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Jon Anderson - Favorite 90's Albums/Rank

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    Jon Anderson - Favorite 90's Albums/Rank

    One of Jon's more prolific periods was the 90's, and just that decade alone saw a series of rather eclectic releases ranging from Celtic music to modern R&B to celestial spaciness. No two of them were in the same direction. Your mileage may vary with these, but there is some fine material contained within these albums. Here's my ranking - not a definitive rank, just how I enjoy them. I'm sure that with such a diverse 90's discography, everyone will probably rank them differently. What do you think? What is your rank, or maybe just mention your favorites.

    In descending order in how I enjoy them:

    8) The Promise Ring (1997) - Jon's Celtic style album. Not one I get around to playing too often. Contains another version of Boundaries/Somehow, Someday in O'er. Title track is pretty good too.

    7) The More You Know (1998) - I didn't like this too much when I first got it in 1998, but I warmed up to it a little. Not a fan of hip-hop type stuff. I think his other R&B styled album, In The City Of Angels, is way better. Haven't heard it in years, though.

    6) Earth Mother Earth (1997) - acoustic in nature, and with a strangely ancient vibe - as in music from some ancient mythical past. If Olias of Sunhillow is an album ABOUT the ancient world of Sunhillow, Earth Mother Earth sounds like music FROM Sunhillow. Like something the ancient Sunhillow people would be strumming and singing around the firepit on one of those moss-covered floating islands. Concerto Uno/Duo comes to mind for that. Whale Watching sounds like it could have been a Yes track if a full-on band approach was used. And as someone who loves cats, I am still charmed by Scraggle Cat & Puss Cat Willum.

    5) Lost Tapes Of Opio (1996) - a odds & ends type album of mostly instrumental/ethereal material and world music elements. This was available on Jon's box set.

    4) Deseo (1994) - came out not long after the Talk album in the summer of 1994, this is a vibrant Latin-styled album. Kinda dancey and pick-me-up type offering when in the mood for something like this.

    3) Angels Embrace (1995) - a new age album which is floaty and sunlit. Relaxing & peaceful ambient work that sounds best on a spring late morning while still tired.

    2) Toltec (1996) - the closest to a Yes sound in his 90's output, this is a progressive suite in the Olias mold - a continuous song cycle in three parts. There is the expected new age sound, but also dramatic and cinematic moments as well. Includes Building Bridges and Enter Ye The Mystery School. I know this was supposed to come out in 1994 on Geffen as The Power Of Silence, but never was officially released in that form. I've never heard that version, but Toltec is an engaging listen.

    1) Change We Must (1994) - Jon's orchestral album will be my top choice. The orchestra and classy feel of this album is one of Jon Anderson's best moments from the 90's. Shaker Loops is sublime. Lots of expressive piano and choral arrangements on this album. A few older tracks mixed in, though Change We Must doesn't have the feel of a 'Symphonic Music Of Jon Anderson' type album. No slapped-on orchestra, this is well executed. Older tracks like State Of Independence and Hurry Home work well in this format. We also get a version of Hearts from 90125. Change We Must is a very dreamy album, try listening late at night while dead tired but not quite ready to hit the sack, So that's my #1 from the 90's.

    I probably should have included Page Of Life (1991) from Jon & Vangelis, but that's a duo project and not a solo album. Though if I did include it, it would probably be slotted in between Angels Embrace and Toltec.

    That about covers it, I think. How do you rank them, or what are your favorites?

    Here is mine Thank you for the question!

    1. Toltec
    2. Change We Must
    3. Earth Mother Earth
    4. The More You Know
    5. The Promise Ring
    6. Deseo
    7. Angels Embrace
    8. Lost Tapes Of Opio
    "We all gotta climb mountains!" - Jon Anderson 2003


      Yeah. Was a decade of travelling world music. Unencumbered by warring band mates. When did Jon divorce Jennifer?* Anyway he was free to follow his muse.

      Promise Ring. One night Jon walks past a local pub overhears fun Irish band. Trad tunes. Jon's mum was Irish (see below) so he feels an affinity. Ropes in band to knockout album. Scratched that itch.

      Toltec. Jon's main inspiration ongoing appears Indigineous North American culture, hello Longwalker. Seriously good stuff. Solid songs and concept. Very moving.

      Deseo. Brazilian rythms and sway. Fun. Some beautiful songs. Not as cheesy as City of Angel's. Nailed this one.

      The More you Know. Now our Jon saw 2 French/Nth African brothers playing some smooth rnb and dug it. Nother chance meeting and they collabed on the boys songs. Now a lot of folks didn't dig it. But I enjoyed it. Supple and slinky. Album cover all 3 of them + Janeee wearing sunglasses and trying to avoid the paparazzi taking a photo of them. Funny. Reckon Jon could walk down the main streets of most cities and not be recognized. So, yeah Jon, hate those paps. Just give him some privacy 😉

      Change We Must. Absolutely awesome album. Beautiful arrangements and some of the best songs.
      5 stars.

      PS: pusscat willum album is what I imagine the platinum patreon package will sound like livestreamed from the hammock in the SLO backyard. Hope I'm wrong. And Zamran turns out amazing.

      Attached Files
      Last edited by Gilly Goodness; 02-27-2022, 09:12 PM.


        From what I’ve heard of his 90s output, the only thing that resonated with me was Concerto Uno and Duo. When combined it could be the heart of a great Yes epic.


          I picked up The More You Know when I worked next to a Tower Records ( remember those? ;-). There was a picture/advertisement in the in-store magazine. Didn't know what to expect. Too me, from what I remember, this is on some songs, is Jon Anderson at his jazziest best.

          Jon has certainly made more misses than hits, and like many here, I have almost all of them, somewhere.


            Tower Records - loved the place(s). They all shut down around the same time. Broke my heart. The one in Wash Dc had an upstairs with separate rooms for jazz and classical and also cassettes. Downstairs was all the cds, rock/pop/R&B, and all the hip magazines.

            I remember there were a couple extra songs from The More You Know sessions which ended up on the compilation Yes Friends & Relatives the same year, a More You Know version of Owner and another song called 10 Million or something like that. Haven't heard those in a while. Didn't like TMYK when it came out but like it well enough now. Maybe I thought it sounded too 'urban' back then. I need to give that one a listen. I remember kinda digging those first two tunes.


              I thought Toltec was the best of the lot, with Deseo and EarthMotherEarth close behind. I felt so robbed with AngelsEmbrace and The More You Know !! Change We Must was another disappointment although with some good moments. I never listened to the Promise Ring.


                I dont have too many Jon Anderson albums from that era, but I have always enjoyed the Toltec album a fair bit- nice instruments and great atmospheres. Love the Native aspects of the album.
                The Definitive YES Albums

                -The Yes Album-Fragile-Close to the Edge-Tales From Topographic Oceans-
                -Relayer-Going for the One-Drama-90125-Big Generator-Union-Talk-
                -The Ladder-Magnification-Fly From Here-The Quest-


                  I have a few [not all] of those and very rarely listen. With the exception of Change We Must. Anderson's greatest album by a country mile for my twopennerth. It does help that his backing band is Christopher Warren-Green's ENO with arrangements done by members/associates. They have a big reputation for contemporary classics and that sensibility is there on the album. Not a dud track on it and the best is just sublime - certainly a very great rendition of State of Independence as well as the title track. Of the solo work I know I think I'd only put this and Howe's Time [also incredibly well arranged/orchestrated, albeit on a more intimate scale] up with the best of Yes. I suppose you have to like classical styled music to love them. They're not all that ground-breaking in the way the 70s output often was, but they are both superb music-making.