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Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam

4.1 9
by Pearl Jam

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Pearl Jam are at their best when they're angry, and on this eponymous disc, the guys are mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore. This long-in-the-works return features some of Eddie Vedder's most pointed writing and impassioned performances in ages -- his rage is compressed into blindingly bright, harder-than-hard nuggets, much like coal gets squeezed into diamonds


Pearl Jam are at their best when they're angry, and on this eponymous disc, the guys are mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore. This long-in-the-works return features some of Eddie Vedder's most pointed writing and impassioned performances in ages -- his rage is compressed into blindingly bright, harder-than-hard nuggets, much like coal gets squeezed into diamonds. That raw, force-of-nature vibe is clear from the first moments of "Life Wasted," on which Vedder's bark veers into drill-sergeant territory, all the better to bring out the artillery assault arrayed by Mike McCready and Stone Gossard. The guitarists really flex their collective muscle here, harkening to the razor's-edge sharpness of Vitalogy, which reared its head a dozen years back. Occasionally, that means reaching into the big bag of classic-rock tricks (the origin of the wah-wah riffs that ripple through "Big Wave"), but more often, it's a purely visceral trip, as on the electrifying "Parachutes." For all the instrumental brawn, however, the biggest wallop comes from Vedder, whose impassioned takes on life during wartime -- "World Wide Suicide" hits fever pitch when he bawls "Now you got both sides claiming killing in God's name/ But God is nowhere to be found, conveniently" -- are alternately stark and poetic. And while Vedder spends plenty of time poking around in the dark, he allows the light to shine in just often enough to offer some hope -- particularly on he disc's closing track, "Inside Job," on which he swears "I will not lose my faith." The decisiveness with which he delivers that message shows that he means it, and the passion with which his bandmates underscore it makes it thrilling to share in that optimism.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Nearly 15 years after Ten, Pearl Jam finally returned to the strengths of their debut with 2006's Pearl Jam, a sharply focused set of impassioned hard rock. Gone are the arty detours (some call them affectations) that alternately cluttered and enhanced their albums from 1993's sophomore effort, Vs., all the way to 2002's Riot Act, and what's left behind is nothing but the basics: muscular, mildly meandering rock & roll, enlivened by Eddie Vedder's bracing sincerity. Pearl Jam has never sounded as hard or direct as they do here -- even on Ten there was an elasticity to the music, due in large part to Jeff Ament's winding fretless bass, that kept the record from sounding like a direct hit to the gut, which Pearl Jam certainly does. Nowhere does it sound more forceful than it does in its first half, when the tightly controlled rockers "Life Wasted," "World Wide Suicide," "Comatose," "Severed Hand," and "Marker in the Sand" pile up on top of each other, giving the record a genuine feeling of urgency. That insistent quality and sense of purpose doesn't let up even as they slide into the quite beautiful, lightly psychedelic acoustic pop of "Parachutes," which is when the album begins to open up slightly. If the second half of the record does have a greater variety of tempos than the first, it's still heavy on rockers, ranging from the ironic easy swagger of "Unemployable" to the furious "Big Wave," which helps set the stage for the twin closers of "Come Back" and "Inside Job." The former is a slow-burning cousin to "Black" that finds Pearl Jam seamlessly incorporating soul into their sound, while the latter is a deliberately escalating epic that gracefully closes the album on a hopeful note -- and coming after an album filled with righteous anger and frustration, it is indeed welcome. But Pearl Jam's anger on this eponymous album is not only largely invigorating, it is the opposite of the tortured introspection of their first records. Here, Vedder turns his attention to the world at large, and while he certainly rages against the state of W's union in 2006, he's hardly myopic or strident; he's alternately evocative and specific, giving this album a resonance that has been lacking in most protest rock of the 2000s. But what makes Pearl Jam such an effective record is that it can be easily enjoyed as sheer music without ever digging into Vedder's lyrics. Song for song, this is their best set since Vitalogy, and the band has never sounded so purposeful on record as they do here, nor have they ever delivered a record as consistent as this. And the thing that makes the record work exceptionally well is that Pearl Jam has embraced everything they do well, whether it's their classicist hard rock or heart-on-sleeve humanitarianism. In doing so, they seem kind of old fashioned, reaffirming that they are now thoroughly outside of the mainstream -- spending well over a decade galloping away from any trace of popularity will inevitably make you an outsider -- but on their own terms, Pearl Jam hasn't sounded as alive or engaging as they do here since at least Vitalogy, if not longer.
Rolling Stone - David Fricke
Wartime, for everything else that's wrong with it, brings out the best in Pearl Jam: the power-chord brawn, contrary righteousness and metallic-KO songwriting sense.... This album, Pearl Jam's first studio release in four years and their best in ten, is more of that top electric combat.

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Related Subjects


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Pearl Jam   Primary Artist
Jeff Ament   Bass,Bass Guitar
Matt Cameron   Percussion,Drums
Stone Gossard   Guitar
Mike McCready   Guitar
Eddie Vedder   Guitar,Vocals
Gary Westlake   Optigan
Boom Gaspar   Piano,Pump Organ,Hammond B3

Technical Credits

Pearl Jam   Audio Production
John Burton   Engineer
Jeff Ament   Composer
Matt Cameron   Composer
Stone Gossard   Composer
Adam Kasper   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Mike McCready   Composer
Steve Rinkoff   Drum Technician
Eddie Vedder   Composer
George Webb   Guitar Techician
Sam Hofstedt   Engineer
Greg Keplinger   Drum Technician
Jerome Turner   Concept
Aaron Mlasko   Drum Technician
Brad Klausen   Cover Photo
Fernande Apodaca   Artwork,Sculpture
Damien Echols   Composer

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Pearl Jam 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I embrace any new song/CD/DVD that Pearl Jam releases, but this one was easier than, say, "Riot Act," which took a few listens to get comfortable with. This self-titled album, however, takes me back to the sounds of "Vitalogy." The theme of the ocean is ever present on the CD, and maybe I'm reading too much into the layout of the songs, but they seem to be very powerful towards the beginning of the album, and then gradually descend, like a wave breaking, towards the end. Mike McCready makes himself quite known on this CD, which is an excellent thing. The album showcases his talents, both musically and lyrically. It's become one of my favorite PJ albums--it shows how they've evolved (like the "Monkey-Man" logo implies).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Buy this album, go home, and turn it up as loud as you can. The newest release from our favorite Seattle band begs to be blasted, from the first note of the album to the last. Wonderful new record that is sure to show everyone not that Pearl Jam is back, but that they never left.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I definetly would say that this is the best rock album I've seen in a long time. This year, I was looking forward to Stadium Arcadium and found that it was a decent album but nothing new for RHCP's. So then I checked out the new Pearl Jam Album and was NOT DISSAPOINTED! Prior to this, I had Ten, but no other PJ albums. Now I have gotten almost half their albums and am seeing for the first time how truly great they are. Life Wasted and Worldwide Suicide will definetly make radio immortality, and I like Marker in the Sand, Big Wave, Army Reserve, and Come Back. It has a flow to the album almost as good as Ten and deep lyrics with truth not seen much in music these days. Pearl Jam has returned from their late 90's experimenting to the beginning and the sound that made them one of the best bands of the past 20 years.
Guest More than 1 year ago
at first listen to the single world wide suicide I thought to myslef... this song might be trying to do a little too much-with the incoherant lyrics. nice guitar riff on the chorus. Not as catchy as I expected it to be. so in that way I'm disappointed. I don't know. And now that I've listen to the entire self titled Pearl Jam 8th album (4 days early mind you) thanks to the pj fan club mailing the album early I pretty much feel it on par with the previous album. take that for what it is. the best part is mike is allowed to be him self. you get guitar solos that sound spontanous and almost like something that was made up on the spot live. the previous albumn was a great work. this one is too. and its a natural progression. please note: the visual art work on this albumn! whowa! its dark and clearly aimed to conjure up images of charred, burned out dead bodies in afganistan and iraq and soon to be iran.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am so glad that the guys are back and better then ever. If you are a true Pearl Jam fan, you will enjoy this album from beginning to end. It has everything! Energy, Musical Sculpture and Emotion. My favorite song is on track #7 "Unemployable". I just love the way Eddie plays with his voise. PJ is always open-minded to try new things. KEEP ON ROCK'N CREW!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a Pearl Jam fan since their first album came out in 1991, that was when they made GOOD music, that means music that featured Long, "Whining", "Wailing" guitar solos[something almost unknown to the rock music fans of today], this New album is the' worst they have ever put out. I agree with many of Eddie Vedder's political view's but I'm sick of hearing him screaming about them, why can't he go back to writing songs like "Dissident", "Black" "Small Town" and "Long Road" and of Course "Alive"?. I do hope this Pearl Jam album fails miserably for them so they will learn that they must return to the sound they put on the albums "Ten"[their first album] and "VS."[their second], songs enladen with guitar solo's with influences by Classic Rock bands from the 1970's, not Punk rock junk they have been in these last 2 albums. Eddie Vedder does not have the right type of voice to sing songs like "Come Back" on this new cd, and I could have easily lived without the talentless singing of Matt Cameron the drummer. I only gave this one star because it won't allow me to give it a Zero star rating. If You want to hear Pearl Jam, PLEASE DO NOT buy this New CD, go and by "Ten" and "Vs", that WAS Pearl Jam!!.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is by far the greatest band there is, was, and ever will be!!! This album shows that noone can stand up to them!!!! Everyone should own 2 copies of this album, one for the house and one for the car!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
the bad boyees from seattle are back. this goes to show why we get so warm a fuzzy when they play. we ll see them at the garden!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago