Review – Pearl Jam “Backspacer”

Whoa, didn’t see that coming. Or maybe I did. We all did. Pearl Jam decide to make a very furious and generally mixed comeback. “Backspacer” starts with a triple combo (punch, kick, uppercut!) which although is musically energetic, the lyric sustenance is a bit on the diet side.
To make my point clearer: the music is quite right (“Got some” is an instant anthem), but the lyrics don’t feel that powerful this time around. Maybe there’s something in the approach Pearl Jam did this time around: the music seems to be mixed a little louder than the voice. I’m not saying that Eddie Vedder > Pearl Jam, I’m just pointing that they used to have a good balance between the mixing. “Speed of sound” takes its sweet time, and we are grateful for it. The mixing in this song is much better, everyone gets their own time to shine and although it’s one of the slowest tracks, it is a very nice interval.
The other thing holding this effort from being a stone cold classic is the sameness of the songs. I gave the album three chances and I couldn’t remember the differences between the songs, so either it’s a grower of an album or maybe a bit more effort was needed.
Now let’s delve into two songs:
“Johnny guitar” has that feel of ‘I could’ve been a better song if you’d spent more time on me!!!’. It’s goes pretty nicely, Vedder gets to play with his voice and even go mad for a bit and then, it abruptly ends! Say it ain’t so, Pearl Jam, you are pulling a ‘Sopranos’ on us!
On the other hand, “Amongst the waves” is one saving grace for the album, as it takes its time to roll out. Not too sure about the slide guitar, reminiscing of a cheesy 80s song (think Bon Jovi), but it’s a minor nitpick. Heck, the solo is quite nice and the whole atmosphere of the song is a nice throwback to classic Pearl Jam (see ‘Vitalogy’, ‘No Code’ and ‘Vs.’ for more of this brilliance).
Overall, it’s not a bad album, not at all. The well-paced songs are miles better than the fast, rocky ones. It is certainly much varied that the previous one (the avocado one), but the sameness of the ‘rocking fast songs from hell zomg!’ (TM) takes some merits from this effort, although they recover with “Just breathe” and the aforementioned “Amongst the waves”.  If you are fan, you’ll feel like you are threading in ‘Yield’ and ‘Riot act’ territory. Make of that what you will.
Suggested tracks: Amongst the waves, Speed of sound, Force of nature, Got some.
If you like what you hear, check them in: No code, Yield, Riot Act.

Whoa, didn’t see that coming. Or maybe I did. We all did. Pearl Jam decide to make a very furious and generally mixed comeback. “Backspacer” starts with a triple combo (punch, kick, uppercut!) which although is musically energetic, the lyric sustenance is a bit on the diet side.

To make my point clearer: the music is quite right (“Got some” is an instant anthem), but the lyrics don’t feel that powerful this time around. Maybe there’s something in the approach Pearl Jam did this time around: the music seems to be mixed a little louder than the voice. I’m not saying that Eddie Vedder > Pearl Jam, I’m just pointing that they used to have a good balance between the mixing. “Speed of sound” takes its sweet time, and we are grateful for it. The mixing in this song is much better, everyone gets their own time to shine and although it’s one of the slowest tracks, it is a very nice interval.

The other thing holding this effort from being a stone cold classic is the sameness of the songs. I gave the album three chances and I couldn’t remember the differences between the songs, so either it’s a grower of an album or maybe a bit more effort was needed.

Now let’s delve into two songs:

“Johnny guitar” has that feel of ‘I could’ve been a better song if you’d spent more time on me!!!’. It’s goes pretty nicely, Vedder gets to play with his voice and even go mad for a bit and then, it abruptly ends! Say it ain’t so, Pearl Jam, you are pulling a ‘Sopranos‘ on us!

On the other hand, “Amongst the waves” is one saving grace for the album, as it takes its time to roll out. Not too sure about the slide guitar, reminiscing of a cheesy 80s song (think Bon Jovi), but it’s a minor nitpick. Heck, the solo is quite nice and the whole atmosphere of the song is a nice throwback to classic Pearl Jam (see ‘Vitalogy’, ‘No Code’ and ‘Vs.’ for more of this brilliance).

Overall, it’s not a bad album, not at all. The well-paced songs are miles better than the fast, rocky ones. It is certainly much varied that the previous one (the avocado one), but the sameness of the ‘rocking fast songs from hell zomg!’ (TM) takes some merits from this effort, although they recover with “Just breathe” and the aforementioned “Amongst the waves”.  If you are fan, you’ll feel like you are threading in ‘Yield’ and ‘Riot act’ territory. Make of that what you will.

Suggested tracks: Amongst the waves, Speed of sound, Force of nature, Got some.

If you like what you hear, check them in: No code, Yield, Riot Act.

One thought on “Review – Pearl Jam “Backspacer”

  1. I can dig avocado (literally) but I can’t dig (at full) Pearls Jam’s avocado album and their now new post-avocado “backspacer” I’ll give it one month more or so to grow fonder in my heart.

    Noisy Bishop, H. Rodans reporting @ your loyal service. Yes Sir, Yes Sir!!

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