“Perpetual Change,” the final song on the album is a wonder of polyrhythms, poetic lyrics, tight harmonies, elegant and non-obtrusive piano and organ, and sometimes melodic, always innovative guitar.
The Yes Album is not considered part of the main sequence of Yes albums, which starts when Rick Wakeman joins the band for Fragile, but is has all the elements that make the band great. On “Perpetual Change” — co-written by Jon Anderson and Chris Squire — the lyrics start with a dreamy imagery of a country home setting and the change of seasons but the metaphor works for the life of the band, as well as life in general.
Evocative, elegant but not preachy, the lyrics almost skate above the jazzy backbeat of Bill Bruford and offer a counter balance to Steve Howe’s opening power chords. Chris Squire’s bass is innovative as always, but his call and response backing vocal to Anderson continues to amaze. Keyboardist Tony Kaye is not to be outdone, with jazzy piano touches aptly supported by a few light Hammond Organ phrases.
The solo section, where Howe provided a brief and jazzy interlude is later punctuated by and interwoven Hammond and snare drum flourish. After a tricky time signature change and a more frenzied Howe solo reinforced by a Tony Kaye synth run, the main musical theme returns with even more urgency. “Perpetual Change” is progressive rock at its pinnacle, and seemingly unstoppable.