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Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam (May 2006)

Track listing:

  1. Life Wasted
  2. World Wide Suicide
  3. Comatose
  4. Severed Hand
  5. Marker In The Sand
  6. Parachutes
  7. Unemployable
  8. Big Wave
  9. Gone
  10. Wasted Reprise
  11. Army Reserve
  12. Come Back
  13. Inside Job

It's been a few weeks since I bought the 8th and latest Pearl Jam studio album, named after the band itself. For the first couple of weeks I was listening to a selection of the tracks a lot, in particular the first 7 songs or so. I was pleased when I first listened to the album, which I was hoping would be better than Riot Act, and indeed I found it to be so. A few weeks on and I still think Pearl Jam is a good album, though, it has to be said, not on a par with Ten or Vs.

The band members are now in their forties, but they haven't toned down the style of their music, which still rocks hard. Of the rockers on the album my favourite is "Unemployable", which features some original and interesting guitar riffs. The chorus reaches an almost cheesy high as vocalist Eddie Vedder sings "Oh oh" in what is a less original vocal melody, but highly catchy.

Of the lower-key tracks I particularly like "Parachutes", an acoustic ballad with nice chord changes. The slight shifts in timing keep the verses from becoming predictable, and the pre-chorus incorporates some clever changing of keys. The chorus is, on the other hand, somewhat obvious, but pleasing nonetheless. I've read a lot of comments from fans who choose the other major ballad "Come Back" as one of the best songs on the album. I find this a surprising choice since the song is not very interesting; however, the lyrics are very moving.

Other highlights on the album include the guitar solos on "Comatose" and "Severed Hand", Vedder's singing on most tracks, and the moment the whole band finally joins in on "Inside Job". The only track which could be called a filler is "Wasted Reprise", which some people might find adds character to the album.

The first single, "Worldwide Suicide", is available as a free MP3 download from PearlJam.com

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