This album is underrated even by Yes fans. Yes themselves hate the album because of it's over indulgence of the orchestra, and while there are times when it does get a bit too syrupy there are also times when it works to it's advantage, like the opener the cover of Richie Havens' No Opportunity Necessary, which I can only hear as a Yes song now. The huge strings sound add to the song and I honestly can't picture the song without it. The rest of side 1 is flawless, with the great rollicking drum beat of Then, their great cover of Buffalo Springfield's already jazzy Everydays and they somehow make it even jazzier by stretching out the lines longer and slowing down the melody just so. Something I noticed about the intro of Sweet Dreams. Bill Bruford's tom drums are disgustingly out of tune. No matter, the song is as happy as the title suggests, showing that Yes could tackle pop if they wanted to. Now the 2nd side is where it gets kind of shitty, Clear Days is O.K. but the strings are way too overbearing, I will agree with the band on that. It sounds like a sappy ballad and that's not Yes' scene. Astral Traveler is a great prog rock song that sounds like their future sound on The Yes Album, but the title track is not very interesting and The Prophet is almost peeking at their classic prog sound, but doesn't have enough strong melodies to keep your attention. Starting from the fantastic 1st side to the mediocre 2nd side, you can hear they were losing steam writing the material.
Personal Favorites: No Opportunity Necessary No Experience Needed, Then, Everydays, Sweet Dreams, Astral Traveler