Yes
Drama


4.0
excellent

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
January 16th, 2011 | 30 replies


Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ironic as it is due to the absences of both Wakeman and especially Anderson, Drama is the last truly great Yes album.

As could be said about many, if not all of their progressive rock kin, things weren’t running quite so smoothly for Yes towards the end of the 70’s. Their most recent releases, Going for the One and Tormato, especially the latter, had been qualitatively disappointing compared the group’s classic LP’s, an obvious result of trying to adjust their tunes to the mainstream market. The band was clearly running out of good ideas, and eventually two of its members departed. Rick Wakeman left for a second time, taking Jon Anderson with him. With Steve Howe, Alan White and founding member Chris Squire left behind, Yes’ future was unclear.

As fate would have it, synthpop/new wave duo The Buggles, who had recently enjoyed success with their worldwide #1 hit Video Killed the Radio Star (the first video to be shown on a newly-launched MTV), were tinkering in the same studio as Yes’ remaining members. Both vocalist Trevor Horn and keyboardist Geoffrey Downes were long-time fans of the band, but felt their decline over the recent years, and offered to help them out. Eventually it was decided that the two groups would actually merge, resulting in an entirely different-faced Yes. This particular line-up would only last for one album: Yes became even more unstable in their later years. Drama, released in 1980, remains an unique part of their discography, not only for the fact that it is their only record to date not featuring Anderson’s distinct vocals, but also because it is the last that could truly live up to the high standard they generally set in the 70’s.

Downes is no Wakeman by many, many miles, and Horn does try a bit too hard at times to imitate Anderson, but listening to opener Machine Messiah, it has all the necessary content of a Yes epic, and some of the heaviest riffs the band has ever played (read: Sabbath-esque). Up-tempo rockers Does I Really Happen? and Tempus Fugit are some of the best things the band had done in years, and the other half of the tracks, where the creative influences of Horn and Downes are best felt (Into the Lens is actually a reworked Buggles song), quite easily measure up. The possible exception is White Car, an one-and-a-half-minute interlude that has not a single trace of Yes in it, but still blends in well enough with the rest of the album.

We all know what happened in the mid-80’s, but Drama was a very hopeful sign that Yes might be able to survive with their strengths intact. The new wave influences of The Buggles are certainly felt, though not overbearing: this is clearly not a pure 70’s prog album, but change is always necessary. In Drama's case, it was for the good. Yes sounds different while still sounding very much like Yes; it even goes so far as to say Yes sound more like Yes here than they recently had with their classic members. Ironically, the band would never reach this level again. Drama was their last truly great record.

Drama’s Yes was:

- Trevor Charles Horn ~ Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar
- Stephen James Howe ~ Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Christopher Russell Squire ~ Bass Guitar, Piano, Backing Vocals
- Geoffrey Downes ~ Keyboards, Vocoder, Backing Vocals
- Alan White ~ Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals


TO BE CONTINUED...




Recent reviews by this author
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user ratings (390)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
GrooveMonster (4.5)
Drama is a fanstastic example of prog-rock, and although it has a few flaws, it is definitely worth ...

Krigo (4.5)
A surprisingly strong and heavy album, Drama delivers all the elements that Yes fans had been yearni...


Comments:Add a Comment 
sonic3
January 16th 2011


44 Comments


cool

Nagrarok
January 16th 2011


8535 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Carrying on with Yes; I see I have to start thinking about that 200th review.

sonic3
January 16th 2011


44 Comments


damn

good job man

Tyrael
January 16th 2011


21008 Comments


Yes a Nagnarok review! (saw what I did there?) Pos.
Meh I should have known...

Nagrarok
January 16th 2011


8535 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks fellas.



http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/40347/Yes-Close-to-the-Edge/



Sorry Tyrael, LepreCon beat you to it some time ago.



edit: got banned sonic?

sonic3
January 16th 2011


44 Comments


permabanned i think



Nagrarok
January 16th 2011


8535 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

For what, not using capitals?

mallen-
January 16th 2011


1239 Comments


Back to the Yes discography I see

LepreCon
January 16th 2011


5341 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sorry Tyrael, LepreCon beat you to it some time ago.




That I did. Put it down to the similar thought processes of great minds.



Metalstyles
Emeritus
January 16th 2011


8566 Comments


Feels way too long since I last read a Nagrarok review, but quality work here as always.

Tyrael
January 16th 2011


21008 Comments


That I did. Put it down to the similar thought processes of great minds.

I wouldn't dare comparing my intellectual capabilities to yours...

SloppyMilkshake
January 16th 2011


981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a great album, very underrated. Better than...well...anything they released since "Close to the Edge".

sonic3
January 16th 2011


44 Comments


@nagrarok: pretty sure it's cause of all the chodes and queefs and rush

Nagrarok
January 16th 2011


8535 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Back to the Yes discography I see




Gotta finish what you start, you checked out more Yes by any chance?



Feels way too long since I last read a Nagrarok review, but quality work here as always.




Thanks Magnus, the same goes for me, it's been too long since I read one of yours I think.



This is a great album, very underrated. Better than...well...anything they released since "Close to the Edge".




In that case I think that 2.5 can't be correct. And you're forgetting about Relayer there. People never do seem to count Relayer...







SloppyMilkshake
January 16th 2011


981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh yeah, that was my initial half assed listening to the album. It's easily a 4 for me. Thanks for pointing that out.

Jethro42
January 16th 2011


14601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Horn does try a bit too hard at times to imitate Anderson


Poor guy...While touring for Drama, the singer often got hard times trying not to be off-key during his classic Yes songs performances, and that's why he couldn't be their singer anymore, thus causing 'in extremis' the unexpected return of sir Anderson himself, after he accepted a courteous invitation of Squire.

I've been waiting since a while for this review to come, super Nag. You really give justice to that unexpected last Yes gem. Follower 90125 is not bad at all, even if the band almost tossed a coin to call it either a Yes album or a Trever Rabin's 'Cinema' output.

Nagrarok
January 16th 2011


8535 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So I read, must have been hard for the guy. Perhaps it would have been better if Yes quit after this or 90125, their later output is mostly boring.

Jethro42
January 16th 2011


14601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I personally left the Yes wagon afterward. I've heard good things about 'The Ladder' (1999) though. Also you got the album Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe wich is good but not necessarily great in Yes standards. Then you certainly got attractive Live/DVDs/Compilations stuff (Keys to Ascension I and II are apparently essentials) and surely some other isolated, scattered good passages here or there, and that's it, that's all I'm afraid.



The Ladder is the only song I've heard from the album of the same name:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2AhjhYWDUM

Jethro42
January 16th 2011


14601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I did some searching for you; Here is an example of an excellent more recent Yes song taken from Keys to Ascension I (most of both Keys I and Keys II contain classic Yes live performed in 1996-97 + apparently some valuable new material) ;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YInBElIa_Zo&playnext=1&list=PL78913BFCA7BAE916&index=49

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ0x3YIZAeo&feature=autoplay&list=PL78913BFCA7BAE916&index=51&playnext=2

Double post, for a good cause.

mallen-
January 16th 2011


1239 Comments


Gotta finish what you start, you checked out more Yes by any chance?

Not yet, I've been particularly slow on checking out the older stuff lately



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