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Thread: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

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    Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    I've been unkind to H&E so I thought maybe it was worth a re-appraisal. On second thoughts I'll never get that time back so I'll go and rod my drains instead.





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    Polishing the mirror Enlighten's Avatar
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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    You’ll certainly get some defenders of that album here but it’s truly dreadful to a lot of us too. Their next album is going to be very telling. It’s really on Steve this time, he can’t point the finger anymore, the buck stops with him on this go round.

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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    Nice trolling there.

    H&E is what it is.

    I happen to enjoy it. It's certainly not Yes' finest. Off the top of my head I could say that Talk, Relayer, TfTO, Fragile and Drama are all better albums.

    Of course, with a spectacular band such as Yes, even their bottom-listed albums are better than the best albums of some other artists.

    And here's a band that's been operating almost non-stop for 50 years. The number of artists and bands that can still churn out extraordinary music 40 years past their heyday is quite small. I don't expect an album of the same caliber as CttE.

    Yes, I could list the album's faults. It's muddy sounding, and most of the tracks are a bit too slow for my taste.

    someone here on YesFans remixed the album, mostly re-EQ-ing it to make it a little more crispy.
    I don't remember who it was, but they linked to the downloadable tracks, and I like it more than the "pro" mix.

    Sure. I can find things to complain about. But if you put your mind to it, you could find things to complain about for any given Yes album, and people do.

    But I can, and will, list its highlights. There's flowery arrangements and plenty of instrumental fireworks. Light of the Ages is a gem of a track with shifting textures and complex polyrhythms. Subway Walls is still epic by today's standards. You can still hear the band's organic and muscular strengths, buoyed by Squire's clever bass lines and White's perfect drumming (which I think is too low in the mix most of the time). Jon Davison, in the absence of Jon Anderson, is the perfect choice for the band. Vocally he nails it, and certainly knows his way around a pretty melody. And he writes the same sort of obtuse, nonsensical lyrics that old Jon did.
    Last edited by pianozach; 07-04-2018 at 01:02 PM.
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    The said Remark Ceasar's Palace's Avatar
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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    Well, H&E has been quite unkind to me first...

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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    As I've said before - a couple of duff tracks, an overall reluctance to rock too much, and some good material too.

    Just the start to Believe Again have me a big grin after the horrible Fly From Here...
    Soon oh soon the light, Pass within and soothe this endless night, And wait here for you, Our reason to be here...

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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by The View Post
    I've been unkind to H&E...

    attempting to give a ---- photo atteptingtogiveashit.gif
    Shut Up

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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    Nicely put.

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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    Musical re-appraisal's happen often for me with Yes music, a few days ago on my long commute I put The Ladder on & found myself skipping through just about everything. I like a bit of this song, a part of that song, the beginning of this, the middle of that, love the end segment of Finally but can't stand what comes before it etc etc. So the album on reappraisal drops in standing, even *below* Open Your Eyes now.

    I've been a staunch defender of H&E but my defense has been admittedly somewhat selective; it must be taken as an album on its own terms, it can't really be compared to anything from the Main Sequence because it just doesn't hold up, not much does, really. But again, similarly, songs I once enjoyed somewhat I no longer do, so today H&E has become a four-song EP: Light of the Ages, It Was All We Knew, To Ascend and Subway Walls. The rest irritate to a certain degree now, and a lot that has to do with tedious repetition.
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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    I think "Believe Again" is genuinely a good song. "To Ascend" took a while to grow on me, but it's actually quite nice for a quiet piece.

    Other songs aren't perfect, but "In a World of Our Own" has some nice emotive vocal parts, and both "Light of the Ages" and "Subway Walls" have some instrumental parts that are good but could used to be extended, increased in tempo, and rock harder. While I didn't like "Step Beyond", there are some decent harmony bits.

    Overall, I would say that Heaven and Earth was in the bottom 25% of Yes albums, and disappointing in that sense. It took some time to grow on me, and I like it a lot better hearing just a single song in a mix with other stuff versus listening to the album straight through where all the happy low-tempo cheesiness starts to grate. Still, I think a bad Yes album is better than a good album by the standards of a lot of other bands. Some songs were good, so it was worth making. I think they'd do better on the next album, if there is one- get the bass and drums higher in the mix, increase the tempo, rock out a little more, etc.. Really, a good producer could have done wonders for Heaven and Earth itself- there were the seeds of things that could have been a good album if managed correctly, even there. I think Sherwood and Schellen, if Schellen is allowed to participate, would make a big difference on a followup, as could any producer other than Roy Thomas Baker. Yes is good at bounce back albums.

    However, honestly, if Yes went out there and did another album of the quality or lackthereof that Heaven and Earth possesses, it'd be disappointing relative to what I would like them to do, and relative to my expectations, but I would still be glad that they chose to make it rather than sitting on their hands afraid that trying another new might get them bad press. I want to hear Yes make more music, and I want to hear these musicians involved with Yes now do original material with each other. Even if it doesn't go well, I'm sure I'd find a song or two I liked, and that the bad songs wouldn't be that disconcerting mixed up with 7,000 of my other classic rock tunes or whatever.

    I wish they had the courage to try.

    The next album could be a very different experience with the right adjustments and production. I think just having Sherwood involved, if they give him enough influence, would help guarantee at least a minimum standard and improve things a lot.
    Last edited by downbyariver; 07-05-2018 at 01:31 PM.
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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by downbyariver View Post

    I wish they had the courage to try.

    The next album could be a very different experience with the right adjustments and production. I think just having Sherwood involved, if they give him enough influence, would help guarantee at least a minimum standard and improve things a lot.
    They could use the fan submission route, like Jon Anderson tried.

    Every fan may submit one original demo.

    The band listens and each member picks their Top Ten.

    Tracks picked by all five are automatically included on the next album, followed by 4-vote songs, then 3-vote songs, until there's a double album's worth of material.

    Composers will suffer with sharing writing credits with the band, and the band reserves the right to change up the songs to suit their whims.
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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    As always, I dig Earth because I was told if you wanna get to Heaven, you got to raise a little Hell.
    Faux Speechless.

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    New music from both YES's please sherwoodfish1's Avatar
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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by The View Post
    I've been unkind to H&E so I thought maybe it was worth a re-appraisal. On second thoughts I'll never get that time back so I'll go and rod my drains instead.
    Have you actually played it and listened to it and then re evaluated it ?

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    Yes Old Fart Chris2210's Avatar
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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    I'm still no fonder of H&E a couple of years down the line. There are one or two tracks I like and more I like bits of, but overall it's pretty sub-par.

    I'd like to be more optimistic about a follow up, but from my own perspective there's little to base any optimism on. That's because of the tracks I do like or like portions of, they seem to be largely the work of Howe and Squire. I'm not sure I'd agree [in fact I wouldn't on the evidence I have] that Davison's compositional style displays a strong gift for melody. Downes and Sherwood may be stronger in that area, but they'd have to absolutely hit an innings of sixes on their past form to produce something great.

    That leaves Howe's compositions and much as I like his work it always sounds distinctively Steve Howe rather than distinctively Yes. It's a proper conundrum.

    Having said all that I think I'm with Henry in preferring they try and fail [on some level] rather than not try at all.
    Last edited by Chris2210; 07-05-2018 at 10:30 AM.

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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    Heaven and Earth reminds me more of a sub-par Asia than Yes. I like the fact they are planning another album, but don't really have high hopes for it based on H&E.

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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by Ceasar's Palace View Post
    Well, H&E has been quite unkind to me first...
    Exactly! H&E started it. I wanted to like it, then it punched me in the gut with it's drowsy tempos and insipid lyrics. :-)
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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    I still think there's about 25-30 good minutes of YES music pn it.

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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by sherwoodfish1 View Post
    Have you actually played it and listened to it and then re evaluated it ?
    I was really looking forward to it coming out, especially as I really liked FFH. I downloaded the single when it was available and liked it, but when it got the whole album I found the whole feel of it a bit insipid and dare I say....dull. The overall sound I felt was a bit weedy and I really didn't get a thrill from JDs vocals which just seemed too choirboy-ish for me.

    I have tried to listen to it again on occasion since then, but usually get stuck about half way through because I find it so boring. I find Steve's guitar sound too samey, the keyboards samey, the drums buried in there somewhere and even poor old Chris doesn't seem to have been allowed to shine.

    You know, I'll concede that there may be a good album buried in there somewhere. Maybe a more aggressive mix would help. A different vocalist would definitely help in my view, but there you go.

    So yes, I have tried, I have re-appraised and I still hate it. I honestly don't think I'll bother with it again, and it is the only studio album of theirs (I have them all) I feel that way about. Even Union is better in my view and that's saying something.

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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris2210 View Post
    Having said all that I think I'm with Henry in preferring they try and fail [on some level] rather than not try at all.
    I don't disagree with that, but would be unlikely to buy anything from them because I just don't like JDs vocals and can't see it being a decent Yes album without Chris, sorry. I know that sounds defeatist, but it's only the opinion of one random fan.

    I've never had a problem with Yes doing what they want to do and up until recently I've gone along with it. As I've said before it's their livelihood, their band and their career, not mine. But all fans reserve the right not to engage with an artist's output if it doesn't float their boat, and any new album from Yes is very unlikely indeed to float mine.

    Good luck to them. Really.

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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    "I was really looking forward to it coming out, especially as I really liked FFH. I found the whole feel of (H&E) a bit insipid and dare I say....dull. I have tried, I have re-appraised and I still hate it. I honestly don't think I'll bother with it again, and it is the only studio album of theirs (I have them all) I feel that way about."

    It's like THE got in my head and wrote my feelings exactly!

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    Re: Re-appraisal of Heaven and Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by The View Post
    A different vocalist would definitely help in my view, but there you go.
    How would an album where Sherwood sings almost as much as Davison strike you? Davison would still be the lead guy, but hypothetically there would be tons of harmonies and songs where the guys trade off lines, and basically you hear would Sherwood's voice say, 80% as often as Davison's. Would that work better for you? It's a direction they could go, in theory, and not alien to Yes' history (Squire and especially Rabin had big vocal presences at times on Yes albums).
    "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. He kept telling me, ‘No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that’s something you want to do.’ And I have to keep making music. It’s just what I do. I’m a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood (Quote edited to fit under character limit for sig files)

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