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Thread: YES - "Talk" their most overlooked album? Anderson and Rabin think so.

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    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    YES - "Talk" their most overlooked album? Anderson and Rabin think so.

    Noticed this article today, coincidentally shortly after pulling it off the shelf. To me, this is a great springtime album. Sunny, birds-chirping, buds-on-trees kind of music. Certain music appeals to me more with the changing of seasons. As for it being their most 'overlooked' album, I'm not sure about that but it's my favourite of the Rabin-era albums. Interesting that after 20 years, it still hasn't gone gold!



    http://somethingelsereviews.com/2014...rlooked-album/


    Asked to name his most underrated project, Jon Anderson immediately points toward Yes’ Talk, issued decades ago now and still widely dismissed — when it’s not being ignored all together.

    The 1994 album memorably featured Yes’ return to episodic compositions on “Endless Dream,” a track that reconnects with the band’s artistic triumphs of decades before. (In fact, Yes hadn’t done such long-form work since “Machine Messiah” on 1980′s Drama.) Meanwhile, for fans of their more recent successes, “State of Play” was powered along by Rabin’s crunchy guitar. And yet Talk became the first album by Yes not to crack the Billboard Top 20 since its seminal period at the turn of the 1970s.

    The sad fate of Talk had nothing, it seems, to do with the music. Instead, it was bound up in misguided expectations, a fracturing lineup and a label teetering on financial ruin.

    “I never like to blame anything else for a record that doesn’t do millions of copies,” then-guitarist Trevor Rabin tells us in an exclusive SER Sitdown, “but that was one where it was a perfect storm of the wrong record company at the wrong time. The band was starting to drift apart, although ironically Jon and I were drifting further together.”

    Issued on the defunct Victory Music, after Yes’ 1980s-era association with Atco came to an end, Talk followed 1987′s overcooked Big Generator — which found the group trying fruitlessly to replicate their earlier chart-topping hit “Owner of a Lonely Heart” from 1983′s 90125. Fast forward more than a decade, and Talk could be found spinning off “Walls,” a Top 15 hit on the mainstream rock tracks charts co-written with Roger Hodgson of Supertramp fame. Still, it was hardly the No. 1 smash every label executive now wanted from Yes.

    Those pressures were coming to bear on Yes. Anderson had done a separate project with Vangelis in the time after Big Generator, then had reunited with former Yes members Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe. There’d also been an ill-fated combining of both Yes camps with 1991′s Union. Interest in their brand of old-school prog, or even their updated prog-pop amalgam, was badly waning. And that appears to have doomed Talk before it even arrived.

    Oddly enough, however, the Union era saw Anderson and Rabin finally clicking, despite the pair having already been part of two previous Yes projects. As the subsequent sessions for Talk commenced, they found themselves happily collaborating. Neither appears to have considered the fact that no one would be listening, much less that no one has since.

    “In those days, it was a question of making of making good music, so much as making a hit record again after 90125,” Anderson tells us. “Big Generator just didn’t happen. It was overblown, and overdone. I really had no part in that project; I just went in and sang. They wanted to keep me out of the way, so I went and did an album with Vangelis. I kept myself busy. But then after that, I did Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe — and then got a really good energy with the record company at that time. They just wanted me to do what I wanted to do. With Steve and Bill and Rick, it was so easy, because they just wanted to make music. So, the album worked. Then the next step was, we all got together, of course, and did Union — and then me and Trevor started to really bond at that time. We hadn’t really bonded before, so it was real interesting time. Trevor asked if I would come stay at the house, and work on some music — and that became Talk. The album ended up having so much of the classic style of Yes, and that’s something very unique about it. But the record company went bankrupt, and the album never got any promotion — so, it was on the next project.”

    Rabin wouldn’t be a part of that project. Talk, in fact, marked the end his decade-long run with Yes. Having taken the group to the pinnacle of chart success, Rabin left with the lowest-charting album of his tenure. Talk still hasn’t gone gold, after Yes sold more than four million copies of the earlier 90125 and Big Generator in the U.S. alone.

    That ugly end makes it difficult, Rabin admits, to put his legacy with the band into perspective — that and some fans’ misguided idea that he — and he alone — led Yes into more commercial waters.

    “I think I have an understanding of what it was that maybe is different from the outside. It’s an interesting question. That’s never been posed before,” he tells us, then pauses. “I knew who I was and what I did, but I’d have a little chuckle reading articles where it said: ‘He’s ruined Yes. He’s brought this silly pop, plastic element to the band.’ When we finished 90125, we were so excited. Chris Squire was really holding the flag, saying: ‘This is the new sound. This is what we’re about now.’ I was really proud and happy, however we got there, with both 90125, and “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” We all were.”
    Interviewer of reprobate ne'er-do-well musicians of the long-haired rock n' roll persuasion at: www.velvetthunder.co.uk

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    Sorry to say, this isn't a favourite. There's some good stuff on it but I don't hear much that's 'Yes' about most of it*. In fact, the middle part of the album is some of my least favourite material ever released under their name.

    By the 90s, the bloom was finally off the rose for most of the 'classic rock' acts- this marked the point where Yes were no longer on a really big label. So the sales don't surprise me.

    *I never got that off the other Rabin albums, BTW, which I enjoy.

  3. #3
    "The sad fate of Talk had nothing, it seems, to do with the music. "
    Absolutely false. Only one decent track on the album. The rest is extremely forgettable.
    The big selling point of this album was the fact that it was recorded on a Mac. It wouldn't have made any difference if it was recorded in the best studio in the world. Crappy music is crappy music.

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    Member Brian Griffin's Avatar
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    Jon is right, as always

    BG
    "When Yes appeared on stage, it was like, the gods appearing from the heavens, deigning to play in front of the people."

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    Progdog ThomasKDye's Avatar
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    My quick review:

    "The Calling" -- Nice pop song, but goes on way too long.

    "I Am Waiting" -- The opening melody does not warrant being repeated 9,000 times.

    "Real Love" -- Oh, yay! Eight ponderous minutes, three tedious verses, and just when you think the thing might be ending, Rabin gives a grating slide guitar solo at the end. And Anderson's lyric vocabulary seems excessively limited.

    "State of Play" -- I know some people hate this song, but I think it's quick, upbeat and fun, especially compared to the three bloated things that precede it. The screaming guitar thing is an acquired taste, though.

    "Walls" -- Meh midtempo song.

    "Where Will You Be" -- A fakey "world music" tuned percussion loop and Anderson's fakey "world music" melody make this an endurance test.

    "Endless Dream" -- This starts fine, and has its moments, but the bulk of it is just more sluggish, repetitive midtempo stuff, although the ethereal finale is kind of nice.

    Compared to "90125" or "Big Generator," this piece of YesWest seems like no one knew how to pace or edit anything. I liked it okay at the time but it did not age well. I know Rabin is capable of creating much better material than this. Heck, "Can't Look Away" is a better album.
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  6. #6
    "I kept myself busy. But then after that, I did Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe — and then got a really good energy with the record company at that time. They just wanted me to do what I wanted to do. With Steve and Bill and Rick, it was so easy, because they just wanted to make music. So, the album worked. "

    Er... that might not be how everyone involved saw ABWH

  7. #7
    For me the best part of 1994 wasn't the release of Talk but rather the tour that followed.. I have several recordings from that tour and IMHO the band were as tight as they ever were... wonderful rendition of Endless Dream...

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    Mod or rocker? Mocker. Frumious B's Avatar
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    I like Talk a lot. I think the cards were stacked against it in several ways: 1. Coming after the Union tour it wasn't the Yes album a lot of fans wanted. Bruford would have likely been out regardless, but I think the decision to go back to the 90125 band sans Howe and Wakeman put some people off, especially with that stark, decidedly non-Roger Dean album cover. 2. It was a bright, shiny, glossy, digital sounding album released right into the teeth of grunge. 3. Victory simply wasn't a sound label. It was the first of several crap labels that would release Yes albums, actually. It's too bad they squandered their relationship with Atlantic/Atco.


    Is it Yes' most overlooked album? I'm more inclined to go with Keys II, Yes or Time And A Word for that honor, but IMHO Talk certainly belongs in the discussion mix. It deserves another look after twenty years.
    "It was a cruel song, but fair."-Roger Waters

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    Absolutely, their last great album & Endless Dream should still be in their set list!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by trurl View Post
    "I kept myself busy. But then after that, I did Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe — and then got a really good energy with the record company at that time. They just wanted me to do what I wanted to do. With Steve and Bill and Rick, it was so easy, because they just wanted to make music. So, the album worked. "

    Er... that might not be how everyone involved saw ABWH
    Going by the 'Classic Artists' DVD, everybody concerned was fairly happy with the ABWH album. And despite the horrible sounds, I personally have listened to that much more than 'Talk'. It was 'Union' which was really disastrous.

    It's 'State Of Play', 'Walls' and 'Where Will We Be' on here that just don't sound anything like the Yes I love- heavily produced Adult Contemporary, particularly the latter two. 'Endless Dream' is highly rated; it has its moments but I find it a little piecemeal compared to their best epics.
    Last edited by JJ88; 05-10-2014 at 01:26 PM.

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    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus View Post
    Absolutely, their last great album & Endless Dream should still be in their set list!!!
    I can't imagine Steve Howe would take to the idea of doing a fifteen-plus-minute epic from a YesWest album.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    Going by the 'Classic Artists' DVD, everybody concerned was fairly happy with the ABWH album. And despite the horrible sounds, I personally have listened to that much more than 'Talk'.
    The thing with the ABWH album for me is that I really, really like the first half of it. But after "The Meeting", it suddenly plummets into some of my absolute least favourite Yes-related material.
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    ^I can't disagree with you there. 'Teakbois' and 'Quartet' are atrocious. 'Order Of The Universe' sounds a bit corny in that big chorus (as does 'Long Lost Brother Of Mine' IMHO) but it starts off OK.

    But for me, the first half of ABWH is much more in tune with what I like about Yes than basically anything on 'Talk'.
    Last edited by JJ88; 05-10-2014 at 03:53 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    I can't imagine Steve Howe would take to the idea of doing a fifteen-plus-minute epic from a YesWest album.
    l.
    Maybe Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman will play it when their priject eventually takes off. LOL!

    I be disappointed if Yes ever played anything post Talk in their set, as I was when they played the dodgy Mind Drive in 2004!

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    Member dropforge's Avatar
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    Post deleted.

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    "The Calling" , "Walls", and "Endless Dream" are all great tracks, the rest are rather pedestrian to my ears. Not a great Yes, album, but a decent one IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by happytheman View Post
    For me the best part of 1994 wasn't the release of Talk but rather the tour that followed.. I have several recordings from that tour and IMHO the band were as tight as they ever were... wonderful rendition of Endless Dream...
    I saw the tour in Milwaukee (at a half filled ampatheater) and it was indeed a great show. Billy Sherwood was also in the touring band and it was definitely one of the harder rocking versions of Yes to ever tour.

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    Member dropforge's Avatar
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    Musician's review of Big Generator consisted of these three words: "Just say no." They should have saved that "review" for Talk.

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    I'd agree, love the LP, extremely underrated. I started listening to Yes in the early seventies, not a huge fan of any Yes album in its entirety after Going for the One although all the albums had at least some good to material. Talk to me is their best LP from 78 onward. I like the Ladder and Drama as well, probably my next favorite post 78 LP's... just not as strong as Talk IMHO. I also agree, great tour as previously mentioned!

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    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    The only Rabin era Yes album I like, a lot.

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    For some reason, I really like this cd, bought it when it was released because of Rabin, who's playing I prefer over Howe, and his vocals seem to compliment Andersons and Squires nicely. This was the first YES recording that actually offered some impressive drumming by White (Endless Dream), who has been hit and miss since joining the band way back, Bruford always had a magic touch it seemed, giving the band an extra dynamic, of course Relayer is his best work for my ears, but this cd had some bright moments for me.

  21. #21
    Being an old git, this period of Yes was musically inept to my ears, and I would have gladly taken the band to the vet's to be humanely put to sleep. To me, a grand heritage and track record was being sullied and trodden into the dirt. If it wasn't for the resurrection of their song-writing skills in the late 1990's, my opinion would remain the same. They went a very different route after the late 1970's. It was hugely popular to a new audience, but I suspect their support will be split by those with Roger Dean albums only, and those whose tastes joined the the journey a little later.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by dropforge View Post
    Musician's review of Big Generator consisted of these three words: "Just say no." They should have saved that "review" for Talk.
    Wasn't there a review of Talk - maybe in Rolling Stone - that simply said, "Shut up!" ???

    At any rate, I like Talk. Haven't played it in a long time though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reginod View Post
    Wasn't there a review of Talk - maybe in Rolling Stone - that simply said, "Shut up!" ???

    At any rate, I like Talk. Haven't played it in a long time though.
    I believe it was in Musician. It said "shut the *!^# up"

    I'm wanting to say it was J.D. Considine (sp?)

    He also reviewed GTR as SHT.

    If a reviewer does not like a recording, he should say why. No respect for pompous jack holes like this.

  24. #24
    I'll go so far as to say that Talk has aged better than any of the other Yes albums from 1990 forward. I think it's easily their most underrated album. It was also the last time that I didn't detect the whiff of nostalgia about them.

  25. #25
    Studmuffin Scott Bails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrw View Post
    No respect for pompous jack holes like this.
    Quote Originally Posted by profusion View Post
    I'll go so far as to say that Talk has aged better than any of the other Yes albums from 1990 forward. I think it's easily their most underrated album. It was also the last time that I didn't detect the whiff of nostalgia about them.
    Agree with all of this ^^

    The production on it is certainly dated, but all of the Rabin material suffers from this. One of the things that I like about this one is that is doesn't sound like anything else they've done, as profusion alludes to. It's far from perfect, and I also agree with ThomasKDye's characterizations of "Walls" and "Where Will You Be"

    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasKDye
    "Walls" -- Meh midtempo song.

    "Where Will You Be" -- A fakey "world music" tuned percussion loop and Anderson's fakey "world music" melody make this an endurance test.
    But the rest of it was very fresh for Yes at the time. "Endless Dream" has some great moments, and there is great guitar work throughout the album. Safe to say, if you're not a fan of Rabin-era Yes, you're not going to like this one. But if you do enjoy his work, this is one of his finest works, IMO.

    Awful cover, however. Ranks slightly above Big Generator in that regard.
    Last edited by Scott Bails; 05-10-2014 at 09:12 PM.
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