Does The Ladder really suck?

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Billy Sherwood HQ
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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 113200Post Billy Sherwood HQ
Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:27 pm

I don't think it sucks... I just think everything is waaaaay to compressed.

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 113201Post the greenman
Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:39 pm

I agree, I felt sure that 'if only you knew' was going to be a BIG hit- it got a bit of airplay & then disappeared. I wouldn't say it was a particularly 'yes'ish song, but it had a good hook & great musicianship. Kind of in the spirit of Onward, melody wise.

As to Talk, you mean Endless Dream does nothing for you? Gee, I'm stunned. I always thought that was the closest Yeswest came to a classical yes song.

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 113202Post yesireebob
Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:10 am

I love the Ladder, it has both truly classic Yes moments, as in Homeworld and New Language, and songs that really should have been radio hits, especially Lightning Strikes. Although panned by many, I think Lightning Strikes has all the energy of early Yes with a dash of world music, all in a radio-friendly short format. It was what Teakbois could have been but failed miserably to achieve. I could see Lightning Strikes being played in sports stadiums to whip up the fan energy. The take-off of We Have Heaven that follows is a nice touch. The ode to Bob Marley, the Messenger, has a great bassline, and It Will Be a Good Day always makes me feel good. The Ladder was much closer than anything YesWest ever did in creating an updated Yes sound that did not ignore the classic roots. It was truly a progession. It was even marketed with a game, a move that would have deemed brilliant had it succeeded. But alas, it did not and the disc was quickly forgotten. I can see how this, and the subsequent failure of Magnification to make any headway in the music industry, would be so heartbreaking and discouraging to the band.

I do like Talk very much, and agree Endless Dream is the closest YesWest ever came to a true Yes classic. Warts and all, it is perhaps the ulimate synthesis of YesWest and classic Yes.

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 113205Post sound_chaser
Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:21 am

yesireebob wrote:I love the Ladder, it has both truly classic Yes moments, as in Homeworld and New Language, and songs that really should have been radio hits, especially Lightning Strikes. Although panned by many, I think Lightning Strikes has all the energy of early Yes with a dash of world music, all in a radio-friendly short format. It was what Teakbois could have been but failed miserably to achieve. I could see Lightning Strikes being played in sports stadiums to whip up the fan energy. The take-off of We Have Heaven that follows is a nice touch. The ode to Bob Marley, the Messenger, has a great bassline, and It Will Be a Good Day always makes me feel good. The Ladder was much closer than anything YesWest ever did in creating an updated Yes sound that did not ignore the classic roots. It was truly a progession. It was even marketed with a game, a move that would have deemed brilliant had it succeeded. But alas, it did not and the disc was quickly forgotten. I can see how this, and the subsequent failure of Magnification to make any headway in the music industry, would be so heartbreaking and discouraging to the band.

I do like Talk very much, and agree Endless Dream is the closest YesWest ever came to a true Yes classic. Warts and all, it is perhaps the ulimate synthesis of YesWest and classic Yes.


I agree with everything you say...except with regards to Endless Dream, which I really can't stand, but, of course, as always, each to his (or her) own :) . I too thought Lightning Strikes could be a big breakthrough for the band, but it just wasn't to be. I think any album has to stand first & foremost on its songs and I still firmly believe The Ladder is very strong in that respect. It's puzzling that Pink Floyd & Genesis managed to keep there core fan-base, whereas Yes' just seemed to collapse. I know Yes have always done well with touring, but when it came to buying new material, not enough people could be bothered to put their hands in their pockets. Whether that's purely down to bad promotion, or other factors, I don't know. I do know that it was a great shame it didn't sell and that The Ladder deserved a lot more success than it got.

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 113207Post the greenman
Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:06 am

Billy Sherwood HQ wrote:I don't think it sucks... I just think everything is waaaaay to compressed.


Hmm, I think this answer is a bit too compressed!! Expand a little, Billy- whaddaya mean? That the songs were too short, in order to fit a kind of imagined 'commercial' (single) context? Or summat else?

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 113209Post sound_chaser
Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:37 am

I guess he means in terms of the actual recording process. I'd be very interested to hear Billy expand on this as well, as although I write songs and have been involved with lots of musicians over the years, I‘ve never actually been in a recording studio. Also, we should give Billy his due for his contribution to the album & the tour. I've heard that Steve Howe wasn't too keen on having two lead guitarists in the band, but I thought it worked really well, as it allowed one guitarist to fill out the rhythm parts, whilst the other was concentrating on the lead parts.

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 113219Post fragilesi
Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:23 pm

The obvious answer to the question is "no". We are talking about a genuine return to form in my book at least for Yes with this disc. This and Magnification showed me at least that the creative ability in the band was very much alive and kicking.

The problem is that these days it's all about image and sadly Yes do not have a saleable image. Although I marvel at how Jon seems to have weathered time and Alan still has incredible athleticism; the scarecrow that is Howe and the tubby middle aged guy that is Chris hardly give the MTV types much to work with.

(Don't get me wrong I'd still pay large amounts of money to see either play but let's be fair they don't look like they used to - a feeling I know only too well).

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 113224Post Billy Sherwood HQ
Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:15 am

the greenman wrote:Hmm, I think this answer is a bit too compressed!! Expand a little, Billy- whaddaya mean? That the songs were too short, in order to fit a kind of imagined 'commercial' (single) context? Or summat else?


I mean the compressors across every instrument and voice squished any dynamic range out. More of a techy comment than musicialy speaking but that stuff effects the music for me.

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 113228Post the greenman
Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:00 am

was this Bruce's doing, or just playing with new technology to give it a 'contemporary' sound? Or may be just an unintended by product of the (new?) recording software?

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 113229Post sound_chaser
Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:29 am

fragilesi wrote:The obvious answer to the question is "no". We are talking about a genuine return to form in my book at least for Yes with this disc. This and Magnification showed me at least that the creative ability in the band was very much alive and kicking.

The problem is that these days it's all about image and sadly Yes do not have a saleable image. Although I marvel at how Jon seems to have weathered time and Alan still has incredible athleticism; the scarecrow that is Howe and the tubby middle aged guy that is Chris hardly give the MTV types much to work with.

(Don't get me wrong I'd still pay large amounts of money to see either play but let's be fair they don't look like they used to - a feeling I know only too well).


Unfortunately, the members of Yes made the big mistake of growing old. Time has indeed passed them by. That's why I suppose it shouldn't have been too big a surprise that The Ladder & Magnification were met with waves of apathy after they had bathed so gloriously in the Topographic Oceans. Even so, it was: I really thought they were on the point of a magnificent return. Sadly, it wasn't to be.

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 113234Post Billy Sherwood HQ
Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:38 pm

the greenman wrote:was this Bruce's doing, or just playing with new technology to give it a 'contemporary' sound? Or may be just an unintended by product of the (new?) recording software?


More to do with how one mixes... some reach for the compressor which is built in on each fader of the console for ssl or neve boards. It's personal taste at that point, I prefer less to more.

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 113235Post yesireebob
Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:57 pm

I don't think it was a matter of their age so much as they have never been deemed "cool." I mean, Ozzy Osbourne is no spring chicken, but between being worshipped as the godfather of metal and the gaining a whole new audience with his reality TV show, he got a whole new lease on his career. Not that he did much with it musically. However, I went to Ozzfest with my son for a number of years and it always amazed me that the man has ardent fans ranging in age from pretreen to death's doorstep.

Yesmen have never been revered as elder statesmen of rock because prog is always dissed in the mainstream as self-indulgent twiddling, and to the extent they have registered in the media at all, it has been a footnote about that fractious band of prog dinosaurs with one hit in the 80's. Never mind that back in the day Yes was huge, and plenty of "cool" bands have paid homage and acknowledged Yes as an influence. Again, had the Homeworld game taken off and become The Next Big Thing, Yes would have gained a whole new audience, prominence in the media, and most importantly, would be deemed "cool." Maybe a Yes reality show? Do a William Shatner and be so uncool as to become cool? :rolleyes: :cool:

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 113272Post Wakemaniac
Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:58 pm

Greenglade wrote:Maybe it's Talk or Ladder for my next purchase or ...90125 and BG, alternates if Best Buy or Tower or Borders doesn't have the former.

OYE sort of sucks. Onion as two good songs--Got that determined.

Isn't "Holy Lamb" that really powerful building serious emotional song?

I guess Talk must have at least 75% good stuff on it. Not too many chick-flick type songs, but sensitive.

Whatever, got a month to decide.


Homeworld is a great song :)
Caroline [:yes]songs

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 118346Post slinkeey
Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:07 am

Wakemaniac wrote: Homeworld is a great song :)
I have to agree. The ladder came out right after I really got into Yes, so I may be biased. I also love when the bass kicks in on Homeworld.

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 118355Post Yessong
Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:08 pm

I re-discovered the LP this past weekend. I really love the production...especially on Lightning Strikes - the drums just blow out my speakers like nothing else the boys have presented...production wise. It is a really uplifting song and gets my happy. I have always been partial to Anderson stuff be it ever so fluffy. He gets full lyric credit on this album...so i assume that most of not all of the song melodies are his. All in all I really do like this swansong of Bruce Fairburn. From what I read, it was Jon that found him dead - that must of really affecteded the wrap up of the album

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 118399Post tardistraveler
Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:23 pm

Glad you enjoyed it - as I posted earlier in this thread, I LOVE this album! Definitely in my Top 10 Yes albums although I'm not sure exactly where I'd rank it. I need to pull it out and put it back in the car . . . ;)

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 118401Post Yessong
Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:56 pm

Truth be told - it never leaves my car. A;lso - 9 Voices - one of the top Yes songs in my opinion

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 118448Post Yessong
Tue Jun 02, 2015 2:16 pm

Went back to this album again, recently, I have been searching for Yes music to rediscover as Heaven and Earth has just not done it for me. One thing that has become clear to me, Igor really captures the classic 70's synth sounds that are such an integral part of the Yes musical landscape. Far better than our current keyboardist.

On a related note, my search for undiscovered Yes tunes has brought me back to Talk whitch I really have learned to dig. It's powerful in so many ways. I recently heard that Talk was the first LP to be recorded completely on a hard drive - any truth to that?

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Re: Does The Ladder really suck?

Post: # 118449Post Chris1960
Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:00 am

I'm not sure if it was the very first, but it may well have been - certainly it was at the cutting edge in that regard. In some ways perhaps it was a little bit too ahead of its time as some people find it a bit harsh and compressed. There may be something to that, but it's still my favourite of the YesWest discs - I think actually it's probably the closet thing there is of a hybrid of Trevor and Jon's visions for Yes. I like the former [I'd probably be more unalloyed in my like were the band called Cinema as Trevor wanted], but I love the latter. I just place more value on music with a fair amount of depth rather than the stuff designed more squarely as diversionary entertainment. Nothing wrong with that of course, just that for me it isn't so affecting and so does not linger so much in my consciousness.

I'm afraid I also think The Ladder is rather 'Yes lite' - I loved it for several weeks but it did pale on me after a while. That's not a fate that's befallen any of the main sequence stuff or indeed Magnification - which still gets a fairly frequent airing on my playlist.

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