Pearl Jam

Independent rock's last great hope!
*special introductory paragraph!
*Merkinball EP
*No Code
*Live On Two Legs
*Riot Act
*Lost Dogs
*Pearl Jam
*Atlanta Georgia August 7 2000
*(Scott Hutley reviews) Ten (UK Import)
*(Scott Hutley reviews) We're Gonna Hungry
*(Scott Hutley reviews) Alternate Versions
*(Scott Hutley reviews) Ultra Rare Trax
*(Scott Hutley reviews) Flashpoint
*(Scott Hutley reviews) Five Against One
*(Scott Hutley reviews) Manifesting Morrison
*(Scott Hutley reviews) Dissident 1
*(Scott Hutley reviews) Dissident 2
*(Scott Hutley reviews) Dissident 3
*(Scott Hutley reviews) Bridge Benefit-An Acoustic Evening
*(Scott Hutley reviews) Deep Through The Years (Italian 3-CD Box Set)
*(Scott Hutley reviews) Decoder
Oh, Pearl Jam. Grunge rockers from Seattle? Nope. Pretty good band, though! But they are not now, nor have they ever at any point been, a "grunge" band. They were from Seattle and wore flannel, so they got labeled "grunge" by a confused batch of mainstream music writers who didn't understand that the word was originally meant to apply to all those OTHER Seattle bands - you know... the GRUNGY ones! Mudhoney and Tad and pre-Nevermind Nirvana. For more pointless, elitist nonsense on this issue, please see my Steel Pole Bath Tub reviews elsewhere on the site. But please understand that I honestly don't give a rat's ass that the word "grunge" was stolen from cool noise music and re-applied to predictable midtempo slop like Candlebox and Stone Temple Pilots; I'm simply trying to explain why all us underground dummies were so anti-Pearl Jam from the getgo. It wasn't just because they seemed to be riding Nirvana's coattails to stardom, and it wasn't just because half the band used to be in that crappy metal band Mother Love Bone - it was because Ten is essentially nothing more than a funky classic rock album. It's not dirty or filthy or noisy or terribly innovative in any way - in fact, a good 60% of the tunes sound like mediocre rip-offs of "Walk This Way"! So that's the deal with it. But life goes on, and we all grow out of our piddly college states of mind (thank God). More importantly, Pearl Jam grew out of their bombastic skipply-dipply guitar rock trousers and evolved into one beautiful lil' harmonious gentle guitar interplay music-type pair of corporate slacks. And now I like them! And I gots to say that it's mainly because Eddie Vedder has one of the coolest damned singing voices I shall ever hear - so deep and powerful, like a Paul Rodgers for the non-sexist generation! That early stuff still leaves me cold, though. Cold as an ice cube in the light of death.

Ten - Epic Associated 1992.
Rating = 6

Overrated, but not bad. Eddie's already got his voice up there in crazy emotional Angsttown, giving the production a delightfully bombastic aura not unlike that of prime Foreigner, but the music goes nowhere and nowhere doubly, sounding (as I mentioned a few minutes ago) mostly like an annoyingly hookless ripoff of '70s Aerosmith. That's not the strange part, though. What's really bizarre is that a couple of the more emotional balladish type tunes (umm... "Oceans" and "Garden," I believe?) sound exactly like (clears throat) THE FIRM. Yep. I'm not even kidding. Go listen to Mean Business - especially the song "Dreaming." Yeah yeah, tons of rock guitarists are influenced by the jagged smacked-up stylings of Mr. James Page, but come on... The Firm? Granted - I personally would rather listen to The Firm than these first two Pearl Jam albums, but that's because I'm not quite the brightest oyster on the shore. I'm a few bricks short of a potato, see. I've got a screwed loose. Bats in my pantry. Toys in my asshole. A big Larry Hagman tie on my posterior. Shall I wave it for ye?

So yessy, the album definitely has its winners, but they're nearly always only due to the strong lungpower and charismatic phrasing of Mr. Vedder. The band doesn't exactly live up to the challenge. Imagine this generic predictable funk rock poop sung by, say, that guy in Weezer. Or Sammy Hagar. See what I'm driving at? "Why Go," for example, is a horrendous and entirely unnecessary song. "Alive," "Jeremy," "Release," and the end of "Black" damn near rule my ass, though. Emotions rule the day!

Reader Comments (Ted Stinson)
7/10 (B)

Strong opening salvo from these guys. They wrote some really good rockers: "Alive", "Why Go", "Porch", and "Deep" ("Deep" is especially good). "Jeremy" and "Even Flow" are good. The other few songs are so-so. I love the ballads ("Black", "Oceans", and "Release"). I think "Black" may be the best full blown ballad they have written. Many bands make their ballads really cheesy, but I think they do a really good job. Fav songs: "Black", "Why Go", "Porch", "Deep", and "Release". (Dave Weigel)

Heh heh, Ten gets a 10. The second best album of 1991 and a damn fine debut. Every song is grungy, hooky, and dark. There's some syrup thanks to the production, but you shouldn't notice. Some fine melodies on here, folks, and nice moshers as well! You've all heard "Evenflow", "Alive", and "Jeremy". You've probably seen the videos, too. And you remember them as being crappy, overdone and annoying. But no! They not! "Evenflow" rocks the damn casbah, and "Jeremy" is a rootin', tootin', high-falootin', gun shootin', Jethro Tull flootin' 90s rock classic! I'm not gonna sing the praises of "Alive"--I always found it kind of annoying and find it the weakest song on here, but that's just me.

What else is there? Well, the opener "Once" is fantasmo, "Oceans" sounds like peak Led Zeppelin with less amazing drums, and, well, pretty much everything else here is noteworthy. Dave Matthews owes a great deal to the rollicking "Porch". "Black" has shitty lyrics (tatooed everything?), but the great, bleak piano melodies redeem it. "Garden" may be a bit too desperate stadium anthem, but it should give you a shiver anyway. "Deep" rules. Check that whiny riff on the chorus! Outtasight!

And "Release" is a great album closer. Eddie's gruff, moaned vocals are funny enough to make the song, but the music is neat, too. The music has few problems. Including the cover, this is the most overblown thing Pearl Jam would do. It owes a lot more to the 80s than critics would suggest. It's also fun to listen to, and it rock and rolls pretty damn sweet. Kind of pretentious, but still a great album. (Scott Hutley)

No doubt about it, this is one darn fine debut! If this was the only thing Pearl Jam ever did, it would make for a short career. But danged if they haven't kept making records. In the commercial sense, this album ranks with the likes of Sgt. Peppers... and Dark Side of the Moon. I mean come on now, it was in the billboard top 40 for what, three years?! SOMEBODY out there likes this disc!! And for good reason, too. 'Once' is one of the best opening tunes I've ever heard in my life, and yet there's four other songs on here that simply blow it out of my nose! After 'Once' you've got no less than FIVE songs that get the pants played off of them over the air-waves. 'Evenflow', 'Alive', 'Why Go', 'Black', and the MTV acclaimed 'Jeremy' make me remember painful times in my childhood that never even happened! After that, you get 'Oceans' and 'Porch'. Ta'damn!! Eight songs on here. All in a row. All radio friendly. All done before lunch time. Mmmmm... Lunch.... 'Garden' and 'Deep' leave me feeling a little yadda yadda yackity shmackity. But 'Release' kicks in and then that little 'Master/Slave' number, and it all loops around to bring me back to 'Once'. Very cleaver, these Seattlites are even though Eddie isn't really from Seattle. But neither am I and you don't hear me complaining. Great CD, but the best was yet to come. By all accounts this disc is just a simple warm-up compared to what the Jam would do later.
Oooh, I'd give this album a 9, only because I played it nonstop for about 2 years, and that is frighteningly close to not being an exaggeration. The only song I don't like on this album is "Once" which just plain sucks. "Even Flow" is highly overrated, but still a good tune. "Alive" is up there with the top ten songs by ANY band in my decent CD/Record collection. I totally disagree about "Why Go?". That song is extremely catchy and emotional. "Black" got overplayed on the radio, so I never listen to it anymore, but I do remember it being an incredible song to listen to in the dark. Ditto for "Jeremy", one of the top ten from my archives also. "Oceans" is great to listen to if you have a Dolby Surround Receiver (It sounds like the instruments are coming from all round the room). "Porch" is an exceptional song, probably my favorite now because I haven't overplayed it. "Garden" is also like that. The cascading guitar riffs are incredible! "Deep" is great because parts of it Eddie sounds like Jim Morrison. "Release" is OK, but not one of my favs. I really can't see how you gave this album such a low score. In my opinion it ranks up with AIC-Dirt as the finest albums released in '92. And certainly one of the best albums of any band all time. (The Chameleon)
I don't remember much about this album as far as the individual songs go. I bought it about 4 or 3 years ago, for a reason that I can't remember. The cover and the song "Jeremy" appealed to me so I got it. I enjoyed it for a while, then I completely lost interest in it and sold it in along with ans. Anyway, I'd give this a 7 out of ten. I really love "Jeremy" because of the cool bass riff at the beginning, the end kinda loses me though. "Even flow" was pretty good. "Black" I loved too, I don't remember why, probably a nice little guitar entrance. The other songs I don't really recall so they probably were just average really. I enjoy Vedder's voice quite a bit, mostly because no one else really sounds like him. If I could set back time I think I would have kept this album. But I fucked up. Oh well, I'm not getting off my lazy ass and spending 14 more dollars on it. I'd rather buy Among the Living or another Slayer album next. I think I would enjoy to listen to this one again after all the metal, because well this is more "grunge" I guess than metal, and grunge is more song oriented. Metal is more piece oriented, if you know what I mean. If you don't, well, I really don't care. The point is, Ten is a good album, not great, just good.
I think that with this album, Pearl Jam defined itself as a kickass rock band (and then promptly re-defined themselves as sellouts two albums later). 'Alive' is one of my all-time favorite songs, and 'Jeremy', although overplayed, is a great song. Only about 2 songs weren't necessary, but overall this album deserves a '9'. Is it true that they named this album after Mookie Blaylock, whose number was '10' (hence the title ten)? (Gilbert van Hagen)
For the first time in months, I have stopped by at Mark Prindle's homepage once again. I'm glad to see that he's still alive and well and, in particular, that he has added a Pearl Jam review site!

Elsewhere, I have declared myself a worshipper of Maiden, Priest, AC/DC, Slayer and Scorpions (see the Metallica review site -- note: as yet I've been able to avoid Reload but I am beginning to think about buying it ... somebody please stop me!). I guess at the time I was ashamed to admit it, but I really like Pearl Jam too.

I do agree with Mark though that their debut album is overrated. I did listen to it a lot when it came out, but only a few songs really got a hold of me. In particular, "Black" is awesome.

By the way, here in the Netherlands you can buy the version with three bonus tracks at almost any record store for $12-$18. I recall that this version was actually released in the Netherlands first, to celebrate their concert at Pinkpop festival.

However, rather than to try to get a hold of these bonus tracks, you might wish to put some effort into obtaining the soundtrack to Singles. Apart from some other interesting stuff, it includes two Pearl Jam songs, of which "State of love and trust" is a near-classic. (Jim Hull)
Neat how the guitarist rips licks from Ace Frehley's solo in "She" for use in "Alive"...Kiss rocks!!!
Ten is a 10, third best rock album of all time (I am covering my head with my hands, Zep IV and Dark Side of the Moon are 1-2), I also very nearly played this baby two years straight and pull it out from time to time still (never too much though, it gets tired quick just like the other ones I have heard a million times)...
Ten is one of the best albums to ever come out. I like all the songs and so do alot of other people! This album i think has sold like 10 or 11 million copies just in the United States alone! That shows that alot of people like this album!
My favorite hard rock group is Pearl Jam, and they rock. But I have to say that Ten SUCKS!!! I love their last 3 records, Vitalogy, No Code, and Yield. These are 3 of the greatest rock records of the 90s. Ten is full of bad music and lyrics, and at a concert of Pearl Jam's, I talk to Stone Gossard. He said that he had really gotten sick of how everyone loves Ten and thinks the other four are just okay. He even said he wishes that they could play stuff from VS. on and nuttin' from Ten! (Philip Blaiklock)
First off, to Sunn4016, Vanilla Ice's To the Extreme sold over 7 million copies. I guess that means alot of people like that album as well.

But in all honesty, I really think Ten deserves more credit than you give it. While they (eventually) topped it with the lovely Yield, this album is remarkably solid throughout, with the possible exceptions of "Deep," "Garden," and that weird instrumental tucked in after "Release." "Alive" and "Jeremy" are amazing, as is the harrowing "Oceans." While that reverb added to Eddie's voice on most tracks sounds a little cheesy, it lends the album as a whole a certain atmosphere. In addition, the lyrics are heartfelt and Eddie sings with genuine passion, as opposed to his prenentious wanderings on Vs. Indeed, it is no surprise they gained such a following of mall rats with this album, a faction that has (thankfully) abandoned them in recent years.

A solid 8. (Thomas Rickert)
You underrated an overrated album. Isn't that ironic. Look, I can spell ironic.

Basically though, you are being kind of hard on the Beaver, as the joke goes from some comedian making fun of Leave it to Beaver that I can't recall. It's a classic, so you might as well roll over and let it scratch you on the belly. It's gonna happen sooner or later anyway. You are gonna wake up, roll over, and say, "Fuck me if Ten ain't a great fucking album." Maybe not a ten, mind you, but great nonetheless. And more. Much more. Just you wait. Yessiree, Mr. P.
Ten is big, dumb PC rock for 14 year olds. 5 years ago, i'd have given it a, a 4 (Lester)
I used to love it, but nowadays i don't really like it except for Jeremy. (Tony Souza)
A good debut. This one I don't listen to much anymore but it will always be part f my collection, mainly because of "Release". This band has a lot of energy and it shows throughout most of this CD. The slower songs have an intensity to them that other most other bands can't pull off. Vedder gets most of the publicity and he deserves it, but the guitar interplay between Gossard and McCready is topnotch, and the bass playing of Ament is underrated. (Jason Adams)
I first heard this when I was only a little older than the album's title. It was the first album that threw me for a loop. I was obsessed with Pearl Jam for a good two years. Now, honestly, I see that the album's no masterpiece. There are good moments, but there's no humor or fun or anything but straightforward angst. No wonder I loved it so much when I was going through puberty. (Ian Moss)
So I picked this one up at the ol' used bin recently, and boy am I glad I did. I now officially recant my rabid alt-rock-hating stance of my early teens. Although that album cover art still makes me want to puke sometimes.

Turn-ons? How about the amazing "Even Flow" (or its even better live version that gets played on the radio)--never quite realizes its potential, but man that melody kicks derriere. Then there's the punkish-but-still-cool "Once," the apocalyptic "Black," the enigmatic "Garden," the kind-of-stupid-but-still-catchy "Alive." I even like "Why Go." Honestly.

Turn-offs include the unmemorability of "Deep," as well as the overratedosity of "Jeremy" (which is still a good song, by the way, just not without its problems). Most of all, I resent the fact that the Jammers went forward in time to 1993, listened to their future classic "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town," and ripped off the melody for use in "Release." That just wasn't cool, Vedder. Shame on you.

Still a good debut, though. Too bad they couldn't keep it up. (Tommy Joyce)
I’m telling you, I’m a PJ fan, and still I think that Ten is about a 4-star record musically to Mother Love Bone’s only full LP: sure, it sounds a bit too mainstream, a bit too FM radio (except for the outrageous loudmouth self-parodying singer Andrew Wood) – but the riffs and the songwriting are way more solid than basically the same people (Wood did write 3 or 4 great ballads but the rockers are all just Gossard/Ament) would deliver a year later, and the band sound really energetic and enthusiastic, unlike Pearl Jam on Ten. Listen you Prindle – why do you in all seriousness (or are you laughing behind our backs?) review Guns and Roses and then call MLB a “crappy metal band”? ‘Cause they sure had a more charismatic singer and 10 times more the sense of humor than Axl Rose’s band (and besides they weren’t a bunch of stupid sick dicks). So does your opinion of them have like any foundation in anything whatsoever at all? Ie, have you ever even LISTENED to them? (And on the subject of self-parodying crazy-ass lovable singers, why isn't anybody on this site reviewing "I drive a Rolls-Royce cos it's good for my voice" Marc Bolan)?
I'm gonna tell you something abotu Pearl Jam you probably haven't considered yet, and maybe it'll piss you off, but listen close:


okay, wait! I'm not too familiar with this record, i don't listen to it every day and stuff, but i enjoy it every once in a while, but what disturbs me is: Every song has a absolutely cool chorus and fucking awful verses! Well, not fucking awful, but boring, mostly. It seems like they wrote a bunch of great tunes (which are all catchy and lovely and fantastic), then made up some pretty good lyrics...and then sourounded this COOL music by totally boring SHIT without any inspiration...i don't like their solos too much either...but sometimes at the end of every other song, they just play along with some ideas to the main theme of the chorus or something like that...and it sounds cool! the end of "alive" for example, which i still enjoy, also it has been player 100000000 times on the radio and radio sucks. and the end of "black" is maybe the saddest bit of music i ever heard. maybe. probably just because i'm listening to it right now and can't get it out of my head. ask me again in twenty minutes and the saddest bit of music will probably nirvana's "something in the way" or the pixies' "monkey gone to heaven" or whatever... anyway...pearl jam could have made this record much better! they are still quite talented melody makers
8/10. incredable rockers, incredable ballads but definitly not their best. Why, you ask. Because it was piss poorly produced and mixed, Once and Why GO are not impressive and very dated, and the album version of Evenflow leaves a lot to be desired (the radio or live version kick the album version's ass).

By the way, STP sound nothing like Pearl Jam, and they are definitly not midtempo slop. ggrrrrrrrrrrr....must...control...rage.... But I'll forgive you.
I enjoy this one. I'd probably give it an 8, maybe a 7 when people overrate it (like my friend Ron). It's a nice straight up rock 'n roll album, and i like every song (except im so sick of the overplayed singles!), especially the slow ballads, but it could get tedious after awhile. "Oceans", "Black", "Release", "Once", and/or "Even Flow" are really great songs though. (Barrett Barnard)
once there was a time when i thought i knew something about music.then i listened to ten and liked it.even the hits.yes by hits i mean alive evenflow and shouldve been bigger.i personally like why go and oceans but i agree gardens is a piece of shit.i dig on deep and release.good idea to close with those 2.once is punkin' and catchy without being pop punk at all.porch is probably my favorite.great chorus.just look at the chorus in that song.i just wanna stick my bridge into it.or in this case a long solo courtesy of mr macready.eddie vedder is talented.stone gossard is a strong song writer.mike does most of the solos.dave is a steadt drummer.but jeff ament is a dumbass.just look at the cover.what the fuck is he is 1991 isnt it.another thing .damn eddie whats up with the titles.but a good album noe the less.the best arena rock album of the 90s if it helps.ill give it 4 stars with gardens and 5 still wouldve been like 45 minutes without that pompous bastard. (Hossein Nayebagha)
You said it - overrated. I'd say most of these songs were written for another Mother Love Bone record. But Eddie's down-to-earth vocals - and the fact that they were from Seattle - gave them some "grunge" creds and so I think this is like the big arena rock album that's okay to like. And...Mother Love Bone is like the big glam-ish hardrock band that's okay to like, because their members would go on to form Pearl Jam.

I liked it too when I first got it, although even then I was disappointed about how mellow things were compared to what used to be known as grunge rock back in the day. Today, I can't see a single GREAT song on this album. "Oceans" is boring, "Porch" and - as you said - "Why Go" are crap. And I never understood the big deal about "Jeremy" - fact is, that's something you'd say about lots of big hits, but Pearl Jam is supposed to be good, they're not garbage, that's what they say. The verse parts are pretty damn pretentious, the chorus is okay, but...

Sound production - CRAP, way too overblown. Guitar leads - mostly generic. Vocals - a bit too ambitious, even if it somewhat saves the album.

Back to the songs - "Alive"; back then - great, now - boring, I mean I get annoyed just hearing the chorus in my head. "Deep" - I really like the chorus, sounds pretty funny with the words and all. "Even Flow" - decent, that part after the second chorus sounds fantastic on the live version that you'd hear to the video. "Black" - okay, that's a pretty good balad, I won't deny that.

The funny thing is that I read this review long time ago, and back then I was thinking "this guy is nuts, okay, so it may be a bit cock-rock-ish, but it's still a good rock record" and when I came back to read it again, I was pretty sure you'd given it a four. Probably because I used to think it was a great album, so going down to six was like really low considering the expectations. Then in later years I thought "he has a point", and then I figured four is really the right rating for this, but now I come back and it's apparently a six.

It may be harsh, but I really think this doesn't deserve more than a four or possibly five. If this would get six, then I'd have to give stuff like Vitalogy and No Code a full ten, and they're not quite that good. It's just a shame that so much music is released out there that would get about 1-2/10. (Louise Gagliardi)
“once”, “even flow, “jeremy” and “alive” rule my kunt, the rest of the album don’t 5/10
Yes, this album is overrated, but it doesn't suck. Well, four of the songs do, but the whole thing flows well as a unit. Skip "Oceans", "Deep", "Why Go", and the booooooooring "Garden" and you've got something. I give it a low 9.
I love this album. One of the best albums ever made. I prefer the "rough mixes" thought. The sound is more raw and pure on those mixes. I'd say a 9/10. Black is the most beautiful song ever written.

Add your thoughts?

Vs. - Epic Associated 1993.
Rating = 7

2023 UPDATE: I'm not sure why I used to hate this album so much. I suspect my mistake was trying to compare it to the underground noise rock that I so loved at the time (and still do!). Taken as a classic rock record, it's really quite good! So ignore the review below.

By the time this record came out, I was over my elitist Gina Arnold-like hoodooguru and actually honestly willing to embrace this previously banned-from-the-underground combo with open arms. But then I listened to the CD, and it sucked. "Go" sounded interestingly like lo-fi Helmet, and "Rearviewmirror" featured a splendidly catchy and simplistic pop riff, but the rest of the CD was just a bunch of boring "major label grunge" and failed attempts at branching out into new genres. Very disappointed, but not surprised, I put the CD away and kept on listening to the Cows. All these decades later, I still don't find much to enjoy in Vs. - I love the album title, but even that was swiped from Mission of Burma (who, for all I know, swiped it from somebody else!). The band sounds frazzled and directionless. They keep trying out all these different styles (including Black Crowesy southern rock shit in one or two tracks - blech!), but they sound like amateurs in every one - including the very same funky rock genre that made them famous one album earlier! I applaud the effort - the dark ambient shudder of "W.M.A.," the bubblegum irony of "Glorified G," the acoustic excursions of "Daughter" and "Elderly Woman Sitting On My Face Behind The Taco Bell" - but that doesn't mean I think the songs are any good. They're passable, I suppose (thanks to Mr. Veddy Edder again!), but they certainly reek of sophomore splump. It's popular as hell, though, so don't listen to me.

Reader Comments (Ted Stinson)
8/10 (B+)

They build on the style they started with on Ten, but they begin to expand their range of styles. They did two acoustic songs ("Daughter" and "Elderly Woman Behind a Counter in a Small Town"); a tribal sounding song ("WMA"); and some punkier sounding songs ("Go", "Blood", and "Leash"). Most of the songs are pretty good, but "WMA" and "Animal" don't do much for me. Favorite songs: "Go", "Glorified G.", "Dissident", "Elderly Woman...", and "Indifference". (Dave Weigel)

Another great album that I considered giving the 10. Now, here's the part I don't get. This album made them superstars, but they refused to release any singles, make any videos, or tour for this album. They kept Vitology under a low profile, too. Why? Do they truly not want to be rock stars? It seems that way. All this taken in to conclusion, I really can't understand the backlash of the last year.

But hey, back to the album. Vs. took the rocking, honest set of Ten and split in half-krickk!-over it's knee. You see, now there are rock songs and soft, understated songs. And that's not bad at all! In fact, the rockers "Go", "Animal", and "Blood" are twice as hard as anything on Ten, and the softies (or whatever) "Daughter" and "Ederly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" are nice an' pretty. The only throwbacks to le debut are "Rearviewmirror" and the anthemic "Leash" (get outta my fuckin' face!). They did grow between the two albums! And there's a little experimentation, too. The bongo-beating "W.M.A" is nifty. I could do without the lumpy "Glorified G" and the dumb "Rats", but "Indifference" is a nice wrap-up. All in all, it leaves a different impression than Ten, but it's almost as good. (Scott Hutley)

Amyone who listens to this disc knows exactly what I mean by better. For those who were looking for the 'Jeremy' sequel, well 'Daughter' is the closest thing you're going to get. Now some might say (Oasis) that Pearl Jam can't do or play anything different or better than what they put on TEN. They're one-dimensional and don't have the musical aptitude to change. But I digest. Now sure 'Indifference' reminds you all of 'Release', and 'Go' has more than a few similarities to 'Once'. And heck, the opening chords to 'Animal' are suspiciously familiar to the tune 'Evenflow'. But I ask ye' merry men to find 'Glorified G' on TEN. I dare thee to find 'W.M.A.' And I'll be hornswaggelled if you can find anything that resembles 'Elderly Woman'!!! It just ain't gonna happen! Even without a video (Eddie hates MTV), a strong marketing for a single (the first single 'Go' was purposely not allowed by the band to enter the UK charts. You figure it out.), and a dumpster full of increasingly bad press (remember that guy Eddie Vedder?), VS still sold 950,000 copies in its first week! Only Snoop Doggy Dog and his gang (literally) could knock them out of #1. I don't care what anybody says, that is simply amazing (Aerosmith). And it was successful for one simple reason. It's good. So buy it already!
Oh yeah, I'd like to say thanks to Mark for continually reviewing new albums, and making one of the few useful web sites on the net, though I tend to disagree rather strongly with him sometimes.....Now on to the Album....

Definitely a 10.

This is their best. No doubt in my mind. How can you not love every song on this disc? From the thrashing of "Go" to the (now overplayed) majesty of "Elderly Woman", to the quiet power of "W.M.A." (Everyone hates this song, I don't know why. One of my faves), to the incredibly catchy "Leash" and "Rats". And how about that incredible guitar at the end of "Dissident"? "Glorified G" has some pretty stupid lyrics, but what a great song! And "Rearviemirror" Damn........ I can't say enough about this song. IMHO their finest, no question. There is just no other song like it. And it is just weird enough to stick in your head for years. "Animal" is pretty damn cool, too. On the other hand, I can't stand "Blood," and "Indifference" leaves me well, pardon the cliche, indifferent. "Daughter" I guess is OK, but its on the radio too damn much! Oh yeah, and I personally think Eddie has the finest voice of any rock singer in the history of rock. And I mean it. Better than Morrison ( a close second) IMHO. (Philip Blaiklock)
I would give it around a 6. Half of this is pretty good, the other half ranges from forgettable to trash. "Go" is a fantastic rocker, as is "Animal," but everytime I listen to "Daughter" I can't help feeling it is overrated, though still a very good song.

"Rearviewmirror" and "Elderly Woman..." are fantastic songs, no doubt. But "Glorified G" is the most ridiculous, pretentious thing I have ever heard, "Blood" is nothing more than a mindless screechfest, and "Leash" is only notable for Eddie's expletive blurting. On the whole, not bad, but VERY uneven. (Gilbert van Hagen)
This album was somewhat of a disappointment to me, as it failed to live up to the promise of Ten. It's no worse than their debut album, but I expected it to be much better. My favorite song on Vs. is "Rearviewmirror". Most of the other songs are good, but by no means outstanding.
Hated it, 3 may be too much, "Daughter" really SUCKS, what were they thinking? (Vincent Hedrick)
Are you fucked???? How could you give Vs. a 5, its by far their best album.When I first heard it I was blown away except when I heard "W.M.A."Thats only weak track.Still this is better than ten or No code. (Dina)

Definatly their worst album, but still features some great songs. "Daughter", "indifference", "porch" and "elderly woman".


PLEASE EXPLAIN (Thomas Rickert)
Since I like Gina Arnold and the Hoodoo Gurus, both of whom you mention at the beginning of your review, first line in fact and that is very very oh so very significant, I think you are struggling with your unconscious, and that your negative review is the manifest content, and hence to be disregarded, and the things that I like, Gina and the Gurus, are the latent content, hence the real and more important message, and meant to signify that secretly you love Vs!

Surely I'm not the only one who sees this.
it's ok...not my bag...better than the first...still annoying and stupid...angst, blah blah...5 (Grant J. Mosesian)
This is regarding Dina's question about the album title. I'm not sure that anyone remembers back then but this album when through some wild release procedures. I guess Eddie and the guys were too drunk to figure out what to name the album. A very small amount of soft sided CDs leaked out at the beginning. These were soft sided(cardboard case). Then I heard some titled Five Against One were put out before the official Vs. finally arrived. I think the CD you got there is pretty darn rare. (Lester)
i like it, especially Daughter, but the three "cardboard" albums are much better. (Tony Souza)
Flawed, but still a good CD. They try to expand on what they already did with with Ten, and for the most part, they succeed. "Go" and "Animal" are fast and furious, but they expand the sound by cutting down a little on the guitar soloing of the first CD and emphasize the rythym more here ("Glorified G", "Rats" "Blood"). They also add texture by adding acoustic guitar on two numbers ("Daughter", "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town"). These songs aren't as memorable as the ones on Ten, but this CD is more consisant. (Jason Adams)
I love "Leash". That's about it. The rest of the album seems really weak. People say subsequent albums are better, but I haven't bothered to check. (Kelly)
I loved 10, and when this album came out, I bought it that day...and was a little disappointed. (I think PJ's a great band, but like everyone knows, its Vedder that really makes the band. He could sing Milli Vanilli and sell it. ) But, the more i listend to Vs. the more I liked it. Being a fairly angst ridden person helps, i think. I think Eddie could sing the words "Yadda yadda yadda" and make an amazing song out of it, but when he sings a song like Elderly Woman, or Dissident, its like he's cutting the raw emotion right out of his heart and waving it around on the stage for you. (same reasons i love Porch and Black on the first album, and In Hiding later on....there're at least 3 or 4 songs like that on every album) Almost 10 years later, they're still one of my 3 favorite bands (Floyd and Zeppelin, of course) (Ian Moss)
It could have been one of the best albums in the last 20 years if not for the inclusion of several horrid, ugly songs. The main culprit here is "Blood," which is so pointless and laughable that its presence on the album pretty much defies explanation. This is angst-ridden self-parody at its absolute worst. Other non-faves include the boring "Indifference," and "Rearviewmirror," which reminds me of "Porch" for some reason. "Rats" and "Leash" are at least interesting, although not the strongest songs (by the way, will someone please explain the lyrics of "Rats" to me? Please?). "Animal" is basically "Go" part 2, but more pedestrian this time.

But whoah, are there some standout songs here! "Go" is relentlessly intense and features some great guitar work, "Daughter" is one of PJ's most musically interesting songs, and "Elderly Woman" has Eddie at his tuneful best. But my pick for best song on the album may surprise you--it's "Dissident"! I LOVE that riff, and the melody is awesome as well. It's one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs, period.

Hard to say whether this is better than Ten or not. Really, they're quite comparable, but I think Ten is just a bit more consistent. If only they had left off "Blood"... (Pat D.)
Easily their best. For several reasons. One, that moron Brendan O'Brien produced this record well (for once in his 'storied' career), with clarity, depth, heaviness and warmth. The clarity was severly lacking on his later ventures with the band. He, along with I guess, Steve Albini popularized that annoying "dirty" sound which massacred records throughout the 90s, and even Korn's tired release "Follow the Leader".

Anyways, Eddie's voice is at its best, before he started down the long road of murmuring madness, which he now dwells in. The riffs are fantastic and hooky all over the record, Mike's leadwork is promenent (unlike a lot of the later albums), Dave brings a precision and complex sound with his drumming, and the melodies are just great all throughout.

I agree with everybody. "Blood" is terrible. But its the only low point on this album. One of the best albums of the 90s (if not the best), and a recommended buy.
7.5/10. This is a slight dissapointment over the super popular, yet still flawed, Ten. There are only two stinkers on this one, WMA and Rats. WMA is a No Code-ish sounding track (druming is similar to In My Tree), but were in No Code they perfected songs like this, on Vs. it seems out of place and akward. Rats isn't too bad, but this is the only song that I would ever say that Eddie's vocals get on my nerves. Go, Animal, and Rearviewmirror are great rockers and PJ classics. Daughter, Dissident, and Elderly Woman will have you singing along in no time. May not be the best, but still deserves some respect.
About the same as Ten, i think. Actually maybe more, cuz this one isnt overplayed or overrated. Ive always enjoyed this album too. "Daughter", "Elderly Woman...", and "Rearviewmirror" are classics (at least to me), and i also love "Glorified G", "Dissident", and "Animal". I also found "Leash" hilarious, but thats just me. An 8. (Hossein Nayebagha)
Definitely an improvement. "Blood" is pointless, "Rats" and "Leash" are a bit too U2-ish, but the rest are all decent. This is still typical guitar rock, but atleast not an attempt at the bombastic stuff they did on Ten.Whether this being because of Vedder's influence on the band, or that they simply grew, I don't know, but there's some substance in this stuff, and it still kicks a lot more ass than Ten ever did.

Even if "Go" and "Rearviewmirror" sound more creative, overall, I'd say "Dissident" is the best song of the album. I think it sort of represents the typical rock sound of the early 90s, and it's okay...I'm fed up with all the retro crap, so hearing this makes me feel that things weren't all that bad back then. Sometimes things went awfully wrong, but they had good intentions. I don't care if it's major label grunge or not, it's just good guitar rock.

If I was to rate this, it'd be 6/10.
Yea “Ten” sold fifty billion albums forcing Eddie to make this thing sound uncomercial and rough as hell…didn’t work for Nirvana with “In Utero” and worked even worse for Pearl Jam. If he had more sense in his stubborn little head, he would’ve kept pumping out “anthemetic” 70s style rock ditties with angst lyrics like on the debut. But noooooooooooooooooooooooo he had to work hard at being uncomercial and pretend to be something he wasn’t..stupid motherfucker. All their albums sound forced and fake to me neway. Its almost like Eddie said to his bandmates…”Kurt Cobain and all our peers will hate us even more if we continue writing angst lyrics set to melodic stadium rock anthems or if we become the biggest band in the world..lets get real angry, depressed and experiment with our sound!! And instead of filling our albums with eleven or 12 melodic songs, will stick with two an album so at least our records can sell 5 millions copies each. No more MTV boys!!! Maybe an animated clip of animals eating each other and evolution…but that’s it!! Shit you guys better start playing actual riffs!!! And go easy on the wha wha pedal Stoner Cockhard…Something’s gotta compensate for my lack of anthemetic baritone choruses which was the only decent fuking thing on our debut! Oh and no to exposing ourselves to the pubic ever again because we aint selling out to what they want… I don’t wanna become popular again damnit! Remember it’s what Kurt would’ve wanted”. Oh and the album… well like u said it’s directionless (every song besides “daughter” and “rearviewmirror” is fucking atrocious). Seriously people if Pearl Jam never released their debut album…I doubt Vs or any of the following albums would’ve sold any copies at all. They built there reputation on their debut album…now they can make any shit and it will still sell!!! Coz people are stupid. Who listens to Pearl Jam neway??
I actually like this album better than 10 for some reason, I'm not a big Pearl Jam fan but this was good back in the day.

When it came out I was 18 and feeling all angsty, there was a girl who I'd broken up with and I used to sit in my bedroom smoking weed singing "Indifference" into an empty beer bottle feeling sorry for myself...hahahaha, what a cockhead. I would rise to a heartfelt cresendo when Vedder sang "I will hold this candel till it burns off my arm"...teenage boys are stupid.

Great powerful album. I enjoy most of these songs better when I hear live versions of them..they have more power and agression then. But, this is a great rock album, and I love the variation of the mellow songs like daughter, indifference and elderly woman... to the rocking rearviewmirror and Go.
This is my favorite Pearl jam album for the same reason you think it’s their worst. I like the fact that they cut from the sameyness of the music like “Ten” and explore a bit into different styles. The production is sharper and by ridding the blandness of the production on “Ten” they sound like they enjoy what they’re doing a lot more and are more into it. It’s not really that it’s a diverse album; it’s just that it’s not like the last one where, except for the three slower ones, “Garden”, "Black" and "Oceans," you could really only distinguish the songs by the melodies and lyrics. Here there is much more variety in the moods and feelings of the songs.

Add your thoughts?

Vitalogy - Epic Associated 1994.
Rating = 7

A good album! They actually sound like adults! No more childish weak-ass bombast! Just straight up, tight-lipped steady eddy rock and roll, along with some nice ballads and things. The hits were "Better Man" and "Corduroy," both of which made me think, even at the time, "Wow! I thought these guys were supposed to suck? Those are damn good songs!" Just much more mature. The songs actually have RIFFS to go with Eddie's cool voice. And "Spin The Black Circle" does the hard rockin' thing without those annoying plodding drums from the last two records! Very impressive. Good album. The only real suckjob is that it's packed with all these dumb experiments that don't really go anywhere. Personally, I get a major kick out of "Bugs" because it sounds like one of those drunken novelty ditties that you'll often find at the end of a Fall album, but most of the rest (especially the excruciatingly dull "Hey Foxymophandlemama, that's me") rudely clog the pores of an otherwise acne-free see dee. Good effort! Good album!

By the way, I'm having emotional problems. Actually more like "obsessive" problems. I've had them forever, but recently they've been really bad and are wreaking havoc on my psyche. I think I'm gonna try one of them antidepressant prescription drug things. So if you notice an incredible lack of creativity in my writing starting in the near future, that's why.

If you notice an incredible lack of creativity in my writing right now, it's because I'm not a very good writer.

Reader Comments (Ted Stinson)
9/10 (A-)

The one thing that sticks out the most on this album is how rough around the edges it is. Another thing is how much more wild it is. I went totally apeshit when this album came out. I had the two previous albums, but this one seemed much more.......awesome.

It starts off with "Last Exit", "Spin the Black Circle", "Not For you" and "Tremor Christ". Wow!!! These songs kick ass. The only songs on this that don't kick ass are "Bugs" and "Stupid Mop". "Stupid Mop" is extremely irritating after awhile (although I get the humor.........I hope it's a joke). "Bugs" seems really out of place here too. It might've fit in on No Code. The slower songs ("Nothing Man" and "Better Man") are incredibly written. I don't know whether "Immortality" should be called a rocker or a ballad, but it kicks ass none the less. Even though this has nothing to do with the music, I think that the packaging is the most thought out design I've ever seen. It's funny. Favorite Songs: "Last Exit", "Not For You", "Corduroy", "Satan's Bed", and "Immortality". (Dave Weigel)

Wow. I didn't see this coming. This is a weird little album! No hits (well, I did hear "Better Man" on the radio a few times), less hooks, and some odd song concepts, this has to be one of the strangest albums to ever go multi-platinum. Sandwiched between some crazy, pretentious freaking album art (the Vitalogy health book, you see), we have two "divisions" of perverted rock 'n roll. And some crap. Read on.

"Last Exit" is the band's iffiest opening ever, a half-written, malformed grunge tune. But then, hah-ho-hey, here's "Spin the Black Circle"! This song cooks! Love that circular riff! And the rest of Division One is okay too, with the strangely catchy "Not For You" (how about Vedder's Red Hot Chili Pepper's impression?), the throbbing, sorta lousy "Tremor Christ", the fine ballad "Nothingman" (not a ripoff of "Nowhere Man" at all, oh noooo!), the driving "Whipping" and, uh, "Pry, to".

Division Two starts off great with one of the band's best songs, "Corduroy". Why wasn't this a hit? I'd have guessed this to be a bigger hit than, say, "Who You Are"! But who am I? I liked Mallrats. Oh yeah...Division Two is screwed up by the lousy, "experimental" songs. "Bugs" is an accordian-driven mess, "Aye Davanita" is insultingly stupid, and "Stupid Mop" is unlistenable. "Better Man" and "Satan's Bed" are winners, and "Immortality" is good, but they tend to get lost. Overall, 8 cool tracks and 6 losers. Yeah, "Pry, to" isn't really a song, but it still sucks. A mistep for the band that definitely cost them fans. (Scott Hutley)

In a word: Weird. In more words: This disc is a mix good and 'eh. Mostly good, though. This one goes beyond diverse. It just goes nuts in places. While tunes like 'Last Exit', 'Corduroy', 'Better Man' (which was a song played previously by Eddie's earlier band Bad Radio) and 'Immortality' show further proof that the Pajamas can still make some incredible music together, There's also some... well... filler on here as well. 'Pry to' has somewhat of a point to it, but it's basically just goofy. 'Bugs' is absolutely hilarious! It's not really what one would consider a song though. As for 'Stupid Mop'... it's just downright disturbing. And to be quite honest 'Spin the Black Circle' may be an ode to records, but it's truelly one weak Pearl Jam song. There's a couple of tunes that could've been on here too that didn't make the cut. 'Hard to Imagine' for instance was a demo for the VS disc, but it certainly should have been put on here! Thank the Makers that in the summer this wonderful song will be released on a movie soundtrack, but seriously now doesn't it deserve to be on a real PJ album? In short, they did some great things on here but not all the way through the CD. In long, see the above paragraph.

I dunno....this album sits very odd with me. I can never decide whether I love it or just call it mediocre. Sometimes it seems like an act of pure genius, and other times its like "They coulda done better than this". That said it is still a very good album, so I gave it an 8, rather than a 10 or a 6. I disagree "Last Exit" is great. One of the few songs on this record (Yes, I bought the vinyl version) that always appeals to me. "Spin the Black Circle", "Stupid mop", "Bugs", and "Aye Davanita", you have to be in the mood for, but when you are, those songs are great! "Not For You" is such an odd song, but I guess I like it. "Tremor Christ" is the best on this album in my spooky and powerful....can't get enough of that song. Following closely is "Immortality", and excellent creepy yet oddly catchy song at the same time. "Better Man" has some dumb lyrics that don't meld very well with the song, but thats because Eddie wrote that song back in High School, if I'm not mistaken.....And of course everyone loves "Nothingman". "Whipping" has a excellent driving guitar riff as well as excellent drumming by Dave. And you've all heard "Corderoy" on the radio way too many times. Again, even as I am typing this, this album suddenly seems like a work of art, but later on I may change my mind yet again, so I'll compromise and go with 8. (Gilbert van Hagen)
My feelings towards Vitalogy are mixed. "Corduroy", "Not for you", "Tremor christ" and "Better man" rank among my favorite Pearl Jam tunes. In my opinion, neither Ten nor Vs. had this many awesome songs. I share Mark Prindle's view, however, that whereas "Bugs" is funny, the other experimental tracks on Vitalogy are uninteresting.
"Spin the Black Circle" blatantly rips off Husker Du's "Beyond the Threshold"..
Now we're getting somewhere, this is more like it, 7 1/2, very nice CD, "Immortality" rules. (Philip Blaiklock)
It is indeed an improvement over Vs. In a way, all the goofy little novelty numbers actually add a certain charm to it - "Pry, To" IMHO does quite alot to you in those 30 seconds, "Bugs" is hilarious. True, "Aye..." and "Stupid Mop" are far from their best work, but at least the latter, while not even coming close to holding a candle to "Revolution 9," is at least pretty darn funny for the first minute.

The "normal" songs, just like on Vs, consist of 1/2 really, really good stuff - "Betterman," "Not for You," "Nothingman" (quite possibly my fav PJ song) and 1/2 not that good ("Satan's Bed," "Whipping"). But here, the difference is that the weak songs are not as unsatisfying as those on Vs, and indeed, I agree with you that they sound much more focused and mature.

Overall, 7 or 7 1/2. (Vincent Hedrick)
This is apretty good record. But those stupid tracks drag the album down. I tried listening to "stupid mop" but i couldn't and whatever the track is after "better man" is terrible. "Bugs" is no picnic either. And "pry to" is just weird. (Kay Duffy)
7. uh. i kind of liked those weirdo songs, actually. the only song i really despised was "betterman" because i knew several stupidgirls who loved it. the album is really uneven, but when you get in the right mood for it... it's just so dang cool.
best songs are actually good, but then there's the dumb crap and the 2 "Man" songs which I can't stand. total: 5 (Grant J. Mosesian)
A painful rating of 4

Wow what a waste of a perfectly good piece of silicon. This is such an incredibly lame attempt at a late 60's- early 70's "concept album" that it's actually funny. When a band tries to be original and experimental it is more obvious the sun in the sky. And it's usually pure drivel. The Seattle Boys make no exception here. You can almost hear Big Ed pulling from some JD during the songs. Maybe Vedder thought that Jim Morrison was so cool he decided to destroy his career and his life in the same manner. Other then the decent singles, just seemed like a way to prove to the world "Hey we are a really deep, underground, artsy band!". Guess again guys. (Lester)
great album, i still love "Better Man". "Corduroy" and "Tremor Christ" are great. And the 5/4 in the verse of "Last Exit is pretty cool too. All the real songs are really good. and to IHate Ska - you're right, "Spin the Black Circle" has the exact same guitar riff as "Beyond the Threshold". and also, i kinda live "Ave Divanta". i think that not liking a song because other people you aren't fond of enjoy it is stupid. listen to the music. (Tony Souza)
The band continues to grow here. I agree with the reviewer about the songwriting, definatly more mature. The experiments are uneven ("Bugs" I lke, "Stupid Mop" I hate) but the rest of the songs are good. The music on the first two CDs were geared more toward arenas but these songs, though they still rock, have a more intimate quality to them. (Alex R)
This album sucks and so does this band. Ok, I used to like these guys a lot during that huge bullshit alternative hype in 94-95. Beleive it or not I was at a friend`s house once and he had this CD, and I really wanted to borrow it, but he said that it sucked all kinds of ass, I didn`t give a shit about his opinion at first so I borrowed it and I actually enjoyed it. But right now I wished I didn`t borrow it. I should of listened to him at first.

Ok, look, back where I came from in 94-95, if you listened to AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Mettalica etc. you were considered a devil worshipper, but this was in high school. And those dumb people at my school thought that AC/DC meant " After Christ / Devil Comes ". HA!, what a bunch of fuckin morons, so I got my ass kicked every single day because they thought I worshipped the devil, so basically I was like forced in to like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, The Pumpkins etc. And actually I loved them for a couple years.

But one day last year, I just got sick and tired of listening to this crap, I just got bored with it. So I went back to listening to the good bands and I love them very much to this day. My point is that kids were hypnotized back then and some are still are. So I sold all my crappy alternative CD`s and I got a kick ass deal, so I ended buying a new guitar and an amp. And my friend was right the whole time. Hooray for good ol classic rock!!. And Pearl Jam Sucks... A Lot.
This has their ONLY good song. "Spin The Black Circle". I noticed you said that Pearl Jam was pretty good in your Smashing Pumpkins review. They do not compare to the Pumpkins or Nirvana. I don't see how alternative radio plays them so much, since they basically sound like rehashed Bad Company, or Allman Brothers. Spin the Black Circle was the only sign of creativity, and spark this band ever showed. Otherwise they just sound like tired old classic rock.
Really good album. Most people i know swear by this album actually, but i perfer Yield overall. The experiments really appeal to me for some reason. "Bugs" is a hilarious accordian tune, which i would never expect from Pearl Jam at all, "Hey Foxymophandlemama, that's me" is eerie and freaked me out when listening to it after smokin' reefer, "Aye Davanita" is a pretty instrumental, "Pry To.", well i dont quite get this but its funny regardless, and 45 seconds so who cares! As for the actual "songs" "Corduory", "Not For You", "Better Man", "Tremor Christ", and "Immortality" are absolute highlights on this album, all damn great songs. "Spin The Black Circle" is a nice rockin' song which makes you think its about heroin, but is actually about playing vinyl (the bands fasination with vinyl)! Not to mention "Nothing Man" and "Last Exit", both great songs as well. Oh, and "Satan's Bed" is pretty disturbing, in a good way, as well. Overall it'd get an 8 from me, since ill admit "Hey Foxymophandlemama, that's me" does get dull after a while. (Steve)
This is one of my guilty pleasures, though most of my enjoyment of the record comes from nostalgia. Ah, the early 90s... back when pretending to be a bipolar slob was actually fashionable. This was a somewhat gutsy move on Pearl Jam's part to alienate a large number of their fans, but their act of defiance seems contrived when you realize that they conveniently waited to do this only AFTER they'd already made millions off their previous cheeseball "classic rock"-esque albums. Some of the "experimental" stuff sounds forced, but overall this is worth an 8. Maybe a six without the nostalgia factor.
Best Pearl Jam album to date. The sound production improved on the last one and here it's great. That added to Eddie's vocals now being free from some of the U2-pretentiousness that was not totally gone on the previous album, but still loud enough, and not as mumbling as it actually started to get from No Code and forward.

I think it definitely deserves 8/10, but I guess that's not a big deal. Sure, the experimentals don't always work, but then again it has 14 tracks, so if you take off a few, you still get plenty of really good rock songs, and a few pretty balads.

Best tunes: "Not For You", "Tremor Christ", "Better Man", "Whipping" and "Corduroy".

I also don't get all the sarcasm regarding Pearl Jam's hardheaded attitude regarding ticket prices and music videos during these years. I wasn't really "innit" back then to feel how things were, but it's a sound attitude. Who cares if they're "for real" or not? They didn't make videos and that's great. I'm ready to admit it when I see a cool video, but generally, they're pretty damn stupid. You could always give out live videos, if you think it's important for the sake of promotion.

For many years, this was my favorite Pearl Jam Album! From the rocking Last Exit (drummed by their drum tech) and spin the black circle, to the heartbreaking songs Nothingman, Betterman, and Immortality. A beautiful album with great funny songss like Bugs (cool!) and hidden messages in Pry, To! This album is just a 10 out of 10. beautiful artwork, and amazingly great music. every song on here is great!
People occasionally call this a dark or a weird album. I agree but I don’t think that it’s really in the mood or the notes of the songs. “Satan’s Bed”, “Tremor Christ”, “Bugs” and “Pry, To” are songs that could fall into that category. Whereas otherwise what makes it unusual is just the stuff that’s randomly or not randomly put it in, like the 15 second jam in the beginning of “Last Exit” or the weird extended coda to “Not for You” that you hear after the song fades out, which is a guitar and bass playing a slow melody, or the melodic feedback noise right before “Betterman” starts; those are examples of what I’m talking about. The actual songs are really no different than the type of songs off “VS”. Eddie’s voice is just slightly less powerful than before but still pretty good.

Add your thoughts?

Merkinball EP - Epic 1995
Rating = 5

These two songs were originally intended to appear on the Neil Young/Pearl Jam extravaganza Mirror Ball, but Neil Young kept complaining that Vedder's voice wasn't whiny or nasally enough so they released them separately.

I made that up, but Neil Young plays guitar on the sad little pretty midtempo rocker "I Got Id" and pump organ on the gentle simple boring hippy ballad "Long Road." And by "pump organ," I of course mean "male pr

That's not true, but Vedder, Ament and Irons are the only members of Pearl Jam to appear on this disc. Neil Young banned the other musicians after they wrote a song about his toy train collection called "The Gayfer Express."

That hasn't been confirmed, but a merkin is a wig you wear on your privates.

Sergeant: "Privates! Put on your wig!"

Heh heh, we all laughed a howdy-do at that one.

Reader Comments

Scott Hutley
Grade = 8

I know it's just a two song single, but it's two songs you can't get anywhere else so bug off... "I Got ID" is one darn fine song. This is the one that got heavy rotation on the radio, and everyone thought this was off the new Pearl Jam album. Then we realized it was just a song they wrote with Neil Young during the MirrorBall CD, and nobody wanted to hear it anymore. Neil does the guitars on this song as well as the other tune. In fact, Mike McCready and Stone Gossard aren't even credited on these songs, and Jeff Ament only plays bass on "Long Road" (Brendan O'Brien plays bass on "I Got ID"). So in a way, it's not really even Pearl Jam. Oh well, I like the songs anyway. BTW, Eddie also did "Long Road" (which is a groovin' tune no matter how you slice it) with the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on the Dead Man Walking soundtrack. This time not even Neil or Jack Irons play on it, but Ry Cooder does! Whooptie Shmooe. That's ok though, you don't have to get that version. I was stating the facts. But you really should get Merkinball if you haven't already. You might want to look up the reference to Merkinball as well. Pretty... uh... interesting...

Well, its got two great songs on it, so I had to give it a nine. "I got Id" is the better one, and Neil Young has a great solo at the end. "Long Road" is pretty damn great also. (Gilbert van Hagen)
I am glad that the Merkinball single is reviewed on this site, since it gives me a chance to WARN ALL OF YOU ROCK FANS OUT THERE NOT TO BUY THIS CRAP! Just kidding, actually I think this is one of the best singles of all time. "I got ID" is among Pearl Jam's best songs, and "Long road" is great too. Mind you, none of the tracks on Mirror Ball comes close to this high standard of quality. Even though Neil Young plays some mean guitar, Eddie Vedder proves to be a better songwriter (and a better vocalist, obviously). (Vincent Hedrick)
"I got ID" is awesome and so id "Long Road". Still they should of put this on one their records so people don't have to hunt music stores to find the single. (Thomas Rickert)
The Dead Man Walking Soundtrack (The Score version, not the other) is just great, and that version of Long Road just goes on forever in the best way. Great stuff, different, unusual, progressive. And you can tell on No Code that Eddie is taking some of those middle eastern lessons to heart...
I just have to say that Long Road is an enchanting brilliant song what moves at it's own pace and deserves to be heard by any Pearl Jam fan on the market (Lester)
i don't have this, but I Got Id is a cool song. does anyone have the new Last Kiss single? It's a cover of some old 50s tune that i think the Carpenters covered. It's so cool, about a car crash, kinda like Leader Of The Pack. Great, with my favorite chord progression in the world. and the b-side is okay too. it's a ripoff, but the proceeds go to kosovo refugees, which is very fine in my book. (Aless)
While I Got ID was written during the Mirrorball recording sessions, it was not written with Neil Young. Neil plays the guitar on the recording. That's it.

While Long Road was was recorded with Nusrat Fatah Ali Khan, Nusrat had nothing to do with the music or the lyrics. This song is about Ed's high school teacher, whom Ed loved and revered like a father. The teacher unfortuately suffered from Alzheimers in his later years. Ed talks about the D note, and it's significance. It is the tolling of a bell, mourning the death of the teacher.

Again, this is pure Ed. Listen to Man of The Hour and hear the musical relationship between the two songs.

Your article while well intended, does the songwriter an injustice. These two songs are brilliant and are solely the product of the single songwriter.

Add your thoughts?

No Code - Epic/Sony 1996.
Rating = 7

Man! This ain't grunge at dang ol' all! Most of these songs are very slow, quiet and (in the drums department, courtesy of former Red Hot Chili Pepper Anthony Keidis - thank you, that was my Gina Arnold impression. Say! Can you tell I'm in the process of working my way through Route 666: On The Road to Nirvana? Or, as I like to call it, Let Me Tell You Why I'm So Much Cooler Than You, and Please Ignore All My Factual Errors? Let's see... hmm... she takes a Robo quote from The Decline of Western Civilization and attributes it to Ron Reyes. She twice refers to ex-Black Flag bassist Chuck Dukowski as "ex-Black Flag drummer Chuck Dukowski." She refers to the Jane's Addiction songs "Ted, Just Admit It" and "Nothing's Shocking" as if they aren't, in fact, THE SAME SONG. She spends a whole half-page raving about the first time she heard Chronic Town, and about how she drank and drank even though she didn't even know she was thirsty and all this poetic show-offy crap, and then she concludes the self-congratulatory anecdote by saying something like "In short, those four songs played endlessly throughout etc. etc." Great, Gina. But see, there are FIVE FUCKING SONGS ON CHRONIC TOWN!!! Ah me. I apologize for being so bitter. It's one thing to make a mistake - I've made plenty. But honestly, it seems as if her entire point in writing the book is just to say to the world, "I'm really cool because I heard all this cool music before you did!" And sure, we're all a little whiny and boastful during our college years, but she's like 40!!!!!) tribal, believe it or not, leaving all anthemic blast behind for Bush to take to the bank and cash.

It's no wonder that this album wasn't a hit - it doesn't have any of the musical qualities that so appealed to former fans. Actually, it sounds more like the last Thinking Fellers album with Eddie Vedder singing than it does Ten! Not every song is slow, of course ("Hail, Hail" - now there's a great fucking rock song. What a chord sequence in the chorus!), but the overall mood is one of peaceful relaxation and just hangin' out, dude. It fits Eddie's voice wonderfully and is another giant leap towards maturity. Plus, this time, the experimentation is integrated into the songs themselves instead of serving as annoying asides like on the last record, and that's a plus too, which is why I began the sentence with the word "plus". The only problem is that, although there's really not a crapper on the whole thing, most of the songs are just good and not great. So it's an enjoyable surprise the first couple times you hear it, but then the novelty of the wild new Jam style wears off and you're left with a record that is just... good. Most of the riffs aren't really all that innovative. A few are, yes. And it's all a wonderfully pleasant listen - possibly their best album up to this point. But that's not good enough for me, dammit. I've got millions of albums, and a merely "good" one isn't gonna make me hop up and down singing for cola. And ick, but Eddie's "raw" vocals in the first track sound like absolute pooplog!

Reader Comments (Ted Stinson)
10/10 (A+)

Definitely their best work. I like each and every song on here. The song writing keeps getting better and better. Here's what happened, Pearl Jam decided that they needed to do a album that was a little softer. How many rocking songs can you write before you decide that the next album should have a larger portion of slower songs (and just how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop)? There are still a few rockers, but they seem overshadowed by the slower ones. I like songs that rock and I think that they write incredible songs on every album. The way the songs are written, not the type of songs, is the reason that I think this is the best. The only half stinker on here is "Around the Bend". The music is good, but some of the lyrics are iffy. Fav's: "Sometimes", "Hail Hail", "Off He Goes", "Lukin", "Present Tense". (Dave Weigel)

Pearl Jam rebound with a great, diverse set of songs inspired by their jams with Neil Young and some fat Pakistani guy. Nobody cares. The single "Who You Are" is neglected and the album bombs. All when I start to dig 'em!

It may not have been the reason nobody bought it, but in my opinion the packaging is again too pretentious. Two albums in a row that don't list the band's name on the cover? No matter--the music is what matters, right? And the music this time out is great. The hymn "Sometimes" makes a fine opener, "Habit" shows off a neato vocal performance by my man Eddie, "Who You Are" is actually kind of neat, and "Smile" is not as happy as the title may suggest but still fun. It's nice to see that a band with such a tarnished reputation is still trying. The messy crap of Vitology is gone, with such lovely fare as "Mankind" and "In My Tree" filling the gap. The record overall is a brave step forward for Pearl Jam. Less anthemic than Ten or Vs., it's not quite as accessible but I can still recommend it. If the band continues on this track, they'll do just fine.

By the way, do you know what pearl jam actually is? Semen! Have a nice day! (Scott Hutley)

Now here we go! This is the Jam I don't really know and have never personally met before! When I first heard this disc, I kept waiting for the next tune that would later be played on the radio. You know what? I never heard one. And that's not a bad thing either. For the first time, Pearl Jam left me feeling completely surprised throughout the entire album. Not a song on here sounds a thing like each other, or their earlier stuff for that matter. Am I the only person around who kept thinking to myself that this is not Pearl Jam? This is not Pearl Jam! It's not! It's some band other than Pearl Jam. Some other decent band that's not Pearl Jam. It's a band with a terribly infectious sound and one Jim Morrison of a lead singer that is not Pearl Jam. Well I'll be damned if this ain't Pearl Jam! Just think: when you were sitting at home lipsinking to 'Jeremy' and 'Evenflow' did you it ever occur to you that one day that same band would be making songs like 'In My Tree', 'Present Tense', and 'Around the Bend'? I certainly didn't, my friends! But I sure am glad they did! I can't help but believe that some of this has to do with the addition and subtraction of a new drummer. Jack Irons brings in the kind of surf/punk sound that Dave Abbruzzese either couldn't or wouldn't do. Contrary to popular belief, it was actually Jack who did more to influence the sound of 'Who You Are' than the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan did. And Irons is the man whom Eddie claimed at the '94 Bridge Benefit concert saved Pearl Jam as a band. Wanna know something? I think he really did, too. Oh, and that packaging! Way to go, Jammers!

Yeah, I give it a 9, partially because I love bands that do whatever the fuck they want and don't worry about record sales. It starts off slow, but it's actually a slow song that me, lover of all things thrash, can enjoy, and thats no small feat. "Hail Hail" sucks. I hate that song. Like three chords throughout the entire song. Nothing else. Lets not be Bush fellas, OK? "Who you are" is shocking because I thought I was gonna hate it, but actually it is a pretty damn good song. "In my Tree" ties "Red Mosquito" for the best songs on the disc in my opinion. "Red Mosquito" had they bothered to put it on the radio rather than that "Hail Hail" shit would've sold some copies. What a great song. "Smile" and "Off He Goes" were also released as singles, and they both have yet to bug me cus of overplay, which can only be a good sign. "Habit" may sound annoying the first coupla times you listen, but after that you can't turn it off. "Lukin" is put on my list of songs that I wish WERE LONGER! It has such a great riff to it, but they chop it off at :49 or something like that. "Present Tense" has some dumb lyrics, but otherwise 3rd best on the disc. Great Ending! "Mankind" sounds like the Ramones, but thats OK because it is so catchy, and Stone takes the mike on this one! "I'm open" is interesting, and "Around the Bend" is a great ender. All in all, not for everyone, but I really liked this one...... (Gilbert van Hagen)
Definitely a masterpiece. Excellent! Superb! Though I still feel Pearl Jam could do better, this is a surprisingly coherent and impressive effort. Personally, I like "Present tense" best, but "Sometimes", "Hail hail", "In my tree", "Smile", "Off he goes" and "Lukin" are all great songs too! (Vincent Hedrick)
This is an excellent album. "Sometimes" kicks ass. All the songs are good. Stone is a pretty good singer. "Mankind" is a kick ass song. And "Off He goes" is one of their best songs. (Philip Blaiklock)
Take Vitalogy, smooth out the high points and low points, mellow it out, and you get No Code. What a pleasant album! "Sometimes" sets the overall mood - slow, strangely subdued, yet energetic - and I might add it is an amazing song, along with "In my Tree" and "Off he Goes," assuming you give the latter time to grow on you. I agree with you that the remainder is merely good, but not great - "Around the Bend" and "Present Tense" are nice an' pretty for sure, but they just seem sort of...there. Likewise, "Hail, Hail," "Lukin," and "Habit" are moderately tuneful rockers, but nothing to write home about. However, the very fact I am able to listen to this album without feeling an urge to hit "skip" (as oppsed to Vs. and Vitalogy) makes it their best up to this point, but only a modest improvement over Vitalogy.

I would give it either a 7 or an 8 - still trying to decide... (Thomas Rickert)
Now quit picking on ole Gina. Who cares about some factual errors -- its all mythmaking anyway. And mythmaking makes for great Rock and roll. Didja see the Rolling Stone swipe at Eddie that came out at the time of this album; they accused him of having a normal childhood and mythmaking! Wow. What crimes!!!!! Yea and verily. And all because he wouldn't give them an interview. So fuck Rolling Stone. But read Gina Arnold, especially her new one, Kiss This: Punk in the Present Tense. Cause, as Eddie says, it makes much more sense to live in present tense. Right? Right. Write. (Chris Hopkins)
No Code?!? Better than all their previous albums?!? You've got to be kidding me. Ten defined the grunge movement in Seattle at a time when it lacked one. It gave the entire scene a direction in which to go. Soundgarden, STP, even Nirvana to an extent followed Pearl Jam down the road of slow experimentation which led to Vs., (a close second to Ten, I love Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town). And Vitology, a more iffy album. And then came No Code, and the experimentation had gone too far. "Who You Are" isn't very good at all, and "Red Mosquito" is quite possibly one of the worst songs in existence. Thank God they've bounced back with Yeild. The videos for "Jeremy" and "Do the Evolution" are easily two of the best ever. (Lester)
i really like "Hail, Hail", "Off He Goes", "Present Tense", and "Smile" even though it rips off Neil Young. "Sometimes" would be cool if Eddie could sing it right. (Tony Souza)
My favorite Pearl Jam CD. The songwriting has less ranting on it but it's still intense. The opener "Sometimes" is great because it's a slow, meditative song and when "Hail Hail" blasts through, it hits that much harder. The guitar tone is completely different from "Ten" and I love it. The drumming of Jack Irons is fantasic on this whole CD and in particular on "Who You Are" and "In My Tree". Having Gossard sing lead on "Mankind" gave this more of a group feel. "Present Tense" is one of the best things they have done. This CD grew on me the more I listened to it, and I think it's their most underrated CD. (Josh Moore)
I wasn't going to respond to anything on this page (which is in fact one of the most interesting sights on the net), until I read's comments on No Code, particulary for the song Hail Hail. This is from a guy who wants to sound like a musician and throw out a term like "it only has 3 chords". Take guitar lessons and learn that there's 8 different chords in the chorus alone - although the verses have a mere 3! :) And comparing Pearl Jam to Bush is pure insanity. This is absolutely the most underrated album of the decade, and possibly more. (Ian Moss)
Picked this one up used from the local record store. Boy, buying used is the way to go! I got Kid A that way, as well as Yes's Keys to Ascension, Aerosmith's Permanent Vacation, and a killer recording of Poulenc's Gloria conducted by Robert Shaw. Anyway, this is another winner from the katzenJammers. I was originally scared off from this album by "Who You Are," but most of the songs are much better than that. For example "Hail Hail" is one of their best efforts ever. I also love "In My Tree," "Habit," and "I'm Open" although a lot of those ones in the middle kind of run together in my mind. "Mankind" sounds like a poor imitation of the Foo Fighters or something, so I'm not so sure about that song. And "Around the Bend" is kind of weak, yet another disappointing album closer from PJ. Have you noticed that Pearl Jam has almost as much trouble ending an album as U2 does? Seriously, every one of their CDs (with the exception of Vitalogy, which I don't have) has at least one or two mediocre songs at the end. Well, a lot of people like "Release" from the first album, but I don't. Hmmm....but I think Pearl Jam also suffers from another disease that I will from now on refer to as "Pearl Jam disease": it is the Disease of the Pretentious Packaging, which reaches its height (low?) on this very album. Geez, guys!
Pearl jam's No Code flat out sucks! It is so boring that I can't even listen to it the whole way through, all the slowness was a really bad idea they should have al least tried to make these songs a little bit interesting.
I hated this one at first. It was a disappointment for me. I love it now though. Just some straight forward songs with none of that crappy slick production like on Ten. Also the band has obviously changed at this point, they are no longer 70's classic rock wanna-be's and are coming up with more creative songs here. "Who You Are", "Hail Hail", "Off He Goes", the Neil Young/Bob Dylan wanna-be "Smile", "Red Mosquito"... all wonderful songs. I give it a 9. (Hossein Nayebagha)
Love the bit about "Hail,Hail" - so true, so telling.

Also deserving of an 8, but still weaker than Vitalogy, let's say 8- . The only problem with this record is that, like I said on my Vitalogy comment, Eddie mumbles too much. On Vitalogy he got the balance between this and the early records, but here, on songs like "Sometimes" and verse parts of "In My Tree", he sounds like a dead guy, is it supposed to be "emotional"? I don't know, I don't mean to make him sound as bad as others out here.

That, and as you say, it's not as if it has all that many fantastic tracks, although I think some of them are more than just "good". "Hail,Hail", "Red Mosquito" - Beatles vs. Hendrix - great, fuckin' excellent intro! "In My Tree" - trippy, "Off He Goes" - pretty.

The Coral is a fuckin' unbelievable band. Possibly the coolest CD packaging EVER...It's just fantastic. No extra points for that, but it must be mentioned.
Hi! I'm Mark Prindle, and you never called me back when you promised you would. Because of this, I have dug up an old (I don't even remember who I stole it from!) Pearl Jam review I wrote of a fine little album called No Code, as you have mistaken its purpose in the universe. Forgive its pompousness; it wasn't originally intended for Mark Prindle...

I don't know how you like these sent to you, so correct me if I'm doing something wrong.

There are bands out there that had fame, but just took it too far and lost it all. Pearl Jam on the other hand grabbed it, took it out of the package, tried it out for a week, carefully put it back in its box and slapped a 'Return to Sender' sticker on the side. For those who don't know, this is it. You can tell if someone knows their shit or not depending on how they feel about this album. If you don't enjoy it, you'll know the song "Jeremy" and not...say... "Love Boat Captain". If you love this album, you're going to follow this band for a long, long time, possibly down to the B-Side. That being said, it's my favorite album of all time. There aren't any radio-friendly pop tunes here, in fact the singles that were released absolutely tanked. Instead, we get a very humble and human record about personal demons and nostalgia, yet with the constant reminder that dwelling on either is foolish. "It makes much more sense to live…in the present tense," singer Eddie Vedder reminds us. This theme is also visited in "Off He Goes" (!) a beautiful Mellon collie song about meeting an old friend, and "Smile" ("I miss you already, I'll miss you always," he wails next to the tone of a solemn harmonica). Perhaps these personal anecdotes are why the band has always included only partial lyrics with their albums.

That's not to say that the whole album is low-key. "Hail, Hail" is here (and is it ever). "In My Tree" has become a fan favorite in the truest sense, and a prime example of the excellent percussion skills of Jack Irons. It speaks of isolation and meditation "up here so high the sky I scrape/had my eyes peeled both wide open, and I got a glimpse/of my innocence... got back my inner sense..." A personal favorite of mine is the simple integrity of Stone Gossard penned (and sung) "Mankind," which speaks of the world they left behind, "What's got the whole world fakin'?" The whole album is absolutely brimming with these themes, and I want to mention them all. "Lukin" is a fantastic release of pure energy, and a masterful interlude between these reoccurring themes, and the final piece of the puzzle, the winding "Around the Bend" finishes up in as peaceful lullaby after the spoken word oddity "I'm Open". I'll stop here, but just know there is plenty more where that came from, and of course it has an internal logic and flow like all Jam albums.

Ten may have smashed the records, Vitalogy may have broke the songwriting mold, and Binaural may have created the new one, but No Code still stands as their most important record with its deliberate shedding of all that the band didn't want. For what it's worth, this is definitely a 'take it or leave it' record. If it bores you no end, stick with the first three releases and enjoy them to your heart's content. As for me, I'll stock up on rarities and live shows and enjoy them to mine.
WHOA! check out the cover! a zillion pretty pictures! yes it feels like and looks like a digipack. come on guys! you forgot to tell me about the cover! ah, jackass! jack ass! jack azz! back da ass up! ah! let's go.... stupid fucks.

1.SOMETIMES: we start with a bass line and eddie mumbling and someone peeing if you hear real close you can see the producer peeing! I am not kidding!









10.PRESENT TENSE: ah....... yep a mellow tune that desreved to be a hit FAV LYRICS: YOU CAN'T SPEND YOUR TIME ALONE/ RED DIGRESS AND PAST REGRETS OH/ YOU CAN'T COME TO TREMS AND REALISE YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE WHO CANNOT FORGIVE YOURSELF OH/ IT MAKES MUCH MORE SENSE TO LIVE IN THE PRESENT TENSE. yeah. the bridge is fast paced rock and a pretty ending. I miss the 90's fuck the millenium! fucking gay retard decade. hey! on habit after the feedback ed said speaking as a child of the 90's then rock again.




hey, how's it going? if that was you I passed while walking down the sidewalk part of the street, then I'm sorry for not saying "hi." It's been such a long time that it didn't register until later, so I just thought you were some hot girl, so I probably just looked at you googlingly and thought, "wow, that girl is unusually hot." I also haven't taken a shower or done laundry for over 2 weeks, so I probably smelled really bad...oh, wait - I thought I was writing to someone else. I'm supposed to be submitting a reader comment to Mark Prindle's review of Pearl Jam's No Code! How'd you like my impression of your zany, unpredictable writing style? Pretty bad, huh? Anyway, don't you hate it when you're trying to poop on the grooves of "Hey Foxymophandlemama, that's me" and the poop accidentally lands on "Corduroy"? Yeah, that stain's not gonna come out. Should'a worn shorts today, not corduroys, dumbass. Ok, that was my 2nd impression. Better, huh? (We'll save the 3rd one for your review of Brain Salad Surgery...) All seriousness aside, this has always been my favorite Pearl Jam album. Like you said in your review of Yield, this is where they solidified their sound. And the album is eclectic, but unlike the one before it, it contains no songs that I would try to poop on. I will only disagree with you in that there are some great songs on here, being "Hail, Hail", "In My Tree", "Red Mosquito", and "Present Tense". Always loved those chords in "Hail, Hail"'s chorus, as well, and the "Vs." sport one of the best ever applications of Eddie Vedder's quavery singing. "In My Tree" is very spiritually exciting, "Red Mosquito" has some great guitar interplay, and I always thought "Present Tense" was what U2 would have sounded like had they gone prog. The rest of the album is good, too (forgot to mention "Smile" - that could be called great), and has a very open feel. "Around the Bend" makes me feel like I'm sitting in a nearly empty 75% real Mexican restaurant. So until I hear the half of Backspacer I haven't heard, I'll call this their best. Besides, the album's title contains the word I've been using most when confronted with strangers that think they know me and everything. Yes, that would be "code". (Long story.)

Add your thoughts?

Yield - Epic/Sony 1998.
Rating = 8

Beautiful. With No Code, they found a gentler songwriting style relying on light strains of melodic guitar interplay and heavenly emotional vocals by Mr. Freddy Dedder, and on Yield, they apply this new sound to a whole slew of wonderful radio-ready pop dreamers. They haven't turned into sissies, though. There are still a couple of rockers on here ("Brain Of J." and "Do The Evolution") - it's just that they're much tighter than the boompa boompa "get out of my fuckin' face" nonsense of yesteryear. As an added bonus, Yield also feechurs a couple of the coolest experimental pieces they've done yet! The first is "No Way," which features a mesmerizingly repetitive Fall-esque (with me, it all goes back to The Fall - sorry about that!) riff played over and over again through what sounds to my ears like a couple of wah-wah pedals turned all the way to "www" with no "ahh" giving it that rednecky '70s feel. At the end, the guitars return to a normal tone (darn it), but for a couple minutes there - hoo! The other is "Push Me, Pull Me," which is weirder than all hell, with some dopey poetry and ethereal back-up vocals in the funky chorus - crazy, but definitely interesting and effective. These are asides, though. Most of the numbers consist of basically standard guitar melodies (the record's only fault) played with oodles of lovely guitar tones and arpeggios and crap like that. These guys really DO know what they're doing. I can't say for sure that they always have, but they do now. The melodies are only part of the story. What makes the record so damn good is the sound. Tone is important, dammit. And they're getting better at true soundscaping with every record. That's enough. I'm gonna go now. But for the record, I still fucking hate the Smashing Pumpkins.
Reader Comments (Thomas Hutley)
Grade -- 9

Oh, my beloved Jammin' Pearls! Look what they've done! They've created music that's completely different from what they've played in the past, and what's more, they're delivering their new sound better than the post-office!

This is undoubtedly more radio-friendly than No Code. I mean, the shear guitar hooks and catchiness of no less than half of the disc reminds me of a mid-80's Ratt. That's a compliment by the way. And if you can't see Bon Jovi performing a rousing rendition of "In Hiding" then you're not using the same eyes as I am. "Brain of J" and "Do The Evolution" are tunes that I just can't get out of my rug no matter how many times I run the ol' Hoover over it. And "Low Light" is such a cute little ditty! How can you possibly hate something so pretty? Absolutely beautiful! I'd also like to nod my head to "MFC" and "Faithfull".

This disc is so completely a group effort, it's almost sad in a way. Ok, it's not sad in any conceivable way. I just didn't know what else to say. Both Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard showcase two complete songs each. That includes music AND lyrics in case you were confused by the words 'complete songs'. If I wasn't incredibly hungry right now, I'd say more. I'm so weak. Yield however, is not weak. It's got a little musical filler at the end, and that Jack Irons thing gets a little goofy in parts too, but the rest of the songs are simply wonderful.

And screw everyone who wanted the Son of "Jeremy"!! You're probably the same group of yahoo's who think that "Unforgiven II" is so great! You're all a bunch of mindless drones in need of a Queen! I really wish you would stop living on my planet and ruining my otherwise acceptable radio-waves! (Nick Leu)
I'd say a high "9" is about right for this. Definitely their best album yet, and it's consistently good all the way through, which is more than I can say for a couple of their other albums, particularly Vitalogy. I particularly love "Pilate" and "Do the Evolution".

Also, it's funny you should mention Gina Arnold, as I was just reading an incredibly Martha Stewart-esque article by her on the Matador Records website about "How to Write a Record Review". What a coincidence, huh?
Ditto! No more damn sequels to songs. "Unforgiven II" sucks. Though I'd like to say that Re-load is well worth the purchase other than that song.


I was gonna give this one 9 1/2, but that is probably illegal on this site, so its a 9. Such a great album. Best one to come out this year which is not saying much. The first four songs "Brain of J", "Faithfull", "No Way", and "Given to Fly" are all destined to be Pearl Jam classics. And I don't see the comparison between Zep's "Going to California" and that song. The guitar at the end is incredible how it blends with Eddie's voice, kinda reminiscent of "Dissident". Stone and Mike are not virtuosos by any means, but they are exceptional at getting the guitars to fit exactly with the song. The only guitarist in the 90's that is in the same league with them in that category is Jerry Cantrell. And this shows in Yield very much so. "Wishlist" is a song that everyone seems to like a lot, but its just OK in my mind. "Pilate" is pretty cool, too. I started out hating "Do the Evolution", but after a coupla listens, it really hooked me. Great song. The instrumental is really stupid. I skip it every time. "MFC" is added to the list of songs that I WISH WERE LONGER! Damn, that song is so good! But it just ends! "Low Light" is the best song on the disc IMHO. The guitars have such FEELING in this song (see shameless ogling of Stone and Mike's guitaring above) and the piano is an excellent touch. "In Hiding" is great, and coulda been as good as "Brain" but something about the bridge seems contrived and doesn't fit the song well. And "Push Me....Pull Me" is great if for no other reason that I normally hate bad mixes, but this one is perfectally done. And did anyone else notice the verses sound a lot like Pantera's "Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills" off of Far Beyond Driven? Damn... And finally "All those Yesterdays" is good, but not great. Only one mediocre song, and one horrible instrumental thats so short it doesn't really count. Close to toppling Vs. but not quite. Very optimistic future for this group, which I personally consider one of the greatest bands in history.
Holy Shit! An unbelievable album, reinstating my faith in good rock music in these electronica/Puffy/Marilyn Manson 90's. I think they have found their groove after the cock-rock stylings of Ten, the punk/acoustic Vs., the Neil Young inspired (well mostly) No Code. And yes I know i forgot Vitalogy, but it's late and I am tired so deal with it.

This is truly an album. Not this made-for radio, one hit wonders that are populating the airwaves of FM rock radio. You can sit down, pop in the CD and listen to the entire album and not skip songs. With song contributions from almost all members, this is truly a group effort and it has paid off handsomely. There is no filler on this album at all. Even that weird red dot 50 second blurb has a catchy beat.

And what's the deal with everyone comparing "Given to Fly" to "Going to California" (Zeppelin)? I don't see it, and I am a big Zep fan. And I read in some magazine review that the reviewer thinks that Pearl Jam has sold out for shying away from the bombastic rock of Ten. I think that it is obvious that this is the group's most mature effort. "In Hiding", "Many Fast Cars", "Low Light", hell why don't I name every song cause I like them all. 10/10. And they finally got the mixing right. All the other albums were mixed so poorly, the low end sounded like my car's muffler. P.S. Buy the "Given to Fly" single for the non-album track "Leatherman". Yeah i know, another song ending with -man. what's with that Eddie Vedder and -man songs? But it's a great song too. See, even the b-sides are good. (Jim Hull)
...Well heck, I thought it sounded like "Going To California" too...still kind of catchy, though...I just sighed and listened absently... (Vincent Hedrick)
I thought this was a pretty good album. The only weak track is that untitiled one after "Do the Evoulution"."Faithful" and "No way" are kick ass songs along with "Do the Evoulution" and "Brain of J". (Philip Blaiklock)
Score! What a great album! Focused, energetic, creative, and nary a weak song to be found. Let's see here - once I popped this in and began listening to "Brain of J" I thought "Uh comes another steam shovel rocker from them..," but it was a pleasant suprise - tuneful and going in all sorts of directions. "Faithfull" is assured and emotional, and "Wishlist" is gorgeous. "MFC" is a little silly, but the its rushing feel more than makes up for it. "Pilate" is touching, yet funky at the same time, and "Push Me Pull Me" is their first whacked-out experiment that actually WORKS - how they pulled it off I know not, but I gotta say it can hold a candle to "Tommor Never Knows." And the centerpiece has got to be "Given to Fly." Even if they did lift it from LedZep, you have to admit they one-upped them on it.

Overall, about an 8 1/2. Great album.
Good album. Wish list is great as is Do the evolution. And have you seen that video!? AWESOME! (Lester)
i love it. Good art work/design, too. "Pilate", "In Hiding", "Low Light", "Faithfull" are the best songs. and unlike previous albums, the experimentaion is good. ("Red Dot" and "Push Me", if you were wondering.) and what the heck does IMHO mean???? (Tony Souza)
These guys keep getting better and better. I still like No Code a little better, but this is a real close second. The songwriting is spread out among the other band members more and the music combines what they have done on their first CDs and what they have done recently. "Given To Fly" does sound a bit lke "Going To California" but who cares? It's still a great song.

"Push Me, Pull Me" sounds like it could have been on No Code so I think that's a great song. Overall, a very strong CD.
Damn, this album has grown on me like a mutant fungus: I disliked it at first, but now I see it as one of the best examples of today's rock 'n' roll. Thank you for pointing out the merits of "No Way" and "Push Me Pull Me," two of my favorite tracks. If No Code is really like that, I'll have to check it out. "Faithfull," "Given to Fly" and "In Hiding" are also world-class tunes with incredible melodies. (As far as the "Going to California" connection goes, I didn't hear it at first either. Now I recognize what people are talking about, but I don't think it's a very fair comparison, because there are only so many melodies available to songwriters within the tonal context that most of them use, so it's inevitable that there will be some overlap pitchwise. Additionally, the similarity only exists during the beginning of each song; the melody of "Going to California" changes after a few verses, a change which "Given to Fly" does not copy. It's only a ripoff when the rhythms and gestures are the same as well--e.g., Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way" vs. Steve Miller's "The Stake." Anyway, that's my take on it.)

My only complaint with the album is that side 2 starts off pretty slowly. I can't stand "Do the Evolution," while and "MFC" are pretty filler-esque. But the rest of it is dope, yo. (Vexor)
I usually don't like to describe all the songs on an album, but I'm going to have to make an exception with this one:

This is the only PJ album I've heard outside of Ten and Vs., and unlike the last two which were more consistent, this one's kinda uneven. I don't mean that in a bad way, though, as this album ranges from lovely as a royal gown to ugly as a pool of liquid poop. The best songs on this album are sheer classics, with the big radio singles, "Given to Fly" and "In Hiding" being of masterpecial not seen since Ten. "Given to Fly" is a truly amazing achievement for Pearl Jam, as it's their most powerful and grandoise song they've done since Jeremy, with incredible dynamics. "In Hiding" has an awesome beat and melody; it's pretty much THE perfect pop song. You've also got "Wish List" with its lovely chiming guitar and cute lyrics ("I wish I was a neutron bomb / For once I could go off", gotta love that), "Brain of J" with its hella cool riff and chorus, "Faithfull" which is beautifully relaxing, "MFC" which has really nifty guitar tonality and rhythm reminiscent of "Paperback Writer" though ending way sooner than it should, and "Low Light" which is sorta countryish, except that country sucks and "Low Light" doesn't. And did somebody say "fucked up"? "Do the Evolution" is an rock-n-rollingly catchy song that's cool to listen to just to hear Veddy Edder go insane and scream his head off, and the driving rhythm and crazy mumbling of "Push Me Pull Me" is just wicked. Unfortunately, this albums has a couple of weak tracks, some of which aren't too bad, the rest of which are awful. "Pilate" has really pretty verses, but then the terrible, fugly-ass chorus comes and totally ruins it. The red dot instrumental is a stupid, disfigured mess that has no reason to exist, "All Those Yesterdays" attempts to be a Beatles-stlye number but ends up boring and hideous, the "hidden" instrumental is nice as background music but not much else, and I'm going to have to disagree with everyone here and say that , although the guitar effect is sorta cool, "No Way" just bores the hell out of me, in addition to be constructed really ugly (notice a pattern forming here?). Now certain kinds of ugly I can appreciate, like for instance Slayer ("Angel of Death", aww man!), but when Pearl Jam gets ugly they just suck.

Though the mix is pretty solid (as opposed to the soupy mixes on Ten and Vs.), it seems awfully low-fi, which is fine for an indie band short on cash and producers, but this is Pearl Jam we're talking about here! I don't care how indie PJ wants to appear, I demand a clear, vibrant mix dammit! Even worse is a severe lack of dynamics in the production. When the loud guitars and wailing vocals in "Given to Fly" come in I expect everything to burst out in a loud explosion of glory; instead it stays stuck in low-fiville. Another dissappointment is Eddie's singing. Somewhere around this time he started losing confidence in his notes and his vocals now sound all warbly and mumbly. Though it's nowhere near as bad as the horrid attempt at "singing" Mr. Vedder attempted on the next album, it's really sad to see one of the most amazing vocalists starting to fall from grace. Oh well.

Despite some crappy songs and Eddie's deteriorating voice, the album gets an 8 'cause the classics are just too good to pass up.
I love this one. It's a beautiful record, with some lovely songs like "Wishlist", "MDC", "Low Light", "Given To Fly" (who cares if it does sound like "Going To California"!? Zeppelin ripped off tons of songs and you dont hear anybody complainin' about that), or "In Hiding" and also they still rock out with some ass kickin' songs like "Do The Evolution", or "Brain Of J". "Push Me Pull Me" is great too, as its a nice change for the band to attempt some weird-ass song as this. The only song i think is totally unnessasary is that "Red Dot" song, but its short. I give this a 10! I doubt they could ever top this one. (Hossein Nayebagha)
...Of course, the one that deserves a seven, gets eight.

I'll admit that it's more balanced than No Code, but the thing you said about songs being merely good, but not great applies better to this one. The weaker songs are almost BORING; "Pilate", "Given To Fly"´, "Low Light" and "MFC" which starts nice but is sort of ruined by the nowhere-going chorus.

Also, the guitars on No Code has this dirtier, country/bluesy sound which was nice...Here it sort of gets "Vs. light".

The rockers that you mentioned are among the better ones. Also, as you mention, "No Way", which partly gets that wicked sound because it's actually in Drop D - Pearl Jam in Drop D, those wussy boys? And, "Wishlist", which I thought was boring when I first got the album, but it has something special in its simplicity, which is also reflected in the great guitar solo.
This one's pretty interesting. I originally gave this one a 7, but it's slowly worked its way up to the niner a half star at a time. The main reason I didn't like it as much was because it's a very different record. (Obligitory background info you've seen before) You see, the band had done away with their old fan base and writing techniques with No Code, and in exchange became a very self-indulgent band that shared their work with their remaining fans who love them for it. The catch is that this is the album released before Binural, which is the album where they started the produced, art rock approach that they have stayed with since. Here, the band is getting out of the old habit of Vedder writing most of the songs, and are all digging in to add their personal touches. It also contains a good bit of experimentation as the band works their way towards exquisite hard rock. As such, this one's an anomaly in the Pearl Jam catalog. After a few spins though, I have grown to really enjoy this one, almost as much as those later works.

The album's main fault is that it's a little too dependant on hooks, but they're all really good. "Brain of J" rocks with the best of them, but most of these hooks are not garage rockers. A good number of the tracks, especially on the second side, are delicate (even thoughtful) yet still hard rock numbers. These introspective songs all work very well, especially strung together like they are. Also important to remember, no matter what Pearl Jam record you end up buying, you will always, always get a handful of tracks that rank among their very best. "Given to Fly" is a wonderfully inspirational song. Vedder mumbles, "A wave came crashing like a fist to the jaw. Delivered him wings, 'Hey, look at me now'..." ably backed by the band who gives an equally powerful punch. "Do the Evolution" is one of the few real rockers here, containing a very primitive riff, and with Vedder's primordial yelps and screams, is a very successful send-up. The true winner here is "Wishlist", a simple, yet beautiful song containing some of the band's very best lyrics, and a wonderfully effortless solo. It's no wonder it's become a sing-a-long highlight at live shows. As with Vitalogy, we get a few completely experimental pieces, even though they don't blend as seamlessly or appear as important as the ones on that record. Nonetheless one of them, "Push Me, Pull Me" is probably the single most successful experimental piece they ever did.

Overall, Yield is a very enjoyable record, especially because it is deceptively profound, and still rather direct. An largely contemplative album, injected with some solid rockers, and the sweet and simple closer, "All Those Yesterdays", yet another pleasant sing-a-long complete with a tuba segment, creates a respectable interlude between Pearl Jam's transition of musical style, and what is simply a feel-good record.

Add your thoughts?

Live On Two Legs - Epic/Sony 1998.
Rating = 8

This might be the place to start for folx who think they might be huge Pearl Gam fans someday. It's got lots of hits, and adequately covers all of their albums and periods with quality run-throughs that sound a heck of a lot like the originals. So let's call it sort of a greatest hits album even though it obviously isn't because it doesn't have "Alive" on it. In fact, let's call it Bruce Springsteen's Greatest Hits because that's missing a ton of great songs too, including Rick Springfield's classic "They Call Me Bruce."
Reader Comments (Thomas Hutley)

Purely one of the best commercial live discs I own. This disc merely confirms what most people already know about Pearl Jam: They sound exceptionally good LIVE. Although the disc itself doesn't say so, it's commonly assumed that many of the tracks on here come from the September 19th Voters For Choice show at Constitution Hall. (Please correct me if I'm wrong, or applaud me for being so right. Your choice.) But what's completely clear to me is that Pearl Jam sounds far better than a Chinese guy farting in the tub, and that's pretty hard to top if you ask me.

This is not the kind of CD you buy if you like nothing but the hits. But if you like Pearl Jam as a complete Pumpkin Pie with no peices taken out and lots of whipped cream, then you're strange... but at least you'll like this CD. The disc DOES run through a well-balanced set list of hi's and lo's, fast's and slow's, Blah's and Blah's. Corduroy kicks off the Disc. Quite well actually. Daughter has the obligatory references to other songs at the end. Most Jam fans will enjoy the particular songs for this version. I'd tell you what they were but I'd have to hire someone to kill you seeing as how I wouldn't actually do it myself. The Untitled tune is really a great suprise, definately not something you've heard before unless you've gone to a recent concert and even THEN maybe not. But it's a great prelude to MFC. Fits together like my hand and this here gun. Hail, Hail and Off He Goes are a bit of a suprise to me but they are preformed wonderfully. Even Flow and Black are the only TEN tunes on here, and THEY are preformed wonderfully, so good news for those who are tired of Jeremy and Alive because they aren't on here. And the cover tune of Neil Young's F*ckin' Up (that's how it's writen on the disc. I'm just qouting) is exceptional to say the least.

The actual PLAYING is what's truelly great on here though. Matt Cameron (you remember Soundgarden, don't you?) fills in magnificently for Jack Irons who has taken ill of late. I must say, if Pearl Jam MUST replace their drummer again, hopefully Cameron will be available and willing. Argueably the best percussionist to rise up from Seattle in the past 15 years or so, and it shows on this disc. I mean, it's like he KNOWS the tunes and you KNOW he can play them to a tee, but that's not good enough for him! Instead, he plays things like they were ment to be for a while and then almost gets bored and decides to add a few fills here and there. Very subtle but completely called for. Matt just knows his way around a drum kit. Mike and Stone play exceedingly well with each other. That's not a sexual reference, mind you. Some very wicked guitar licks on this disc. Jeff backs them up on bass perfectly and for ONCE the mix on a live album got done RIGHT! You know, like I can actually HEAR all the instruments and one's not overpowering all the others! Know what I mean? Yeah, you know what I mean.

Of course, with Pearl Jam it all comes down to Eddie Vedder and the show he puts on. Simply put, Eddie can sing. He can play pretty good guitar too. Bet you didn't know that. His stage diving days may be over, but Eddie's voice has gotten so much better over the years. A lot of power, a lot of emotion, not bombastic in the least, and able to sustain notes without pulling any major muscles.

So in the end, I have to give them a 9 on this one. Like all good judges, I must leave room for something better to come along. Could be worse you know. I could be the German judge and give them nothing but 6's every time. Ideally, SEEING Pearl Jam live is your best bet. If you can't do that, at least pick up this disc.
I disagree. I was AT the Constitution Hall show (Lucky Me!) and it was phenomenal. And this album does not come close to the sheer energy of this show. The mix IS great- arguably the best of ANY live album I have come across, but don't buy this album expecting to get the concert experience. Its a pretty good reminder of what the show was like IF you had been there. Plus, Eddie's voice gets weird on a few tracks "Elderly Woman" and "Hail Hail" come to mind. But the solos cook on a few tracks like "Corduroy" and "Black". And Matt Cameron RULES! Rumor has it that PJ is in the studio right now with him. Too bad about Jack, but Matt is such a damn good drummer........ (Lester)
this one is pretty cool. but i don't agree that the mix is wonderful. the acoustic guitar on a couple of songs (daughter? and elderly woman? maybe) sounds like poop. the version of evenflow is definitive.
Pearl Jam is terrible. I could think of many bands I would rather hear. Hell, I'd rather listen to Vanilla Ice! (Jonathan)
I think the whole album is good. I just wanted to say that Vedder really took it up a level with his savage vocal on Do The Evolution. I think the live evolution is better then the studio version (Bradley Sibbersen)
Why can't anyone see Pearl Jam is just pop-metal? Why can't that SEE it?????
Great live album. Some songs better then the studio versions ("Do The Evolution" especially), or some songs just average performences ("Even Flow"). I agree with the 8.

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Binaural - Epic/Sony 2000.
Rating = 7

Oh what can I say about rock and roll? American street music? The lifestyle of the Young American Male (or "Y.A.M.")? Well, I can say this -- Pearl Jam decided that they'd had enough of that mellow thingy. What Y.A.M. can bang his head in a mosh pit to something like "In My Tree" or "Given To Fly (But I Ain't Got Wings/Comin' down/Is the hardest thing)"? So after a 15-year run of smash hits like "Jeremy Spokane, Washington Today" and "A Really Fuckin Miserable Cover Of Last Kiss," Pearl Jam put their fists in the air and said "Let's make a HARD ROCK album again so we can be as big as our closest rival, Nirvana!" So there's lots of hard rock songs on here. There are also some acoustic songs with electric solos, some old style emotional guitar things, a couple of slower whatevers and a ukulele song that conjures up the late, great spirit of the late, great Tiny Tim, while at the same time SUCKING THE SHIT OUT OF MY MOUTH.

But that's just descriptions that mean nothing to a man of your class and calibre. So let's try again, but harder. After a leadoff riff rocker that feels like The Byrds and The Beatles have merged to record a new-fangled version of "Ticket To Ride" with Neddie Beattyr singing, the gist of the album becomes quite clear very quickly. About half of the tunes are great, as you'd hope to expect from a Pearl Jam of this age. But the other half is composed of tracks that are made up of generic guitar riffs that are changed EVER-SO-SLIGHTLY -- like there's an unexpected chord to throw you off and make you say, "Well, that wasn't the chord I was expecting there." But - and here's the part that matters -- the changed chords only make the songs seem a bit more original, and NOT, in fact, any BETTER. Usually that little break, note or chord that makes the song unique also makes it quite unpleasant to the ear. Or at least not unique enough to be terribly interesting. Thus, about half of the album is songs of the "give or take" variety. Your "God's Dice," your "Evacuation." Your "Insignificance," your "Grievance."

When God rolls the dice, man, you better evacuate. If you think it's insignificant, your friends will be grieving alright! And I'm not speaking "of the girl"! You'll "soon forget" her, as she vanishes "into thin air" just like a magician doing a "sleight of hand" trick. "Parting ways" isn't easy, is it? You'll find "nothing as it seems" on this record, which is "light years" from their earlier material, even if it doesn't "rival" their finest work. Oh - and one more thing. "Breakerfall"!

What is that look supposed to mean? That that last one wasn't very good? FAQ YOU!

Frequently Asked Questions YOU!



The one facet of the English language that beguiles me more than any other is its inability to accomodate the textual recreation of an impassioned, sustained "No!" without the end result looking like it rhymes with "Ooo."

Reader Comments (Scott Hutley)

Well, not every disc can be better than the last one. Hell, the rating only goes up to 10 afterall! What do you expect?! It's not like I've got one of those Spinal Tap rating systems to work with ya know! Think I got that kind of money?! I work at Target, dammit!

Musically I think this was supposed to be more adventurous or some other catchphrase that all those fancy record makers say when they know there's nothing that sounds a salt-lick like 'Alive' or 'Jeremy' on here. It's got this feeling of those paper airplanes you used to make in school that looked really cool but only ever did that one loop-de-loop trick before turning into a burning, flaming ball of carnage crashing into the chalk-board mountainside like so many soccer teams. Come to think of it, my paper airplanes never did this. Your paper airplane results may vary.

But a 7's nothing to cry about really. This is still a decent disc. It just doesn't grab me in special places is all. Like the first three tunes are fairly interchangable. Lots of energy and enthusiasm, but not really building up into anything. 'Light Years' is the first song of note really (like the pun? It IS a pun, isn't it?). From here the album progresses in a nice flow until 'Rival' which is, sorry to say, boring. See, I like Stone Gossard and all, and most of the time his tunes are pretty decent. This one just doesn't do anything for me is all. Supposed to be an ode to... ah, I forget. But then that's the basic problem now, isn't it? If it was GOOD, it'd be much easier to remember. 'Sleight of Hand' comes up afterwards and sweeps up the mess though. Such a pretty little song it is. But the disc ends in murky melodrama rather than the bang I've come to expect from the Jammers. 'Parting Ways' is awfully Long Road-ish, only way too short and lacking the same emotional intensity. The whole disc seems to be lacking that aspect, despite some decent playing and lyrics overall. Kind of like seeing John Elway drive 90 yards down field and settle for a field goal. Or just watching him during his first three visits to the Super Bowl. Way to go John. A distant second place finish. Heh. (Lester Family)

After I picked this album up, I thought (for about two weeks) that it was the greatest recording ever made. Now, I just think it's really good. As opposed to Mr. Hutley, I think the first three songs are great. Pearl Jam has never stuck three fast, short, rocking songs all together at once. It would be like having "Hail, Hail," "Lukin," and "Habit" all in a row on No Code. Or not. Anyway, there are some great friggin' songs on here, like "Nothing as it Seems," "Grievance," "Of the Girl," "Sleight of Hand," "Thin Air." I really disliked "Light Years" the first ten times I heard it, but it really grew on me after that. The CD feels very mature, a band that knows how to rock out wildly and also focus in on a melancholy type song. I agree with Mr. Hutley's description of "Parting Ways." That tune is pretty, but kind of under-whelming. Maybe it'd be better acoustic. The Ukelele tune is good too.

And go see 'em live, too. I saw 'em in Indianapolis. Daaaaaamn. Good live band.
(Oh yeah, and the live CD from Prague is great. A good one to start with, I think)
Not quite as good as Yield, but close. I like most of the songs mentioned by the people above "Grievance," "Sleight of Hand," "Light Years" but would add a few myself. "Insignificance" is a great tune with a typically Pearl Jam-ish title. And I LOVE "Evacuation"!!! It's got this tremendous off-kilter rhythm, a syncopated wonderfulness that gets my booty movin'. Or not. Some of the others are no good though. "Parting Ways" and "God's Dice" are boring, "Of the Girl" has this sort of icky vibe to it, and the ukelele song is cute but no more. I really like "Nothing as it Seems," but it bothers me that without all the crazy guitar reverb and effects it would be a horrendously awful song. Sort of like Mark's complaint about U2's Achtung Baby multiplied about 20 times over. Ah well. It's still about an 8 for me, though; some of those songs are really cool. (Ravi P. Rajkumar)
When I first heard this album, I was pretty darn impressed - for a few euphoric days I even considered rating this one higher than Yield, but I quickly realised that while you could listen to Yield straight through and enjoy the whole trip (even that darn "Red Dot" thingy), Binaural more often than not has you stopping in the middle.

Why? For one, the lyrics are below the usual Pearl Jam standard. That doesn't mean they're bad, but heck, when a band can write songs like "Given To Fly", "Black", "Release", "Rearviewmirror", "Hail, Hail" and "Immortality", you tend to expect a little more than, say, "Breakerfall". Simplistic is the word. "Gods' Dice" is clever, but it's no "Do The Evolution" though I like the stop-go guitar riff. Perhaps the only songs that truly measure up lyrically are "Light Years" ("We were but stones/Your light made us stars" - great line there, not to forget the entire second verse), "Insignificance" and "Sleight Of Hand". I mean, "Parting Ways" basically has four lines in the entire song!! And what about "Nothing As It Seems"? Jeff Ament seems to be trying to fit more silly rhymes into a single song than David Gilmour did in "Dogs Of War"!

Another major problem with this album was that the band suddenly developed this early-U2 sociopolitical conscience (as opposed to previous songs like "DTE" and "Glorified G" which were more satirical than bombastic), and began writing songs that sound like bad parodies of U2's "War". "Grievance" blows (for the most part) - with lines like "BIG GUY, BIG EYE/WATCHING ME......./HAVE TO WONDER WHAT IT SEES/PROGRESS LACED WITH RAMIFICATIONS!!", and the ending riff is just recycled from "Porch" (which was a great song). "Soon Forget" also sounds like it was written just to impress Ralph Nader - I'm not kidding. "Thin Air" works musically, but I still think a Pearl Jam song that begins "There's a light when my baby's in my arms" is a cop-out of sorts. Also, the second verse makes no sense, but then Gossard is known to do this - try the second verse of "No Way" for example.

My biggest 'grievance', though, is "Rival". The only things I liked about that song were the dog's vocals and the last three lines - but for a band that gave us "Jeremy" and "Daughter", this allegedly Columbine-inspired song is a major comedown. With nonsensical lyrics like "I'VE BEEN HARBORING FLEETS IN THIS RESERVOIR/RED SUN!/AND THIS NATION'S ABOUT TO EXPLOOODE", one wonders whether they swapped lyric sheets with AC/DC!

Still, a handful of greats - "Light Years", "Insignificance", the spacey "Sleight Of Hand" (great lyrics and cool distorted guitar) and the urgent "Evacuation" - written by Matt Cameron, who wrote some of my favourite Soundgarden songs, such as "Mailman" and "Limo Wreck" - save this one from the 5-6 range. Call it a high 7, and hopefully the next time they make a record, there won't be a presidential election or a WTO protest in Seattle.

To quote Eddie Vedder himself, "we're all deserving something more!"
Probably their worst album (still good though). Some great songs (the cute ukelale song "Soon Forget", the sweet acoustic ballad "Thin Air", the dark beauty of "Parting Ways") and some total unnessasary rockers (the first 3 songs for instance). I agree with the 7. I really like "Rival" despite its repetition. (Jacob Evans)
In response to philip79's comments on "Rival"--the lyric "I've been harboring fleets in this resevoir" is pretty plain when you consider the song's inspired by the kids at Columbine, who were bullied until they snapped (I know this is simplistic, but bear with me). To be "harboring fleets" is seemingly saying "I'm letting my anger build up, harboring them within myself--"this resevoir".

But yeah, I agree that the lyrics suck for the most part.

mofo@SDF.LONESTAR.ORG (Mike Coddington)
I think "Rival" sounds a heck of a lot like a Clutch song. Minus Tim's excellent tone. "Jam Room" came out right around the same time as "Binaural" did, and I listened to a lot of both CDs. But even just now, when I fired up "Binaural" for the last time before selling it, I am surprised by the similar feel to the music. (Nick Collings)
I used to think it was a decent Pearl Jam record, but now I feel it's their weakest effort, after the initial hype has died down. (Hossein Nayebagha)
I think you're a bit off on the hardrock thing. What hardrock? The pre-chorus bits of "Insignificance"? Maybe, but the rest of the fast ones are all old school rock 'n' roll, more or less.

This is the first and only Pearl Jam album was released during a time when I was already a fan of Pearl Jam, waiting for it to come. My expectations weren't on top after Yield, but I was thrilled about how good it was when I got it, 'cause who'd think they'd actually improve after already having started to go downhill? It rarely happens. But Pearl Jam was BACK! and this was their best album to date, competing with Vitalogy.

About a year later, and today, it doesn't really sound all that swell. It is an improvment from the previous effort, but still not the best, and yeah, it's somewhere between 7-8. The weird thing is that most of the songs come off as a good idea when you think about them, but when you actually listen to them, they're not quite as hot. Therefore, I can't really say what's lacking, but it's something.

It starts in a cool way with "Breakerfall", "Evacuation" is a really good pop song, and I like the Beatles-esque of "Light Years". "Of The Girl", that one varies from time to time, currently, I'm not sure - and I rarely give this a listen.

So yeah, good times, I went to see them live a few weeks later, and on the official "bootlegs" that were released shortly after, I can hear myself scream "Matt!" if I make the effort (it was done during the presentation of the band, so you could make yourself heard if you were being loud, and I had to let my Soundgarden-hero Matt know that for some of us, he was - as the new member - still THE man)

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Riot Act - Epic 2002.
Rating = 8

Finally, after decades of calming down into a sensitive quiet band of pleasant goodness, Pearl Jam finally whip out the Jam and ROCK!!!! (guitar: "Biddle-aaaaaaah!!!!! CRANG! CRANG! CRANG! Diddle-DEE! Doo-DIDDLY-DIDDLY-DIDDLY-DOO!!!!!). Oh sure, there are still some quieter, non-rocking songs on here but they tend towards the depressing and dark, a fine complement to the songs on the album that ROCK!!!!! (guitar: "BWEE! BWEE! BWEE!!! NEEEEEEOOWWWWWWW WHOO! WOO-WOO! WOO-WOO!).

But don't be getting the wrong idea from my words, phrases and underwear. I'm not talking about that messy, screamy early crap rocking like "Drop the leash, Drop the leash, Get out of my goshdarned face!" they did on the first couple records. This rock is TIGHT guitar rock with disciplined playing and controlled non-ear-harming soundy tones, chord-driven but with lots of nice counter-lead lines brought into the mix for the intellectuals. And Eddie does NOT scream. He sings. And he still has a great voice, if you think he has a great voice (if you hate his voice, his voice still SUCKS SHIT OFF THE HAIRS OF A GUY WHO WIPES HIS BUTT WITH HIS BALLS). Lots of times on here, I'm so struck by the fuzzed and toned-to-perfection guitar sounds and dramatic riffage that I feel like I'm listening to a late-period Soundgarden album (but without that screaming Muppet whose career has gone places). But it's not Soundgarden because grunge is dead!

Which brings up another point -- Pearl Jam were NEVER a grunge band, but if Congress ever asks you for evidence that this fact is an untruth, this is the album you want to give Tom Daschle. None of their previous albums feature anything close to this level of rockin', distorted low fuzzy guitar riffing. "You Are" should be a radio hit RIGHT THIS SECOND. It sounds like something Blue Oyster Cult would have done 25 years ago! And "Get Right" with its busy bass line! "1/2 Full" with its lopey-dopey Black Crowes Southern Rockin'ism! And best of all, others with their this-and-that!

With such a basic electric/acoustic straightforward rock music approach, Pearl Jam will always run the risk of turning into a lousy band (what happens when they can't think of any new chord sequences to play around with?). But so far, they've managed to stay on the good side of Music for five albums straight (like I said, I could give or take their first couple LPs) -- and Riot Actmay very well be my favorite one yet. There's only one bad song!!!! "Thumbing My Way" is peaceful hippy music for boring people. But every other song -- just great great stuff! And it's ROCK! CREATIVE YET INFECTIOUS ROCK MUSIC WITH MELODIES YOU WANT TO HEAR OVER AND OVER AGAIN! The riffs are NOT completely predictable (they always throw in a note or chord you're NOT expecting) and, topping off the day with a blueberry, the mix is FULL. FULL of rhythm guitars, active bass lines and lead guitar counterpoints - with ol' Mr. Smoothie Eddie Vedder riding the Crest Gel to a Modern Classic Rock Classic!

Or at least I would hope so, and would probably be disappointed.

Reader Comments

Anyway, I agree with you on just about everything else you've said in this here review. Fuck yeah, it's a "Modern Classic Rock Classic." Fuck yeah, the guitar tone is the best they've EVER had. Fuck yeah it ROCKS without sacrificing ear-pleasing melody or coming off sounding like a bunch of amateurs trying to appease the early-90's post-hair-metal "grunge" crowd. And fuck yeah, it manages to be unpredictable yet NOT anything like the "let's switch to THIS chord, even though it sounds like shit, just to make it sound original" bulljizz we were subjected to over and over again on Binaural. There's a good reason why this record reminds one of later Soundgarden...cause their drummer is Matt Cameron now! He's a guy who's fond of weird time signatures and weirder lyrics, and he wrote the majority of the music on this album that wasn't written by Eddie. And hopefully he'll write many more catchy/creative anthems for this band for years to come. Another great new addition is a guy from Hawaii(I'M from Hawaii! Why the fuck didn't Eddie invite ME to play on the album?!? Egotistical rock star prick!) named Boom Gaspar playing on them keyboards and filling the sonic textures with a whole bunch of lovely Hammond sounds. I'm glad Pearl Jam never broke up after they indirectly caused the deaths of 9 dumbassed Dutch kids...this is by far their most consistent record yet, despite being their longest. The only real dickbiter is "Help Help." Damn is that song ugly. But who cares? The best Pearl Jam record ever! 9 out of 10. Good job, guys! Now go on tour and release 70,000 more useless live bootlegs!

The best Pearl Jam record review ever! 9 out of 10. Good job, Mark! Now make another hilarious male-genitalia joke!
"I'm glad Pearl Jam never broke up after they indirectly caused the deaths of 9 dumbassed Dutch kids". The only dumbass is you, buddy.

First of all, the accident happened in Denmark not Holland. Danish people live in Denmark, dutch people live in Holland. I guess you got your head stuck up your ass pretty far on that island of yours.

Secondly, why do you call them "dumbass kids", when they are in fact "nine friends we'll never know" (lyrics of Love Boat Captain). They were kids going to see a concert, any of us could have been out there. Except for you, because you're pre-occupied with male-genitalia.

Thirdly, Pearl Jam is in no way responsible for what happened. Blame it on stingy concert-organisers who refuse to invest in necessary safety infrastructure.

To sum it up: why didn't Eddie invite you to play on the record? Because you're a world class asshole, an insensitive ignoramus and too much of a "dickbiter" to be able to relate to the music and feelings Pearl Jam is trying to bring across.
pearl jam is one of the worst bands of all time. Why do they want to sound exactly like creed? I hate both of those bands. I hate you. (Ian Moss)
I don't think it's as good as all that. Something very generic about this album. Too many throwaways. I especially don't get "I Am Mine," which to me seems a terrible song to make into a single. However, "You Are" is totally unlike anything else they've ever done, and it's fantastic. Yeah Chris Cornell! Sorry, I meant to say Matt Cameron. Getting my Soundgarden people confused here. Anyway, unfortunately, to me that song is the only standout on the album. The rest is serviceable at best.

Oh, and to the previous poster: Pearl Jam does not copy Creed. Creed copies Pearl Jam, as did the Stone Temple Pilots and numerous other bands. Like it or not, PJ and Nirvana defined the sound of a generation. Get your facts straight.

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Lost Dogs - Epic 2003
Rating = 7

O solo mio! The late Daniel Pearl Jam (HA HAHHAHHAA A AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA OOoooooooo that's not funny

Peaaaaaaaaaarl Jaaaaaaam had a lot of songs in theiv raults so they released them on this double-CD. Six outtakes from Ten<.b<>Bbb>><.b,<.b<>, 2 from Versus, ZERO from Vitalogy (how did they manage that? but then again, if they'd had extra songs, "Stupid Ass Mop" woudln't have been on the record), 3 from No Ocde, 1 from Yield, 6 from Binaural, 3 from Riot Act and 9 compilation tracks. That's what - man, I'm exhausted from all that HTMLing. Pardon me one moment while I inhale from this bag with the dead bird in it.

There's some funny stuff on here - odd surf covers and anthems with non-Eddie Vedder singers (a big fuckoing mistake by the way - EDDIE VEDDER'S VOICE IS BEAUTIFUL!). The first disc is really really fucking good - a bunch of uptempo terrific rock and roll songs. But disc two is the slow ones, ballads, dark slow songs and acoustic folk hippy shit and not nearly as good. Put 'em together and a 7 emerges from the (barney) rubble. I hate the Flintstones. I have never in my life liked those pricks. I'm not kidding. Jetsons sucked too. I'm into mature adult entertainment like Juggs Magazine and Shaved Orientails Magazine, neither of which I actually read but in America, we have every right to, just as Foetus has every right to cover "Hello There" by Cheap Trick. We all do. We all have every right to cover "Hello There" by Cheap Trick, and it is infuriating that more of us do not take advantage of this right - MY DOG JUST BARKED! IT'S A MIRACLE! HE MUST HAVE HEARD A NOISE!

The older Pearl Jam songs sound BETTER alongside the newer material. It's like -- when you KNOW they don't suck, the simple songs don't sound shitty! Lots of terrific songs that should never ever ever have been outtakes. Especially by a band that has only put out two albums as good as disc one of this collection. Eddie has a beautiful voice. If I had a voice like that, do you think I'd be standing behind my computer chair, hunched over with neck pain looking drunkenly at my WordPad and tapping painfully on the keyboard while Foetus blares at me out of the computer speakers? Interestingly, I would. Becuase this is my favorite activity, and all the money, chicks, fame and beautiful voices in the world will never change that. NEVER! He cried. NEVER! Pardon me while I go over and attempt to woo my wife into sex. One sec. I don't have a boner, but hopefully one will erupt so I won't just stand in the middle of the room and cry. I'll get back to you in one second.

(Nine hours pass)

I win. America loses. BOOYAAAA! I had a ramgams!

Reader Comments
I just fucking loved this album! Too many great songs. How come they didn't include Sad, Other side or Alone in their respective albums! Alone is a great song that should have been on TEN. Others like Sweet Lew, Dirty Frank, Hold on (which is a failed attempt to recreate Alive for VS.) and Brother suck ass.

I give it an 8!!
As their contract with record label Epic drew to a close, Pearl Jam had one more quick fix for devotees. November 2003 marked the release of Lost Dogs: B-Sides and Rarities a collection of 31 leftover and unreleased songs after seven studio albums, and more then a few compilation donations. Obviously, this is a godsend to fans as most of the songs here were lost to time, except for the occasional playing at a live show. Pearl Jam has always been pretty active in terms of B-Sides on singles and one-offs, and tons of exceptional songs have been left in the vaults simply because they didn't fit the tone or feel of the album released at the time they were recorded, so this collection is a necessity in their catalog. In fact, the only real flaw of the collection is that there is more that could have been added. "State of Love and Trust" and "Breath" from the Singles soundtrack are both missing, as are the two songs from the Merkinball EP (although that may be because the band was only partially involved in that project, with Neil Young providing guitar). Plenty of Christmas singles (most notably "Out of My Mind"), and covers and untitled projects from live shows are absent, so this isn't the definitive rarities collection fans might be hoping for, and that's a deliberate undertaking. Instead, the band has chosen their personal favorites to include here, with plenty of conventional songs, but quite a few obscurities too. To breakdown the sources, there are six tracks from Ten, two from VS, none from Vitalogy, three from No Code, one from Yield, six from Binaural (understandable considering that was their first record in a new direction, and quite a few songs would not have fit there), three from the recent Riot Act, and the rest being the obscurities, including four Christmas singles and songs from the M.O.M. (Music for Our Mother Ocean) series, and Home Alive set.

The whole collection is marvelous, and contains the 'upside/downside' approach they would use on their Best Of, Rearviewmirror, with the first disk containing the rockers, and the second containing the ballads. The first disk really does rock with some completely unheard of songs before switching gears for tracks from the M.O.M. set. In fitting with the theme of the benefit album, most of them are highly enjoyable, even irresistible, surfer romps complete with tons of brilliant vocal melodies that really need to be heard and are a great addition. The Whale Song, penned by former drummer Jack Irons, was inspired after he heard the heart of a whale could be as big as a Volkswagen Beetle. This is exactly the kind of song that would have no place else to be except right here on Lost Dogs. Other highlights from the first disk are the rockers "All Night", the casual (and liberal) "Undone", and of course the ultimate Pearl Jam tune, "Yellow Ledbetter" in its studio form from the "Jeremy" single. McCready's Hendrix-style riff over Eddie Vedder's mumbling (which strangely enough hasn't stopped concert-goers from singing along) is finally available in a format fans can pick up and play at anytime.

The second disk is just as strong, but with a focus on ballads (a perfect place for those solemn Christmas singles). It also includes the fluke cover of "Last Kiss", which rocketed to number two on the charts, and while not an accurate portrayal of what the band has been up to for the past ten years (it was originally meant as another good-natured cover for the enthusiasts), it's a fine song and worth collecting here. These sincere pieces are then paralleled by the explosive finale of Ten era samples (and they are some of the weaker tracks here, but unmatched in energy and delivery), before the final hidden track, entitled "4/20/02" begins. This was the day fellow grunge rocker Layne Staley from Alice in Chains was found dead from drug overdose. Eddie was personally shaken from the death, and his anger of the wave of imitators who have become rich off his style and resonance is apparent here. Another significant track finds a good home.

The most important thing about this collection is that it's NOT a landfill of random songs. The songs aren't in chronological order, but like every other Pearl Jam record, it has its own logical flow, and maybe even more stunning, shows the band in a new light. These guys are just as fun and spirited as any other band, even if it's not directly apparent in their records. Each song feels like it came from the era it did, which is revealed as the band included individual linear notes for each song, explaining why tracks didn't make the cut, ("Close but no sitar" they write in one instance) adding value to an already priceless set. In the end, it's a great value and you can't beat 31 songs for 15 bucks, even if there are a few duds. Essential for any fan, and certainly not just for the historical significance.
I started listening to Pearl Jam when I received their tape of four songs (I was probably referred to their fan club via Soundgarden's fanclub) back in 91 before the "Ten" album was released. I really loved their debut album. During the 90s I kinda got away from listening to them religiously like I had as a teenager. This past year was a revival for my love of PJ. They are one of the best rock bands of all time.

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Pearl Jam - J 2006
Rating = 6

As I suggested in my review for their last record, the quality/recommendability of each new CD by a band as straightforward and technically unimposing as Pearl Jam is going to simply be a question of 'how many good songs did they come up with this time?' Well, you're in luck because this time they came up with a TON of good songs!!!! Unfortunately, that measurement combines the total weight of all instruments and recording equipment used in each track. So there's really only like three good songs, each weighing around 700 pounds.

Although there are a few ballads, most of the record is mid- to uptempo rock 'n roll, with a rawer, less distorted, and more garage-rocky guitar tone than ever before -- at times sounding more like Mudhoney than Pearl Jam. Unfortunately, as is also the case with Mudhoney's recent work, the riffs too often lean toward the "standard" and "substandard" ("standard" meaning you've heard it before, "substandard" meaning you haven't heard it but only because it sucks and nobody else would use it). Only a few tracks significantly twist around the band's traditional sound while delivering a strong enough melody to create something new and wonderful. Highlights in this category include the Latin acoustic/organ ballad "Parachutes," suicidal darkness ballad "Gone" and AWESOME upwards-swoopy-note-into-double-guitar-pop-run-into-Byrdsy-chorus-and-'Uh Oh! Oh Oh!'-vocal-hook "Unemployable" (definitely my favorite track on the album!).

It's not an awful record; it's just not very consistent. Five or six of the songs deliver all the emotion, passion, hookiness and strong vocals you could possibly want from a Pearl Jam track. However, just as many are fueled by generic, ugly or overly comical chord changes that are neither catchy nor analagous to any human feeling at all ("Big Wave," "World Wide Suicide," "Severed Hand," "Marker In The Sand"). But this is (obviously) just my opinion. They sing and play all the songs fine, so don't be surprised if you happen to like the riffs more than I do. To be honest, I don't remember a single song from Binaural or Riot Act and haven't listened to either one since I reviewed them, so they might sound just as 'ehh' as this one to my current 32-year-old ear. But that's the problem with reviewing each new album by a band or artist I don't really care all that much about. I don't mind listening to Pearl Jam, but I'm certainly not going to actively seek them out. Why listen to an apple when there are so many oranges out there to choose from?

Reader Comments

JenkinsJohnson McJenkinsJohnsonJenkinsJohnson
Fantastic metaphor, Mark! Your metaphors keep getting better and better!

Dave Pearly
I agree, Mark! That was one hell of a metaphor! It felt like I was right there beside you, looking at an apple and a bunch of oranges!

Markie Rindle
Hey Mark, I'm a girl and that metaphor makes you look really sexy!

Burt Stengel
Hey Mark, I was just telling a sports message board what a great metaphor maker-upper you are! They told me to fuck off, but they're just jealous of your success!

Uncle Festering Boil
Hey Mark, I work for an important metaphor magazine and want to use you as a resource because you know so much about metaphors! I bet you know more about metaphors than anybody I'll ever meet in my entire life!

James Duck
It infuriates me when people like somebody else's metaphors better than yours! Yours are clearly the best! Name me one other metaphor maker-upper who has made up as great a metaphor for Pearl Jam as 'an apple when there are so many oranges out there.' You CAN'T, because it DOESN'T EXIST!
So you like it as much as Ten, huh? Great!

I am a Pearl Jam fan; that means when I hear a song as competently-written and performed as "Come Back" from them, although I know there may be many artists who've covered similar ground in a more profound, or more creative, or simply more impressive way, some small part of my mind goes "WOW! AWESOME!" So I probably like this record a lot more than I should, but it's not my fault. I honestly can't think of a single weak song on here. OK, maybe "Army Reserve" gets a little ugly in places, but that's it. I totally agree with "Unemployable" being the album's best song, by the way. Ohhhh yeaaaahhhhhhh, so this life is blah blah blah....

What do you think of "Inside Job?" I figured if you like "Gone" so much, you'd see fit at least to mention it, as they're so similar to each other. I think it's their best album closer yet. Seriously though, the fact that Pearl Jam are a modern band who have been around for 15+ years and are still putting out quality material is kind of remarkable, isn't it? I think maybe I just like Vedder's voice, so I'll like anything they put out. I even think disc 2 of Lost Dogs is mostly terrific!
I'd be curious to see you dissect the Pearl Jam albums with more attention focused on the songwriters. For the majority of their albums, the Pearl Jammers have not been shy about assigning credit for music and lyrics. It's good for the listener, so we can place blame for every album. Like on Vitalogy, Eddie Vedder wrote most of the songs, then got completely burned out and came out with those goofy throwaways. But on Yield, everybody got involved and things were more exciting. I think this latest one may have suffered because there were no Matt Cameron penned songs. "Parachutes" is the only one I love on this album though. Alright, enough about Pearl Jam.... I can't wait to read your Tool review (I hope you were as disappointed as I was).

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Atlanta Georgia August 7 2000 - Official Bootleg
Rating = 6

"She lies and says she's in love with them - can't find a better band!"

Thanks, that was the chorus of my hilarious "Weird Al" Yankovic-like parody of Pearl Jam's "Better Man," entitled "Are You Seriously Telling Me That There Is An Audience For 253 Live Pearl Jam CDs!?" Have you heard about this? Pearl Jam is releasing every single concert they've ever performed as "Official Bootlegs"! And thank God for that, because every show is a scorcher!

Take this one for example -- recorded just after Jimmy Page replaced Stone Gossard, this 2.5-hour set sees the band not only converting most of their material into an intriguing death metal/zydeco hybrid, but wheeling out special guest Paul McCartney to join them in a performance of the entire Abbey Road LP! But that's not all! Eddie Vedder undergoes several surgical procedures throughout the show so that you can hear how the songs sound as performed by a baritone, tenor, soprano and eunuch! But hold the phone, because there's more where that came from! At one point in the show, legendary recluse TS Eliot joins the band onstage for a reading of a brand new unpublished novella! Then a UFO comes down and John Kennedy comes back to life and Jesus Christ hears them playing "Alive" so he starts slamdancing with the blood from his wrists shootin out all everyw

WHY DO THESE 'OFFICIAL BOOTLEGS' EXIST!? Are there really people out there so enamored with this basic rock band that they must hear every single note they've ever played!? Regardless of their name, Pearl Jam is not a "jam" band. All they do is play the songs just like they sound on the albums, sometimes dragging an ending out for a couple of extra (boring) minutes. And maybe they'll toss in a cover tune here or there, but that's it. Furthermore, the only band member they've ever replaced is the drummer, so you don't even get the interesting "Frank Zappa/Yes/The Fall" effect of hearing different musicians putting their unique stamp on the same songs. In short, there isn't a single aspect of the Pearl Jam live show that demands even two recorded documents, let alone 253!

But if you must know, this double-disc features: 6 Binaural tracks; 4 each from Ten, Vs. and Vitalogy; 3 from Yield; a sad, weeping 1 from No Code; 2 b-sides; and 2 cover tunes (Neil Young and Victoria Williams). This career-spanning diversity sounds promising, but the chosen set list is unfortunately pretty hit-or-miss. It does contain some of their most beautiful ("Given To Fly" "In Hiding" "Nothingman" "Small Town"), heartbreaking ("Better Man" "Immortality") and rocking ("Corduroy" "Do The Evolution" "Leatherman") material, but they're interspersed with terrible old funk-rockers like "Animal" and "Once," several weak Binaural tracks (how on Earth did "Insignificance" and "Grievance" make the playlist?!) and an excruciatingly boring song written by Victoria Williams, whom I'm sad about the whole multiple sclerosis thing of course but god the song fucking REEKS!

As for 'whimsical live spontaneity,' they ruin the once-wonderful "Rear View Mirror" by tacking on a dull 4,000-year coda, destroy the once-passable "Daughter" by dragging out the ending for nine thousand years (during which Eddie sings R.E.M.'s "The Wrong Child"), and put the first seven rows to sleep with some of the most tedious stage patter in live music history (the anecdote about Ted Turner and the newly-discovered planet is particularly free of any point whatsoever). On the bright side though, one of the guitarists starts playing Van Halen's "Dance The Night Away" near the end of "Yellow Ledbetter"! That's a great goddamned song!!!

But enough about music. Let's talk about me some more!

In conclusion, all 253 live Pearl Jam CDs sound just like this one.

(Educated guess)

(I went to Pearl Jam Live Album College for 4 years and became quite educated on the issue)

Reader Comments
I've never seen Pearl Jam live so I can't say much for them, but I did see REM last week and Pearl Jam happened to be in attendance. So Michael Stipe called Eddie Vedder onstage to help him sing "Begin the Begin." It was hilarious 'cuz he was dressed like a gas station attendant or something, with glasses and a trucker's hat. He didn't look dressed to perform at all.

Either way, his grunge-bellow fit the song very well. Great show. (Sean McEleny)
I was at this show, we had seats way up on the left side in the back area. I couldnt hear or see shit, it was like there was a big TV laying flat on the ground a basketball court away and down 75 feet with shitty sound. I'm a huge Neil Young fan and when they played Fucking Up I could barely tell what it was and seemed to be the only one in the audience who knew it. I bought this "bootleg" just to feel like I got my moneys worth for the Pearl Jam ant farm show. That might have been my last indoor stadium rock show.

Also, i showed up late and missed Sonic Youth. When I was driving to the GA Dome I saw a small wooden shack in the foreground and the stadium in the background. ATL!
Legendary recluse TS Eliot? I think JD Salinger is who you were thinking of Mark. Unless you consider being dead for the past 40 years to be an indication of reclusiveness!

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Uncovered - Chelsea 1998
Rating = 7

In today's difficult economy downturn recession, it's important that we as Americans take the time to help each other out in times of need, with the depression and unemployment. As such, here are just a few pieces of advice I'd like to offer those of you out there who are encountering financial difficulties due to today's fiscal downpour:

- If a doctor requests a urine sample, say "That'll be $15.75."

- When shopping for a new car, make sure that the dealer doesn't try to tack on any unnecessary frills like windows or brake pads.

- If you work alongside a person named Jack, and your boss confides in you that "I can't decide whether to lay you or Jack off," find it hilarious because that's a great joke.

- If food bills are running your wallet ragged, eat nothing but corn. Then when it exits your body, you can wipe it off and eat it again.

- When applying for a new job, discreetly throw your prospective employer out the window. Then insist that he hired you for a large salary right before jumping to his death.

- Cut down on heating bills this winter by knitting a gigantic sock that covers your whole family.

- Stop paying your taxes. If the IRS complains, pretend you're hard of hearing and shout, "TEXAS? WHY, I LOVE TEXAS!" and then make up some anecdote about Texas.

- Whenever you buy anything in a store or fast food restaurant, pay with a $1 bill. Then when the cashier gives you your change, say "Wait, I gave you a 50!" He will then give you an additional $49 in change.

- Think of ways to earn additional revenue from your current occupation. For example, if you can refrain from swallowing for half an hour, that's plenty of time to drive over to the sperm bank and make a profitable donation.

- If your neighbor is stupid enough to give away all his CDs after loading them onto his computer, you'd might as well take a bootleg disc of Pearl Jam cover tunes. It certainly can't be worse than all that Bob Marley crap he's got in the pile there.

Thus, this CD (and me owning it). Subtitled "A Collection of Rare Live Cover Versions," Uncovered contains some strong versions of excellent cover material, but was also clearly compiled by some asshole. For example, the three opening Doors 'covers' are performed not by Pearl Jam at all, but by The Doors (with Eddie Vedder filling in for Jim Morrison's Decaying Corpse). For another example, the 'cover' of Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World" is sung by Neil Young, marking it as not a 'cover,' but an instance of Pearl Jam serving as Neil Young's backing band. For a third example, the 'covers' of The Pretenders' "Brass In Pocket" and The Rolling Stones' "Beast Of Burden" consist of Eddie Vedder mumbling a few parody lyrics before the band launches into a boring unrelated jam. What kind of fool bootlegger would peddle this crap off as rare Pearl Jam covers? Furthermore, what kind of meddling idiot reviewer would give it a 7 out of 10?

I'll tell you what kind -- the kind that enjoys such rocking roll chestballs as "Break On Through," "Baba O'Riley," "Sonic Reducer," "Masters of War," "Fuckin' Up," "I've Got A Feeling" and "Hold Your Head Up"! The kind that finds great humor in a top-selling Seattle grunge band covering not "My Generation," but The Who's own sleazy commercial re-write of it, "Talkin' About My Favorite Station!" The kind that appreciates Eddie Vedder giving his all to the songs he sings, right down to the awesome closing screams of "Light My Fire"! The kindest soul of all -- Mr. Dave Prindle, Record Reviewer Extraordinaire Terrestrial. (*extends lengthy neck; uses magical lit finger to cure Drew Barrymore's period stain*)

Bootlegs do have an unfortunate tendency to price themselves out of the range of casual music listeners, so don't feel compelled to spend $40 on this thing or you'll likely hurl it down the dumbwaiter by the time Eddie opines, "I don't give a fuck. I just wanna be dumb and happy like an American!" in the closing non-cover of "Beast of Burden."

Dude, he totally NAILED it! You tell 'em, Eddie! Your biting social satire is unparalleled in its cutting irony and perceptive wisdom!

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Backspacer - Monkeywrench 2009
Rating = 4

I try to keep my eyes on my own paper when writing these things, but as I look at Wikipedia's "Professional Reviews" for this album -- Allmusic 4.5/5, Blender 4.5/5, Entertainment Weekly B, The Guardian 4/5, Q 4/5, Rolling Stone 4/5, Spin 4/5 -- I really have to ask, "Have you people just never heard a rock album before!?" Yes, the album is highlighted by a surprising number of fast rock songs (5 out of 11!), but it's also the least creative, least hooky and least "beautiful" record they've ever written. I can count on one finger the songs that aren't at some point ruined by cliche'd riffs or poor singing.

And speaking as a person who has really grown to like Eddie Vedder's voice over the years, that last one is a killer. He makes some astonishingly poor decisions in these songs -- annoyingly extending a single word in each line of "The Fixer" (ex. "When something's looooooooooooooooooooooooooost"), constantly letting his voice crack like a laryngitic Irishman in the godawful acoustic/strings ballad "Breathe," dramatically wiggling his voice to an epileptic degree in the slow builder "Unthought Known," singing exactly what the guitar is playing throughout the folksy acoustic/strings closer "The End," and basically just half-assing three-note melodies in the other rockers.

Musically, there is almost nothing creative or unique going on here at all. Most of the songs sound as if the band entered the studio, one of the guitarists started playing three basic chords, the other guys went "Yeah, that rocks!" and Brendan O'Brien pressed "record" on his Tandy or whatever he uses. Sure, it's tight and energetic but it's also at best completely mediocre. If it's "rock" you want, there are so many better bands than this! Christ, even the last Rolling Stones album had more memorable melodies than this, and those guys have been dead since 1986.

There are a few hooky choruses here and there -- I wouldn't spit on "The Fixer" or "Johnny Guitar," for example -- but Pearl Jam's strength has never been 'kicking ass'; it's been 'capturing and expressing intense emotion'. That's particularly where Eddie Vedder's wonderful voice has come in handy over the years. Think of the chorus for "Faithfull" or "Better Man." Now compare those to any of his throwaway vocals on this album. That classic Pearl Jam humanity appears in only two songs on the entire disc -- "Unthought Known" (once the music catches up to his voice-wiggling) and slow sad rocker "Against The Waves," both of which still suffer from weak parts. Honestly the only song that sounds like any craft went into it is Vedder's "Speed Of Sound," a misnamed slow rocker that is so laidback and understated that it takes a few listens to realize what a lovely melody it has. It makes a nice contrast to the obvious rock riffs and bland ballads that comprise the rest of the record, which comprises obvious rock riffs and bland ballads, depending on which usage of "comprise" you prefer.

Those four paragraphs adequately sum up my feelings of disappointment regarding this record, but obviously I can't finish the review without filling up on alcohol and insulting the band members, so hang on while I get started.

(*several hours later*)


Wait, that was a typo. I meant to say, "Got Some" is a simplified rip-off of The Ramones' "Commando" (verse) and Devo's "Gut Feeling " (chorus). And the rest of the album can smell my sock. Backspacer? More like BackSLIDER, if you ask me! Actually, more like BackBACON if you ask me, because it's terrible, greasy and salty. I have no idea what Bob "Eddie" Vedder and his bandmates were trying to achieve here, but it definitely gives me the impression that they are completely out of ideas.

Here's what I just posted on YouTube. It was definitely influenced by Phil Proctor of The Firesign Theatre:

Mark Prindle must be honest. (A) Our entire culture is geared towards the stupidest people, because that's where the money is. (B) Republicans believe in "small government" but only in regard to themselves; they demand that government be HUGE against those people whose lifestyles they disagree with, (C) the Government will always be creeps because people who want to be "leaders" are addicted to power.

I have no suggestions or solutions for resolving these issues. I just think we should be aware of them.

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(Scott Hutley reviews) Ten (UK Import Single)
Rating = 6

I can't give this disc a bad rating because it's still got all the same songs as the U.S. TEN release. On the other hand, most stores will charge $25 to $30 for it in the states. So you've got to ask yourself if it's worth getting 3 bonus songs (one of which is just a live version of "Alive")? Well, don't ask yourself, ask me. That's what I'm doing this whole shpeel for! And I say no. "Wash" and "Dirty Frank" are the other bonus songs, and although they're not bad in their own right ("Wash" is a song about sin and remorse. "Frank" is about a bus driver that eats people. Doesn't that sound like quality rock and/or roll?), you can pick these songs up along with a ton of other quality Jam material on pretty much any import disc. So if you've already got TEN or you don't live in the UK area, don't get this disc.

Reader Comments (Ryan Atkinson)
Heh heh.

I remember walking into the CD Warehouse that I used to frequent and seeing this European version a few yrs. back. Usually the place made you pay out the nose for anything rarer than the BMG Crap of the Week but this one was stamped $7.99. Heh heh. I snapped it up and as I was walking out the door the counter girl cursed and said 'Merry Christmas'.

So tell me why the hell does it cost so much anyway?
"Spiel," please. It's German. Or at least Yiddish.

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(Scott Hutley reviews) We're Gonna Hungry.
Rating = 8

This disc has some of the best live songs you've never heard on it! It starts off with the complete MTV UNPLUGGED set from '92. Not just the four songs you get to see on those crappy UNPLUGGED Marathons MTV does every other weekend. This also has "State of Love And Trust", and "Evenflow" from the same show. Then the disc moves to Den Haag, Board Von de Troge for some great non-acoustic stuff. Eddie and the band do a song called "Saying No" that is just as good or better than half of the TEN disc! Note to readers: here's where those Italian importers start messin' with everyone's head. First, the back cover says the next song is "Release". But it's not "Release". All good fans know this tune as "Alone" - a b-side from the "Go" single, and probably a bunch of other early PJ singles that I don't have the time to get into right now. After that, we hear a rousing version of... "Drop the Leaves"? What was that? Hello, tiny Italians. This is the English language calling! The word is LEASH!! Drop the LEASH!! Maybe you all should stick to making shoes and salad dressing. Import CDs are not your strong point. The disc goes on to show the guys doing a loosely interpreted cover of the Beatles' "I've Got a Feeling", and it's good. The last song is truly a mystery, though, and it's also worth another point on the rating scale. It's supposed to be a live version of "Wash". Instead we cut to the studio and start hearing Kurt Cobain(?) singing something about a girl made out of wood? I can't confirm that it's Kurt, of course. If anyone can help me out on this one, I'd appreciate it. The song is good by the way, but who's actually playing it is what makes this tune truelly great. In fact, the whole CD is great and the only reason I docked it a few points is because of some poor sound quality on about 3 songs. But now then, I can live with that. Don't you think you can live with that? I thought so. Just go get the disc and tell me who sings the last song! Must I be the brains of every outfit?
Reader Comments (Ben Dweck)
Nirvana has covered the Velvet Underground's "Here She Comes Now" (which contains the line 'Oh, she looks so good/Oh she's made out of wood'") several times, but if you think it's a "studio" version, it's most likely from the Hilversum (sp?) Radio Studios in Holland 11/24/91.

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(Scott Hutley reviews) Alternate Versions.
Rating = 9

Hands down, you will not find a single import that can hold this CD's jewel case. Almost all of this disc is studio material, so that should tell you something right there. If you're like me, you've got your sock on one hand right now and you're asking it, "does it have that one song they play on the radio that I can't find anywhere?" Well, let's go through the list and see. "Footsteps", you say? Got it. "Yellow Ledbetter"? A studio AND a live version. Take your pick. "Oceans" remix? Acoustic "Elderly Woman..."? "Bee Girl"? "Mystery"? "Let Me Sleep"? The two Singles soundtrack songs? "Alone"? "Wash"? "Dirty Frank"? They're all here, and almost all of them are clean studio cuts! 17 songs altogether and I dock it one point for the single filler on the entire disc. It's a fanclub thing called "Ramblings" and it's just the band talking about Santa Claus and the Slayer tour. And even THAT'S got some entertainment value! If you have the spare cash, and you want a Pearl Jam import of songs you may have heard but don't have, here's the one to get.

Upon opening the case you'll find the disc has a wonderful little inscription that reads, "Boy Scouts Give Me Peace." That crazy Eddie!

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(Scott Hutley reviews) Ultra Rare Trax.
Rating = 3

I bought this CD thinking I was getting another treasure trove of rare studio and b-side outtakes. Boy was I wrong! Half of these songs turn out to be improvs NOT of the Grateful Dead variety. The cover of the Who's "My Generation", for example, is just a minute or so of Eddie "Talkin' 'bout my favorite station". Out of four Untitled tunes, 1 is "Saying No", 2 is some crap about the Pope, 3 is "Saying No" rehashed and not nearly as good, and 4 is about Eddie visiting a doctor for a broken heart. Not exactly what I consider classic Jam. More like Jelly, or Jello perhaps. This disc does have the Doors tracks from the Hall of Fame induction, but other than that (and an improv called "Meaningless") this is a complete waste of money. But if you think you just can't spend another waking moment without hearing those Doors tunes, relaxe. Here comes...

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(Scott Hutley reviews) Flashpoint.
Rating = 8

featuring Eddie with the Doors! Plus it's got a strong showing of TEN era live tunes with -- get this -- Eddie censoring his own lyrical content! What does that mean, you ask your sock puppet again? Well, Eddie Vedder, for whatever reason, chose not to use any profanity on the songs meaning it's safe for the little kiddies to listen to. Does that mean the songs are less in quality? No, in fact, "Jeremy" and "Why Go" are done quite well. "Evenflow" is exceptionally good. Big Who fan, are ye'? PJ kicked out a wonderful version of "Baba O'Riley" at the Singles premiere and it turns up at the end of this very disc! It's a hack of a lot cleaner sounding than the one on ULTRA RARE, too. What more could you possibly want?

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(Scott Hutley reviews) Five Against One.
Rating = 2

Well, I'd like a little bit more than what this disc has to offer! I thought I was buying VS plus 3 bonus tracks that I just couldn't live without. But after listening to the poor quality of sound spewing out of my stereo speakers, I realized at the bottom the case read, 1993 DEMOS for the album VS. For those of you not familiar with the term DEMO, let me paraphrase: "horrible early recordings of songs that eventually might make it onto the upcoming album VS, but don't sound nearly as refined or clear at this particular moment." There is so much static on this thing, I rubbed it on my head and my hair stood up on end. Oh, and the bonus tracks I thought were going to be so good? One was called "Don't Need", which later became "Whipping" on Vitology. The second was "Hard to Imagine". It's a beautiful, slow tempo tune that sounds great if only there wasn't so much static! And finally "Alone", which I already have several times over, and this is by far the worst recording you could get it. If you ever see these discs that say "UK IMPORT-BONUS TRACKS" and you're thinking about buying one, remember that Bonus Track is usually just a creative marketing term for Crappy Filler. In short, I've wasted a lot of money in my time, and so will you if you get suckered into buying these types of imports.

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(Scott Hutley reviews) Manifesting Morrison.
Rating = 2

I must say I was a bit disappointed that Jim Morrison did not make an appearance at all on the two discs. More than that, Pearl Jam didn't bother to show up either! Well, THEY did, but that crowd! UGH! They were pathetic! First they were spitting at Vedder! Then they started throwing shoes! And after that they were just being plain stupid! In fact, Pearl Jam almost didn't perform an encore! Ok, so Eddie probably started the whole thing. So what! I paid $45 for this set, so I expect to hear a good concert! I demand satisfaction!! Besides the lack of crowd control, the sound is pretty lame, too. Alright, it's worse than lame. It's paraplegic. Some might even call it quadraplegic. I know I would, and I did! Because it is! And here's one final complaint: This appears to be one of the concerts they did after the release of VS. After all, almost the entire VS material is played on here. But yet, the concert is dated in the liner notes as being played on 5.11.93 somewhere in the States. Now as I remember it, VS came out just in time for the Christmas push of '93. So what gives here? Is this another Italian import? I think it is! Awe, man! That sucks! Blast their feeble minds! Blast, I say!!
Reader Comments
Uhhh... 5.11.93 is the European way of saying November 5, 1993, when Pearl Jam played Indio CA and where this concert was recorded. It was the fourth show of the VS. tour.

You must have a crappy knock-off of the original release. My CDs of that show are absolutely excellent sound quality. And I think the show is excellent because of the crazy energy between PJam and the crowd.

There are a ton of tapers out there who have this show and will dub it for you for nothing too.

Scott Hutley
Well there you have it... 5.11.93 is November 5th and not May 11th like I had thought... Man, I should have gone to school more often... in Europe no less... I guess those Italians aren't so bad after all...
you want something good for your money? nobody's perfect so you're most likely to encouter some crappy stuff when you buy everything a band ever released
I was at that concert. It happened 11/5/93. I also have the the cd of it as well. Being there in person I was able to tell that Eddie was "not in good mood" to say the least. He seemed to be really drunk (he had a bottle of wine w/ him on stage for awhile). Plus, the fans were out of control. They were throwing things (i.e. mostly shoes) which if you have the cd, your able to hear the part where he says "Me and Jeff are gonna go to the front gate, and beat the shit outta all the barefoot people here" He was pissed, and I think the performance reflected that. Mostly just new (at the time) Vs songs, however the quality and sound of the cd are top notch. Not their best performance. Much better when I saw them in 7/98 at the Forum in L.A.

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(Scott Hutley reviews) Dissident 1.
Rating = 7

Ok, this is going to seem a little strange. See here, there's three different parts to the Dissident series and in most stores they're sold seperate for about $11 each. Of course there's a rather large, expensive import that has the complete show (these three discs are missing about four songs. If that's worth $75 to ya' then knock yourself out) But instead of giving one rating for the whole sum, I thought to myself, "Hey, why don't I give each disc its own rating. That way consumers reading this review can decide if they want all three discs, or just one or two." See! I'm looking out for you! Man, am I a nice guy or what?

So anyway, about disc 1: It starts off with the studio version of "Dissident". Hey, what can I do? It IS the "Dissident" single after all. Needless to say, that's not the hi-light of the disc. Song two leads us into the Fox Theater concert of April 3, 1994. Considered to be one of the best Pearl Jam concerts ever done. It's also one of the last ones before the whole TicketMaster dookie went down. Opens with "Release", "Rearviewmirror", and then "Evenflow". Then the live version of "Dissident" follows which sounds much like the studio one I just finished listening to about 20 minutes earlier. "Why Go" and "Deep" finish this one off. It's pretty good material, but the next two CD's blow it out of the water. So let's take a look at 'em, shall we?

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(Scott Hutley reviews) Dissident 2.
Rating = 9

How could any Jam fan not love this disc?! I'll just run through the tracks on here and let you see why this one is so great: "Jeremy", "Glorified G", "Daughter" (most likely the one you hear on the radio, with the Pink Floyd reference), "Go" (which is dedicated to the recently departed Kurt Cobain), "Animal", "Garden" (the only one that doesn't seem to fit in here), "State of Love and Trust", and the most amazing version of "Black" you have ever heard. Look for this disc in the singles section at your local record store. (At least, that's where I found mine. I really don't know anything about YOUR record store. For all I know it's in the easy listening section.) This one is truly a must have.

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(Scott Hutley reviews) Dissident 3.
Rating = 6

Not as good for two reasons: 1) Eddie adds a plethora of extra swearing on a lot of these songs that is definitely not needed, and 2) in the process he messes up "Alive" and "Porch", two of my favorite Jam songs ever. At the outset of the second song ("Blood") Eddie says good-night to the crowd, and yet they proceed to play six more tunes! This makes me think that the set order was rearranged, but then I also read somewhere Pearl Jam actually played THAT many encores at Fox! Someone who attended this concert may be able to help me out on that one. Anyways, the next song is "W.M.A." and Eddie gives everyone a history lesson about Martin Luther King, Jr. That's followed by a killer rendition of "Elderly Woman". "Rats" comes after that and Vedder makes the Michael Jackson reference to the song but I'm sure most kids wouldn't know what he was talking about anyways so I won't bother explaining. At the outset of "Once", Eddie bids the audience farewell once more and then they play a ten+ minute version of "Porch". Of course, Ed can't keep his tongue in check so it kind of gets ruined in the middle. They say goodnight again, and then come out one last time to play "Indifference". Great closing number...

All three discs combined will give the listener a good idea of what it was like to see Pearl Jam in the early 90's. Since then, of course, Eddie and the gang have toned down considerably both on stage and off. Will they ever get back to that same type of energy? I doubt it, but at least some of it got caught on tape so we can all reminisce.

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(Scott Hutley reviews) Bridge Benefit-An Acoustic Evening.
Rating = 8

I'll tell you all straight out, I love acoustic stuff. As long as bands can pull it off, I'm really into it. Pearl Jam, to me, is one of those bands. If you don't happen to like the acoustic sound because it makes your favorite band and respective tunes seem weak and wimpy, then I'll tell you this disc probably represents a 3 or 4 to you. There, now you can't cry to me about how I lied to you or that my rating sucked or that I kicked your dog in second grade or whatever you want to cry about. I exonerate myself of any falsehood found in this review whatsoever. Happy now, Crybaby... and I MEANT to kick your dog, too! So there!

This show marks Jack Irons' debut as Pearl's drummer although he really doesn't have much work to do. (This is acoustic, remember?) This also marks the debut of three songs that would show up on the Vitalogy release. We'll get to that later, though. The disc represents both of the October '94 shows, so some of the songs are repeated on the disc. Another thing, the Jam didn't play any of the songs you heard on MTV UNPLUGGED. Instead they went for a few of their quieter tunes like "Elderly Woman...", "Black", and "Daughter" (which makes two references to classic rock songs: Don McLean's "American Pie" the first night, and Neil Young's "Hey Hey, My My" on the second). They also play quite a few of their B-side tunes like "Yellow Ledbetter", "Wash", "Let Me Sleep", and "Footsteps". They even throw in a cover of Daniel Johnston's (?) "Walkin' the Cow". And what about the Vitalogy songs? The first one is "Corduroy" with some alternate lyrics. The second is "Not For You" and marks the only time Eddie swears on the entire disc. They also do "Immortality". There's a hidden track after "Black" is played for the second time (It's not the end of the disc, though). It is the woderful "Bee Girl" song, and Ed talks in depth about the sadness he felt for the young girl portrayed in the Blind Melon video. What a nice guy. And then he grabs a beer bottle and beats some helpless Shannon Hoon fan to a bloody pulp! Just kidding. It was a Nirvana fan. Kidding! The end of the disc has the Bridge Benefit All-Star Band playing Neil's song "Piece of Crap". Ed shares the vocals on this one and does a very good job. Eddie also goes on stage with good friends Ministry to do an abstract version of Bob Dillion's Lay Lady Lay. As I said before, for an acoustic disc this is one of the best. But it's probably only good for people who go for that kind of stuff.

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(Scott Hutley reviews) Deep Through The Years (Italian 3-CD Box Set).
Rating = 7

Yep, I put up that Italian reference for a reason. Not because the music is all messed up, mind you. But for the love of Pete, avoid the liner notes at all costs!! I never knew there were so many ways to screw up the English language! But the music's why I bought it, so let's get to it shall we? Basically, this is a time capsule of B-sides, studio outtakes, and rare live versions of oh, about 50 songs (some of which are repeated trice!). You're probably wondering why I only gave this a 7. It's got most any rare song from the '91 to '94 era, plus THE BEST cover of "Rockin' in the Free World" ever (from the PukkelPop Festival in '92), plus the same tune done with Neil at the MTV awards, PLUS three of the songs missing from that Fox Theater show (listed as "Don't Need", "Betterman", and "Already in Love" -- it's actually "Whipping", "Betterman", and "Satan's Bed") so what in the world could possibly get this set a 7? Basically because some of the sound is bad ("Hard to Imagine" is barely more audible than the one on Five Against One), and stuff like MTV UNPLUGGED and the Doors Hall of Fame induction only get one song each. They should have been complete. Still, it's got some real rares like "Sonic Reducer", "Hold Your Head Up" (Andy Wood on vocals?), and some live covers I couldn't find anywhere else. But because of the filler and poor quality recording in parts, I had to knock it down a few notches. If you don't have ANY Pearl Jam imports, and you find $75 hidden in your couch, this might be something to look into. Then again, I've had my eye on a Neil Diamond greatest hits CD for a while so what do I know?

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(Scott Hutley reviews) Decoder.
Rating = 5

One of the only chances to see Pearl Jam live for the last few years, this is the Bridge Benefit for '96. They play a ton of stuff off of No Code, and once again songs are replayed on the 2nd show. This just doesn't have the same excitement as the earlier benefit shows from '94. Maybe because there wasn't any surprises in the song selection. Either they've already done them before, or you just knew songs like "Around the Bend" and "Off He Goes" were made for this kind of acoustical work. I'm not saying it's bad or anything. But it's not very fun, either. It's just a big long... blah... iffie... so-so... ok... musical...acoustic... thing. However it's still the type of thing most acoustic lovers will droul over, so if you can't find Bridge Benefit this is the runner-up.

Reader Comments
Ah yes, Pearl Jam....that band that I've heard maybe 1 or 2 songs by, yet maintains a certain ubitiquousness thanks to the oft-imitated voice of Eddie Vedder in tons of crappy southern rock bands. Literally nobody I know really likes them. And after listening to "Jeremy" I thought if that's their style, tell me if they're that much better than 3 Doors Down(which I suppose they might be),but unfortunately they and Alice in Chains may be just as responsible for ruining mainstream rock as much as the entry of rap into popular music was(though I like some underground-type stuff such as Doomtree)

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