Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
on 16 November 2011
Yes are often considered to be the archetypal progressive rock group, virtuosic musicians playing long complex pieces with unusual time signatures and chord changes. Their music is, however, surprisingly eclectic. It evolved significantly over the years, and the AOR of Owner Of A Lonely Heart (from 1983) has little in common with anything from the jazz-influenced Yes Album (1971). Major personell changes may have had something to do with this (both musicians and producers), along with a desire to change with the times.
Yes even wrote shorter, more radio-friendly songs, such as Wondrous Stories, with remarkably positive results. There is an interesting single edit of Soon, originally from Gates Of Delirium: both of these songs have real atmosphere if you have the patience to sit and lesson!
Personally I like the material from the Yes Album above everything else here. Yours Is No Disgrace, I've Seen All Good People and the magnificent Starship Trooper are all here, three of the most impressive rock tracks ever written: they simply do not make music like this anymore! Why is it so brilliant? Difficult to explain, you just have to listen! Obvious highlights are the church organ on ISAGP and the 3 chord riff of Wurm (at the end of Starship Trooper) which results in one of the most exhilerating guitar solos ever! But the arrangements are generally excellent as they emphasize all of the musicians and their capabilities (Anderson, Squire, Howe, Kaye and Bruford) without any one of them really hogging the limelight. Then of course Wakeman came along and the band dynamics changed. Not that he isn't an excellent keyboard-player.
Steve Howe is a truly legendary guitarist with a very original style: his solo Mood For A Day, from Fragile, is a welcome inclusion. Roundabout is another classic, along with And You And I from Close To The Edge. In fact just about all of the latter album is featured, with some justification: it is the definitive prog rock album from the definitive prog rock band. But I still prefer the Yes Album!
There is inevitably a track from 'Tales..' not Ritual as one might expect but 'The Remembering'. There are no major omissions, however there is no 'Time And A Word', 'Don't Kill The Whale' or 'It Can Happen', all significant hits in their time.
I am not a huge fan of their later material, but the acapella version of Leave It is well worth a listen, as is Owner Of A Lonely Heart. I don't think anybody will complain about the quality of the music! At best it is amazing, at worst it is merely very good.