Oct 14, 2013On Lightning Bolt, they've grown into that classic rock mantle, accentuating the big riffs and bigger emotions, crafting songs without a worry as to whether they're hip or not and, most importantly, enjoying the deep-rooted, nervy arena rock that is uniquely their own.
Oct 8, 2013As powerfully new wavey as 2009's Backspacer at the start but also a testament to the band's more oddball meandering elsewhere, the commitment of Eddie Vedder's delivery brings a veracity even to some of the more ponderous ballads that can be the band's mature years default position. [Nov 2013, p.76]
Oct 15, 2013This is everything a PJ fan could hope for. It is the perfect combination of harder rocking songs (Getaway, MYM, My Father's Son), mid tempo rockers (LB, Swallowed Whole), some extremely successful experiments for the band (Infallible, Pendulum, SBM) and beautiful ballads (Sirens, YM). They also make a foray into blues territory with LTRP which is entirely sucsessful at being the 'fun' song on the album. FD is probably the only below par song and even then, it's not a clunker. All in all, excellent album with at least 5 entries which stand up to their best output (Getaway, MFS, Infallible, Pendulum, Yellow Moon).… Expand
Oct 22, 2013Extremely well balanced album and IMO a little better than Backspacer, which was more in-your-face but less balanced. This is a very good group effort i.e. all band members participating in a significant way. For the folks who are still longing to the Pearl Jam of the first 3-5 records, get to know the "grown up" Pearl Jam. Give it time and you'll learn to love it.… Expand
Oct 21, 2013It's not their finest, but the highlights are extremely bright. Getaway, Mind Your Manners, My Father's Son, Sirens, Lightning Bolt wow, all are new PJ classics and make up probably the best 5-song opening sequence to a PJ album since Vitalogy's Last Exit-Nothingman run.
After that, things get a little bit more mixed: Infallible, Pendulum, and Swallowed Whole are slightly less excellent takes on approaches the band has taken before (although Swallowed Whole really seems like it has the potential to explode live); Let The Records Play has great guitar work and excellent, catchy vocal hooks but stylistically might not be some fans' cup of tea; Sleeping By Myself is pleasant but feels a bit out of place on this album energy-wise; Yellow Moon is a fantastic slow burner but to me should have been swapped with Swallowed Whole in the album order because of its tempo leading into Future Days, which is also a slower track but one of the most beautiful and emotionally resonant songs Pearl Jam has ever done. It really grabs you if you've found love in your life.
At this point in their career, I don't think we could fairly expect these guys to do much better. Considering how many amazing musical ideas they've already brought us, the fact they still have this much music of this quality still left in them is something to be happy about.… Expand
Oct 15, 2013Pearl Jam is certainly an anomaly in the jungle of the music industry. They emerged as the forerunners in a movement where most seemingly weren’t destined for old bones and yet Pearl Jam has now endured for over 20 years. They’ve followed their own muse and called their own shots and still maintain a massive commercial appeal. They were initially lumped in with the genre of “grunge” mainly for their ethos, apparel, and geographic location. But while messianic figures of the trade like Kurt Cobain practiced what they preached in a somewhat self-sabotaging even self-eviscerating fashion, Pearl Jam were and still are at their core firmly entrenched in the heart of Classic Rock tradition. Their canon has emulated numerous Rock & Roll luminaries such as R.E.M., The Who, Bruce Springsteen, MC5, Led Zeppelin, and Neil Young (To whom this endeavor is dedicated to in the liner notes affectionately, “Dedicated to Uncle Neil.”) to name a few. It should come as no revelation then that sequenced with its various peaks and valleys, Pearl Jam’s 10th studio album Lightning Bolt unfurls like a Classic Rock record.
Lightning Bolt explodes like a powder-keg with the one-two punch opening of “Getaway” and “Mind Your Manners” as the former strides in with a bold and brash Stones-y swagger and front man Eddie Vedder spits fire from his pulpit, “Everyone’s a critic looking back up the river/ Every boat is leaking in this town/ Everybody’s thinking that they’ll all be delivered/ Sitting in a box like lost and found.” The latter is leaner with buzz saw urgency paying homage to the visceral D.I.Y. spirit of the early Punk pioneers as guitarists Mike McCready and Stone Gossard play like dogs off a leash. The wormhole of “My Father’s Son” battles with demons (Now father you’re dead and gone/ And I’m finally free to be me/ Thanks for all your gifts/ For which I got no sympathy) before shifting to the break-of-dawn ballad “Sirens” acting as a soothing glow coating and calming the agitation and fury that had erupted from the first the three rockers. The title track is as monumental and continental-shifting as any piece of music they’ve put on record. The unbounded frontier sonics and “Given to Fly” fervor is galvanizing with Vedder sermonizing on the shoreline, “She comes on like stone/ But you don’t know where from she was thrown/ Like a burning meteor from miles high.” “Infallible” is a jarring cold sweat and “Pendulum” sounds like a drowning man’s final meditation, time passes and the sinking continues until life and light are barely a flicker. “Swallowed Whole” is a global trek with no limits or boundaries and “Let The Records Play” is a gritty guitar romp. An unabashed celebration exploring the medicinal and divine power of Rock & Roll, “When kingdom comes/ He puts his records on/ And with his blistered thumb hits play.” “Sleeping By Myself” is reworked from Vedder’s 2011 album Ukulele Songs augmented by a full band arrangement while Vedder’s ukulele still adds an aesthetic charm. “Future Days” closes as a sterling hymn as haunting as it is alluring. It’s a survivor’s psalm, free of guilt with its luminous prophecy faithfully believing in the journey ahead. This may be the most fragile Pearl Jam has ever sounded but sincerity prevails and it’s the perfect curtain call for a band coming to terms with its legacy as well as gauging its destiny.
Lightning Bolt finds Pearl Jam perhaps surprisingly sailing gracefully into middle age embracing a roll as elderly statesmen in an increasingly uncertain industry, a conscience and moral compass of sorts. They’ve fallen in and out of favor with certain groups of fans and critics alike but the band continues to soldier on, indifferent of how they’re perceived in certain circles and confident in their virtues. This is a fusion of their raging youthful past with a genuine tenderness and wink of the eye that could only come from decades of experience and craftsmanship. Sure it may be considered “Dad Rock” by some, but what a righteous and mature statement this record is.… Expand
Oct 18, 2013A lot of people are saying things along the lines of "return to form" and "return to hard rock sound" but those are quite stupid statements to make. It's not often you'll find a weak track on any of their albums, Riot Act didn't hit the mark for me but I have to say this is another strong album. I don't see them as a band trying to prove themselves or even really experiment greatly. This album has "we write what we feel like writing" all over it, which is great. Having heard only Mind Your Manners, Lightning Bolt and Future Days before the release I thought the album would be much like the last two, a strong upbeat rock album, but much to my surprise it has a very mellow core. The band keep the interest with faster tempo hard hitters.
All in all I think it's a great album.… Expand
Oct 15, 2013Once a great rock band, Pearl Jam has settled into a pattern of retreaded guitar riffs, middling songwriting and FM soft rock theatrics. There's really no reason to revisit this album; it's simply an expression of a band merely existing to pay the bills and to relive the glory days. But we'll always have the live shows and "Vitalogy."… Expand
|Sound System [Box Set] - The Clash|
|The Warner Bros. Years [Box Set] - Steve Earle|
|American Radical Patriot [Box Set] - Woody Guthrie|
|Live at the Academy of Music 1971 - The Band|
|Sunbather - Deafheaven|
|Higher! [Box Set] - Sly & the Family Stone|
|The Island Years [Box Set] - John Martyn|
|Spaces - Nils Frahm|
|The Finer Things - The State Champs|
|Moondance [Deluxe Edition] - Van Morrison|
|12 Stories - Brandy Clark|
|Loud City Song - Julia Holter|
|Memorial - Russian Circles|
|In Utero [20th Anniversary Edition] - Nirvana|
|The RCA Albums Collection - Harry Nilsson|
|Southeastern - Jason Isbell|
|Virgins - Tim Hecker|
|All Hail West Texas [Reissued] - The Mountain Goats|
|Is Survived By - Touche Amore|
|American Ride - Willie Nile|