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Union

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Album Review

With the exception of Peter Banks and Trevor Horn, virtually all the major contributors to Yes in its various incarnations over the previous 23 years, including both of its drummers, threw their hands into the making of Union, which was supported by a massive tour that filled arenas with at least two generations of fans. So even if Union had been as good as one hoped, this was an album that couldn't possibly have met the expectations inherent in the array of talent involved. The material is reasonably solid, and under ordinary circumstances this album would have been considered just fine, if not exceptional. "I Would Have Waited Forever" shows off the group's vocalizing (by Chris Squire and Jon Anderson) at its most melodic and Steve Howe has one of the most beautiful classical guitar showcases of his Yes career on "Masquerade." But the Trevor Rabin/Chris Squire-composed "Lift Me Up" seems a forced exercise in heaviness, and "Without Hope You Cannot Start" seems more like a composed-by-numbers piece than a truly inspired song. None of the material here would rate alongside the better (forget the best) tracks from any of the group's 1971-1974 albums. Perhaps the defects revealed the real purpose of this album, which wasn't so much to make a definitive statement by any of the participants, but rather to show the flag of the reunited band, which it did. The single "Lift Me Up" topped Billboard's Album Rock Tracks chart for six weeks, with two other cuts also making the list. But the single also only limped to number 86 on the Hot 100, and although the album shot to number 15 and went gold, this was a serious falloff from previous sales. ~ Bruce Eder & William Ruhlmann, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Finaly!

Finaly! iTunes has put up another 90's yes album!!!!!
Next, they shoud put magnification back up, and then talk and open your eyes...

No matter what anyone says ...great album!

This album gets a lot of bad press...even from many of the band members of Yes themselves. But, mostly this is due to legal and logistical issues that really had little to do with the actual music. Some people (again, including the member of Yes) complain that there are too many session players on this album. But, don't let any of this sway you. First of all, the 8 members of Yes listed on the credits ARE indeed all on the album, some more than others, but they are there. Second, the vast majority of the writing was done by Yes themselves and they turned in some really great stuff on this album. I have been a Yes fan for decades, ever since I was 11 years old. I have seen them live many times and I have worked with a couple of their former members. Out of all of their albums (I have them all) this one is in my top 5. There are some truly great Yes songs on here and some amazing talent. There really is not a bad song on this album. If you like Yes at all, you really should have this album. It is truly great! The main thing I take exception to is the main pinned review of this…saying that Banks and Horn are missing. Ummmm….yeah….and so are Downes and Moraz. Why didn’t they just say that?? Oh well.

A better album than you've heard it is

Union is perhaps the most hated Yes album of all time (well, that and 90125). However, the album has to be one of my favorites by Yes, because no matter what you think of the musicians, it's still great music. You won't find any monster epics here (as has generally been the case with Rabin-era Yes), but with the return of the members from Fragile-era Yes, the songs begin to take on an ambient, powerful tone as they did before. Top 5 songs:

1. Masquerade: Steve Howe at his finest as a composer; this has to be among my favorite guitar pieces. It's easy to play, but very melodic as always.

2. Lift Me Up: This was their big hit off the album, and while it does have pop overtones, it also develops the influence of older Yes members, particularly with Bill Bruford and his electronic drum set at the beginning. Rabin also really shines as a guitarist. This is a much deeper experience than their other pop ventures. *coughOwnerofacoughLonelyHeartcough*

3. Miracle of Life: It starts off with an intro much like Close to the Edge, complete with vocal punctuations. It develops into a very strong Yes composition.

4. Holding On: A really mystical tune, opening similarly to We Have Heaven and just getting better from there.

5. Angkor Wat: This one also has mystical qualities to it, and the lyrics are really powerful and insightful. Would you expect anything less from Anderson?

The only reason I gave this less than 5 stars is that if you look at your local secondhand music shop, you can probably net a copy of it for $5 or thereabouts, as opposed to $10. But I'd strongly recommend getting it.

Biography

Formed: 1968 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Far and away the longest lasting and the most successful of the '70s progressive rock groups, Yes proved to be one of the lingering success stories from that musical genre. The band, founded in 1968, overcame a generational shift in its audience and the departure of its most visible members at key points in its history to reach the end of the century as the definitive progressive rock band. Their audience remained huge because they had always attracted younger...
Full Bio