Open Your Eyes (Yes album)

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Open Your Eyes
Studio album by Yes
Released 24 November 1997
Recorded Summer 1997
Genre Progressive rock
Length 74:12
Label Eagle Records (UK)
Beyond Music (US)
Producer Yes
Yes chronology
Keys to Ascension 2
(1997)
Open Your Eyes
(1997)
The Ladder
(1999)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly C+[2]
Vox 3/5 stars[3]

Open Your Eyes is the seventeenth studio album by progressive rock band Yes, released in 1997. It is the first album to feature Billy Sherwood as a band member, and the only one on which he is the main keyboard player.

History[edit]

Following the 1996 reunion of the mid-1970s "classic" lineup of Yes (and the release of the two live-and-studio double albums Keys to Ascension and Keys to Ascension 2), keyboard player Rick Wakeman had left the band once again, throwing future tour and album plans into jeopardy. In order to sustain momentum, the band was obliged to come up with a new workable lineup as well as new sources of song material.

Already a well-known progressive rock musician in America, Billy Sherwood had previously been involved with Yes as a backup keyboard player and guitarist on the Talk tour (as well as being considered as a potential new lead singer during Yes rehearsals circa 1990). More recently, he had worked as engineer and producer for part of the Keys To Ascension project. He had had a strong working relationship with Yes bassist Chris Squire since the late 1980s, when the two had begun work on a duo project called The Chris Squire Experiment (later to become Conspiracy). Yes singer Jon Anderson was impressed by some of the early Conspiracy material and became interested in singing on it, in part because of Yes' need for new material. Consequently Sherwood, Squire, Anderson and White began working on several Conspiracy songs together with the aim of transforming them into Yes songs. Sherwood has said the band was falling apart after Wakeman's withdrawal and that he led on songwriting activity to keep the band going, working with Squire, White and Anderson. Guitarist Steve Howe (at the time, the band's only UK-based member) was not practically involved for most of the process and made his contributions to the album at the end of the sessions (and mainly as a player). By the end of the sessions, Sherwood was formally inducted into Yes – he would play second guitar and sing harmony vocals on tour.

Although Sherwood played the bulk of the keyboards on the album, two other keyboard players were involved. Steve Porcaro had played keyboards on the title track when it was a Chris Squire Experiment piece and his parts were retained. Russian keyboard player Igor Khoroshev performed on "New State of Mind", "No Way We Can Lose" and "Fortune Seller". Khoroshev was hired as the band's keyboard player on the tour promoting Open Your Eyes (on which he also played percussion and sang backing vocals) and would be a full member by 1999's The Ladder (on which he featured far more prominently).

Open Your Eyes was received with mixed reaction from both critics and fans upon its November 1997 release, some finding it lacking in trademark Yes qualities, while some still praise the album for its upbeat nature. While the album was a commercial flop, only reaching No. 151 in the US while missing the UK charts completely, the title cut and "New State of Mind" received substantial airplay on mainstream rock and classic rock radio from the time of its release well through the spring of 1998. Several band members later revealed their discontent with the finished album, with both Anderson and Howe claiming that the album was too rushed to incorporate their ideas and suffered as a result. During the touring supporting the album, only "Open Your Eyes" was played every night, while "New State of Mind", and "From The Balcony" (the sole Anderson/Howe joint contribution, in terms of writing and concept) were played live a few times on the tour dates.[citation needed] The album cross-references other recordings related to the band. Versions of "Open Your Eyes" and "Man in the Moon" later appeared on the eponymous Conspiracy album (which was delayed for two years because material was co-opted for Yes and Sherwood's entry into the band). The song "Somehow, Someday" incorporates the first verse melody and lyrics from the song "Boundaries" on Jon Anderson's 1982 solo album Animation. The cover of Open Your Eyes also references the band's 1969 album debut. Billy Sherwood had wanted the album to be titled "Universal Garden" but the rest of the band outvoted him.

A limited edition surround sound version was also produced [BYCD3075]. This came with a cardboard slip case and blue CD, not seen on the standard release. Although not true 5.1 surround, the aim was to produce a wider sound field from just two speakers and in that respect it does have some limited success. It was the first attempt by Yes at surround sound until the subsequent DVD-A release of Magnification [8122-78250-9]. The album was reissued in 2006 as part of the box set Essentially Yes.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Billy Sherwood, Chris Squire, and Alan White. 

No. Title Length
1. "New State of Mind"   6:00
2. "Open Your Eyes"   5:14
3. "Universal Garden"   6:17
4. "No Way We Can Lose"   4:56
5. "Fortune Seller"   5:00
6. "Man in the Moon"   4:41
7. "Wonderlove"   6:06
8. "From the Balcony"   2:43
9. "Love Shine"   4:38
10. "Somehow, Someday"   4:47
11. "The Solution"   23:47
Total length:
74:12

Chart position[edit]

Open Your Eyes (Eagle EAGCD013) reached No. 151 in the US during a chart stay of one week.

Personnel[edit]

Yes[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Igor Khoroshev – additional keyboards on "Fortune Seller", "No Way We Can Lose" and "New State of Mind"
  • Steve Porcaro – additional keyboards on "Open Your Eyes"

Production[edit]

  • Produced by Yes
  • Recorded by Billy Sherwood
  • Mixed by Billy Sherwood and Randy Nicklaus
  • Mastered by Joe Gastwirt at Oceanview Digital Mastering

Sources[edit]

  • "Top Pop Albums 1955–2001", Joel Whitburn, c. 2002

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hill, Gary. Open Your Eyes review allmusic.com. Retrieved on 9 December 2009.
  2. ^ Eddy, Chuck (28 November 1997). "Open Your Eyes: Music review: Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  3. ^ Ewing, Jerry. Vox, February 2008. Albums. YES - Open Your Eyes P. 77
  4. ^ http://www.relayer35.com/Yescography/OpenYourEyes.htm