Monday 12 November 2012

Close to The Edge (Yes, 1972)

The title track of Yes' fifth album is another long song (some 17 minutes) and - IMHO - another masterpiece. As usual, I don't even try to "explain" the track - lyrics nor music -  I just write down my feelings. I still remember my first listening, a very hard try. The first 2 or 3 minutes of the suite were a real challenge, an apparently messy wall of sound that knocked me out. I gave up and put on an Abba record instead!

The album's inside drawing illustrating the song.

Later, I tried again and won the big prize. I saw the song building up before my eyes (yes, eyes, not only ears...) and the messy sounds getting more and more solid. The song evolved like a living being, passing through different phases: rock ballad, heavy, sacred hymn, and back to rock'n'roll. Epic, this was the word (...and still is).

Being the incurable romantic I am, the Rick Wakeman's solo at the pipe organ will always be my favourite passage of "Close to The Edge", but I like the whole lot, a perfect clockwork mechanism. More recently (English is not my mother tongue) I focused on the lyrics. I know... Yes' lyrics are usually considered too pretentious, anyway I like these ones. They fit into the music admirably. I'm not a philosopher, but I see a spiritual journey from darkness and confusion to light and order, and the words are carefully chosen to strengthen the song's musical impact. Last but not least, Jon Anderson's voice always moves me.

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