also by Yes:
An album that attracts a huge amount of hoo-hah, as it's the one of the most obvious examples, along with Genesis, of how the biggest 70s prog bands turned to radio-friendly pop in the 1980s. Although the debate about genres is silly anyway, the two different sorts of music are good music and bad music. Good pop is always better than bad prog, and "90125" is an example of how to do quality contemporary rock. The recipe is obviously to write good songs, and produce and perform them well.
There's certainly some well-written songs here, in the general style of American "driving music". The second criterion of the recipe is more than satisfied, as the main man behind a lot of this is clearly producer Trevor Horn. Listen to the shiny production tricks on the album's hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and squeal. Apart from this most well-known song, there's "It Can Happen" which inventively combines a one-note bassline, a one-note tune, and a shuffling sitar. "Leave It" is a nifty little piece, with lots of colourful tunes and Bobby McFerrin-like doo-wops.
There's a surprise on "Changes" when new guitarist Trevor Rabin takes lead vocals. Rabin makes a strong impression on the album in general, contributing much of the songwriting, and his guitar playing is crisp and confident. The drivingly energetic instrumental "Cinema" is also a nice surprise (but Genesis's "...In That Quiet Earth" is a better example of this style). The album's only really stodgy moment is "Hold On". But in all it's the best example I've heard so far of the Yes pop sound.
July 26, 2004