Jon Anderson – Change We Must


Review by David Waterfield

Cherry Red Records

Originally released in 1994, Change We Must takes its title from a book by spiritual teacher Nana Veary, drawing inspiration from a five day silent retreat on Kauai led by Veary and dedicated to her memory. Change We Must is a beautiful, enlightened and thoroughly uplifting album.

Musically Jon Anderson’s seventh solo album is a full-on orchestral work with original compositions sitting alongside imaginative arrangements of older material. ‘State Of Independence’ – beautifully orchestrated by Nick Ingman – sets out the stall for the album, with cascading strings descending into a repeated refrain that pulses through the song like a heartbeat. It’s an excellent reworking and is one of four co-writes with Vangelis on the album. Originally from the 1991 Jon & Vangelis album Page Of Life, ‘Candle Song’ gains depth and colour thanks to a tasteful string quintet and harmony vocals from Anderson’s daughter, Jade, while the previously unrecorded ‘The Kiss’ and the calming title track make their debut here.

The Yes track ‘Hearts’, with Trevor Rabin’s grinding power chords and Tony Kaye’s searing Hammond solo removed, is an altogether more gentle affair and ‘Under The Sun’ (previously ‘It’s On Fire’ from Jon’s In The City Of Angels album) is transformed and elevated into a joyous piece of music with the orchestra and bass guitar weaving around a sun chant that forms the rhythm of the song. An adaptation of John Adams modernist classical piece ‘Shaker Loops’ (to which Jon has added lyrics and vocals) is perhaps the musically challenging piece here, whilst ‘Chagall Duet’, performed as a duet with French soprano Sandrine Piau is a lovely, flowing piece of music and works far better than you might imagine.

Although it could be described as a rock album, Change We Must also sits quite happily in the classical and ‘new age’ genres and has an appeal that extends far beyond the Yes fan base. In a world where people are becoming increasingly alienated from nature and each other, the album is a call to remember humanity’s connection to the natural world and the interdependence of all things. Even if you don’t buy into the philosophy that surrounds it, just sit back and enjoy Change We Must for the graceful and finely crafted work that it is.

Jon Anderson – Change We Must8.5 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. State Of Independence
  2. Shaker Loops
  3. Hearts
  4. Alive & Well
  5. The Kiss
  6. Chagall Duet
  7. Run On Jon
  8. Candle Song
  9. View From The Coppice
  10. Hurry Home
  11. Under The Sun
  12. Change We Must
  13. Interview with Jon Anderson
  14. Change We Must (Single Edit)