***** Great album from Pearl Jam. Is this their best album? Well no. But this is still a good quality LP from Pearl Jam, which shows a more mature sounding (bar 'Mind Your Manners' :P) progression.
The tracks are of good variety, varying from their solid rock tracks (see 'My Father's Son', 'Swallowed Whole', to alternative tracks (see 'Getaway' and 'Mind Your Manners') to soft rock ballads (see 'Sirens', 'Pendulum' and 'Yellow Moon'), and to country influenced tracks (see 'Sleeping By Myself' and 'Future Days'). The songwriting is above average, and the production in general is a B+ (borderline A) quality.
The production isn't what it was in their '90s albums, but for this day and age, they still do well and are of good quality. Eddie Vedder's vocals sounds aged (in a positive way), whilst the guitar work is still sublime (see the solos in about 75% of the songs, and just the backing music), and the drumming is also great. Overall, this is a good return from Pearl Jam. Not their best album (due to the high standards set in their '90s albums), but as previously mention, in this day & age, with competition from many other Alternative and Rock acts, Pearl Jam still manage to stay strong whilst adding a slightly more mature sound to their portfolio, and introducing new styles at the same time.
1. Getaway 5.1* 2. Mind Your Manners 5.2* 3. My Father's Son 4.8* 4. Sirens 5.1* 5. Lightning Bolt 4.4* 6. Infallible 4.2* 7. Pendulum 3.9* 8. Swallowed Whole 4.1* 9. Let The Records Play 5.1* 10. Sleeping By Myself 5.0* 11. Yellow Moon 4.8* 12. Future Days 5.0*
***** Some artists feel the need to change their sound every couple of years to stay "relevant", killing off part of their current fanbase in order to expand into new markets. And then at the other end of the spectrum, some artists feel as though their sound doesn't need to change and they just stay (relatively) the same throughout their career. The result here is that the former group's strategy, when implemented carefully and effectively, is usually more successful because what is trendy in the music world changes every week. One week it's Skrillex all the "kids" are raving about and the next it's Baauer.
So point to case, where do Pearl Jam fit in all this clutter? Well a few astonishingly influential albums in the early '90s had cemented them as an established component of rock music for years, and decades, to come. 'Ten' identified with so many people tired of the '80s movements in music, and at that point Pearl Jam all of a sudden had a loyal and dedicated fanbase. Some bands that have coexisted quite nicely with Pearl Jam have had various evolutions (some not so positive, for instance U2). The difference here is that Pearl Jam have certainly evolved, but not for the reasons of the former group. Instead of feeling like abandoning a whole section of their fanbase in the hope of gaining even more fans, this evolution has been gradual ever since 'Ten' and has, in my opinion, been purely to stay fresh. While they are loyal, fans of bands will not react well to a rehash of old material (particularly evident by my unease at the possibility of a rehash on this one, thankfully that was avoided quite nicely, not an improvement but still a different take on it; 'Sleeping By Myself' is comparable to the whole 'Tuolumne' interpolation in 'Just Breathe' a few years back). Pearl Jam's second album 'Vs.' was seen as a direct reaction to the attention they received as a result of the predecessor, and as such they were always going to evolve. It makes a case of whether or not that latter group even exists, because theoretically artists are always going to do something different because songs simply can't be the same and hence neither can a group of similar songs written and recorded in a similar era. But they really do exist, instead they just die out. They suffer from lack of creativity, and no one feels empowered to spend their hard-earned money on something they've probably already heard, loved and identified with.
Pearl Jam's latest release 'Lightning Bolt' combines elements from Eddie Vedder's two solo albums and the band's last three records 'Riot Act', 'Pearl Jam' and 'Backspacer' but curiously contains a new element that defines this new era. Respectively to those three albums, this is grungey, melodic and modern in much of its 47 minutes. Where it differs is that extra quirkiness added into the production, riffs and certainly lyrical content.
They don't need to make any desperate attention-seeking genre changes, Pearl Jam fans accept that there's enough creativity there for many more albums to come in the future. In such a cluttered year for music, Franz Ferdinand, Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Jay-Z, Washed Out, MGMT and so many more of my contemporary favourites have come up with refreshed sounds that simultaneously feel memorable and relevant. Pearl Jam always seem to find a way to break through the clutter and that's something that just can't be denied. 5.25
***** A fantastic album by Pearl Jam. I'm loving all of the decoration this album has to offer considering the physical album cover. It's like a book. But some great vocals from Eddie Vedder and some great guitar from Stone Gossard makes this album what it is today. Peaking at number one in Australia is no understatement. Well done to Pearl Jam, scoring 5 starts with a great album.
***** ein wunderbares album! besonders die letzten lieder haben es mir angetan... Future Days berührt mich ausserordentlich...
eigentlich kann und sollte ich sagen, dass ein album von Eddie Vedder für mich noch selten ein fehlgriff war - vielleicht mal abgesehen von "Ukulele Songs", welches mit der spieldauer sehr zu nerven beginnt...
mit "Lightning Bolt" zeigen die jungs wunderbar, dass man auch nach guten 20 jahren noch wundervolle alben komponieren kann!