Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Dave Gilmour's Cat, Sep 20, 2016.
Tales and Relayer are so ****ing good!
I agree that Going for the One is highly underrated I feel. The whole album is great from start to finish.
Indeed! Tales from Topographic Oceans gets some unfair press occasionally from critics for being pretentious, self-indulgent, and just over-the-top, but, of course, I just roll my eyes at this, because any time any band tries to do something inherently different with music like a concept album, they’re viewed this way. Thankfully, I’ve never subscribed to this opinion.
Yes Album, Fragile and Close to the Edge were amazing albums. Rarely does a band release three perfect albums in a row like that in rapid succession. Played them all the way through for years on end, not a lousy song on any of them. Starship Trooper, A Venture, And You And I, Siberian Khatru, etc. Loved it.
Close to the edge, they really jam out on it.
Yep, Topographic would have been fourth if I could have picked a fourth album. It got criticized like you said for being "over-the-top" particularly at the time of its release but I noticed as the years went on it really built up a lot of respect and became the favorite of many Yes fans.
Exact same analysis here.
I’ve noticed this respect for the album as well in more recent years. I remember listening to it on vinyl when I was a kid and thinking “OMG, this is freakin’ great!” It’s an album that a listener can really get lost in and, for me, that’s a good thing. For others, I suppose it wasn’t, but we try to ignore those people don’t we?
A true gem, often overlooked. TYA was my 2nd Yes album- after hearing CttE and being blown away, I got Yessongs since it had all of that album plus 2 other albums of live Yes (always searching for value). So TYA was a huge part of helping to form my idea of what Yes was about. And the haunting atmosphere of that little song played a part much bigger than its size would indicate in the formation of my internal "Yesworld." It was such a departure from the other songs- down to earth as opposed to soaring thru the heavens; creating a positive message thru some negative examples; slow and mellow, full of melancholy- it really helped display the emotional and musical range the band was capable of.
Personally, I'd add Tales, Relayer and GftO to your run- and I wouldn't use the word perfect, as I don't believe in perfection- but every song on each of these albums is just killer (w/ the exception of 5%, which is a fun little track but not at the level of all the other songs in that 6 album run).
I don't have an inherent bias against what they were trying to do with TOPOGRAPHIC but I do find there are a number of long passages where it just doesn't do anything for me, so it's not in my top few. It's still a nice album with many great moments. What were the odds that ANY group, even Yes at their peak, could pull off this kind of an album and make it riveting from start to finish in the way that the side-long "Close to the Edge" was? They had serious chutzpah for giving it a shot (that's how I'd put it - not "pretentiousness" as some critics claimed) - I'll give them points for that!
One of my fave rock vids ever. Have shown this to many folks over the years to demonstrate Howe's incredible skill. And what youthful exuberance on display (before Grumpy Steve took over)- What better way to celebrate the birth of your first child!
Classic Steve, I think Steve digs Chet Akins for his awesome guitar style. Hint for Steves style, Get the thumb up on the low "e" string.....
Years ago I read the "Yes Authorized Biography" book (I think it was published in the late 70s/early 80s) and it said that a lot of fans wound up confused and/or bored by Topographic and that some crowds thinned out during the concerts when they played it. It's kind of odd to think that Yes just basically said "Hey we have an idea for an epic album that is basically four songs over four sides of a double LP, okay?" And the record company powers-that-be gave them the thumbs-up and let it happen. It was ambitious, to say the least. I doubt that would happen today, even if a big-name group with guaranteed albums sales like the Foo Fighters wanted to do it.
Despite the criticism they received for it at the time and the allegations of "crowds walking out," retrospect did a lot to approve appreciation for the album. I think the younger generation of fans (the ones born around 1970 that discovered early Yes after their resurgence with 90125) really brought a new-found appreciation for it. I bought it after listening to the Yes Album, Fragile and Close to the Edge and while it was more of a commitment to listen to at times, it still fit well into the work they were doing in that era. By the time of the mid-1990s when I was getting started on the internet I noticed that most online fans absolutely loved Topographic. So in the time between the Yes biography and the dawn of the modern internet, Topographic had been reassessed as one of Yes's better efforts.
It's hard to put into words, but Tormato is this unique little universe that has always just pulled me in. In the same way that King Crimson's Lizard does. I wouldn't necessarily argue that it's objectively one of their "best," but it has always held a special place for me. Try listening to Release Release, Madrigal, Future Times/Rejoice, and On The Silent Wings Of Freedom. If some of those click, try listening to the album in sequence. Some of the tunes are quirky. But if you pay attention to what the individual players are doing and how it comes together as a whole, there's a great album there.
Actually, two albums. There are enough outtakes from these sessions on the 2004 CD and the In A Word box set to make a double album. Some of these are good to great also: Richard (on In A Word) in particular is outstanding.
Let us know what you think if you wind up going back and re-listening!
I would've been 4 at the time. Sadly, no.
Part of the problem w/ Tales was the terrible reviews it got- even from the venerable Chris Welch, who had been a staunch supporter of the band up until then. A big part of the problem, imo, was choosing to play this far-out music- the whole album (at least at 1st) to a crowd that either hadn't heard it at all or had little time to absorb a difficult piece of work. Finally, this is an album that takes a while to click w/ many/most (myself included- I'm still amazed by those with whom it clicks on 1st listen); many Yesfans that initially didn't like it have come around.
As you aptly noted- this is an album that demands a lot from the listener. But man, is that effort rewarded!
If, as Wakeman stated in Yesyears, Yes ever becomes like the LSO and continues long after the classic line-up departs this mortal coil, I would imagine this album being one of the most popular trips to the Yes Symphony. IMO, this is Yes' Beethoven's 9th (despite the opposite receptions they received upon 1st being played in public). In fact, in Mosbo's excellent book Yes, But What Does It Mean?, he devotes an entire chapter to this (which he also considers their meisterwerk) entitled "Tales of Beethoven's Symphonies," in which he compares it to the music of Ludwig Van.
A young Yesfan- I love it! Always like making the acquaintance of a superior musical intellect! Mad props on your good taste, open-mindedness and non-conformism!
I hope you have the House of Blues dvd at least.
Yes! No pun intended, lolol. That was my first Yes dvd if I remember correctly. Too bad they cut "Hearts" and "Close to the Edge" from the setlist/video though. I've got the original audio with 'em and it's a wonderful show.
Great setlist that tour!
Awesome setlist, indeed! The last time the classic line-up had the balls to play their new album. I also wish they could have had the whole show on video, but I wish even more that they hadn't dropped New Languages. I was lucky enough to see the 1st US show before they dropped it and it was one of the highlights.
I was pretty much a newbie to prog when I first heard Tales, and I loved it on the first listen. I was pretty stoned and just went on the journey. Still love it to this day...
Night 1 in Tampa? Pretty cool!
Well, you are more open-minded/receptive than I, good Sir Marc. And it wasn't the herb, b/c that would have accompanied my 1st listens as well. Actually- and this may speak to how much more efficient an engine your mind is than mine- it took a much more powerful fuel to launch me on that journey. My 1st ever "electric" trip included Tales as the main destination- complete w/ visuals provided by an oscilloscope. One of the most powerful experiences in my life, where that music reached deep inside and it's beauty was fully revealed. I've loved it ever since.
No- it was Myrtle Beach HoB. I had to check forgotten-yesterdays (AWESOME SITE FOR YES CONCERT NOSTALGIA/INFO for anyone unaware of it) to make sure my memory hadn't failed me again (which it does more and more these days)- and this memory was intact. Tampa was US shows #3&4. The Tabernacle in Atlanta was #2 (sounds like a perfect place for a Yes concert!).
Nice! I can remember tripping to Traffic Low Spark of High Healed Boys back in the day. Rain Maker blew my frigging mind man. Good times lol
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