Release Date: 1991

Track Listing
1)  I Would Have Waited Forever (Anderson/Elias/Howe)
2)  Shock to the System (Anderson/Elias/Howe)
3)  Masquerade (Howe)
4)  Lift Me Up (Rabin/Squire)
5)  Without Hope You Cannot Start the Day (Anderson/Elias)
6)  Saving My Heart (Rabin)
7)  Miracle of Life (Mancina/Rabin)
8)  Silent Talking (Anderson/Bruford/Elias/ Howe/Wakeman)
9)  More We Live/Let Go (Sherwood/Squire)
10)  Angkor Wat (Anderson/Elias/ Wakeman)
11)  Dangerous (Look in the Light of What You're Searching For) (Anderson/Elias)
13)  Evensong (Bruford/Levin)
14)  Take the Water to the Mountain (Anderson)

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Member: Reginod (Profile) (All Album Reviews by Reginod)
Date: 8/25/2002
Format: CD (Album)

Let's face it, folks . . . . Union was a certified mess for Yes. Almost universally panned and reviled by prog fans and most of the band members as well, it did not the herald the happy cooperation of eight powerful prog personas; instead, it was the forced merging of a fractured band.

Most of the tunes on Union were the byproduct of Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, with Johnathan Elias producing. These nine cuts (ten if you have the European version with "Give And Take") all have some decent ideas, but they were simply not developed into truly viable pieces of music (Steve Howe took several of these ideas and did them the right way on Turbulence, a far superior album). Apparently Elias was left with an unfinished heap and had to make do as best he could.

The remaining tunes are mostly offerings from what had become known as "Yeswest", which I like to call "Trevor Rabin's Yes". The album's first single, "Lift Me Up", was typical of Rabin's songwriting power in the band and actually is one of the band's better prog/pop rock tunes, easily on par with much of the similar material heard on 90125, Big Generator and Talk. However, considering that Rabin's Yes had long-since alienated many fans of the band's progressive glory days, these tunes didn't exactly create a lot of excitement.

So, why do I like Union? Simply put, it is one of Yes' oddest aural collections. While I would certainly agree that the ABWH material was, as one friend put it, "amorphous," there is a quality to Elias' production that I find interesting and somewhat enjoyable; it's as if he was using technology to create an admittedly murky collage of the unrealized ideas before him. With no less than 11 session keyboard players and liberal vocal overdubs, Elias did his best to conceal the complete lack of organization behind those non-ideas.

Other than "Lift Me Up", the Rabin band also contributed "Miracle Of Life", the album's longest, most "progressive" cut. "The More We Live-Let Go" was also attributed to the Rabin band, but it was essentially a Squire contribution, marking the effective beginning of his (and eventually the bands') collaborative efforts with Billy Sherwood. It is my favorite track on the album.

Howe's solo piece "Masquerade" is another gem; its simple, no BS approach stood in stark contrast to the disorderly patchwork of the rest of the album.

In spite of itself, indeed because of its Bizarro-Yes goulash, Union worked for this listener. Go figure.
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Member: Frumious B
Date: 7/19/2003

Yikes...I have to say that this is *the worst* album I own by anyone. Now Yes have certainly had their ups and downs over 35 years, but this is the only album on which almost no attempt is made to deliver the goods whatsoever. It's a wretched, festering fraud of an album.

The package implies it's made by eight members of Yes working in peaceful cosmic harmony and unity. But wait, it's really an ABWH album awkwardly married to a YesWest EP. But wait, if you look at the credits it seems like ABWH are far, far outnumbered by studio players on their own record. What does a band with Yes' reputation for musicianship need with studio players? Why have a dozen keyboardists when the guy in the band is Rick Wakeman?

Oh well, at least there's still good ol' reliable Steve Howe. But wait, apparently most of the guitar on the whole ABWH portion of the album was ghosted by Jimi Haun, even though he only gets credit for "Dangerous". The only track that solidly features Howe is "Masquerade". Meanwhile, you'd think that a guy capable of that kind of Steve Howe impersonation would have done something else noteworthy by now, but Union seems to remain Haun's only dubious claim to fame. Is this still a Yes album or have we wandered into the Milli Vanilli sessions by mistake?

Oh, and the songs are pretty much mostly generic Andersonian self help crap without the weirdness and the odd juxtapositions of words that made his 70s lyrics so danged cool. It's like he wrote the whole danged thing whilst killing time on a bench in some random mall where there's a New Age bookstore and a Hallmark card store side by side.

The best tracks are actually the YesWest tracks and the best of that lot is the Billy Sherwood/Chris Squire penned "The More We Live (Let Go)". Unfortunately, Sherwood and Squire liked working together so much that they decided that we needed three full length albums of the stuff, one of which got turned into the second worst album in the history of Yes, but that's another rant entirely.
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Member: Sean (Profile) (All Album Reviews by Sean)
Date: 12/31/2003
Format: CD (Album)

Yeah, everything you ever heard about this one is true! Still I seem to enjoy it from time to time. Union could have been so much more if the record company didn't f^&k it up. That said it has a handful of tracks that have more proggy pizazz that anything from the Rabin era 80s albums. "I Would Have Waited Forever", "Silent Talking", and "Miracle of Life" have an update of the classic Yes sound. "The More You Live" is a good tune too, if you're a Squire fan. This CD seemed weak and uninspired when it was new. Rather forced too. As the years have passed though it's improved a bit. It's better than some Yes music that came later, and worse than some too.
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Member: theJAK
Date: 4/18/2004

This is the weakest Yes album I own, but, as I refuse to buy 90125, Big Generator and Talk because those are IMO, the worst Yes albums ever, I would say that this album has, at least, some good tracks.

The ABWH ones are mostly good, and Masquerade is very good, but the YesWest ones, minus Miracle of life, are just too poppy for my taste.

The biggest disappointment for me is Lift Me Up, that really starts good, with a kind of slow paced Dream Theater-like entrance, but the it just sounds too much like Bon Jovi with all the chorus crap. Man, Rabin sucks...

Though, it is a listenable album, specially to listen while doing something that only requires little attention to music, like writing, or playing computer.

Great cover, at least...

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