Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Yes - Relayer

I got this album in Jr. High.  I went to a school called Roehm Jr. High (pronounced ray-mm) and we were The Bucks.  Our mascot was a big deer head with big antlers.  Our colors were dark blue and yellow, and in the morning if we needed paper or notebooks we could go to the school bookstore (a closet where some kid would stand for half an hour in the morning), and buy what we needed, pretty cheap.  The paper notepads had a dark blue cover with yellow printing and the deer head was in the middle.  Above it said "ROEHM" and below it said "BUCKS."  Well, the blue was the exact same color as a Bic pen and the text was all block letters, so we would all use an eraser and erase parts of the "B" in Bucks and fill them in with blue ink from a Bic pan, and it would then pretty perfectly say, "ROEHM SUCKS."

I still think it's funny.

The school went on to let the kids vote for what they wanted the mascot to be long after I was gone, and the kids were all big fans of Jurassic Park so they became the Roehm Raptors.  That right there is why you don't let kids make any decisions.  Not that this has anything to do with anything, but now you know.

So I probably got this in 1975, when I was 13.  This was nothing like Fragile, or Yessongs.  This was pretty abrasive, hard and metallic sounding.  Even the pretty parts weren't pretty.  I kind of liked that about the songs on this record, and as I'm listening to it now, I kind of still do.  I remember a friend of mine got high and put a cigarette on my original album cover and put like a two inch burn on it.  I remember just saying, "What in the FUCK are you doing?"  There was an ash tray right next to the cover.  It's okay, I found a really nice one to replace it (I'm sure it's nicer than my Jr. High copy).  Isn't that just the stupidest thing, though?

In the beginning of eighth grade I met a girl that I really wanted to go out with.  We had kind of talked on the phone over the summer (I don't know how that happened - maybe I really met her in seventh grade), and she wanted to know about this band, Yes that I always talked about.  I mean, I really loved Yes when I was a kid.  I'd talk about them all day if you let me.  Hell, I had Yessongs! That was a freaking three record set.  I think it cost like ten bucks, and that was serious money back then.  So this girl says, "You should let me borrow a Yes album so I can like them, too."

That's when I found out that guys that like Prog Rock pretty much live alone, because women really hate it.  I think when she handed me back Relayer like two days later I knew she was not gonna talk to me any more.  I think she said something like, "My dad asked what was wrong with someone that would think that was MUSIC."  I was crushed.  Relayer was my newest record and I thought it was so damned great.  I think I asked he why her dad wanted to listen to it and she said the stereo was in the living room, so everyone heard it.  Man, that would have sucked.  Everyone in our house heard what I was listening to, but that's because no one could ever get me to turn it down.  At least I had a stereo in my room.

So obviously Relayer isn't for everyone.  In fact, I don't even know where most Yes fans land on it.  I think it's good.  Better than Tales From Topographic Oceans but not as good as Going for the One.  Like I said, even the pretty parts aren't really all that pretty, because it's got kind of a metallic production to it that makes all its edges pointy and hard.  The Gates of Delirium is one of those full side songs, with like four "movements," but it's really no Close the the Edge.  The lyrics are typically dumb, like their lyrics should be.  When I was fourteen or fifteen I thought the lyrics were some weird, brilliant poetry, but they really aren't.  They just are what they are.

The second side starts off with a song called Sound Chaser.  It starts off like something that I would call Jazz (people that like Jazz would laugh at me for that), then gets into some wacky time signatures that don't make much sense, but dammit, I just like hearing Steve Howe and Chris Squire play really fast, even if it doesn't exactly sound like they're playing the same song.  All in all, a pretty cool, weird record that was better to me than at least one old girlfriend.