And then came The Yes Album and everything changed. Whether it was the addition of Steve Howe on guitar or just more confidence in their songwriting, I don’t know, but The Yes Album is leaps and bounds above Time and a Word.
The opening staccato notes of “Yours is No Disgrace” are tight and loud—what is now considered classic Yes sound—Squire’s bass is low and rumbly but ever so precise. There’s the true Yes keyboard sound and some amazing guitar work. It’s got a great introduction followed by some excellent harmony vocals (that’s don’t sound psychedelic any longer). Then comes the great slow jazzy section with the awesome bass meandering through. The song has so many great parts and they all fit together perfectly. This is how you make an awesome 10 minute song. Even the ending which isn’t exactly different adds more drama.
The next song is a live version of “Clap” (apparently not called “The Clap” as our discs say). It’s a fun romp from then new guitarist Steve Howe. It’s a delightful masterpiece, although it’s kind of oddly placed (and the fact that it’s live also makes the flow seem odd). This is all my way of leading up to saying that Fragile is a slightly more cohesive album than The Yes Album even if they are equally excellent.
“Starship Troopers” is another classic with some more great basslines and some really crisp drums. It also has a middle section (acoustic guitar with great vocal harmonies) that really holds the song together very well. They do a great job at making instrumental sections interesting.
“I’ve Seen All Good People” has a great opening with harmony vocals and acoustic guitar and then a full chorus. When Squire’s bass comes in at around 3 minutes, it’s like the heaviest thing on earth. I happened to be listening in only one ear while writing this (never do that with Yes) and for the first time I hear the choral voices sing “Give Peace a Chance” before it switches over to the rocking second half of the song. “A Venture” is like a truncated version of a Yes song. It may be the least interesting song on the disc, but that’s just because of the company around it.
“Perpetual Change,” the third 9 minute song opens with some great loud guitars and then some quiet sections where Anderson’s voice really shines. And just when you think that the song is going to be nine minutes of more or less the same sweet music, at 5 minutes it shifts gears entirely into a crazy staccato section of fast notes and drumming. It’s such a strange riff (and when the bass starts following a slightly different riff and the guitar solos over the top, it’s beautifully controlled chaos. And after a minute and a half of that, it switches back to the delicate harmonies of yore.
There’s not a bad song on this disc and depending on your proclivities it is either a little better or a little worse than the next masterpiece, Fragile.
Since almost every Yes album had different personnel, I’m going to keep a running tally here. Our first change occurs with this their third album:
Steve Howe (#2 replaced Peter Banks)-guitar
[READ: March 15, 2015] Ms Marvel: No Normal
This collection collects books 1-5 of the Ms. Marvel series (Adrian Alphona is the artist for all of the books). When I saw it at work, I assumed it was related to the new Captain Marvel series that I had just read. But it turned out to be a different story altogether. And I loved the new character that the Marvel universe has added to its fold.
For this story is about Kamala Khan an ordinary girl from Jersey City. She is a Turkish Muslim with very strict parents. Her brother doesn’t work but spends all his time praying (much to her father’s dismay). Her best friend Kiki (call her Nakia now, thank you) has recently found her religion and begun wearing head scarves. And her other best friend, Bruno, is busy working all the time.
As the story opens, we see these three in the Circle Q where Bruno works (there’s funny joke about “Chatty” Bob, which I liked). In walks a spoiled white girl Zoe who seems nice but really probably isn’t. Kamala seems to like her but Nakia does not (and Zoe’s insensitivity to Nakia is part of the reason).
Zoe invites them to a party (knowing they won’t go), but Kamala sneaks out and heads to the party anyway. She immediately doesn’t fit in, and as she wanders away from the festivities a mist covers the ground and she is visited by Captain America, Iron Man and Captain Marvel (in her new female form), and, better yet, she can speak Urdu.
Kamala says she wishes she could be more like Captain Marvel (being blonde and wearing the sexy outfit). Captain Marvel warns her it’s not all peaches and cream, but the mist does something to Kamala and suddenly she has some awkward and slightly uncontrollable magical powers. And her first feat or heroism is to rescue Zoe when she falls into the water by the pier. (I’m unclear why her power seems to manifest in her ability to make her right hand and arm into any shape she wants).
And of course, just because she saves someone’s life doesn’t mean she doesn’t get in trouble with her parents when she gets home.
But she can’t tell anyone what happened obviously. Not her parents, not even her friends–no one would understand. And yet Ms Marvel’s story is making the rounds–the news cycle is talking about it (and of course Zoe is on the news too). She plans to tell Bruno, so she stops by the Circle Q and sees that he is being robbed. So she springs int action. And is injured. Bruno calls the cops. But Kamala can’t let anyone know who she is …especially the cops!
Eventually the plot revolves around a bad guy named The Inventor. And Kamala (through details I didn’t say) gets connected to the Inventor and feels compelled to help.
I loved that she was a superhero with very different problems than most angsty teen boys have. I loved that there were Turkish and Muslim elements in the story and I loved how Ms Marvel was able to play with and subvert the story as it stayed squarely within the superhero convention. I definitely want to read further volumes.