A recent discussion about this patchy platter on a progressive forum inspired the following insights from yours truly:
Yes – Going for the One (1977): Side one redeems it till side two sinks it, with the cluttered, monotonous murk of “Awaken” only showing that Yes‘ oblique and convoluted approach – which began with “Heart of the Sunrise”, peaked on Close to the Edge and sustained itself haphazardly through Tales from Topographic Oceans – had indeed exhausted itself with the shrill and jarring sonic mind field that was Relayer.
As for the three adequate cuts which comprise side one, the title track is merely a cosmified ditty that sustains itself through exuberance, dizzying counterpoint and some witty turn of phrase (“moments in flight, travel twilight.. tender timing, rockeen, rolleen.. turn on to love, turnstile as one”). Much the same can be said for Squire’s “Parallels”, a mundanely chorded rocker which breezes through purely a gusto. And while I often love poignant lyrics set to ‘pretty’ backdrops in a song, I find that they don’t bear repeated visits when they step into tear-jerker territory, poetic as “Turn of the Century” may be.
In summary, Going for the One revealed a band who was so anxious to be recording again after a lengthy break that their hyperactive performances managed to overcompensate for the half-formed, hastily cobbled-together material, resulting in a fine but by no means ‘great’ record.