YES — The Yes Album (review)

YES — The Yes Album album cover Album · 1971 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Prog Zone
Review - #3 (Yes - The Yes Album)

The Yes Album is the third studio album released by Yes on February 19th, 1971. This album would mark a turning point for the band in their path towards becoming prog legends. The band's line-up remains the same as their previous album expect with one notably addition. Guitarist Steve Howe who had joined the band during the tour and promotion of Time and a Word, replaced Peter Banks in 1970. This would also be the last album to feature keyboardist Tony Kaye until the release of 1983's 90125. During this album especially, the band begins to take a more "progressive" approach to their music. At the time, Yes was at risk of being dropped by Atlantic due to the commercial failures of their first two albums. However, instead of taking their more music in a more accessible direction to reach a wider audience, they doubled down and made their most progressive album they had released so far. This album is a huge leap forward when compared to their two prior studio releases. Not to mention, there are countless iconic moments found throughout the album that it becomes somewhat difficult to pick out just one. In addition, this was the first album to not feature any cover songs which illustrates the band beginning to mature as songwriters. The Yes Album was a critical success and a major commercial breakthrough for the band. However, is all the praise valid? Is this THE Yes album?

From the first few seconds, you know you are in for something truly special. Yours Is No Disgrace is up first and it is a truly exceptional piece. It originated from some lyrics written by Jon Anderson with his friend David Foster (Who played guitar on the track Time and a Word). This was then combined with other brief sections of music written by the band in rehearsals. Funnily enough, Steve Howe worked out the opening guitar riff on his own while the rest of the band took a day's holiday. Yours is no Disgrace has become somewhat of a classic song for the band that is performed during nearly every tour. It is a superb opening track that contains stunning vocals and a driving rhythm. I still strive to imitate the sound of Bill Bruford's drums on this track when writing music to this very day! Incredible musicianship all around, with Steve Howe particularly shining during the solo section. The next track, The Clap, was recorded live at the Lyceum Theatre in London on 17 July 1970. It is a nice acoustic piece written by Steve Howe that remains to be one of the best acoustic pieces he has written to date. Extremely good flow and never dull! Starship Trooper is the highlight of the album for me, and is yet another masterpiece almost reaching the ten minute mark. It is music perfection with all musicians having their individual highlights throughout. Furthermore, the last section of WΓΌrm is incredible although I wish it would have gone on for just a little longer. There is a live version of this track found on their live/studio album Keys To Ascension 1 that has become my go-to version of this track. It mostly remains the same for the first seven minutes or so, but, the WΓΌrm section receives the completed extended segment that I always wanted. If you are a fan of this track, I'd highly recommend checking this version out!

I've Seen All Good People is yet another iconic song from this album that receives a lot of play during their live tours. In fact, I believe it works even better in a live setting. It's a solid two-part suite containing two completely different sections that oddly work together pretty well. There are also some terrific vocals from Jon Anderson that incorporate harmonies from the rest of the band. A delightful classic! A Venture is a somewhat unusual choice for the album. Vocalist Jon Anderson wrote the track while in the studio which was then arranged by the rest of the band. In addition, Tony Kaye contributed to the jazzy solo towards the end while Steve Howe's guitar solo on the original recording was left off the final mix, which faded out just as it started. This is a somewhat odd track that seems as if it would belong on Time and a Word rather than The Yes Album. However, it's not too long and remains an overall solid moment on the album. Lastly, we have Perpetual Change which remains as another masterpiece found on the album. It contains numerous interesting moments in addition to featuring a jazzy section found around the four and a half minute mark. It seems to have been somewhat overlooked by the band at the time, but receives more attention nowadays as the band has been playing it live during multiple tours. A great track with an incredibly moving chorus!

Now, after all of that, is this THE Yes album? In my opinion, YES! This was the launching point for their career as they would continue to create many more masterpieces over the next few years that would cement them as being masters of their craft. After this album, Tony Banks would be replaced by Rick Wakeman which begins the bands "classic lineup". It is an album that seems to be frequently dubbed a masterpiece by most of the community. I'll have to agree with that statement.

- π˜›π˜©π˜ͺ𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘷π˜ͺ𝘦𝘸 𝘸𝘒𝘴 𝘰𝘳π˜ͺ𝘨π˜ͺ𝘯𝘒𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘸𝘳π˜ͺ𝘡𝘡𝘦𝘯 𝘧𝘰𝘳 π˜—π˜³π˜°π˜¨ 𝘈𝘳𝘀𝘩π˜ͺ𝘷𝘦𝘴 (
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