ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 19, 2002
By Steve Newton
Boy, you sure can catch a lotta flak from the hipsters in the Straight’s editorial department by keeping a five-disc Yes boxed set sitting on your desk for a coupla days. “If I ever hear ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’ again, it’ll be way too soon,” jibed one of the paper’s more cynical scribes as he studied the box with a look of contempt. And I could only reply, “It’s not their best tune, dude.” It’s common knowledge that the strongest Yes material was released way before the ponderous “Lonely Heart” became a radio staple in 1983. In actual fact, most of the good stuff came out between 1971 and ’72. So you could just go out and buy The Yes Album and Fragile and you’d have the lion’s share of Yes’s quality tunes.
But for hard-core fans who can’t get enough of the British prog-rock veterans, In a Word: Yes (1969- ) could prove a worthy investment. It includes six previously unreleased tracks, and beautiful packaging featuring new work by fantasy artist Roger Dean. It also comes with a 95-page booklet, crammed with photos of the band and featuring an introduction by journalist-turned-director Cameron Crowe, who toured Southern California with Yes as a 15-year-old contributor to Rolling Stone. Lucky bastard! Or was he? I guess it depends on whether you’re judging the band by “Lonely Heart” or “Yours Is No Disgrace”.