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Highly professional, but no great drama
on 29 August 2006
Many Yes fans reportedly asked for refunds on tickets for a forthcoming tour on hearing that the Buggles duo had replaced Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman prior to this 1980 album. Neither I nor the friend who bought 'Drama' on release had any such qualms. I've always got on well with this album though I don't listen to it frequently. Its style is instantly recognisable as Yes and its execution and production are flawless.
The major difference is in the content. Gone are Anderson's spiritual and personal mythologies, replaced by contemporary subjects. 'Machine Messiah' is the kind of lyric you'd be more likely to find on a Pink Floyd album and 'Into The Lens' is right up Buggles' street. Indeed, it found its way on to their second album as 'I Am A Camera'.
Where 'Drama' loses is in its relative lack of any outstanding artistic quality. The material is uniformly good but never great. The runs and riffs are all neatly executed in almost regimented fashion. This is not an album that ever really stretches out. While earlier Yes albums enter the forest, 'Drama' stays in the safety of the town. In fairness, 'Tormato' had revealed that Yes was a band at a dangerous age in a changing age. 'Drama' is a good prog album and an accessible one but it sits a long way down the hierarchy.