Lightning Bolt - Pearl Jam
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 81 Ratings

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  • Summary: The tenth studio release for the Eddie Vedder-led rock band was produced by Brendan O'Brien.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Oct 24, 2013
    It's fast, It's slow, It's mature, without being boring; it rocks, even when it's doesn't. It's also one of the best albums of 2013, if not the best. [12 Oct 2013, p.50]
  2. Oct 8, 2013
    The softer tracks find the group negotiating their path to maturity with confidence.
  3. Oct 14, 2013
    Pearl Jam’s not just still alive, it’s kicki
  4. Oct 14, 2013
    There's enough flat-out enjoyable tunes on Lightning Bolt to set aside the past, at least temporarily.
  5. Dec 18, 2013
    Lightning Bolt is only more competent than Foo Fighters, Vedder and Co.'s rival for the planet's straightest rock band. [No. 105, p.57]
  6. Oct 14, 2013
    Years removed from the raw emotion and desperate appetites of youth, Pearl Jam has slipped into alt-rock elder statesmanship as one would a comfortable old sweater. And as Lightning Bolt mostly attests, it's a decent look for them.
  7. 40
    There’s something very ‘mopey American teenager’ about Lightning Bolt.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 26
  2. Negative: 2 out of 26
  1. Oct 15, 2013
    This 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
  2. Oct 24, 2013
    I would say for any true Pearl Jam fan Lightning bolt is a true expression of the bands continuous development... the guys in the band are no longer in their 20's they are all approaching the Big Five O.. is very obvious to me the PJs still has a lot more to give to their fans and I for one I'm blessed to have had the chance to see them live on several different occasions... keep up the good work guys much appreciated! Expand
  3. Oct 19, 2013
    After thinking Backspacer was their least enjoyable album (still very good though) I am very happy to place Lightning Bolt as Pearl Jams best since Yield in 1998. Best opener since Brain of J with Getaway. Mind your Manners and My Fathers Son As with a lot of their records the first songs hit you with such power and intensity that you need a typical PJ ballad and Sirens is it. On the very first listen it did not impress but soon enough it got under my skin. Title track is wonderful but its the next three tracks that are just amazing, Infallible, Pendulum and Swallowed Whole. Perhaps the most interesting trio in a row on any PJ record. Let the Music Play is the only one I am struggling with. Yellow Moon is pure Pearl Jam slow burning classic and Future Days is fine. The inclusion of Sleeping by Myself was strange, initially I thought it out of place but now, well it has fallen into place. So overall its a A-, a 9/10. Pearl Jam continue to be the greatest band of their generation. Expand
  4. Feb 17, 2014
    Great rock music. The songwriting is quite beautiful. And it's always a pleasure to hear Eddies voice again. Sure there some forgettable tracks here and there, but there's some really excellent stuff in this album. Getaway, Infallible, Pendulum, Sleeping By Myself, and Future Days are my favorite. Expand
  5. Oct 23, 2013
    the first 7 song are good some great then for me swallow hole is good but just reminds me of into the wild songs on steroids not sure about let the records play go back and forth on it sleeping with myself just don´t understand after four year why you would redo a song and doesn´t quite fit for me the back end of the record except yellow moon is good and maybe should have finished the record but i do like future days quite beautiful maybe could of follow sirens?

    overall like it but not sure it works as a whole album? but may grow on me the that late middle section
    would thought of the earth would have been good, sometime less is more.


    not sure if better than backspacer i really grow into that album, but i hope we get something like self titled album (avocado) as that for me best since vitalogy just seem like a complete album as was VS

    but hey eveyone has there own tastes
  6. Jan 21, 2014
    This band keeps coming back again and again pretty regularly, kudos to them for always bringing material to their dedicated fans. In the last 10 years, however, they've been producing albums which I consider to be inferior in originality. Lightning Bolt, though, is perhaps the best thing they've done since Binaural ( a very underestimated album ).

    The title of the album describes its own sound perfectly. It's sharp and edgy. Most tracks are also fast and rough, making Lightning Bolt one of the hardest PJ albums ever made.

    You would believe Eddie Vedder's voice would lose its power through all those years in activity, but it's still as strong as ever. His voice isn't considered as one of the best out there for no reason. He truly knows how to transfer his feelings to the people listening to him. Lightning Bolt might not be his best vocal album ( Vitalogy is a major voice album for Eddie ) but he's still standing up and proving his worth.

    Eddie's influence over the creation of songs in the last Pearl Jam albums have met with mixed feelings. He has improved as a musician in the last decade, but when it comes down to writing songs, Stone Gossard appears to me as the true genius behind Pearl Jam. Gossard has his own style which can be described as an "awkward The Who". Once again, the best songs in this album were worked on by Gossard. Mike McCready's contribution is also great in Lightning Bolt.

    Talking about Mike, his guitar seems muzzled in the latest albums and unfortunately, Lightning Bolt still won't let him play solos for an extended period of time. This guy is one of the best guitarists in the world, can't they give him more time so he can finally compete with his own self who blew us away in the early Pearl Jam years?

    This album is one of the shortest Pearl Jam ever made. I'm not sure I appreciate that fact although we sure had too much with other albums such as Riot Act which felt like some songs were actually B-Sides of older albums.

    There are old Pearl Jam influences in Lightning Bolt ( the usual Neil Young, Ramones, The Who ) but I felt like the guys paid attention to what the younger folks are doing. "Let The Records Play" is a clear response to The Black Keys.

    I think Pearl Jam should give more room to Boom Gaspar. His piano adds something more to the band. The guy's subtle work in Lightning Bolt ( and other recent albums ) should be praised.
  7. Oct 15, 2013
    Once 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." Collapse

See all 26 User Reviews