YES — 90125

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3.59 | 9 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1983

Filed under Jazz Related Rock
By YES

Tracklist

A1 Owner Of A Lonely Heart 4:27
A2 Hold On 5:15
A3 It Can Happen 5:39
A4 Changes 6:16
B1 Cinema 2:09
B2 Leave It 4:10
B3 Our Song 4:16
B4 City Of Love 4:48
B5 Hearts 7:34

Line-up/Musicians

Bass – Chris Squire
Drums, Percussion – Alan White
Guitar – Trevor Rabin
Keyboards – Tony Kaye, Trevor Rabin
Vocals – Alan White, Chris Squire, Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin

About this release

ATCO Records ‎– 79-0125-1 (UK)

Thanks to snobb for the addition

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Prog Zone
Review - #23 (Yes - 90125)

90125 is the eleventh studio album by Yes, released in November of 1983. After splitting up in 1981, following the Drama tour, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White formed the band Cinema with guitarist/singer Trevor Rabin and original Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye. During the mixing stage of the album, former Yes singer Jon Anderson, who had left the band in 1980, had heard the music the new band was creating. After providing some vocal renditions and his opinion on a few of the tracks he was eventually invited to sing on the full album. At that point, the band that was once called Cinema became the new lineup of Yes. 90125 was a huge success for the band. It reached No. 5 on the US Billboard 200 and No. 16 on the UK Albums Chart; it also remains their bestselling album to date. 90125 holds a special place in my heart since it was the first Yes album I ever heard. After reading about the band for quite some time, I visited my local record store and saw a Yes album for sale on the discount rack. The album was called 90125, not knowing that this wasn't considered to be their "best" I decided to buy it since I was interested to hear how the band sounded. When I got home, I took the record out of its sleeve and gave it a spin, and I was blown away by the bands ability to blend traditional 80s pop rock with progressive rock elements. To this day, I believe it is one of the best pop rock albums released in the 80s. Not to mention, it contains some of the greatest musicians of all time. This album seems to be rated somewhat low on this website due to the fact it isn't necessarily their most progressive album to date, but when looking at the music found on the album, it's exceptional!

The album opens with the bands hit single entitled Owner of a Lonely Heart. This was the track that launched them into the 80s and made them as successful as they were. It contains some wonderful guitar from Trevor Rabin but definitely feels of its time. However, that can be said for the entire album. All the tracks found here contain a similar quality to them that can most likely be attributed to the production. Overall, the instrumental performances found throughout are solid but not as elaborate as the instrumentals found earlier in their career. The next track, Hold on, is an amalgamation of two songs Trevor Rabin had written and combined as they both had the same tempo. It contains some wonderful guitar playing from Trevor Rabin in addition to some time changes that keeps things interesting. It Can Happen is probably the weakest track on the album but isn't awful by any means. The track was written on piano by Chris Squire, with its introduction put together by Trevor Rabin to go with his piano chords. It contains an interesting Eastern-feel initially, but the chorus is where the crux of the problem is. At points, it seems to go on for undoubtedly too long with no real reason for it. Nevertheless, the instrumentation from Trevor Rabin on guitar and Chris Squire on bass are particularly pleasant here. One fascinating part of the album is the intro/outro of Changes, it includes an odd rhythm section that carries it through to the point where Trevor Rabin's guitar comes in. He also provides some solid vocals that at point overlays with Jon Anderson's vocals with great effect. Generally, a solid song and surely the highlight of the first side of the album!

After flipping the album, the listener is introduced to an instrumental track recorded live at AIR Studios called Cinema. The title is a hint towards the groups original name before becoming Yes. It was initially developed as an unreleased 20-minute song entitled Time. However, they decided to include its two-minute opening on the final album. And it is a truly fantastic opening! I sometimes wish they would have decided to include the entire 20-minute track on the album, but one can only hope that it is preformed/released one day. Our Song seems to be the "forgotten" track on the album, however, I happen to really enjoy it. The lyrics to "Our Song" mentions the city of Toledo, Ohio, itself a reference to the band's show at the Toledo Sports Arena on their 1977 tour. Interestingly, this caused the song to receive a lot of airplay in that area. It has a fantastic introduction and happens to be one of my favorites on the album. It is up-tempo and contains plenty of synths. Not to mention, this is probably Chris Squire's best bass work throughout the entire album. The next song is City of Love and it is definitely the heaviest song found here. The heaviness helps break up the flow while containing some powerful melodies and guitar solos. It's an interesting song that comes in at a perfect time to diversify the album. The last song, Hearts, happens to be my favorite on 90125 and it is the closest this album comes to prog. Furthermore, it is the only track on the album to be credited to the entire band. Trevor Rabin came up with the chorus and bridge of the song a few months prior to meeting Chris Squire and Alan White for the first time. In addition, Tony Kaye wrote its keyboard introduction while Trevor Rabin developed a melody from it. Jon Anderson then developed its countermelody. A true group effort! Furthermore, Hearts has some of the greatest vocals from the entire album, especially Jon Anderson. It also features wonderful guitar from Trevor Rabin which is showcased in the surprisingly heavy section of the song found during the four and a half minute mark. In general, it's a great song that I probably revisit the most.

Is 90125 another Fragile? No. Is 90125 another Close to the Edge? No. Most prog bands had completely abandoned their prog sensibilities; however, Yes was able to still hold on to what made them Yes. You will continue to hear prog elements throughout the entire album. This intentional choice by the band is what makes this album truly great in my eyes. If you give it a chance, it's likely to grow on you.

- 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘸𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘗𝘳𝘰𝘨 𝘈𝘳𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴 (http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=2543239)
siLLy puPPy
After the experiment of "Drama," the first YES album that replaced Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman with members of The Buggles, the band did a whole tour but unfortunately Trevor Horn was unable to perform to the band's likings as far as sustaining the passable vocal abilities in the vein of Jon Anderson as heard on the album. The band decided perhaps the 70s meets 80s experiment had run out of steam and reluctantly called it day. The band known as YES officially ceased to exist after the end of the "Drama" tour. The plans of the members were to create new supergroups that would take elements of the YES era and incorporate them into the contemporary sounds of the early 80s. For progressive rocks lovers this was a tragedy. Commercially speaking, the then former members of YES would soon see some of their most economically beneficial music surpassing anything they had ever experienced. While Steve Howe and Geoff Downes would go on to form Asia, Trevor Horn would go on to be a successful producer (starting with this one), Chris Squire and Alan White decided to create something new altogether. Originally they hooked up with Jimmy Page which didn't work out but the fruits of which ended up on Page's band The Firm's albums. Despite a lofty idea it was a no go and they had to recruit some new blood to the mix. They settled on Trevor Rabin who was somewhat successful in his native South Africa with a band called Rabbit and after a chance meeting with YES' original keyboardist Tony Kaye, Chris Squire rekindled musical ideas and invited him to play keyboards on the new project. This new super group was supposed to be called Cinema and was never intended to be a YES project at all. The final ingredient in the new group was unfilled: the vocalist. The disbanding of YES was totally amicable so when Squire played some of the new material to Jon Anderson, he really liked it and decided to sing on the new album. Someone thought it was a great idea to be under the YES moniker and thus the 11th YES album was born. Like it or not, YES released their most successful album with 90125 and even had a #1 single in "Owner Of A Lonely Heart." The title simply comes from the original Atco Records serial number of the original LP: 7-90215-1.

I would say that the success of this album is due to a mix of circumstances. First of all, the progressive pop tracks are all extremely catchy and well written as well as impeccably performed, but as we all know there is no reason any brilliant album should catch on to a larger audience without some sort of delivery to the larger public. Like many 70s bands of the day, YES was prescient enough to see the power of the video and when "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" caught on with a new generation of fans totally oblivious to the previous incarnations of YES, the video became a HUGE hit propelling the album to sell mass quantities to the chagrin of progressive rock snobs who only found the war of complexities to scratch their itch.

I absolutely adore this album. Not only was this the very first YES album i encountered, but it is one that stays with me over time. It was indeed my gateway drug to the affirmative one's unique style but was so well crafted and beautifully delivered that it holds a strong place in my musical world. While some early albums in my world are respected for their introductions to a band's discography, 90125 remains high on my personal list of albums simply because i enjoy the hell out of it. Not progressive enough? Gimme a break! This album may not take you to Saturn's rings like "Relayer" or "Tales From Topographic Oceans" but it is not meant to. This is an Earthly concoction of extremely well played progressively constructed ideas that find a more accessible rhythmic structure that fits nicely into the day and time but still sounds totally unique and is really unlike anything else not only released under the YES moniker but stands out from any other album ever released as well.

Personally i find the biggest hit "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" to be the weakest track on here and even so i still don't dislike it. This album is just filled to the brim with catchy progressive new wave and pop tracks. "Hold On," "It Can Happen," "Changes," "Leave It" and "Our Song" are simply just beautifully well crafted pop songs stuffed with progressiveness that doesn't feel forced or over contrived. The odd time signatures of "Changes" are particularly noteworthy of showing just how well this incarnation of the YES lineup could easily meld two seemingly opposite spectrums of the musical world together so brilliantly. I just cannot understand any negativity behind this one. Only the last couple of songs keep me from giving this a full five star rating. The difference between this and the most progressive of YES' albums is that like the previous couple albums, the melodies are the focus with the progressiveness being the icing instead of the cake, but on 90215 they really succeed in balancing these elements like a fifty foot stack of rocks on a river bed. Great music doesn't have to be based on a "complexer- than-thou" principle and 90125 is a wonderful example of just how satisfying well constructed songs that have recurring melodic themes can be.

Ratings only

  • lunarston
  • MoogHead
  • KK58
  • Unitron
  • ProgMetaller2112
  • Lynx33
  • chrijom

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