|Close to the Edge||1972||3.02/pi|
Imagine the birthday cake of Louis XIV, created by five of the king’s master pastry chefs, a monstrous monument slathered in great gobs of icing, studded with chocolate truffles, supported by intricately carved caramel pillars, topped with a life-size statue of the man himself…it may be the most delicious, awe-inspiring cake you’ve ever tasted, but its very existence is in some way an atrocity.
If that kinda thing appeals to you, run out and get this album right now. If you prefer Twinkies, pick up the latest Britney Spears album instead. If fresh, slightly burnt homemade cookies are what wet your whistle, dig out some lo-fi indie rock record.
But don’t hate Yes. They only want love and peace and bunny rabbits and things like that. Plus, they actually wrote some pretty damn spectacular music when they were able to get their shit together—and this is just such an occasion. My vote for standout track is “Siberian Khatru”, built around a keyboard riff that sounds like it belongs in one of the Final Fantasy games. But all three songs are winners, and there’s really not a boring patch on the whole album. The band is on all cylinders, churning out long yet perfectly constructed solos, cute atmospheric nature-y sound effects, and beautiful harmonies like they’re going out of style (which, in fact, they shortly would be, thanks in large part to this album’s follow up…but that’s a story for another day.) It has some of the dumbest lyrics ever committed to tape, but hell, so does Please Please Me, and in the end, this is just as vibrant and joyful an album.