Sound — 10
A shift in Yes' music was brought about by the introduction of Steve Howe, who's classical style added a variety of textures to the sound of the band. "The Yes Album" is the band's breakthrough album: the album that would either make or brake Yes. And it most certianly made Yes. Jon Anderson demostrates his ability of harnessing the 'blend voice', which is the higher you go, the more falsetto and less head voice is used, which allows him to hit anything in his impressive range with little difficulty. Chris Squire took the bass guitar to new levels again, with songs like Yours Is No Disgrace and Perpetual Change, his unique sound is the foundation of all Yes music. Newly inducted Steve Howe shows his chops in Clap, a solo classically inspired piece, not to mention his electric talent in Starship Trooper. Tony Kaye's last appearance on a Yes album until 1983's "90125", his [keyboard] playing isn't as spectacular as his successor, Rick Wakeman, but still holds the music from flying off on tangents. Bill Bruford makes good use of his drumming skills, using syncopation in Yours Is No Disgrace and Perpetual Change to a magnificent degree.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics on the album are written by singer Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire. They had improved from the previous two albums, and had grown into more oblique and introspective stylings, which may be discrouraging to some, as some are quite difficult to interperet. The lyrics fit with the music like a lock and key, and Jon Anderson shows that his vocals are just as important an instrument as the rest of the band's. But Anderson isn't the only vocalist, bassist Chris Squire supplies countertenor backing vocals to support and accentuate Anderson's, and are essential to any Yes album. There are 6 tracks: 11. Yours Is No Disgrace - written by the whole band, a long song, many time signature changes, and many-a-change of texture. Very enjoyable. 02. Clap - recorded live at The Lyceum, London (07/17/1970), Steve Howe's acoustic solo, wonderful instrumental. 03. Starship Trooper - written in 3 parts I. Life Seeker - released as a single, a choral, highly melodic piece. Written by Jon Anderson. II. Disillusion - begins with acoustic guitar and vocals in harmony. The best of the three movements, contains a lot of texture differences. Written by Chris Squire. III. Wurm - spelt with the two dots over the U, I don't know how to do this on a computer): three chords G-Eb-C, the texture increases gradually over a few minutes. Squire distorts his bass until the guitar solo. Instrumental. Written by Steve Howe. 04. I've Seen All Good People - written in two parts I. Your Move - released as a single, texture build up over the course of the song. The lyrics are about playing a game of chess. Written by Jon Anderson. II. All Good People - repeated lyrics, yet a good, solid groove. A fun feeling, rambunctious even. Written by Chris Squire. 05. A Venture - a good song, not as impressive as the others, but worthy of the album. Written by Jon Anderson. 06. Perpetual Change - a great way to close the album. Lengthy instrumentation, oblique lyrics again. Chris Squire did a lot for the bass as an instrument on this song. Great vocal performance by Anderson and Squire (and Howe to a lesser extent). Written by Jon Anderson and Chris Squire.
Overall Impression — 10
1971 was no doubt a pivotal moment is progressive music, as it gave birth to the "Classic Yes" sound. Indeed this album is the seeds to Fragile and Close to the Edge. However, it also serves as a portal of sorts between Fragile and the previous two albums "Yes" and "Time and a Word". It is also important in that it is the first album to feature writing credits to the whole band, a tradition that would be employed partially in years to come. It is an essential album to any Yes fan, big or small. The most impressive tracks (this is very difficult to narrow them down) are Starship Trooper, I've Seen All Good People, Yours Is No Disgrace, and Perpetual Change (I know, I named two thirds of the album, but they are magnificent). The only thing that some people may like are the lengthy intrumental sections, but to all you musicians, try and keep up.