Can’t shout, can’t scream
I suppose the most menacing things are the ones that don’t seem such at all.
Yes is such a weird yet such a perfect introduction to The Holy Bible. It’s not a very angry or musically bleak track like the rest of the album. It’s in fact somewhat cheery, even relaxed. Then you listen to the lyrics and realise that James’ singing isn’t relaxed, it’s moreso apathetic or neurotic. And by the time the bridge hits and James’ tone changes into a more panicked, accusatory one you’ve grasped the plot of the song.
And it still sounds oddly cheery and poppy.
It never would have made a great single though despite its misleading catchiness. It was supposed to be The Holy Bible’s fourth single (you can see some of the planned cover art on the 10th anniversary re-release of the album) but how to make a single out of a song with “cunt” and “fuck” being recurring words? Why, soften them out of course. The 10th anniversary re-release of The Holy Bible contains a radio session performance of Yes with the band softening out the words. It sounds downright stupid and clumsy, plus you can simply sense the band’s aggravation towards the changes. Kinda fortunate it didn’t become a single, although the reason – Richey’s disappearance – might have been a bit too extreme of a solution.
The 10th anniversary re-release also has a new Patrick Jones directed video for the song. It’s your typical Patrick Jones, ’nuff said.