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Archive for the ‘The Buggles’ Category

ny13SOUNDTRACK: YES-Drama (1980).

dramaAfter a few albums that seemed to lack the oomph of previous Yes outings, they stormed back with Drama.  And you know it’s proper yes because Roger Dean drew the cover!

It opens with a great dark riff and some big heavy bass—where has that been? And then the vocals come in—band harmonies like Yes has always done, but something is…different.  And around 3 minutes in, you realize what it is, so you check the liner notes (remember those?) and… woah Jon Anderson, the voice of Yes, has defected! And in his place is singer Trevor Horn from…The Buggles?  Trevor and Geoff Downes the creators of The Buggles were fans of Yes and when Anderson and Wakeman (yup, he’s gone too) left, the rest of the gang asked the Buggles to join in.  It seems that they had a few songs already written and the Buggles guys wrote a couple songs and there it is.

Horn’s voice is surprisingly close to Anderson’s (although he can’t reach the high notes.  But he has a lot more bass resonance so when he belts out notes he sounds really powerful.

And it turns out that Drama is very high on my list of Yes albums, even without Anderson  The band seems really interested in making big loud rock again, which I’d rather missed.

“Machine Messiah”  is over 10 minutes long.  There’s some great riffs and time changes and a big soaring guitar solo (Steve Howe is still on board).  There’s a slow middle section about 6 minutes in with acoustic guitar and simple vocals. The final solo repeats the same melody but it seems to swing more.  Near the end they revisit the slow section with new wave keyboard sounds that I imagine Wakeman would never have agreed to play (although he did play some weird sounds on Tormato).  Especially with the group vocals, it’s easy to imagine that this is indeed classic Yes.  A ten minute song with no wasted moments

“White Car” is a 90 second throwaway track.  It feels like they invited the new guys to fill some space. It’s not bad, it’s just a jingle with inscrutable words.  His voice soars similar to Anderson’s but not quite.

“Does it Really Happen?” has a big bass rumbling sound and bright keyboard chords. It goes through several sections before settling into a pretty typical Yes riff.  It really highlights the harmony vocals again. At the end of the song—a complete full stop, a new keyboard riff comes in with a repeat of the rumbling bass. It lasts only for a minute or so and then fades out. But it’s nice that Squire get a chance to wail

“Into the Lens” is a great song that opens side two.  The opening bass and counterpoint keys of is pure Yes, which is why it’s surprising to find out that the main section of the song is pure Buggles.  Indeed, the “I am a Camera” section of the song was written by Trevor and Geoff and they even recorded it with out all the complicated intro on the second Buggles album (it’s called “I am a Camera.”  There’s a cool bass section that may actually be piano? It’s got a cool end section with staccato riff repeated three times and an odd pause signature.  The opening and closing sections (the Yes parts) work really well with the catchy middle part (which really doesn’t sound like Yes at all, but still works and is super catchy).

“Run Through the Light” has fretless bass!  And that bass was played by…Trevor Horn.  What?  Chris Squire is either a total pushover or the most generous founding member of a band ever.  It says Squire played piano on this track, although for the life of me I can’t hear any piano at all.  It’s a decent song but probably the least interesting on the disc.

And them comes the best Yes riff since the early 70s–the wild bass line of “Tempus Fugit.” The song opens with some keyboard phrases that don’t at all suggest there’s going to be something spectacular coming next, but in true Yes fashion, the boppy opening mutates into a super fast bass line with appropriate synth blasts.  While not as great as say Roundabout, it soars over just about everything since then, and is an overlooked Yes gem.

I noticed on 9012live that Squire plays the “Tempus Fugit” riff riff in a bass solo—evidently, Anderson (who returned after this record) refused to sing any sings from Drama.  Which is shame because there’s some good stuff there.

Since almost every Yes album had different personnel, I’m going to keep a running tally here.  This is a biggie, look who has left!

Chris Squire-bass
Trevor Horn (#2, replaced Jon Anderson) vocals
Alan White (#2)-drums
Geoff Downes #4 (replaced Rick Wakeman #2)-keyboards
Steve Howe (#2)-guitar

[READ: April 12, 2015] “Apollo”

This story has two parts, a part set in the present and then a flashback which takes up most of the rest of the story.

As it opens, the narrator is visiting his parents in Enugu.  He says that his parents have changed since they retired.  They used to be critical thinkers (professors both of them).  They often challenged each other in intellectual ways–even seeing who could publish more papers.  But since they have retired, they have become almost comically gullible.  They would often call things “nonsense” but now they believed just about everything they read in the paper.

And on this occasion they are telling the narrator about a robbery that occurred in town.  This is nothing unusual.  But when they say that the leader of the gang was Raphael, it gives the narrator pause.

His parents don’t think he remembers Raphael, but he does.  Raphael was one of the house boys who worked for his parents.  There were a number of them, but this one made an impact. (more…)

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