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Tales From Topographic Oceans- Rating out of 5?

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    Tales From Topographic Oceans- Rating out of 5?

    Now into the deep waters of 1973, to the double concept album.....
    24
    5
    41.67%
    10
    4
    37.50%
    9
    3
    16.67%
    4
    2
    4.17%
    1
    1
    0%
    0
    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
    Absolute masterpiece. I'm still finding new things in the album after 45+ years.

    Comment


      #3
      4. Flawed masterpiece. There’s about 70 minutes worth of great music on it, exactly compact disk length.
      And then the production. It’s not bad at all, but it lacks the bite that both CTTE and Relayer have.
      Maybe I should give the Wilson remixes another chance...

      Comment


        #4
        3. A well flawed album. Disc two I like just fine. The first disc needs some serious attention as it's like two twee songs stretched out interminably. Would have made a good single disc.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Yorkshire Square View Post
          3. A well flawed album. Disc two I like just fine. The first disc needs some serious attention as it's like two twee songs stretched out interminably. Would have made a good single disc.
          Yep

          Comment


            #6
            A masterpiece. Nothing I would change, even were that an option. Were they over-reaching? If so, good! That's how you progress.
            My first hearing of Tales in its entirety was live in November 1973, and although my memory of that is blurred by the passage of time and dozens of other shows, I know it was immersive, powerful, questioning, baffling, beautiful, scary, exhausting, brilliant. I listened to the first two parts, or movements, yesterday while out walking, and nearly 50 years on its power to move is as great as ever. It has no padding, but is blessed by passages of repose, of ebb and flow, of energy and calmness.
            As far as the encompassing concept goes, the keyword from that book with the footnote isn't 'Yogi', it's 'autobiography': it's the recounting of a personal search for meanings of various kinds. Just as one doesn't need to subscribe to Judeo-Christian mythology to be moved by Bach's Mass in B minor (which I listened to a few days ago) or, a personal favourite, Durufle's Requiem, so too one doesn't need to take seriously Anderson's take on other mythologies.
            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.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by madbear View Post
              Absolute masterpiece. I'm still finding new things in the album after 45+ years.
              Same here.
              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.

              Comment


                #8
                A 5 from me. A masterpiece that lasts the test of time

                Comment


                  #9
                  Flawed masterpiece camp here. Even the two stronger, most formed songs (sides 1 and 4) don't resonate quite as well for me as "Close to the Edge". "CTTE" feels cinematic, like a journey or narrative that takes you somewhere and leaves you changed; TFTO on the other hand feels like four distinct and unrelated pieces, and the album as a whole isn't greater than the sum of its parts. Yeah, maybe they were too constrained by the album format: I look at some more recent Marillion albums, say, where the freedom to follow an 18 minute song by a five minute song and then a 16 minute one and then a ten minute one allows them a full album flow not possible in vinyl. Maybe it's that it's so clearly the Jon and Steve show, with the off the cuff "Chris, Alan, and Rick were also involved" almost a back-hand compliment suggesting just how much they *weren't* involved…

                  Anyways. This is definitely one of those Rorschach test albums, where what you bring to it can be as important as what's there, or what you want from it.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Tales, is it a flawed masterpiece? Over the top? Their finest achievement? Was it padded? Let's see...

                    The GOOD:

                    I love Tales From Topographic Oceans. I purposely waited to get and hear Tales till after I had most of the other 70's Yes albums, almost saved the best for last, because I knew it would be special. Is it padded, unnecessary doodling? Not that I hear, I don't know. I like it all, the length doesn't scare me. If it has padding, I can't detect it. It sounds good all the way through or as individual sidelongs. I also hear new things sometimes whenever listening to Tales, which isn't as often as I used to I admit, but it still has a place in my heart. Is it over the top? Well, if you are aiming to do an 80 minute song broken into 4 movements, it had better be. Yet the themes and melodies and musical bits are very accessible and easy to enjoy, there really isn't anything too ridiculous about the Tales album. The Revealing Science Of God is actually like an overlong pop song, heaviest of the 4 tracks on vocals and vocal harmonies, yet isn't boring. Ritual pointed the way to Gates Of Delirium with its intensity, plus who don't like that Squire bass towards the second half? The Ancient is a movement in two movements within the movement - the wild and tribal first half and a second half focusing on Howe's beautiful acoustic guitar. Then there is The Remembering, which indeed conjures images of the sea. Wonderful synth and mellotron washes. This track is dreamy, romantic even.

                    This is Alan White's first Yes studio album, what better way than to start off bold. Everyone here sounds engaged and committed, regardless of any misgivings in the studio. Even Rick sounds on board, so it puzzled me when I read about the making of the album as to why he slighted Tales when his contribution was pretty solid enough. I'm not sure if Yes were even trying to create their symphonic magnum opus meisterwork, just being creative and trying for a larger scale thing. Once they had a format, then they may have thought of it as developing into a rock version of a long Mahler symphony. It sounds fine to me. Whatever flaw it has, it's ok by me. Enjoyable work, all the way through. Probably a solid 4, but I personally give it a 5.

                    The BAD:

                    I suppose it may be too much to digest for those more accustomed to shorter songs, but this is Yes. They're bound to put the kitchen sink in, but it may be too much for some at first. Not the first one to grab if your fan level is at 'Hmmm, that prog band Yes. I might want to check them out'. Any one of these 20 minute tracks could have worked as the centerpiece of a Yes album with shorter tracks mixed in. There possibly wouldn't have been a problem of 'too much' for some fans who possibly would prefer no more than 1 'epic' per album. But giving it a chance may reward with some strong themes and great musicianship.

                    The UGLY:

                    Well, the title, not really a series of 'Tales', stories with characters and all, is it? Not actually tales of anything. Lyrically I'm not totally understanding of Shastric scriptures or Tantras or know too much about things like that so I don't get too much into that element of the album. So the lyrics work for me as a more 'universal' theme, which was probably Jon Anderson's aim anyway. Or you could look at the lyrics as words that just sound good sung, something Anderson was good at during that era. Nothing really "ugly' about Tales, it's a beautiful album.

                    I listened to Topographic Oceans in reverse the day I bought it, starting with Ritual because I knew the Yesshows version and I wanted to start with something I knew. Then I flipped the record over. And did the same for disc two, ending with Revealing Science. I only ever listened to it that way that one time. It was May and it was humid as frick, a muggy heat barrier between the upstairs and downstairs. I thought I was in a jungle during The Ancient. Viva Tales!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Soundwaveseeker View Post
                      Tales, is it a flawed masterpiece? Over the top? Their finest achievement? Was it padded? Let's see...

                      The GOOD:

                      I love Tales From Topographic Oceans. I purposely waited to get and hear Tales till after I had most of the other 70's Yes albums, almost saved the best for last, because I knew it would be special. Is it padded, unnecessary doodling? Not that I hear, I don't know. I like it all, the length doesn't scare me. If it has padding, I can't detect it. It sounds good all the way through or as individual sidelongs. I also hear new things sometimes whenever listening to Tales, which isn't as often as I used to I admit, but it still has a place in my heart. Is it over the top? Well, if you are aiming to do an 80 minute song broken into 4 movements, it had better be. Yet the themes and melodies and musical bits are very accessible and easy to enjoy, there really isn't anything too ridiculous about the Tales album. The Revealing Science Of God is actually like an overlong pop song, heaviest of the 4 tracks on vocals and vocal harmonies, yet isn't boring. Ritual pointed the way to Gates Of Delirium with its intensity, plus who don't like that Squire bass towards the second half? The Ancient is a movement in two movements within the movement - the wild and tribal first half and a second half focusing on Howe's beautiful acoustic guitar. Then there is The Remembering, which indeed conjures images of the sea. Wonderful synth and mellotron washes. This track is dreamy, romantic even.

                      This is Alan White's first Yes studio album, what better way than to start off bold. Everyone here sounds engaged and committed, regardless of any misgivings in the studio. Even Rick sounds on board, so it puzzled me when I read about the making of the album as to why he slighted Tales when his contribution was pretty solid enough. I'm not sure if Yes were even trying to create their symphonic magnum opus meisterwork, just being creative and trying for a larger scale thing. Once they had a format, then they may have thought of it as developing into a rock version of a long Mahler symphony. It sounds fine to me. Whatever flaw it has, it's ok by me. Enjoyable work, all the way through. Probably a solid 4, but I personally give it a 5.

                      The BAD:

                      I suppose it may be too much to digest for those more accustomed to shorter songs, but this is Yes. They're bound to put the kitchen sink in, but it may be too much for some at first. Not the first one to grab if your fan level is at 'Hmmm, that prog band Yes. I might want to check them out'. Any one of these 20 minute tracks could have worked as the centerpiece of a Yes album with shorter tracks mixed in. There possibly wouldn't have been a problem of 'too much' for some fans who possibly would prefer no more than 1 'epic' per album. But giving it a chance may reward with some strong themes and great musicianship.

                      The UGLY:

                      Well, the title, not really a series of 'Tales', stories with characters and all, is it? Not actually tales of anything. Lyrically I'm not totally understanding of Shastric scriptures or Tantras or know too much about things like that so I don't get too much into that element of the album. So the lyrics work for me as a more 'universal' theme, which was probably Jon Anderson's aim anyway. Or you could look at the lyrics as words that just sound good sung, something Anderson was good at during that era. Nothing really "ugly' about Tales, it's a beautiful album.

                      I listened to Topographic Oceans in reverse the day I bought it, starting with Ritual because I knew the Yesshows version and I wanted to start with something I knew. Then I flipped the record over. And did the same for disc two, ending with Revealing Science. I only ever listened to it that way that one time. It was May and it was humid as frick, a muggy heat barrier between the upstairs and downstairs. I thought I was in a jungle during The Ancient. Viva Tales!
                      I enjoyed reading that enormously!
                      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.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        5.


                        Takes you on a journey and takes you all the way.
                        Climbin' pathways higher than the void.
                        Across Oceans.
                        In to thin air, onto thin ice

                        What a package. Dean's most iconic cover. Jon's cosmic poetry. Never forget as it was this time. FA Cup time. My sister's birthday. I received my import copy via mail on FA cup night and JuJu's 21st.

                        Talk about the planet's alighnin'.

                        My old mate, who ended up chief writer of Aust Rollin' Stone once lay on his bed listenin'to all 4 sides with his fiance in a share house in Redfern. Both were blissed out. And he wasn't a huge YES fan like me.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          5 for me as well. I always loved the pictures on the inside with the lyrics and other fun bits. Too bad Rick gave up on it so soon....

                          Comment


                            #14
                            A 5+.

                            My opinion of TfTO has only gotten BETTER since it was released.

                            Used to be I thought that on The Ancient that Howe had somehow stumbled across the world's most annoying guitar sound. It's still a rather unique sound he used, but what sounded harsh back then doesn't really phase me much now.

                            The other three sides are splendiferous, and The Ancient is rather an adventurous piece of work.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              4 stars. I love side 1 and side 4, with side 4 being my favourite. I like various bits of side 2, but do find it too repititive. Side 3 is a hard one, apart from the Leaves of Green part, still can't get into it.

                              Comment

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