With Anderson Rabin Wakeman hitting the road together, it got me thinking about the Trevor Rabin era Yes albums. I love “90125” and always have. I love “Talk” and did a column on it. I am probably one of the few people who loved “Union” from day one. But “Big Generator” was a problem.
Back in 1987 when it came out, I was beyond excited. I had waited 4 years since “90125” for this follow up. I suppose I wanted “90126” and in some ways this album tried doing that. First off, “Final Eyes” is my favorite track on “Big Generator.” I loved it then and I love it now. It has a modernized “And You and I” vibe to it which I connected with. But what of the rest?
The two hit songs are favorites of mine as well. “Love Will Find a Way” was written for Stevie Nicks by Trevor and Yes lobbied to keep it. It’s a well written track. I love “Rhythm of Love” because of the melodies that fly all over the place. I also like the last track Jon’s “Holy Lamb” which was a great showcase for his voice. So okay, I really like half the album and back in 1987, that’s exactly the problem I had. It was half good.
When I listened to the album recently, I knew I had to pay close attention to the remaining four tracks. My feelings for the aforementioned songs haven’t changed at all over the years. The title track always felt like a bad attempt to write another “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” The problem for me was that it was weirder. I still think the chorus is iffy but the verses and pre-chorus are GREAT. Okay so I like that song more than I did.
“Shoot High Aim Low” always felt like it went nowhere for all 7 plus minutes. That hasn’t changed much for me. I don’t hate the song but it just doesn’t have a big climax to it. So I guess it’s still a bit of a snooze for me. “Almost Like Love” was the song I didn’t care for at the time and not much has changed. It’s a very basic song and never grabs me. They really could have done better.
The song that has totally changed for me is “I’m Running.” I didn’t care for it back in 1987 and while I can understand why that is, I was actually surprised at how much I really like it now. It’s fucking insane. The band couldn’t play it live and it’s clear why. This is Yes pushing forward and progressing. I totally got this track wrong back then.
While I don’t think “Big Generator” will ever be an album I will seek out over many Yes albums, it certainly wasn’t the flop that I felt it was back then. If you separate it from the albums around it, it stands on its own rather well. When you consider what other prog bands were doing in the late 80s, “Big Generator” is not bad at all!
1. Rhythm Of Love
2. Big Generator
3. Shoot High Aim Low
4. Almost Like Love
5. Love Will Find A Way
6. Final Eyes
7. I’m Running
8. Holy Lamb (Song for Harmonic Convergence)
Yes West. Its an ok album. Only ok. Its still better than Talk, an album I just really dont get. It sounds like a Trevor Ravin solo album with Jon on guest vocals. There is no Chris Squire on it at all. But back to Big Generator. Interesting to know that Final Eyes and I’m Running date back to the Drama/XYZ era. Theres your number one reason why those songs are a cut above. I have always liked Shoot High and Rhythm Of Love is a favorite as well.
I agree with you on all but Talk. 🙂
I disliked it so much I bought it, sold it, years later ripped a copy onto my iTunes and subsequently deleted it. You are looking at a man who not only owns a copy of Calling All Station but listens to it on a fairly regular basis so I always give things a chance, but Talk….
Just. Don’t. Get. It. I even have Talk tour shows on a hard drive. Looks like it was a pretty good tour aside from those Talk songs. The only Yes album that is worse is Heaven and Earth.
Endless Dream is good though.
Side note. I saw ELP on their Black Moon tour and as was my wont I bought a tour program. On the last page was a Victory Records ad listing their Prog Roster and all 6 members of Yes were included on the list. Yes, I said 6. Rick Wakeman was that man. Sad this never came to fruition, it could have possibly saved it for me.
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Yes Rick was going to stick around. That was where the whole ARW thing started actually. He got along so well with Trevor on the Union tour. A shame it took this long for them to finally work together. I give you tons of credit for trying to like Talk. Most people don’t try albums that much. Hell, some get thru a few songs and quit!
Glad to hear you at least got a taste for “I’m Running.” I’ve always enjoyed how it comes perilously close to going off the rails as it plunges forward with reckless abandon.
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Great album. Bought it at a used CD store a couple days ago. Although, after hearing the original story of Love Will Find A Way, I can’t stop hearing it in Stevie’s voice lol.
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