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Around six months into the album, clashes between Horn and Kaye resulted in the latter's exit. Rabin saw it as "a mutual parting" as Kaye resisted learning the modern keyboard technology that the band were using, leaving Rabin to handle most of the keyboard parts. Matters were complicated further when management deemed Squire and Rabin's lead vocals not distinctive enough, so Carson suggested the group have Anderson return to sing the songs. Squire got in touch with Anderson, who had returned to England in April 1983 after working in France. They listened to the tape in Squire's car outside Anderson's home due to past acrimony between the pair's wives. Anderson liked the songs and got involved, making minor changes to the lyrics and arrangements. By this time the album had cost £300,000 to make, half of which came from Carson himself. With no more funds left to finish it, Carson flew to Paris and played the tape to Atlantic founder Ahmet Ertegun, who had signed Yes in 1969. Ertegun, interested in the prospect of a new album with Anderson on vocals, agreed to pay the remaining costs.
A review in The Morning Call considered 90125 one of the band's best releases, calling it the "missing link" between the popular earlier albums The Yes Album (1971) and Fragile (1971). It described Kaye's keyboard parts as "dreamy" and at times "a contemporary rock attack", favouring this style over the more flamboyant approach adopted by former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman. The review also stated that the "stalwart" rhythm section of Squire and White "hasn't lost anything", and named Rabin as "the biggest surprise" of the group who "adds a much needed gutsiness". Furthermore, the review compared "Cinema" to a Jeff Beck track.
In a review for the Los Angeles Times, Terry Atkinson noted the prominent role of Rabin in the group but believed it falls short of the band's previous albums because of Anderson's reduced input into the songs, or a lack of the "old inspiration". Atkinson named "Hearts" as touching on the "monumental yet warm" music Yes had made in the 1970s, specifically "Awaken" from Going for the One (1977). Nonetheless, Atkinson wrote the album is "densely dynamic" and liked "Owner of a Lonely Heart" for being "catchy" and "full of unexpected turns", and wrote the simpler tracks "Our Song" and "Changes" allowed Yes to change their sound "without too seriously damaging its reputation". He concluded that 90125 is "enjoyable, only somewhat disappointing".
Critic and author Martin Popoff thought 90125 was the band's most "successful and sociable album" of their entire catalogue, comparing "Owner of a Lonely Heart" to a song by The Police. He declared the record "a rich album experience with legs". In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Paul Collins gave 90125 four-and-a-half stars out of five, calling it "a stunning self-reinvention by a band that many had given up for dead" while complimenting Horn's "slick" production work and Kaye's "crisp" synthesisers on "Changes". He also cites the vocal arrangements on "Leave It" and the "beautifully sprawling" "Hearts" as high points on the record, which has "nary a duff track". David Ellefson of Megadeth stated his fondness of the album, particularly Rabin's guitar work and quality of the production. He called it "a game-changer", and named it one of his desert island discs. The album's orchestral stabs were an influence on Megadeth's first album, Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!.
But the woman he chooses, Sybil, knows nothing about the Brotherhood and attempts to use the narrator to fulfill her fantasy of being raped by a Black man. While still with Sybil in his apartment, the narrator receives a call asking him to come to Harlem quickly. The narrator hears the sound of breaking glass, and the line goes dead. He arrives in Harlem to find the neighborhood in the midst of a full-fledged riot, which he learns was incited by Ras. The narrator becomes involved in setting fire to a tenement building. Running from the scene of the crime, he encounters Ras, dressed as an African chieftain. Ras calls for the narrator to be lynched. The narrator flees, only to encounter two policemen, who suspect that his briefcase contains loot from the riots. In his attempt to evade them, the narrator falls down a manhole. The police mock him and draw the cover over the manhole. 2b1af7f3a8