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Is it underrated?

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    absolutely love this album


      The more Squire I get to prominently hear the better. Underrated? Yes!


        For me it’s the Yes album with the biggest range in song quality. In other words: when it’s bad, it’s really bad and when it’s good it’s really good.
        So, I got creative. My version is New State Of Mind, Open Your Eyes, Universal Garden, Fortune Seller, The Solution, followed by Concerto Uno (excerpts) by Jon,
        Violet Purple Rose by Conspiracy and Concerto Due (excertps) by Jon to wrap it up. Great album this way...


          I can listen to half of it at a time and then it sounds ok. More than that and I am overwhelmed by the unquestioning optimism, bouncy mid-rangey undynamic over-overdubbed pap (oops) pop music of it all. I should’ve got it on vinyl, I could relax after side A ends instead of rushing to pause the CD after Fortune Seller. (Same thing with Heaven & Earth, not bad if I listen to 1/2 at a time.) And Man In The Moon is the most embarrassing thing Yes has ever done, I would much rather play the ‘Cha cha cha, cha cha’ bit from Soundchaser on repeat, or even the OYE ambient track, for my non-Yes-fan friends.


            Open Your Eyes has some of the best production and glossiest sound quality of any Yes album before or since - crisp and clear sound, great vocal harmonies. A fun and punchy album, some driving rockier material. I like it better these days, though I understand why some fans pick apart its flaws. It came out literally two weeks after Keys To Ascension 2 in November that year, so it kind of got lost in the Christmas shuffle. Keyboards are atmospheric but used sparingly, and there's not too many solos or stand-out keyboard moments. Keyboards are there, but used as extra embellishments or light fairy-dusting. True, it started life as a Conspiracy album with Chris and Billy Sherwood - like 90125 started out as Cinema. But once Yessified, this material sounds valid. True, the album is front-loaded with the best tracks, while the second half kind of fizzles away. No long epics here, in fact OYE is the first Yes album since Time & A Word from 1970 in which no track reaches the seven minute mark. There were thirteen albums in between. Still, there is still much to like on OYE if you're a fan of the various chapters of Yes.

            New State Of Mind - driving rock, though doesn't change around too much. Great harmonies. Kinda Zeppelin-ish, actually
            Open Your Eyes - fine track which really should be reintroduced to the live set. This is fine Yes, nothing to hate about this Asia/90125/GTR-like pomp rocker
            Universal Garden - solid mini-epic, the acoustic playing in the intro sounds like Howe and Rabin in a guitar duet type setting. This is Yes in spacey mode again.
            No Way We Can Lose - Sherwood/World Trade type track which recalls 'Saving My Heart' from Union album.
            Fortune Seller - 1-800? Ok rocking track.
            Man In The Moon - ok, simplistic enough, but that tune squirms itself into your aural cavity and lays eggs. I've had that stuck in my heard before. For hours.
            Wonderlove - don't see the hate for this one. Structured oddly, this has a mystical vibe going for it. I don't understand what they were going for with Wonderlove, but I kind of like it. I know I'm in minority with this one.
            From The Balcony - here's where the album trails off a bit, pleasant but short inconsequential ditty recalling 'Soft As A Dove'.
            Love Shine - again pleasant but not very challenging for a Yes track, very Jon-oriented
            Somehow, Someday - a borrowed tune from Anderson's solo catalogue mashed up with a City Of Love-type bassline which doesn't always sync up. You get the feeling that these last few tracks were concocted rather quicky under a time constraint.
            The Solution - an overlooked track which recalls something like Tempus Fugit merged with Big Generator material. Not bad at all, one of the better songs.
            ambient play-out afterwards - well, it was the 90's, so back then there was a lot of 'secret' tracks, unlisted track increments, that sort of thing. Think of the long ambient bit at the end of Queen's Made In Heaven album.

            My favorite tracks are: Universal garden, the title track, Wonderlove, The Solution, New State Of Mind and maybe Fortune Seller sometimes. This plays in the car more than at home. Dig it out if you haven't heard it in a while.


              I love it and wish the current lineup would play a few songs live


                Hmm. I've warmed to the album a bit, but I really despise it when it came out.

                The first thing I'd noticed about it is that it seemed to be trying to recapture that YESWEST vibe, and not being able to do it right.

                Since then I've learned that Steve's input and Jon's input was minimal, so others' assessment that it was a pirated Chris Squire, Conspiracy, or other Sherwood/Squire project is pretty much spot on.

                Of course, I can't blame Wakeman for bailing prior to the project; the way that K2A and K2A2 were handled was questionable (at best).

                As Steve's involvement on the album was minimal, I can see why none of the songs are in their current setlist, BUT as it was a very SHERWOOD-dominated album, you'd think he'd be trying to promote a couple of songs from it at the very least.

                As much as I respect Sherwood for being the Keeper of the Flame, this is unlikely to ever be my favorite album. It's not really a great album-listen, but I generally put iTunes on random anyway, and I enjoy when songs from the album come up.


                  Nope, not underrated at all for me. Original tile was "wish I knew" when should have been titled "wish i knew what were doing"! All kidding aside there are some moments but feels like it was throne together. I will say that the tour for this album was just fantastic!!


                    I like bits of Universal Garden. So I may be in danger of overrating it.


                      UG is definitely one of my favourite songs by anyone. Cosmic without being doctrinal. Melodic. Soaring.

                      STARLIGHT FLOWERING


                        It might have been preferable, and perhaps more accurate, if it had been released as a Squire/Sherwood-attributed album, with additional 'guests' participating. The CD sits quietly on my shelf, largely undisturbed. It's presence there is.... inconsequential. Were it not an album attributed to Yes, it's probable I would not have bought it.
                        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.


                          Originally posted by Soundwaveseeker View Post
                          Open Your Eyes has some of the best production and glossiest sound quality of any Yes album before or since - crisp and clear sound, great vocal harmonies.
                          Wow... You lost me with your first sentence.
                          There are many good songs on this album -- but they are completely dragged down by the painfully shrill Sherwood mix and production.

                          You must have a magical stereo system... and, quite frankly, I am jealous.
                          I would love to hear this album with a completely different non-Sherwood-style mix.


                            Didn't they release OYE in a special surround sound mix version around that time as well, 1998? I'd like to hear that version to compare it to the original. I mostly listen to it in the car when I do listen to it, it's an ok sound system. Haven't heard it in a house in years, maybe it IS more shrill than I remember it. It's a good 'road' Yes album. Talk had some good production as well, but Keys sounded a step down to me in terms of production. Not bad production or sound, just not as 'glossy' - like they were going for a more retro sound. Yes sound was up and down throughout the 90's.


                              I think there's a good EP burried in this album. New State of Mind, Open Your Eyes, Universal Garden, Fortune Seller and Man on the Moon are good to great songs and deserve farbetter company than the rest of the rubbish the rest of this album is (No, From the Balcony isn\t a great Jon/Steve duet, it's a standard by the numbers acoustic thingy that hundreds of other artists could have made). So, all in all, I don't think the album as a whole is underrated. It really comes last in the Yes cannon as far as I'm concerned.


                                Originally posted by soundchaser09 View Post
                                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?
                                Billy has spoken out very much against this narrative:

                                According to Sherwood, the band was falling apart and he began the writing sessions in order to kickstart activity, before new management was involved. He, initially with Squire, and then with Squire, White and Anderson, wrote the core of the album. However, Howe was disinterested in the sessions and would not join them, so the band approached Trevor Rabin about re-joining. Rabin said no, but Howe belatedly agreed to take part. Sherwood said to in Jan 2009:

                                It was not pressure from anyone that made YES decide to make OYE... fact is it was made before there was management in play or a label for that matter. Yes had basicaly broken up and the reforming of a new YES came via OYE. [...]

                                Myself Chris, Alan and {at the time a very enthusiastic} Jon Anderson we're the creative "TEAM" behind it. True a few of the ideas came from some Squire/Sherwood material but the majority was freshly written and molded by the four of us . Fortune Seller, The Solution, Universal Garden, New State Of Mind for example we're never Conspiracy out takes, they we're concieved and produced so to speak by the four of us. Steve came at the end of the entire process of creation, not by our choice, but by his.

                                In fact only the title track and Man on the Moon were taken from what was planned as Chris Squire's second solo album under the name Chemistry, but which was eventually released as Conspiracy.
                                Last edited by Mr. Holland; 02-11-2022, 04:51 AM.