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Pearl Jam
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on 17 October 2013
Decided to write a review for this album based on the fact that it only has 4 stars. This is a 5* album from Pearl Jam and one of their best. Opening tracks get the juices flowing in time for some epic tracks later on in the album. Buy it.
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VINE VOICEon 3 May 2006
Well here we go... another Pearl Jam album 3 ½ years since the last one. Do we need another one?

First of let me state that the only reason I now own a copy is because of the strong reviews I've read for this album I've read in various sources most notably AMG which rated it 4 ½ out of 5 saying that it is their best record since 'Vitalogy' (1995) if not before. This is Pearl Jam's eighth album now and I think we can divide their career now into two halves: Their first four albums being their classic period which lasted just five years (Ten; VS; Vitalogy; No Code) and the latter four albums in ten years (Yield; Binaural; Riot Act; Pearl Jam). Well actually you know what 'Pearl Jam' feels just like 'Binaural' and not as bad as 'Riot Act' but kind of on a par with 'Yield' (and certainly not better than 'Ten' 'VS' 'No Code' and definitely not better than 'Vitalogy' which in my opinion is their career peak).

So what are the tracks like? Well for the most part they are just below par however the last three 'Army Reserve' 'Come Back' 'Inside Job' are better in a Springsteen / U2 impersonating way, entering into a psychedelic 'Black' territory (but not as good by a long shot). There are no great tunes here. No 'Alive' 'Even Flow' 'Jeremy' 'Daughter' 'Dissident' 'Rearviewmirror' 'Not For You' 'Better Man' 'Corduroy' 'Immortality' and definitely no 'Why Go' 'Deep' 'Spin The Black Circle' 'Go' or 'Blood'. There just seems to be a lack of passion, there is no anthemic angry young man presence any more, no hand reaching out to the disaffected and instead a more comfortable '40 something' affair about it all. But of course it's been like on the last three albums anyway.

When I first heard 'Ten' I was sixteen years old, I'm 30 now and personally I've grown musically. I don't believe this band has grown much in that time. At times it reminds of the early nineties but most of the time it's just downright boring. The Clash said 'you grow up and you calm down' (Clampdown). Their best years are now long behind them. For me the difference between 'Ten' (1991) and inspiringly title 'Pearl Jam' (2006)(read sarcasm) is the fifteen-year gap and 2600 albums I acquired in those years. I've listen to so much more exciting music in between that this just seems lame now. When I heard that there would be a new album I was not completely excited by the prospect and when I saw the artwork I was very much unimpressed, I mean it's a goddamn avocado. And to think that there was concern about artwork for 'Ten' being mauve. If anyone knows the significance please let us know.

I think what this band needs is a drastic change. I'd take them and stick in a real garage full of rattling faulty junk equipment and make them record on a cassette 4 track recorder. Strip away all the studio polish that seems to have crept into their sound and starve them for a month and them let them record their album live again in seven days. I'd also push the vocals further back into the mix so Eddie has to really work to be heard. The production on 'VS' and 'Vitalogy' was much better than on recent albums. Anything they produce will be better than this.
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VINE VOICEon 21 December 2006
I have deliberately waited some time before posting this review and there is no doubt this latest and very welcome release needs space and time to breathe. Whilst there are one or two of the earlier tracks which strike an immmediate chord with the listener, it takes several listens to get into the real heart and soul of the album.

Trust me, the wait is worthwhile and very rewarding for those that persist. This is a collection of tracks which really showcases the band's strengths from the upbeat and punky first three tracks, to the atmospheric album closer, Inside Job.

In between we have what, in my opinion, is the real 'standout a mile' track - Gone. I have to see this particular song has become one of my very favourite Pearl Jam tracks up there with the likes of Jeremy and Dissident from the early days. I'm quite surprised that so few of the 40-odd reviewers haven't mentioned this powerhouse of a song - great verse, superb pre-chorus bridge and simple, yet, very effective chorus.

Despite the above hyperbole, I've only given the album 4 stars. This is simply because there are, in my view, one or two fairly weak tracks which don't quite exhibit the same class as the rest. That's a huge same as this is so nearly on a par with Ten and Vs.

Any existing fan of the band will certainly get into this. For those who weren't around in the good ol' grunge days, trust us oldies and purchase without fear. You cannot fail to like such tracks as Life Wasted, World Wide Suicide, Gone, Severed Hand and Inside Job. A very strong record.
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on 2 June 2007
Comparable to the Yield album. But, not as good as Ten or Vs.

The album songs display a sense of maturity, something different in general, and a bit grown up in mood. It's as if they suddenly settled down with a need to go back to their real roots of rebellious ecstatic uplifting tunes of grunge, but didn't quite get there. Perhaps, a realization of what really works for them, doesn't necessarily work for their listeners. All in all an awesome piece of work. Going back on tour probably helped alot as well.
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VINE VOICEon 25 April 2013
I really don't know what I expected but it wasn't this. I have given the CD to my son and he does like it. I must admit I'd rather listen to Alter Bridge or Black Stone Cherry
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on 21 May 2006
Having spent the last week listening to this album non stop, I can safely say that it is the best album Pearl Jam have made since 'Yield.'

The energy is back. Vedder's vocals are much stronger than the sleepy sound of 'Binaural' and 'Riot Act.'Tracks like 'Comatose' and 'Worldwide Suicide' are more akin to the raw, punky, Vitalogy album than the more laid back sound that the band has experimented with in recent years.

There are some great ballads here too. 'Gone' is an excellent, disillusioned track. 'Parachutes' sounds a little like the Beatles but the lyrics are really interesting. The odd time signature makes it totally different to anything they've done before.

Politics and war are themes of this album but they don't dominate it. There's a great mix of aggression and melody on this album. The songs flow much better than the odd mix of 2002's 'Riot Act.'

At 7 minutes long, 'Inside Job,' the album closer is a great finale. It builds from light guitars and piano into a really powerful ending. It's one of the best tracks they've ever written.

Overall this album mixes the best elements of Pearl Jam; edgy punk rock, beautiful melodies and political awareness. Buy it Now!
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on 22 May 2006
I wasn't at all familiar with this band before they made a recent comeback.My first comparison when I heard the powerful opening track"Life Wasted",was with Free's Paul Rodgers, and that band's playing style.
Am I the first person to have noticed this?
The driving rock guitars and stirring drums evoke fond memories of Free in the 1970s when they were at the peak of their success.
The second track and single,"World Wide Suicide" is just as powerful."I felt the earth on Monday,it moved beneath my feet
In the form of a morning paper,laid out for me to see."
Those lyrics were made for the 21st Century.
"It's a shame to awake in a world of pain
What does it mean when a war has taken over?"
Listen to ALL the words of this song when you buy the album.In fact listen very closely to the words of ALL the songs.
And then listen to them all again.
"Severed Hand" a song about taking a trip,has some excellent backing-a '70s trip in itself,which I thoroughly enjoyed listening to. However,the words are perhaps not for those of us who are sensitive about drug-taking. Be prepared for some quite disturbing lyrics.However,the fantastic driving rock and roll instrumental compiments these.
A surprising track is "Parachutes",with Vedder's touching lyrics:"And war...break the sky and tell me what it's for
I'll travel there on my own,
And love...what a different life
Had I not found this love with you" is almost a ballad and is unexpectedly emotional.
"Unemployable" is hard-hitting,describing one man's desperation and isolation at not being capable of providing for his wife and child,encased in quite a hummable tune.Eddie Vedder's voice is in great form;evoking sympathy and emotion in swathes.

There's a definite formula to this album and a message in every track.Look beneath the surface and there lie some very insightful lyrics,courtesy of Mr Vedder.
Quite a chunk of disillusionment there and impossibly hard times experienced as well.
Some people might describe Pearl Jam as heavy-going,but they have a very powerful message and substance to their songs on this album,which is one of the best and most sensitive rock albums I've heard for some time.
It's apparent that the band have experienced a reinvention and have woken up to emotions and feelings,after a long sleep.
"Wasted(Reprise)" has Eddie Vedder singing to a rather spiritual organ backing-a few minutes of decisive words which are extremely moving.........leading into "Army Reserve"- a powerful,heart-tugging song which speaks for itself and speaks volumes.

But here comes "Come Back",possibly the most moving song on the album,with a tragic sense of loss running through its lyrics,which oddly,reminded me of David Gray's song words.
A rock version of one of his songs,perhaps,with a dash of Bob Seger thrown in.
Vedder's imploring vocals at the end of the song show a vulnerable side.
The last song on the album,"Inside Job",with its beautifully timed piano and Vedder's emotional vocal delivery...
"Holding on,the light of night
on my knees to rise and fix my broken soul again"
will strike a chord with all who have had to pull themselves back from the brink.

A very powerful collection of songs indeed.Most certainly it deserves a placing in the Albums of the Year 2006 and delivered by a rock band with a frontman who passionately has concerns for the state of the world.
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on 4 May 2006
Well this one snuck up on me. Being a throwback to the days of grunge I can honestly say that this is by far the best PJ album since Vs, not quite as good as that album or Ten (but then Ten is a Ten, y'know). But holy moly is that grunge I hear, the last four tracks, whoo, Eddies voice crackles and growls, non of that horrible warbling he has taken to doing. I want more, come on Eddie sing the way we want, we are your public (sheeeesh). Great stuff, hope for more of the same.
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on 11 May 2006
Not belonging to the majority of Pearl Jam fans that seem to think they lost it after Ten, or indeed those that only own Ten, or think it to be their best work, i view this album as yet another fantastic and worthwhile album. Pearl jam's output over recent years-since perhaps their weakest record-yield, has been of a high standard and this album is no exception. Neither their finest or weakest record but a solid record-any true pj fan will enjoy.
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on 15 May 2006
It's difficult to write a review without name checking previous albums. It's also a little unfair to do so when a band has made genuine progress.

I've liked all of Pearl Jams old releases for numerous different reasons, but the main one is the variety of output. Whilst the voice is always a magnificent constant, the music has through the years changed stylistically and sonically.

To me this album represents a culmination of the lot. The production is much more stripped back than the most recent albums but the style in places is similar with chord based rather than single/double note riffs of the early days. The vocals on the other hand seem to hark back to the early days with much more aggression evident.

If I had to put my neck on the block i'd say that it's a cross between Vitalogy and Riot Act. But don't let that put you off. I'm sure there's plenty of other favourable comparisons to draw......I thought my MP3 player had skipped to an AC/DC track at the beginning of track 3!!
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