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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Close To The Edge

Yes

1972

Buy At Rough Trade
Close To The Edge
Album Summary

Close to the Edge is the fifth studio album by English progressive rock band Yes. It was released on 13 September 1972 by Atlantic Records, and is their last album of the 1970s to feature their original drummer Bill Bruford. After scoring a commercial and critical hit with Fragile and touring the album, Yes regrouped to prepare material for a follow-up, ideas for which had been put down some months before. The album's centrepiece is the 18-minute title track, with themes and lyrics inspired by the Herman Hesse novel Siddhartha. Side two contains two non-conceptual tracks, the folk-inspired "And You and I" and the straightforward rocker "Siberian Khatru". Bruford found the album particularly laborious to make, which culminated in his decision to quit the band after it was recorded, to join King Crimson. Close to the Edge became the band's greatest commercial success at the time of release. It peaked at No. 4 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 3 on the Billboard 200 in the United States, the highest position Yes has reached on the latter chart. A two-part edit of "And You and I" was released in the US which reached No. 42 on the Billboard Hot 100. Yes supported the album with their 1972–1973 world tour which comprised over 90 dates and marked the debut of drummer Alan White, who replaced Bruford three days before the tour started. Close to the Edge was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1998 for selling one million copies. It was reissued in 1994, 2003, and 2013; the latter includes previously unreleased tracks and new stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes by Steven Wilson. In 2020, Close to the Edge was ranked at #445 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.16

Votes

10882
Genres
Rock

Reviews

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

This album is super important for what it is and also what it isn't. What it is is one of the most pure distillations of prog rock and rock's musical excesses (if not necessarily the chemical excesses). But its overwritten, ornate Baroqueness helped to inspire punk music as a reaction against this brand of complex-for-the-sake-of-complex tryhard bullshit. Prog and punk happen to be my two favorite subgenres, so this one is extra meaningful to me. Beloved for three perfect songs (out of a possible three, hah!), if not any semblance of brevity. One more thing before I hit submit: early on in the title track there is a happy, sweet guitar melody that could have been a lead on a Queen song. Much later the same motif returns as a more sinister and dissonant version with ugly-sounding harmonics from a ring modulator. It's fuckin sick and it demonstrates my favorite joke about prog rock. If you don't like what you're hearing, wait five minutes.

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Tue Jul 13 2021
5

An absolute masterpiece of progressive rock. Long-winded gorgeous songs with so many moving parts. It's not for everybody, but it is most definitely for me.

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Wed Jul 07 2021
5

This is one of my all-time top 5 favorite albums. Truly a masterpiece from start to finish. 5 stars.

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Wed Jun 02 2021
5

Such a thrilling album! It felt like an adventure from beginning to end! Beautiful sounds, great dynamics, perfect length, wonderful ambience.

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Tue Aug 17 2021
5

it's literally my favorite album and every time I listen to it it's as exactly good as the first time.

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Thu Mar 18 2021
1

I tried. Music from the head not from the heart yo. Listened to some Christy Moore instead though that was banging.

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Mon Sep 14 2020
5

LOVE the transitions. This album is super cool

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Thu Apr 15 2021
5

I've only ever listened to Fragile but damn did I love this one. The first track may have been 19min, but it did not feel like it at all. Great prog with a lot of fun influences. Favorite track: "Close to the Edge"

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Tue Jul 20 2021
5

Prog is not a four letter word. Embrace the dramatic power.

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Tue Dec 06 2022
4

The beginning of the first track was a little too zany for me and I thought that this would be a terribly rough ride. After the first few minutes, it settled down and I started to find some enjoyment. It is still a little at arm's length for me, but I listened to it twice while I was working and was always surprised, and maybe slightly disappointed, when it ended.

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Tue May 25 2021
5

Very very special and interesting. Sometimes it has supertramp vibes, others reminds me of Pink Floyd

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Tue Jul 13 2021
5

This is it folks. One of the few moments where I can excitedly proclaim that the fans of a genre have made listening to something unpalatable. I have not touched prog rock, because prog rock has some of the douchiest shithead fan bases I have ever met. But this right here is an easy five, from the almost storytelling soundscapes to the beautiful use of old and new instrumentation. And the vocals have a great Glam/Folk Fusion sound that I love.

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Wed May 19 2021
5

What a wild ride. Very fun album. Some of early progressive's finest.

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Tue May 11 2021
5

This is already one of my favorite albums

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Mon Jun 14 2021
5

YES! YES! YES! Must listen for all prog fans.

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Thu Dec 01 2022
4

There are so many things to dislike about this album. Ridiculously long songs, Anderson's helium-infused vocals, the sheer wankery of some of their vocals. Yet I really like it and it took me a while to realise why. When they get in the groove they rock! Somehow they stay in the groove even through all the key and time changes.

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Sun Jan 31 2021
5

ODÖDLIG KLASSIKER TITELSPÅRET ÄR 7/5

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Sat Jul 17 2021
5

Me acuerdo cuando me cagaba el rock progresivo y me da risa. 5 ESTRELLAS.

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Fri Jul 30 2021
5

Probably my favorite Yes album that I've listened to

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Tue Aug 17 2021
5

not much to say this is a masterpiece

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Tue Aug 17 2021
5

I love prog. Can’t decide on my least favourite track on Close to the Edge.

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Thu Oct 07 2021
5

this record blew me away in a way i was not expecting. 5/5

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Sat Nov 27 2021
5

Does everything right I'd expect out a prog album. Three highly impressive tracks tied together by a central philosophical theme. Probably Yes's best album. Title track is divided in four movements. First movement is a perfect opener, which spiritual nature noises immediately setting off into insane guitar work that sounds so disjointed until abrupt breaks show they know what they're doing. It's symphonic and atmospheric, placing the audience in a position with any number of instruments and noises to shift focus on at any given moment. Vocalists are great, constantly shifting and matching the music. Good pacing, knowing exactly when to change in style to keep the music engaging while still retaining aspects like the chorus to maintain consistency. Geesh, when that organ hits in the third movement, swapping back and forth with the melancholic chorus. Love how the fourth movement largely reverts to the first but ties together the other two movements as well. Everything is tied up nicely in those last two minutes. It's a perfect track with no weak points at any minute in the song. The other two tracks on the second side also have good pacing and follow up on the themes discussed in the title track. "And You and I" is a mellower track, becoming triumphant in the middle. My favorite part in "Siberian Khatru" are the brief instruments about a quarter in, and also the vocal noises later. I don't how they're making many of the sounds in the album, but whatever they're doing it's working, drawing my attention while also being pleasing to hear, never overstaying their welcome.

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Wed Jan 12 2022
5

Yes is one of the few bands who can pull off an 18 minute song. This album is lush, very well constructed and contains moments which sound surprisingly contemporary. With its use of unusual rhythms and jazz fusion like melodic lines, this album pushes hard on what it means to be a ‘progressive rock’ band. At points this album sounds like contemporary indie folk before dropping into a fusion groove. The harmonies give a CSN vibe within a completely new format. Simply put, this album shouldn’t work, but it just does

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Sun Mar 06 2022
5

What do you get when you combine the most creative and deft drummer in rock, the most phenomenal bass player in rock, the most nimble and unique guitarist in rock, the most masterful keyboardist in rock, and the most pure and beautiful tenor to ever front a band? You get Close to the Edge! What a soaring triumph of an album! :) Seriously though, these guys are all complete MASTERS of their craft individually. It's ASTONISHING! The fact that they all managed to be in the SAME BAND is practically a miracle. Yes' bassist was more integral to the band's sound than any other bassist of the 70s; the sound he got out of his bass is unreal; so visceral and punchy. Steve Howe's guitar work is insanely original; he plays so swiftly in a way I have never heard any other guitarist play, and I listen to a lot of guitar! Bill Bruford could play ANYTHING on the drums. Sure, he wasn't as loud as other famous 70s drummers, but he could play more intricate, complex rhythms than all of them by FAR. The keyboardist has literally written symphonies, so that should tell you something lol. And who in rock could belt out high tenor notes so beautifully and sweetly as Jon Anderson?? No other band of the 70s of the world could've written this album. None! The sheer creativity and technical skill it must've taken to write this album boggles my mind. As someone who plays several instruments and knows a good amount of music theory, this album dazzles me. This album is rich in complexity, and each new listen unearths new secrets. Even if you don't like it personally, if you are not exceedingly impressed by this composition then you aren't paying attention... While Yes, for some, symbolizes the excesses of progressive rock, I truly think the highs of Yes' music are among the very highest in ALL OF MUSIC. Period. I never knew how magical music could be until I found this group.

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Tue Aug 16 2022
5

I get up! I get doooown!! One of my favorite records ever and maybe THE definitive headphone album of all time. (Pink Floyd doesn’t have a pipe organ, sorry.) I haven’t listened to enough prog to really say this is the high mark of the genre, but it sure as shit feels that way. I really think it has so much to do with Jon Anderson’s voice. The rest of the band all go ten directions at once, but that voice - it always cuts through the mix and invites me in. In some ways, it’s a really sweet record; the main melody of “And You and I” feels like it could be a Cat Stevens song sung in a higher register. I think that’s what makes Yes the G.O.A.T. When they’re at their best, the vocals and melody isn’t there just to support the progressiveness of the composition of what the other instruments are doing. It soars above all that. But goddamn the instruments. Insane. The synthy moment in the 2nd movement of “And You and I” always makes me think of 2001: A Space Oddysey. It’s transportive and catharsis in such a specific way. Ditto that pipe organ in the title track. Craig, I’ll recommend finding a clip of them playing the title track live back in the day. They’re on YouTube. You kind of have to commit to taking in that song without doing anything else for it to click, but if it clicks look out. Also, you know damn well that a bunch of teens saw these dudes playing twenty minute songs while literally dressed in capes and were like, “Yeah, fuuuck that.” And thus punk was born. Which is awesome! But so is Yes.

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Fri Oct 28 2022
5

One of my favourite albums already so I think you know what the score will be! This is dad rock and I stole it out of my dad's record collection..... These musicians were at the peak of their trade. It's a pleasure from start to finish. If some people want to pigeonhole this and close their ears that is their choice but this is pretty damned near perfect. Constantly changing and reinventing, never dull and played, produced and sang with a skill beyond 99% of todays wannabes. That slow building opening leading the the explosion of sound is like no other. It never lets up and stays with you for the rest of your life if you open your soul.

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Thu Dec 28 2023
5

Close to the Edge is the greatest progressive rock album ever made. A perfect 5 star record, not a wasted note to be found. Perfection. ::chef’s kiss::

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Tue Jan 23 2024
5

Only three songs. And yet, all three of them are key songs in their repertoire, ones that have been played now for over 50 years. And I never tire of hearing them. They are perfect songs to me, each member working in perfect sync. It's hard to believe that this was it for Bill Bruford, but really there's nowhere else for him to go in that band. The only flaw in this album is that "Siberian Khatru" fades out, when the live versions have a better ending (at least for me). This is the album I would tell people if they think they know Yes, they truly have not heard them. One of my favorite albums of all time.

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Fri Feb 12 2021
4

Ich bin irgendwie zutiefst betroffen, dass es den Tod gibt und damit solcherlei Entdeckungen ganz unverschämt einschränkt sind; und doch bin ich auch von dieser Entdeckung zutiefst getröstet.

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Sat May 29 2021
4

This one was definitely hard to wrap my head around and needed a second listen. Even as a fan of progressive metal I found Close to the Edge pretty overwhelming. It's easily enough material for two full rock albums pressed into one 18 minute song. The question of how good it is - outside of just being complex - is a different one. While I enjoy the different styles and experimentation, I am sort of missing a feeling of cohesiveness where the different styles and elements would point in the same direction. Another point of objection is the vocals, which are somewhat bland and don't feel like they do justice to the mind-boggling instrumentation. This turned out a difficult one to rate as well. I'd like to give a 4.5, but I'll round it down because the Simon & Garfunkel was sort of awkward.

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Tue Aug 17 2021
4

I’m not really a big fan of prog outside of Pink Floyd nor do I particularly like Jon Anderson’s voice. However the bass goes bwoom.

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Tue Oct 26 2021
4

prog that doesn't make me want to die

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Tue Feb 08 2022
4

This is our second Yes record out of our first 100 or so. I was really surprised by how much better this one held together for me. The intricacy of the arrangement feels much more melodic and restrained than Fragile. It's like they toned down the goofiness and came out the other side with a much more cohesive and moving record. Now I see what all the fuss is about. Favourite track: Close to the Edge

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Sat Oct 09 2021
3

J'ai écouté cet album dans le train qui allait m'amener au Generator Hostel. Autant vous dire que j'en avais la boule au ventre et que je n'ai pas pu pleinement apprécier son contenu.

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Sat Oct 17 2020
2

Now I understand why people aren't interested in prog. The shorter the tracks get, the better they are by far.

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Thu Jan 27 2022
2

This sounds like good musicians made songs to prove they were good at music. Not for me.

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Sat Dec 16 2023
2

I liked the organ, but that's about it. It's a no for this Yes album.

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Thu Oct 12 2023
1

Highly skilled but ultimately dull, egocentric, screeching drivel.

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Sun Nov 26 2023
1

1. cloze to the edge - 1 2. and you and i - 1 3. ziberian khatru - 1 4. america - 1 5. total mazz retain - 0 6. alternate and you and i - 1 7. ziberia run through - 0

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Tue Apr 20 2021
5

Amazing and the type of 80s rock i love

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Fri Dec 03 2021
5

5/5. Holy cannoli, I kinda slept on this one. Might actually be better than ITCOTCK

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Sat Dec 18 2021
5

Absolutely enthralling. This album grabs balls and never lets go as it shifts from delight to delight.

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Thu Dec 30 2021
5

Such a perfect, beautiful, creative, and progressive album that you’ll feel like you’re tripping even when you aren’t. This album turns your mind inside out. The first track, “Close to the Edge”, in its four part composition, might just be the greatest prog rock composition ever penned.

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Tue Jan 18 2022
5

The best prog-rock album ever made. Brilliant writing and instrumentation across the album. Just overall brilliant album.

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Mon Feb 14 2022
5

Ok, progressivo!!! Muito bom mesmooooo!

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Wed Feb 16 2022
5

Great, very remeninscing dont know from what though

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Wed Feb 23 2022
5

5.5….classic of classics ,cut my rock and roll teeth on this album when it came out…awesome

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Sun Mar 06 2022
5

that was actually really good. Listened to the deluxe edition cause that’s what it showed, which added some cool songs and alternate versions. The first song felt like one large build, and the pay off made the strange guitar parts well worth it. Didn’t care for the third song as much as the first two but overall a great album.

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Thu Mar 24 2022
5

Be sure to check out Steven Wilson's recent remastering of this album!

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Mon Apr 04 2022
5

A prog masterpiece. The opening track especially just has such a drive to it and is constantly evolving that it's 18 minutes fly by. Various genres and styles are executed pretty perfectly and blended together seamlessly across the entire album. It's a real highlight of the prog golden age, and the best record of Yes' discography imho

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Tue Apr 05 2022
5

Reminds me of high school. I wasn’t even alive in the 70’s (or the 80’s and most of the 90’s for that matter), I’m just a nerd.

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Thu Apr 07 2022
5

the rhythm changes!! the vocals!! the organ!! the synergy!!! the guitar!! the drums the bass!!! the damn organ!! i feel enlightened.

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Wed Apr 20 2022
5

I could throw so many adjectives at this album: lush, intricate, melodic, ambitious, funky, brilliant. They are of course amazing musicians, and this is them at their best, with songs that do justice to their ability. My favourite prog album.

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Tue May 03 2022
5

Really liked this, the transitions especially some of them in "Close to The Edge..." were very unexpected but brilliant, I really enjoyed this.

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Tue Jun 07 2022
5

oh holy shit 3 songs, 37+minutes. what in tarnation? Close To The Edge is heckin rad! woah what an incredible album

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Mon Jun 20 2022
5

probably the best prog album there is

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Fri Jul 08 2022
5

I love this album!! Already listened to it

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Thu Jul 14 2022
5

This fucking album got recommended to me in 2008 from a guild member in World of Warcraft. We used to sync up music and shit in our spare time. This album came up, I think it's peak old man rock. Not to confused with Dad rock or butt rock.

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Mon Jul 18 2022
5

I typically get sick of albums if I listen to them to often but Close to the edge is an exception, probably due to the fact that it’s so multi-layered and complex, and EVERY single band member is on top of his virtuosic game on this album. I wish I had some sort of counter so I could keep track of how many times I’ve played this since I discovered the band in the 70s. The 18 min opener is probably Yes’ magnum opus, it’s so chaotic yet so magnificently coherent when it gets going, and the climactic singing near end at the 17 minute mark never fails to give me goosebumps, every single fricking time! The other songs are all very solid, Siberian Khatru. This is Peak Prog and Peak Yes folks.

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Wed Aug 03 2022
5

This is my jam. Timeless progressive rock.

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Tue Aug 23 2022
5

Varför spelar inte jag i Yes?? Allt jag vill är att vara en progrockare med blommor i håret

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Wed Aug 24 2022
5

Not first time listening to whole album. Not gonna be the last.

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Wed Aug 24 2022
5

Not the first time listening to the whole album. Not going to be the last.

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Wed Sep 07 2022
5

Killer album. I love Bruford's work here and in King Crimson. Progggggg

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Sat Oct 01 2022
5

5/5. A wild and musically expressive album. There was no filler and each song stands out on its own. The lyrics don’t quite make sense but the voice is beautiful. It feels like I’m listening to a feeling.

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Wed Oct 19 2022
5

Best Prog Rock, neo-classical, early synthesizer

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Sat Oct 22 2022
5

The first song is utterly brilliant and that alone makes this a five for me.

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Mon Oct 24 2022
5

Okay, this is really good timing. Saturday after next I'm going to see Yes's 50th anniversary tour for this album. I'm not super super familiar with this album like I am with Fragile, so let's give it another whirl! The opening title track is a right proper prog epic, with movements and subsections, leitmotifs and everything I want. Second track is also really catchy and proggy, but the bass stands out a lot, and I like that. So far, not really a bad song on the album. Good stuff!

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Fri Nov 04 2022
5

A masterpiece by one of the quintessential prog rock bands of the 70s.

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Tue Nov 08 2022
5

Unapologetically prog. I like a lot of the transitions here, it goes all over the place but never feels off.

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Sun Nov 13 2022
5

Brilliant piece of music. Close to the Edge is an 18 minute long masterpiece, almost like a symphony with movements and changes, all variations on the main theme. And You and I is the same way, 10 minutes long, a symphony as well, the last track Siberian Khatru is the shortest song on the album, still clocking in at 8 minutes and great as well.

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Wed Dec 14 2022
5

Dad loved it. I’m wasn’t so sure. Loved it 🥰

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Wed Dec 21 2022
5

Another masterwork by Yes. It has all of the bombast & pomp associated with prog, but is as accessible as anything.

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Mon Jan 02 2023
5

One strong Yes album, easily in my top 5.

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Thu Jan 05 2023
5

I'm admittedly a bit surprised this album is on the list. I'm familiar with it and know that as much as I loved it growing up... it's definitely not gonna be for everyone, and even might be tough for some who casually enjoy some old Yes. You're getting through an 18 minute song right off the bat - it'd be hilarious if someone got Close To The Edge right after The Ramones, say. It's an adventure though, and if you're not inclined to listen to long songs give it just one legit chance, and the best way - only way, really - is to immerse yourself. i.e. don't have it on your phone as you're making dinner - sit and listen or put on headphones in bed. The title track has considerable dissonance until the band locks in to a few themes so it's not an easy entry but absolutely worth the trip; "And You And I" is the highlight and was always a favourite song of theirs - to me it never seems as long as it is; that's at least one you can play for company :D In the end though, I can't ever properly conceive how anyone could even write music like this - this album is like a 40 minute dream world and to this day every time I listen to it I hear something new. That's probably why I'm still mesmerized by it. TL;DR: Unlike anything else I've ever heard. Put headphones on and get lost. 9/10 5 stars.

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Wed Jan 11 2023
5

One of the best prog albums of all time. Never fails to impress me.

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Wed Jan 11 2023
5

Always hear something new in this every time I listen. One of the greatest albums of all time, and one of the most important albums in my favorite style of music, prog.

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Mon Jan 16 2023
5

Awesome! One of the best prog rock albums of all time.

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