Friday, September 28, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 69: Yes - 90125

Album - 90125
Artist - Yes
Key Players - Jon Anderson - Lead Vocals Chris Squire - Bass guitar and vocals, Trevor Rabin - Guitars Keyboards and vocals, Alan White - Drums Percussion and vocals, Tony Kaye - Keyboards
Produced By - Trevor Horn

Release Date - November 14, 1983

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- A few reasons, most notably I think this blog was being a little narrow in its focus of a lot of bands that folks maybe had not heard of and also, a blogger I enjoy reading asked if I might have a look at this cd.

- After a three year break up the band reformed once more for this, their 11th release. Simply named "90125" for the album's number in the Atlantic Records catalog it saw the return of Jon Anderson who had left the band in 1979. The album would go on to become the bands biggest seller and score legions of new fans thanks in part to massive exposure on MTV. This would be a blessing and curse for the band as purists were unhappy with the bands sound and direction.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - This album has had a re-issue with some extra tracks. Under review this week is just the original pressing of nine tracks.

Opening with a very "canned" drum sound "Owner of a Lonely Heart" opens the album. What is immediatly evident is this album was recorded and mixed impeccibly. Everything is crisp, clear and balanced evenly. Not sure if its possible but a DVD-A or SACD mix (ie multichannel) of this album might be a perfect match. The song has what feel likes two movements as the band crescendos, musically and vocally, to the guitar solo in the middle. Leading to that it almost feels like the song could end there, but it beings almost all over again. Anderson has a strong falsetto voice, which really made a lot of the "Yes" sound. "Hold On" opens with heavy drums and when the guitars come in it sounds a little like a sappy pop ballad your mom would play in the car. For the most part this is a trend on the record. "It can Happen" has a cool bass riff that lays under the first verse. Squire does some running fills on the bass and by the second verse the band is working with more dealys on the vocal tracks. The appears to be a sitar laying over various portions as well, but liner notes do not show of a player of the instrument so it was probably done via keyboards. By the second run of the chorus the band has pretty much latched on to every studio gadget to put effects on their vocals, from dealy to phase, to loop echo. Towards the end it has a little of the progressive rock feel that long time fans would be accoustomed to, but not sure they would have waited this long to hear it. There is something about the song that strikes a chord with me personally, I think its the vocals. See for yourself in the download. "Changes" opens with some keyboards going back and forth until about the 30 second mark when the band comes in hard. Acoustic guitar rushes in, then a little bit of electric before the 1 minute mark you are back on the keyboard loop but with drums. This has a big 80's rock sound to it. Vocals are urgent and emoting, there are big cymbal crashes and tight guitar and bass lines thruout. The instrumental "Cinema" seems neither in, or out of place on the record. The band would actually win a Grammy award for this track for "Best Instrumental". The bass sound is kinda cool but it seems a little unfocused and the Squire whammy bar guitar notes that are held on occasion toss a little cheese on that pizza. The largley (and later released as such in a full form) acapella "Leave it". This is the song that had about 20 different versions of a video on MTV. It was the band upside down, standing there in dark suits with white backgrounds. I recall it being so "cool" that one night MTV ran every version of it, in a row. I bet there are only a handful of people that work at MTV that even know Yes is/are a band. I digress. Vocally its a cool track, thus its included for your download pleasure, or displeasure. What decade are we in again? Oh yeah..the 80's and "Our Song" opens having you realize that as being the case. These are some talented musicans, but honestly it sounds like they tossed all their chops aside and let the "time" take over. They keyboards "shrill" rather than chime. The lyrics are honestly a little laughable. "City of Love" is pretty much the same sadly. The album closes with "Hearts", which fans of the band, and not of this album say is the most "Yes like" track. The musicans are all in fine form and when you hear this track mixed amongst a

Where are they now? - The band is currently on hiatus. Jon Anderson has kept busy doing various performances with artists such as Trans Siberian Orchestra. Alan White and Tony Kaye are in a band together called Circa. Rabin left the band in 1995 and currently scores films. His work can be heard in films as diverse as "Snakes on a Plane" to "Con Air". Chris Squire has been active with various projects as well.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have not seen this band live, although there are talks of a 40th anniversary tour in 2008.

FDF Overall Take - Admittingly I was introduced to the band via MTV. Myself and many friends loved the videos and MTV never seemed to tire of showing their clips. Hardcore fans of the band cite their earlier works as being far more essentail than this and its easy to agree with them. Although many of these tracks bring a smile to your face because you think of the time you saw the clips its not a record that fans of the bands grab first, or suggest to new fans. Not a horrible record and of course check out some of their earlier works to see what may call "the real Yes".

Official band site

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

***mp3's removed on Nov 2, 2007 4:45 PM ET***
It Can Happen
Owner of a Lonely Heart
Leave It

You can buy it here
Also saving you some search time on YouTube:

Video for "Owner of a Lonely Heart"
*the stuff you remember most starts up about the 2minute mark

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 10:32 AM, Blogger Ello said...

Wow that brings back memories! I really liked Yes, but they were not a favorite. This is a great review and I love how you always incorporate more information about the band. So you do requests, huh? How about General Public? Brian Ferry? Or classic rock like the Stones or Zeppelin? That would be more broad in scope, yes? And I would love to hear your review on some of my favorite albums of all time, even if they are popular and not so forgotten... But I like all your reviews.

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved this album for the falsetto and acapella voices and the combination of guitar and drums and keyboard just really works well together It was one of my favorites at the time and the cassette I had was played down to a nub...I never replaced it until just a few months ago when I downloaded the album from iTunes. I am really enjoying it's revival...but yeah, the lyrics do get kind of cheesy.

Thanks again for reviewing it.

At 7:23 AM, Anonymous BBS said...

This is the first CD I ever bought. This was when cd's were still hard to find. I never really did the cassette format, as I thought those were for "mix tapes" for the car.
Good review, I may blow the dust off of my copy and give it a listen


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