Backspacer - Pearl Jam
Backspacer Image
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 207 Ratings

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  • Summary: The ninth studio album for the Seattle-based alt rock band was produced with Brendan O'Brien.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. The lightness and dexterity of the playing throughout Backspacer, and of Vedder's hard-driving, often playful vocals, come from Pearl Jam's members taking this music seriously, honing in and nailing it.
  2. Backspacer, the band’s ninth studio album [is] one of its most cohesive and satisfying in terms of brevity, crisp production, and a sharp focus.
  3. 80
    The commitment that Vedder brings to all this material, from the rowdiest thrashing to the schmaltziest ballad makes this feel like a unified and ultimately convincing project. [Oct 2009, p.90]
  4. The album grows same-y, but tracks like the surfing-as-life-metaphor anthem 'Amongst the Waves' do indeed make something old feel, if not new, good again.
  5. When Pearl Jam shocked the world with Ten and Vs, there would have been few that believed the band were capable of an album such as Backspacer--an ostensibly traditional rock album that, at times, feels contented and at others strays close to emotional equity. The shock this time is that they nearly pull it off.
  6. A little more effort at the end would have been appreciated, but so long as you’re content with paying full price for what’s essentially twenty-eight minutes of listenable music, Backspacer works as a fun little rock n’roll record.
  7. Virtually the whole record settles into the same formula the band's been dutifully churning out since the dawn of the millennium.

See all 24 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 75 out of 83
  2. Negative: 1 out of 83
  1. Jul 7, 2012
    10
    an amazing work for an amazing band that proves they are still relevant and still a music genius
  2. Oct 27, 2013
    10
    Almost 20 years after their debut, Pearl Jam is still managing to write some of the freshest and catchiest songs of their career. This is a must-have album. Expand
  3. Feb 19, 2012
    9
    So frantic, and energetic that 'Backspacer' has been one of the bands offerings I have had the most trouble getting into. Nevertheless, this new-wave punk inspired rock works so well, because the band finally sound like they are enjoying themselves for the first time since 1994's Spin The Black Circle. There's life here, and whilst lyrically it is not inspired by the burdens and woe that the band had at their peak, there is a lot to love, with 'Just Breathe' easily being the best 'Slow Jam' the band made since 'Elderly Woman...' Expand
  4. j30
    Dec 9, 2011
    8
    A strong set of songs from the rock gods of the 90's era. It doesn't quite live up to their old stuff, particularly Vs or Vitalogy, but still a nice collection here. Expand
  5. Jun 30, 2012
    8
    17 years after the bands debut album 'Ten' and Pearl Jam have evidently changed. But this album shows a different side that is still almost as good as ever. It may be less 'rocky' but it still shows great ability to stay consistently good for so long Expand
  6. Jun 3, 2011
    5
    Meh, pretty boring album, nothing really special but it isn't awful.
  7. Jun 6, 2011
    5
    i just wrote reviews for zeitgeist by the smashing pumpkins and the king of limbs by radiohead here.
    same damn problem with all three. its a
    well enough album... good tunes
    but it ranks (just a tiny bit below riot act) as the worst effort by the band ever!
    which is not a bad thing to itself.. some bands pride themselves on being just a bit worse than pearl jams worst effort. but pearl jam cant be one of those bands :)
    Expand

See all 83 User Reviews