User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 211 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 3 out of 211

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  1. 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.
  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 early nineties left in existence, Pearl Jam has constantly been pressured to create music that doesn
  3. Jul 7, 2012
    10
    an amazing work for an amazing band that proves they are still relevant and still a music genius
  4. 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
  5. 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 thatSo 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
  6. 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.
  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
    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
  8. Jun 3, 2011
    5
    Meh, pretty boring album, nothing really special but it isn't awful.
  9. BradJ
    Dec 5, 2009
    10
    Just brilliant.
  10. WesC
    Nov 17, 2009
    10
    One of the best albums of the years.
  11. JT
    Nov 9, 2009
    7
    I'm torn. The first six songs quite splendid, but the latter half kind of sags. All and all, the record is about as good as their 2006 self-titled album, just with the tracks in a less logical order. Pearl Jam fans will probably not be disappointed, but not stunned either.
  12. StephenD
    Nov 3, 2009
    9
    Pearl Jam have embraced their fun side on Backspacer, with excellent results. Pitchfork, of course, hates it..... which is usually a good sign that I'll like it.
  13. ChrisC
    Oct 25, 2009
    9
    Claudio D., your English is magical. That was beautiful. Eddie would be proud. Great album; welcome back, Pearl Jam.
  14. DonalM
    Oct 25, 2009
    2
    I'm a huge PJ fan, but this is hugely disappointing drivel. Its one of those albums, and I don't come across many, where I couldn't find any reasons to have a second listen. Since it was Pearl Jam, it got a second listen, and a third, but it still sounds like a whole album of filler. Its now out of the CD player and I don't know if it will go back in.
  15. Damiang
    Oct 21, 2009
    10
    Brought me back to the days of Ten, VS, even the excitement I felt after first listening to No Code. Brilliant!
  16. DavidR
    Oct 20, 2009
    5
    Bland stadium rock.
  17. ClaudioD
    Oct 20, 2009
    10
    Pearl Jam do not lose their essence, that is to do music for the soul. Always maintaining a high musical and interpretative quality, like always the lyrics are intelligent and always something can be learned of them, they show us that can be successful without being sold to the system. The voice of eddie that has all the power of a bomb and at the same time, the sensibility of a flower. Pearl Jam do not lose their essence, that is to do music for the soul. Always maintaining a high musical and interpretative quality, like always the lyrics are intelligent and always something can be learned of them, they show us that can be successful without being sold to the system. The voice of eddie that has all the power of a bomb and at the same time, the sensibility of a flower. In short a great album. (Sorry for my poor English). Expand
  18. RubinS
    Oct 16, 2009
    10
    The best album of 2009 ...Backspacer..Awesome songs!!!
  19. ChrisT
    Oct 15, 2009
    10
    Great album. 20 years and still kicking out awesome rock and mid tempo songs.
  20. GustavoM
    Oct 13, 2009
    10
    Solid album, all songs are very good, this album doesn't have that experimental songs like red point, wasted reprise, wich is very good to me. All songs re radio candidates. Excellent Work.
  21. MattA
    Oct 8, 2009
    9
    I'd like to start off by saying, "I was never a Pearl Jam Fan." I downloaded the CD on a whim and it's slowly grown on me ever since! The album is short, but there are hardly any tracks worth skipping. Pearl Jam has mixed classic grunge rock, and alternative folk, in a way only seasoned musicians could. This is the 1st PJ album I've bought, and they have convinced me that I'd like to start off by saying, "I was never a Pearl Jam Fan." I downloaded the CD on a whim and it's slowly grown on me ever since! The album is short, but there are hardly any tracks worth skipping. Pearl Jam has mixed classic grunge rock, and alternative folk, in a way only seasoned musicians could. This is the 1st PJ album I've bought, and they have convinced me that they deserve all the praise they get. My favorite tracks: Forces of Nature, Unthought Known, The End. Expand
  22. GregB
    Oct 8, 2009
    10
    Great album. One of their best yet. On par with Vitalogy.
  23. KevinW.
    Oct 6, 2009
    9
    Solid album from rocks most relevant crew.
  24. BillyB.
    Oct 6, 2009
    10
    My favorite album since..........well since their last one!! Songs that have you up moving or laying in bed with your headphones on wiping a tear from your eye!If you love pearl jam its simple,,,you love this album.
  25. mikeg
    Oct 2, 2009
    6
    Ok so Pitchforks review sums this album up nicely. i bought this album without hearing it.. if it wasnt PJ i would never buy a cd of a band that sounds so generic. when the first song is filler you know there is trouble. well at least its better than Chris Cornells last solo cd lol.
  26. JmiH
    Oct 2, 2009
    9
    Delivers on the promise of the Avocado album. Eddie and the boys totally recapture the mojo they have not had since Yield... or perhaps even Vitalogy.
  27. Rob
    Oct 2, 2009
    10
    A nice short collection of songs. One of the best albums that Pearl Jam has ever recorded. Rock on guys!!
  28. SimG.
    Oct 1, 2009
    7
    Backspacer is good. Not Ten good, but maybe Binaural good, or Yield good. The Fixer is a nice catchy song, the equivalent of let
  29. AkmalS.
    Oct 1, 2009
    10
    Just when u thought that Pearl Jam's in their comfort zone, they change direction rightaway! So fast that you could only wonder how or why. But that's Pearl Jam, and that's what make them the greatest band in the world today!
  30. PerspicaciousCritic
    Sep 30, 2009
    6
    I miss the weirdness.
  31. KevinM
    Sep 30, 2009
    10
    Favorite album since No Code...if you've ever liked Pearl Jam, you need to get this album.
  32. GatorB.
    Sep 29, 2009
    9
    This is a very tight PJ album and their least-political album since No Code. It sounds like the guys are comfortable with where they are at in life and having some fun enjoying it. I disagree with the Pitchfork
  33. WesA.
    Sep 29, 2009
    9
    When the tide rises, all boats are lifted.
  34. FrankJ.
    Sep 28, 2009
    5
    Totally, thoroughly average product from a band that used to at least aim for playful and curious. If you love over-processed, hookless tunes designed to get arenas full of 35-year-old dudes pumping their fists in unison, this one's for you.
  35. JordiF
    Sep 28, 2009
    9
    Excellent album from one of greatest rock bands ever.
  36. CalD.
    Sep 27, 2009
    10
    A fantastic return to form. The perfect mix of slow songs (Unthought Known) and faster harder songs (Got Some). Awesome - Get it now!!
  37. mikeo.
    Sep 27, 2009
    10
    Great Album! A MUST Have!
  38. brunoa.
    Sep 27, 2009
    10
    Simple and Splendid.
  39. GabrielB
    Sep 26, 2009
    9
    Fantastic album- their best, easily, since Yield. While their last two albums had a couple of good moments, Backspacer is the first PJ album in years that actually sounds finished. Very fun, tightly written, and nicely produced album. Eddie's best vocal work in years and years.
  40. RobCam
    Sep 25, 2009
    7
    I'm a huge Pearl Jam fan but when it comes down to it this album really doesn't stand up with the rest. Put it somewhere in the range of No Code, which I have to say can outplay Backspacer. Admittingly Got Some and Unthought Known are excellent songs.
  41. BobG
    Sep 25, 2009
    10
    The band has moved on and what fun. This is not the record to make us forget 10 but it is the beginning of that process.
  42. chrisc
    Sep 24, 2009
    8
    Better than almost everything out there. Same formula, but the sound has matured a bit. Sounds like it could be the second disc to the last cd. Just a little bit better. Overall, a great record. Is it there best? I'd say better than there last three.
  43. GeorgeW.
    Sep 24, 2009
    10
    Fantastic Record, the real Pearl Jam is back!
  44. MikeL
    Sep 24, 2009
    9
    Great straight forward rock album. Best Pearl Jam album in years.
  45. FrancesR
    Sep 24, 2009
    10
    This is a great album that you can put on and never feel the need to skip a track. In the past three Pearl Jam albums some of the songs feel like filler, however, in the new album this is not the case. One never feels like their time is being wasted. This album is short but perfect... thus far it may be the rock album of the year.
  46. DL
    Sep 24, 2009
    9
    Simply a great, fun album. Nothing overly political and mostly an introspective album. Can't wait to hear this live!!!
  47. DannyL.
    Sep 23, 2009
    10
    Nothing reinvented, that's for sure. Just a brilliant, underrated band continuing the conversation about what it means to be human (Steve Almond's definition of art.) Pitchfork DOES suck.
  48. DanC
    Sep 23, 2009
    9
    Great record. Do not read the pitchfork review and take it seriously, that's the real reason why I posted.
  49. DjR.
    Sep 23, 2009
    9
    Great Band, Great Album!
  50. DaveS.
    Sep 23, 2009
    10
    This album is an instant classic.
  51. DamienM
    Sep 23, 2009
    10
    Truly excellent album.
  52. TightPants
    Sep 23, 2009
    4
    I'm totally with Pitchfork on this one! (and normally I never am)... too generic and soulless to my liking.
  53. DK
    Sep 23, 2009
    5
    As a big PJ fan, I hate to say it, but I agree with the Pitchfork review. Outside of The Fixer (which sounds like a great Ashlee Simpson song), there isn't much melody to be found. Songs like Just Breathe and Speed of Sound are littered with cliched lyrics and an embarrassingly cringe-worthy vocal delivery. (a trend that began with another embarrassing tune...LBC) And Brendan As a big PJ fan, I hate to say it, but I agree with the Pitchfork review. Outside of The Fixer (which sounds like a great Ashlee Simpson song), there isn't much melody to be found. Songs like Just Breathe and Speed of Sound are littered with cliched lyrics and an embarrassingly cringe-worthy vocal delivery. (a trend that began with another embarrassing tune...LBC) And Brendan O'Brien's production effectively neuters any energy, aggression or emotion that were in the rough cuts of these tunes. Still, it's not a total wash. Highlights include Got Some (sounds very similar to Binaural's Grievance and Insignificance), Johnny Guitar, The Fixer, and the corny, yet enjoyable, Amongst the Waves. Sadly, if the last three albums are any indication, it seems PJ "parted ways" with their creativity following Binaural. Expand
  54. ST.
    Sep 23, 2009
    7
    Good but not great. Better than Riot Act or S/T though.
  55. NickJ.
    Sep 23, 2009
    9
    TEN used to be my favourite Pearl Jam album, and second favourite alt-rock album next to Alice in Chain's DIRT. When this album came out, I picked it up a couple days later and was extremely impressed with it. It's short, but it doesn't overstay its welcome, and is a lot more upbeat than older PJ music. A good listen if you're into Alt-Rock.
  56. BackSpacer
    Sep 23, 2009
    8
    It's not as artful or deep as No Code, but that's quite alright. This is a tight, focused, nicely layered album, that is (gasp) fun! Some of the songs do remind me of 'Lost Dog' because of that fun factor, but make no mistake, these tracks aren't throw away B sides; they are darn good little ditties that are a blast to listen to. Great album, and can't wait It's not as artful or deep as No Code, but that's quite alright. This is a tight, focused, nicely layered album, that is (gasp) fun! Some of the songs do remind me of 'Lost Dog' because of that fun factor, but make no mistake, these tracks aren't throw away B sides; they are darn good little ditties that are a blast to listen to. Great album, and can't wait to start hearing some of these tracks live. The best: Unthought Known, and Got Some. The good: Just Breathe, Supersonic, Gonna See My Friend, Johnny Guitar, Force Of Nature, The Fixer. The OK: Speed Of Sound, Amongst The Waves, The End. Expand
  57. Roger
    Sep 23, 2009
    10
    Great album!
  58. SWill
    Sep 23, 2009
    8
    Short, concise and tight. This is Pearl Jam's most consistent and mature effort yet. Whilst it doesn't reach the heights of their Ten-Binaural era, the album is an eclectic collection of strong material. From soaring classic rockers, Amongst The Waves/Unthought Known, to 'Into The Wild' style ballads, The End and the gorgeous Just Breathe. There's even room for Short, concise and tight. This is Pearl Jam's most consistent and mature effort yet. Whilst it doesn't reach the heights of their Ten-Binaural era, the album is an eclectic collection of strong material. From soaring classic rockers, Amongst The Waves/Unthought Known, to 'Into The Wild' style ballads, The End and the gorgeous Just Breathe. There's even room for the former 'grunge' act's first ever grunge song - Gonna See My Friend. The two guitarists are given less room for solos, but manage to texture the music beautifully, allowing the rhythm section to really shine (this is the drummer's - Matt Cameron - best perfomance since he joined in 1998). The production gives it a lot more punch than the thinnish 'Pearl Jam' of 2006. Overall, nothing world shattering, but extremely solid and very enjoyable. Expand
  59. MarkA.
    Sep 22, 2009
    10
    Backspacer is a winner. Great cd by one of the greatest bands of alltime.
  60. MarkA.
    Sep 22, 2009
    10
    Backspacer is a winner. Great cd by one of the greatest bands of alltime.
  61. DavidF
    Sep 22, 2009
    9
    Nothing reinvented here. Just great rock music.
  62. marks
    Sep 22, 2009
    10
    A short but amazingly well written, well performed and well produced album. Great songs that we'll hear for a long time to come. Unthought Known is classic rock!
  63. MikeP
    Sep 22, 2009
    10
    Pitchfork sucks. They'll push their lame indie rock, if-there's-not-46-different-instruments-playing-in-disharmony-it's-not-for-us agenda regardless of what the music really sounds like. Bunch of posers.
  64. danielg
    Sep 22, 2009
    6
    For 35 minutes and 11 songs i thought it was an extension of lost dogs( more b sides). that's okay i guess just not as strong as the previous album PEARL JAM.
  65. MikeA
    Sep 22, 2009
    9
    Great album, very different for these guys, but still great. My favorite since Binaural.
  66. SeanT
    Sep 22, 2009
    9
    Thank God for Pearl Jam. Either in the studio or as a live act they continue to be superb. Everything about Backspacer is top notchfrom the punkish to ballads with strings and 9 records in perhaps their most mature.
  67. LisaQuintilian
    Sep 22, 2009
    10
    This gets better with every play. I must have for any music fan.
  68. ericc
    Sep 21, 2009
    9
    A strong effort by a band that, since the late 90's has been unfairly ignored. This album has no songs that rip my brain apart like Riot Act's 1/2 full but, it is an awesome way to spend 40 minutes! The end is a haunting view of my old age and Got Some rips around 3 minutes. As a long time fan I appreciate the Target angle and was one of the first in line to buy it there as A strong effort by a band that, since the late 90's has been unfairly ignored. This album has no songs that rip my brain apart like Riot Act's 1/2 full but, it is an awesome way to spend 40 minutes! The end is a haunting view of my old age and Got Some rips around 3 minutes. As a long time fan I appreciate the Target angle and was one of the first in line to buy it there as opposed to a I tunes downloand. I want the Art! Expand
  69. llurem
    Sep 21, 2009
    9
    They are still alive vs the rock dead with a vitality and just one code a signal of yield on the highway of a binaural universe, just a riot act and one name: pearl jam.
  70. HectorH
    Sep 21, 2009
    10
    Best Pearl Jam album since the holy trinity in the early 90's. There' s something here for EVERYONE. Got Some will kick your patooty!
  71. bill
    Sep 21, 2009
    10
    Pearl Jam doing what they do best! In your face rock music.
  72. PatrickB
    Sep 21, 2009
    9
    10 on 10 is the TEN album. Then came Yield and now Backspacer with the same quote..9 / 10" Really excellent. The song : Gonna see my friend and Got some rocks like dynamite Thank's again PJ. See you in Montreal soon.
  73. FrankG
    Sep 21, 2009
    10
    Some of the bands best work since the early 1990s.
  74. DavidP
    Sep 21, 2009
    9
    Beautiful album. You can say that "Pearl Jam are too this or that," but they're simply a rock band. This happens to be an honest, sincere and melodic rock album--nothing more, nothing less. Great job by the boys!
  75. rezal
    Sep 21, 2009
    10
    The new wave of pearl jam, i like this album just as much i like other pj album. but definitely they cross new border on tthis one...comparing to other music album available today, this one is simply the best by far...an album that you can spin all over without getting bored.
  76. che
    Sep 21, 2009
    4
    This album takes the JAM out of the group, short, quick, non-musicianship songs, it's as if they rushed to print a new album with no reason, just stay on tour with what has worked for the last 17 years, unnecessary "release" (no pun).
  77. BrandonG
    Sep 21, 2009
    10
    Just an awesome CD. Pearl Jam's ninth studio release does not disappoint.
  78. ChrisW
    Sep 21, 2009
    10
    Arguably Pearl Jam's finest album in the last ten years. From the cracking pace, power and fun of the opening 4 songs to the beautifully uplifting centrepiece trio of Just Breath, Amongst The Waves and Unthought Known, and onwards, this is cohesive, uplifting and enjoyable piece of rock and roll gold.
  79. MohamedI
    Sep 21, 2009
    8
    Let me start by saying I have been a Pearl Jam fan since ten, n this album truly rocks! its stacks of fun from the first listen which also makes it the most accessible Pearl Jam album to date.o out buy it and enjoy!!
  80. Ian
    Sep 20, 2009
    10
    Another great album by PJ. What else do you expect!
  81. JamesH
    Sep 20, 2009
    10
    9 albums in and still releasing GREAT music.
  82. SashoK
    Sep 20, 2009
    10
    The most complete Pearl Jam rock record i'd say since "Versus"! Not a filler in here! Great melodies, great lyrics by Eddie Vedder, the rhythm section is amazing on this one, Jeff Ament and Matt Cameron shine throughtout the record and the production is un-fuckin-amazing! Probably the best sounding Pearl Jam record, ever! My faves after 5 spins of the album are: Gonna See My Friend, The most complete Pearl Jam rock record i'd say since "Versus"! Not a filler in here! Great melodies, great lyrics by Eddie Vedder, the rhythm section is amazing on this one, Jeff Ament and Matt Cameron shine throughtout the record and the production is un-fuckin-amazing! Probably the best sounding Pearl Jam record, ever! My faves after 5 spins of the album are: Gonna See My Friend, Got Some, AMONGST THE WAVES, Just Breathe and Force Of Nature! I wont be surprised if it ends up on top of the "the best rock album of the year" lists!! Expand
  83. RyanL
    Sep 20, 2009
    10
    Pearl Jam's strongest effort in over a decade.
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. Backspacer, Pearl Jam's ninth album, backspaces to that boyish spirit, with the shortest, tightest, punkiest tunes they've ever banged out.
  2. 80
    For the first time in years, Pearl Jam are seizing the moment rather than wallowing in it.
  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]