Yet another album review. Aren’t you getting tired of these yet? On deck this time is Pearl Jam’s 2006 self-titled album. It’s the one with the avocado on the front.
If ever you were in doubt about the status of rock music today, you can relax. Pearl Jam’s latest album is straight-up rock, there’s no doubt about that. While the tempo may change from song to song, this is true rock, pure and simple. There are some slower songs mixed into the album, but listening to the tracks in order, it is clear that the band took transitions into account. By the time you reach Parachutes (the album’s low point in terms of tempo), you will be ready. The speed doesn’t just drop off, which is appreciated and shows the band took some consideration into the layout of the songs.
The album starts off with a bang with hard-hitting tracks like Life Wasted and World Wide Suicide. In the opening songs, the band uses a lot of syncopation, that is, they skip the beats a lot and frequently change the rhythm. It takes a little getting used to, but the songs have an energy and beat comparable to Disc 1 of Foo Fighters’ In Your Honor (RCA Records 2005). At Severed Hand, the album begins to slow down, reaching its low at Parachutes, a sort of intermission track to let you recover from the head-banging you’ve surely done in the first set of tracks. Unemployable picks up the tempo again, but not too harshly, following with the trend of smooth transitions the rest of the album has. Gone may starts out slow and is a strong signal of the album gradually slowing down. It never really picks back up after that. Overall, the transition between tracks provides a nice ride of ups and downs which, in the end, weave a story like a good book.
Transitions are one thing, but I did unfortunately notice that some of the songs, especially the faster ones, are quite similar in rhythm and style. The slower, more thoughtful songs are much deeper and of a higher caliber than the other tracks. The lyrics are very poetic, although singer Eddie Vedder’s voice is a bit hard to understand at times (it’s his trademark style). I recommend either going to a lyrics website or looking at the provided booklet to read the lyrics. They are very much like poetry.
The album art is, to say the least, weird. The outer sides of the packaging, a cardboard trifold, features a smooth blue background and…an avocado. Odd. On the inside are some rather weird, possibly gory (I can’t really tell) images. The lyrics booklet included looks interesting, but is very dark. The whole package makes the band seem more punk, when they are really, at least to me, more traditional rock.
This is the main impression the album left on me: it is pure, unfiltered, un-fooled-around-with rock that pays tribute to all the rock legends of years past. Classic rock fans will be as into this album as existing Pearl Jam fans. I highly recommend this album. It may take some getting used to at first, but trust me, it is well worth the trip. Four out of five.
Pearl Jam’s self-titled 2006 album is available now on Sony BMG
- Life Wasted
- World Wide Suicide
- Severed H and
- Marker In The Sand
- Big Wave
- Wasted Reprise
- Army Reserve
- Come Back
- Inside Job
Definitely get: World Wide Suicide, Severed Hand, Unemployable, Army Reserve