It’s easy to dismiss the listener’s responsibility to stay attentive and brush the leads as longwinded, sure, but as the album grows more familiar, patterns and motifs become more obvious. Widely acclaimed, it has received rave reviews from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Q and many other publications. To name many at all, I’d have to start talking about jazz music. Such is the way Yes open up their classic fourth album Fragile and their perennial fan favourite “Roundabout.” The song itself is probably the greatest piece of radio coverage the progressive rock genre ever received, and still rightly stands as one of the best pieces from the band’s catalogue. For all of the things that the band does right on Drama, so much more gets lost along the way. Genres: Progressive Rock. The band, founded in 1968, overcame a generational shift in its audience and the departure of its most visible members at key points in its history to reach the end of the century as the definitive progressive rock band. There is a sense here that Yes are piggybacking on the tailends of the dwindling hippie movement. Yes may have been doing exciting things in 1971 with The Yes Album and Fragile, but the following year and Close to the Edge finally saw them explore the sort of ambitious quasi-perfection usually reserved for erudite composers and traditional “art music.”. In combination with the in-vogue London psych rock direction, Banks‘ jazz leads gave Yes‘ debut an urbane and cultured feel. For proof of the string section’s potential in Yes‘ music, just listen to the way it accentuates the instrumentation on “The Prophet” or the title track. Its follow-up, Big Generator, recorded in a long and tedious process, and eventually released 4 years after its predecessor, found itself on the opposite side. Night and Day albums but great in their own rite. The album was the first by the group comprised solely of original material. “I’ve Seen All Good People” even echoes the chorus to “Give Peace A Chance” at a point! If the epic cornerstone of Close to the Edge had married rock and classical music together in some glorious fusion, “The Gates of Delirium” added jazz to the melting pot. Time and a Word is, in many ways, typical for a band’s second album. “The Gates of Delirium” opens up sounding remarkably spacey (even by Yes‘ standards!) Horn manages to fill the void left by Anderson well enough; his performance here falls short in virtually every respect when compared to Anderson, but he goes through the motions well enough and without a personality of his own, very much like a stand-in. Yet, there isn’t a single thing about the album that stirs or excites me. Although undeniably rooted within prog rock territory, The Yes Album is an incredibly accessible album. Yes obviously want to harken back to a proggier sound, but they lack the drive or ambition to push themselves past predictable songwriting. I’m sure the album was a well-intentioned effort to bring progressive rock back into the fold, but it completely lacks the energy and sense of adventure that would have made it work. It wasn’t supposed to be a Yes album per se; rather, Chris Squire and the much-loathed personnel addition Billy Sherwood outlined this material for a new project. Most of Yes‘ orchestral experiments have felt superficial to me—Time and a Word only used the symphony in spurts, and the Symphonic Live orchestral renditions of classic material rarely did more than shadow the guitar and bass lines. Even being the lifelong fan of this album as I am, I am not beyond calling that one of the most absurd things I’ve ever heard a band do in order to ‘get in the mood’ for recording. The good intention is admittedly better than the execution itself, but it’s nonetheless impressive to hear such a young band trying to work a true-to-life symphonic layer into their music. The upbeat, central theme “We Can Fly” stands as arguably being the most memorable and immediate single Yes have crafted since “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” It’s pleasantly contrasted by the more in-depth and melancholic “Sad Night at the Airfield” which, in turn, is sent up by the quirky pace and tone of “Madman at the Screens.” The whole thing is held together by the overture and reprise, which draw ideas from the three central parts in a fairly satisfying way. No. I hear that seeing King Crimson perform compelled Yes to brush up their skills and push the envelope; whatever the case, it worked to their benefit. What we’re left with is the semblance of a potentially great record; “Machine Messiah” and “Tempus Fugit” have rightfully gone down in history as two of Yes‘ better pieces, but everything in between falls miles short of expectations. Regardless, the replacement for Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman (Trevor Horn and Geoffrey Downes, respectively) made for a decent fit. Fragile is the fourth studio album by the English progressive rock band Yes, released on 26 November 1971 by Atlantic Records. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. This was going to be the album myself and others had been waiting for. Released: 1977. Whether it would have fared better with a different band is up for half-hearted debate, although I’m guessing things wouldn’t change. Very fascinating round up of YES. We use cookies and similar tools to enhance your shopping experience, to provide our services, understand how customers use our services so we can make improvements, and display ads. 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