Lightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt Image
Metascore
73

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

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7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 92 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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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 27
  2. Negative: 2 out of 27
  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 24, 2013
    10
    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 noI 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! Collapse
  3. Oct 19, 2013
    9
    After thinking Backspacer was their least enjoyable album (still very good though) I am very happy to place Lightning Bolt as Pearl Jams bestAfter 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. Oct 21, 2013
    8
    It's not their finest, but the highlights are extremely bright. Getaway, Mind Your Manners, My Father's Son, Sirens, Lightning Bolt wow, allIt'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.
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  5. Sep 15, 2014
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. All of the three last Pearl Jam albums have the same focus: a search for maturity through the same rock they performed earlier in their career. If you listen the 3 of them in a row, you find that it's a process, one they have succesfully achieved. I'm not saying that this last trilogy is Pearl Jam's best work, but is good, well-done work that has a clear message: we're not the same kids we were ten years ago.

    2006's Pearl Jam and 2009's Backspacer were crafted with a better notion of what they wanted to do, something that Lightning Bolt lacks in some ways. It has great moments, in songs like Getaway, the title song and the single, Mind Your Manners, Eddie Vedder really strives like we know he can, and the band rocks like they certainly want. Also, we found the casual slow songs guided by Vedder's voice in a mystical but sweet way, like Sirens, Sleeping By Myself (already appeared in Vedder's solo album Ukulele Songs) and the closing song Future Days. The second part of the album is the one that shows the flaws, is not bad, but is like an experiment, an experiment that has the elements but not the overall combination.

    It's great, is different and, although sometimes it doesn't sound solid, the most important thing is that, this is definitely Pearl Jam and it's clear that this is what they wanted to sound like.
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  6. BKM
    Oct 16, 2013
    7
    At this stage in there career, Pearl Jam really have nothing to prove to anyone and Lightning Bolt reflects that. It's not particularly darkAt this stage in there career, Pearl Jam really have nothing to prove to anyone and Lightning Bolt reflects that. It's not particularly dark or edgy and the band is more focused on their craft than with making any major statements. And that's ok. There's nothing wrong with a perfectly respectable rock record from a band that is transitioning smoothly to middle age. Expand
  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 27 User Reviews