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I couldn't wait to buy the album. Going to my record store, I found it, brought it home and gazed at the artwork.
It was the most amazing package I'd seen to that point. Beautiful watercolor paintings and the poster that came with the record just rounded out the experience for me. I could go into a song-by-song retrospect ad nauseam, but this review is mainly a flashback. Suffice it to say, this album is the perfect starting point for anybody who wants a friend or loved one to hear what prog's all about.
This is a bonefide 5-star classic of the highest order and if not for KC's "Crimson King The rest is frankly dull to dreadful, not a patch on Close to the Edge which is their best effort by far or the Yes Album. Sure, they play incredibly well but the songs aren't up to much, especially the individual concepts which are mostly rubbish Squire's effort excepted.
Two stars only. Report this review Posted Tuesday, September 6, Review Permalink jorgdisseldor Fragile is one of the best Yes album if not the best. The first album with the cooperation of mastermind Rick Wakeman, who takes the band on to a whole other level. My personal favorite is Heart of the Sunrise I love the complexity but not pushing it anywere, with beautiful words of anderson and great bass stuff of squire not especially hard but not seen like this before.
The only reason this doesn't get 5 stars from me is the solo tracks weaved in betwen the group efforts; let's start with these first.
So that track re-appeared, rewritten, on "Six Wives". But this is a Yes album and its the group tracks that really matter. It's driven along by Chris Squire's bass; then there's that Wakeman Hammond solo in the middle - not the flashiest he's ever done, that's not the point; it's just so right for the song.
The album finishes with another Yes standard, "Heart of the Sunrise", with a beautiful melody, backed by powerhouse instrumentals. If I were being really pickey, I might say that the instrumental build-up at the start, and the keyboard noodling in the middle, go on just a teensey-bit longer than they should. The one track I haven't mentioned is one of the most under-rated tracks they've done - "South Side of the Sky" which is apparently about explorers freezing to death on an arctic expedition - you know, with that information the lyrics make some sense, though I wouldn't have known otherwise.
Wakeman makes a dramatic piano break in the middle that heralds the start of a simple but quite lovely vocal harmony break - Yes especially Anderson had an ear for a great tune, and they can sing even Steve Howe, in harmony anyhow! This track on stage last year was a highlight with guitar and keyboards duelling at the climax. Although the Rhino CD releases are lovingly restored, and the art-work is pretty good given the size limitation of a CD, I still fondly hang onto the booklet that came with the original vinyl release, which includes the only Roger Dean artwork I've seen with "real" people in it a climber on a steep mountain.
It's a landmark album let down by the perceived need to give each member of the band a solo spot. Nonetheless, it's prog at its best. Report this review Posted Wednesday, September 21, Review Permalink Rafael In Rio Funny as some records seems to make a huge success among the prog fans, this record has a classic problem: solo works, individual works. Roundabout and Heart of the Sunrise are excellent and are among the most influential songs in the prog history, but what about the rest? Are you Remembering More or Meddle? Fragile is a kind of a transitional album, inferior to yes album, a bridge to Close to the Edge, their apex.
Its not this a bad record, but to my taste, it has characteristics I don't like as I said before. Why everybody else seems to like yes and not other prog bands?
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Because they are very melodic and heavenly, but not so aggressive, so people tends to accept their music Oh, i almost forget, this record IS essential. The three large works "Roundabout", South Side of the Sky", and "Heart of the Sunrise" are all excellent and the songs in between are small ear catchers.
We hear each person in this group contributing his own composition and we get a taste of each players individuality. Songs like Bill Brufords interesting drum excercise "Five Percent for Nothing", Steve Howe's lovely classically textured "Mood for a Day" and the subtle dynamics and repetition of "The Fish" are great pieces of music. These songs are smattered about the record because this is what Yes was. A wonderfully diverse group of musicians who at this point in their journey was never satisfied with what they had already done, so they went on creating better music.
I agree that Close to the Edge is their masterpiece, the pinnacle of their career, but Fragile worse than the Yes Album? Give me a Break! That album has but three memorable songs and the hit song Ive seen all good people is so overplayed that any true Yes fan should hate it by now. It is absolutely mind-boggling that any Yes fan can not like this album. Report this review Posted Wednesday, September 28, Review Permalink RoyalJelly People on this site often tend to judge albums as if the entire progressive catalogue has always existed, but in understanding any kind of music, it's important to put yourself in the time frame of the music at the time it happened.
In , I was 14 years old, and received "Fragile" through an otherwise very commercial Record-of-theMonth Club. I can only say today, it was as if a light went off in my tiny teenage brain, and perhaps life was never the same after that. Of course, today these sounds and influences have been recycled and rehashed to death by all the clone bands worshipped on these pages, but it's easy to forget the fact that somebody had to INVENT that stuff in the first place.
The sound of "Fragile", when it came out was as new and shocking at the time as say, "Deloused in the Crematorium", by the Mars Volta is today. The hard, cutting yet melodic bass sound wrought by master Squire tightly coupled with Bruford's ringing snare and inventive syncopation, Howe's stinging guitar architectonics, all this did not exist before Fragile.
The concept album was in its infancy, having been trail-blazed by Zappa, Magma, the Kinks and the Beatles without whom none of us would be reading these pages , and Yes would deliver some of the finest examples in their next three, but to underestimate the importance of this album would be a misreading of the developments that lead to what we ackwardly label "progressive" music. Even with its admitted weaknesses Wakeman's Brahms outting especially "Fragile" was a revolutionary step forward that most bands could only dream of.
The only 2 songs on this album I can comfortably listen to are 'the fish', 'five percent for nothing' and 'heart of the sunrise. I don't usually like taking songs out of place of their albums but I just find the other tracks embarresing. My favourite band is pink floyd so I suppose i prefer the darker or psychadelic side of prog. My preferred use of acoustic folky instruments in prog would be displayed by algarnas tradgard. I don't find this album very profound, the lyrics relation to the ambiance of the song is weak, the 'mood' of the songs seem mostly the same and some sections seem like a guitar excercise rather than having any meaning to the listener.
I also really don't like the now outdated synth sound of the album,especially on cans and brahms. I dont think this is just a matter of the age, listen to some of PF's early stuff or sgt peppers which have aged perfectly well. I'm inclined To think I would have found this sound annoying when the album was released just as I would now if it were released.
I wouldn't recommend this to anyone with a similar taste in music as mine, having said that 'prog' is not a genre that defines your taste and I'm sure there are lots of people who would love this album. To understand the real meening of "Fragile"in the music of the early 70's, you have to go back in time. In the video Yesyears,Rick Wakeman describes his 1st rehersal with Yes. He saw the band playing alive before , as Yes did some shows with Strawbs, and was very impressed indeed. This was a mutual feeling though. When Chris Squire called him to join the band,Wakeman agreed to make some rehersals and the band was starting to work on "Heart of the Sunrise".
Wakeman was so impressed with the band consistence and with each band member talent that has droped Strawbs since then. Although "Yes Album"marked the 1st Yes commercial success-also a very good album-"Fragile"probably was the 1st Yes Masterpiece. Here you will find for the 1st time Yes at their plenitude of talent and creativity with the intricante arrangements and textures that please their audiences untill those days.
Starting with an outrageous bass line, it is the perfect example of a genuine and perfect prog song. If you know someone that do not know what progressive rock is, please just give a CD with "Heart of the Sunrise"and he will urderstand promptly.
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Highs and Lows, moog sinths,mellotrons,piano,organs, then electric guitar, acoustic guitar , different lines of bass and drums it is a real piece of art for any music lover and it is a nightmare to any instrumentist that wants to play their arrangements. Music for masters! But "Fragile" is not only "Heart of the Sunrise". With such creativityand inovative arrangements , the band started to use solo as rithym and vice versa. That becomes one of the bands most strongs marks! Also the music aproach constantly changes,from classical to rock , then some jazz, Bruford drums speed remains incontant, perfectly fitting Chris Squires Bass.
During all the album! A real classic , the first YES masterpiece, "Fragile" has passed on the time test.
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Curiouslly, becames even better everytime you play it! It is amazing how much airplay this track still gets but it is an amazing pop song. One should not let its gross popularity, or its basis for the song Love Machine, detract from its brilliance. I believe the weakness of this album is the little snipets from Wakeman, Bruford and Anderson. Squire's the fish has become so identified with Long Distance Runaround that it works well.
The remaining tracks are strong material and show the band coming into its own, defining the style that would come to characterize Yes. The songs have great hooks and a spiritual intensity that the band probably never reached again. Not that it was all downhill from here but the balance of pop songwriting and epic grandeur found its place on Fragile on Roundabout and South Side of the Sky.
I could not imagine a collection without it but I do wish that the band woudl play another encore except for Roundabout. That's the simplest way to put it. Whenever I listen to it I constantly sit around waiting for most of the tracks to finish so I can get to the two or three good songs. First off, Roundabout, the famous introduction-to-Yes tune, is a mediocre song. At times it is engaging, but otherwise the vocal melodies sound basic and uninspired.
Then the album putzes around with boring fillers and we find ourselves at "South Side of the Sky" which is finally a quality track on the album. It might be worthy of Yes's reputation. After impatiently waiting through "The Fish", we hear the first and only good filler track on the album, "Mood for a Day. Seriously though I'm torn between offering this album 2 or 3 stars.
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The sole reason it might be worth getting is that thorough proggers ought to know their Yes. But then you realize that's a terrible reason for offering more stars than it's worth. I just can't believe this band followed up this album with Close to the Edge in the same year because CttE is masterful. It gets two stars because I know I'd never recommend it. It features overall the greatest group efforts as well as phenomenal solo efforts from each member of the band.