Yes - Fly From Here
This is an album where, quite simply, Yes prove that they do not need Jon Anderson to make great music. To be honest I didn't care about this album and wasn't intending to listen to it. It's been 10 years since the last Yes album, and God knows how many more than that since the last truly great Yes album - and without Jon Anderson I was sure it was destined to be a failure. And yet here it is, ranking 18th on my year-end list. I'm glad that I ended up giving it a try after seeing a random post about it on another forum because this turned out to be awesome. Benoit David is a suitable replacement, completely nailing the technical difficulty of singing Yes material, while having a great vocal timbre for the band and still not sounding like a clone of their previous lead singer.
More important than that is the composition of this album. Yes did get pretty heavy at times in the past, but this album retains very little of that, opting for the softer, more atmospheric side of the band with a huge emphasis on their progressive aspects - think Fragile
rather than 90125
. In fact, a major high point of the album is the first 6 tracks, which comprise of one suite with the same title of the album, flowing together as one epic song while each standing out as their own piece. While not quite the absolute masterpiece that is "Close To The Edge," (and I will stand by the "absolute masterpiece" statement
) it does call that epic from the past to mind to remind you that this band still exists in a good way. Oh yeah, and the last half of the album is pretty great too.
"Fly From Here - Pt. II - Sad Night at the Airfield
"Fly From Here - Pt. III - Madman at the Screens