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Every Yessong Reviewed

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    Every Yessong Reviewed

    Hello, everyone. Inspired by Skankindead’s The Word Is Yes, ranking every Yes song (I got his permission to do this, don’t worry,) I have decided to start my own series, reviewing every Yes song and outtake I know exists, every Sunday. Hopefully I’ll actually stick to this, as I have a history of announcing projects like this, doing one or two things with them, and then forgetting about it. So if I go off schedule, please badger my inbox about it. I will be letter grading the songs (A+ is a masterpiece, F is horrible). I hope you all enjoy.
    Last edited by Esthe; 05-26-2022, 12:30 PM.

    #2


    Beyond And Before




    And here we are, the first Yessong review of what will hopefully be their entire discography. This might be the first song written by a band member that appeared on a Yes album, as it was written by Chris Squire and his bandmate Clive Bailey when he was still in Mabel Greer’s Toyshop. According to Wikipedia, MGT would start their live shows with this song, and then, according to Forgotten Yesterdays, it was dropped for a bit until Yes went into the studio to record their first album (this might not be true, though, as setlists are spotty for most of the older shows there). Anyway, let’s get to the song itself.

    The first thing you hear from Yes is Chris Squire’s bass. After vamping for a few seconds, the full band kicks in. The mix is quite muddy, causing the bass and drums to almost drown out Tony Kaye. About 15 seconds in, Jon, Chris, and Peter start wordlessly vocalizing, and the rest of the band gets quieter for a bit to put them in the spotlight. Jon (at least, I think it’s him, as their voices seem to mush together) seems to be the weakest link in the harmonies, often seemingly running out of breath and struggling to hit the high notes. Chris’s bass is also quite noticeable in this section, holding the fort along with the drums and organ. 20 seconds later, the guitar returns to provide a short interlude as a transition to the first verse.

    The first lines make it very clear that Squire and Bailey were trying to copy all the other psychedelic bands, as he and Jon sing of “sparkling trees of silver foam” and “masquerading leaves of blue.” As they reach out “beyond and before,” serving as a sort of chorus, Jon and Chris move to the second verse, where “time like golden springs mine down to levels hidden underground.” It’s kind of hard to piece together the plot of the lyrics, a sign of things to come. But unlike the utopian abstractness of later songs (And You And I), this seems mostly like a series of cobbled-together images that sound vaguely psychedelic. Evidently, the lyrics are the weakest part of the song. Some of them even contradict each other, though this was likely intentional. Take the bridge, first Jon and Chris are reaching snow “in the days of the cold,” establishing that it’s winter. Further corroborating this is that they’re “casting a spell out of ice.” Then, when we get to the second half of the bridge, suddenly “now that you’re gone, the summer’s too long.” Maybe when their crush isn’t around time skips to July. After the bridge, we get a repeat of the first verse, this time a capella, with the rest of the band cutting back in briefly before going out again. Peter solos on his guitar, Chris supporting him on bass, before we return to the time skip bridge again. The vocals seem to have some phaser on them or something, because it sounds more compressed than usual. For the final minute or so, it’s mostly quiet. Peter noodles on his guitar; Tony’s organ finally gets louder, and Jon and Chris repeat “time like golden springs mine down,” two times. Just when it seems like it’s going to fade, we have a last burst of noise… and then it fades. I get that Yes want to go out with style, but why jumpscare everyone with that? I’m joking of course.

    Anyway, how was the song as a whole? It’s a decent first effort from the band, showing you what to expect from the Peter Banks era. There’s no flashy displays of musicianship like there will be later on, even Bill mostly just provides a plodding backbeat to the rest of the band. Jon, Chris, and Peter provide acceptable vocals to the song, neither of them particularly standing out. Tony’s organ playing seems quite restrained, although it doesn’t help that he’s practically inaudible until the end. Peter serves his purpose, occasionally going off track and noodling for a bit. Overall, I’m giving this a B.
    Last edited by Esthe; 03-21-2022, 03:16 AM.

    Comment


      #3
      I'd guess I See You and Every Little Thing were both written before this track. Unless you meant written by someone in the band, which half of the songwriters were...

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Yorkshire Square View Post
        I'd guess I See You and Every Little Thing were both written before this track. Unless you meant written by someone in the band, which half of the songwriters were...
        I meant written by someone else in the band.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Esthe View Post
          Some of them even contradict each other, though this was likely intentional. Take the bridge, first Jon and Chris are reaching snow “in the days of the cold,” establishing that it’s winter. Further corroborating this is that they’re “casting a spell out of ice.” Then, when we get to the second half of the bridge, suddenly “now that you’re gone, the summer’s too long.” Maybe when their crush isn’t around time skips to July.
          Yeah that's pretty clearly a metaphor, IMO. Using such a device for romantic longing reminds me of The Magic Garden, an album with Jon and Chris were fans of; one of the songs was "Orange Air" which makes a similar reference ("a long silent summer") when referring to the pain of a past romance.
          Rabin-esque
          my labor of love (and obsessive research)
          rabinesque.blogspot.com

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by luna65 View Post

            Yeah that's pretty clearly a metaphor, IMO. Using such a device for romantic longing reminds me of The Magic Garden, an album with Jon and Chris were fans of; one of the songs was "Orange Air" which makes a similar reference ("a long silent summer") when referring to the pain of a past romance.
            I know it’s a metaphor.

            Comment


              #7
              Okay; so then it's not necessarily contradictory.
              Rabin-esque
              my labor of love (and obsessive research)
              rabinesque.blogspot.com

              Comment


                #8
                I always thought that it was Chris at the start, playing a high note.

                Otherwise, good analysis, it’s a good but not great song.

                Comment


                  #9
                  #1 reaction to #1 Esthe opinion:

                  Yeah, it's got some strong hardmonies. Very juddery at times. Harsh guitar. Not my fave earlier song. Lyrics are ok in a poetic, gibbery kinda way.

                  ☆☆

                  Comment


                    #10
                    This is a great track. It opens the album with power and a freshness. The debut album is highly underrated in my opinion. Even the covers have a verve that pushes them past the originals. Beyond and Before is a grand opening statement. Look where it leads.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Ceasar’s Palace View Post
                      I always thought that it was Chris at the start, playing a high note.
                      It is. It's clearly bass guitar.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Esthe View Post
                        Hopefully I’ll actually stick to this, as I have a history of announcing projects like this, doing one or two things with them, and then forget about it.
                        Are you Jon Anderson is disguise?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          It is only fitting that the first thing you hear from Yes on their first album, the first note you hear, is that bass. Chris is the first thing you ever hear. Extraordinary bass.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Mr. Holland View Post

                            Are you Jon Anderson is disguise?
                            🤷

                            Originally posted by Ceasar’s Palace View Post
                            I always thought that it was Chris at the start, playing a high note.

                            Otherwise, good analysis, it’s a good but not great song.
                            It’s a bit too high for it, though.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Esthe View Post

                              🤷



                              It’s a bit too high for it, though.
                              It isn't. It's Chris, that note, not Peter.

                              Comment

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