I can barely listen to "Roundabout", but I can listen to this all day long.
Then again, I’m not eager to hear "Owner Of A Lonely Heart", the big hit single off of "90125".
Imagine if the new Guns N’ Roses fronted by Axl was as good as the original. Different, but just as satisfying. With a replacement for Slash who sounded nothing like him but added his own special twist. Then you’d get what happened with Yes. A band that imploded as a result of overindulgence which came back together with a different sound that was still similar enough to the original to be called Yes.
It’s criminal that Yes is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, never mind the fact that the whole genre of prog rock has been ignored. One used to say that no one had more loyal fans than metal bands, but at this late date, I’d say prog rock acolytes are their equal. Just ask a Rush fan!
I liked hearing "Carpet Crawlers" on the radio this morning. But when I heard "It Can Happen" I was elated, I felt the world was at my fingertips, that life was one big juicy adventure, that I wanted to bite down hard and eat it up.
If we’re listening to "90125", and we should, we’ve got to begin, after ignoring the overplayed "Owner Of A Lonely Heart", with "Leave It". One thing about Yes, they could sing! They were the first band I saw who could replicate the harmonies live. God knows CSN&Y were challenged live, just watch the "Woodstock" movie! And "Leave It" begins like it was cut in an old world cathedral. And then there are nonsense vocals like on an a cappella track and then the whole thing explodes…LEAVE IT!
And after "Leave It" comes "Changes"… Which begins all spacy, starts to resemble something from the band’s early seventies heyday and then suddenly gains a conventional song structure, after laying into a groove as good as any you’ll find on classic rock radio, then or now. Don’t you love the guitar work under the vocal?
And then there’s "Hold On", which sounds like you’re a Volga Boatman, rowing hard with a bunch of your brethren and loving it! Even Beavis & Butt-head would bang their heads to this. It’s heavy without being plodding nonsense, possessing an anthemic chorus to boot!
Every track on "90125" is listenable. Of a piece, yet unique. And they all go on long enough to sink your teeth but not so long you’re bored.
And then comes the piece de resistance, "It Can Happen".
It starts just like "Within You Without You", yup the George Harrison composition that opens side two of "Sgt. Pepper". And then the stringed instruments start to twinkle, like you’re looking out the window of the Millennium Falcon and marveling at the Milky Way.
And let’s not ignore the bass. Chris Squire’s been the only constant in Yes, deservedly so, he’s a master, the way he slides his finger down the string pinning the bottom of the track is nothing short of miraculous, you know you can count on him.
Meanwhile, Jon Anderson is the cherry on top of the sundae, the angel on top of the Christmas tree.
But it’s the changes that make the track truly magical.
It’s a constant fight, you’re pushing the needle to the red
And then, after climbing that ladder, we’re on the chute…
Look up, look down, look out, look around
And then the band is firing on all cylinders, we’re in the chorus. Everybody’s playing, everybody’s locked on. But then, just shy of two minutes, we’re pushed into the stratosphere once again. The captain’s pushed the button for hyperspace, we’re going headlong into the unknown.
Then the drums pump and we’re marching to Mars.
It can happen to you
It can happen to me
It can happen to everyone eventually
They’ve scavenged around the studio, they’ve thrown in absolutely everything. Hell, there’s someone speaking, the guitar’s wailing…
And then they decide to build it one more time…
You can mend the wires
You can feed the soul apart
You can touch your life
You can bring your soul alive
It can happen to you
It truly can happen to you. You can listen to the track and you too can be jetted into the stratosphere, you too can be exquisitely happy.
This music should not be forgotten.
BECAUSE IT’S JUST THAT DAMN GOOD!