere back to the initial guitar rock, with more emphasis on keyboards. From the beginning the song appears quite repetitive and less inspired than Close To The Edge. Also in this case, the melody is pretty but not excellent. Anderson prefers to be accompanied by choirs, but it is above all the instrumental work that is more repetitive and less inspired than the first two pieces. After two verse-chorus pieces, the instrumental solo arrives, left first at Wakeman's celesta and then at Howe's guitar. The piece, however, does not sound with the same conviction as the other two. After 4 and a half minutes, Anderson's crystalline voice comes as fresh air to invigorate the piece, then starts the refrain, with Bruford beating drums and cymbals like a madman and Squire making the numbers. Again a slowdown, the singing of choirs, Bruford to make the numbers, and finally an instrumental queue that is too long, two and a half minutes, since it doesn't add anything particularly new compared to the repeated rhythm as a possessed from beginning to end. The Yes add a syncopated piece of percussion and vocals to break the rhythm. But on the whole, like "And You And I", the musical material is too little to justify the 9 minutes of the song, and Yes can't always do miracles, as in "Close To The Edge", to make original simple music that could be compressed in three minutes. Here, in fact, they try, and they are to praise, not to make the song dull, between percussion and the slashes of bass by Squire, which characterizes the ending of the piece, but overall the result is not compelling, and in short the song seems in effect, compared to the other two, a filler pulled too long. Rating: 7,5.

Side A: Rating 8,5/9. Side B: Rating 8. Rating album: 8,5 for the quality, 8,5/9 for his unity and coherence. Four and a half Stars.

Is "Close To The Edge" the masterpiece of progressive rock? Not in my opinion. It is an almost masterpiece, in terms of quality. The first part is a masterpiece, the second is not. In my personal ranking the rating is 8.5 / 9 that is four and a half stars. Even if it were 5-star, it would be a small masterpiece, which remains a bit far from the peaks of King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator. Close To The Edge has the characteristic of being the emblem of the canons of progressive rock that in 1972 had its greatest flowering. It has one side filled with just one suite, and the other with two mini-suites or long songs: the maximum (for prog) would be one suite per side, as Yes will do in the next, double album "Tales From Topographic Oceans". Here the songs are not real suites, but very dilated melodic pop-rock songs (while on Tales and Relayer Yes will compose real suites). Then Yes provide a great rate of virtuosity, rhythm changes (or polyrhythmic rhythms), instrumental variations on the main melodic theme; they add baroque arrangements (the church organ and the celesta played by Wakeman) to the songs that have a simple rock or folk structure; in short: in this album Yes exemplify with the maximum coherence the canons, the schemes, the patterns of progressive rock. And they put, in the first side, and partly in And You And I, excellent sound content, musical progressions coupled with singing that reach climax, a high rate of pathos.

But all this is affected by the excessive expansion of duration of the songs, especially in the second side. As often happens, the main representatives of an artistic movement, those who shape the patterns, have more historical importance than a universal recognition for the quality of their works. That is, it is often those who are inside an artistic movement without respecting all the canons to be those who, subjected to the scrutiny of the historical judgment, come out better. Yes are the quintessence of the progressive rock of the golden age. Certainly they weren't just gifted musicians, they created an imaginary, they have always been visionaries, both musically and narratively. However, the quality peaks achieved in their albums, in my opinion, are not the highest achieved within the progressive rock movement. This Lp got high, but not very high quality, in my opinion. This record, in fact, represents the artistic peak of Yes discography ("Fragile" and certain parts of "Tales" are close to its) and, as my critical judgment, while praising the first side, which gives me great pleasure in listening, the pleasure ends up arriving at sixth minute of And You and I. The rest is not ugly, on the contrary, it is of good level, but not of great level. And this justifies my rating of four and a half stars. If "Heart of the Sunrise" had been here instead of Siberian Khatru, "Close To The Edge" would have been a real masterpiece that could be close to the top results of Van Der Graaf Generator and King Crimson.

 Fly From Here - Return Trip by YES album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.06 | 75 ratings

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Fly From Here - Return Trip
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars The way it should have been from the start

The Yes line-up that created Drama in 1980 reunited in 2011 to record a belated follow up album. Yet, even though all five members from the Drama-era where right there in the studio, the band decided to hire a new lead vocalist in Benoit David letting original Drama vocalist Trevor Horn remain in the producer's chair during the proceedings. My theory as to why this was the case is simply that the band where planning to tour and that Horn never felt comfortable as a front man in the live setting. So, in preparation for the tour it made sense to them at that time to use David as lead vocalist also on the studio album. The truth is though that as a studio unit, the five man line-up had all the vocal resources they needed without hiring any more people. With no disrespect whatsoever intended towards Benoit David, who did a fine job on the album and live, the fact is that had it not been for the plan to tour, they never would have needed him in the first place.

This new 2018 version of Fly From Here, subtitled "Return Trip", proves my point. Horn has now remixed the album and added his own lead vocals, and made some other subtle changes to the mix as well. A couple of less subtle changes is the addition of a previously unreleased track on which Steve Howe sings lead, called Don't Take No For An Answer, and an extended version of Hour Of Need.

It is interesting for fans to notice the differences between the two versions, but for newcomers it is quite enough with one version. And my recommendation is that the 2018 version is the one to go for. The rating has to remain the same as for the 2011 version, it is after mainly all the same album.

 Fragile by YES album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.44 | 3354 ratings

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Fragile
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Trevere

5 stars Fragile, the fourth album by Yes is really a bridge between its rock-influenced predecessor, The Yes Album, and the nearly pure prog albums which would follow. The album features four tracks of full band performances, three of which were of eight minutes length or longer interspersed by five short tracks each showcasing an individual member of the band. This approach makes for a very interesting and dynamic mix as some laid back and introspective, individual tracks give way to a much bolder, harder, and more aggressive style of playing by the band as a whole during the full-lineup extended tracks.

The album was recorded in September 1971 and co-produced by Eddy Offord, who worked on most of the band's earliest material. During the recordings there was a major lineup change, reportedly due to keyboardist Tony Kaye's refusal to embrace the Moog synthesizer and stick exclusively to the Hammond organ. Kaye was replaced by Rick Wakeman. Often using as many as a dozen keyboards on stage, Wakeman added a bit flair to the band's performance and completed the picture of their classic lineup. More than any other album, Fragile is an absolute showcase for bassist Chris Squire, who also happens to be the only person to appear on every Yes album (a band known for constant lineup shifting). Squire may have been the first to truly bring this instrument, which is normally buried in the low end of the mix, to the forefront and in unique and inventive ways. Although the album was released in November 1971 in the UK, it was held over until January 1972 across the Atlantic, because there was still chart momentum for The Yes Album in the states.

The opener "Roundabout" is the ultimate journey song, a musical odyssey which moves from Steve Howe's signature, classical guitar intro to a frantic bass-driven riff by Squire to an even more frantic organ solo by Wakeman. The song's lyrics were written by lead vocalist Jon Anderson and inspired by a long tour ride through Scotland, which alternated between stretches with mountain and lake scenery and traffic-clogged roundabouts. The middle of side one contains the first two "individual" pieces. "Cans and Brahms" extracts from Brahms' 4th Symphony in E Minor as arranged and performed by Wakeman. Although a complete left turn from the dynamic opener, it fits in with the larger context of the album. Anderson's "We Have Heaven" is a much more interesting vocal sound scape by Anderson. Multi-tracked melodies are accompanied only by a simple guitar and drum beat. "South Side of the Sky" closes the side and seems to predate some of the syncopated music of future bands like Devo. The eight minute song contains many musical forays and sound effects, including fine piano by Wakeman and wordless vocal harmonies by Anderson, Howe, and Squire during a unique middle section.

Drummer Bill Bruford launches side two with the frantic, 35 second "Five Per Cent for Nothing", a wild intro to "Long Distance Runaround", the most pop-oriented song on the album. The song way be the best example of the band's tightness as Howe's bright and economical guitar cutting is counteracted by Squire and Bruford's simultaneous complex rhythms, without a single moment of confusion. It is like holding three individual thoughts concurrently and not having any get muddled in the slightest. Contrarily, the verse and chorus sections contain Anderson's simple and melodic vocals over the slow rock rhythm of Wakeman's choppy keyboard. The song segues into "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)", Squire's official individual showcase, although there is certainly a case that he shines on several other tracks.

"Mood For a Day" is a solo guitar piece by Howe, a Spanish-flavored flamenco centerpiece, which sounds at times like a cross between a warm-up exercise and a heartfelt recital. It is still entertaining enough to keep listeners on their toes and showcases Howe's many styles. "Heart of the Sunrise" starts with Squire and Bruford offering one last, intense riff sequence to launch the closer. The longest track on the album, the song is yet another musical journey with lyrics about being lost in a city. This final track gives the album an overall sense of symmetry by closing in the same general neighborhood where it opened.

Fragile propelled Yes in popularity from a small but dedicated following to international stardom. The album reached number 4 in the U.S. and stayed on the charts for nearly a year, the band's biggest ever commercial success. Yes would take a sharp turn towards pure progressive rock on their next three albums through the mid 1970s.

 Relayer by YES album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.36 | 2891 ratings

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Relayer
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Trevere

4 stars In 1973 Yes released their most pompous, overblown, and over-the-top effort ever, Tales From Topographic Oceans. Although fans were now somewhat used to longer songs by Yes, four 20 minute songs was not what they had in mind. After the commercial disappointment and mixed reactions from fans, Rick Wakeman decided to leave the band in order to pursue his solo career. This left a large void in Yes, as Wakeman's lead keyboard work was a huge part of the band as we had been shown in such masterpieces like Close to the Edge and Siberian Khatru. The man to replace him was an entirely different type of player, one that would take Yes's sound to a new level that they had not seen before. Coming from a jazz background, Patrick Moraz was not as much of a lead player as Wakeman was, but he was perfect at completing everything that was going on.

By the time Moraz had joined the band, most of the material for the album had been written, so much of his influence is not shown with the exception of the frantic jazz-fusion based Sound Chaser. One huge characteristic of this album is that the guitar takes a very leading role along with the drumming, making Relayer the "Steve Howe/Alan White" show. Many of the sounds on Relayer are far more aggressive than previous albums with the guitar at center stage, which is by no means a bad thing. From the get go with The Gates of Delirium, Steve Howe shows us that his leadership can produce great tracks and a great Yes album in general.

This opening track is based off of War And Peace, and is divided into three (or four if you'd like) large sections. Kicking things off we instantly notice a more raw sound to this cd, with Steve Howe's guitar dibbling over a small Patrick Moraz background does a great job of emulating a buildup of some sort. Jon Anderson kicks in with his classic vocals, this time dealing directly with the topics war. Throughout this whole song, there is always a lot going on. Even at slower points, Steve Howe's guitar can run at a frantic pace, and Alan White's drumming is always at a top notch level. Moraz throws in his lead keyboard lines from time to time to continue driving the song forward. Then at 4:30 we see a repeat of keyboard line, but Moraz's genius shines and we see an awesome intro to this line. After one more round of classic Jon Anderson, we begin to enter into the "battle" section. Starting with a guitar line that we have heard already, it becomes perfect when Moraz repeats the D minor chord from the behind and Steve Howe adds just a little bit more to put it over the top. The battle section is an intense fury of music, Chris Squire finally shines in this part putting in his best bass work, and Alan White comes in full force with perfect drumming alongside some quick Patrick Moraz keyboard work. Throughout this part quick changes come along as Steve Howe will go off on the guitar with a fantastic flurry of notes that is quickly succeeded by Moraz with more lines of keyboard goodness. Eventually this all explodes into one final burst that brings up an ascending keyboard line that just keeps climbing higher and higher until it finally shifts to Steve Howe, who puts it over the edge and sends into the section named "Soon". This section is a large departure from the earlier parts of the song in that it is entire soft, but it is also entirely beautiful. Jon Anderson's vocals shine here and round off this song, making The Gates of Delirium one of the greatest progressive rock tracks ever written.

It is incredibly hard to follow up a song like that, and the only track that could possibly follow it up is Sound Chaser. This extremely jazzy piece contains most of Moraz's influence on the album, and it obviously shows. We see some small improvising at the beginning before Steve Howe kicks in with a speedy guitar line, which then goes into the most frantic part of a song that I have ever heard. Between Jon Anderson's vocals, Steve's guitar, Alan White's drumming, Squire's bass and Moraz's keys, I cannot understand what the hell is going on in the verse, but I definitely love and think that it is amazing. Howe once again shows us his guitar flair with a solid solo in the middle, and the whole band shows their technical prowess in this track. Sure, the "cha cha cha's" are somewhat annoying, but it is still a great song.

To Be Over is a much softer track with a lovely intro and some great pedal steel guitar all the way through. Not one member of the band really shines here until the Steve Howe show comes to town, although the vocal melodies really put a nice calm touch on the song, settling down the chaotic mood that was summoned from the previous two tracks. Steve Howe comes in with another guitar solo over top of a very atmospheric backing and keeps the guitar going until some more beautiful Jon Anderson melodies come back set up some Patrick Moraz noodling, and then the song finally ends on some light lead guitar work with some almost Christmas-like vocals coming about to bring a very wintry feel to the end of a classic album.

Any fan of progressive rock should pick this album up, as it is one of the two strongest Yes albums along with 1972's Close To The Edge, and is also one of the best progressive rock albums. The jazzy feel makes it unlike any other prog album and puts it above more generic sounding bands and works by Yes. Unfortunately, this lineup would only last for this one album, as Rick Wakeman soon rejoined the band, and they began an effort to phase Patrick Moraz out of the band. On 1977's Going For The One, all that Patrick Moraz saw for his work with the band was being at the top of the "thanks' to..." list. But many prog and Yes fans will never forget his great contribution to a great band.

 Close To The Edge by YES album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.66 | 4247 ratings

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Close To The Edge
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Trevere

5 stars The group Yes reached their progressive pinnacle with the 1972 album Close to the Edge. Containing just three extended tracks, the album became Yes's greatest commercial success to date, reaching the Top 5 on both the US and UK album charts. However, this success did not come without cost as the complex arrangements and stressful studio situation ultimately led to the departure of drummer Bill Bruford. Following the success of the group's fourth LP, Fragile, Yes went on an extensive tour. In early 1972, they recorded a cover of Paul Simon's "America" for an Atlantic Records compilation album and by the Spring of that year, they were back at Advision Studios in London with audio engineer and co-producer Eddy Offord. None of the tracks on this album were fully written prior to entering the studio and there were several instances where the arrangements had gotten so complex that the band members forgot where they left off the previous day. Offord had worked with Yes on tour and tried to replicate their live energy by building a large stage in the studio. However the arduous process took its toll, especially on Bruford and keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who felt like "innocent bystanders" to the thematic vision of the record.

Close to the Edge opens with the ambient noise of nature and a world at ease before this vibe is quickly demolished by a piercing, psychedelic guitar lead by Steve Howe, which is impressive technically and interesting in its style. In contrast are Bruford's rhythms and a punchy baseline by Chris Squire, which make for a tension-filled listen at first, until the song breaks around the three minute mark with a more melodic and atmospheric guitar lead that shepherds the listener into the catchy heart of this 18-minute title track. Composed by Howe and lead vocalist Jon Anderson, the vastly differing textures and moods are taped together in an atmospheric dream-like presentation, with funk based guitar riffs giving way to a hymn-like section and church organ solo before the main theme is reprised (albeit with differing instrumental arrangement) to close out the track.

The album's original second side, features extended tracks clocking in at ten and nine minutes respectively. "And You and I" is a brilliant suite which offers listeners a completely different feel than that of the side-long title track. It opens with a beautiful, chime-filled acoustic guitar piece by Howe, somber in tone, but quickly picked up by a strong backing rhythm. Through its four distinct sections, the song transitions from folk to rock to a spacey, atmospheric piece with Wakeman's synths, Squire's pointed bass, and Howe's guitars playing hand-in-hand. Eventually the song wraps brilliantly by returning to its folksy roots but with a differing rhythm to give the whole experience a forward motion.

The closing "Siberian Khatru" is the most straight-forward and, perhaps, the easiest listen on the album. It features Yes's unique combination of funk bass with more beautifully prominent guitar work, which really drives the song through from beginning to end. To achieve the unique sound of Howe's guitar, Offord used two microphones, one stationary and a second swinging around to replicate a "Doppler effect". Bruford left to join King Crimson following the album's completion and was replaced by Alan White, formerly of John Lennon's

Plastic Ono Band, for the subsequent tour and albums in the immediate future. Impressed with the commercial and critical success of Close to the Edge, Atlantic Records owner Ahmet Ertegun signed the band to a new five-year contract, which carried Yes through the rest of the decade of the 1970s.

 Tales From Topographic Oceans by YES album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.90 | 2295 ratings

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Tales From Topographic Oceans
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Trevere

5 stars "Tales From Topographic Oceans" is perhaps one of the more controversial progressive rock albums, and for good reason. Some loathe it, some love it. I fall into the second category. I find the album to be a triumphant work of art from tip to toe. This album is divided into four movements, each taking up their own side on one of the two discs. Each of the four movements has it's own unique characters, and each movement explores different motifs while developing those that have come before. Not only does "Tales" have an incredible contrast in musical styles, but it also has a very large range of emotions that are displayed throughout the whole two discs. Each movement is perfectly placed, and the album is brilliantly formatted. "Tales From Topographic Oceans" is a concept album based upon Jon Anderson's interpretation of four Shastric scriptures from Paramhansa Yoganada's "Autobiography of a Yogi". Many deem this concept to be an overblown and self indulgent move from Jon Anderson, but Yes really had nothing to lose after releasing the universally acclaimed "Close to the Edge", and new ideas were needed in order to create an album that was to be in any way as good as its predecessor. The concept alone is enough to make some people roll their eyes, but Jon proved it to be successful by creating Yes' strongest and most spiritual lyrics. The concept alone has gained notoriety among critics and fans, and tales of the infamous "curry incident" have long since been shared, in both fondness and in mocking.

I think that an ocean is the greatest non-musical comparison that I can make with this album. The music moves in waves of sound, that create immersive and dreamy atmospheres. Each movement creates an atmosphere that follows the next, like a musical journey. What makes "Close to the Edge" so special is that the emphasis of the music is on the atmosphere that it creates rather than the technical capability of each of its talented contributing musicians. "Tales From Topographic Oceans" takes this to an almost dramatic new level. At times I feel that the atmosphere is so exaggerated that it almost completely strips parts of the album of musical structure, and this is the point when you know that you have moved your art to a point that is further than the its literal nature.

"Disjointed but with purpose..." this line is a great description of this album, as people seem to misunderstand it's raw and oceanic nature, particularly when compared to the immaculate "Close to the Edge". But even with its flaws, "Tales" is an incredibly immersive musical experience. The main gripe that people have about this album is it's length. "Tales From Topographic Oceans" certainly has an incredibly long play time, and being a concept album also means that it demands patience. While I understand that this album is incredibly long, which may make it hard for certain people to follow, I fail to see how this makes it a bad album. The whole point of "Tales From Topographic Oceans" was to explore new territory; musically, lyrically, spiritually and conceptually. And from the mystical and haunting "High the Memory" to the crunchy and adventurous "The Ancients", I fail to see any lack of surprises. The album begins with "Revealing the Science of God". In my opinion, this track is one of the greatest pieces of music ever written. What a climatic composition. A wide variety of emotions are communicated musically through this composition, and each of them is positive. The piece is beautifully formatted, with a beautiful build in the beginning, ethereal passages in the middle, and a climatic ending that bring the piece to an incredible finish. I cannot express my love for this track in words.

"The Remembering" is an absolutely incredible composition. This is one of Yes' most ambient pieces of music. Many people are bored by the lengthiness of this movement, as there is very little to please impatient ears. The movement relies heavily on textures and ambient atmospheres to communicate its ideas, and this is something that loses many impatient listeners. The melody that comes in at around 8 minutes is one of the most subtly powerful musical moments that I have ever experienced. Another incredible movement. "The Ancients" follows the previous two movements in the perfect direction. This piece is somewhat similar to "The Gates of Delirium", with a slightly King Crimson edge. While this piece continues the etheric and oceanic dreaminess of "The Remembering", it adds a raw and powerful edginess that really pulls the album together. I absolutely love this movement. There is a bewildering sense of dreaminess that is created through the intertwining section, from the menacing stabs in the band to the mystical chants of Jon Anderson. Some people say that they don't understand the experimentation of this movement, but I know that I understand all that I need to fully enjoy and immerse myself within the complex atmospheres that are created here. This movement does not disappoint me in the slightest.

"Ritual" is an excellent end to the album. The upbeat introduction has a folky melody that creates a joyous atmosphere, which is pleasing to the ear after the Avant-garde "The Ancients". Soon after, we begin to see some of the previous motifs from the album (and one from "Close to the Edge") revisited in Steve Howe's dreamy guitar solo. The last really obvious motif is then introduced; the sentimental "Nous Sommes Du Soleil". This movement bring the album to a fitting climax, both sentimental and mysterious. It is practically impossible to follow up a masterpiece like "Close to the Edge" without disappointing a great amount of fans. It has rarely been done. But in my opinion, this was the perfect way to do it. Yes could not keep releasing consecutive album that sound identical to "Close to the Edge". And if they did, "Close to the Edge" would not be such a treat.

"Tales From Topographic Oceans" is one of my favorite Yes albums, and one of my all time favorite prog albums. There is something deeply immersive and very emotional about this album, but it takes a patient listener to unlock all the secrets that are hidden within this masterwork. I do not expect that everybody will understand this album, but I think that this is an essential listen, and one of the most colorful and diverse musical experiences that this wonderful earth has to offer. "Tales From Topographic Oceans" is perhaps one of the more controversial progressive rock albums, and for good reason. Some loathe it, some love it. I fall into the second category. I find the album to be a triumphant work of art from tip to toe. This album is divided into four movements, each taking up their own side on one of the two discs. Each of the four movements has it's own unique characters, and each movement explores different motifs while developing those that have come before. Not only does "Tales" have an incredible contrast in musical styles, but it also has a very large range of emotions that are displayed throughout the whole two discs. Each movement is perfectly placed, and the album is brilliantly formatted.

"Tales From Topographic Oceans" is a concept album based upon Jon Anderson's interpretation of four Shastric scriptures from Paramhansa Yoganada's "Autobiography of a Yogi". Many deem this concept to be an overblown and self indulgent move from Jon Anderson, but Yes really had nothing to lose after releasing the universally acclaimed "Close to the Edge", and new ideas were needed in order to create an album that was to be in any way as good as its predecessor. The concept alone is enough to make some people roll their eyes, but Jon proved it to be successful by creating Yes' strongest and most spiritual lyrics. The concept alone has gained notoriety among critics and fans, and tales of the infamous "curry incident" have long since been shared, in both fondness and in mocking.

I think that an ocean is the greatest non-musical comparison that I can make with this album. The music moves in waves of sound, that create immersive and dreamy atmospheres. Each movement creates an atmosphere that follows the next, like a musical journey. What makes "Close to the Edge" so special is that the emphasis of the music is on the atmosphere that it creates rather than the technical capability of each of its talented contributing musicians. "Tales From Topographic Oceans" takes this to an almost dramatic new level. At times I feel that the atmosphere is so exaggerated that it almost completely strips parts of the album of musical structure, and this is the point when you know that you have moved your art to a point that is further than the its literal nature. "Disjointed but with purpose..." this line is a great description of this album, as people seem to misunderstand it's raw and oceanic nature, particularly when compared to the immaculate "Close to the Edge". But even with its flaws, "Tales" is an incredibly immersive musical experience. The main gripe that people have about this album is it's length. "Tales From Topographic Oceans" certainly has an incredibly long play time, and being a concept album also means that it demands patience. While I understand that this album is incredibly long, which may make it hard for certain people to follow, I fail to see how this makes it a bad album. The whole point of "Tales From Topographic Oceans" was to explore new territory; musically, lyrically, spiritually and conceptually. And from the mystical and haunting "High the Memory" to the crunchy and adventurous "The Ancients", I fail to see any lack of surprises.

The album begins with "Revealing the Science of God". In my opinion, this track is one of the greatest pieces of music ever written. What a climatic composition. A wide variety of emotions are communicated musically through this composition, and each of them is positive. The piece is beautifully formatted, with a beautiful build in the beginning, ethereal passages in the middle, and a climatic ending that bring the piece to an incredible finish. I cannot express my love for this track in words. "The Remembering" is an absolutely incredible composition. This is one of Yes' most ambient pieces of music. Many people are bored by the lengthiness of this movement, as there is very little to please impatient ears. The movement relies heavily on textures and ambient atmospheres to communicate its ideas, and this is something that loses many impatient listeners. The melody that comes in at around 8 minutes is one of the most subtly powerful musical moments that I have ever experienced. Another incredible movement.

"The Ancients" follows the previous two movements in the perfect direction. This piece is somewhat similar to "The Gates of Delirium", with a slightly King Crimson edge. While this piece continues the etheric and oceanic dreaminess of "The Remembering", it adds a raw and powerful edginess that really pulls the album together. I absolutely love this movement. There is a bewildering sense of dreaminess that is created through the intertwining section, from the menacing stabs in the band to the mystical chants of Jon Anderson. Some people say that they don't understand the experimentation of this movement, but I know that I understand all that I need to fully enjoy and immerse myself within the complex atmospheres that are created here. This movement does not disappoint me in the slightest. "Ritual" is an excellent end to the album. The upbeat introduction has a folky melody that creates a joyous atmosphere, which is pleasing to the ear after the Avant-garde "The Ancients". Soon after, we begin to see some of the previous motifs from the album (and one from "Close to the Edge") revisited in Steve Howe's dreamy guitar solo. The last really obvious motif is then introduced; the sentimental "Nous Sommes Du Soleil". This movement bring the album to a fitting climax, both sentimental and mysterious.

It is practically impossible to follow up a masterpiece like "Close to the Edge" without disappointing a great amount of fans. It has rarely been done. But in my opinion, this was the perfect way to do it. Yes could not keep releasing consecutive album that sound identical to "Close to the Edge". And if they did, "Close to the Edge" would not be such a treat. "Tales From Topographic Oceans" is one of my favorite Yes albums, and one of my all time favorite prog albums. There is something deeply immersive and very emotional about this album, but it takes a patient listener to unlock all the secrets that are hidden within this masterwork. I do not expect that everybody will understand this album, but I think that this is an essential listen, and one of the most colourful and diverse musical experiences that this wonderful earth has to offer.

 Twelve Inches on Tape by YES album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
2.85 | 23 ratings

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Twelve Inches on Tape
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by patrickq

3 stars It finally occurred to me that I could actually listen to my copy of Twelve Inches on Tape, even though it is, as the title says, on tape: my car has a cassette player.

From the 12-inch (dance) single of Yes's "Owner of a Lonely Heart," Twelve Inches on Tape includes the "Red and Blue Mix" of "Owner," and from the the 12-inch single of "Leave It," the tape includes the "Hello, Goodbye Mix" and the single edit (called "Leave It (Remix)" here). The last track on Twelve Inches on Tape is the album version of "Owner of a Lonely Heart."

The "Leave It" single mix is interesting, although it doesn't vary much from the album version, so the dance mixes are the attraction here. Neither is a run-of-the-mill 1980s "extended dance mix;" both are recreations of the songs, achieved mainly through playing samples from the originals on a Fairlight synthesizer over a dance beat similar to the original song. The artist of the "Red and Blue Mix" is really not Yes, but engineer Gary Langan and programmer Jonathan Jeczalik, whose work on this mix led to their creation of the avant-garde ensemble the Art of Noise. (Similarly, Langan, Stephen Lipson, Stewart Bruce, and Chris Squire (and probably Jeczalik, though uncredited, are the parties responsible for the "Hello, Goodbye Mix.")

Thus I judge Twelve Inches on Tape not as Yes music, but as sample-based dance music. As such, it is good but not outlandishly so; this may be partly because the creativity of Langan, Jeczalik, and company was restricted by the fact that these tracks were released under another the name of another artist (Yes). While later artists, including the Art of Noise, would take sample-based music to new heights, Twelve Inches on Tape still has historical value as an early work in that genre.

(For what it's worth, neither "Leave It (Hello, Goodbye Mix)" nor "Owner of a Lonely Heart (Red and Blue Mix)" are currently in print, as far as I know. A mix of "Owner" similar to the "Red and Blue" appears on the 2004 Rhino remaster of 90125, as does the single edit of "Leave It.")

 Rhythm Of Love (2) by YES album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
2.23 | 39 ratings

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Rhythm Of Love (2)
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by patrickq

2 stars Rhythm of Love was a four-song maxi-single with three version of 'Rhythm of Love,' though neither the album version nor the single edit is here. The fourth and final song is a live version of 'City of Love' from the 9012live video.

This maxi-single, or 'twelve-inch,' follows a common pattern: an extended dance mix, a single-length dance mix, and an instrumental, or 'dub' version.

Here we have the nearly seven-minute 'Dance to the Rhythm Mix,' intended for club play. It contains some brass elements, presumably played by the Soul Lips ensemble, which weren't included on the album; but otherwise, it intersperses instrumental verse and chorus sections among their vocal counterparts with a few breakdowns. The drum track is replaced with a drum machine, and the mix is altered to highlight the rhythmic elements and the the lead vocals. At 4:24, the 'Move to the Rhythm Mix' is a nice length for single airplay, and mostly follows the structure of the original, but with the mix of the 'Move to the Rhythm Mix.'

In my opinion, 'Rhythm of Love' is one of Yes's weaker songs, but it actually works slightly better as a drum-machine-based dance track. So the 'Move to the Rhythm Mix' isn't bad at all for a dance remix of a rock song.

Next is 'The Rhythm of Dub,' a mostly instrumental 7:45 workout probably intended for club DJs to mix with other songs of the same tempo. This mix is similar to the 'Move to the Rhythm Mix,' but seems to retain more of the original rhythm guitar other elements, like the ride cymbal in a few places. Finally there's that 'live edit' of 'City of Love' from 1984. This was also the b-side of the standard 'Rhythm of Love' 45 rpm single, and it must be one of the very few legitimate sources for this edit (now that it's out of print, you can find it online). This rendition of 'City of Love' is different than, but just as good as the original. Jon Anderson's lead vocals are among the parts that sound better in concert, but in the other hand, this live version suffers a bit from a lack of producer Trevor Horn's studio polish.

None of these 'Rhythm of Love' tracks is essential; in any event, all three are available on certain editions of the Big Generator CD. As for the version of 'City of Love:' I'm not sure it's special enough to warrant hunting down the Rhythm of Love twelve-inch single (or cassette, in my case) if you have the 9012live video.

I'm assigning this a two-star rating, as fans of the band will want these tracks, though probably not from this source.

 Yesterdays by YES album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1975
3.10 | 216 ratings

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Yesterdays
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by patrickq

3 stars I don't like record-company money-grabs any more than the average record buyer, but I never perceived Yesterdays. Of course the decisionmakers at Atlantic Records released Yesterdays to maximize profits, but it seems like Atlantic was likely to make more money with this one record in print than rereleasing both Yes and Time and a Word, the albums from which most of Yesterdays is drawn.

By 1975, Yes had been selling albums like proverbial hotcakes for four years, but was entering a period in which there would be no new Yes product for a while. Their first two albums had not been big sellers, so, it would seem that many newer fans didn't own them. But the Yes of 1969 and 1970 didn't sound like the Yes of 1975, so Atlantic created a compilation of four songs from Time and a Word, two from Yes, a single b-side from 1970, and a recording of Paul Simon's "America" which the band had recorded in 1972 for a label sampler. The ten-minute "America" was the draw here; Atlantic had released an abbreviated version in 1972 which became the group's third charting single in the US (it peaked at #46 on the Billboard Hot 100), but this was the first time it had appeared on a Yes album, and here it was in its entirety.

The selections from Yes and Time and a Word make sense, although of course my choices would've differed. At a minimum, the best two songs from Time and a Word are here - - "Sweet Dreams" and "Astral Traveller." In what might be considered a self-fulfilling prophecy, three of the songs included on this compilation, "Time and a Word," "Survival," and "Then," have become the staples of Yes "best-of" collections - - not because they were the best from their early years, but, I suspect, that they had been included on Yesterdays.

And then there's "Dear Father," a b-side recorded during the Time and a Word sessions. It seems unlikely most Yes fans were familiar with this one; it had been on the flip side of the "Sweet Dreams" single, which apparently was only released in a few countries. "Dear Father" is a groovy song, though not exactly progressive, which was as good as the material on the album from which it was excluded.

It's entirely fair to say that Yesterdays is redundant. The remastered 2003 Rhino series of Yes albums contains all of these songs, including alternate versions of "Sweet Dreams" and "Dear Father," and the single edit of "America," and they all sound better than the last widely-available CD of Yesterdays. Annoyingly, Yesterdays is available to download from itunes for ten bucks! That definitely sounds like a money grab.

In short, this compilation is made up of pretty good material that's available elsewhere. It's good, but not essential, thus rating three stars.

 Make It Easy by YES album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1991
2.59 | 21 ratings

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Make It Easy
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by patrickq

2 stars "Make it Easy" is a Yes single released in 1991, but recorded in early 1982 by guitarist/singer Trevor Rabin, drummer Alan White, and bassist Chris Squire. I assume that Rabin also played the keyboards. The main theme of the song was familiar to Yes fans, as it is usually played as the intro to "Owner of a Lonely Heart," but most of us never heard the entire song until it was released on the Yesyears boxed set in 1991. It was a minor rock-airplay hit in the US, where it was promoted to radio by Atlantic records at the same time that Arista was promoting "I Would Have Waited Forever," also by Yes, but played by an entirely different band. Both songs debuted simultaneously on Billboard's Album Rock Songs chart; neither cracked the top 30.

"Make it Easy" is a pleasant AOR song with the requisite Rabin shredding. The single, which as far as I know only appeared as a promotional CD in the US, contains two edits: a very short "short edit" (2:47) and a somewhat longer "long edit" (4:03). The shorter version gives you the gist of the song, and is a concise abridgment of the Yesyears version, which is over six minutes long. As such, it's a somewhat rare example of a single edit that's better than the album cut. The longer version is what you'd expect: like the short version, but with fewer edits. There's a very clumsy edit around 2:34 on the longer version, but it's tough to care about it when this track is extraneous anyway.

It makes sense that "Make it Easy" wasn't recorded for 90125; it wouldn't have been a good fit, and at any rate, "Changes" already covers the same ground. On the other hand, the recording sounds good, so it also makes sense that it was later released as a single to promote the Yesyears collection.

Due to the inclusion of the "short edit," the Make it Easy promo CD would be a nice curio for a Yes fan or collector. But it's far from essential, as the full version of the song can easily be had on the 2004 Rhino remaster of 90125 which, as of this writing, is the current issue.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Ivan_Melgar_M for the last updates

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