Yes
90125


3.5
great

Review

by ProgJect USER (31 Reviews)
July 21st, 2010 | 155 replies | 17,619 views


Release Date: 1983 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Despite an obvious shift in style, 90125 is not by any means a bad Yes album. In fact, it is quite enjoyable.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

It’s well-known the 80's were pretty rough on the prog dinosaurs of the 70's, being referred to as the Dark Age for the genre. Gone were the sweeping and complex arrangements, replaced by shortened, radio-friendly driven songs that cut the bands’ creativity: it was a time where the genre was about to become a legacy, as many pioneers of prog went pop or were swept away by new wave/punk era. Despite the fact that Tormato (1978) had the classic Yes line-up, it was a pretty hideous failure. Yes had tried too hard to do something they were not good at; The band clearly were trying to transform their sound into a marketable way. Like most of the 70’s prog rockers, they failed in this task and were running out of steam and ideas. This brought the departure of front man Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman, and so Yes had no other choice but to aim higher if they wanted to survive to the ruthless Dark Age to come.

In 1980, The Buggles, futuristic art-pop duo Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn (Video Killed the Radio Star was their big hit) were in a studio next door to Yes (both musicians were huge fans of Yes, but felt that the quality of their recent music had been slipping). Soon, bassist Chris Squire invited them to actually replace the two legendary pieces of the band, and become fully fledged members of Yes. This they joyfully did, in one of rock music’s more surprising shifts of personnel.

Drama was born, and it was successful, making the top 5 in the UK. Despite the absence of Anderson and Wakeman, the record was very prog-oriented, daring and a major improvement over Tormato. Yes did the unthinkable with Drama, and that was putting out a very good, lively album with a certain 80's kick and yet 100% ‘Yes’ all the way through. After touring to promote the album, however, the line-up split up. Trevor Horn couldn't reach the high notes in songs sung by Anderson, and he couldn’t stand the negative comments of the traditional Yes fans. After this, Steve Howe and Geoff Downes teamed up with John Wetton (ex-King Crimson) and Carl Palmer (ELP) to form prog/pop supergroup Asia. Bassist Chris Squire and drummer Allan White put together a band called Cinema, mostly based on demos wrote by guitarist/ multi-instrumentalist Trevor Rabin, whom the record company had been trying to attach to various projects. Most of what would eventually become 90125 (named after the album’s number in the Atlantic records catalogue) was developed from songs he had been working for in Cinema. Rabin never intended his songs there to become Yes songs. The guitarist may not be as classically-minded and sophisticated as Steve Howe, being much more of a hard rock guitar hero, but he's undeniably a more than competent songwriter.

Original Yes organist Tony Kaye was invited to participate as Squire felt that Kaye's textural approach to keyboards would suit the band. Trevor Horn was asked to be the singer, but offered his producing skills instead. Squire recorded some of Rabin's material and played it to Jon Anderson, who then decided he wanted to join them, very late in the recording, contributing vocals and lyrics to the mostly already-written songs. At this point, the record company decided it made more commercial sense to market the album under the name Yes rather than call the project Cinema, despite the protests of guitarist Trevor Rabin, who now found that he had inadvertently joined a reunited band with a history and expectations, rather than helping to launch a new one. So Rabin was dubious at first as he did not want to be known as Steve Howe's replacement, but rather wanted to be the lead guitarist of a new group. Rabin changed his mind when Anderson added lyrics and his distinctive vocal style to the existing tracks. Besides, it logically would have more marketability under Yes. Needless to say, Trevor Rabin and Trevor Horn did contribute a lot to make Yes survive the 80's.

Steve Howe is nowhere in sight, and 90125 was not entirely convincing for the average proghead. Still, it was something interesting for the time and many songs stood the test of time well. It was released in the worst possible time for progressive bands in general and 70's legends in particular. Yes depended very much on Rabin at this point. Some people don't like his style, but he was doing his multiple jobs (guitarist/keyboard player/vocalist/composer/producer) very well. Some people made him responsible for the change of style for the band, but he was only doing his jobs the best he could to keep Yes alive and to please the record label. Rabin brought a wealth of musical abilities, as well as a talent for writing and arranging crafty pop songs, which, when mixed with the prog sensibilities of Squire, Anderson, White and Kaye, made Yes a household name again and helped them see successes they had never reached before. The new Yes would meet with critical and commercial success (selling over six millions copies and securing a new lease on life for the band, who toured a year to support it) though not without some harsh criticism from fans of earlier incarnations of the band. The 90125 tour was nevertheless the most financially lucrative in the band’s history.

The only one band's #1 hit on the main chart is the opener Owner of a Lonely Heart. The song had massive airplay, and gave the album a lot of its appeal. On the other hand, the most progressive song is the (way) too short Cinema, which is a pure ear candy combined with its follower Leave it. It was undeniable that 90125 had introduced Yes to a massive new fan base (including a new and younger audience) and created new interest in their older material. Regarding the old Yes fan base, many of them were bashing the ‘Rabin era’ for the sake of bashing, many wished it would have remained a side project called ‘Cinema’, rather than a revamped, poppy synth-rock Yes. Some had quit the Yes wagon, and few others actually accepted the MTV image.

90125 represents a considerable change in the style of Yes. The band no longer has that progressive sound that it managed to keep even through the merger with The Buggles on Drama. 90125 is basically a collection of well crafted, edgy pop songs, with very little prog rock elements. The group went with a musical landscape that would be more in tune with the decade, and at the same time not completely oblivious to their past. Classic Yes fans went into this album with certain expectations, and of course they weren't met, but had Trevor Rabin gone through with the 'Cinema' idea, maybe the response to this effort wouldn't be as negative on the whole. The only thing to tie the sound of 90125 to classic Yes is unsurprisingly the distinctive vocal presence of Anderson and Squire's backing vocals and bass. The record's strength lies in the instantly appealing melodies of the songs, and the stunning vocal harmonies throughout the album.

Recommended tracks:

Owner of a Lonely Heart
It Can Happen
Changes
Cinema
Leave It
Hearts




Recent reviews by this author
The Moody Blues In Search of the Lost ChordLe Orme Uomo Di Pezza
Maxophone MaxophoneRenaissance Turn of the Cards
Museo Rosenbach ZarathustraLocanda Delle Fate Forse le Lucciole non si Amano piu
user ratings (376)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
Matthijs van der Lee (3.5)
The first, and only occasion Yes made pop music and did it right....

italianstal1ion (4.5)
The best post-breakup soundtrack ever...


Comments:Add a Comment 
ProgJect
July 21st 2010



37 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ProgJect continues with this 6th review. Enjoy.

Jethro42
July 21st 2010



12390 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album is very underrated. It's true, there is no Steve Howe, no Rick Wakeman, no Roger Dean's cover art and no 15-20 min. epic songs. But 90125 is pretty good in comparison to other albums released in early 80's. Excellent job on the trimming/correction, Nag.

Romulus
July 21st 2010



8423 Comments


This is still a pretty sweet idea. Where's the place to start with Yes? I've never listened before.

Jethro42
July 21st 2010



12390 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'd say 'Fragile', then their magnum opus 'Close to the Edge'
http://www.sputnikmusic.com/list.php?memberid=280733&listid=41744
Cheers
edit: Thank you Romulus.

IAJP
July 21st 2010



378 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

this isn't really yes to my ears. i used to love these guys and i bought this album, i didn't want pop at the time and in my opinion there are better 80's pop records..so it kind of is pointless if you understand me, it's not 'yes' that we all know, and it's not particularly great pop music...good review nontheless for an album i was sure would have been done...sputnik continues to surprise me!

NeutralThunder12
July 21st 2010



8742 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album is sooooooooooooooooooo underrated

Nagrarok
July 21st 2010



8171 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is still a pretty sweet idea. Where's the place to start with Yes? I've never listened before.


Thanks, it's a shame not many users are interested so far. And what Jethro said: Fragile and Close to the Edge are probably the best places to start.



Jethro42
July 21st 2010



12390 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@IAJP: I can understand both haters, fans and neutral people about this release.
@Nag: ProgJect has just begun. We should give it a chance, and perhaps increase the pace a notch.

EVedder27
July 21st 2010



6088 Comments


Good work, you too. For some reason I never knew that "Owner of a Lonely Heart" was Yes.

Jethro42
July 21st 2010



12390 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you Mike. 90125 is not even in the same sphere of existence as
'Close to the Edge' for instance. It has not the same musical landscape at all.
Concentrate yourself on the singer and see =]



Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2010



31072 Comments


Good work, you too. For some reason I never knew that "Owner of a Lonely Heart" was Yes.

Wait, that was Yes? Haha, had no idea

Nice work on the review guys

Digging: Banks - Goddess

Nagrarok
July 21st 2010



8171 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

For some reason I never knew that "Owner of a Lonely Heart" was Yes.


I knew it was Yes, but didn't know they were actually a prog band. But I was just a kid back then.

Quen
July 21st 2010



1633 Comments


Wait Yes is progressive?....what the fuck?

Jethro42
July 21st 2010



12390 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yes
A classic 70's sympho prog rock band. They are pioneers of the genre.

Quen
July 21st 2010



1633 Comments


I always thought of Yes as a pretty cheesy band. Being honest.

Jethro42
July 21st 2010



12390 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byeSPOIffVE
Quen, If you don't like this song, Yes is prly not for you.
@Deviant, thank you man.

Quen
July 21st 2010



1633 Comments


OK, I'll check this out I'm actually a huge fan of progressive rock/metal so I think I'll enjoy it.

Jethro42
July 21st 2010



12390 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

mmmh, there's no metal on here. I'm feeling generous haha
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1rphfkk7is
This song is prly the most harsh of their catalogue =]


Jethro42
July 21st 2010



12390 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oops I think I've misunderstood you; I did read 'Progressive metal'.

Quen
July 22nd 2010



1633 Comments


I actually in enjoyed both songs. The bass in Roundabout was insane.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy