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Articles Home » 1997 Articles » Yes - 1997 Open Your Eyes
Yes - 1997 Open Your Eyes

ALBUM: Open Your Eyes
LABEL: Beyond Music
YEAR: 1997


LINEUP: Jon Anderson - vocals * Steve Howe - guitars * Billy Sherwood - keyboards * Chris Squire - bass * Alan White - drums

Additional Musicians: Igor Khoroshev, Steve Porcaro - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 New State Of Mind * 02 Open Your Eyes * 03 Universal Garden * 04 No Way We Can Lose * 05 Fortune Seller * 06 Man In The Moon * 07 Wonderlove * 08 From The Balcony * 09 Love Shine * 10 Somehow, Someday * 11 The Solution

WEBLINKS: www.yesworld.com

The late 90's became a mindfield for many artists operating in the melodic rock field. Some would say graveyard, as most melodic genres of rock music were taking a pounding after the grunge fiasco. Many of the top drawer bands were still in operation, fighting the tide of apathy and audience preference. Some were struggling to find relevance, case in point - British prog legends Yes. Their 1997 album 'Open Your Eyes' was perceived by many fans as their worst album, and I'm sure if you were to ask them why, they probably couldn't give you a decent answer other than 'it just is..'. Gone from the lineup was Trevor Rabin who had moved to the lucrative business of scoring soundtrack music for movies. Also departing the scene was keyboardist Tony Kaye. However, returning to the band was Steve Howe while former World Trade instrumentalist Billy Sherwood took on the keyboarders role, having worked with the band during their 'Keys To Ascension' period from the past two years, but mostly working alongside Chris Squire in many guises from the late 80's onward (Chris Squire Experiment, plus a late 80's rehearsal lineup of Yes including Squire, Kaye, White, Sherwood and Bruce Gowdy). So, the integration of a modern sounding Yes along with some of Sherwood's influences makes for a sound that is predictable on 'Open Your Eyes', while the delivery of the songs is a bit different without the guiding hand of Rabin. I wouldn't go as far as calling it their worst effort, I think one or two of their earlier prog bore fests might lay claim to that title.

The Songs
I liked many of the songs here, but I feel it is weighed down by a sound that Sherwood seems to have made his own. You've heard it on Lodgic and World Trade, so many of you will know what I mean by that. The title track 'Open Your Eyes' is tight and melodic, the multi-vocal spread gives it width, and you can't help feel it's like Jon Anderson is singing for World Trade! lol! Howe's flamenco guitar leads the way into 'Universal Garden', a mystical sounding piece which weaves throughout. 'Fortune Seller' is a punchy affair, the closest to material from the Rabin era, 'Man In The Moon' meanders around a central theme (and by that I don't mean planet Earth), 'Wonderlove' too is good stuff, big sounding, great production. In fact, the whole album sounds superb. Forget the ballad 'From The Balcony', an uninteresting ballad, let's move on to 'Love Shine', which is bright, uplifting and full, while 'Somehow Someday' stutters along in a similar vein to 'Hearts' from '90125'. 'The Solution' ends the album, a polished track, and contains an extended hidden track which takes the listening time out beyond 23 minutes!

In Summary
If there is a criticism from me toward the material here, it tends to flow with similarity all the way through. I feel there is no significant discernible difference at the arrangement level. Trying to locate contrasts on 'Open Your Eyes' is a difficult task, though the musicianship is impeccable. As stated, not the worst Yes album that I've ever heard, and if you read prog site comments, ignore their prattle and snobbery and use your own ears as a guide.

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