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The Ladder

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Album Review

You'd probably need a mainframe computer to keep track of all the personnel changes in Yes over the years, and the quality of the prog rock giant's music has fluctuated nearly as much as the lineups. The Ladder is a synthesis of the best traits of the experimental Fragile era and the pop-oriented 90125 era. Producer Bruce Fairbairn completed The Ladder shortly before his death in 1999, and unlike some of his work with Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Kiss, and others, he didn't overproduce it. Vocalist Jon Anderson, lead guitarist Steve Howe, and bass guitarist Chris Squire all have fine moments, and drummer Alan White is consistent. The roles of keyboardist Igor Khoroshev and, in particular, guitarist Billy Sherwood are less clear. It occasionally seems the purpose of Khoroshev's keyboards is providing a variety of sonic textures instead of functioning as a lead instrument. Sherwood's second guitar tends to flesh out the sound. "Homeworld (The Ladder)" is a tight band performance, but the supple vocals/acoustic guitar/piano coda is the best part. Howe's bouncy acoustic guitar drives "Lightning Strikes," yet the biggest surprise is the addition of a horn section. The energetic "Face to Face" is the strongest track, and Squire lets loose with a sputtering bassline. "If Only You Knew" is a sweet, straightforward love song Anderson wrote for his wife. "The Messenger" has a smooth, funky feel — a remarkable feat considering prog rock is usually considered the "whitest" rock genre. "New Language" is the best long song on The Ladder, thanks to a clever arrangement giving all six members an opportunity to demonstrate their talents.

Customer Reviews


The Ladder is amazing! I'm so glad that it's FINALLY up on the iTunes Store. It's a terrific album from start to finish, definitely a must have for any Yes fan!

iTunes, WE WANT MORE YES! We want "Talk", "Union", "Open Your Eyes", and "Magnification"! Come on guys, what ever happened to Magnification?!! It was up a few months ago, where did it go???


Great album. Homeworld is an awesome song. Interseting fact... Homeworld was used as the credits song on a PC game called Homeworld

I also would like to see Magnification back up along with talk which was a great forgotten album. Union and Open Your Eyes are pretty bad though.


Great album, if you like this, and '70s yes, then try the album "House of Yes, Life from House of Blues" it features about 5 songs from thus album, owner of a lonely heart, and early-to-mid 70's yes, and awaken.


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...
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