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    Is it underrated?

    I know Open Your Eyes is often derided by fans and critics alike (sometimes called Close Your Ears), but is it unfairly so?

    This project was of course the product of a Conspiracy album, written by Billy Sherwood and Chris Squire, becoming a Yes album without a lot of input from other guys in the band after Wakeman had left for the millionth time after he felt Keys to Ascension was mishandled being split into two albums. I think as it is, its a great experiment in trying to keep Yes relevant in the 90s, not as successfully as Talk mind you from an artistic and commercial standpoint.

    It suffered from being released too close to Keys to Ascension 2 in my opinion and the continual dwindling of the fanbase at the time, but at least they tried to be somewhat radio friendly here. The problem with the album for me is that many tracks are forgettable (as well as a lack of keyboards). But I still enjoy the first half a fair bit. A New State of Mind, Open Your Eyes, Universal Garden are all fantastic pieces, and then I also enjoy No Way We Can Lose and Fortune Seller- Man in the Moon is a guilty pleasure of mine, such a groovy track!

    Its the second half where the album becomes stale to me- Wonderlove is awful, From the Balcony is inoffensive but bland, Love Shine is too cheesy, Somehow Someday is forgettable- only The Solution holds up as a solid track from the last part. Overall I'd give this album a 6/10, it certainly isn't as bad as people make out- and I appreciate it for helping the band to continue as a platform for touring even if they didn't do much from it live, it did allow Billy to make a significant contribution in finally becoming a member, much deserved after his continual involvement behind the scenes. I do enjoy this one from time to time, what do you guys think of it?
    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-

    #2
    I think the bass and drums are cooking, all vocals are spot on, and Steve is amazing on The Solution. The album is great, but it was the wrong album at that time. It should have stayed as a Squire solo album although everyone would say it is a Yes album because of the personnel.

    Steve

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      #3
      Yes, I think it's underrated, I'm enjoying most of it nowadays, but I'm not comparing it to the 70s work
      "We all gotta climb mountains!" - Jon Anderson 2003

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        #4
        Yeah, agree that the first 3 sings were powerful and fresh! The rest, not so much. Too many cooks pulling in the wrong direction. A paella with a few great scallops

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          #5
          Absolutely underrated, esp. considering it's "difficult" circumstances: K2A2 is MIA, Wakeman is MIA, Howe is MIA, and I can't say I blame them: sounds like they were both pretty happy with the K2A2 material, but no one wanted to release or support it, I can totally see why they'd go "Eff this, I'm making a solo album!"

          So, some combination of the band regroups and gets some material together in what has to be almost record time for Yes, and gosh dang it if song for song, it's not too bad! I may even like it more than most of you, although it's kind of on the level of Union: if you can actually listen to the songs for what they are, and not expect CttE 2, you can enjoy it. The only song I don't grok is Man in the Moon, for which the inanity of the lyrics just kills it for me. Even Wonderlove and Love Shine are just fine in my book.

          It's maybe problematic, as it's such break after the K2A material really seemed to signify a "return" to a classic sound, but as so often happens with Yes, the momentum just isn't there: it's maybe also like ABWH followed by whatever ABWH 2 would have been (I still can't for the life of me make out what exactly anyone was thinking about that ABWH material that ended up on Union and how it would follow from from the first album). It really stands out as being outside any kind of "arc" for the band, and maybe with Union the only albums almost solely defined by "how fast can we get this together and get out on the road?" As opposed to a creative direction. I guess at least it wasn't trying to ride any kind of "grunge" or rave wave…

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            #6
            Open Your Eyes is probably the most underrated album of Yes. Where to start? The compositions have a finesse that gets revealed only after further listening, the arrangements are full of wit. We get some of the richest harmony vocals on a Yes-album. Highly interesting is the interplay between Billys crispy and broad rocking rhythm guitar and Steve Howes jazzy and sharp-edged lead-guitar playing. What a creative friction! The sparse keyboards I really dig as well, they are up to the point and atmospheric - an interesting antithesis to Rick Wakemans rich ornamented playing.

            Standout tracks are New State Of Mind, sounds like the invention of funk-rock, Fortune Seller with its almost hysterical hight-tech-gospel-character, the hypnotic and almost Motown-like grooving Man In The Moon, the title track as an Beach-Boys-like-pop-masterpiece, Universal Garden as one of the most atmospheric Yes-ballads and The Solution as a little witty proggy number that does match everything of the newer efforts.

            The album though never had a chance to chart. Everything - to me at least - is just to yeshish, too zigzagging, crisscrossing (we had an discussion in the old forum recently) - but that's how I love the band :-)

            P.S. If I would meet Billy I would ask him to redo Somehow... Someday, a fine songs but it needs much much care, a better intro and some clevver instrumntal parts, more flow in the arrangements, that song has much more potential than what we hear...


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              #7
              If "underrated" means "I like it more than most people seem to" then Yes, it's underrated. I hear Jon, I hear Chris owning the low end, I hear Steve and his vast assortment of stringed things, I hear the Yes harmonies, and it all sounds great. Some of the songs themselves aren't the strongest, but I'm apparently less picky about that than most. I can put it on and let it play through, no skipping. I can't do that with all Yes albums.

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                #8
                Not really. It's a fair to middling Yes album with a few bright spots and it appears to have undergone a bit of rehabilitation in recent years. So overall, it is probably rated about right. Sure there are folk who'll tell you that it's all a load of bollocks (usually the ones who fail to countenance anything outside the "main sequence" and can't seem to get their arses out of the 70s) and others that will tell you that it's the "invention of funk-rock"🤣🤣🤣. The answer is, of course, somewhere in the middle...

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Yorkshire Square View Post
                  and others that will tell you that it's the "invention of funk-rock"🤣🤣🤣. The answer is, of course, somewhere in the middle...
                  I didn't say that it is the invention of funk-rock... even you could not find me so foolish... ... but I said it sounds like that. That is a certain quality of Yes. They absorb existing styles, mix them with their very own musicality and out comes something like as well Sound Chaser f.e. - which sounds like Yes jst had invented Jazz-Funk, so organic did Yes intregrate the jazz-rock influences that were just en vogues in those years.

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                    #10
                    No I don't think it's underrated. It's lacking cohesion overall, I would say, but it's not wholly terrible or anything. There are some tracks I quite like but others I don't, and I have no desire to listen to the entire album now, nor have I for many years past. I think it was a transitional period they had to go through and went on to make albums which were more better-produced.

                    Originally posted by PeterCologne View Post
                    Standout tracks are New State Of Mind, sounds like the invention of funk-rock,
                    I know we always butt heads about your wild opinionating, but duuuude, this song couldn't be more of a YesWest pastiche if it tried. I mean, that's exactly why I like it , but still.
                    Last edited by luna65; 12-15-2021, 01:01 PM.
                    Rabin-esque
                    my labor of love (and obsessive research)
                    rabinesque.blogspot.com

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                      #11
                      As I said above it is not the invention of funk at all, but it comes along so cool that it appears like. I agree about the Yes-West-thing, on other occasions I wrote that OYE of course is a desperate try to be Yes-West. And as that it is not really successfull, of course. But I think about 2/3 of it is one of the most fun and joyful Yes-experiences. I would love to have New State, Fortune Seller, Man In The Moon or the title track on stage with Jon Anderson singing. It could really vibrate the boat. And Universal Garden inbetween as an uplifting atmospheric interlude.

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                        #12
                        I have tried on so many occasions to like this album. Over a period of 25 years I have regularly tried to come back to it and give it another chance and I never succeed in listening through to the end. I have tried listening to the tracks in a different order, and tried eliminating the tracks I find most irritating but nothing ever draws me back to listen again. I can’t say the same thing about any of the other studio albums and some of the most recent offerings have been pretty weak but I can always find something on those which attracts me and I can listen through from start to finish without skipping tracks (with the exception of Music to my Ears). Therefore I don’t believe Open your Eyes it is underrated. I know it was the record company who forced the release, but given the personnel at the time and the era in which it was released they should have been able to do much better. MindDrive springs to mind.

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                          #13
                          I have to agree, while I understand the Criticism, I remember this being a dang fun period for my Yesfandom, as Yes had just done the SLO shows and released the Keys CD's so more Yes? Yes please. Tour went on and Yes returned to a more 70s type of Yes.

                          But anyway I enjoyed the album. First 5 tracks really solid.

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                            #14
                            I think this album represented the band still trying to duplicate their 80s radio successes with the title track leading the way. When I first heard the tune I played it for some of my “non-Yes” fan friends who felt it would have been top 40 had it been released in the 80s. Universal Gardens and Fortune Sellers were also very catchy. So yes, very underrated albeit more 80s than 70s sounding, and the tour of this album was quite enjoyable.

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                              #15
                              It gets about the right amount of attention and acclaim. As in, not a lot.
                              Underworked material, recycled and reused material, and overproduced to compensate.
                              On the rare occasions I give it a spin, I struggle to care after the first three tracks. When I first heard Loveshine I thought they may have done it with the Spice Girls in mind...
                              The 1998 tour, though, was fantastic, though I had hoped Keys might be represented in their set .
                              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.

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