After reconquer their fans and critics in 2006, with the straighforward hard-rock on "The Avocado Album", Pearl jam are back in 2009 with their 9th album, "Backspacer".
For a bunch of guys in their mid-forties, Backspacer is, quite frankly, a good record, mostly of the rock songs are up-beat with a positive vibe, and even the melodic and gentle tunes have a message of hope, hidden under sad instrumentation.
Gonna see my friend, Got some, The Fixer, Johnny Guitar and Supersonic are all short punk-rockers with some bits of pop. Got Some is particular interesting, from the new-wave intro, to the speedy chorus, the rhythm section is on fire here. Jeff Ament and Matt Cameron both shine on this one. Great song, a better choice for 1st single, in my opinion.
Amongst the Waves, Unthought Known and Force of Nature sound epic as uplifting mid-tempo songs, perfect for singalongs in concerts. Amongst the Waves is my favourite from the record, its sounds like the result of a crazy mix between "Given to fly" and "I am mine" trying to re-create "Alive"! Great chorus and guitar solo by Mccready. An instant classic.
Just a step below, are Unthought known and Force of Nature, both good tracks, with epic structures, amazing guitar work and vocals by Vedder.
Finally, the moody/laid-back moments of Backspacer appears on Just Breathe, Speed of Sound and The End. Just Breathe is one of the best love song ever written and sung by Eddie Vedder. Its very simple but beautiful. Another highlight.
Speed of Sound is a sad song about loneliness and aging. Good arrangements by the producer Brendan O'brien. The End is a very intimist, touching acoustic piece, with some shy orquestration on the background. Eddie really shines on this one.
The musicianship between band its right on top, but Eddie Vedder is particulary inspired, writing emotional lyrics, and singing like in 1993. But there's an evident lack of guitar solos by Mike Mccready, and clocking at 36minutes, there was enough space for one, or two, maybe three, others songs.
Overall, Backspacer is a good record, with cool packaging, full of catchy songs, and even if its shorter than others Pearl Jam albums, is definitely one of their most acessible, alongside "Ten" and "Vs".
My Backspacer Playlist:
1-Gonna See My Friend
3-Force of Nature
6-Amongst the Waves
9-Speed of Sound
My Backspacer rating: 7/10