Yes (Arista 8643)
What's in a name? A lot of money, particularly if the name belongs to a rock group like Yes. At least, that's the impression given by "Union," an album which purports to be the Yes reunion effort. Although the cover makes it seem as if the album features all eight of the once-warring Yes men, the fact is that nine numbers are by the group Anderson, Wakeman, Bruford and Howe, while four others were cut by the competing Yes camp with Anderson's voice added for consistency. As for the music itself, the only unifying factor apparent here is a tendency to overplay at every opportunity -- a Yes hallmark, to be sure, but hardly one worth celebrating.
MAKE WAY FOR THE MOTHERLODE
Yo-Yo (East West 91605)
Tough-talking women rappers are nothing new, but even so, there's something decidedly fresh about the way Yo-Yo presents herself on "Make Way for the Motherlode." For all the hands-off ferocity she exhibits on raps like "You Can't Play With My Yo-Yo," she's never one to answer sexual aggression with more of the same. Instead, her perspective is as straightforward as her rhymes, offering common sense on raps like "Keep a Lid on It" and easily allowing her to deflate the braggadocio of male rappers like Ice Cube without ever seeming snippy. And that -- plus some larger-than-life beats from Sir Jinx and the Lench Mob -- is the best reason to make way for this album.