Yes: Survival

Posted by Scott

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70’s prog-rock band Yes are really hit and miss for me. I enjoy a lot of their earlier work but they shifted gears later on and started making the sort of music we now mock when lamenting the cultural shortcomings of that polarizing age known as The 80’s. That aside, they have contributed some amazing work over the years; their eponymous first album is largely considered to be the first Progressive Rock album and it’s certainly a classic.  One of my all time favorite songs is the track Survival from that very same album. The production and musicianship on these earlier songs is, to me,  perfection. It’s these sort of songs that really make me miss the hot summers of my home. It’s funny how the context of your first experience with a song colors your perception of it from that point forward. Although it is an incredibly beautiful song, hearing Survival usually gets me a little down, I start missing home and getting all nostalgic. The first minute is something altogether  transcendent. Being an electronic musician who doesn’t use traditional vocals, the instrumental parts of songs like this are great reference points for building emotion into a song without the need for vocals.

Yes – Survival


Yes was also a visually interesting band. The top five images are paintings by Roger Dean, some of which were used as Yes album covers. The second image is some random shot I found on Flickr while searching for Yes covers. This guy came prepared for whatever he’s about to get into: Portable tape recorder, box of tapes, joint, football, paper towels and of course, a Yes T-Shirt. The final image is from a series of Yes logos also by Dean.

9 Comments Leave A Comment


niKKi says:

May 3, 2008 at 3:17 pm

I love Roger Dean’s art! His book “Views” has always been a favorite of mine. Great to see his stuff on here :-)


Alex / HeadUp says:

May 4, 2008 at 7:24 am

Yes has some great music, and although I too am partial to their older sounds, later stuff like Owner of a Lonely Heart is a fun listen too.

The comment you made about original contexts when hearing a song influencing one’s perception of the song long afterwords is dead on, that’s one of my favorite aspects about music. Ah, the power of music…


neu says:

May 5, 2008 at 1:07 am

I remember seeing Roger’s artwork for Psygnosis back in the day on Amiga games, such as Barbarian and Shadow of the Beast. Very impressive and memorable work. Thanks for sparking the memories.

Not sure if this background art was his or not, but the SotB series had some killer art (and sound) for their time.
For a taste of the 1989 gameplay, check


marshall says:

May 5, 2008 at 11:31 am

its all about building mood without the need for words. being able to create tension with just sound is one of the funnest parts of making music. my band makes songs with long buildups and breakdowns all the time, maybe 4 or 5 lines of lyrics. its fun.

i dunno if you ever listen to Kaki King but she is an amazing musician, a song called These Are The Armies of The Tyranized off her album “… Until We Felt Red” is something to be heard.

P.S. Hurry up with the Obama poster will ya? I’m gonna poop my pants waiting for it. ;P


Ted says:

May 5, 2008 at 1:36 pm

The change around 1:20 sounds like the beginning of Air’s “Playground Love”. I know that Air have been compared to old prog rock bands before. Cool stuff.