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Pearl Jam came together in 1991 and quickly made their mark as one of the great 90s grunge bands. I was 14 at the time and the fresh new sound and emotive political lyrics struck a chord with that has lasted a life time. Before their debut album 'Ten' Stone Gossard (rhythm guitar) and Jeff Ament (bass) had worked together in previous bands, most acclaimed Green River. They then hooked up through friends with Mike McCready (lead guitar), Eddie Vedder (vocals) and drummer Dave Ambruzzese (though, as with a lot of bands, a stream of drummers were to follow). The band managed to capture the grunge scene with political and angst ridden lyrics, simple rhythm chords, heavy guitar riffs and gravelly vocals and combined it with technical skill surpassing many of their peers and a 70s stadium rock feel that give them their longevity.
Pearl Jam's fifth studio album debuted at number 2 on the Billboard chart (held off the top spot by the Titanic Soundtrack, which makes me wonder what is wrong with the world, but that's another topic) in February 1998. It was the first Pearl Jam album not to peak at number one and like its predecessor, 'No Code', it dropped rapidly. Recorded the year before release its aim was to make the music more accessible and return to the more classic rock roots where they began with 'Ten'. The writing was much more of collaboration than previous offerings. Jeff Ament said 'everyone really got a little bit of their say on the record, because of that, everybody feels like they're an integral part of the band.' In general, the lyrics display a far more positive attitude and there are many literary influences including Mikhail Bulgakov, Daniel Quinn and Charles Bukowski.
The band was formed of much of the original line up with Eddie Vedder doing the vocals, Stone Gossard on rhythm guitar, Jeff Ament on bass and Mike McCready playing lead guitar. The only change was drummer Jack Irons, not my personal favourite amongst the drummers for Pearl Jam. His percussion often sounds quite dull.
BRAIN OF J - McCready, Vedder
'You you've been taught
Whipped into shape now they got you in line
Stand behind the stripes
There will be order so give it good mind'
This is a great opening to a more accessible album. It is a traditional rock track with a catchy 'sing-along' vocal melody. It starts with a jam-style introduction and then explodes into an upbeat riff kept in line by the percussion. This track has a catchy rhythm, but keeps the dirty chords and erratic pitch changes with emotionally charged vocals. The bridge settles things for a brief moment before a quick build up to a fun guitar solo.
FAITHFULL - McCready, Vedder
Belief in the game controls that keep us in a box of fear'
Here, they're sticking to upbeat rock for the time being. Again, McCready shows off his skills by creating gentle melodies for the verses that lead into a forceful chorus, sandwiching rock excitement between reflective melody. The vocals during the verses are whimsical, while the chorus appears disorganised when in fact it is a tight composition (a technique that Pearl Jam do so well). During the bridge a rock guitar, bass and percussion to carry the listener through to another rendition of the chorus. The outro returns with a reprise of the intro with gentle, almost pleading, vocals.
NO WAY - Gossard
'Here's my token of openness
Of my need not to disappear'
Gossard claimed the message of this track was that "maybe we all need to live life and quit trying to prove something". It starts plain, with the vocals quietly pleading and building up in layers. The bass comes in for the second verse giving sudden depth. The second chorus is busier, working itself up over a few bars, with more lines, chorused vocals, and a wailing guitar and altered audio positioning. The bridge is a little eerie, mainly due to a very low bass and high squealing guitar. It makes a gentle interlude, taking a meandering journey before being guided back to the main body by the bass. The outro is joyous with the instruments playing upbeat and proud.
GIVEN TO FLY - McCready, Vedder
'And he still gives his love, he just gives it away
The love that he receives is the love that is saved'
Of the two singles released from 'Yield' this was the most successful and is one of my favourite Pearl Jam tracks. The sound created is all encompassing, giving you a real sense of the emotion. With its classic rock composition (reminiscent of their debut album 'Ten') it was noted for its similarities to Led Zepplin's 'Going to California' and was performed live with Robert Plant in October 2005. This is a beautiful track right from the opening guitar melody. It is subdued to begin with, but builds up quickly to a triumphant second half of the first verse, before settling down again and starting the next. The sense of release in the second half really gives over a feeling of the freedom of flying as the vocals swing from warm and comforting to heated and wild. The percussion matches the hushed vocals and guitar during the verses with quiet tension filled taps, but fall back for the chorus to let the guitar and vocals fill the foreground. It is tribal in places, creating tension and moving from gentle to wild and back again with ease. The outro drifts gently to a close, returning to the comfort we began with after being on an adventure.
WISHLISH - Vedder
'I wish I was the pedal brake that you depended on
I wish I was the verb 'to trust' and never let you down'
The other single from the album is about having wishes and understanding that although those wishes are not fulfilled we are still lucky to have what we have. The idea is simple and moving. Vedder used an ebow for the guitar solo making the notes long, drawn out and melancholy. It is a simple composition with no chorus, just a list of wishes backed by reverberated guitars, hushed bass and simple percussion. The lyrics are childlike, but that just makes them all the more real and endearing with the watery, dreamlike feel to the guitar. There is a pretty melody for the latter half of the verses and stronger vocals. The list never ends just fades away as the list continues.
PILATE - Ament
'Stunned by my own reflection
It's looking back, sees me too clearly'
On first listen to this album, this track did not stand out, but soon became one of my favourites. It is based on Ament's recurring dream 'being old and just me and my dog sitting on the porch'. 'Pilate' is apparently the question to which 'Low Light' is the answer. You can hear Ament's love for bass driven funk in the slightly odd composition with sudden changes from gentle to more upbeat and quirky for the chorus. It has a subdued start for the first verse, but becomes stronger afterwards, especially during the joyous staccato chorus. The percussion is fairly simple, ebbing and flowing with the emotion of the track with drum rolls introducing each chorus.
DO THE EVOLUTION - Gossard, Vedder
'I'm ahead I'm a man
I'm the first mammal to wear pants'
Vedder's favourite song on the album is a surprisingly upbeat first personal account of someone who is 'drunk' on technology and thinks he is the one in control. Although not released as a single it got widely played due to its promo video (breaking Pearl Jam's refusal to release promos) by comic book artist Todd McFarlene. Gossard plays the bass rather than staple bass player Ament. It has an upbeat start with the guitars leading the pace while the percussion is a little bland. It has a fast, unrelenting pace, with the vocals so impassioned they lose tone in places especially towards the end. The straight forward percussion matches a less funky bass keeping the tight tension going with repeated noted in sets of three, changing the pitch with each set. The bridge features a discordant choir that is quickly overcome by the return to the guitar riff.
Untitled - (Red Dot) - Irons
'Were all crazy'
This track features on the track listing as a red dot. It is a filler consisting of mostly percussion, but there is a vague melody. I'm not sure what instrument is being used; chimes possibly or maybe a marimba, bongos and what sounds like running water, maybe one of those rain sticks. It just gets weirder when the high pitched vocals kick in.
MFC (Many fast Cars) - Vedder
'There's no leaving here
Ask I'm an ear
This track is set in a car and is about running away from a problem. Right from the start it builds tension with fast paced, reverberated guitars promising something good and fortunately it delivers. The vocals start subtle, but are fast paced like they are about to burst. The percussion comes in after the first verse, using rolls to signal a release of tension. I really love the shared guitar and bass riffs with added bits of melody to stop it becoming monotonous.
LOW LIGHT - Ament
'I need the light
I'll find my way from wrong, what's real?'
The answer to Pilate's question is a gently comforting lullaby, composed simply with the melodic vocals and acoustic guitars descending from the start of each new line. The placid percussion can become quite dull, but this does not detract from the beauty of the song. The overall feeling to the track is one of warmth with chorused vocals coming in for the last line of each verse and chorus and everything being held together by a simple guitar playing a couple of chords through to the next line. The bridge is an all encompassing guitar solo with a sensitive dream-like feel.
IN HIDING - Gossard, Vedder
'I shut and locked the front door
No way in or out'
Vedder explained this track as being "about taking a fast from life". It is inspired by the life of Charles Bukowski, who was known to stay in his room for days. It was never released as a single, but none the less reached #13 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks. It has a calm start with basic percussion and warm vocals. After two verses there is pop-rock based chorus which winds down to a more vocally dependant second half. The vocals have a sing-a-long quality to them with long, drawn out syllables towards the end and leading into the bridge.
PUSH ME, PULL ME - Ament, Vedder
'I had a false belief
I thought I came here to stay
We're all just visiting'
Contains a sample of 'Happy When I'm Crying' by Irons.
It's a bizarre fast paced number with Vedder's vocals verging on spoken word backed by high pitched chorus of voices which makes Vedder's sound all the more deep and mumbled. The instrumentation is erratic and alien sounding with lots of sound effects. Only the percussion remains consistent. The bridge uses layers of the mumbled vocals and the high pitched chorus backed by the bass to create a vaguely controlled mess.
ALL THOSE YESTERDAYS
'Let it wash away
All those yesterdays'
I love the childlike simplicity of the lyrics and music of this track and what I think is a touch of Beatles influence. It opens with gentle vocals and a guitar with the percussion and a playful bass coming in for the second verse. To begin with the vocals are gentle and comforting like a lullaby. The chorus is stronger, but it quickly settles to become simple and playful with what sounds to me like a tuba, but I could be wrong. During the long outro, the guitar winds itself up taking the emotion and pace with it, building in intensity as it becomes unfettered and ends in a release while the many layers of vocals keep the track in check.
As was the tradition with grunge albums in the 90s there is a secret track, 'Hummus' that plays after several minutes of silence. It is an instrumental where two guitars play together though one is much higher than the other. It is has a simple and brief Latin sounding track using a high pitched guitar playing flat notes, a tambourine, bass drum percussion and starting with clapping to increase the pace away from 'All Those yesterdays'. It has a slightly spooky feel to it and it speeds up towards the end lead by the clapping. The bridge is a delicately played melody that speeds up into a typically skilful solo from McCready.
The follow up to No Code broke no new ground for the band, but it did see them release more of their take on rock on the world, and it was done very well, and was probably a little more radio friendly than the band had been for years.
There's some quite obvious stand out tracks on the album, written with being sung in huge stadiums around the world in mind, and they are every bit as good as Even Flow or Alive.
Where this album differs from No Code is that the non anthems are of the highest quality.
Faithful is one such song, with the intro and outro being soft and gentle with an almost lone voice but the middle being a classic rock crunch sing along.
Do the Evolution seen Pearl Jam make a move they hadn't done for years, they made a music video for it. While the band didn't appear in it, it is a brilliant cartoon that covers the dark evolution of man and accompanies this song wonderfully.
Push me Pull me is almost like Jim Morrison has made a come back, not written as a song but it more a poem set over music, and works well.
The last track is a quite obvious Beatle's influence pop song and a wonderful way to close a truly good album.
I have been a fan of the band Pearl Jam for a few years now and have 7 of their albums. This album is from 1998 one of their most well known albums. Pearl Jam hail from Seattle's grunge scene of the early 1990's which spawned bands such as Soundgarden and the legendary Nirvana. Here is my review of the bands 1998 album Yield.
1.) Brain of J - this track has a live jamming session feel and Mike Mcready and Stone Gossard's guitar work blends together to make some great melodic Grunge Rock with Eddie Vedders notable vocals topping off the track.
2.) Faithfull - No it's their spelling not my spelling mistake, This isnt one of the best tracks Pearl Jam have done but it still has the great sound of the band. For me it is slightly a little plodding for the track to get top marks. Good nonetheless.
3.) No Way - This is one of my favourites songs from Yield and has a really interesting guitar intro which sounds like it is coming through a megaphone with effects. The drumming is a key part of the track and it meshes in with the bass and Vedder's vocals to create a very listenable track.
4.) Given to fly - This track opens with bass and guitar combinations and the shuffle of the drums comes in, One of the slower Pearl Jam openings but this track never really develops into a great track but it is certainly still a very good track.
5.) Wishlist - This track starts with slow guitars and soft drums then Vedder's voice comes in, one of the best slower songs I have heard from Pearl Jam and it has a great live feel with some of the guitar licks. There's some great slide guitar in there too. Shows that Pearl Jam can do mellow aswell as the rocking out tracks.
6.) Pilate - This track is another slower song and features some very nice drum parts and soft guitars. Vedder's voice sounds particularly good in the more mellow moments of this track. This track shows the diversity in Pearl Jam's music.
7.) Do the evolution - This is a quicker track than Pilate and has a great guitar combo from Stone Gossard and Mike McCready, This is one of the best tracks on the album for a live show and there is some fine guitar work from Mike McCready.
8.) MFC - This track opens with a very different drum part which sounds very good, the drums slow down then speed up and then back down again. And this is the shortest track on the album.
9.) Low Light - This isnt one of my favourites on the album as it isnt as emotional as some of the other tracks but there is some very fine guitar work from Mike McCready again.
10.) In Hiding - This track starts with an acoustic guitar and is one of their best slow songs. A really beautiful song which shows of the tenderness that Eddie Vedder's voice is capable of. This is Pearl Jam at their best slower moment. A great guitar solo from McCready again.
11.) Push Me, Pull Me - This track's intro sounds a little like Stereophonics Pick a part that's new but then the melody changes and the drums come in more and what follows in a very good track with catchy guitar parts and the track is in between the best and worst moments on the album. There are no bad songs here but there are some great great ones and some good ones.
A very different track to the rest on the album and it is close to being Pearl Jam's take on Tool. A very fine track that is very different.
12.) All Those Yesterdays - Now we come to the final track on Yield and it is one of the best on the album. A slower track with a great guitar melody that underpins the track and there are some great moments in the song. Some parts are like The Beatles if they were Pearl Jam. There is A really great guitar solo too.
There is a bonus track that comes in a couple of minutes after the end of All Those Yesterdays and has drumming that is remiscent of a cross betwen The Animals and Fleetwood Mac's albatross. Some very catchy guitar work makes the bonus track a worthwile Addition.
This is one of Pearl Jam's finest albums and one of the best of 1998. There are some great moments on the album and there are no dud tracks, some many not be as good as others but they are still very good songs. And Mike McCready is one of the best rock guitarist there is.
If you like the sound of the album then check it out on the internet and you will be able to find it for around a fiver on sites like amazon or ebay. Get yourself a copy of Ten and Binaural aswell.
Pearl Jam are one of my most favourite bands. They formed in the early 90’s and their first album “Ten” received many rave reviews from the music press. Apart from the drummers, their line up has never changed over the years. This is: Eddie Vedder – Vocals, Guitars. Stone Gossard – Guitars. Mike McCready – Guitars. And Jeff Ament – Bass. With Jack Irons filling in the drumming spot for this release. They were immediately catoragized with the likes of Nirvana and Soundgarden during the Seattle Grunge era during the beginning of the nineties, but their music was never anything like Nirvana’s. Yield. Brain Of J. Kicking straight in with a guitar riff to die for. This really bops along at a ferocious pace. Eddie’s vocals arrive and he’s not in a good mood. With a cracking chorus this really proves to be a fantastic start to the album. Faithfull. Slowing down the tempo, this starts with a single twanging guitar and Eddie’s crooning vocals. This leads up to the band joining in for the bridge and chorus. Again the chorus is easy to sing along to. Track slows again for the fade out. A song about the trust needed in a relationship. Very likeable, and easygoing. “Just be a darling, and I will be too…faithful to you.” No Way. Raw edged guitar strumming with a steady drum beat. Eddie comes in, restraining his awesome voice, almost pleading. Again this is fairly slow in tempo, but loses nothing for it. A chant along chorus completes this very impressive track. “I’m not trying to make a difference, no way.” Given To Fly. The single from this album, at first seemed a poor choice. Starts slowly with Eddie warbling on, but as we lead into the chorus, the track builds momentum. After a couple of listens, this becomes one of your favourites. <
br>Wishlist. The 2nd single from the album, and possibly the only track on the album that I get tempted to skip. A fairly meaningful song about Eddies wishes, but for me it has never really worked. Slow tempo, quietly strumming guitars, and slow-easy drum track. Pilate. B-side to Given To Fly begins quietly, but leads into a shouty chorus that is hard not to sing along to after a few listens. Do The Evolution. Very raw track, but just what is required. Infectious guitar riff, with relentless drumming and Eddie sounding very primitive in his vocals. This song has a guitar sequence which is reminiscent of a Rolling Stones track, but one that escapes me as I write this. A song that tells of how man has evolved, but still holds similar traits to our ancestors. “I am ahead…I am advanced…I am the 1st mammal to wear pants… I’m at peace…with my lust…I can kill cause in god I trust, yeah…It’s evolution baby.” 0. This is a short musical interval, with drums, steel drums, and strange vocals. MFC. Apparently stands for Many Fast Cars. This really is a track to drive along to. Guitar intro leads to the regular riff, with Eddie matching the riff with his vocals. The chorus completely changes to a pounding little thrash, but not in a bad way. Brilliant. Low Light. And we slow down again for this track. Beautifully crafted, with the track really showing off Eddie’s vocal ability, as the music isn’t really that standout. Feels very acoustic, and very lovely. In Hiding. Sometimes you can tell when a track first starts that we are looking at an “epic”. This track is just one of those. Guitar solo intro leads into a head twitching verse. This is all played out at a nice tempo, with the song slowing and speeding up in what feels like all the right places. Then the bridge to the c
horus takes over, and you begin to realise that we are building to a crescendo. The chorus contains all instruments, and Eddie singing “I’m in hiding” over and again, but then it just stops and drops tempo again for the verses. A fantastic mixture of styles, linking together in one excellent track. Push Me, Pull Me. Pearl Jam’s only real movement into the experimental side of things tends to be along the lines of this track. The band strike up various sounds, and melodies, along a verse-chorus-verse format. Whilst all this is going on, Eddie is speaking his vocals like a poem. Sounds similar to the sort of thing The Doors would do. All Those Yesterdays. Again, Pearl Jam finish an album with a slow burning, but reflective track. Leaves you with a warm feeling inside. So, Yield appeared at quite a difficult point in the bands history. It came after the album that people believed wasn’t up to the usual PJ standards, and so they seemed to have to prove a point again. But they come out of it on top. This is a fine album, with some fantastic tracks. It mixes the very raw-edged rock, and the slow-tempo ballads that Pearl Jam has become well known for.
Gathering all resources, Pearl Jam have shaped anew some of the mystical waywardness which traversed so fleet-footed through Ten. Brain of J slides, scraps and sorts itself out over a plundering rhythm. Faithful follows, shifting richly around its guiding call. On No Way fortune is always out of grasp where Given To Fly gives it a chance to glitter on. Vedder's voice reclaims the inimitable scope it had forged when pearl Jam first arrived, a voice that in its grandest sweeps floods their songs with a boundless sky view. Wishlist is a vulnerable song, softly whittling guitars which reach out midway before retreating again, the lyrical touches fragile and careless. "Stunned by own reflection...", Vedder muses on Pilate, regarding the varying shades of reflecting upon experience, the song barely holds. Do The Evolution has a submerged excitement to it, its commanding guitar licking at the bleak observation of humans' greed for survival, Vedder's voice croaking in disgust while caterwauling with it. After a brief discombobulation, the next song MFC comes in a rush of striding guitar with an equally paced vocal, the next, Low Light, has that respite to it which Pearl Jam can hone exquisitely, a pillowy rumination which glows like a familiar place you're reminded of and yearn to visit again. In Hiding is a triumph, a gently unravelling recall which bursts into a virtuosity, a paean to lying low in sullen expectation. The next song, Push Me, Pull Me is a churning mix, flushed out by the wry confessions of Vedder. All Those Yesterdays stirs up an irresistible affirming energy. This album does not zoom one's thoughts off to a wondrous place like "Ten" or smother itself in lashing out while mining some encouraging jewels like "Vitalogy" and "No Code"; it is similar to Vs. in its potency, but unlike Vs. its heartbeat is steady and staid, and then leaping at what is terrifically in sight and needing a messenge
Hard rocking is not the term to describe Yield. People will use it for this purpose, but they are either mistaken or acting with a highly developed sense of post-modern error. Yield fails to scorch the hide of the aural sense in much the same way as baking powder has been found consistently under whelming to coke fiends. But nonetheless it has much to recommend it. Yield does not occupy the same dynamic territory as No Code, and is, in general, a more definably nineties record - all chromatic chord changes and slashed guitar chords. There are dull songs here (Faithfull, Wishlist, Pilate, Low Light) but also good rockers (Brain Of J and Given To Fly) and a great song in No Way, showing that Pearl Jam still occasionally have it. It is a shame that Yield is not a great Pearl Jam record, because it features the not inconsiderable drumming talents of Jack Irons, whose temperament and sense of restraint could have done so much good to their music, had his stay not been so short lived (this was his only record with them). By this stage in Pearl Jam's career we have stopped expecting great records, but this offering does not fall far short of what could realistically be hoped for. Having found their place in the world (all be it a less ambitious one than some would have liked it to be), Pearl Jam seem to be content, which may be responsible for much of the sense of non-event in these tracks.
Pearl Jam were met with a rapturous welcome in their return with 5th album ‘Yield’. There is no mistaking the force with which the guys in the band wanted to make their return, with CD opener, ‘Brain of J’. It’s a sudden burst of life that kicks off the album in true Pearl Jam rockin’ style. Raucous guitars and pulverising drums gel together with Vedder’s power-filled vocals which make for a cracking opening track. The frantic pounding subsides for a brief moment of breath before climaxing with wah-wah-ing guitar solos. Magic stuff! ‘Faithfull’ begins quietly with light irregular drumming and once again the song intensifies to such a crescendo –it’s unbelievable. How can anyone fail to appreciate this?! Even after 2 songs it’s clear to see that the band have become more of a harmonic unit, to put masterpieces like these together. The song calms down again as it fades out with Vedder’s revealing lyrics of belief and faithfulness. Third track ‘No Way’ completely penned by guitarist Gossard carries on the jivey vibey atmosphere in a simple way. It’s amazing how effective a simple strumming of a chord and a simple drumbeat can be to create another cracker of a song. Although – any tune put to Eddie’s voice would be a corker! The rhythmic bass appears for the 2nd verse as the song heightens, yet still remains simple and effective. The guitar ends up mimicking the chugging of a train before everything fades out amongst guitar picking solos! Upon hearing the first notes of ‘Given To Fly’ you can’t fail to have shivers and a tingling spine. This truly is a Pearl Jam magical masterpiece. From the eerie opening notes this song has ‘Pearl Jam Anthem’ written all over it. As the verse unmistakably culminates in an almighty chorus – words fail to describe the quality of this track. The song is s
aid to be Zeppelin-esque but I don’t know enough Zeppelin to comment on this. However McCready’s music and Vedder’s profound lyrics make for a classic song in it’s own right. ‘Wishlist’ changes the vibe of the album created so far. Simple strumming introduces Eddie as he wishes he was a range of items – from the star on top of the Christmas tree; to be depended upon like a pedal brake (!) or “..a sacrifice..that somehow still lived on…” However mad the lyrics may sound on paper, they seem heartfelt when sung and the song emerges into a beautiful melodic piece of work. Bassist Jeff Ament takes his turn to write music and lyrics on ‘Pilate’. Once again it begins fairly quietly before bursting out into the abrasive chorus, reverting back and forward from quiet to loud repeatedly. Pearl Jam’s willingness to experiment with their songs allows them to constantly evolve. And this is never more so than with ‘Do the Evolution’. Grating guitars open this joke of a song as Vedder howls his vocal intro. The guitars repetitive circle of notes gel with Eddie’s half-singing, half-chanting lyrics as they pound around with almost off-tune guitars. As Eddie’s sings, “..I’m a thief…I’m a liar…there’s my church, I sing in the choir…” all band members suddenly launch into a high-pitched “hallelujah…hallelujah” before completing the rest of the song. Entertaining and amusing stuff! As a little interlude known only as ‘’(red dot), we are treated to some tribal pounding by Jack Irons which swiftly accelerates and slows down again as some high-pitched voices repeat “…we’re all crazy..”. From the midst of this mad moment the quality of ‘MFC’ (Many Fast Cars) emerges as the ultimate speeding car song. The driving guitars give
such a sense of speed – the only way to get the most out of this track is to go racing along a straight empty road in a car (or in my case a bike – not the same sense of speed I know!). Acoustic guitars introduce the first near-ballad type track with ‘Low Light’. It’s very calming and once again hints at being a car-related song, but only this time less speed in a convertible roaming about the countryside at sunset…anyway I got carried away into the ‘World of Pearl Jam’ there – back again! ‘In Hiding’ carries on this ballad theme but in a more upbeat way. Vedder could be singing about his reclusive nature, especially from when he found his fame very difficult to handle. Nevertheless it’s a great song – maybe not as breath-taking as earlier on in the album however. Pearl Jam push back the boundaries again on ‘Push Me, Pull Me’. It opens with the sound of a lift whooshing up flights in a building before crashing bass and guitars kick in to be joined by Vedder’s near-spoken word/chanting style vocals. It’s a strange one, mixed in with distorted electrical sounds, car horns and all the while Eddie sings “push me, pull me”. As is Pearl Jam’s way, they close out their album with a quiet melodic swaying tune. ‘All Those Yesterdays’ is reminiscent of songs of old and enforces a slight nod of the head in time to the relaxing beat. Nice. Ah yes, another classic Pearl Jam album has come to an end! Yield on this occasion sees the band coming together making a joint effort to produce together a stunning collection of songs. From start to finish the listener is met with energetic well-crafted songs from a classic rock band in incredible form. Oh yeah, the hidden track at the end is …emm how shall I say it…um..innovative?! Spanish-tinged guitars with jangling bells, c
lapping hands and infrequent shouting play out for a few minutes, speeding up towards the end before abruptly stopping in time for someone to say “hovis”??? Oh well got to let the band let off steam after the stresses of recording a classic album I suppose!!
Pearl Jam had always been regarded as the most musically gifted of all of the early 1990s grunge bands and their fifth studio album, Yield, confirmed such suspicions. Whereas previous bands of a similar nature have become famous or influential with nothing but reliance on the distorted power chords of a beaten up and stickered electric guitar, Pearl Jam have always balanced their grunge ethos with a musical maturity that eclipses even the great Nirvana in terms of all round accessibility to the average listener. This variation has been evident throughout Pearl Jams long career; their first album Ten ( a grunge bible) has the stirring 'Black' on it, Vs (album #2) had the acoustic led 'Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town', Vitalogy (album #3) had the brilliant Nothingman, and No Code (the fourth effort) had a far more toned down feel to it than had any of Pearl Jam's earlier efforts. In Yield the trend continues with the majority of the tracks being of a softer, mellow nature - the result being the bands most widely popular and accessible album to date. Yield kicks off with the deceptive Brain Of J. Crashing distortion and typical punk riffs the opening song is reminiscent of the early 90s recordings, with vocalist Eddie Vedder at his back-of-the-throat best and 'the mighty' Jack Irons driving the song with a powerful drum beat to the massive guitar sound of Mike McCready and Stone Gossard...whilst Jeff Ament's prominent bass playing stands out as well. Around half way through Brain Of J the song slows dramatically...and this is typical of the album thereafter. Faithfull combines the best of both sides of Pearl Jam, and Given To Fly (Mike McCready's self-claimed take on the classic Going To California by Led Zeppelin) is another of Pearl Jam's recent classics. Wishlist sees Eddie Vedder at his songwriting best in one of the bands most successful commercial releases of recent years. D
o The Evolution brings the album back to its louder-feel with a sound even more grunge-punkesque than the early recordings...as brilliant as it is to hear the mellow side of Pearl Jam, it is also very enjoyable to hear Eddie screaming on a record again. The standout track, for me, is All Those Yesterdays by guitarist Stone Gossard...the song that closes the album. I am not one who takes too kindly to hypothesising about lyricism in songs, but in this song we hear the words "Don't you think you oughta rest? don't you think you oughta lay your head down?" - which perhaps relates directly to the changing style of the band as has already been mentioned (the title hints at that as well). Take the lyrics as you will, but that is how I perceive that song to be. I find it hard to put into words all thirteen songs on the album, as Pearl Jam's style is unique so as not to be easily compared to other bands of similar times past and present. I can say though, that whilst Ten and Vs might be more popular critically, and might forever be seen as superior in the eyes of the grunge or rock world, Yield is certainly Pearl Jam's best album to sit back and listen to...and should they ever record an Unplugged album i would expect to find a lot of Yield's music on it. If you are one of those people who see Pearl Jam as a commercially successful dinosaur from the early 1990s grunge period then I cannot recommend Yield highly enough. Nor can I recommend it highly enough to the already well established fan of Pearl Jam - it is an album all should hear and I cannot praise it enough in simple english. This is surely one of the best albums of recent years, and whilst the more recent Binuaral pushes in a similar direction Yield is still the best all round Pearl Jam album that is yet to be recorded. At the peak of their creative genius, and having ridden the storm that followed them through albums 3 and 4 (Vitalogy and No Code), Pearl
Jam have produced a modern day classic in Yield...and in a few years I would not be suprised if Ten were no longer Pearl Jam's most famous release. Tracklist: Brain of J, Faithfull, No Way, Given To Fly, Wishlist, Pilate, Do The Evolution, (untitled), MFC, Low Light, In Hiding, Push Me Pull Me, All Those Yesterdays
This is the fifth studio album from the Seattle outfit, and last of the surviving “grunge” bands. They have now outgrown the “grunge” term and continue to be the last defenders of the faith. The album represents a change in direction from “No Code”, as it is more produced and polished with a more rocky approach. Starting off with the punk rock of “Brain of J” it is a miss leading opening for what is to come, although it is a good song its style is out of keeping with the more commercial rock that is the main stay of the record. “Faithful” starts off with a fragile guitar sung over, then the rest of the band kick in to create a song that sticks in the mind and sums up what is to follow. While “No way” is a dark song that has a definite drum beat over which a guitar is played, later that bas joins in to create a dark, brooding song. During this song Vedder chants “I’ve stopped trying to make a difference…No way” draw from this what will, have they decided to stop be a pain in the butt? The anthemic “Given to fly” proves that they can still write a killer tune that the radio will play. Similar in style to “In my tree” from the previous album, but more refined is a soaring song that shows off what they can do. One of the best songs they have written as a band, although it has been criticised for sounding more than a little similar to Led Zep’s “Going to California”. “Wishlist is a delicate song that is beautifully constructed, and turns out to be a series of wishes that lead singer Eddie Vedder has. “Do the evolution” is one of the most memorable songs from the album as it is the least Pearl Jam like of anything here. Sounding a bit alike Fungazi, it storms along taking a swipe at modern arrogance, and the ‘civilised world’. “In hiding” is another Pearl Jam classic, again similar to
dissident and kin it is an anthem that builds, and builds in a crescendo of sound. The album ends with a Beatles sound a like in “All those yesterdays” which rounds it off nicely, they have always been a band which knows the best order of songs on an album. An album that saw people recognises them again as a great band.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Brain Of J
3 No Way
4 Given To Fly
7 Do The Evolution
8 Untitled Song
10 Low Light
11 In Hiding
12 Push Me Pull Me
13 All Those Yesterdays