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First I have to say best album sleeve yet. For those who haven't notice fold out the sleeve fully so it's a big square and look at it from a distance you should see the bigger picture.
Most seem to rate this an OK collection of songs, maybe I am just too big a Pearl Jam fan but if this had been released by a new band it would have been hailed as album of the year.
There was a belief in the music press that the band were moving from their grunge roots, when in reality grunge was nothing more than label thought up for bands from Seattle, in reality the label covered Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains etc, all very different sounding bands completely.
Sometimes is a very eerie opener but it gets the point of sheer desperation across very well, and leads into an envious Hail Hail, a song for the lucky ones who are in love (though it is said with some cynicism)
In My Tree is wonderfully written and amazingly produced track that grows and builds without you noticing, like day light fading it just kind of becomes a huge son, when it started off with just a voice and a drum but you can pin point the part it became big. Wonderful.
Smile is another, the lyrics come from a note a support band left Eddie and it grew into a really nice bluesy song that we have here, and some lovely sentiments are included.
Off he goes and present Tense give us our lump in the throat moments, although two very different songs musically and topically.
A special mention goes to I'm Open, again Eddie doing his Jim Morrison impression and doing it well. Some well thought out words on why growing means losing the magic that childhood had for us.
Around the Bend, it sounds like a lullaby and that's exactly what it is, written by Eddie for Matt Cameron's daughter (before he joined the band) it ends the CD on a nice gentle note that kind of makes you sigh.
Pearl Jam's fourth album was released in 1996 and the first to feature new drummer, Jack Irons. First formed in 1991 the band compromised Mike McCready on guitar, Jeff Ament on bass, Stone Gossard on guitar and vocals and Eddie Vedder doing lead vocals on majority of tracks, guitar and harmonica. As with the previous 2 albums, 'No Code' was again produced by Brendan O'Brien and Pearl Jam.
'No Code' did not see the success that Pearl Jam had had with their previous offerings. Partly due to the trend moving away from American grunge. Also, the album lacks the anger and drive of previous albums, but it does contain some melodic masterpieces and soft rock influences that make it popular with the fans. 'No Code' sees the band moving further away from the polished, stadium rock that got them so much success with 'Ten' and further towards an original and intense sound. In general, it is more upbeat and features experimental ballads, spoken word and yet still proving they can rock out with dirty power chords.
'Sometimes' - Vedder
'Sometimes I cringe, sometimes I live
Sometimes I walk, sometimes I kneel'
All three albums before 'No Code' began messy with jam like intros leading into rocky and looslely composed tracks. This album is different right from the start. Themed around a troubled relationship, struggling to hold it together. This track opens on an eerie guitar, soon joined by a second guitar adding to the mood. Throughout there is an ominous feeling, aided by rolls of thunder in the distant background and raised up by a warm bass and vocals. The guitars and bass carry the melody during lengthy breaks between verses, with the high pitched lead giving an almost magical feel, while the melodic, gentle and a little off key vocals make it all the more emotional and beguiling.
'Hail, Hail' - Vedder, McCready, Gossard, Ament
'If you're the only one, will I never be enough?
Hail, hail the lucky ones, I refer to those in love'
An upbeat track with catchy riffs and percussion. It is one of the rockier tracks on the album, with a simple guitar riff following the vocal lead. Though percussion is simple, it gives the track its momentum and doesn't really change through out the track except for the dreamlike and more subdued second half of the bridge. The distorted and disorganised guitats are held together by the vocals. The bridge has 2 sections with a funky rock guitar solo for the first half and a second half composed of gentle vocals building in intensity to guide the listener back to the main piece as the guitar fades into the background. The guitar solo moves back in to carry the track into the main piece before the collaboration falls apart for the 'jam-like' outro, more typical of Pearl Jam's previous works.
'Who You Are' - Gossard, Irons, Vedder
'Seen it all, not at all
Can't defend a fucked up man'
A disorganised and discordant start from which the melody slowly reveals itself. The drum pattern is inspired by a Max Roach solo that Irons heard in a music shop aged 8, and is our first taste of the tribal sound that reappears throughout the album. The guitars play chord based riffs that ascend and descend in pitch throughout the verses while the vocals are simple and appealing with Vedder backed by group harmonics, providing a comforting mood to the overall track with the rest of the band taking their lead from the vocals. Breaks in-between verses are joyful and rhythmic, using the bass to give warmth and depth.
'In My Tree' - Gossard, Irons, Vedder
'I remember when, yeah
I swore I knew everything, oh yeah
Let's sat knowledge is a tree, yeah
It's growing up just like me, yeah'
My current favourite track on the album is unlike anything they had produced before. It opens with impatient drum rolls set against low pitched, subdued vocals with percussion controlling the mood. The guitar doesn't come in until the second verse as the emotionally charged and upbeat vocals and percussion become clearer and increase in amplitude. The guitars have a simple composition that adds to the rhythm, as the melody comes from the vocals. Vocals are triumphant and exciting in places and dreamlike and disharmonised in others. The outro features heavily distorted guitars with barely distinguishable notes.
'Smile' - Ament, Vedder
'Don't it make me smile?
When the sun don't shine, it don't shine at all'
Although officially the song credits go to Vedder, they are inspired by Dennis Flemion of The Frogs. Interestingly, when this song is played live Gossard and Ament swop bass and guitar. It opens with a simple and dirty guitar and bass riff and harmonica cutting through introducing the main melody. Overall it has a simple composition with subdued vocals for the verses that become more intense for the chorus and funky guitar fillers in-between. The mood of the entire pirece is joyous with a fun bridge and the chorus does actually make me smile with rising chords and upbeat vocals.
'Off he Goes' - Vedder
'I wonder about his insides
It's like his thoughts are too big for his size'
Vedder claims this song is 'About being friends with an arsehole'. In live shows he has hinted that it is a song about himself. The lyrics and vocals are stunning with a soft and thoughtful feel, but the real heart lies in the ensemble between lead, rhythm guitar and bass, working together for the majority of the track but coming apart to show off their own melodies. It is a subtle harmony, using acoustic guitars to create a beautiful melodic riff that is shared by both the lead and rhythm guitars. While remaining subtle and delicate throughout, the guitars work themselves up during the vocal breaks in-between verses before coming to a climax and introducing the next verse where the pitch and pace increase ever so slightly. The main riff is delicate and meloncholy ascending up into a chord based strum. There is a meloncholy mood to the entire piece that follows the lyrics. In the lines that are more happy the vocals become stronger and louder only to drop again with the mood. Unlike the rest of the album, the percussion is very subtle using brushes and a shaker.
'Habit' - Vedder
'Another habit says it's in love with you ...
Anoter habit says its love's overdue'
A song about drug addiction. More fitting with their grunge roots than the rest of the album, it is fast paced and simple featuring layered vocals and a simple and strong guitar riff. Once again, it is a relatively simple composition lead by distorted slides from the lead guitar. The outro features an erratic guitar and clearer percussion and fades to close. Both the outro and bridge feature brief pauses for the guitars and vocals to wind down before they begin to gather pace again.
'Red Mosquito' - Vedder, McCready, Irons, Gossard, Ament
'I was bitten, must have been the devil
He was just paying me ...
A little visit, reminding me of his prescence'
Vedder wrote this track in hospital after recovering from a bout of food poisoning. It opens with distorted guitars and has a strong influence to the guitarists of the 70s. The track is vocally strong for the verses, with gentle chorus, while the lead guitar is strong and erratic during vocal pauses. The lead guitar is, in my opinion, the greatest part of this track, but it works only because iot is complimented by beguiling lyrics, subtle acoustic rhythm guitar and warm bass. The bridge, introduced by an instantly gripping rolling guitar riff, features ascending and descending guitars with layered vocals.
'Lukin' - Vedder
'Drive down the street, can't find the keys to my own home
I take a walk, so I can curse my ass for being dumb'
At a mere 1 minute in duration, Lukin smashes in and out of existence before the listener has time to brace themselves. A joyful track about going to friend's (Matt Lukin) house for refuge. The vocals provide the fast and relentless pace with the rest of the band struggling to keep up. Each round of the short repetitions of riff is puncuated by a high pitched guitar note. A simple composition the hurtles to an abrupt finish right from the start.
'Present Tense' - Vedder, McCready
'Have you the belief that the road ahead, ascends off into the light?
Seems that needlessly it's getting harder'
A track that juxtapositions delicate care with comforting strength in 3 distinct parts. Opening with warm, dreamy vocals and a hypnotising guitar riff. The first part sees the bass taking up the central melody giving the track powerful warmth and depth to compliment the lead's fragile and delicate riff. In the second part they are joined by a cello and violin as the band as a whole gathers pace and the percussion tap into and out of the foreground. There is also a new acoustic guitar strumming along to the original riff and the vocals and guitar become stronger. Lastly, the outro is disorganised with a funky bass and rough guitars, it become increasingly more disorganised before returning to the original delicate riff and repeating to fade
'Mankind' - Gossard
'If it's just inadvertant imitation
A pattern in all mankind
What's got the whole world fakin'?'
A simple composition with basic key changes and heavy rock guitars and percussion softened by Gossard's vocals. The bridge features a nice solo followed by a build up from vocals and guitars, while the bass has a simple riff holding the piece together. Fans of Stone Gossard's solo projects will notice a definate similarity.
'I'm Open' - Vedder, Irons
'When he was six he believed that the moon overhead followed him
By nine he had deciphered the illusion, trading magic for fact'
Begins with 45 seconds of spoken word backed by meandering, reverberated guitar riffs making the track seem dreamlike, then easing into gentle, soothing vocals as the guitars become increasingly more distinct. The entire piece has a surreal and magical feel with calming strings and sound effects dropped in to add to the mood. The amplitude rises and falls controlling the intensity. The guitar riffs are melodic and beautifully interweaved around each other and the bass as different samples of the vocals are smoothly added into the mix creating a mood with sound rather than discernable lyrics. The mood of the piece is surreal and hypnotising as the intensity ebbs and flows.
'Around the Bend' - Vedder
'You're an angel when you sleep
How I want your soul to keep
On and on around the bend'
Written as an experiment to write a lullaby. The entire piece is formed of three central melodies entwined around each other provided by the vocals electric guitar and acoustic backed by swing influenced piano and percussion. The comforting vocals use a distinctive vocal rhythm with short syllables elongated at the beginning and end of each line to give pace and rhythm.
Pearl Jam – No Code Released in 1996, this was the bands 4th album. After following on from the difficult Vitalogy album, we were maybe expecting a more uplifting long player. Think again! Pearl Jam decided to produce what I would call their most abstract effort to date. That being said, it wasn’t at all bad! The temptation to produce another Ten, or Vs must have been overwhelming, but the boys were stuck on course to play with their own formula. This may have seemed strange at the time, but they had made their decision and for me, it was a good one. You often get the impression from this album that the band were returning to what was said to be their origins, “Grunge”. Some of the tracks have that distinct fuzziness which was linked with grunge. The Tracks Sometimes. Very slow and quiet start to the album. An enticing beginning to an album, as you know that it is all going to kick off. This song holds you on the edge of waiting for the explosion, which is sure to happen. Eddie’s heart-felt vocals lift you as he reminds us that sometimes, anything can happen. (Remember Rhona Cameron’s speech on I’m a celebrity..get me out of here?) Hail Hail. Here it is, the explosion you were waiting for. Heavy guitars, drumming, and Eddie’s relentless vocals immerse you in the very real sound that is Pearl Jam. A fantastic jump-along track, great for lifting your spirits. Who You Are. This was the single release from this album. A slow-tempo, rather disjointed track, that actually ends up sounding fantastic. Lots of bass guitar, and an African feel to it. Bongos, handclaps, etc. In My Tree. No, not a song about trees, but more about the things that are going through Eddie’s head. An amazing drum rhythm throughout this track is held together with some inspired strumming. There is even time for an abstra
ct interlude. A brilliant track! Smile. Good old-fashioned guitar strummy intro, with a cut in from a mouth organ. Eddie begins to croon over the consistent strumming, with a sarcastic sneer that makes you realise how ironic situations can make you chuckle to yourself. Eddie bares his soul when he pronounces that “I miss you already, I miss you always!” Off He Goes. This one stumbles through an intro, and begins with acoustic guitars gently lacing what sounds like a country ballad. Eddie’s feelings are laid bare as he sings of a traveller who affects peoples lives, then moves on. A beautiful piece of storytelling/musical awareness that leaves this as an affecting track. You really get a feeling for the impending nightfall, which will see our stranger walk away again. Habit. Kicking away the cobwebs, this track fires into life from the off. A song about people who perhaps shouldn’t, form habits, which enrage our good friend Mr. Vedder. A fabulous rock track with all the ingredients needed to get you throwing yourself around. An infectious guitar riff, meaningful drumming, and Eddie screaming,” Never thought you’d habit!” Red Mosquito. A heavy bluesy intro, slowing for Eddie to sing. Laced with acoustic guitars and lulling vocals, this is truly something special. The story takes you through the struggle between god and the devil, when Eddie sees that if he knew what he knows now, he wouldn’t have been tempted. Lukin. The quickest track on the album, but easily my favourite. A true slice of punk, this track really reaches out and grabs your attention. A superb riff, with relentless drumming and Eddie screaming near incoherently above the noise. His anger is there for all to see. And then it is finished, brilliant. Present Tense. Slow intro, with a single guitar playing around Eddie. You could almost feel like your f
lying with the birds as this track swoops and floats along. Towards the middle, the intensity multiplies, and the band begin to kick in. Questions dwelling on past events. Mankind. A song unusually penned and sung by Stone Gossard. Offers a break from the general Pearl Jam formula, with a Neil Young sounding pop-rock type track. Stone’s vocals aren’t as intriguing as Eddie’s, but he pulls off what is still a good old fashioned rockin’ song. I’m Open. A different track, and very experimental. With various sounds being made in the background, Eddie recites a poem, rather than singing. His softly sung chorus leaves you in a trance-like state. Around The Bend. Pearl Jam album finishers, a whole op in themselves. The final track doesn’t disappoint with the lullaby feel. Piano’s and various strings lace this beautifully crafted melody. Eddie’s vocals are warm and leave you feeling good about this whole album. Packaging. The artwork for this album was done by the band member, Jeff Ament. It consists of various photographs of rather abstract images. There are close ups of eyes, flowers, and even the centre of a dartboard. Some of the images will leave you amazed at the beauty and/or ugliness of mother nature. The CD was released in various limited formats, which contained a collection of 7 Polaroid photographs depicting images from the cover. On the back of these were the lyrics to some of the tracks. Apparently, you wouldn’t necessarily get the same mix of photos/lyrics if you bought the album twice as each pack contained random additions. Overall. Pearl Jam are never going to be considered sexy, but they are well followed and well loved. Although this album was seen as too experimental, I believe that the band were just running through all their capabilities.
Forget about Grunge, it has nothing to do with Pearl Jam. They are just a great rock band. A rock band. That's how one should describe them. Or Just Pearl Jam. NO CODE. This is probably the meaning of the title of this amazing record, IMHO the best in the 10-year Pearl Jam history. No Code was published in 1996, after the highly successful debut of TEN and the record-breaking sales of its follow-up, VS, and the third, more complex work of VITALOGY. No Code is definitely a new beginning of the Seattle band, as it sounds quite different from the previous albums, though having more than one points in common with Vitalogy. Vitalogy lacked in coherence, as a bunch of really great songs was let down by some weird and obscure episodes. No Code is a dark record, but doesn't lack. It's just a collection of amazing rock songs, ranging from punk rock influences to the most blues episodes in the groups' history, recalling some of their side projects, such as the great Temple of the Dog, and the even better Mad Season. I am going to take you through each track of this album: 1. SOMETIMES A dark soft ballad, a kind of lounge blues, with a very deep bass sound from Jeff Ament, made remarkably amazing by the singing talent of Eddie Vedder, capable of singing quietly, adjusting his tone to the surround musical texture. 2. HAIL HAIL A very aggressive track, with strong influences from the American HC-Punk scene, in which the guitars dominate, greatly controlled by the amazing drumming of Jack Irons. I like the part when Vedder sings "I sometimes realize...I could only be as good as you'll let me... Areyou woman enough to be my man? Bandaged hand in hand.." Definitely a song about a relationship. 3. WHO YOU ARE Perhaps this is the most underrated Pearl Jam single. Coming out earlier than the record, it didn' t seem to appeal the mainstream audience. No wonde
r why, as it is a very deep ballad, recalling some Led Zeppelin influences, with a mixture of Indian sounds. One of the greatest songs on this record, supported by a great drum pattern. 4. IN MY TREE Another great Jack Irons drum job on this one. I believe that the rythmic session, Ament (bass) - Irons (drums), never worked so fine as in this album. I remember watching them play this song live in Rome , and being amazed at the range of percussions Irons was actually using. Very dark song, suitable for moments of pain. 5. SMILE Probably the most traditional ballad of the record , a love song , based on a classical guitar-bass-drum-harmonica pattern. 6. OFF HE GOES Another traditional, I would say "Springsteenesque" song, but with an amazing work from the guitars of Mike McCready and Stone Gossard. Great song to play on guitar or to watch being played live. 7. HABIT Once again, Pearl Jam look at the punk-HC scene, and create a song that breaks the quiet of the previous one. It seems a regular scheme in their records. 8. RED MOSQUITO As Smile, a strong guitar based, traditional american rock piece of music, with a killer riff by Mike McCready (for more info about his guitar style, visit www.giventowail.com) 9. LUKIN Written by Eddie Vedder, this is a punk song, lasting 1.20 min only. Funny lyrics too, about a person who was stalking him... 10. PRESENT TENSE IMHO, the highest moment of the whole record, and the peak of Pearl Jam's career. A dark, obscure blues, with a great work from Jeff Ament and his bass. Amazing ending and great chorus. Great lyrics too: "Do you see the way that tree bends? Does it inspire? Leanin' out to catch the sun's ray A lesson to reapply Are you getting something out of this? All encompassing trip You can spend your time alone Redigesting past regrets, Oh Or you can, come to terms and re
alize Your the only one, you can forgive yourself, Oh Makes much more sense to live in the present tense Have you ideas on how this life ends? Checked your hands and studied the lines? Have you the belief that the road ahead Ascends off into the light? Seems that needlessly it's gettin' harder to find And approach... Ain't no way to live Are we gettin' something out of this All encompassing trip You can spend your time alone Redigesting past regrets, Oh Or you can, come to terms and realize Your the only one, you can not forgive yourself, Oh Ah, makes much more sense to live in the present tense" 11. MANKIND The lowest point of this record, a traditional american-pop-punk song, written and sung by Stone Gossard. 12. I'M OPEN A nightly spoken-word song, with dark sounds coming out from bass and guitar and the voice of Vedder reading the lyrics, and just singing "I'm Open!" 13. AROUND THE BEND A soft and delicate ending to this great record, with a traditional guitar ballad. -------------- If you like Pearl Jam, you probably have this record already. If you don't like them, go and buy it... you will like it ! At the time of recording NO CODE, Pearl Jam were: EDDIE VEDDER - guitar, vocals STONE GOSSARD - rythm guitar MIKE MCCREADY - lead guitar JEFF AMENT - bass JACK IRONS - drums
Many people criticise this album but on repeated listenings it is excellent. When I first bought this album I wasn't very sure. The first song 'Sometimes' is different and it takes a few listens to appreciate. That said, its a great mellow song. The second song 'hail hail' is a more typical PJ rock song. It is a live favourite and is one of many highlights on no code. 'Who you are' is another non-typical PJ song but is great. The percussion is particularly good and it is even better in the next song 'in my tree'. 'Smile' is probably the most accessible song. There is a harmonica in there. It is reminiscent of Neil Young. 'Off he goes' is arguably PJ's finest acoustic balad to date. It is a lovely song. 'Habit' is probably the heaviest song. Not the best on the album but it is still very good. 'Red Mosquito' is another brilliant song. Mike's guitar kinda sounds like a mosquito. 'Lukin' is another heavy song. It is really good but bizarely only lasts for just over a minute. 'Present Tense' is the best song on the album. The instrumental bit is pure genius. 'Mankind' features lead vocals from Stone Gossard! Its a cheery song that reminds me of Foo Fighters. 'I'm Open' is more experimental with a spoken intro.-I find this quite powerful-another highlight! 'Around the Bend' is a great acoustic ballad. So there you go. This is a great album. If you have Ten and have been put off this album by bad reviews, i am telling you this is great. Buy it!!!
As I am ever the obsessive Pearl Jam fan, I can’t possibly praise one of their albums over any other. To me each of them is a continuation of the last, and 1996’s ‘No Code’ is no exception, though in a way would appear to be their most varied musically. The quiet opening notes of ‘Sometimes’ immediately sets the diverse tone of the album: so simple but so effective. It’s full of themes of how small we all are in the world, Eddie sings, “Seek my part…devote myself…my small self…like a book amongst the many on the shelf”. Eddie sings with great passion from the instant the album begins (and no, he doesn’t “sing like a farmer” like a non-Pearl Jam fan kindly described :P ) No matter how many millions of times I listen to ‘No Code’, the onslaught of ‘Hail, Hail’ always catches me unawares. It is a sudden break away from the tranquil nature of ‘Sometimes’ and takes the listener back to the status of a good old ‘Pearl Jam rocker’. ‘Hail, Hail’ rips through the racing chords while questioning the meaning of love, “hail hail the lucky ones, I refer to those in love”. ‘Who You Are’ is another leap into the unknown. Middle-Eastern sounds combine with Jack Iron’s tribal drumming. Again an intensely straight-forward song. The pounding rhythms continue on ‘In My Tree’ as the lyrics describe the life of a hermit, “up here in my tree…I’m trading stories with the leaves instead” - this is a concept I can fully understand. Then Eddie breaks into some form of mild chanting as ‘King of his Tree’ before returning to the rest of the song. ‘Smile’ gives Vedder the opportunity to show his harmonica playing skills (and very good they are too) on this blues flavoured song. Hints of influences from Neil
Young and Crazy Horse combine to create a laid-back summer sun approach. This laid-back atmosphere is carried on for ‘Off He Goes’ – a simple acoustic ballad with heartfelt lyrics about a life-long friend. ‘Habit’, another rocker again turns the mood upside down. Vedder’s angry rants speed through at a repetitive pace. Maybe not one of their better efforts, that is until the outro guitar segment kicks in building the song up to a great ending. Another blues influenced song ‘Red Mosquito’ is up next. Eddie sings of someone remorseful of the life he led before and reflects, “if I had known then what I know now” ‘Lukin’ – a one minute stonker charges in, and oh boy is it good!! I usually need to repeat it about 4 times to get the full benefit and by this stage my neck aches beyond belief. The driving chords are interrupted by a fantastic pounding of drums which frantically remain til the end, all the while Vedder crazily screams a series of lyrics at great speed. Top stuff!! ‘No Code’ chills out again with ‘Present Tense’. A simple yet haunting beginning, Vedder’s excellent vocals gel magnificently with the reverberating lead guitar and bass. Acoustic guitars join the fray for the second verse as the song slowly builds up to a climax. And what a climax it is – the rhythm section is introduced for an ending in a true Pearl Jam jam as it were – overlaid with Eddie’s evocative chants – mega!! But alas the ambiance created so far is completely destroyed by ‘Mankind’, a creation by guitarist Stone Gossard – he should stick to playing guitar and leave the singing to Mr Ed the Ved! The song itself is way below the quality Pearl Jam fans have come to expect. Thankfully the final 2 songs repair the damage done. Vedder introduces spoken word into his repertoire on ‘I’m
Open’ amidst a haunting background. This song is akin to the intro and outro found on Pearl Jam’s first album ‘Ten’. The country-style vibes raise their head with ‘Around the Bend’, complete with piano and steel guitar. It’s a chilled out shimmy to close out ‘No Code’ – which is essentially a very diverse soul-searching album that at the time scared away the stragglers and left the true Pearl Jammers in musical bliss.
This album is Pearl Jam's 4th studio album.This album was Eddie Vedder's last "solo" album-after this,anybody in the band that wished to could write the songs.Finally fading from the spotlight Eddie Vedder wrote more introspetive lyrics,almost gone are the old stories like "Elderly Woman" from Vs. The album opens with "Sometimes"-a live opener also.A great song,it sets the mood,easing the listener in before the abrasive chords of "Hail,Hail" kick in.Another great track and one which returns to the ideas put forward in "Betterman"-of love gone stale with age. The 3rd track is "Who you are".This track puzzles me-first I hated it,then I liked it,then I hated it and finally,I like it.The track writhes on tribal-sounding drums and resonant bass.Next is "In your tree"-the more time I give this track,the less I like it.Personally,I think that it looks good on the surface,but lacks depth. Thankfully,we have a bona fide classic next-"Smile".It is impossible for me to be objective about this song because I think it is exceptional.Next,"Off he goes", an acoustic number but very warm about fame. "Habit" is,comparatively, a disappointment.It is too simplistic in its lyrical comtent compared to,say, "Off he goes"."Red mosquito" prevents the album from going completely off the rails.Another great song which is even better in retrospect if you listen to the live album "Live on 2 legs"."Lukin" is a brilliant 1 minute rock song bristling with energy. "Mankind" & "Present Tense" are both disappointments."Mankind" has Sone Gossard on vocals,not Eddie Vedder."Present Tense" has a too sparse musical arrangement. "Around the bend" is,quite simply,bloody great. Buy the album for the great songs and ignore the dissapointing songs because the great songs are GREAT.
Pearl Jam’s fourth studio album, and perhaps the most sensitive. By this I don’t mean they’ve gone all soft and slushy, (perish the thought!) but it is the most experimental work to date. Rather than an album of all rocky songs, say like “vs.” they’ve taken time to add a bit more texture and feeling here. It follows on in much the same vein as ‘94’s “Vitalogy” but takes it a step further. With the exception of “Who you are” it works very well, it is also the first full album new drummer Jack Irons (ex Red Hot Chilli Peppers) has played on for them. Starting with the soft, sensitive “Sometimes” the album gets off to a good start and leads straight into the rocking “Hail, Hail” with is delivered almost incoherently, but effectively. “Who you are” seems to be a play on words (in the title at least) of the Who song “Who are you”, the Pearl Jam song though has a more African tribal beat and vibe to it. It sounds like something from the Paul Simon “Graceland” era, but sadly it doesn’t quite work. There are moments when you think, and hope that they’ll pull it off but it ends up as a glorious mess. But it is thoroughly redeemed by what follows next “In my tree” is a great song. It song revolving around a rumbling bass that really takes off during the chorus, sounding almost like U2 during the “Joshua Tree” era. “Off he goes” out REM’s REM, an acoustic ditty that reminds me of the aforementioned band pre “Automatic for the people”. Other great songs here include “Red mosquito”, a Neil Young style song, but not a rip off with a great closing melody, and lest we not forget “Present tense.” A Vedder/McCreedy collaboration that has a delicate feel to it in keeping with the rest of the record that has echoes of “Release” and “Indiff
erence”. The album closes with two very delicate songs “I’m open” and the Vedder lullaby “Around the bend”; “I’m open” being about the lost innocence of youth. A good album, but probably the most forgettable by this band that have achieved legendary status in our times.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Hail Hail
3 Who You Are
4 In My Tree
6 Off He Goes
8 Red Mosquito
10 Present Tense
12 I'm Open
13 Around The Bend