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ABWH- Rating out of 5?

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  • ABWH- Rating out of 5?

    how do you rate this quartet's effort?
    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-Mirror to the Sky-

  • #2
    4. Or 3.5. It was a brave attempt to capture some of that old Yes magic. They should have also gone for that old 40 minutes length, instead of bloating it up to 60 minutes. But even if they'd done that, then with the excellent Vultures In The City on the album where it belongs, it would still be almost 50 minutes.
    Important question: do I miss Chris on it? Well, actually not as much as I had feared.


    • #3

      The magic dust returns!


      • #4
        The Second Attention! In the Big Dream!
        ​​​​​​Magic return and renewal after the bilge of the 80s. All good for me. It's one of those go-to albums for me that lifts my spirits when they need lifting. I have a poster of the album cover scrolled up since I moved. I keep meaning to get it framed properly. I really should do that once I'm settled in my new job.
        I got to three of the UK shows on the ABWH tour, two in Birmingham, one in London. The London one I went down with a friend and stayed at her brother's place in Brixton. Got reeeaaalllly stoned...
        Wonderful shows! Order of the Universe still gets me hopping and bopping around my kitchen. A joyous return that, up till then, I'd not expected to experience again in the context of Yesmusic.
        Sometimes the lights all shining on me, other times I can barely see.
        Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been.


        • #5
          2 stars. I still love Brother of Mine very much, but that is about the only track I still listen to regularly. I think it's the most dated sounding album of all Yes albums, the production overall, but especially Rick's casio concerto synth sounds and Bill's electronic drums. I also don't think most of the other tracks are very strong compositional wise.


          • #6
            5 Stars.

            Whereas I give TALK a high 5 (I should have given it a "5+"), I give ABWH a low 5.

            It's still a fine album, with very little, in my mind, that detracts from it:

            I think that the bass was woefully undermixed, and was certainly lacking that Squire "bite".
            Quartet seemed a bit like pandering, with all the Yes "shout outs".


            • #7
              4 stars. Terrific uplifting album.


              • #8
                I vote 4, most Yes albums for me are a solid 4. There a few 5's and a few 3's. What about ABWH then?

                The GOOD:

                Not just Steve & Rick back, but Bill Bruford too? Sign me up for that. Up through high school, the only Yes I had experienced a new album from and seeing a concert of was the 1983-88 lineup with Rabin and Tony Kaye. This was my first Yes change and it wasn't even Yes. But the returning characters was enough to hook me in. These were the guys from those old albums, the great classics. ABWH is a very bright and positive album with similarities to The Ladder of ten years later.
                Roger Dean supplies a great cover and Tony Levin supplies some great bass & stick. The first four tracks are as good as any Yes had ever done, and Birthright broke some new emotional ground. Brother Of Mine is forgotten gem that got some airplay back in the day. Themes gives us that ethereal Yes lacking from a bit of the 90125 band years.

                The BAD:

                A bit 'new-agey' in spots, but that's not always a negative thing. A lot of softer stuff on the second half.
                Quartet is a weaker moment, the Beatlesy French Horn synth sound dates badly. 'I'm Alive', however, the last 'movement' of Quartet, is a fine song, and even better in its single form. That should have been released on the album as its own track. Vultures should have also been released on the album, replacing maybe Teakbois or the first half of Quartet.
                Bruford's Simmons electronic drums also date badly, and were better served on King Crimson's Three Of A Perfect Pair album (which coincidentally is my favorite Crimson album). The Simmons were futuristic on that, but a little cheesy on ABWH.

                The UGLY:

                No Chris. Though having Tony Levin there instead isn't exactly ugly.

                I missed the tour for this, but really liked the album. The prospect of two Yesses simultaneously was mouth watering, though only the Anderson-led ABWH delivered.

                Faves: first 4 tracks, I'm Alive, Order Of The Universe, Vultures In The City.


                • #9
                  I'm going with 5, I just really love this album. I'm glad I got into it when Yes was new to me and I was just more generally accepting, because I can see a lot of why people have complaints. And because I've been reading y'alls opinions for 20 years. I'm glad to like it so much. I just spun this disc in the car this week in fact.

                  One thing I find lately is that Jon's lyrics often have little gems that are easy to forget about, because they're surrounded by dismiss-able lines, or lines that are even hard to like. For example I love that "This summer you couldn't get it" part, and how that line in Quartet starts "So up .. ", ... even though some of the lyrics in those two songs have earned them a bad rap. Soft As A Dove comes to mind too, it's still got that little Jon stuff weaved in that makes me wonder. What is that line, I think it's "You're overcome by a flood of believing" although it may have been a different one that made me think I needed to come to its defense. I don't particularly like beliefs haha, but it's an interesting bit of writing.

                  Probably the only thing about ABWH these days that I could complain about, is that it needs more Steve Howe in the mix. Everyone else is always there, but Steve is mixed in and out. And the presence of other guitar players has me curious about whether those sessions had Union-type issues with the production team.

                  If you tweak your stereo EQ a bit and turn it up there's plenty of low end. It's not Chris of course, but like the BG album before it, it was built for a cassette-dominated landscape and is just inherently treble-y. It also takes an openness to some of the other songs, it seems a tough sell for some people.

                  One thing people seem to complain less about than I'd expect, is the rock gives courage bit. "Without this gift of rock and roll we'd all be wasting time" ain't the finest Yes lyric, wowee (maybe I should've gone w/4 stars lol). But to my point above, I really love this bit, from the same song (and tend to remember the clunky line and forget all about this one) : "You can't imagine it / How hard it is to grow / You can't imagine it / Can you imagine the order of the universe?"


                  • #10
                    This album is just about a 5 for me, for its uniqueness. Not for not technically being a Yes album. But because of its depth. There is so much in it, even if you have to get passed the electronic percussion. Bill does do a nice job of bringing in a small percentage of acoustic drums live on the Evening of Yes music, and his solo live is very interesting. Its grown on me alot. The album takes a modern approach to the times, yet has wonderful classic Yes music on it. Im happy I got a signed version of the dvd, its so fun seeing Jon's entry on stage at the Shoreline.


                    • #11
                      I always enjoy Teakbois whenever I listen to it - really fun song. The rest, not so much. Haven't listened to it in awhile but my impression was that it was like a JA album with some other Yes guys on it. I should probably give it another listen before giving it a rating.


                      • #12
                        2. I like Themes and Brother of Mine. Quartet and Order have some good moments but drag on too long. The rest is meh.


                        • #13
                          I agree with the sentiment that the album sounds very dated. Contrast the keyboards with Big Generator, both being of the same era. To my ears the keys on Big Gen still sound fine, but the keys on ABWH sound cheap, cheesy, and thin in a lot of places.

                          I electronic drums certainly don’t help things either.

                          But there are some great songs on there. I made a playlist with a shorter version of the album, which I think works better: Fist of Fire, Brother of Mine, Birthright, The Meeting, Quartet, and Order of the Universe.

                          Brother of Mine and Order of the Universe are my favorite from the album, and I’d love to see the current lineup do one of them (especially since the last part of Brother of Mine features Geoff’s writing).


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sharp On Attack
                            2. I like Themes and Brother of Mine. Quartet and Order have some good moments but drag on too long. The rest is meh.
                            I prefer this edit of "Order of the Universe", the long edit (6:03). It was released on the CD -single, together with the album version (9:03) and a short edit (4:55).


                            • #15
                              A 5 from me. Really the last great Yes album. The live show was fantastic. Bruford adds a spice to Yes. While I like Alan White Mr. Bruford added an intangible to the music.

                              This also along with the Ladder was the last Yes album whereby all the players were in the room together for some period of time polishing and refining the music for the album.