And a very merry Canadian Thanksgiving to you!

It’s Thanksgiving this weekend, darlings. I know a number of my readers may have been unaware of this fact. I hope I’ve told you in enough time that you can still do something festive.

Here in Vancouver, it is traditional to drink coffee and pretend it isn’t raining. Some days that’s harder than others.

I’d meant to have a more interesting post up this week. I’ve been working on it in bits and pieces for days, and it is gruesomely nerdy. It’s about the band YES, which isn’t even my favourite band. It’s just the band that has the most trivia lodged in my head, along with a outrageous opinions about which album is their best (Drama), whether Tales from Topographic Oceans is even remotely listenable (it is), and who would win a Jon Anderson vs Chris Squire cage match to the death (Squire, no question).

Every time I was about to hit publish, one of two things would stop me. Either 1) I thought of something else I really needed to say about YES (Talk is my second favourite album! Take that, soulless minions of orthodoxy!), or 2) I remembered that most people have only ever heard “Owner of a Lonely Heart”, think it’s kind of stupid, and really won’t give a crap about the rest of it.

Which makes me sad, I admit, because “Owner of a Lonely Heart” really is kind of stupid.

I was going to just delete the whole damn thing, but then I was at White Spot with my son (note to non-Canadians: White Spot is like an upscale Denny’s [minus the all-day breakfast] where you can get wine with your chicken Caesar salad), and I suddenly noticed the background Muzak wasn’t Muzak at all. It was “Siberian Khatru” — not a bowdlerized version, no, but the real thing. And I said to myself: Look at all these old people grooving out over chicken pot pie and yam fries! YES is still relevant. Even Siberia goes through the motions!

I realize only the very meanest teachers give homework over Thanksgiving, so here’s an extra credit project, if you care to undertake it. Go listen to a Yes song that isn’t “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. If you are conversant in Classic Rock Radio and already know “Roundabout” and “I’ve Seen All Good People”, then challenge yourself to find something more obscure. “Starship Trooper” or “Onward” or “Don’t Kill the Whale*” (stop laughing!) or “Gates of Delirium”. Then I’ll come back next week and you’ll understand the lecture.

Or, y’know, you can sleep through class next week and borrow somebody’s notes. The midterm isn’t until the end of the month.

* “Don’t Kill the Whale” is also kinda stupid, but it has the distinction of also being kinda hilarious. It’s got this insane shrieking electronic hornpipe thing going on in the middle, I swear, bookended by ridiculously earnest lyrics and Chris Squire just about as loony as he’s ever been on bass. Funny, funny stuff. I think I’ll go listen to it right now!

(Catch you all next week! Happy Thanksgiving!)


8 Comments on “And a very merry Canadian Thanksgiving to you!”

  1. Els says:

    omg I FREAKING LOVE THAT BAND. “Close to the Edge” was the soundtrack for much of my self-dramatizing adolescence. Also, the trippy cover art! What’s not to love?

  2. Brian says:

    Challenge accepted! I don’t normally listen to music while working, but I just queued up my copy of “Close to the Edge,” and if I’m feeling particularly nuts, I might even listen to “Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe” later on. (Oh, for the record, I happen to have a copy of “Talk,” but not “90125,” so there.)

  3. Because I love you, I’ve created and am listening to a Yes station on Pandora. First song it queued is “Starship Trooper”

    • Yay! Obviously, if the song “Rhythm of Love” comes up, you should laugh heartily at the epic bad lyrics.

      All right, friends. I really am going off line now until probably Tuesday.

  4. Francene says:

    I had an older cousin who introduced my brothers to all the interesting prog rock bands, Yes, Renaissance, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull. We knew Genesis was only good while Peter Gabriel was the lead singer. 😎 I copied all my favorite stuff onto cassettes from their albums. I still have a great fondness for Jon Anderson’s Christmas album, 3 ships. It drives my kids crazy which adds to its appeal.

  5. I’ll go you one better. Future Sound of London (FSOL) remix of Jon Anderson’s source material from the album The Deseo Remixes. Very difficult to find, and it seems that neither the Jon Anderson fans nor the Future Sound of London fans out there know about it.

    Maybe it’s an appalling aberration for *real* Yes fans, but I still enjoy this quite a bit, mostly because FSOL loves to turn the production dial up to 11.5, and it’s hard to find better source material.


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