Big Generator (1987)

1. The Rhythm of Love 2. Big Generator 3. Shoot High Aim Low 4. Almost Like Love 5. Love Will Find a Way 6. Final Eyes 7. I'm Running 8. Holy Lamb (Song for Harmonic Convergence)


With the success of 1983’s 90125, the band brought in a whole new generation of fans. What these fans soon learned is that ‘harmony’ is not a word that one can use to describe the relationships amongst the members of this band. Apparently, Jon Anderson was already tired of the project before the record began. Producer Trevor Horn (who, remember, was also a member albeit briefly) bailed on the sessions in the early stages as he wasn’t getting along with Tony Kaye. And on and on and on.

So what I’m assuming was supposed to be a carbon copy of 90125, manages to definitely have characteristics of that prior album, but the songs aren’t nearly as strong, and the production definitely sounds like its missing something. They’re definitely pulling out all of the stops. This is definitely still 80s Yes. Most of the songs, though, are missing some of the flashy sheen which, however dated, definitely gave the songs on the prior album a significant punch.

Listening to songs such as Big Generator and Final Eyes show that the band isn’t out of ideas, there are parts to both of these tracks that are quite strong, but they’re lacking certain elements that make them stand out and be more memorable. The former, the title cut, has so many bells and whistles thrown in as sound effects, that it essentially buries one from enjoying any sort of melody. In fact, the only time when such experimentations work is on the song Shoot High Aim Low, a somewhat slower bluesy number. Even that song takes a bit to warm up to due to its eclectic nature. They play it rather safe on tracks such as Rhythm of Love and Love Will Find A Way. Neither had the chart success as Owner of a Lonely Heart, but they both received decent enough airplay to keep people talking about the band for a few more years.

Most everything else is somewhat forgettable. Good ideas, a few nice melodies, but subpar production and a sense of being a bit clueless sort of drags down the whole experience down a bit. A decent record, and far far from the worst of the worse by these guys, but the overall experience is rather ho-hum. I would also still argue that Trevor Rabin does a lot more good for this band than he does bad. Sure, his style is quite jarring from what the band was doing 15 years ago, but he manages to do his job rather well in the ‘originality’ department.

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