SD 16019 Drama
Produced by Yes
Released on August 18, 1980
UK CHART POSITION #2 . . . US CHART POSITION #18
Find it at GEMM
SD 16019 cover  

The loss of Rick Wakeman was sustainable, but could Yes survive without founding vocalist Jon Anderson? The decision to replace the veterans with then-minor leaguers Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn (aka The Buggles) hardly boded well, but Drama turned out to be a better album than Tormato. (Okay, so that was a pretty low bar to clear.) The quintet returns to the aggressive sound of Going for the One, with Chris Squire and Alan White in particular providing driving rhythms that were not coincidentally conducive to filling spacious arenas. Steve Howe, audibly absent on Yes’ last album, conjurs up enough of his patented guitar magic to please his supporters, while Geoff Downes does a remarkably good job of filling in the arrangements with an array of sounds. Trevor Horn, asked to fill the biggest shoes of all, does a pretty fair job of emulating Anderson’s airiness (albeit by way of Sting). The arrangements don’t always support the epic running times, but there are some fine moments on here: “Run Through the Light,” “Into the Lens” and “Does It Really Happen?” would have felt at home on Going for the One. The material does sound affected on occasion (usually when Horn is allowed to take the spotlight), and “Machine Messiah” reveals some confusion over which direction to take: to embrace the portentous rock exemplified by Pink Floyd’s The Wall or incorporate new wave and hard rock elements like The Who? Critics are likely to note the concessions to contemporary music that Drama makes, but it stays true to the band’s history, whether it’s the self-referential plug in “Tempus Fugit” or the decision to continue with Anderson’s imagist lyrics. Though it can be viewed as a last gasp or a last hurrah, Drama gives the remaining trio a chance to flash their chops one more time. It effectively ends one chapter, and marks the beginning of another… Asia.

SD 16019 outer gatefold SD 16019 lyric sleeve
SD 16019 outer gatefold SD 16019 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. MACHINE MESSIAH    10:27
  2. WHITE CAR    1:21
  3. DOES IT REALLY HAPPEN?    6:34
  4. INTO THE LENS    8:31
  5. RUN THROUGH THE LIGHT    4:39
  6. TEMPUS FUGIT    5:14

    All songs written & arranged by Yes

CREDITS

GEOFF DOWNES -- keyboards & vocoder
TREVOR HORN -- vocals & bass (5)
STEVE HOWE -- guitars & vocals
CHRIS SQUIRE -- bass, vocals & piano (5)
ALAN WHITE -- percussion & vocals
Eddie Offord -- backing tracks producer
Hugh Padgham -- recording engineer
George Chambers -- tape operator
Gary Langan -- mixing engineer
Julian Mendelsohn -- mixing engineer
Roger Dean -- cover painting
David Clarke -- inside cover photograph
Magnetic Storm Ltd. -- cover design

return to YES discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK August 18, 1980 Atlantic LP/CS    
US August 18, 1980 Atlantic LP/CS/8T SD/CS/TP 16019 gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
US Sep/Oct 1994 Atlantic CD 82685 digital remaster

 

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