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The Classics Revisited-Yes: The Yes Album

by on August 10, 2010


By the time 1971 came around, progressive rock band Yes had already released two fairly popular albums. However, once Steve Howe replaced Peter Banks on guitar, with his unique fusion style and innovative use of effects, the band reached landmark status. The first album to feature Steve Howe, and the first of the band’s albums to hit the US charts, was The Yes Album.

As the first album to feature equal songwriting from each member, the musicianship on each song is simply stunning, especially on the opener, “Yours is no Disgrace”. The song features odd meters, numerous guitar fills and solos, heavily overdriven bass, and of course vocal harmonies. The sheer energy of this song makes it the perfect opener for a great album.

The next song, “Clap”, is a live, instrumental acoustic song performed by Steve Howe. This piece shows Howe’s incredible technical skill and mastery over the guitar as he bounces from chord to chord, playing bass notes, chords and melody at the same time. Wow.

The album continues with two staples in classic rock, “Starship Trooper” and “I’ve Seen All Good People”. These are classics for a reason. The two minute build-up to the guitar solo in the Würm section of “Starship Trooper”, and the metaphorical lyrics in “I’ve Seen All Good People” are only part of what makes these songs great.

The final two songs of the album, “A Venture”, and “Perpetual Change”, are quite average songs compared to the sheer brilliance of the first four songs. But it is these first four songs that make this album a classic, getting constant radio play. This is due to Yes’s interesting yet accessible fusion of progressive rock, jazz and folk. And even now, looking back on this great piece of art, this album broke many barriers and sent Yes to the top of the charts for years to come. So while it gets an 8.2 overall, the first four songs alone are all tens.


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