Ben Jordan on 29/12/2002 [Other
reviews by Ben Jordan ]
Put simply, Nina Wakeman giving narrated highlights (in sequence) of the Christian Bible (as opposed to the Catholic, Mormon, Methodist Bibles, etc), accompanied by a simple, uncomplicated soundtrack of Rick Wakeman on keyboards, essentially his new age style. There are no instrumentals, but moments where Nina pauses before reading another verse/book, where you can hear music only.
You don't absolutely HAVE to be a Christian to like this album. I can say this because I'm an atheist, and I'm perfectly comfortable to sit and listen to it. I've always felt that even if you are completely unreligious, the Bible is nonetheless the most influential text ever in human history (in the Western World at least), and that makes it a book worth paying at least some attention to, if only for it's historical perspective. Sitting here, listening to Nina's very clear enunciation, accompanied by Mr Wakeman's practised hand is a very nice way to do it.
If there is anything you have to be in order to listen to this album, it's that you have to like Rick's new age music. This is a far cry from the albums that he is known for. It isn't prog rock, or even rock, so if that's what you want, this isn't the place to find it. It's laid-back early 90's synth. I don't assume that even if you are religious, you'd automatically appreciate this album. After all, you're here because you're a Wakeman fan, so again, it could well depend on your appreciation of this electronic-only work.
I can't see myself playing this too often, as another reviewer said, but it's not bad. I don't need Rick to be a prog rock musician all the time, but it is what made me get into his music in the first place, starting with Journey, and this is a world apart from that. This is not the music or even the playing which made Rick famous. It isn't complex, experimental multi-textured lines of anti-mainstream sound that made us recognise him for a virtuoso in his own right. But Rick is a diverse player, and thus it gave him longevity. This album was deliberate meant for a quite specific audience, and was thus not ever intended to please every Wakeman afficionado. My only criticism of In The Beginning is that I feel Nina's voice drowns out the music a bit too much. It should've been mixed in such a way that the narration and backing music seem more a part of each other, rather than sounding like one layer added to another. Apart from that, not too bad for what it's meant to be.
Armando Betancourt on 07/08/1997 [Other
reviews by Armando Betancourt ]
As pop lore has it: in the end, YES did not quite put the Bible to music - but "In The Beginning" shows Rick doing exactly that. Colorful synths frame and showcase Nina's sweet voice rendering a graceful, serene reading of chapters from the Scriptures. On a par with "The Gospels" (and its revised new version), this one may not be an album to be heard quite often per se, but playing it once every Sunday would prove to be healthy and inspiring for all Christians worldwide; The 23rd Psalm is great!