September 22, 2009


Pearl Jam just released their ninth studio album entitled "Backspacer". As some of you might know, I am a fairly big fan of PJ and have seen them live a total of six times (so far), the most recent in Chicago a few weeks ago with my brother (@JLipan). Despite all of this, I would like to think my review of their most recent effort will be fairly objective but I guess you can be the judge of that.

The first few tracks on the album come with a distinctively upbeat feel to them with a hint of punk which seem to echo band frontman Eddie Vedder's lyrics, "I'm gonna shake this thing, I wanna shake this pain before I retire" from the first track Gonna See My Friend. This followed by Got Some and The Fixer, both of which I got to see performed live at their Chicago show. The energy is high right out of the gate and the music is in your face without being obnoxious.

The remaining tracks on this album sustain the level of energy but seem to really showcase Vedder's vocals, not unlike his solo work for the soundtrack "Into The Wild". This sounds especially true on the tracks Just Breathe, Amongst The Waves, Unthought Known and Speed Of Sound. These tracks are intermixed with songs like Supersonic and Force Of Nature which lean back to the punk/rock side of things.

Overall I have really enjoyed the album, apart from the album cover art. I was honestly not expecting to like this album very much but am finding the more I listen to it, the more I really like it as a whole. Of course there are some songs I like much more than others but there isn't one on "Backspacer" that I particularly don't like, which is cool. I think it really has "play all the way through" value. I'm having a hard time deciding whether Just Breathe, Amongst The Waves or Speed Of Sound is my favorite track on the album so feel free to help me out by giving this album a listen. I would recommend checking it out.


Andy said...

Is there a PJ album that you cannot play all the way through? Including the B-sides and the re-release of Ten.

Matt Lipan said...

Andy: thanks for the read and comment.

coming from a die-hard fan such as yourself, i can understand your point. i would guess there are plenty of people who would not agree with us but to each his own.

marty morrow said...

Album art - not that's something you don't see mentioned in most modern day critiques. refreshing! Remember the days when you use to put the record on, spread the album cover art out on the floor and study it as you listened to the music? I can still smell the musty aroma of the inside of the album cover. And, anyone who cared at all knew to put the album slip cover into the album caseing 90 degrees off so the album couldn't slip out and dust couldn't get in! sigh...

Matt Lipan said...

marty morrow: thanks for the read and comment.

being married to a painter has certainly made me more aware of art and design (or lack thereof). now, i might be dating myself a little but my only real experience with vinyls was messing with my dad's or watching him do as you described. i can however vividly remember the musty smell.

i actually have a record player in my house but i need to spend a little time with because i think the turntable belt is old and keeps slipping. any advice let me know.

thanks again for sharing.

marty morrow said...

advice on slipping turntable belt? well, you could replace it or just keep it the way it is. I think that's how we all discovered that Paul McCartney was dead on the Beatle's album. Oh, and it makes all the other bands sound like the Moody Blues.