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Yes

90125 Remastered and Expanded

Review by Greg Olma

Yes needed to do something new to attract the music buying public. Punk and new Wave were trying their hardest to bury the classic rock sound and the older fans were moving on with their lives. A whole new generation of fans needed to be built. The architect for this project was Trevor Rabin. In 1983, Yes were at a crossroads. Drama did not do that well, especially in Europe. They could either go back to writing longer progressive pieces or they could forge ahead and create something new. Obviously, they chose the latter. You will not find anything remotely close to Tales From Topographic Oceans on 90125. What you will find is an almost prog/new wave hybrid that in 1983, fans took notice of. This was a band that had something to prove. They wanted to beat those new bands at their own game; and they did.

Rhino has done a superb job of remastering and expanding almost the entire Yes catalog but sadly, 90125 is the least critical to purchase. The bonus tracks, compared to the other releases, are not really that great. If you don't already own this CD, then I recommend purchasing the Rhino version. Getting more songs is always better but if you already own 90125 on disc, you may want to get one of the other Rhino remasters.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Owner of a Lonely Heart
Yes launch into their "second coming" with a guitar driven track that pulls in all the best elements of the 80's. Steve Howe is gone and Trevor Rabin really puts his stamp on this new version of Yes. Jon Anderson sounds great but the real star is Trevor. This has hit single written all over it.
Hold On
Trevor starts off this cut with a bit of Clapton-esque guitar work. Once the singing starts, it is back to a bit of that older Yes sound. The chorus goes into 80's pop but somehow retains some of that classic Yes sound. There are bits of acapella vocals that point to things to come.
It Can Happen
If 70's Yes wrote pop songs, then it would sound like the chorus in "It Can Happen." The verses are definitely more modern contrasting the upbeat feel of the chorus.
Changes
This is definitely the show piece of the album. Trevor Rabin takes over most of the lead vocals on this prog track. Unlike Trevor Horn, Mr. Rabin sounds nothing like Jon Anderson. The track starts off with some frantic jazzy playing and turns into somewhat of a ballad. But before you know it, the chorus kicks in with some rocking guitar.
Cinema
The title of this track is the original idea for the name of this band before Jon Anderson rejoined and made it Yes. It is an instrumental that would not have been out of place on Drama. Clocking in at just over 2 minutes, this is a little piece of prog heaven.
Leave It
Acapella vocals start off this cut. This is not like any other Yes song. Even though it contains guitars and drums, the vocals are the main instruments. In my opinion, this is the most 80's sounding track on the whole CD.
Our Song
Carnival keyboards start this cut. It has elements of early Yes. Older fans would probably feel most at home with this track.
City of Love
This has to be one of the heaviest songs Yes have ever written. "Friend Of A Friend," one of the bonus cuts off Drama, contains the keyboard lines for the chorus. The guitar sound is very "dirty" but the rest of the instruments are clean giving the listener some great contrasting sounds. This is one of the highlights of the disc.
Hearts
Old Yes ends this album in fine form. Although the sound has been updated a bit, this is the kind of music that made Yes popular.
Bonus Tracks
Leave It (Single Remix)
This version is not that much different than the album version. I would have to recommend this strictly for completists.
Make It Easy
This is an 80's rock song that would not fit on a Yes album. It is a really good song with a catchy chorus but it would be better placed on a Trevor Rabin solo release. Of the bonus tracks, this is the best and most worthwhile.
It Can Happen (Cinema Version)
I can't help but think of this as a demo but it is too good to be given that title. The biggest difference to the album version is that Jon Anderson's vocals are absent. Another difference is the lyrics in the verses which are unlike the original. I like this version a little bit more because it is more rock and less 80's pop.
It's Over
Like "Make It Easy", this is also an 80's rock song with a bit more Yes thrown in. I can see why this never made it onto 90125. It's not quite as good as the rest of the material and having Jon Anderson singing on it would not have helped.
Owner Of A Lonely Heart (Extended Remix)
This is exactly what I hated about the 80's music scene. They took a great rock track, stripped all the vocals out, and remixed it into a dance tune. All I can say is "For the love of God, make it stop!". The music executive back then really had no clue.
Leave It (A Capella Version)
Taking away all of the instruments from this song did change it a bit. It is a minute shorter but overall it still works with just the vocals. I would not spend years to hunt down this version but tacked onto this disc, it fits nicely with the whole package
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