I don't understand this album, it'll always be something of an enigma to me. I can only assume the reason this gets slated so much by critics is because it was too commerical. Other than that it is track after track of modern, coherant, superior rock music. I love it.
Most Pearl Jam albums have a quirky, experimental side to them. This is perhaps the only one that doesn't. Even 'Yield' has "Push Me, Pull Me".
"Gods' Dice" is perhaps the finest fast-rocker since "Animal", "Light Years" is an excellent slow, almost ballady number followed by the single and perhaps strongest hit they've had since 'Ten'; "Nothing as it Seems", which I love. One of their strongest songs both lyrically and musically. This is in turn followed by another classic, beautiful song, "Thin Air", which is a Gossard number. Absolutely beautiful.
There are some other crackers here such as "Insignificance", "Rival" (love it) and of course the excellent "Parting Ways." The only song I'm not overly keen on is "Evacuation" but then again it is a Matt Cameron song, which isn't neccessarily a bad thing, just not classic Pearl Jam style. Finally we have "Of The Girl", probably the least accessible song on the entire album and yet one which I now love thanks to the acoustic rendition on the new acoustic double-CD, 'Live at Benaroya Hall'. If Pearl Jam can make an album as consistent, coherant and altogether brilliant as this again, then then will indeed be the greatest band of the 90's.
Beautiful, poignant and in some parts rockin'.