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Thread: Big Generator at 30

  1. #1
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    Big Generator at 30

    It's the 30th anniversary of the release of "Big Generator," and I plan to celebrate as I always do: by pretending this album never existed.

    How about you?

  2. #2
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    I'm too busy celebrating Richard Marx's debut.

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    Both comments made me laugh, I must admit.

    It's not an album I play very much. The sessions dragged on forever, with Trevor Horn leaving the project (and frankly he did not need them). His diminished presence here makes clear to me that he had a lot to do with the success of 90125. It's a very fragmented, bitty album that simply doesn't hang together as well as its predecessor. And by 1987, the momentum from 90125 from four years earlier was completely gone.

    'Rhythm Of Love' is a worthy single, 'Shoot High Aim Low' is brooding and atmospheric, whilst 'I'm Running' and 'Final Eyes' even have a little of the old Yes magic. The other half of the album, I wouldn't care if I never heard it again. 'Almost Like Love' is especially awful.

  4. #4
    This album is one I have a soft spot for, even though it's not as good as 90125 IMO. It's not a classic, but it's not near as bad as the reputation it seems to have garnered over the years.

    I'm Running, Final Eyes, Love Will Find A Way, Rhythm Of Love, and even the title track are tunes I still listen to when I get in the mood for 80s Yes.

  5. #5
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    I only cared for two tracks on this one, 'Final Eyes', and 'I'm Running', curiously both I find outstanding however. The rest of the album.... not so much

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    This album is one I have a soft spot for, even though it's not as good as 90125 IMO. It's not a classic, but it's not near as bad as the reputation it seems to have garnered over the years.

    I'm Running, Final Eyes, Love Will Find A Way, Rhythm Of Love, and even the title track are tunes I still listen to when I get in the mood for 80s Yes.
    I only get the impression that it has a bad reputation among those who hate 90125, like I assume the OP does. I was disappointed at first as I was with Rush's HyF but both steadily grew on me. The difference was that I only didn't care for one song on HyF and grew to like that one where as Big Generator was frustrating to listen to. I thought "Rhythm of Love" (it isn't about love) was quite good but somehow was missing something. I didn't want a Rabin song like "Love Willl Find A Way" (also not about love) on a Yes album even though has good parts. "Almost Like Love" (again, nothing to do with love) has a very good climax but not thrilled with the song. "Big Generator" was too jarring but grew on me. "I'm Running", "Final Eyes" and "Shoot High, Aim Low" are very good but only the latter a classic post Drama Yes song for me.

    Ten years ago, I found my cassette that I hadn't listened to for a very long time, played it once while walking around and threw it away. Last summer, I was curious so bought the CD for very cheap, played only the half I liked maybe five times in a week, and it fared much better. I still prefer it to Magnification, Open Your Eyes and H & E, and maybe tied with Union, which I don't dislike as much as most seem to.

  7. #7
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    The drum sound is the worst of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yamishogun View Post
    I only get the impression that it has a bad reputation among those who hate 90125, like I assume the OP does.
    Nope. Love the 90125!

    BG has little of that same magic, presumably because of Horn's departure early in production. IMHO and all that.

  9. #9
    All-night hippo at diner Tom's Avatar
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    I started on Yes with Drama and 90125, and worked my way back. I have a residual fondness for 90125, particularly the end of "It Can Happen" and start of "Changes". By the time Big Generator was released, I was practically a Yes completist (easier then than now). I think I listened to the album, literally, once. My completism was thoroughly cured.

    The upside is, it probably saved me from buying Tormato.
    ... “there’s a million ways to learn” (which there are, by the way), but ironically, there’s a million things to eat, I’m just not sure I want to eat them all. -- Jeff Berlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by bill g View Post
    I only cared for two tracks on this one, 'Final Eyes', and 'I'm Running', curiously both I find outstanding however. The rest of the album.... not so much
    Pretty much this. Overall this album is a mess, its dated and some strange pop/aor /metal/prog hybrid that doesn't really work.

  11. #11
    Studmuffin Scott Bails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    Both comments made me laugh, I must admit.

    It's not an album I play very much. The sessions dragged on forever, with Trevor Horn leaving the project (and frankly he did not need them). His diminished presence here makes clear to me that he had a lot to do with the success of 90125. It's a very fragmented, bitty album that simply doesn't hang together as well as its predecessor. And by 1987, the momentum from 90125 from four years earlier was completely gone.

    'Rhythm Of Love' is a worthy single, 'Shoot High Aim Low' is brooding and atmospheric, whilst 'I'm Running' and 'Final Eyes' even have a little of the old Yes magic. The other half of the album, I wouldn't care if I never heard it again. 'Almost Like Love' is especially awful.
    Exactly my thoughts, though I always liked "Love Will Find a Way," as well.

    This was a major disappointment for me.

    And the cover is especially awful. The computer graphics thing worked on 90125, as it was rather unique and understated. This is just all kinds of wrong.
    Music isn't about chops, or even about talent - it's about sound and the way that sound communicates to people. Mike Keneally

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Impman View Post
    Nope. Love the 90125!

    BG has little of that same magic, presumably because of Horn's departure early in production. IMHO and all that.
    Yeah. On the second listen, I was trying to find at least some of 90125's brilliance. I had no idea then how important a producer can be. Then again, Horn is world class.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Impman View Post
    It's the 30th anniversary of the release of "Big Generator," and I plan to celebrate as I always do: by pretending this album never existed.

    How about you?
    Great

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bails View Post
    Exactly my thoughts, though I always liked "Love Will Find a Way," as well.
    'Love Will Find A Way' is a pleasant AOR song, I just don't see anything 'Yes' about it myself. I feel the same about Talk. Come to think of it I also don't like things like 'If Only You Knew' and 'Don't Go', so it's not just a Rabin thing!

    I rate 90125 highly, FWIW. I just find it a far superior album in every respect. 'City Of Love' I could probably do without but it's not terrible.

    Quote Originally Posted by yamishogun View Post
    Yeah. On the second listen, I was trying to find at least some of 90125's brilliance. I had no idea then how important a producer can be. Then again, Horn is world class.
    He was in big demand by then- I remember reading an interview with him where he said he simply got fed up of them and their silly arguments, when he could basically work with anyone he wanted instead. And of course Horn was not just an ex-member but a big fan of the band too.

  15. #15
    Member Camelogue's Avatar
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    I said no to Yes then.

  16. #16
    IMHO the good tracks on BG are among the finest YesWest moments, especially much of the 2nd half of the album.
    Ephemeral Sun - because I gotta do something about these boxes of CDs in the basement: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    IMHO the good tracks on BG are among the finest YesWest moments, especially much of the 2nd half of the album.
    Yes. For me the years have treated BG better than expected. And I never felt as negatively about it as I later discovered most others did. Actually love much of the orchestral/spacy introductory material.

  18. #18
    IMO the best album with the Yes name on it since Relayer, but I don't like to think of this album as a Yes album. Cinema wasn't conceived as Yes, or a "poor-man's Yes," but something distinct from Yes. I like it the most of the 90125/BG/Talk trio, and I think of this unit ending its existence with Talk.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    'Almost Like Love' is especially
    Yes, the best Yes did, yes.

    Haven't listened to this album since it and I parted ways some 28 years ago, but inspired by such wonderfully sweet nostalgia I opened five separate YouTube-browsers and played "Almost Like Love" at five different tempi, adding a sixth browser at somewhat higher volume donning an extremely slow-tempo run of that deathrow interview Ted Bundy gave with Dr. James Dobson in which Ted blames his murderous activities on the influence of porn in an effort to escape ol' sparky. It was great to hear the excessive abundance of Jon's fresh and safe voice underneath the more unsafe and soon extinct one of Ted's. I mean, I'm on first names here not because I know them or anything, but because I really, really feel I should or shouldn't know them. Or anything.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
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  20. #20
    VERY underrated album. With the exception of Holy Lamb, I enjoy it top to bottom...and listen to it far more than/prefer it to 90125.

  21. #21
    All-night hippo at diner Tom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    ... I opened five separate YouTube-browsers and played "Almost Like Love" at five different tempi, adding a sixth browser at somewhat higher volume donning an extremely slow-tempo run of that deathrow interview Ted Bundy gave with Dr. James Dobson in which Ted blames his murderous activities on the influence of porn...
    DIY Prog! Just fiddle with the balance knob at unpredictable times, and it could be an outtake from Hunger's Teeth!
    ... “there’s a million ways to learn” (which there are, by the way), but ironically, there’s a million things to eat, I’m just not sure I want to eat them all. -- Jeff Berlin

  22. #22
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    Although there was not much left of their 70s glory it is still the last consistent album Yes made.

    Very much a child of its time it's bombastic Power Pop, which might not hold up to the likeminded "Hold Your Fire" by Rush,
    but it's still an OK album.

    Everything went very much downward from there for Yes to sometimes embarrassing levels.

  23. #23
    Studmuffin Scott Bails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheH View Post
    Although there was not much left of their 70s glory it is still the last consistent album Yes made.
    It's amazing how different people can hear the same music so differently. This was, IMO, their most inconsistent album up to that date.
    Music isn't about chops, or even about talent - it's about sound and the way that sound communicates to people. Mike Keneally

  24. #24
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    Count me one who thought 90125 was pretty damned brilliant but dismiss Big Generator as a full-blown flop.

    It's not the production, it's the songs. Just awful. All of them.
    Prog's Not Dead

  25. #25
    I actually really like "Almost Like Love" :-)
    "I'm Running" is classic YES.

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