Pearl Jam's "Lighning Bolt" Reviewed
Here’s Pearl Jams problem: Kurt hated Vedder because Vedder over sang and came across as insincere. And the problem is, Kurt was right, but the band settled down (though too late the hero Kurt) with Vitalogy.
Then, like Nirvana, though much less dramatically, they decided they didn’t really wanted it, so kinda, half heartedly, abdicated. Ever since then, Pearl Jam have been well loved and have certainly had their moments, and as far as mainstream rock bands are concerned you can out every Linkin Park on the planet on one side, and they wouldn’t be as good as Pearl Jam, but still, they’re dodgy and half hearted, on record any way. I’ve seen em a number of times and at least once, back in 1995, they were aiming for the greatest rock and roll band in the world.
Another time I missed em at MSG but it was just after 9-11 and I heard the boot and they were unbelievably great. But on record, what the hell, do I have to sift through an album to get to “Lukin”? Yeah, apparently, and here we go again. Two of the last three songs are brilliant, the reworked from Vedder’s Ukulele album “Sleeping By Myself” and the glorious and lovely first rate ballad “Future Days”. And the first two songs, “Getaway” and first song off the album “Mind Your Manners” are first rate rave ups but the rest of the album is all over the place.
Both “Infallible” and “Pendulum” I could have done without and the slower it gets, the worse it gets and when Eddie feels things deeply who won’t stop screaming in our face. He is like when you’ve ever had a big argument with your girl and she says “Stop shouting” and you say, “I’m not shouting” at the top of your lungs. All too often that’s what Pearl jam are like.
Too grunge to be anthem, too melodic to be jam (plus they have a front man who won’t shut up), instead they bang into you, they step on your feet, they get in your face. And if only the songs were more consistent you might not mind all. But they suck on the biggies and disappear on the smaller ones and then, when they get it right, they sound so good you forgive them.
02. Mind Your Manners
03. My Father’s Son
05. Lightning Bolt
08. Swallowed Whole
09. Let The Records Play
10. Sleeping By Myself
11. Yellow Moon
12. Future Days