Yes - 90125

Year of Release: 1983
Label: Atco/Atlantic
Catalog Number: 7 90125 2
Format: CD
Total Time: 43:14:00

"Music has magic," Jon Anderson sings on "Our Song" and the music on 90125 has that magic. From the fuzzy guitar notes that open the album in "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" the band are off and running, never giving ground. This Yes is assertive through out, perhaps no bigger and heavier than on "City Of Love," a monster track that is just a few inches shy of being metal. Not to take away anything from any other alchemy of men that have made up Yes over the years, this particular mixture is tight, creating 9 tracks of electrically charged music. The music is big and always in the moment. Not to say the Yes of old was directionless, but here the direction seems even more purposeful. And in any one track there is a lot going on, whether it's Chris Squire on bass, Tony Kaye on the keys, or Alan White on the drums, all behind mostly Jon Anderson on vocals, though guitarist Trevor Rabin also sings lead on a pair of tracks. Each track is solid and surefire ? and I don't mind telling you that I love them all.

As I mentioned in my Progression column in the Fall 2003/Winter 2004 issue (#44), Yes' 90125 has long been a favourite of mine, and, in fact, the very first Yes album I bought. And each time I listen to it, I find new reasons to love it. Released in 1983, it was the single "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" that drew my attention to the band. Oh, I know I'd heard the classics on the radio, but this then current and fresh material also drew my dollars. I have played the heck out of this album and so it's hard to step back and view it totally objectively? and I won't even try. I must tell you that most of this review was written without actually having the album playing at the time ? which is rare, and only because so much burst forth without needing to actually have it playing (but, of course, writing this meant the album had to be played? often). But mention "Cinema" to me and it begins to run through my head, mention "Changes" and I can sing it (well, I know the words; I would say I can "sing" it) ? "Leave It," too sticks out in my mind - sing with me, "goodbye, goodbye, goodbye bad/hello, hello, heaven?". And there are other gems like "Our Song," "Hold On," "City Of Love." All around, it is a great album.

Some of the attention the album received at the time was due to two factors ? Anderson had returned to the fold, having left before Drama was recorded and released (the only Yes album with out Jon), and because it was a new direction for the band. 90125 is markedly different from previous Yes albums. Part of the difference in sound was the presence of Trevor Rabin, who gave this new Yes a harder edge (though by no means metal). Some of the guitar parts on "Owner?" have an industrial edge (reflected in the video produced for this song), as they do in the intro to "Changes." "Hold On" is a beefy, swaggering, in-your-face track (musically) due to Squire's deep and slinky bass lines and White's crisp, direct drumming. And it manages to have this strong presence even with Anderson's un-beefy vocals, which are delivered with such authority that you don't even question. I won't even get into some of the resonance that the lyrics have to now? some 20 years on? in our current socio-political climate. Of course, most of the lyrics here require a lot of interpretation, as they are not written in a clear, cut n' dried manner (characteristically Yes, of course), except perhaps for "Changes."

There are so many great moments on "It Can Happen," and little touches that I like, but especially the interplay between Rabin, Squire, White, and Kaye and the layered tapestry of voices ? Of my favorite parts of "Changes," there is something about the bridge that almost requires a "play by play" to describe everything that just gets me about it -- the emotional notes, from the hammering intro (bass, drums, guitar) through to Rabin's guitar solo just help build up to the explosive climax. And at the time this was released and for some time afterward I found personal resonance in the lines "one difference between you and I/ Your heart is inside your head." While I won't elaborate on that, these lines and the two that precede it are sung with a particular sense of emotion, as if to say, "you want to know how I feel? Here's how I feel" and then the lyrics.

The energy level of this album carries through to the Grammy winning ? yes, Grammy winning -- piece "Cinema," which won for Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards in 1984. A tour-de-force instrumental that includes some screaming guitar from Rabin, darkly percolating keyboards from Kaye, menacing bass from Squire and barely restrained percussion from White. And remember, there is little respite on this album, even if the intro to "Leave It" seems sparse being all vocals. It's here where you realize that little things, little elements just make the song. Oh sure, there's nothing "tough" about "do do do do do, do do do do," even layers of them, or even the cheerful sounding keyboard effect that makes its way across. But just when you think you're could to say something sarcastic, you get the lid shut down right-quick by some percussion from White ("leave it" indeed).

A classic Yes sound is there to be sure in the Asian-influenced "Hearts," which closes the album. It bridges the two Yes' in a way, as Rabin's lovely guitar solo goes from something lyrical (a la Howe, but not like Howe) to something a little bit harsher, as has been heard through out the album, and yet it flows smoothly in a track that just flows. We return to the beefier, heavier sound for a bridge, but otherwise, this is the mellowest track on the album, though not very mellow at that. Beautiful, though, and it's a great way to end the album with a "riding out into the sunset" kind of song. The piece ends with Anderson's voice and a soft bed of keys from Kaye? you can almost imagine the velvet expanse of a nighttime sky with twinkling stars in the background, and as the final notes of Anderson's voice float into the air, he and Kaye fade away, leaving only the scenery. Lovely moment, actually.

Great album. Solid album. No filler.

[The remastered version which is due out February 24, 2004, includes the single remix of "Leave It;" "Make It Easy," which was first issued on YesYears, as was "It Can Happen (Cinema Version);" plus "It's Over" (previously unissued), "Owner Of A Lonely Heart (Extended Remix)" (previous unissued), and "Leave It ('A Capella' version)"]

Owner Of The Lonely Heart (4:27) / Hold On (5:15) / It Can Happen (5:39) / Changes (6:16) / Cinema (2:09) / Leave It (4:10) / Our Song (4:16) / City Of Love (4:48) / Hearts (7:34)

Jon Anderson ? vocals
Chris Squire ? bass and vocals
Trevor Rabin ? guitar, keyboards, vocals
Alan White ? drums, percussion, vocals
Tony Kaye ? keyboards

Yes (1969)
Time And A Word (1970)
The Yes Album (1971)
Fragile (1972)
Close To The Edge (1972)
Yessongs (1973)
Tales From Topographic Oceans (1974)
Relayer (1975)
Yesterdays (1975)
Going For The One (1977)
Tormato (1978)
Yesshows (1980)
Drama (1980)
Keys To The Studio (1980)
Classic Yes (1982)
90125 (1983/2004)
90125 Live - The Solos (1985)
Big Generator (1987)
Union (1989)
Yesyears (1991)
Yesstory (1991)
Greatest Hits (1993)
Highlights: The Very Best Of Yes (1993)
Talk (1994)
Affirmative: The Yes Solo Family Album (1994)
Keys To Ascension I (1996)
Keys To Ascension II (1997)
Open Your Eyes (1997)
Yes, Friends And Relatives (1998)
Beyond And Before: BBC Recordings 1969-1970 (1998)
Something's Coming (1998)
Friends & Relatives (1998)
The Ladder (1999)
Millennium Collection (1999)
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (2000)
Yes, Friends and Relatives - Volume Two (2001)
YesSymphonic (ep) (2001)
Magnification (2001)
Keystudio (ep) (2001)
3 For 1 Box Set (2001)
Original Members Of Yes (2001)
Extended Versions (2002)
Friends And Relatives: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 (2002)
Yestoday (2002)
In A Word (2002)
Yes Remixes (2003)
Friends And Relatives: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 2 (2003)
Roundabout: Best Of Yes Live (2003)
The Yes Story Gold (2003)
The Ultimate Yes - 35th Anniverary Collection (2004)
(Re)Union (2004)
Topography: The Yes Anthology (2004)
Inside Yes 1968-1973: A Critical Review (2004)
The Word Is Live (2005)
Live And Solo: The Collection (2006)
Greatest Hits Live (2006)
An Evening Of Yes (2006)
Yesstories: Group & Solo Tales (2006)
Essentially Yes (2006)
The Definitive Rock Collection (2007)
Roundabout & Other Hits (2006)
Live At Montreux 2003 (2007)
Works (2007)
The Best Of Yes: 1970-1987 (2007)
Symphonic Live (2009)
The BBC Recordings 1969-1970 (2009)
Introducing Yes (2009)
Wonderous Stories: The Best Of Yes (2009)
Union Live (2011)
Fly From Here (2011)
In The Present - Live From Lyon (2011)
Heaven & Earth (2014)
Songs From Tsongas (2014)
Like It Is: Yes At The Bristol Hippodrome (2014)
Progeny: Seven Shows From Seventy-Two (boxset) (2015)
Like It Is: Yes At The Mesa Arts Center (2015)

9012LIve (VHS/DVD) (1985/2005)
Greatest Hits Video (VHS/DVD) (1991/2001)
Yesyears: A Retrospective (VHS/DVD) (1991/2003)
Yes: Live - 1975 At Q.P.R. (VHS) (1993)
Live In Philadelphia 1979 (VHS/DVD) (1996/2003)
Keys To Ascension (VHS/DVD) (1997/2001/2009)
The Union Tour Live (DVD) (1999)
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (VHS/DVD) (2000)
The Best Of MusikLaden Live (VHS/DVD) (2000/2003)
Live In Amsterdam (VHS/DVD) (2002)
Symphonic Live (DVD+CD) (2003)
Yes: Special Edition EP (DVD) (2003)
YesSpeak (DVD) (2003)
YesAcoustic (DVD) (2004/2006)
35th Anniversary Concert: Songs From Tsongas (DVD) (2004)
YesSpeak - YesAcoustic - 35th Anniversary Edition (DVD) (2005)
Critical Review 1968-1973 (DVD) (2005)
Greatest Video Hits (DVD) (2005)
Inside Yes Plus Friends And Family (DVD) (2006)
Acoustic Live (DVD) (2006)
Total Rock Review (DVD) (2006)
Close To The Edge: Rock Milestones (DVD) (2007)
Live At Montreux (DVD/BR) (2007)
The Lost Broadcasts (DVD) (2009)
Rock Of The 70s (DVD) (2009)
Union Live (2011)
Live Hemel Hempstead Pavilion October 3rd 1971 (2014)

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin UK

Added: January 27th 2004
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 5334
Language: english


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