Friday, May 3, 2013

Fly From Here

Ever since I can remember, I've had the band Yes in my life. My parents were big fans from way back, so I grew up with all their classic albums, and I've listened to them as an adult and kept tabs on them. I've seen them live on the Ladder tour, and hopefully will see them live again soon.

So far I've never disliked anything they've put out, but oh. my. god. "Fly From Here".

"Fly From Here" is an amazing album. Not just an amazing Yes album, it's an amazing album. People have no idea what they are missing if they don't fracking-love "Fly From Here".

So, first of all, I'm a huge Jon Anderson fan, but I grew up with Yes; I understand that their line-up is malleable, even when it comes to their lead singer. As a kid I admit I used to cringe when "Drama" (Trevor Horn) came on, or when Trevor Rabin would take over on vocals on some songs. But as an adult I recognized the brilliance of each different singer. So hearing Benoit David as the lead here, now, in 2013 (well, 2011 when the album was released) was actually kind of exciting. I wanted to hear what someone else might bring to Yes.

Hell, let's face it, if you're a band that's been around for 40 years, you are bound to get a little stagnant sometimes, or maybe you'll get an identity crisis. Or maybe you just want to mix things up a bit. But for a while I was feeling that Yes wasn't being terribly, well, progressive any more. Not that the term "progressive" really ages well. After all, progressive rock was progressive 40 years ago and now it's just a form of "oldies". And I understand that "progressive" does not and should not mean "sounds like 70s rock". I want the word "progressive" to be a real adjective, not just the name of a bygone genre.

I'm not sure how "progressive" the album "Fly From Here" is, but it's at least progressive for Yes in that they have brought in a new singer, an old producer, and old keyboardist, and they've taken the feel and spirit of an old album (Drama) and reinvented and revitalized it.

Apparently "Fly From Here" is based largely on a demo track by the Buggles, so it's very pure in its 1980s sound and sensibility. And I don't think many people would argue that Trevor Horn as producer is a bad idea; the man has produced some amazing albums in his time, and certainly some of the most amazing Yes albums have featured him in some capacity.

So if you're a Yes fan and have stalled in buying "Fly From Here", you can safely purchase the album. I waited two years to buy it but now that I have, I'm making up for lost time by playing it nonstop for days at a time. It's a good one!