These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
All Drummers Are Animals: Completed averted for both Bill Bruford and Alan White, which makes White's heavy, frenetic drum solo on "Release Release" all the more surprising.
Tales From Topographic Oceans. Someone who isn't a fan of prog-rock is simply not going to listen to an album with four 20-minute songs. The album even tested the patience of fans of the band and progressive rock.
Black Sheep Hit: Almost all of their Top 40 hits in the United States qualify as this:
"Roundabout" (peaked at #13) still had progressive elements in the song, but it was more controlled compared to most of their '70s output. Even sounds more like a straight-forward rock song if you listen to the radio edit. The original length? 8 minutes and 29 seconds. The radio edit length? 3 minutes and 27 seconds.
"Owner of a Lonely Heart" (peaked at #1) off 90125 was a catchy New Wave pop rock tune that sounded nothing like the band ever did before then. One of the first mainstream songs to ever use sampling, it was one of the most revolutionary and influential songs of the '80s and the popular MTV video helped introduced the band to a new generation of listeners, many who never knew they were a progressive rock band until then. Play this song to anyone, then play one of their '70s songs, and the listener will think they are two completely different bands.
"Love Will Find A Way" (peaked at #30) off the Big Generator album. The song is really a good power ballad (even if it does contain one of the worst lyrics in rock history, "I eat at Chez Nous"), but it sounds like a song any '80s arena rock band could write.
Broken Base : Many fans would count the portions of the tour w/Benoit where Jon was not ill as such. Still others disregard the first two albums, Tormato, Tales from Topographic Oceans, Drama, 90125 to Open Your Eyes, pre-90125, the list goes on...
Darker and Edgier: Drama is noticeably darker and bleaker than anything than Yes has done before or since. The album cover even refers to this with the cold and stark Arctic landscape.
Growing the Beard: After two albums top-heavy with covers, The Yes Album is where the band hit its stride.
Hype Backlash: Union suffered greatly from this. The album was marketed as the reunion of the classic Yes lineup and the successful 80's pop lineup to form an album featuring the best of both. Against this kind of hype, it's not surprising that Union got the amount of backlash it did from fans of both eras. History has been somewhat kinder to it, however it's always been tainted by the failure to live up to its lofty expectations.
It's the Same, Now It Sucks: While many fans of their '80s material think Big Generator is not a bad album by any means, many agree the biggest problem with the album was Yes trying too hard to get their next number one hit from this album and repeat the success 90125 had. See Tough Act to Follow below.
Jumping the Shark: Tales From Topographic Oceans, Tormato, and Union are usually considered this to varying degrees. At which point the band was Ruined Forever (or if they even ever really lost their stride) completely depends on where exactly among the band's Broken Base you stand.
Love It or Hate It: Tales From Topographic Oceans rarely gets a neutral response- it's regarded as either brilliant or terrible, without much in between. Drama, 90125 and Talk also get this response, but to a much lesser degree.
Magnum Opus: The Yes Album, Fragile, Close To The Edge, or 90125 are considered this depending on the fan.
The infamous line "I eat at Chez Nous" in "Love Will Find A Way".
"Don't Kill the Whale" borders on this, due to its heavy-handed lyrics and mediocre production making it sound cheesier than what the band probably intended.
Obvious Beta: Averted. "Lift Me Up", "Miracle of Life", and "Saving My Heart" were actually demos by Trevor Rabin, and Rabin intended them to be re-recorded. Apart from Jon Anderson's vocals being added, they were mostly unchanged before being included on Union. However, the "demo" status of these songs is not noticeable and in fact are often regarded as the best songs on the album.
Periphery Demographic: The complex vocal arrangements in "Leave It" make it popular with youth choirs to do a capella. Most college kids in the 21st Century aren't going to pick up a copy of Tales From Topographic Oceans.
Replacement Scrappy: Any guitarist who's not named Steve Howe, any keyboardist who's not named Rick Wakeman, and any vocalist who's not named Jon Anderson. Howe and Wakeman themselves inverted this trope, being more popular than the band members they replaced.
This is actually one of the things that led Trevor Horn to leave the band after Drama, as he was sick of being jeered at by "fans" at shows that somehow blamed him for Anderson leaving (in reality, Horn had nothing at all to do with Anderson leaving Yes, but rather Creative Differences within the band).
Scapegoat Creator: Jonathan Elias, the producer of Union, tends to get most of the blame for the album's lack of cohesiveness and the heavy use of session musicians. In truth, with the lack of communication between the ABWH and Yes-West halves (as well as the vastly different musical approaches between the two), there was little chance Union was ever going to turn out well. Likewise, the use of session musicians was due to the need to meet the record label's deadlines (though Elias could have at least had the courtesy of telling the band members what was going on).
Trevor Rabin gets almost all the blame for the poppy sound of 90125, Big Generator, and parts of Talk from their detractors. In reality, Rabin, Squire, and Alan White had decided to make a prog-leaning pop album under the name Cinema before John Anderson rejoined the fold and Executive Meddling forced them to change the name to Yes. While having a drastically different style from Steve Howe, Rabin is still an incredibly talented guitarist (and keyboard player, that's him playing the intro to "Endless Dream"), and it was certainly never his intention to "ruin" Yes.
Seasonal Rot: Topographic Oceans, Tormato, arguably 1983-1990 if you're not a fan of their poppier sound.
Stuck In Their Shadow: Alan White, an excellent drummer who can drum whatever complex parts the band needsnote His solos on "Ritual" or "Release, Release", anyone? would receive far more praise if he didn't have the misfortune to be the successor to Bill Bruford (always regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, drummers in progressive rock). Thus, much of the fanbase constantly praise Bruford and regard White as simply his not-quite-as-renown successor.
Vindicated by History: Tales from Topographic Oceans is slowly but surely gaining fans, and is beginning to be seen as a vastly underrated and unfairly lambasted album. Drama has undergone a similar reappraisal. Fans of the classic era will unironically cite the album as one of their favorites.
Talk is starting to gain new appreciation as well, and "Endless Dream" in particular is often regarded as the fusion of 70's Yes and 80's Yes that Union tried and failed to be.
While Union is rarely regarded as any Yes fan's favorite album, its reputation has still improved over the years. Much of this is due to the initial backlash over Arista's meddling in the album fading over time and the album being judged more on its own merits.
Not all of Yes' panned albums have been vindicated, however; Tormato is about as disliked in 2014 as it was in 1978 (though a good portion of that hate is due to the horrid production).