Sunday, September 20, 2009


I'm not gonna start by stating the many reasons why Pearl Jam is the best rock band in the world right now. Go google up their history and you'll know why. But I'll say this; I like PJ because they never once compromised their musical integrity. They have never once sold out, unlike many of their contemporaries. And they also make it a point to acknowledge the greats that came before them. You can just hear it in the music; 50 years of Rock & Roll in there. And they got some of the best fans in the world. It's a pity that most people here only know them by one song (that local radio occasionally plays), and that's Last Kiss. This, in turn, makes the listeners think that Last Kiss is one of PJ's most well-known and best songs. Of course, someone from the Ten Club might say that it's fucking bullshit. Besides, that song isn't even theirs!!! It's a fucking cover, for Christ sakes!!! Anyway, I'm starting to sound like one of those record store guys from High Fidelity. I'll stop my bitching and move on to more important matters....

Backspacer is Pearl Jam's 9th studio effort (not counting Lost Dogs). It's also their shortest one, clocking in at just over 36 minutes. That doesn't mean it's a bad thing, cause it's not. In fact, it's totally different from their previous Avocado record. For one thing, I can hardly hear any politics in Backspacer. This is five guys having good clean fun. The music is mainly straight up loud, fast and 'in your face' rock & roll, fueled by the usual, but always effective 'Ramones and Who-like' punk guitar riffs. Oh yeah, and Eddie Vedder sings pretty great too. Even on those quieter songs like Just Breathe and the devastating but beautiful closer, The End, his voice is simply amazing.

Gonna See My Friend is an awesome album opener, and it's followed by Got Some, a kick-ass tune with one of the best PJ choruses ever. It took me a while to really dig The Fixer, but now I begin to realize that Matt Cameron is a fucking genius. He's got a knack for those odd time signatures when he composes, and this song kinda makes you wanna let your hair down. I can just imagine everyone in the crowd singing along to those 'Yeah Yeah Yeah' parts! Another one worth mentioning is Supersonic, a Stone Gossard tune that has a Mankind riff. While every song here is equally good, I have to say the standout is Amongst The Waves. I like it when Eddie uses the ocean and surfing as ways of singing bout hope and freedom. Also, I have a feeling that Unthought Known is gonna be fantastic on stage. I love the way the song slowly builds up, and then everything comes crashing in together. Eyes closed, arms wide open, with the wind blowing against your face. Fucking beautiful.

I can't say enough good things about Backspacer. Kudos to producer, Brendan O'Brien, who's come on board to work with the band since 1998's Yield. I find it hard to rank all the Pearl Jam albums in order, cause every one of them is so great and unique, despite the occasional (and sometimes strange fillers). The band's almost twenty years burnin' down the road, and this album really shows their maturity have grown. It's hard to believe just fifteen years ago, they were a bunch of angry looking long-haired punks. I'm really looking forward to this tour. They've only played a handful of shows so far, but they've been really mixing up their setlists. The first batch of bootlegs are out already. Slightly better mix than year's boots. I decided to get Chicago Night 1 first because of the setlist. Long Road, In Hiding, The Real Me, The Needle And The Damage Done, Rats, Smile....need I say more?? My next boots will be Chicago Night 2, London, definitely Seattle and Philly (their soon to be legendary four night stand at the Spectrum).

It's less than two months away to my first PJ show. Not only that, I'm actually gonna be getting an official recording of that show! Now, how cool is that??

Album Rating: 4/5