Many Yes fans really dislike this album. However, it is a disc, as much of the classics in the group's catalog are, that is not fully appreciated on the first few listenings. You really need to give this one the time to sink in. The faithful in Yes' fandom had very high hopes for this release, as it was the first full studio album after Steve Howe re-joined the group. Many were anticipating another Close to the Edge. The disc certainly does not live up to that standard. It actually works better serving as a bridge between the classic Yes sound of the '70s and the more pop-oriented Trevor Rabin-era material. It also seems at times to carry on in the direction begun with such albums as Tormato and Drama. There are some fine songs in the set, but there are also a few pieces that are worthy of the contempt of the diehards. There are at least a couple of standout tracks here that would, having been released on a different album, probably have become Yes classics and fan favorites. The title track is one of those that seems to merge the '70s and '80s Yes styles, but it also has leanings in the direction of Chris Squire's solo release, Fish out of Water. That Squire styling is really natural since the song was originally intended for a new solo album from the bassist. Among the other tracks that are highlights here are "Universal Garden" (a very intriguing number that seems to combine the classic Yes sound with some tendencies toward Jon Anderson's solo work), "Fortune Seller," and "Wonderlove" (one that feels a lot like an extension of the band's work just prior to their 1980 split). On the other end of the spectrum come "No Way We Can Lose" (essentially a new attempt at the reggae-ish Rabin-era cut "Saving My Heart") and "Man on the Moon" (a trite pop ditty with very weak lyrics). The rest of the album fits more toward the middle ground in terms of quality. There are two versions of the disc out there: the first standard release and a surround-sound edition (the first album ever released in that format). If you have a surround-sound system, or intend to get one, you should try to pay the extra money for that version. The sound of the CD really envelops you, and it becomes an expansive experience when played in that format. The only thing missing from that version is the hidden track at the end of the original release. Since that track was really not much more than an extended piece of atmosphere, it is not really a loss.
Open Your Eyes Review
by Gary Hill