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  • Yield
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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 18 July 2004
To stop and give way to on-coming traffic. That's the definition of the word 'Yield' according to any dictionary you'll find. Pearl Jam probably titled their fifth album this because that's exactly what it does. Their previous two albums, that followed their multi-million selling debut, 'Ten' and their million-in-a-week selling sophomore, 'Vs', became more experimental, with 1994's 'Vitalogy' probably being the best mix of Pearl Jam's ability to rock hard and perform touching balladry, while having a bit of an eye for the different, culminating in 'No Code' which was no very well received at all. In recent years however, 'No Code' has been truly understood, more by the Pearl Jam faithful than anyone else, so at the time releasing an album that was pretty much straight-forward seemed the right thing to do after upsetting their at-that-time Pearl Jam fans who hungered for how they were before and not how they sounded while being 'original'. Hence, 'Yield'. Now 'Yield' may be slightly more traditional than the at-times wacky, 'No Code' and 'Vitalogy', but Pearl Jam were never going to let pressure from anybody else swing them. 'Yield' may be the rock album that many had been waiting for since 6 months after 'Vs' got a bit boring, but there's a lot more to it.
'Yield' is for contemplation as well as chilling. It's for sleeping, it's for moving. It's for walking as much as it is for sitting. Why? Because Pearl Jam hit their commercial peak right here. Not necessarily in sales, after-all, PJ's sales have slipped album by album (which is good in a way, since they're achieving exactly what they intended), but musically. Only a very trusted and clearly talented band would be left to their own devices by their record label, such is Pearl Jam's ability. 'Ten' might be the one that everyone outside the Pearl Jammers sees as their opus, but it was pretty hideous over-produced and lost a lot of its soaring appeal. 'Vs' was gritty, but 'Yield' is smooth and shiny, while still retaining Pearl Jam's power and punk attitude. It's a dark album, it's a light album, it's heavy and it's soft.
Eddie Vedder's already established lyrical powers were already at their top before 'Yield' was released, but on here nothing is toned. Opener 'Brain Of J' for example, is vicious and the lyrics are just as intriguing 'Who's got the brain of JFK, what does it mean to us now?' Vedder howls, referring to the theft of John F Kennedy's brain some time ago. Basically it can be heavy stuff while being quite light and humorous in places. Yes, the album has it's fair share of rockers, but it has plenty of contemplative and more emotionally powerful moments than any of Pearl Jam's prior releases, and to be quite honest, still to this very date, Pearl Jam have never sounded as good as this. There are also one or two songs in between. Leading single 'Given To Fly' which follows the story of someone under appreciated, finally gaining a gift, then deciding to share it and being stolen from (human nature as a whole basically), share between slower, wave like verses before the full soaring chorus, which has Vedder sounding like he's hollering from the top of a mountain, with the guitars reaching as high as they can just to touch him. It's one of the highlights of Pearl Jam's career put lightly. Pearl Jam has always had a rare ability to perform beautiful ballads as well as hard, gritty rock songs. Hard gritty rock songs on 'Yield' may come rarely but they are some of Pearl Jam's best. 'Do The Evolution', possibly their darkest song, has a huge guitar riff, Vedder almost grunting the words he sings, and hollering at the top of his voice on the chorus. 'It's Evolution, baaaabbbbyyyy!'. It's starting to sound that way.
However, Pearl Jam's shining point on 'Yield' is their ability to tone down. The album is packed full with some of Pearl Jam's best ballads to date. Take the deserty 'No Way' for example. There's something very dark and negative around something that almost sounds upbeat, which is what Pearl Jam do very well. 'Low Light' is also stunning; sounding just as if Pearl Jam were giving you a warm and cosy, intimate acoustic gig right there in front of you, while it positively soars. The closing 'All Those Yesterdays', along with 'Riot Act's' 'All Or None' and a couple of the b-sides from 'Lost Dogs', is Pearl Jam's most wonderfully wilting track. Something to close your eyes to and drift, which is what the song itself, does right around your room. Most satisfyingly of all on 'Yield' is 'Wishlist'. A beautiful, almost smile-inducing and yet sorrowful piece of pleading in such a mainstream radio rock way that only Pearl Jam can do it, and somehow make it so the song would never actually fit onto mainstream rock radio, despite it being one of their most easy on the ear and pleasing songs they've penned to date.
Along with Pearl Jam's expected unusual experimental leanings, in the untitled 'Dot' track and the weird 'Push Me, Pull Me', Pearl Jam have delivered their most consistent and moving album to date. Having said that, both 'Binaural' and 'Riot Act' haven't exactly been masterpieces, but as with most of Pearl Jam's albums they will come of age in time, which is exactly what 'Yield' is doing now, and if you think about the works that came before it, then it's no small feat that is PJ's best, most consistent work to date.
It's on the better side of pain and on the lesser side of joy, but 'Yield' sounds very good on it, and really is not a work to be missed, especially for those who appreciate soaring guitar songs and beautiful low-key balladry. Pearl Jam left their experimental leanings behind for the most part on this one and delivered what they do best. Put basically, Pearl Jam did exactly what they said on the tin - gave way to other oncoming traffic, including their own, taking a moment to breath - and then some. As well as this, 'Yield' is the sound of one of the best modern day musical units working at the top of their game. Quite frankly, it's one of the 90's most under-appreciated and best albums.
5 Stars.
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on 4 May 2015
A perfect companion to No Code (their previous album) with the souring melodies, but less of the Eastern vibe of No Code. There are a couple of great rockers on here, Brain of J which opens the album is one of their finest, and Do The Evolution, a concert staple, (although slightly out of place here), Yield's power lies in the laid back, mid-paced songs. Faithful & Given To Fly sour, Wishlist is beautifully hushed, and Pilate is one of their most unappreciated tracks. Later on we are treated to In Hiding, which contains quite possibly one of Pearl Jam's best choruses. All Those Yesterdays mellowly ends the album. A real open landscape feel to the whole recording, and I don't think they have managed to beat it since (though Lightning Bolt got close)
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on 20 November 2004
One of Pearl Jam's finest moments, and adored by the band's fans, Yield is an album which demonstrates the whole band's writing input more than any of their albums had at that point in their career. For instance, the album contains Mcready's best writing with the rocking Brain Of J, Faithful and the supreme Given To Fly. Eddie's writing is on top form with the empowering MFC and spinechilling love song Wishlist (easily one of Eddie's greatest moments). Jeff proves his ability to write infectious melancholic melodies (Low Light and Pilate), whilst Stone offers his classic groove (Do The Evolution and In Hiding). However, this isn't all there is to Yield, as the band even shows off their increasingly experimental side with tracks like Push Me Pull Me and All Those Yesterdays. All the tracks work together to produce an album which effortlessly evokes and inspires. Coupled with the band's finest album artwork, Yield is a record of 'infinite possibility' (see Single Video Theory DVD which documents the making of the album). Finally detached from the imediate music limelight after the preceding release of the fabulous No Code, Pearl Jam crafted one of the greatest albums of the nineties with Yield. You have to own this album!
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on 3 May 2002
Pearl Jam have always been a critic's worst nightmare. Defining the Seattle based band has been a massive task for journalists since Pearl Jam's second album back in '93, most journalists passed them off as 'grunge'; yet to claim that this album is grunge would be a major mistake.
'Yield' compiles the qualities of every previous album and folds them up in to a neat package. The foggy riffs of 'Vs.' still remain, backed up by the melodic ballads of 'No Code'. The great thing about this album is it manages to remain diverse, yet still keeps in tide with the unmistakable Pearl Jam 'sound'. And that's the great thing about this album, unlike some of its predeccesors, 'Yield' defines Pearl Jam 100%; just not in words...
I'm not going to sit here and give you a review of each track. If you have an ounce of common sense, you'd go out an buy this. It's good for people who have never heard anything other than 'Jeremy' from Pearl Jam (cheers MTV). And the fans love it too. This is a great album to start a music collection off, it is cheap, nicely packaged, and essentially a great album and everyone has a different view about it.
Don't wait for your ears to drop off! Buy it, now!
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on 25 October 2011
I see Yield as a companion-piece to the equally-excellent No Code, the common factor being the terrific percussion of Jack Irons. Here, Pearl Jam are not grunge, but a grown-up, expansive rock band flowing with good vibes and positivity. Yield is a great '90s rock album which has stood the test of time magnificently.
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on 13 April 2013
This is one of my favourite Pearl Jam albums. Just such a consistently high standard of writing & performance! Tracks like Faithfull, Given to Fly & Do the Evolution are included along with the awesome In Hiding, not to mention The Brain of J. I just love it & can't imagine how many times I've listened to it. would recommend it to anyone who likes decent music. Fantastic !
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on 4 March 2005
I might be a little biased as this is without doubt my favourite studio album that Pearl Jam have released. It got a lot of stick from a lot of people as it is a little bit more experimental than some of their earlier stuff, but I think that just adds to the fact that this is one of the most musically talented bands in the world.
The CD starts with Brain of J, the perfect opener that allows you to see the intention of the album and that is to make you think, the fact that this track is a no hold barred rock a long track inspires the rest of the album to follow suit. And it doesn't disappoint.
Track after track fires on with a massive amount of intensity and the cataclysmic power to change the music industry forever. Tracks like Do the Evolution, Given to Fly, In Hiding, Pilate, the list goes on and on.
The lyrical genius of these songs is undeniable and the musicality of the album makes even the most reserved of people mosh a little bit, even in traffic! This wasn't the first Pearl Jam album that I bought and I wasn't that swayed that they were possibly the best band around. However after seeing the accompanying DVD to this CD before buying the album it confirmed that this band really do have no limits and simply love making music which makes them magic to listen to.
If you can't rock out to this CD then you just can't rock, face it! Buy this album if you have any rock in your soul and listen with an open mind and be prepared to like something a little different.
It isn't as immediately brilliant as Ten, but after a few listens this replaced it as my fav album. There is just something so honest and open about this album showing you how the band have grown together and how they have moved from the conventional approach of just sticking to a sound that they know people like.
For many bands this wouldn't have worked but Pearl Jam just go from strength to strength.
Buy this album and enjoy.
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on 26 March 2003
I get the impression that some of the reviewers of this album came to it with all sorts of expectations based on Pearl Jam's previous work. Not me - apart from Alt-Rock radio hits like Jeremy and Alive, I was a PJ virgin until I was given this album a few years ago. I was immediately struck by the strength of the songs, especially the slower, anthemic tracks such as Given to Fly, In Hiding and Wishlist. But this album's main strength is the way it works as a whole, each song working together with the rest to create a unique atmosphere, and which puts it up there with my top albums of all time. Pearl Jam freaks apparently don't rate this as one of their best albums. That's ok. If you're not one of them, or are prepared to listen without prejudice, you will definitely not be disappointed.
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on 2 June 2003
As the 90s grinded out for Vedder and co. they were in danger of disappearing into the land of obscure artists. A footnote in a brief renaissance period of music refered to as 'grunge.' By now they are virtually the sole survivors. Little had remained around them and they return to form at a time when noboby seems to be listening. However with fantastic riffs like that which flows through 'Evolution' and 'Brain of JFK' Pearl Jam return to remind the world of a time when music had soul and it was'nt all about 'still being from the block' or how much 'cristal' you can drink. Thank the band alone for taking a stand against dull music. Buy this now - if you do not own this and claim to be a fan shame on you.
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on 5 March 2014
Yield remains the only Pearl Jam album from the 1990s that sounds and feels like their newer material. Indeed it was such a departure from their previous effort No Code that Yield can take a few listens to get into it. But the album packs some superb songs. Wishlist, Faithful, Given to Fly, MFC even dreamy album closer All Those Yesterdays works.

For the rockier tunes see Do the Evolution and Brain of J. Yield has no fillers or duds just very good songs and good ones. An essential purchase for PJ fans.
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