Yes, “City of Love” from 90125 (1983): YESterdays

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More than any other on Yes’ 1983 platinum-smash 90125, “City of Love” is a Trevor Rabin song. This is no way diminishes the track, as it is one of the most AOR-sounding moments in the canon of the world’s greatest progressive rock band.

Co-writer and singer Jon Anderson deserves a good amount of credit, too. His delivery is stunning, as he spits out lyrics which tell the story of Rabin’s unplanned visit to a part of Harlem that he wasn’t planning on visiting. Lyrically, the song is uncharacteristically direct for Yes and shows how truly adventuresome the band had become by this point.

Supervise this good treatment
Alternative line by line
So the street guys so observant
Take him for a ride
Have a good time
Like a legend the man he sharp
His woman gladly watching
As he strides out of the dark
Better be quick get away
We’ll be waiting for the night
We’ll be waiting for the night to come

Yes producer Trevor Horn pushed the harmonies from Anderson, Chris Squire and Rabin way up in the mix, along with the rock-steady drumming of Alan White. Trevor Rabin’s stadium-rock power cords and whammy bar-filled licks are, of course, perfectly appropriate.

A song which relies on so many rock cliques and production tricks should not be this good, yet “City of Love” works on every level. Perhaps Yes can do no wrong.

Preston Frazier’s YESterdays is a song-by-song feature that explores the unforgettable musical legacy of Yes. The series runs every other Tuesday.

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier
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