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Union- Rating out of 5

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    Union- Rating out of 5

    Was this a Shock to your System, or a Miracle in your life?
    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 stars. Lift Me Up, Miracle of Life, The More We Live - Let Go and Shock to the System I think are great, but those are the only songs I ever play from the album. The rest is mediocre at best.


      I only listen to Miracle of Life, Lift me Up, and Silent Talking (which sounds like a demo that could've been developed a lot more). Saving my Heart is a nice pop song, but it isn't Yes. Not interested in most of the music on this one.



        Pop goes Corporate. Corporation goes pop.

        The More We Love is just an outstandin' tune. Billy. Get it back in the setlist. The rest. Cold. Harsh riffs. No charm. No magic dust. Great Dean cover.
        Last edited by Gilly Goodness; 05-06-2022, 06:01 PM.


          Holding On thru the end is awesome. My favorite part of this album.

          For me the weak moment is Dangerous, just sounds out of touch, if I can use that expression. That and I always felt Miracle of Life was a bit too plodding once we're past the dazzling intro.

          I like all the rest quite a bit.
          3 stars ⭐⭐⭐


            4 stars. Maybe that’s too much, but 3 is not enough. I prefer the ABWH parts. Silent Talking is the highlight for me.
            Saving My Heart is the low point, even if the vocal harmonies are nice.
            The More You Live is like Shoot High Aim Low with the air gone out of it.


              happy and surprised Union is doing so well
              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-


                Originally posted by Dantalion Rides Again View Post
                Holding On... is awesome... That and I always felt Miracle of Life was a bit too plodding once we're past the dazzling intro.
                Yes/Trevor adopted a sound or style on Final Eyes they would use repeatedly up through Talk. Final Eyes, Lift Me Up, Miracle of Life,The Calling, State of Play, Walls, Endless Dream... All those songs have a section or two that sound like that verse structure of Miracle of Life. I like all those songs, especially Lift Me Up, but they did become a bit formulaic. Beautiful but cold, kind of like those photos taken from planes above the clouds.

                In other news, Holding On is my favorite ABWH song on the album.


                  Originally posted by Gilly Goodness View Post

                  Great Dean cover.
                  Which was completely ripped off, along with other Dean concepts, by James Cameron for Avatar. And Cameron, when sued by Dean over this, had the great good fortune for the case to be assigned to a judge who was blind.


                    Maybe 2 good songs on it for me. I would love to have heard what that second ABWH would have been like without the West influence. I voted a 2


                      It's very hard to rate Union, perhaps harder than any other Yes album, because of its origins. For me, I guess it comes down to how I approach it.

                      If I think about the expectations that I had for an album from a super-Yes, it fell woefully short of meeting those expectations, as it was songs from two different bands thrown together onto an album and connected only by vocals. I'd give it a 1 based on those expectations.

                      If I judge it based on the strength of the YesWest tunes, it ranks a lot higher. Lift Me Up, The More We Live-Let Go, and Miracle of Life are some of my favorite YesWest songs. The album would rank higher still from YesWest contributions if Saving My Heart were not a very strong contender for my most loathed YesWest song. I've loathed it for decades. Only in hearing the live versions of it on the Union 30 Live box did I first encounter feelings for it that were gentler than loathing, perhaps even approaching tolerance. So anyway, based on YesWest songs, I'd give it a 4 out of 5.

                      The ABWH songs are much more of a mixed bag, as those were the ones that Elias tampered with so heavily. I have to say, though, that I really liked most of the keyboard sounds he swapped in in place of whatever sounds Wakeman had intended to use. It made the keys sound fresh and new and not like standard Wakeman fare. Unfortunately, the ABWH songs felt less cohesive and more directionless than those on their "debut" album, which I thought was a promising start for a reborn Yes in a new decade. I suppose if I were ranking it on the basis of the ABWH songs, I'd give it a 2.5 or a 3 out of 5.

                      Now then, if I were to rank it on nostalgia, for the excitement it generated leading up to its release (no matter that the air seeped out over time) and above all, for the splendid tour that it launched, of which I saw 3 shows, I'd give it a 5 out of 5. Back in those heady, exciting early days of 1991, when there was a new Yes album coming and I was going to be starting a new job more in line with my background and aspirations, I was really looking forward to this album. This was amplified by the fact that in those days, we had actual music stores we went to in person, that were owned by real people who lived in the community and did things like put on midnight album release parties. We had a music store owned by a cool guy named Cody who was an old rocker and he put on a release party for the new Yes album (could you imagine any of that today?). So, there were snacks, he spun the disc, we were all enjoying the tunes, and finally midnight rolled around and I bought the CD. I then hoofed it on home (didn't have a car yet and fortunately the store was only a mile from my apartment). That seemed like quite an event for my naïve, not-yet-so-jaded 30-year-old self, and I feel a certain glow of nostalgia, tinged with the inevitable shading of loss for such days, as I think back on it now. And then there were the concerts! I live in a major college town and when it was announced that Yes was coming here, I was thrilled. I have to say, the show was not hugely attended. In 1991, Yes was already passé among the college set, and having a concert during final exams further limited the attendance. But the bright side was that I got a seat in the second row from the stage...definitely close enough to see their wrinkles, I thought, like they were so old then! It was a thrill to see the classic lineup back in action; previously I had seen only the 90125 and ABWH tours. And it was a super-thrill to see them perform Awaken. A few days later, I saw them again in Chicago, and later in the summer in St. Louis. That was the beginning of my Yes groupie-ism, such as I experienced it, as it was the first time it dawned on me that I could go see them more than once on the same tour. I later saw them multiple times on the OYE tour and the Masterworks tour.

                      If I were to average the ratings I assigned above, would that give my ideal rating for this album? I don't think so. A straight average would not be accurate, and to devise a weighted average would be pointless, because my feelings about which factors should rate higher would change too frequently. At the end of the day, I will just say that Union occupies a very special place in my personal pantheon of Yes, a place perhaps loftier than the objective merits of the album might suggest.
                      Last edited by Olorin; 05-07-2022, 12:14 PM.


                        One of the few albums on which I skip tracks when I'm listening (Magnification is the other: I skip Don't Go, Daft as a Brush, and Time is Time). I dislike the Rabin tracks, Lift Me Up, Saving My Heart, and Miracle of Life, so I usually programme around them. The Howe solo track is fairly forgettable: having Mood For a Day and Clap on those early albums is fine, but one does get the sense sometimes that Steve feels he should have a solo acoustic track on every other studio Yes album: he releases his own albums frequently, so they can stay on those. Evensong is an irrelevance as well.
                        So, I really listen to it as an ABWH album, plus The More We Live, and that works fine for me.
                        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.


                          Union is an album I really like, despite the circumstances around its recording. I didn't know it wasn't really a union when I first heard Lift Me Up - I thought I heard what sounded like Wakeman on that Rabin-style song when I first heard it on the radio. And when I saw the Union show a week or so prior to the album's release and they played Shock To The System, I thought it was a 90125 team-led track. But when I played the album for the first time - it was sealed. I declared that I liked it. It was too late to form judgement over its flaws, it was sealed. Here's the Good the Bad & The Ugly:


                          A fun and vibrant album with catchy tunes. No, it's not a Union, but was fine as a last corporate go-round in the majors before being benched by grunge, rap, dance-pop and nu-metal. I seriously do not get any bad vibes from this album. No it ain't Close To The Edge or The Yes Album, but it still sounds good to me all these years later. Miracle Of Life thrills me still. And some of the less thought about tracks from the ABWH side like Holding On, Without Hope... and Dangerous are very intriguing. The way Ankor Way moves into Dangerous sounds as conceptual and deliberate as anything Yes has done. But the gem here is The More We Live, Billy Sherwood's defining track. It gets a lot of love, and it's about time it enters the live setlist. More than enough Yes fans want it. It's his theme song.


                          Well, some material is obviously edited, chopped up, rushed and compromised. Take The Water To The Mountain initially was longer, but it appears here as a fizzled-out half hearted ending to an album - like the overall thought process was "ok, albums long enough, let's just cut it here and go for a beer". Silent Talking is a strangely constructed track. Ingenious if it was constructed like that on purpose, but was probably "ok, song's good enough like that, let's go get a beer".
                          'I Would Have Waited Forever' just explodes out of your speakers to make you spill your Pepsi. No soft synth pad intro, just "I would have waited for-ev-errrrrr", a little warning would have been nice. Make sure your volume isn't too loud before popping this puppy in your cd player.
                          Also the sound quality on bonus track Give & Take sounds muddy and very demo quality.
                          Any other 'bad' here is pretty much what the general consensus is and doesn't need me going on and on about.

                          The UGLY:

                          Union killed ABWH, and didn't continue past the tour. I don't envision Bruford having ever wanted to stay in a 90's Yes, but everyone else could have merged together ok (except maybe Howe & Rabin) and done something like the Thrak era or current King Crimson with expanded lineups.

                          I generally liked the songs, the written material. Never had a problem with the songs. Jimmy Haun sure fooled me, and I half don't care. It's a fun album for what it is, just a collection of cool Yes songs where you don't have to think too hard about to enjoy. It fit the times - other albums from the same time period included Queen Innuendo and Van Halen's F.U.C.K. album, what would be known as classic rock would take their last stand in 1991.


                            Barely a 5, but a 5 nonetheless for me.

                            1. So much music. Of course, in some ways it's a bad thing, but it's also a good thing.
                            2. The YesWest tracks. Two superb YW tracks, one almost "duff" YW track.
                            3. A Conspiracy track. It's very different from the rest of the album. And that's fine.
                            4. Did Union recycle a lot of Howe material, or did Howe recycle a lot of Union material?
                            5. JAs vocals were VERY different on the ABWH tracks than they are on the YW tracks. That's weird.
                            6. Keys and guitars had to be redone by session musicians and Jimmy Haun. Don't hit me, but the guitars and keys sound great.

                            Still, I still remember how this album made me feel when it first came out. It gave me great joy.


                              Before hearing about howe the sausage was made (Steve & Rick being mixed out, Trevor’s demos used as if finished probably without his consent, etc.) my first clue to the corporate soullessness of “Union” was the booklet with no lyrics, no timings, but 3 pages of production & publishing credits.