Backspacer

Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Prior to Backspacer, Pearl Jam wouldn't or couldn't have made music this unfettered, unapologetically assured, casual, and, yes, fun.
  2. This is Pearl Jam’s "fun" record, a disc that was likely just as exciting as [to] record as it is to listen to.
  3. Uncut
    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. Q Magazine
    80
    For the first time in their 19-year career, Pearl Jam actually sound--whisper it--fun. [Oct 2009, p.119]
  5. Mojo
    80
    'Just Breathe,' 'Amongst The Waves' and 'The End' make this one of Pearl jam's most satisfying albums. [Oct 2009, p.96]
  6. Backspacer, Pearl Jam's ninth album, backspaces to that boyish spirit, with the shortest, tightest, punkiest tunes they've ever banged out.
  7. Backspacer is very much calculated to sound the way it sounds, and suggesting Pearl Jam have lost anything would be premature. Ultimately there’s no point fretting about the future when contemplating a record that’s so very much a celebration of the moment.
  8. 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.
  9. This is a record made by mature men with perspective: full of reflection and eclecticism, finding space for both U2 guitar motifs and Buzzcocks solos.
  10. Though it doesn’t hit with the same force as the early singles to which every future Pearl Jam anthem will be compared, it’s an oxygen rush nonetheless--one worth hoping for and high-fiving to when they unleash it live.
  11. 80
    For the first time in years, Pearl Jam are seizing the moment rather than wallowing in it.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 90
    Backspacer is the bands most mature album to date and clocking in at just over 36 minutes, it is also their most condensed work; It’s as if Pearl Jam is channeling Ernest Hemingway, with not a wasted breath or note anywhere to be found.
  15. 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.
  16. It’s a set of 11 concise songs in 37 minutes that are mostly fast, loud, sinewy and live sounding.
  17. Pearl Jam's ninth album sounds a lot more optimistic and positive than the band ever has. More importantly, Backspacer sees Pearl Jam finally escape the slump they fell into with "Binaural" nine years ago.
  18. 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.
  19. The whole album has a pleasurable mix of lean, mean rock'n'roll and pensive ballads that reflect both the state of the world and the band's place in it.
User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 221 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 73 out of 84
  2. Negative: 1 out of 84
  1. Jul 7, 2012
    10
    an amazing work for an amazing band that proves they are still relevant and still a music genius
  2. Nov 12, 2012
    8
    Pearl Jam, a rock band built on survival, has pulled through after the death of Grunge music. As one of the only Grunge bands of the earlyPearl Jam, a rock band built on survival, has pulled through after the death of Grunge music. As one of the only Grunge bands of the early nineties left in existence, Pearl Jam has constantly been pressured to create music that doesn Full Review »
  3. May 11, 2016
    8
    This is actually one of my favourite Pearl Jam records. The problem I have with the band's 2000's output is that their albums have a bit tooThis is actually one of my favourite Pearl Jam records. The problem I have with the band's 2000's output is that their albums have a bit too much filler or interesting ideas that are not as fully explored as they could be. This album is more trimmed down and more accessible, but with higher quality songwriting. Its anthemic nature harkens back to the "Ten" album; tracks like "Gonna See My Friend" and "The Fixer" are every bit as catchy as "Even Flow" or "Alive". Full Review »