Jon Anderson: Vocals Chris Squire: Bass, Vocals Rick Wakeman: Keyboards Alan White: Drums Steve Howe: Guitars
Throughout out the 70s, Yes became increasingly progressive and indulgent. Following the masterpiece Fragile, the band started to become especially avant-garde. Close to the Edge, which many will consider their greatest album, marked a step towards an even more expansive sound. Tales From Topographic Oceans and Relayer followed Close to the Edge, and while both were still loved by loyal fans, they were a pessimistic reviewer's dream. It was in 1977 that Yes seemed to take a step back from this seemingly unstructured sound with the release of Going for the One, which if anything would've seemed to have been the logical step forward fives year ago from Fragile with shorter songs and a more orthodox (but still signature Yes) sound. Keyboardist Rick Wakeman returned for this album after his 3 year absence following Tales from Topographic Oceans. The release of Going for the One was also the last great album with the classic Yes lineup.
Going For The One(5:30)
This song alone revived the band from their relatively inaccessible avant-garde phase. It starts the album off with a kick to say the least. It could easily be mistaken as a Led Zeppelin song at first. Howe's frantic guitar enters first and is further driven by Squire's bass and White's drums. Howe definitely leads this song. Even Anderson, who is usually at the forefront, seems to be competing with the commanding guitar part. The chorus is pretty catchy and chances are it'll get stuck in your head. The whole song is very conventionally upbeat and energetic, which was quite a change for the band. As with most Yes songs, Wakeman's keyboards add those signature Yes touches. Going for the One is definitely a great song recommendation for anyone; it's basically an overblown pop/rock song.
Turn Of The Century(7:58)
Quite a change of pace from the title track, Turn of the Century is a traditional Yes ballad. The song is definitely emotional and charming, but it is very tame for the most part. Anderson sings some very great lyrics here which I interpret to be about growing older with your love and calling upon times of the past. While it is a love song, the band still maintains their signature sound on this track. About halfway the song begins an emotional climb with soaring melodies and almost theatrical drama. The song may be long and boring for some, but it is a very well done ballad.
Very, very cool song right here, to put things simply. Wakeman's organ playing really puts the song over-the-top. The organs were actually recorded at St. Martin's Church in Switzerland. This addition really completes the song. Squire's bass line is also top notch here and provides for a very fun and upbeat mood. I personally rank it up there with Roundabout as one of Yes's best "good times" bass part. As usual, Howe contributes a fine solo and some first rate riffs here and there. White keeps the good times going with his straightforward beat. If the chorus were actually catchier, the song would be even more memorable and lasting. Parallels is a classic Yes song though and is definitely recommended.
The title does a pretty good job of describing the song. There's a very mystical tone to the song, mostly due to Anderson's typical vivid and lush vocals, and Wakeman's fantastical effects and enchantments. There's a superb mix of melody and harmony, but the chorus especially gets very repetitive and boring. Nobody else really seems to do much on this track for the most part. Howe doesn't really come in on guitar until later in the song, and Squire and White who normally contribute some crazy bass and drums take a back seat to everything else. Nothing really extraordinary on this song, unless you love hearing about hearing fantasy tales in a song.
Awaken is a fairly tough song to write about. You can easily see from the length that this is the "classic Yes suite" type song on the album, but it isn't much like the long Yes songs from their previous albums. What Awaken does do pretty well is capture the sound of the album; sort of conventionally over-the-top, if that were to make any sense. The song starts with some impressive piano playing from Wakeman. This pretty much sets the tone for the song. It's pretty laid back and calm with keyboards playing a big part in it. The song keeps building in the beginning with some crazy playing by Howe and some pretty neat bass lines. Then about 5 minutes in the organs enter and the vocals reenter. Everything peaks in terms of vastness and greatness about halfway through. Then all sound drops out except for White and his tuned percussion. Wakeman also plays some woodwind sounds and soon the organ again. Very classical chamber music fills the air for a few minutes until Anderson comes back in. The song keeps on building and definitely has a very majestic and epic feel. It actually has a great emotional ending, and overall is a very good song. It's much different than all the other "epic" Yes songs, but it still deserves a listen. This one takes some listens to really appreciate its quality.
Final Words: Going for the One is one of the most underrated of all Yes albums. Its change back to a more reserved sound was significantly different than the expansive sound the band picked up through the 70s, although this album was over-the-top in its own way. Parallels and Going for the One are both incredible signature Yes songs that are the higher points of the album. The beauty of Turn of the Century and Wonderous Stories also can't be denied although they may not be exactly what you're looking for from a progressive rock album. Awaken is a great representation of the album as a whole with its mystical mood and powerful emotion. The rocking parts of the album definitely possess tons of energy, but the mellower parts could make you feel like you were in medieval Europe. Going for the One is best suited for Yes fans, although the title track and Parallels have a good chance of striking a chord with any music fan.
I'm pretty mixed on this album... "Awaken" and especially the groovy-as-hell "Parallels" are two very strong pieces, but the remaining three just fail to get hold of me. The main problem is the sound in my opinion, which is a sign of things to come: polished and slick.
[QUOTE=The Stormbringer]The main problem is the sound in my opinion, which is a sign of things to come: polished and slick.[/QUOTE]
I agree with you on that. This album was definitely a step towards that polished and overproduced sound. I thought though that it still maintained the classic Yes sound for a good part, especially relative to the future albums. Tormato was bad, and although Drama was relatively good, the classic Yes lineup was gone.
Very nice review. I actually really like this album although it's obviously not op to par with Relayer or Fragile. I like how they changed their sound in some parts of this album (particularly the title track which doesn't sound like other Yes songs at all).
I've been moderately obsessed with "Awaken" recently, and I think I've heard "Going for the One" and "Wondrous Stories" courtesy of the Ultimate Yes Collection. I probably ought to grab this when I get the chance. Very good review.
"Awaken" is the standout track and worth the purchase price alone. The SE version has lots of the demos from the original sessions which are worth hearing if only to hear how these songs evolved. Not YES at their very best but still better than most.
Yes are a band that usually fill me with glee, and this album is certainly no exception. Not as remarkably proggy as ''Close to the Edge' or 'Fragile', but there are still golden moments to be found here.