Monday, 18 April 2011

Report Card - Pearl Jam, pt. 2 (1996 - Now)




You've had some time to digest the incredible early years of Pearl Jam's discography, now we move on to the latter half of the 90s and into the 2000s. At the end of Part 1, this pioneering act finished their mid-terms with an excellent 'A+.' Can they keep up that high standard with the end of the grunge era and adapt to a new age of music? You're about to find out...


Who You Are (1996)




You could forgive Pearl Jam for a song like 'Who You Are.' This was the experimental mid-90s, were everyone was trying to come up with the 'new' sound that would dominate the remainder of the decade. Unfortunately, this wasn't it.


Song: C

Hail, Hail (1996)




This is more like it! 'Hail, Hail' is a slice of fun rock and one of the better tracks on No Code. This definitely would have made a better choice for lead single.


Song: A-


Off He Goes (1996)




A beautiful tribute to one of the band's greatest influences, Neil Young. Their respect for one of rock music's legends was apparent throughout their early career, including their mesmerizing performance of 'Rockin' In The Free World' alongside Young at the MTV VMAs.


Song: A+


Given to Fly (1998)




Kicking off a spectacular return to form in Yield, 'Given To Fly' provided us with Pearl Jam's most accessible track since 'Better Man.' Gosh Yield was a good album. Anyway, this track is a highlight of any Pearl Jam concert and a fan favourite... both with good reasons. The upbeat nature should leave a smile on any fan's face. 


Song: A+


Wishlist (1998)




You've got to admit, 'Wishlist' was a bold choice for a single. Such a good song, but did it ever really stand a chance at gaining radio play? Remember, this was a time when radio play was a key to album sales. Not that Pearl Jam have ever messed around to gain more album sales.


Song: A-


Do The Evolution (1998)




This is a song you can dance to. I repeat, this is a Pearl Jam song you can actually dance to! It's also another wonderful example of Vedder's ability to blend a message of importance with brilliant rock music. Animated video? YES! Another clip to make the Top 100 Music Videos countdown and it's the perfect fit for the song. What did you want, another performance clip?


Song: A+
Video: A+


Last Kiss (1999)




"Oh where, oh where could my baby be?" Pretty much the band's most commercially successful single and it's a cover. Another good story, another fun karaoke number and a classic pop hit. Yep, it went to #1 in Australia (and #2 in the USA!)... that makes it a pop hit.


Song: A


Nothing as It Seems (2000)




I can't lie... I could never get into 'Nothing as It Seems.' Am I missing something here... or are there others out there that just haven't felt secure enough to voice their real opinion?


Song: C-


Light Years (2000)




As for 'Light Years,' this is a track I could listen to on repeat until the end of time. Proof that Pearl Jam could offer relevant material a decade after their debut and further evidence to add to the 'Eddie Vedder is a master songwriter' pile.


Song: A+


I Am Mine (2002)




Again, a questionable song to release as the lead, but it's good nonetheless. Don't expect too much excitement from the video, but really... if you were expecting excitement from a video for 'I Am Mine' there's something wrong with you.


Save You (2003)




Think of this song as a valuable lesson in life. At some stage, you'll find yourself in the position of losing a friend or taking drastic measures to help them out of some really crappy situations. If you're friendship is worth it, you'll do whatever it takes to keep it. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, there's no helping some causes. They're lost... in every sense of the word. These are the crazy things I learn from Pearl Jam in excellent songs like 'Save You.' An absolute favourite and the song that should have been the lead for Riot Act.


Song: A+
Video: B-


Love Boat Captain (2003)




Song: B+
Video: C+


Man of the Hour (2003)




Another perfect example of Eddie Vedder's ability to destroy you emotionally through song. Pay close attention to the lyrics; they're practically works of art. In word form. Like poetry or something.


Song: A+


World Wide Suicide (2006)




This time around, Pearl Jam picked the best song to introduce fans to their new self-titled album, Pearl Jam. 'World Wide Suicide' keeps the regular themes, but comes across as the funnest song the group has released in... maybe ever. The video is... alright. Nothing groundbreaking.


Song: A+
Video: C+


Life Wasted (2006)




But here's a video that transports you back to the 90s. It's creative, quirky and a great change of pace from the usual performance based clips we'd been getting in the last couple of videos. 'Life Wasted' had quickly become another fan favourite for live performances and with the energy present throughout, it's hard to disagree with that.


Song: A
Video: A-


Gone (2006)




Song: A


Love, Reign o'er Me (2007)




Really, this cover of The Who's 'Love Reign o'er Me' just doesn't do anything for me. Some people love it, but it's another song I could never really get into. Your thoughts?


Song: C


The Fixer (2009)




Another solid choice to lead an album, 'The Fixer' flies by and leaves you wanting more. It also leaves you wanting to buy Backspacer, which is what any good single should do. The performance video is back, but the energy here is too much to ignore.


Song: A
Video: B


Just Breathe (2009)




Song: B
Video: C+


Got Some (2009)




Song: B+

 
Brother (2009)




Step back to the 90s with this previously unreleased gem that was recorded during the early years.


Song: A


Amongst the Waves (2010)




Yep, we get it... the boys love the ocean. Especially the Vedder.


Song: B+
Video: B-


OVERALL GRADE:

A+

Like they were going to get any less than an A+. So, that's Pearl Jam's report card down... they clearly passed with flying colours. Any suggestions as to who we should look at for the next edition?

1 comment:

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