To say that Close To The Edge: How Yes’s Masterpiece Defined Prog Rock is a labour of love would be to gravely undersell it, for this book is clearly the result of Herculean levels of forensic academic study. Author Will Romano claims to have listened to the album more than a thousand times in researching the book, and a bibliography that stretches for pages suggests that no stone was left unturned during his mission to understand its wondrous story.
Along the way he discusses the novels of Herman Hesse, 17th-century Japanese art and the election of Richard Nixon, while true prog aficionados will be delighted at the amount of space given over to examining time signatures. There’s a lot of conjecture when it comes to explaining Jon Anderson’s lyrics, and some of Romano’s conclusions are a little convenient, but this book is never less than thoughtful. It’s exhaustive, and exhausting.