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Tales from Topographic Oceans

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Customer Reviews

The peak of progressive Yes

WARNING: this album is not for the average listener, considering that it is a double album with only 4 songs, one song on each side. This is the height of progressive Yes, with each member really displaying their chemistry and conceptual abilities. This is really the only concept album by Yes, each song telling a story from different parts of the world. A great album, but it is honestly not one that is not easy to listen to.

Either the peak of Yes' powers, or the point they lost it

This is either the album that Yes reasched the peak of their powers or where they completely lost it, depending on your point of view. Personally, I see both points of the story. Forget for a moment the ridiculous concept behind this album. You can read about that elsewhere. Let's focus on the actual music.

Side 1, The Revealing Science of God, is probably the best of the four. It's closest in feel to the Close to the Edge album and actually has enough hooks to keep you interested through all 20 minutes.

Sides 2 and 3, The Remembering and The Ancient, respectively, just aren't of the same quality. No matter how many times I listen to it I find my mind wandering for spells during these songs, occasionally drawn back in by an interesting section before it wanders off again.

Fortunately for Yes, they pulled it back together on Ritual (Side 4 on the original vinyl), assuming the listener has made it that far, though even that has some parts that tend to meander.

The worst thing I can ever say about an album is that it seems to have no direction, and for large chunks of this album unfortunately that appears to be the case. Even worse is that one of the most memorable moment from the album is a horrific drum solo from the otherwise rock-solid Alan White.

Not for the faint of heart, and if you find 90125 to be your favorite Yes album then avoid this at all costs!


Yes were an exceptional, dynamic band with so much musical chemistry. So many people call this album the peak of their progressive powers. I can't say I hate it because I do quite like "The Revealing Science of God", but saying I like it would be lying because this album is utterly boring. Most of the time it sounds like they're just making it up as they go along and they're desperate to meet the 20-minute mark and fill up space on one side. The album lacks the wonder and charisma found on Fragile and Close to the Edge that gave Yes a name for theirselves. So if you're new and just starting to listen to Yes, I recommend you check out Fragile and CTTE because in my opinion, they're much better albums that display their musical powers, and then come back here and listen and judge for yourself.


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 listeners drawn to their mix of daunting...
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Tales from Topographic Oceans, Yes
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