Album: Open Your Eyes
Artist: Yes
1997 Beyond Music
CD: BYCD3074

Band members:
Jon Anderson: vocals
Steve Howe: guitars, vocals
Billy Sherwood: guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals
Chris Squire: bass, vocals
Alan White: drums, percussion

Additional musicians:
Steve Porcaro: keyboards (2)
Igor "Ivan" Khoroshev: keyboards (1, 4, 5)

Produced by Yes

1. New State of Mind (6:00)
2. Open Your Eyes (5:14)
3..Universal Garden (6:16)
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. Loveshine (4:37)
10. Somehow.....Someday (4:47)
11. The Solution (5:25)
12. hidden track

All tracks written by Anderson/Howe/Sherwood/Squire/White

Notes: There are no "Close to the Edge's" or "Revealing Science of God's" here. Instead, Yes presents us eleven interesting shorter songs. Open Your Eyes overall cannot be classified into any category normally associated with Yes. It's not like the eighties Trevor Rabin-based Yes, and it's not like the seventies classic Yes. It's a unique brand of Yes, but still recognizable with a kind of distinctiveness only associated with Yes. An extremely positive and uplifting album, Yes fan will get a lot out of it if they look at it with "open eyes!"  However, many hard-core Yes fans consider this to be the worst album ever made by the band. (Matthew S. Putzel)

(*) Open Your Eyes was, from early on, a contentious album, representing a new line-up, a significant shift in who was writing the music and in the style of the music being written. Billy Sherwood had been associated with the band for the best of a decade, he'd been scouted out as a replacement for Jon Anderson before Union, and then as a replacement for Chris Squire on the Talk tour, and had most recently been working with the band as a producer. Open Your Eyes saw him officially join the band, while Rick Wakeman left again, and a new keyboardist in Igor Khoroshev debuted.

Contemporary reports suggested the following story: when Yes signed to a new management and record company in 1997 (losing Wakeman in the process), the record company wanted a new release of their own to accompany the planned tour (Keys to Ascension 2 coming out around the same time, but on the previous label). Yes were asked to present any material they were working on, including material Squire and Sherwood had ready for (what would become) the first Conspiracy album and material they were working on for a follow-up. Squire and Sherwood, then joined by White, then Anderson, hurriedly assembled an album, with Howe only available towards the end. Thus, much of the guitar work on the album is Sherwood's and Sherwood also played most of the keys, largely because no-one else was available.

However, when Billy Sherwood became active in online fan groups after the launch of CIRCA:, he began to paint a very different picture. According to Sherwood, the band was falling apart and he began the writing sessions in order to kickstart activity, before new management was involved. He, initially with Squire, and then with Squire, White and Anderson, wrote the core of the album. However, Howe was disinterested in the sessions and would not join them, so the band approached Trevor Rabin about re-joining. Rabin said no, but Howe belatedly agreed to take part. Sherwood said to in Jan 2009:

It was not pressure from anyone that made YES decide to make OYE... fact is it was made before there was management in play or a label for that matter. Yes had basicaly broken up and the reforming of a new YES came via OYE. [...]

Myself Chris, Alan and {at the time a very enthusiastic} Jon Anderson we're the creative "TEAM" behind it. True a few of the ideas came from some Squire/Sherwood material but the majority was freshly written and molded by the four of us with. Fortune Seller, The Solution, Universal Garden, New State Of Mind for example we're never Conspiracy out takes, they we're concieved and produced so to speak by the 4 of us. Steve came at the end of the entire process of creation, not by our choice, but by his

Two tracks were taken from what was planned as Chris Squire's second solo album under the name Chemistry, but was eventually released as Conspiracy: the title track ("Wish I Knew" on Conspiracy) and "Man in the Moon" (comments by Sherwood suggest it was more a Squire composition). "From the Balcony" was a piece by Howe—Anderson heard him playing it, wrote lyrics and the track was quickly recorded. (Howe's original, instrumental version can be heard on Homebrew 2.) "Somehow.....Someday" recycles the melody from "Boundaries" on Anderson's 1982 solo album, Animation, which he had, shortly before Open Your Eyes, also re-used as "O'er" on his solo album The Promise Ring. "Wonderlove" seems to have been primarily Sherwood's (a love song to his wife), as was "No Way We Can Lose".

Sherwood has also talked about wanting to get radio play for the band and the album was more successful in that regard that its two predecessors or successors. Album sales too did better, with Sherwood saying Open Your Eyes outsold The Ladder.

Igor Khoroshev, Yes's new keyboard player for the tour, was only found as work on the album was finishing, but he was quickly drafted in to add parts to three tracks. (As Sherwood put it, "During the tail end of mixing... Jon wanted a presence of the guy on the record since he was going to join on tour so we had him play the Hammond solo of Fortune Seller.") On one piece, Howe opted to remove a solo he had recorded so Khoroshev could add one instead. Regular session musician Steve Porcaro had played keys on another track.

Having only at the last agreed to be involved in the album, soon after, Howe was very soon and very vocally critical of it in a number of interviews. In a radio interview recorded in Oct 2003, Howe described the album, among others, as "overproduced and overarranged". In a May 2005 interview, he had mellowed, but said Open Your Eyes was "the most difficult album to make in some respects" from the period from Keys to Ascension onwards because he and Anderson came to the project later. "It was a Conspiracy record before Conspiracy got together! [...] [With] a very different sense of leadership in the writing." In 2008/9, in online comments, Sherwood was critical of Howe's behaviour at the time, seeing it as damaging to the album and its sales, and to blame for some fans' dislike of Open Your Eyes. Sherwood has pointed out that Howe still profits from the album (from an agreement to co-credit the writing to everyone in the band even though Howe had little input). However, even Sherwood, who contributed more than anyone to the project, once described the album as a compromise.

A lengthy hidden track mixes ambient noises with snatches from the album proper. It was assembled by an engineer working with Yes and was played before shows on the following tour. Little of the album, however, got a live outing, with "Open Your Eyes" and, on later legs, "From the Balcony" the only set regulars. (At a London show, Anderson and Howe performed "From the Balcony" with accompaniment from a cellist.) Sherwood has blamed Howe's opposition for including more of the song live. (HP, 29 Dec 03; revised 17 Jan 09)

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