Lately, “Talk” by Yes has really re-emerged for me and I am enjoying it all over again. Back in 1994, the album didn’t fair so well. What went wrong? Unfortunately, more than a few things stacked up against this album ever having a chance at being successful. First off, the band. Following their successful “Union” tour, many Yes fans hoped they would go into the studio and do an actual album together, rather than the patchwork that was “Union.” Like most things with Yes, it would not be.
It wasn’t much longer after the tour ended that Bill Bruford quit. Steve Howe wasn’t far behind him. Rick Wakeman had said he wanted to work with Trevor Rabin but perhaps the mere presence of Tony Kaye tweaked Wakeman the wrong way. He was left due to “contractual reasons.” The band that remained was the 90125 band. When they set about to do an album, it was clear once again that Trevor would have to steer the ship. Unlike “Big Generator,” he would have full production control from the start. Also unlike that album, he decided to work WITH Jon Anderson rather than try to make Jon do what he wanted.
Other than the song “Walls,” which was written with Roger Hodgson (ex-Supertramp), Trevor wrote with Jon. This was really a first since “90125” was basically Trevor writing with Chris Squire, with Jon re-joining well after the material was all but complete. So with the album “Talk” we actually have a very unique and harmonious time in the band. Chris, Tony and drummer Alan White allowed the other two to create and added their touches after. Granted Tony was relegated to only playing some Hammond B-3 here and there, with Trevor playing all the rest of the keys.
So the music that was created really came out great. It was big sounding, catchy choruses and state of the art production at the time. It was recorded direct to a hard disc. Computer technology! In fact, the production on this album is so ridiculously clear, it sounds fresh today 22 fucking years later!! “The Calling” has the big harmonies, “Walls” was the hit single that should have been, “Real Love” was almost a sequel to “City of Love” but even heavier and stranger. The chorus on “State of Play” is another HUGE moment. Then there was a TRUE Yes epic in “Endless Dream.” That song was Trevor proving he could write a Yes epic and he delivered. You can also tell how much fun both Trevor and Jon were having. Listen for the “woos” during the end of “Walls” from both of them!
What also went wrong was the label. Victory Music were not a prog label at all. This led to terrible promotion. The critics weren’t happy but they never were Yes fans anyway. And while Jon and Trevor were happy, Chris never seemed to like the album that much. With that, Trevor left after the tour for the album, probably frustrated after giving his best effort. Subsequently, the “classic” Yes lineup reformed with Wakeman and Howe returning again. This just meant that “Talk” would be largely forgotten since let’s face it, Steve Howe only plays “Owner of a Lonely Heart” because he has to.
With the news of Anderson Rabin Wakeman, I really hope that they not only break out songs from “90125” but maybe some of the songs from “Talk.” This is an album that always puts me in an amazing mood, like any great Yes album will do. And if it weren’t for “The Ladder,” it would be the last great Yes album for me personally. “Talk,” like Trevor Rabin, deserved better. I really hope that it gets its due and I hope that with ARW, people will appreciate Trevor too.
1. The Calling
2. I am Waiting
3. Real Love
4. State of Play
6. Where Will You Be
7. Endless Dream
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Still my favorite Yes album. I always listen to it at top volume.
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