Saturday, April 09, 2005

Guilty Pleasure Revisited: Yes

Like many adolescents in the 70s, I went through your standard prog-rock phase. I was a junkie for Gabriel-era Genesis and pre-Belew King Crimson. I waded into the murk of ELP and Tull and the pre-pop Moody Blues. But the convergence of my discovery of punk, and hitting the bottom of the prog barrel (ELP's Tarkus, anyone? Tull's Passion Play?), pretty much led to my setting these bands aside for a decade or two. These days I'm much more comfortable taking my old faves out for the occasional spin (though I'd have to say that Tull and ELP are pretty much permanently exiled). Oddly, and perhaps embarassingly, I've been spending a lot of time listening to Yes -- perhaps the one mainstream prog band I truly hated back in the day. Whether it was Anderson's paint-peeling vocals or the epic, horrifyingly self-indulgent suites, I just never liked this band. Yet for some reason I'm spending a lot of time with them these days. The recent series of remasters sounds fantastic, and my appreciation of their instrumental prowess, however over-the-top, allows me to frequently get past my continuing annoyance with Anderson's voice. Is it reasonable to mock the band's indulgences (i.e. the 4-track, 4-lp-side behemoth Tales From Topographic Oceans, anyone?)? You betcha. Do the goofy druggy sci-fi lyrics continue to cause minor reflexive retching? Of course. But I can somehow get lost in the beauty of Relayer's finer passages, no questions asked.

Please don't tell anyone, though. Thanks.


At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you have inspired me to take out my cassette of "Fragile"


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