Pearl Jam

Good Essays
Pearl Jam

IN retrospect, when we look back at the earlier rantings of grunge today it hovers nebulously like some foggy hangover intermingled with the bittersweet scent of alienation and teen spirit. We remember the blonde haired saviour and martyr Kurt Cobain who will never fade from our memories and remain as the most anguished of them all. We think of Llayne Stayley and Alice In Chains and the intense violence of Chris Cornell and Soundgarden.

Alice In Chains have disseminated themselves further into dark and eerie, dusty and arid sparseness while Soundgarden embrace the hoary and psychedelic rock of eras gone by and Nirvana, well, they will always remain alive in our hearts. When Kurt Cobain took his life, the eyes of the world suddenly looked desperately for a new hero to claim as its own. It didn't have far to go until it's eyes rested solemnly upon the uncomfortable and wiry form of Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam.

Vedder with his pained expression, howling vocals and mass of vulnerability begrudgingly carried the torch, even if at times his load became heavy and he seemed ready to throw it into the arms of anyone but himself. Neil Young, realising Vedder's dilemma and approach towards the swirling abyss of a nervous breakdown or potentail overdose, suddenly took him under his wing. The press hounded the next-in-line-to-the-throne relentlessly to see if he would accept the burden and the crown. Vedder, true to himself refused and sought obscurity.

When Pearl Jam's last discordant and cerebral tome Vitalogy hit the record shelves both the public and the critics were soon deep in debate as to whether the album was the pinnacle or the catalyst and soundtrack to the inevitable downward spiral. Only time would offer an...

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The dense throb and catchy melodies of Mankind sounds eerily like a poppy slice of REM and so far removed from Pearl Jam that its unrecognisable while Around The Bend is a shuffling ballad with a twang of country & western blues. No doubt Neil Young's essence and influence was running through Vedder's veins when he penned and recorded this beautiful and Hawaiian-tinged ode.

Upon the looming release of No Code there is bound to be much conflict between the Pearl Jam fans of old and those seeking a sign of evolvement into new and unfamiliar terrains. No Code definitely belongs to the latter and differs greatly from Vitalogy.

This is an album where discordancy, rage and frustration is left outside the studio door and is a beautiful coming of age album steeped in vulnerability for a man and band who deserve to be making albums for many more years to come yet.
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