on January 25, 2003
Probably the best thing about the new edition of Fragile is the beautiful new packaging. The liner notes include many more photos and a hagiographic but interesting essay. Presumably the new packaging is supposed to recreate the original LP edition (which I don't own, so I can't comment on).
The bonus tracks: America is a fantastic song that I've never heard before buying this album. The "early rough mix" of Roundabout is a curio at best, and it doesn't sound much different than the final version. I think they should've put the single edit version of Roundabout on here instead.
Another good thing is that the "footsteps" at the beginning of South Side Of The Sky have been edited to instead be at the end of We Have Heaven. SSOTS is one of my favorite Yes songs and those footsteps annoyed me.
If you don't own Fragile on CD already, buy this edition immediately. If you already own the original CD release, I guess it depends on whether you're a big enough Yes fan to pay for new packaging and 1 1/2 additional songs.
on August 19, 2007
Yes has got to be one of the best progressive rock groups ever. They have great lyrics, great instrumental music, great vocals and their just plain cool. Jon Anderson is such a talented singer and his voice is amazing.
Fragile has the hit single Roundabout [best sing ever!] As well as features We Have Heaven, Heart of the Sunrise, South Side of The Sky and many more. This edition also features two bonus tracks America and Roundabout rough mix. I love the songs on this album and I also love the art. I think its very interesting.
Besides the amazing Jon Anderson on vocals Yes is made up of Steve Howe [Electric and acoustic guitars], Bill Bruford [drums and percussion], Chris Squire [Bass Guitar] and of coarse Rick Wakeman [keyboards, mellotrom and synthesizer].
So buy this CD without question. It is amazing and is a classic of rock. Yes is a great band and they are one of my favorites. I think I was born into the wrong generation. None of my friends like or know old bands like these. Oh well. That's not a problem. I still love Yes and other bands of old.
on November 5, 2003
While 1971's The Yes Album gave Yes their first exposure in the United States, Fragile was their first bona fide hit album. Cosmic keyboardist Rick Wakeman was brought into replace the talented but dangerously unadventurous Tony Kaye, thus completing the "classic Yes" lineup. The album consisted of four true songs, and five short-form compositions from each of the band members. It's a concept that works rather well.
The opener "Roundabout" was a huge hit, and rightfully so. Every single aspect of the song- vocals, guitars, keyboards, drums, and especially Chris Squire's ferocious and unrelenting bass- are perfect, and blended together to create one of the greatest classic rock songs of all time. No matter how many times I hear this on the radio, I'll never get tired of it.
"South Side Of The Sky" is one of my all-time favorite Yes songs. This is a band that rarely treads on the darker side of music, but when they do, it works great (i.e., future classics like "The Gates Of Delirium" and "Machine Messiah"). Bill Bruford gives a stupendous performance- it's probably the closest to straightforward rock 'n' roll as this jazz fusion drummer would ever get. Guitarist Steve Howe gives a hard and heavy performance comparable to Led Zeppelin. The middle section of the song, with Wakeman's foreboding piano and the gorgeous vocal harmonies, is the highlight of the entire album for me.
The three and a half minute "Long Distance Runaround" is pretty typical of early-70's AOR, but it's great nonetheless, with its playful guitar and rich rhythm section. "Heart Of The Sunrise" is the longest song Yes had recorded up to that point at eleven minutes. This is a true fan favorite that is played at most every Yes concert. However, to offer a dissenting opinion, I don't like this song. The opening section, while seeming brilliant the first time you hear it, loses its effect after being repeated ad nauseam what seems like constantly throughout the song. Jon Anderson gives an impressive unaccompanied vocal performance, but it really doesn't fit in the context of the song. "Heart Of The Sunrise" is just plain boring, to put it bluntly. It seems like it belongs on Yes's 1974 dud "Tales From Topographic Oceans."
The "solo" pieces are a mixed bag. Rick Wakeman's "Cans And Brahms" is pointless, as is Bill Bruford's 35-second "5% For Nothing" (even though it is interesting from a technical standpoint). Jon Anderson's "We Have Heaven" is upbeat and comical- it's a very fun little ditty. Steve Howe's acoustic solo "Mood For A Day" is good, but pales in comparison to the live version on 1973's Yessongs. Chris Squire's "The Fish (Shindleria Praematurus)" is easily the best of the solo spots- not only is it incredibly impressive; it's also very fun to listen to. "The Fish" is presented as an add-on to "Long Distance Runaround."
The bonus tracks include an early mix of "Roundabout" which is interesting to listen to once, but then becomes pointless, as it's not much different than the final version. Yes's cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "America" is a masterpiece. It's kind of misleading to call this a cover, as the only resemblance it has to the original is the lyrics. Steve Howe gives what is in my opinion his greatest guitar solo on the ten-minute track. If this were part of Fragile proper, it would be its best song.
The remastered and expanded Fragile is definitely a must-have for any music fan, if only for "Roundabout," "South Side Of The Sky," and "America."
on August 17, 2014
The very first Yes album that I ever heard and owned and it has a very special place in my heart. This masterpiece of prog contains individual contributions from each individual member - Can and Brahms by Wakeman, We Have Heaven by Anderson, Five Percent for Nothing by Bruford, The Fish by Squire and Mood For A Day by Howe - that are all quirky and brilliant pieces reflective of each member. The 4 other group written songs are also awesome tunes. Roundabout kicks off the album and as its hit status reflects, it one one of Yes' most defining songs of this period. South Side of the Sky and Long Distance Runaround are also prog rock classics that feature numerous time changes and brilliant musicianship from all members of the band. However, the standout for me has always been Heart of the Sunrise with its quiet intro combined with its slow build up into its numerous changes of direction finally xclimaxing with the ending crescendo. All in all - A MASTERPIECE. The new CD version also includes Yes' cover of Simon and Garfunkel's America which was never originally released on album but performed live many times. It is great to see it included here and only adds to the package. Totally recommended !!!!
on July 2, 2004
The reviewers below really hit it dead on: this is not Yes' most cohesive or best album, but it still is one of the essential albums in any rock collection. Every member of Yes is incredibly talented: Jon Anderson's raspy voice sounds like two people singing at the same time; Chris Squire plays bass as if it was a lead instrument; Steve Howe's guitar at times rings with classical underpinnings and at other times rips out overwhelming lightning fast rock riffs; Wakeman's only peer on keyboards is Keith Emerson; and I suspect Bill Bruford is one of the few drummers who could possibly anchor this much talent.
Without reviewing the songs individually, the music is some of the most complex to be produced by a mainstream rock band with extended instrumental passages which paint great musical landscapes. The lyrics are pure poetry, the meaning of which is not always ascertainable. In a way this enhances the band in that it allows Jon Anderson's voice to be a musical instrument communicating pure emotion without the necessity of resorting to the meaning of the words he is voicing.
Amazingly, 30 years after this album was released, YES! can still fill the 2500 seat Universal Amputheater in Los Angeles, with seats going for an average of $... a pop. That says a lot for the quality of the musicians and their compositions. And that is why this album is essential to a music collection.
Why buy the DVD-Audio?
CDs are harsh and brittle. They produce listening fatigue in minutes, and have always left me fiddling with the trebble in a feeble attempt correct the uncorrectable sound. Nothing worked. So, for serious music appreciation, I needed to resort to the long playing vinyl album. These have their own problems such as limited dynamic range, transient distortion, poor pressing quality, tape hiss and noise, scratches and thousands of pops and ticks, rumble, wow and flutter, and expensive playback equipment which needed care and tuning. And worst of all, I had to get up to flip the album half-way through!
DVD-Audio and SACDs fix these problems. Initially, I put on the CD of Yes' "Close to the Edge" just to assure myself that CDs aren't for extended listening. I then played the DVD-A and the vinyl of Fragile at the same time and flipped back and forth. The stereo track on the DVD-A revealed instruments which were burried on the vinyl: Steve Howe's guitar has a beautiful warmth to it which is missing on the vinyl -- the ring and sustain of the guitar notes at the beginning of Roundabout held on longer; the echo from the room in which Anderson was singing became more apparent; Wakeman's synthesizers sounded crystaline without harshness; and you could hear with clarity the wood of Bruford's sticks as they hit the rim of a drum. The 5.1 track reveals even more, most notably in "Cans and Brahms" when Wakeman hits a deep bass organ peddle and the room vibrates.
A must have album. If you have a DVD player, I also recommend Yes Live at the House of Blues and Keys to Ascension.
on June 26, 2004
My second favorite Yes album. It is one of the two best yes albums (also CTTE). I would recommend, if you never heard yes before, to get this album first. Then get Close to the edge. The five solo tracks are all amazing. Ricks "Cans and Brahms" (an adaption) has great arrangments and while it doesnt really fit with the album, many can still apprecitate, especially if you like the classical style or you are a keyboard player. Jons "We have Heaven" is like heaven where he does five different well fit and blissful vocal parts. Bill Brufords "Five per cent for nothing" is just insane. The music is taken from the percussion line and is a short instrumental song that is just insane. Chris Squires "The Fish" is amazing. He useing different sounds of the bass and has about 3 or 4 bass parts at a time. Steve Howes classic classical "Mood for a Day" ends the solos and a fine ending it is so that "Heart of the Sunrise" can jump in and scare you. The 4 group songs are all such amazing songs also including the classic hit "Roundabout", "South Side of the Sky", "Heart of the Sunrise" and "Long Distance Runaround". The group work, in my opinion, is better but this whole cd is amazing.
on June 23, 2004
From the opening notes of "Roundabout" through the closing strains of "Heart of The Sunrise", this is the first masterpiece by Yes. Fragile marks the entrance of keyboard master Rick Wakeman, and was the band's breakthrough effort. The first 2 albums missed the US charts, and "The Yes Album" only managed #40 despite it's overall strength. But "Fragile" broke through, and placed #4, followed by "Close To The Edge" at #3, "Yessongs" at #12 and "Tales from Topographic Oceans" at #6. "Fragile" also marks the first of Roger Dean's far-out artwork, which would remain a Yes trademark for the next 5 albums.
While all of the Yes albums from the early 70s (through 1975) are excellent, "Fragile" stands a bit above. "Close to the Edge", "Tales from Topographic Oceans: and "Relayer" are a bit less accessible (with all songs ranging from 9 minutes to 21+ minutes!). And the songs are just a tick better overall than "Yes Album". "Fragile" has a great mix of longer, complex songs like "South Side of The Sky" and "heart Of The Sunrise" (not to mention "Roundabout at 8+ minutes), but these are balanced with more concise songs like "Long Distance Runaround". It also spotlights the individual talents of the band members, each of whom contribute a "solo" piece. Each of these songs is great, and they add to the overall sum of the parts.
Skip the "hits" packages, and collections, go straight to "Fragile". Then get "Close to the Edge".
on April 28, 2004
Fragile (1972.) Yes's fourth album, and the first to feature new keyboardist Rick Wakeman.
It was in 1972 that Yes finally got together the line-up that is known as the "classic Yes" line up. The band had gone through several small line-up changes over the years they had been together, but it was here, on their fourth LP Fragile, that they had finally united the line up that would go down in classic rock history. This is the band's most popular album of the seventies, but does it live up to the hype that fans create around it? Read on for my review.
This album features two of the band's biggest hits, which is one of the reasons this album remains a fan favorite. The legendary classic rocker Roundabout is the first of these big hits. This is arguably the most popular song the band ever released, and it's one of their finest. The other hit is Long Distance Runaround. This song was never as popular as Roundabout, but it is no less excellent, and in my mind is the superior song of the two. The guitar intro to this song is one of the finest of its kind. But, like with any album, the good songs aren't just limited to the hits. Listen to South Side Of The Sky and you'll see what I mean. This song is a severely underrated masterpiece, and it's a real shame it never got and real recognition. The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) is another one of the forgotten works of art that this album has to offer. Admittingly, some of the songs on this album aren't too strong when compared to the other tracks on the album, but overall, this is a good album, and it's worthy of its title of the most popular Yes album.
Like the other Yes rereleases, this one features improved sound quality, expanded liner notes, and bonus tracks. The bonus tracks that you get on this reissue are a cover of the Simon and Garfunkel classic, America, and the early rough mix of Roundabout. Although the latter tune won't really appeal to anyone but the biggest Yes fans of all, the former is nothing short of excellent. The band's version of America was previously unavailable on any of their LPs, so it's good to finally have it on an actual album.
Overall, Fragile is an excellent album. If you're a fan of classic/progressive rock, you can't be without this album. It's a masterpiece from a time when rock and roll rocked the world, and almost never failed to please. This, my friends, is REAL rock and roll - not that junk that has been flooding the airwaves in recent years.
on March 25, 2004
Fragile, the fourth Yes record, is one of the most known and most loved not only in their catalog, but in progressive rock. It's the first to feature keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman and his neat little array of keyboards.
Yes music is complex and evocative, yet unlike cynical progressive rock groups like King Crimson and Pink Floyd, Yes are upbeat and optimistic. Jon Anderson's cryptic lyrics often baffle me, but he sings them with such joy and emotion, it doesn't matter.
This album is anchored by three epic songs, epic songs being a bit of a trademark with 'classic Yes' - the poppy "Roundabout", the blustery "South Side of the Sky" and the "Heart of the Sunrise". You can get lost in these tracks, they are so atmospheric and varied. It's never as simple as verse, chorus, verse, chorus with Yes. A piano solo might take over, the tempo may change, the boys might decide to jam, the moods may swing from intense to relaxed. You never quite know what you're going to hear. It's quite exciting in that way.
Sandwiched in between these epic songs we get something pretty unique. Each member of Yes has contributed a little song of their own for the album, showcasing the talents they have with their particular instrument.
We get to hear Rick Wakeman's effort first, "Cans and Brahms" a reinterpretation of a piece of music composed by Brahms, contemporizing the sound by using colourful keyboards. It's all right, not my favourite Yes track. The other members are a bit more creative with their tracks. Lead singer Jon Anderson creates catchy rhythms and harmonies with scraps of vocal lines in "We Have Heaven", Bill Bruford leads the band through 37 seconds of hiccupy jamming on "Five Percent for Nothing", Chris Squire weaves bassline on top of bassline in the funky "Fish", and Steve Howe gives us the beautiful acoustic guitar piece "Mood For a Day" (one of my favourite Yes songs).
There's not too many downsides to this album. For some, a few of the tracks may be a bit long winded and repetitive (particularly Heart of the Sunrise), but it does get a bit better with repeated listens. I personally don't like Long Distance Runaround, as it's a bit of a nothing song. Minor complaints, really. It's a quality CD.
The remaster and repacking is once again brilliant, we are really totally spoilt by the people at Elektra Entertainment. I hope more bands give us this kind of value for money with their re-issues, I really do. The sound is clearer than ever, the liner notes thorough (with lots of great pictures of the band members), and the bonus tracks worthwhile. It's good to see "America" attached to an actual album now, rather than having to get a compilation for it. The alternate version of "Roundabout" is rough, comparing it to the polished, released version shows just what a group of perfectionists the Yesmen are.
It's quality Yes, and would be an reasonable introduction to a newcomer, though Close to The Edge or the Yes Album maybe a slightly better introduction for the curious, as they are a little more accessible. Fragile isn't a difficult album, just might take a few more listens. It's a grower.
Lovers of 1970s popular music and progressive rock will enjoy this a lot. I strongly recommend it.
on March 17, 2004
When you face a superband like Yes, comparisons with their other works are tough to avoid, and this case is no exception. With all that's been said about "Roundabout" and how it brought the band to the forefront of the attention of most people, I cannot avoid to see the album and find a number of weak spots in it, when I compare it to the ones that came right before and after it, namely 'The Yes Album' (though without Wakeman and his brilliant and adventurous playing on it, I must conceed) and Yes' best album to date, 'Close to the Edge', a masterpiece from beginning to end.
In spite of the classics "Heart of the Sunrise" and "South Side of the Sky", 'Fragile' still feels a little bit "rough on the edges", perhaps because of the intercalation of collective works with individual tracks. Or who knows? Maybe I needed some Roger Dean cover on the album! (just kidding...) In any case, if I were to begin my Yes collection, I'd start off with the albums I mentioned earlier. Eventually you will get to this one, though.