Fragile [Bonus Tracks] [Remastered]

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The band's breakthrough album, dominated by science-fiction and fantasy elements and new member Rick Wakeman, whose organ, synthesizers, Mellotrons, and other keyboard exotica added a larger-than-life element to the proceedings. Ironically, the album was a patchwork job, hastily assembled in order to cover the cost of Wakeman's array of instruments. But the group built effectively on the groundwork left by The Yes Album, and the group had an AM-radio sucker-punch aimed at all of those other progressive bands who eschewed the notion of hit singles in the form of "Roundabout," the edited version (sort of "highlights" of the album version) which pulled in millions of young kids who'd never heard them before. The single clicked, most album-buyers liked the long version, and all of the rest of what they found, and the band was made. Remastered in much improved sound and graphics in 1995, look for the version of this CD with a reference to "digital remastering" across the top back of the jewel case. [Fragile was reissued in January 2003 on Elektra/Rhino with considerably upgraded sound, a re-creation of the original LP's booklet (with new annotation, going over the breakthrough that the album represented not just for Yes but for British ock and art rock in general), and two bonus cuts, "America" (which also appears on the DVD-Audio edition of the disc) and the "early rough mix" of "Roundabout," which is unique to this release and reveals a lot about the group's (and producer Eddie Offord's) perfectionism; though lacking some of the flourishes and finer points of the finished recording and including some elements, especially in the vocals and drums, that would be excised from the finished track, it is still a very polished work that would have qualified as a perfectly releasable master in the hands of almost any band of that era. The remastering of the original album is on a par with, but not identical to, the 24-bit remastering of 2001 used in the Japanese-released "paper sleeve" series reissues, which were slightly brighter, favoring the cymbals and other upper-register sounds a bit more, but revealed less detail in the bass and guitar work.] ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi