Still, Union has some nice Trevor Rabin moments like "Lift Me Up", the excellent Squire track "The More We Live" (which I knew from the nearly identical Conspiracy version he recorded with Billy Sherwood, which just goes to show how musicians can get personal about getting their own voice in the recordings) and the very cool "Shock to the System" in which YesEast pretends to be YesWest, even though I'm not fully convinced it's Howe playing the rhythm guitar in the main riff, despite what most websites say -- I read somewhere that the producer Jonathan Elias played "additional guitars", so it just has to be there. "I Would Have Waited Forever" sounds like a mix of Big Generator-era Yes and GTR, which means it's an okay track if you're in the right mood. But overall is weird to hear them in the 90s still trying to copy that 1983 Trevor Horn sound... ah, the desire of scoring a hit again, an ambition they would soon abandon when they went back to the 70s style prog a few years later. Another observation is that Jon's voice sounds tired at times throughout the album. That doesn't show in later albums like The Ladder... I guess his heart just wasn't in it.
Now, rewind 13 years: Tormato. An unfocused album, with lots of forgettable moments, even within otherwise good songs. But one can find great gems there. "Onward", a beautiful piece. "Release, Release", one of 70's Yes' rare rockers, in the "Going for the One" vein. "Madrigal", in extreme contrast, with Yes in its most baroque mood, complete with harpsichords, harps and classical guitars. On this one, like some stuff from "Union", you have to be in the mood to enjoy it. The oddly titled "Arriving UFO" is actually a cool track; and with a name like that the lyrics are obviously typical Jon Anderson craziness. At least he starts with "I could not take it oh so seriously really, When you called and said you'd seen a UFO". And to wrap it up, the best track of the album: "On the Silent Wings of Freedom". The instrumental intro building up the anticipation for the first verse is nothing short of perfect. One of my favorite Yes tracks, definitely.
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