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Progressive Rock - Released June 24, 2013 | Rhino Atlantic

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Rock - Released August 25, 2009 | Rhino - Elektra

Yes already had a box set in the first great rush of rock boxes in the late '80s/early '90s. Although it was pretty good, YesYears felt like it was lacking something -- it either needed more rarities, or it needed to tell the story better. Rhino's 2002 box set In a Word takes the latter approach, choosing to present the band's history (including selections from Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe) in a logical, leisurely way over five discs, sequencing them like one long, cohesive album. The sound is better than YesYears, but not drastically better than the Atlantic reissues of the mid-'90s. There are some rarities, but not many, and nothing of real note to anybody outside of the devoted collector. Its true strength is that it tells the story exceedingly well, with all the chart and radio hits accounted for, along with significant album tracks from their baroque early recordings to their records from the '90s. True, you do need to have a deep interest in Yes to get this -- and, if you do, you'll likely have much of this material already -- but if all you want is one comprehensive Yes album in your collection, this suits the bill. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Progressive Rock - Released July 3, 2009 | Rhino Atlantic

Booklet

Rock - Released June 11, 2009 | Eagle Rock

Rock - Released June 11, 2009 | Eagle Rock

Rock - Released June 11, 2009 | Eagle Rock

You'd probably need a mainframe computer to keep track of all the personnel changes in Yes over the years, and the quality of the prog rock giant's music has fluctuated nearly as much as the lineups. The Ladder is a synthesis of the best traits of the experimental Fragile era and the pop-oriented 90125 era. Producer Bruce Fairbairn completed The Ladder shortly before his death in 1999, and unlike some of his work with Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Kiss, and others, he didn't overproduce it. Vocalist Jon Anderson, lead guitarist Steve Howe, and bass guitarist Chris Squire all have fine moments, and drummer Alan White is consistent. The roles of keyboardist Igor Khoroshev and, in particular, guitarist Billy Sherwood are less clear. It occasionally seems the purpose of Khoroshev's keyboards is providing a variety of sonic textures instead of functioning as a lead instrument. Sherwood's second guitar tends to flesh out the sound. "Homeworld (The Ladder)" is a tight band performance, but the supple vocals/acoustic guitar/piano coda is the best part. Howe's bouncy acoustic guitar drives "Lightning Strikes," yet the biggest surprise is the addition of a horn section. The energetic "Face to Face" is the strongest track, and Squire lets loose with a sputtering bassline. "If Only You Knew" is a sweet, straightforward love song Anderson wrote for his wife. "The Messenger" has a smooth, funky feel -- a remarkable feat considering prog rock is usually considered the "whitest" rock genre. "New Language" is the best long song on The Ladder, thanks to a clever arrangement giving all six members an opportunity to demonstrate their talents. ~ Bret Adams

Rock - Released June 5, 2007 | Rhino Atlantic

For fans waiting for a follow-up to the massive success of 90125, 9012Live: The Solos proved to be a disappointment. This brief album consists of solo turns by each bandmember, along with two 90125 tracks scarcely changed from the studio versions. "Solly's Beard" provides a pleasant, if somewhat incoherent showcase for Trevor Rabin's guitar work, and Jon Anderson takes an uneventful walk down memory lane with "Soon." The highlight of the album is the duet "Whitefish," and with Chris Squire and Alan White galloping through a spirited medley of "The Fish," "Sound Chaser," and "Tempus Fugit." While it's an okay tour souvenir, 9012Live: The Solos can hardly claim to be a proper album. ~ Paul Collins

Rock - Released November 25, 2003 | Eagle Rock

Progressive Rock - Released January 14, 2003 | Rhino Atlantic

Yes' second (and least successful) album was a transitional effort; the group trying for a more produced and sophisticated sound through the use of an orchestra. Even so, the results weren't conventional, because the group didn't tone down or turn down its sound. Much of Time and a Word relies on bold, highly animated performances by Bill Bruford, Chris Squire, and Tony Kaye. Additionally, by this time the group was developing a much tauter ensemble than was evident on their first LP, so there's no lack of visceral excitement. "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" was a bold opening, a highly amplified, frenzied adaptation of the Richie Havens song, melded with Jerome Moross's title music from the movie The Big Country. Somewhat more successful musically is "Then," which keeps the orchestral accompaniment to a minimum and allows Kaye and Banks to stretch out on organ and guitar. "Everydays" is highlighted by Anderson's ethereal vocals and Kaye's dueting with the orchestra. A surprising amount of the material here seems rather tuneless, but the group was solidifying its sound and, in the process, forcing Banks out of the lineup, despite some beautiful moments for him (and Tony Kaye) on the prettiest parts of "The Prophet," a piece that also contains fragments of music that anticipate Yes' work right up through Tales from Topographic Oceans. "Astral Traveller," as a title, anticipates the themes of future group work, though they still don't have the dexterity to pull off the tempo changes they're trying for. By the time the record was completed, Banks was out of the band, which is why Steve Howe, his successor, ended up pictured on the cover of most editions. ~ Bruce Eder

Rock - Released September 10, 2001 | Eagle Rock

Rock - Released September 25, 2000 | Eagle Rock

Rock - Released November 24, 1997 | Eagle Rock

Progressive Rock - Released September 15, 1992 | Rhino - Elektra

Despite the seeming overabundance of Yes compilations and live recordings, this two-CD release does fill an important niche -- it's the definitive Yes set for fans who demand more than a single disc (The Very Best of Yes), but don't want to spring for the bulky box set. Essentially a distillation of the Yesyears box set, it benefits from the fine remastering job, while at the same time trimming away less vital tracks like the Tormato B-sides and the tepid '80s live performances. Still, it's shocking that the fine album, Drama, was left out entirely, or that Relayer was whittled down to the unsatisfying excerpt of "Soon." And only picking the two hit singles from 90125 and Big Generator won't fool many true fans of their later work -- both could have been passed over for better cuts that didn't pull in the teenyboppers. Still, despite its post-1980 lapses, fans of early Yes may find this an entirely satisfactory compilation. ~ Paul Collins

Rock - Released December 19, 1980 | Rhino - Elektra

The second official concert package from Yes contains tunes recorded over a span of two years (1976-1978) and two different incarnations of the band. Like its live predecessor Yessongs (1973), Yesshows finds the combo during one of their states of perpetual change. Jon Anderson (vocals), Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squire (bass/vocals), and Alan White (drums) are joined by Rick Wakeman (keyboards) on a majority of the selections. The exceptions being "Gates of Delirium" from Relayer (1974) and the Tales from Topographic Oceans' (1973) epic "Ritual" -- which is presented in two parts -- and has Patrick Moraz (keyboards) in Wakeman's stead. The original concept contained a few features that would have been akin to Yessongs. They debated as to whether they should make it another triple-LP and feature Tales from Topographic Oceans in its entirety, like Close to the Edge had been done on Yessongs. Undecided, they made a rough mix of a two-album incarnation, but then shelved it in order to focus their attentions on creating new music. Purportedly, that unapproved (by Yes, anyway) version was cleaned up by the record company and released for the holiday shopping frenzy of 1980. As issued, the seven tracks hang well together and provide enthusiasts an opportunity to hear a mixture of older and newer material. Best of all, Yes retain their enviable ability to ably re-create the complex and challenging passages with a soul that is occasionally lacking from the studio counterparts. Reaching back nearly a decade is an excellent update of the optimistic "Aquarian Age" anthem and the title composition of their second platter, "Time and a Word." It is enveloped by a pair of equally well-executed sides from Going for the One (1977). Here, both the opener "Parallels" and the song "Going for the One" exceed the comparatively sterile non-live readings. Particularly endearing and inspired is Anderson's off-key voice crack during the high-octane chorus of the latter. The more involved works -- especially the Moraz performances on "The Gates of Delirium" and the nearly half-hour "Ritual" -- are fuelled by a continuous energy. They build on the structure established from the respective long-players, yet even the most intricate elements and dynamics are amplified in their decisiveness and command. Anderson's intimacy and passion fuse on the closer "Wondrous Stories," almost as if releasing the audience from one last embrace. ~ Lindsay Planer

Rock - Released February 28, 1975 | Rhino - Elektra

Yesterdays is a pleasant but minor compilation of early Yes cuts. Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman put in an appearance on an up-tempo art-rock reworking of Paul Simon's "America"; listen for Bill Bruford's wah-wah bongos. The rest of this record is largely a showcase for the shunned talents of Tony Kaye and Peter Banks, although the song selections pass over the edgier material in favor of hazy tunes like "Survival." The previously unreleased "Dear Father" is a wonderful, if heavily orchestrated, evocation of youthful angst. ~ Paul Collins