Lightning Bolt

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Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 105 Ratings

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  • Summary: The tenth studio release for the Eddie Vedder-led rock band was produced by Brendan O'Brien.
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Top Track

Future Days
[MusixMatch] If I ever were to lose you I'd surely lose myself Everything I have found, dear I've not found by myself Try and sometimes you'll... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Kerrang!
    Oct 24, 2013
    100
    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
    80
    The softer tracks find the group negotiating their path to maturity with confidence.
  3. Oct 14, 2013
    80
    Pearl Jam’s not just still alive, it’s kicki
  4. Oct 14, 2013
    70
    There's enough flat-out enjoyable tunes on Lightning Bolt to set aside the past, at least temporarily.
  5. Magnet
    Dec 18, 2013
    60
    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
    60
    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: 21 out of 28
  2. Negative: 2 out of 28
  1. Oct 15, 2013
    10
    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 tempoThis 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 17, 2013
    10
    Best album since a long time. Sirens, Infallible, Lightning Bolt, Pendulum, MYM above all are real gems bearing the classic PJ intensity butBest album since a long time. Sirens, Infallible, Lightning Bolt, Pendulum, MYM above all are real gems bearing the classic PJ intensity but also new sounds and feelings. It might be the most exciting album since No Code Expand
  3. Oct 15, 2013
    9
    HAUNTING, FAMILIAR

    I love Pearl Jam. I have since they first hit the scene, and I've been lucky enough to see them live seven times over
    HAUNTING, FAMILIAR

    I love Pearl Jam. I have since they first hit the scene, and I've been lucky enough to see them live seven times over the past twenty years. I'm way too biased to even pretend I can give you an objective view, but I can offer up the following observations of "Lightning Bolt":

    • The music on this album covers more range than I think I've ever heard from them. From their grungy roots to their emotional ballads to their experiments with jangly blues, new wave and psychedelia, everything is here.

    • At the same time, there is a cohesiveness to this album that I can't really recall on any Pearl Jam album since No Code. Whenever I start listening, I feel compelled to listen to the whole thing. That did not happen with Backspacer or the Avocado album. I think part of it is lyric-based. Everything on this album seems thematically connected, as there is an ever-present tension between inner emptiness and soul satisfaction. There is no Johnny Guitar or George Bush monologue to contend with. The stories that are told are more first-person and feel less contrived.

    • Ed is unafraid to let you into his heart, and that is a double-edged sword. If you buy into it and take his lyrics seriously, you will be richly rewarded. The band clearly is "all in" on Ed's style of songwriting at this point, and helps ensure that lyrics like the following, from "Sirens," pack the necessary emotional punch:

    "It's a fragile thing This life we lead If I think too much I can get over- whelmed by the grace By which we live our lives With death over our shoulders"

    If you aren't looking for your heart strings to be pulled, and you have had a problem with Ed's soft side in the past, then that issue will likely come up again for you in spades with this album. On the other hand, you'll probably still dig the way he wails on songs like "Infallible" and "Swallowed Whole," and "Mind Your Manners" and "Let the Records Play" will probably appeal to the pit mosher and barn stomper in you.

    • There is a "somber hopeful" paradox that absolutely enthralls me. It goes hand in hand with what seems to be a new emphasis on setting the mood. After front-loading the album with three pretty straightforward songs of angst, Pearl Jam really starts revealing that mood at the song "Sirens", which combines the dark imagery of ambulance sirens with transcendent lyrics of love. The music finds a way to echo this, which to me is somewhat of a revelation on this record. The new concert opener, "Pendulum" is also dark and beautiful. "Swallowed Whole" is an anthemic uplifting tune that has an unexpected, navel-gazing Pink Floyd keyboard drop in the middle. "Yellow Moon" has the kind of splintering tension that harkens back to "Release". And while I originally thought "Future Days" was overly sappy, the dark church organ that booms during the "I believe" lyric keeps the tension tight in that song as well.

    All in all, I think this is one of Pearl Jam's finest works, exploring new ground while deftly weaving together the skills the band has acquired over the years. All the songs feel fresh and beg to be played live, and in my opinion, there isn't any "filler", which cannot be said about every album by this band. Bravo!
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  4. Feb 15, 2014
    8
    http://bit.ly/1eZXaVj Lightning Bolt well makes up for the 4 year wait for a new album from the guys. Filled with classic edgy and fast trackshttp://bit.ly/1eZXaVj Lightning Bolt well makes up for the 4 year wait for a new album from the guys. Filled with classic edgy and fast tracks that Pearl Jam are known for and gentle acoustic songs that Vedder writes and performs so well. While at times the songwriting gets a bit boring and McCready starts showing off, it never takes away too much of the quality of this excellent album Expand
  5. Oct 18, 2013
    7
    A 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 toA 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.
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  6. Jan 21, 2014
    7
    This band keeps coming back again and again pretty regularly, kudos to them for always bringing material to their dedicated fans. In the lastThis 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.
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  7. Oct 15, 2013
    1
    Once a great rock band, Pearl Jam has settled into a pattern of retreaded guitar riffs, middling songwriting and FM soft rock theatrics.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." Expand

See all 28 User Reviews