Review Summary: The first, and only occasion Yes made pop music and did it right.
It is no secret that Yes did some bad things in the 80’s and beyond, but credit must be given where it is due, because they started out the decade on a high note. Absorbing The Buggles into their line-up as a replacement for Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman, a renewed band released the excellent Drama
, a certain improvement from bad egg Tormato
. The record offered great future prospects, but hardcore Yes fans weren’t satisfied, scolding Trevor Horn for his inability to sing classic Yes material. Thus, the band finally disbanded in ’81 and its members moved in different directions.
The split-up would last a mere two years: long story short, Chris Squire and Alan White continued to work together and eventually came in contact with guitarist Trevor Rabin. A new project, called Cinema, was formed, soon joined by former Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye, who played on their first three albums. Things would continue that way, but when Anderson heard some of Cinema’s recordings, he became eager to join as full lead vocalist. The group realized that this essentially meant Yes reforming, the only non-ex-member being Rabin. The guitarist initially wasn’t too enthusiastic about being Steve Howe’s replacement, but in these years of commercial pressure, it was only logical to rekindle the Yes flame; success would be far more likely for a known than a new group.
in ‘83, Yes turned the creative wheel around completely. Drama
had seen some minor pop influences, sure, but this was the point where they turned into a real pop band. Owner of a Lonely Heart
smashed the charts, became a undeniable decade classic, and the result is that more people associate the name Yes with cheesy 80’s music than with golden era-progressive today; more than enough, if not even the majority, don’t even know the band existed
before then. Needless to say, long-time fans were alienated by the massive sound change, completely dismissing the new album. It was a long, long shot away from classic Yes. It was a cheesy pop record. It was also good.
For all the backfire it has received, Yes’ eleventh is well-crafted. If 80’s pop music disgusts you, so will this, but it is an example of the genre done right. Trevor Horn, who didn’t remain in the band but produced the album, did an excellent job 'updating' the sound. Looking past the cheesy synthesizers, dated, truly cliché guitar sound, one discovers great melodies and use of sampling, Owner of a Lonely Heart
being a truly superb showing of this. All aspects of the sound are cleverly interwoven, as proven by great pop tunes such as It Can Happen
and Leave It
. The only particular problem is the song lengths, which the group kept from their progressive years. Because of how well the songs are constructed, it’s not that major an issue, although it would become one on later releases.
to be a purely cheap album is naive. It is not really worthy of the name Yes, it certainly is cheesy, and it is slightly dated. In all that, however, it can be exceptionally charming: the songwriting is genuinely good, the production is smart, and altogether these are great pop songs. Admit it: even you enjoy your 80's from time to time.
90125’s Yes was:
- John Roy Anderson ~ Lead Vocals
- Trevor Charles Rabin ~ Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals, Keyboards
- Christopher Russell Squire ~ Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Anthony John Selvidge ~ Keyboards
- Alan White ~ Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
TO BE CONTINUED...