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This review is from: No Code (Audio CD)
Is there a better Pearl Jam album? Not in my opinion (although Yield and Vs. come close). Has there ever been a better album ever? That is a closer call, although this would be in my top five of all time. And should be in yours.
That very title ('No Code') half describes this album's genius. Eclectic in the extreme, we are treated both to Pearl Jam's greatest attempts at punk ('Habit', 'Lukin'), poignancy and tenderness ('Off He Goes', 'Present Tense') and pure joy ('Smile'). But what elevates it above all that is its paradoxical wholeness - there is a consistency of warmth and meaning here that defies the variation in pace and rhythm. That, more than any particular song, is what makes this so distinctive and magical. The artwork, replete with Vedder and Co.'s own polaroids of all kinds of things and all kinds of places, only reinforces this sense of 'No Code' as far more than the sum of its brilliant little parts.
Like all truly revelatory albums, words cannot quite convey why this might be exactly what your life needs. I can only say that you should try it. If you are already a Pearl Jam fan, you should indulge yourself simply for the pleasure of 'Mankind', which is sung by one Stone Gossard.
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. If they ever scale these heights again, I may be persuaded to believe that there is, after all, a God.
Essential cuts: Everything. But especially 'Hail, Hail', 'In My Tree', 'Smile', 'Off He Goes', 'Habit', 'Present Tense' and 'Mankind'.