Posted by: Kevin | September 20, 2006

Has Eddie Vedder Gotten Old, or Have I?

                                               pearljam1.jpg

Ok, I’m not getting the hype on Pearl Jam’s new album.  I haven’t purchased it yet and refuse to do so until I get an answer to the question above.  I was in high school when “Ten” came out and I loved it.  It propelled me headlong into grunge (except I continued to shower regularly) and prompted me to buy all the albums from the Seattle Scene (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, etc.).  I was an introverted, angst ridden kid and those album resonated with me. 

So when I heard from many people and read many critics saying the new Pearl Jam album was as good as the early stuff, I was ecstatic.  I might not be angst-ridden any more but I still like good tunes.  And if it rocks as much as “Ten” or at least as much as “Vs.” then I’m sold. 

The singles thus far have disabused me of my happy notions.  “World Wide Suicide” isn’t a terrible song but the emphasis is on Vedder’s lyrics and voice rather than the instruments.  Even in the early albums, they play better than he sings.  I feel the same way about “Life Wasted”.  I’ve looked at the lyrics and it seems like they have the depth one would expect of Pearl Jam but for whatever reason that isn’t being conveyed in the music.  They aren’t reaching me and I like to bitch about politics just as much as they do. 

In my final analysis, I think this album has continued the trend of sacrificing the sound of the album for the message.  This to me is an unforgivable offense.  A musician is an entertainer first, a pundit second.  That said, I’m still going to put the album on my Christmas list.  Nothing would make me happier than to learn that I’ve judged to quickly. 

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