Yes
Drama


4.0
excellent

Review

by e210013 USER (121 Reviews)
March 19th, 2018 | 15 replies


Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Drama didn't become a drama. Drama became in one of the best prog albums of the 80’s.

“Drama” is the tenth studio album of Yes and was released in 1980. The line up on the album is Trevor Horn, Steve Howe, Geoff Downes, Chris Squire and Alan White.


“Drama” is a unique and special album of Yes. It’s their only album, until then, without their front man Jon Anderson. After “Tormato”, while the group was working to release a new studio album, Anderson left the band due to creative and financial differences. Soon he was followed by Rick Wakeman who believed that Yes couldn’t continue without Anderson’s voice. It seems that the really creative differences were because Howe, Squire and White didn’t like the music composed by Anderson for the band. They thought it was too much lighter and soft for Yes’ usual standards.

So, the remaining band’s members, Howe, Squire and White, had to “carry the piano alone”. While working in the studio, they met Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn of The Buggles, who worked in a next door studio. The duo had recently released their first studio album “The Age Of Plastic”, and they had a great commercial success in that era because of their single “Video Killed The Radio Star”. As they were great fans of Yes, the duo was invited to participate in some sessions to help them on vocals and keyboards, and soon they were invited to join them as band’s members.

After the previous collaboration, which partially failed with Hipgnosis, Yes invited again Roger Dean to design the art cover for the album. Beyond, they invited again Eddie Offord who had co-produced the band in the early 70’s. He was one of the most famous producers at the time. However, the major part of the production work was handled by Horn.

So, Yes was almost a band in ruins at the end of the 70’s left Squire, Howe and White with a rather uncertain future. This short lived line up tried to fuse the old fashioned symphonic progressive rock that Howe & Co. still favoured with the more contemporary pop leanings of Horn and Downes. If you take the three core members of Yes, the rhythm section of Squire and White, who to all intents and purposes are Yes encapsulated, and Howe, one of the most prog guitarists, and then throw into the mix the new wave, electro style and pop sensibilities of Horn and Downes, and you have a line up that could either produce the music of their lives, or be an unmitigated disaster. Actually, many of the distinguishing features of Yes’ sound can be easily detected throughout the album. So, Howe’s virtuoso style is really unmistakable, as are Squire’s aggressive bass with the clear bright sound of his pick driven attack, and White’s crisp drumming.

Looking at the songs, “Machine Messiah” is a superb suite that hints at some examples of high quality neo prog. It represents the return of the band to longer tracks. It keeps intact the main features of the Yes’ sound and it’s the best track on the album. “White Car” belongs exclusively to The Buggles component of the band. It’s a nice song with interesting vocals. “Does It Really Happen?” and “Run Through The Light”, clearly lean towards sophisticated pop modes. Both represent the new sound of Yes where we can see the influences of the two new members. They have a more modern musical structure and are probably a clever way of making music in the 80’s. Both are great tracks. “Into The Lens” would be part of the new The Buggles’ studio album “Adventures In Modern Recording” called “I Am A Camera”. It’s another great track, the perfect way to catch a pop song and turn it in a nice prog track. “Tempus Fugit” is the most evident throwback to the band’s earlier output. It’s a heavy and aggressive track with a fantastic and dynamic bass line of Squire, which is unmistakable and unique in the prog rock scene. It’s the second best track on the album.

But, the last but not the least is the production. The production is amazing. It’s by far the best sounding Yes’ album, even to this day. All the instruments are so well recorded and there is a space that leads to a real power. And it wasn’t a coincidence the hand of Horn. Horn would go on to become a successful producer. He brought about a change that, as painful and unexpected as it may have been for many fans, was somehow necessary and positive for band’s evolution.


Conclusion: All pointed that “Drama” would be certainly a big failure due to the previous album “Tormato” has failed, the pressure for a new album and the departure of Anderson and Wakeman. If Yes could survive without Wakeman was clear, but survive without Anderson’s voice seemed impossible. Finally, the participation of two new band’s members, without great music experience, mostly pop musicians that coming from the new wave movement, seemed to be an absurd. Still, “Drama” exceeded all expectations and doesn’t become on a true drama. “Drama” is the best studio album without one of their classic lines up. “Drama” has the different but beautiful voice of Horn and the new keyboard sound of Downes. Both brought a new sound to Yes. Besides, Howe, Squire and White demonstrated that Yes could survive without Anderson. They turned “Drama” in an essential work and in one of the best prog albums of the 80’s.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (458)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Nagrarok (4)
Ironic as it is due to the absences of both Wakeman and especially Anderson, Drama is the last truly...

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

GrooveMonster (4.5)
Drama is a fanstastic example of prog-rock, and although it has a few flaws, it is definitely worth ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
March 19th 2018


2558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As happened with "Yes" and "Time And A Word", initially, it wasn't my intention to review "Drama" too, because they don't belong to classic era of Yes. Their classic era began with "The Yes Album" and ended with "Tormato", the era of their two classic lines up. Even so and against all odds, "Drama", somehow, has become a classic album too. An improbable album from an improbable line up. In reality, "Drama" is a very special album for the band because it represents the end of an era and the begining of other. And many think, as I do think too, that "Drama" is the last true classic album from Yes, despite the great quality of some later works.

Divaman
March 19th 2018


4288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review again, e. This is an album that's near and dear to my heart. One of the interesting things is that on "Drama", they seem to have speeded up Horn's vocals to make him sound more like Anderson, and I think it helped keep Yes fans in the fold.

Digging: Melanie Martinez - K-12

e210013
March 19th 2018


2558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I absolutely agree with you Diva. It was really an amazing and contradictory thing but I think it helped keep Yes' fans in the fold, indeed.

Thanks, my friend.

Jethro42
March 19th 2018


15959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it was really unexpected that the remained Yes members merged with a pop formation would give another clever prog effort. Despite Trevor Horn tried too hard to sing like Anderson, and Geoff Downes is miles away from the Wakeman's wisardry, Yes were still alive and kicking.

I also really like the Drama rendition from Topographic - Drama Live Across America with Jon Davison on vocals. The man can sing any Yes songs comfortably. We can't say the same about Trevor Horn who apparently vocally ruined the classic Yes songs during the Drama tour.

You did some good choice in the recommended section. Great music made around 1980, so good idea to link it here. I relisten to Asia Minor atm. Great stuff!

Good review mate, I'm curious where you will go from here.



e210013
March 19th 2018


2558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah Jethro. Despite all those points mentioned by you, Yes were still alive and kicking very hard.

I confess I'm not very accustomed with the voice of Jon Davison. I'm only familiar with Glass Hammer albums till their tenth studio album "Three Cheers From The Broken-Hearted" and Davison only appears on their eleventh "If". So, I've great expectations with his voice and I'm glad that you are telling me that he has a great voice and he is abble to sing all Yes' songs.

I'm very glad that you could see my intention with my choices on the recomendation section. It's true. My intention was to bring some really nice or even great prog music which were still being made in the same year of "Drama", 1980, the begining of the worst decade to prog.

"I'm curious where you will go from here."

Of course, yet with Yes, but with some different perspectives of the band, but especially of the different music careers of the different band's members all over the years. You'll see.

Thanks my friend, and especially, thanks for your support.





Jethro42
March 20th 2018


15959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers my friend!

I guess Two Sides of Peter Banks is one of these nexts. Oh, and I see you just rated it, so yes. Can't wait ;)

And what about Glass Hammer? Are they worth checking?

TwigTW
March 20th 2018


3821 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I feel like I've been at least one album behind for your whole Yes series e21, and now I've finally caught up with you!



Looking at all the 4.0, it seems we have come to an album where we almost all agree.

e210013
March 20th 2018


2558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ Jethro

"I guess Two Sides of Peter Banks is one of these nexts. Oh, and I see you just rated it, so yes. Can't wait."

You're absolutely right. In a so extensive and somehow very complete voyage through the wonderful world of Yes, it would be a big failure noyt to include the debut solo album of Banks. Anyway, I know the album since it was released, very well. Besides my CD copy, I own my old vinyl copy bought to a classmate in those times. But, meanwhile, my friend, you must be a very bit more patient. Till that moment, I'm going to published several other things about Yes. I think you must have more two or three months of waiting. Lol.

About Glass Hammer, I like the band very much. But, they don't belong to my plans about Yes. Initially I thought to include their album "Culture Of Ascent", since Jon Anderson participates on two tracks of the album with his vocals. But, I declined that. You know, my really inttention is reviewing albums where the different members of Yes participated as solo or members of other projects as effective members and not as guests. As you know, and this is the reason why I decided to do this project, the members of Yes are so prolific with their solo stuff and other projects that I could be here, on Sputnik, two or three years reviewing all those albums. And you know I'm right, my friend.

Cheers and patience.

e210013
March 20th 2018


2558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ Twig

"I feel like I've been at least one album behind for your whole Yes series e21"

Yeah, it seems I'm a too bit fast for you. Lol. But seems that you finally caught me. Lol.

You're absolutely right. As strange and paradoxical as it may seem, an improbable album like "Drama" was able to unite most of the Yes fans. It seems to me almost a real miracle.

Jethro42
March 20th 2018


15959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There are lots of both Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe's solo material from the start. I know you already reviewed Journey to the Center of the Earth and Fish Out of Water. About the other projects of each members, you seem to be more knowledgeable than me. I cant help but think about album Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe which is already reviewed by Divaman. I'm curious to see what's up. I'll be patient and I trust you for subsequent discoveries...

e210013
March 20th 2018


2558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

All those things you mentioned are in my plans, and bit more. I think the list is complete and many of the reviews are finished or almost finished. Besides, 40 reviews is a very impressive and a big number, don't you think? Maybe a bit megalomaniac, perhaps. But, this is what I am. What can I do? I like to think in a big scale. Lol.

TheIntruder
March 21st 2018


425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review dude. I am glad you covered this album too. It would be a shame not to do that. Yes, looking at all the 4.0, it seems we have come to an album where we almost all agree. Have a pos.

e210013
March 21st 2018


2558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks pal. "Drama" is a good album to end my reviews about Yes' studio albums, at the moment.

TheIntruder
March 21st 2018


425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Like happens with Jethro, as you have finished the reviews of the studio albums of Yes, I am also curious about what is coming next.

e210013
March 21st 2018


2558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Patience my friend, patience. Very soon you'll see.



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