|1. Owner of a Lonely Heart|
|2. Hold On|
|3. It Can Happen|
|5. Cinema (Live)|
|6. Leave It|
|7. Our Song|
|8. City of Love|
|10. Leave It (Single Remix Bonus Track)|
|11. Make It Easy (Bonus Track)|
|12. It Can Happen (Cinema Version)|
|13. It's Over (Bonus Track)|
|14. Owner of a Lonely Heart (Extended Version) (Previously Unreleased Bonus Track)|
|15. Leave It (A Capella Version Bonus Track)|
Though they had never sounded like this before!
90125 is not progressive rock. It would sit better next to bands like The Police or The Darkness rather than bands like ELP or Jethro Tull. Stadium rock guitar and big catchy choruses, that's what you'll find here. Production, courtesy of Trevor Horn (who sung for Yes on their album Drama) though very echoey and 1980s, is dense, well mixed and features some then groundbreaking studio tricks, such as the sampled orchestra hit and drum break on the popular "Owner of a Lonely Heart".
Though not progressive, a small trace of what Yes was in the 1970s still lingers in the songs. Who else but Yes could make a pop rock album like this? The cheeky time signature shifts at the start of "Changes", the verbose, baffling lyrics in the bridge of "Hold On", and the mystic, Awaken-esque coda to "Hearts" would probably not be there if this was a Trevor Rabin solo album. The infectious optimism is still there, as is the wide range of instruments on display. There's sitar on "It Can Happen", xylophone on "Changes", and plenty of fascinating synths and samplers throughout.
As an 1980s pop rock album, it's really good. Though "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and the acapella laced "Leave It" are the catchiest by far, I would have said that any of these tracks could have been a hit single. "Hold On" and "It Can Happen" both have plenty of hooks and messages of encouragement. "Changes" is a love song that features Trevor Rabin singing verses and Jon Anderson and Chris Squire doing the chorus. "Cinema" is a powerful, evocative instrumental recorded live in the studio. It features the flange effect Chris Squire's bass had on the album "Drama". "Our Song" alternates between a drum driven anthem and soaring, sentimental ballad (Jons vocals are great!). "City of Love" is a gritty snarl with the biggest sounding chorus on the album. It literally sounds like a roomful of people singing their heart out (great production Trevor Horn!). The airy "Hearts" doesn't have the punch of the other tracks, and ambles along it's 7 minutes, but it's got a cozy feel and a warm and fuzzy message, which puts usually a smile on my face. They are all quality tracks.
The CD booklet is pretty thin compared to some of the other Rhino re-releases, but still pretty satisfying. There's an essay by Brian Ives (who argues that Trevor Rabin saved Yes and needed to join), lyrics, and a couple of black and white shots of the band.
And bonus tracks? Yes, there's a few. Nothing as good as the album material. There are two b-sides, both of which are pure Trevor Rabin. "Make it Easy" is a mid tempo rocker and has some nice keyboard work, while "It's Over" is a pretty standard breakup song with plenty of synths, chugging guitar, a big sound chorus and a theme suspiciously similar to Siberian Khatru. There are two more versions of Leave It, the single version and an acapella version. The single version adds a few more keyboards, a violin, and some extreme panning to some of the vocals. The acapella version is just the album version with the vocals by themselves. It works too, since Trevor Horn is such a great producer of vocals. (He'd later make the most of this talent while producing artists like Seal in the 1990s.) There's a Cinema version of "It Can Happen", which uses a guitar instead of a sitar and whose harmonies are lacking that special something without Jon Anderson. The Owner of a Lonely Heart remix is interesting. Samples of the original song are played in different pitches against a more danceable version of the main hook. It's pretty silly, and sounds like it was thrown together pretty quickly, but the sounds jumping across the speakers to keep you interested. They definitely don't do remixes quite like this any more!
I'd recommend 90125 to those who want quality 1980s pop music, and for those curious about Trevor Rabin era Yes. If you don't like pop rock that much, and prefer Yes' progressive rock side, I suggest you stick to their 1970s stuff, or even the Keysstudio album if you'd like something more recent.