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Album: Open Your Eyes
Artist: Yes
1997 Beyond Music
CD: BYCD3074

Band members:
Jon Anderson: vocals
Steve Howe: guitars, vocals
Billy Sherwood: guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals
Chris Squire: bass, vocals
Alan White: drums, percussion

Additional musicians:
Steve Porcaro: keyboards (2)
Igor "Ivan" Khoroshev: keyboards (1, 4, 5)

Produced by Yes

Tracks:
1. New State of Mind (6:00)
2. Open Your Eyes (5:14)
3..Universal Garden (6:16)
4. No Way We Can Lose (4:56)
5. Fortune Seller (5:00)
6. Man in the Moon (4:41)
7. Wonderlove (6:06)
8. From the Balcony (2:43)
9. Loveshine (4:37)
10. Somehow.....Someday (4:47)
11. The Solution (5:25)
12. hidden track
 

Notes: There are no "Close to the Edge's" or "Revealing Science of God's" here. Instead, Yes presents us eleven interesting shorter songs. Open Your Eyes overall cannot be classified into any category normally associated with Yes. It's not like the eighties Trevor Rabin-based Yes, and it's not like the seventies classic Yes. It's a unique brand of Yes, but still recognizable with a kind of distinctiveness only associated with Yes. An extremely positive and uplifting album, Yes fan will get a lot out of it if they look at it with "open eyes!"  However, many hard-core Yes fans consider this to be the worst album ever made by the band. (Matthew S. Putzel)

(*) When Yes signed to a new management and record company in 1997 (losing Wakeman in the process), the record company wanted a new release of their own to accompany the planned tour (Keys to Ascension 2 coming out around the same time, but on the previous label). Yes were asked to present any material they were working on, including material Squire and Sherwood had ready for the first Conspiracy album and material they were working on for a follow-up. Squire and Sherwood, then joined by White, then Anderson, hurriedly assembled an album, with Howe only available towards the end. Thus, much of the guitar work on the album is Sherwood's and Sherwood also played most of the keys, largely because no-one else was available. The bulk of the album comes from Squire/Sherwood, including the title track (Conspiracy's original was released as "Wish I Knew" on Conspiracy, as was "Man in the Moon"). "From the Balcony" was a piece by Howe—Anderson heard him playing it, wrote lyrics and the track was quickly recorded. (Howe's original, instrumental version can be heard on Homebrew 2.) "Somehow.....Someday" recycles the melody from "Boundaries" on Anderson's 1982 solo album, Animation, which he had, shortly before Open Your Eyes, also re-used as "O'er" on his solo album The Promise Ring.

Igor Khoroshev, Yes's new keyboard player for the tour, was only found as work on the album was finishing, but he was quickly drafted in to add parts to three tracks. On a piece, Howe opted to remove a solo he had recorded so Khoroshev could add one instead. Regular session musician Steve Porcaro had played keys on another track.

A lengthy hidden track mixes ambient noises with snatches from the album proper. It was assembled by an engineer working with Yes and was played before shows on the following tour. Little of the album, however, got a live outing, with "Open Your Eyes" and, on later legs, "From the Balcony" the only set regulars. (At a London show, Anderson and Howe performed "From the Balcony" with accompaniment from a cellist.)

The album has few fans, even within Yes. Even Sherwood, who perhaps contributed more than anyone to the project, has described it as a compromise, while Howe was very soon and very vocally critical of the project. In a radio interview recorded in Oct 2003, Howe described the album, among others, as "overproduced and overarranged". In a May 2005 interview, he had mellowed, but said Open Your Eyes was "the most difficult album to make in some respects" from the period from Keys to Ascension onwards because he and Anderson came to the project later. "It was a Conspiracy record before Conspiracy got together! [...] [With] a very different sense of leadership in the writing." (HP, 29 Dec 03; revised 30 May 05)


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