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The Divisive Albums Podcast Episode 4: Yes’s Drama

For Episode Four, we travel back to 1980 and get to know five musicians who only worked all together one time. Three of them are what’s left of a prog-rock band after their singer and keyboardist left. The other two are a duo who write songs about the perils of technology using the finest recording equipment money can buy. Together, they fight crime. Or, well, they release an album together at any rate. Come explore Yes’s 1980 release, Drama!

Check out these SHOW NOTES!

0:00: Intro and Theme Song
0:21: About me and the podcast.
0:50: Introducing our band, with an upbeat heroic fanfare: Yes! …..Yes!
0:58: About the band, musically and personally.
1:30: On Yes’s status as a critical laughingstock.
1:49: HERE’S THE THING about Yes. They’re either REALLY GOOD….
2:11: ….or REALLY BAD.
3:33: Time warp to the late 70s, as Yes try to follow up Tormato, while punk rock has taken over the world…
3:55 …or so revisionist history would have you believe.
4:36: Either way, Yes’s attempt to write a new album goes catastrophically wrong.
4:47: Like “Their singer and keyboardist quit” wrong.
5:18: But manager Brian Lane comes to their rescue by uniting the remaining members with…
5:27: Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, AKA The Buggles!
5:36: Yeah, the Buggles you’re thinking of.
6:08: The Buggles are oblivious at first, but eventually catch on…
6:42: …and join the band, despite Horn’s trepidation.
6:48: Introducing the album for this episode, Drama!
7:15: A discussion of the album’s cover.
7:12: Discussing and presenting an excerpt from the album’s opener, “Machine Messiah”.
8:17: Discussion on the song’s heaviness.
8:34: On Yes’s frequent lineup changes.
9:18: Discussing Chris Squire (Bass) and Jon Anderson (Former Vocalist), who until Drama had been the two constants in the band.
9:45: The real test: Trevor Horn’s first vocals, and discussion thereof.
10:29: On the assistance of backing vocalists in rock bands.
11:40: Discussing Yes’s backing vocalists in particular.
11:52: Slowing down “Machine Messiah” and discussing its lyrics.
12:51: Who wrote what on Drama? Who can really say? Not the credits!
13:07: Introducing and discussing “White Car”.
13:52: The differences between Trevor Horn and Jon Anderson
13:37: On whose album Tusk actually is, and the irony of its reputation versus what’s actually on it.
14:55: An excerpt from and discussion of “Does It Really Happen?”
16:01: An excerpt from the 11/8 chorus of “Does It Really Happen?”
16:26: Talking about the song’s false ending, and its lead in to a bass solo.
17:16: Discussing the album’s length, and the track lengths.
18:09: Introducing “Into the Lens” and playing an excerpt from it.
19:13: Another excerpt, this one from later in the song, and discussing how this was the album’s main single.
19:55: A TRIVIA TANGENT into the history of music videos.
21:21: Go watch Yes’s video for “No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed”. Seriously. Just go now.
21:30: On the Second British Invasion caused by early MTV because Britain beat the US to the punch on the whole “music video” thing.
22:33: Discussion of and an excerpt from “Run Through the Light”, a moodier track re-worked from an earlier song.
23:03: How the single version of “Run Through the Light” differs from the album version.
23:19: Briefly discussing the Drama remaster’s bonus tracks.
23:43: The album’s closer, “Tempus Fugit”, which plays to everyone’s strengths.
24:48: What do I think of Drama as a whole?
25:30: And what did other people think of it?
26:12: On the truly divisive tour, thanks to Yes not bothering to mention the latest lineup changes.
27:25: What happened after Drama?
27:37: Squire and White formed a new band…
28:04: …when that didn’t work, they formed ANOTHER new band…
28:19: …which became a reincarnation of Yes…
28:34: …which reached new heights with the 90125 album!
29:01: And now there are TWO Yeses!
29:14: The one that Chris Squire was in until he died in 2015…
29:38: …and “Yes Featuring ARW”, which has some of the members people consider essential to Yes.
29:54: How did two Yeses come to be?
30:36: Geoff Downes had a pretty nice career in Asia before returning to Yes in 2011…
31:04: …but it was nothing compared to Trevor Horn’s becoming a superproducer.
32:40: Outro and Social Media. Twitter, Website, Discord, Patreon

Other Links:
Trevor Horn’s 2011 Red Bull Music Academy Interview, with a transcript. It goes over his whole career, and is long, but worth listening to.
An Interview with Trevor Rabin. It mainly discusses his new-at-the-time solo album, but he does discuss his misgivings about being in the reincarnated Yes in the early 80s.
A cover of “White Car” I did as part of a college course.

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