Going For The One
After releasing seven studio albums between 1969 and 1974, Yes took a three year hiatus from recording as a group while they toured the world and all released solo albums. During the intervening years progressive rock had become less significant, usurped by punk and new wave. In step with the times Going For The One is punchier and more concise, easily their most accessible album since Fragile with a grand total of five songs. Yes recorded the album in Montreux, Switzerland, the homeland of Patrick Moraz. Moraz, however, was fired from Yes early in the sessions, the rest of the group claiming that success went to his head, while Moraz was unhappy that his ideas for the group were not being taken on board. Rick Wakeman was asked to rejoin in his place, and his church organ and piano help Yes to evoke a warmer and more organic feel. The other substantial personnel change on this album is the absence of producer Eddie Offord, who often acted as the group’s sixth member, helping to piece the group’s compositions into coherent form; the closing ‘Awaken’ in particular would have benefited from his ability to edit the group’s work.
The religious lyrics are carried over from Close To The Edge and Tales, but rather than the largely eastern imagery that dominated those records, the lyrics of ‘Wonderous Stories’ and ‘Awaken’ seem to have more of an origin in Christianity, an impression heightened by Anderson’s harp, Wakeman’s Church organ (apparently recorded via telephone) and choirs in the latter. The fast moving opening title track features Howe’s stinging country licks, while the contemplative second track ‘Turn Of The Century’ is a gorgeous acoustic meander through more esoteric territory, arguably the album’s standout song. ‘Parallels’ and ‘Wondrous Stories’ are more concise pop songs, the former opening with a huge church organ riff and a strident Squire bass line, and the latter with a gentle acoustic story of religious pilgrimage. The closing epic ‘Awaken’ does have the most powerful moments of the album; especially the “Master of Images” section and the explosive organ solo immediately afterwards, although its impact is lessened by a few dull spots and it would be more effective if it was a few minutes shorter.
Going For The One does feels lightweight next to Yes’s very best albums, but it’s still quintessentially Yes and its five compositions cover a lot of ground stylistically.