Let’s get a few things straight first: I’m not here to talk about bands that I consider overrated. That would imply that I don’t think their music is as good as its fans/critics make it out to be and that they’re somewhat wrong in their judgement. That’s not the case here – this is a band that I totally understand why fans would go all crazy over (and they certainly do), it’s just that I’m not one of them. Their name is Yes, and they’re usually regarded as the quintessential progressive rock band, for better or for worse. And they are good. Very good. If prog rock is all about experimenting with new forms and structures, instrumental virtuosity, captivating the listener’s attention and keeping him studying forever, then Yes have definitely earned their place among the genre’s most proud representatives.
I’m no stranger to prog rock and people who follow my blog are aware of my love for Pink Floyd, Genesis and some of King Crimson’s work. So this is a band I should at least like, if not love. So why don’t I? To put it shortly and concisely, Yes don’t connect with me at all. They seem so distant (at times even alien), so preoccupied with playing their instruments that they forget that we – the audience – are here too. I hear no emotion, no genuine passion, neither in Jon Anderson’s vocals, nor in the other members’ (often brilliant and inventive) playing.
But don’t get the impression that I only like to listen to Nick Drake ballads. Emotional resonance comes in many forms for me, from The Stooges to Amy Winehouse, from Aretha Franklin to Jimi Hendrix. It’s just that Yes are always somewhere in-between. I enjoy listening to their music and I appreciate what they’ve done for the genre, but I just don’t feel it enough to call myself a fan.
But maybe that’s just me. As I’ve said before, Yes have a dedicated, numerous group of followers who either experience their music differently than me, or just don’t care about connecting with it as long as it’s interesting musically. Either way, no put-down on them. Quite the contrary, I’d like to read some comments defending the band. And if not, I’d also like to ask if there is a group that you feel the same as I do about Yes.
What’s a band you understand, but don’t like?