Thursday, November 14, 2013
Yes - 90125
The band’s line-up shifted a bit with this record. Jon Anderson returned on vocals after leaving the group in 1980. Trevor Rabin came on board with guitars, vocals and keyboards. Keyboardist Tony Kaye also returned to the group after a twelve year absence.
Originally, the record started out as a debut album for a group called Cinema, which was featuring Rabin, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White (the latter two the remains of Yes). Trevor Horn was producing. When Anderson heard the tracks, he suggested they reform Yes to do them.
Side one opens with “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. As the lead single, powered by a music video that hit heavy rotation on MTV, it went to number 17 in Austria and Ireland, number 16 in New Zealand, number 14 in Australia, number 12 in Denmark, number 11 in Italy and Switzerland, number 10 in Finland and Germany, number 9 in the UK, number 8 in Spain, number 7 in the Netherlands, number 6 in Norway, number 4 in France and Poland, number 2 in Canada, and number 1 on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the Mainstream Rock charts. I have always liked the blend of the guitars, keyboards and drums on this one, with it all tied together by the harmonies on the chorus.
Over two years after the album’s release, “Hold On” peaked at number 27 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. This was likely fueled by the mini LP 9012Live: The Solos. The slower slinky rhythm of this one works very well.
The third single “It Can Happen” went to number 51 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 5 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. The opening has an exotic sounds generated by the keyboards.
“Changes” hit number 6 on the US Mainstream Rock chart in the summer of 1984. This one has another very cool opening, this time focusing on layers of percussion.
Side two debuts with the instrumental track “Cinema“ which won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental in 1985. This was the only Grammy ever won by the band. It originally started out as a twenty minute long track entitled “Time” but eventually got whittled down to the just over two minute version presented here.
“Leave It”, the second single, went to number 56 in the UK, number, 24 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 3 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. I have always liked how this one opens with just the vocals, especially the parts that bounce from speaker to speaker. I often sing along on the first verse too.
The B-side to the first single was “Our Song”; a US Mainstream Rock favorite, it peaked at number 32 on that chart. The lyrics tell of a memorable concert in Toledo, Ohio, back in 1977.
“City of Love” paints the pictures of street-walking ladies in the prostitution profession and the frustrated businessmen who seek out their services. I like how it ends with just a steady instrumental grind.
The closing track is “Hearts”, a song that really reflects more the band’s roots.
Listening to the whole album again after thirty years has brought back a lot of those memories from my early college years. I heard 90125 a lot during 1984. My freshman year roommate Steve brought the Yes album on vinyl back to our dorm room after Christmas break and played it quite a bit. I am pretty sure some of the guys down the hall also had a copy. Of course, the songs were all over the radio stations with videos on MTV, and many of the campus parties also featured tracks in the dance sets too. As such, I never really felt I had to pick up a copy back then.
I am definitely going to fill in the missing tracks from the record on my digital music library, which is mostly side two.