Review Summary: The album in which Yes reached the top of progressive rock mountain.4 of 4 thought this review was well written
After climbing a mountain from Yes, to Time and a Word, to The Yes Album, and to Fragile, Yes finally reached the summit with Close to the Edge.
Close to the Edge is a massive 18 minute epic of unbelievable proportions, starting rather quietly with nature which eventually carries into the bombastic Part One: the Solid Time of Change. The beginning of the song is mostly chaotic and incredibly displays the talents of Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Bill Bruford, and even Alan White on their instruments. However, this song in particular is mostely about the epic tale told within the song by Jon Anderson, which really starts in Pt Two: Total Mass Retain.
Total Mass Retain, in good summary, is a main part of the song along with Part Three: I Get Up, I Get Down. It's not much more than a short poem turned into music, which is pretty much all the listener needs to be prepared for the dreamscapy part Three. I Get Up, I Get Down almost gives the listener a fantasmic view of the song, and is extremely lyrical, which is what Yes, specifically Jon Anderson does best at in this album. The dreamy feel exits into a cathedral church feel, nearly the highlight of the long. After exiting part three, the song seems almost bombastic again, but changes into a finale, Part Four: Seasons of Man.
Seasons of Man sums up the song in a grand finale that ends a high note. This is where Yes really brings it all back together where it started in Part Two, thus bringing the song to and end with the nature heard at the beginning of the song. To finalize this song, it seems almost perfect.
The next song, And You and I, is shorter, but still hurdles the 10 minute mark. The song starts with some nice accoustic stylings done by Steve Howe, which leads into Part One: Cord of Life. Once again, Jon Anderson does a really good job with the lyrics, which only helps the song get better. It is also a retreat from the massive Close to the Edge. Going from an accoustic ballad to a rock ballad, the final accoustic lines of the movement cradle into Part Two: Eclipse.
Eclipse is perhaps even more fantasmic than I Get Up, I Get Down, with the signs being shown by the excellent talents of Rick Wakeman. After hearing the short siloquey by Anderson, the feeling of the song retreats back to the accoustic stylings of Steve Howe and transitions into a ballad style the rest of the song to the end in Part Three: The Preacher, the Teacher. The lyrics in this part of the song are a little different to the rest of piece, but it is enough to relate to. Ending the song, the mood barrels down farther back to an accoustic ending on a very short Part Four: Apocalypse. The lyrics of this part of the song is somewhat strange, but still ends the song on a good note. In the end, what really matters is how it sounds.
The final song on the album, Siberian Khatru, the shortest of them all, is an upbeat rock piece, fit for the finale. This is where the band puts all together from past hits such as Yours is No Disgrace, Roundabout, and Heart of the Sunrise. The lyrics in this song are talking about a river, which is very appropriate for the mood of this song, because the tempo almost flows like a river. Putting in solos by Rick and Steve, this piece not to mention expresses the talents of the musicians, but also of Jon, the vocalist.
Close to the Edge, the album itself in its own state is comparable to a cornerstone of prog rock. It is a must have for prog rock fans and one I suggest to for those who don't have it.