Yes - List Your Top 5 albums

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Clement

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I first got into Yes around 1978 and saw them for the first time in 1979 at the New Haven Coliseum. It was my second concert by anyone ever and I was completely blown away. I think most versions of the band have something to offer so a top 5 list would be difficult, but I'll give it a shot.

1. Going For the One - "Awaken" and "Turn of the Century" are absolute stunners. Beautiful playing from all. The title cut and "Parallels" kick some serious butt, it's nice to hear this lineup rock out a bit. And while many of Jon Anderson's little pop tunes tend to leave me cold, "Wondrous Stories" is a real gem. Wakeman's keyboard runs are really nice embellishments.

2. Drama - Too many people dismissed this one without giving it a fair listen. Anderson & Wakeman replaced by the guys from the Buggles??? Sacrilege!!! At the time, Squire said that he, White & Howe wanted to make an album that was still Yes, but that really rocked. And rock out they did. Squire, in particular, really shines on this album. His bass parts on "Does it Really Happen", "Tempus Fugit" and "Into the Lens" are off the charts. Not a weak cut on the record.

3. The Yes Album - I mean, how do you argue with an album that has "Starship Trooper", "All Good People", "Your is No Disgrace" and "Perpetual Change"? The new guitar player really makes his mark. :)

4. 90125 - Again, the purists scream sacrilege. Yes are now darlings of MTV? When will the madness end??? Let's face it folks, the 70's were over; time to move on. The album has certainly survived the test of time. "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Changes" remain essential entires in Yes's catalog. Again, the new guitar player shines. And despite the protests that Rabin was making them too poppy, the constant shifting time signatures in "Changes" and "Cinema" showed that Yes was still a prog band. For those who say that Yes never would have gone so mainstream if Howe was still in the band, let's not forget what Howe was doing around this time. I'll take 90125 over Asia or GTR any day.

5. Time and a Word - The Peter Banks era of the band tends to get overlooked, but I really love these two albums. Kaye's Hammond organ playing on these records is fantastic. He tends to get overshadowed by Wakeman, but Tony can really rock out. The cover of Richie Havens' "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" is amazing and the album's title cut is an enduring piece of Yes history.

And as a bonus, since there a zillion solo albums from the Yes family, I'll add my favorite solo album:

Patrick Moraz - Windows of Time. A beautiful collection of solo piano pieces. Patrick's playing is powerful and passionate.
The Tormato Tour! I was there! In Chicago! Twice! What shows--in the round! One of our shots from the first concert made it into our senior yearbook. Damn--you really took me back! I spent WAY too much HEADphone time with the first three:

1. Close to the Edge - I was often over the edge . . . in the BEST possible weigh--tlessly floating through the solid time of change my total mass retain until i get up
2. Fragile - Loved getting lost in the album art . . . as flawless as the music it contained
3. The Yes Album - see your notes above
4. 90125 - see your notes above
5. Keys to Ascension - since your referencing a concert inspired me to reply, i thought it only fitting to include a live disc featuring the same lineup as the Tormato Tour . . . 17 years after the fact!

Thanks for the memories! Stay Surrounded, Comrade!
 

mongojr

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It was a shame that it took so long for Yes to get voted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame considering their music and longevity. It is amazing that there were so many different bands and the sound remained essentially Yes.
1. The Yes Album (an all time rock classic)
2. Close to the Edge (a symphonic masterpiece)
3. Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman & Howe (Trevor Rabin's Yes was performing at the time)
4. 90125 (Yes defining and elevating the 1980's)
5. Relayer (so cool, edgy and unique)
 

The56Kid

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Very unoriginal, but I love the main sequence the best, though since that's 6, Going for the One gets dropped...

1- Close to the Edge: while I was aware of Yes from their radio play, they never stood out from all the great 70's music until a friend lent me this album. I went home, put on some headphones and was transported to another dimension. Truly a life-altering event. The complex compositions, the dynamics, the unique sounds, the fantastic soundscapes, the fascinating lyrical imagery, the incredible virtuosity and the amazing way the instruments played off each other was a true revelation to me. My fave album ever, tied with #2 below...

2- Tales from Topographic Oceans: it took me quite a while to get into this, but when it clicked, it's sublime beauty was awe-inspiring. Sides 1 and 4 hit first; then 2 and eventually 3. It's really just an expansion of the boundary-pushing of CttE. Even more complex, even more far-out sounds, even more unique approaches. It demands a lot from the listener- I have to be in the mood and able to really focus- but the attention is thoroughly repaid with an incredibly moving experience. My favorite MCH mix.

3- The Yes Album: where it all started to come together. More straight-ahead rock than the following albums, but heralding the progressiveness to come. The first realization of the Yes sound that Anderson and Squire had always sought, only hinted at in the first 2 albums. Anderson beginning to hone his poetic imagery, but still not fully matured. Squire and Howe show an instant affinity, complementing that of Squire/Bruford.

4- Fragile: the arrival of the best line-up; unfortunately only together for 2 albums. (Still blows my mind that this incredible group never had the same line-up for more than 2 consecutive albums!) Great songs only slightly hampered by the solo efforts, which still managed to flow together organically as an album. The song-craft improved by the addition of Wakeman who helped bring the orchestration to another level. Another step closer to the peak to be achieved in the next 2 albums.

5- Relayer: Yes at it's furthest out, moving into jazz-rock fusion. Their last progressive album; the future still held some great music but nothing ground-breaking, the band would start to become self-referrential after this. More evocative soundscapes and unique sounds.

Honorable mention to Yessongs, which contained live versions of most of three of my top 5 albums. Often the live versions improved on the originals. The band at it's fiery peak live. Would have made the top 5 if not for it's compromised SQ.

I'm very grateful that all of my top 5 received the SW treatment with compelling MCH mixes.
Agree with your top 5, but not the order. Good enough!
 

ProgRules

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I must have fallen out of the Yes loop at some point. I've never heard of The Ladder. How would you describe it Mike?
Mike's description is very apt, but allow me to add a little detail...

It's an album I'd highly recommend. The next to the last album they did before Jon was unceremoniously dumped from the band. It included what I consider the best replacement for Rick, Igor Koroshev, who nailed Rick's parts live (sometimes better than Rick himself in his latter days) and who brought a lot to this album. A great epic track that Mike mentioned- Homeworld, an excellent semi-epic- New Languages, an album-closer that channels George Harrison, an homage (lyrically, not musically) to Bob Marley- The Messenger, w/ a great bassline, and the rest are good mid-length songs, the only weak one being their obligatory post-90125 attempt at another hit, which is somewhat reminiscent of Adult easy listening.

The best album they did after reforming the classic line-up in '97, imo, w/ the following album, Jon's last, not far behind. That was Magnification, where Rick was replaced by an orchestra! Also highly recommended and the only Yes album not from the main sequence to receive a 5.1 mix. Though I believe the oop dvd-a is pretty pricey these days.
 

doppelbock

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1 - Close to the Edge
2 - Going for the One (really wish this could've gotten the 5.1 treatment)
3 - Tales from Topographic Oceans
4 - Fragile
5 - ??? Yessongs maybe

Never warmed up to Relayer at all, Yes Album has a few bits I like, really didn't like Tormato at all and pretty much stopped after that.
 

DaverJ

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1) Fragile (top 10 all-time for me)
2) The Yes Album (I never tire of Starship Trooper and All Good People)
3) 90125 (arguably not pure Yes in the classic sense, but near-perfect early 80s pop)
4) Drama (despite being Jon-less, so much heavy prog rock to ignore)
5) Close To the Edge (fan-favorite that I think might be a little overrated overall, but some amazing sections throughout)
 

knifeman

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1. Fragile (I always thought half of this album was filler, but it's still my numero uno; and also my first Yes record).
2. The Yes Album (So many classic songs.) 3. Close To the Edge (Listened to this endlessly in my car back in the day. Probably their magnum opus.)
4. Going for the One (A stellar return after a couple of years of no new Yes material.)
5. Relayer (Always loved this one, but such a strong body of work relegates this to #5. Still have my original vinyl copy which I had signed by Roger Dean himself.)


This is almost an impossible task for me. Ask me a month from now and my list would probably look different.
 
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