Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

October 28, 2010

Pearl Jam ~ Vs.

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Style: grunge, hard rock
Label: Epic
Year: 1993
Home: Seattle

Members: Dave Abbruzzese ~ drums
Jeff Ament ~ bass
Stone Gossard ~ rhythm guitar
Mike McCready ~ lead guitar
Eddie Vedder ~ vocals

Anyone who expected a sequel to the chart-topping grungy Ten were probably disappointed by this release. But, as the years have fortold, this album set the stage for the Pearl Jam discography where every album is it's own unique world & expectations are thrown out the window. There will never be another Ten & Pearl Jam has too much to say to have it any other way. Vs. is far less polished than Ten & I often feel a lot more unpredictable, though it did reel off the legitimate array of hits "Go", "Daughter", "Animal", "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town", "Dissident" & "Glorified G", so it's unpredictability is far from a detriment. If Ten was considered a highlight of grunge, Vs. could be the raw & gnarly muck that grunge came out of. Ten had shown that the band could make a commerical impact, though more than they ever expected, while Vs. is the more experimental & aggressive side better suited to the clubs they'd become too big to play in with its dense sound of slashing guitars, while a more popular to music fans than big eyed teenage girls looking for the newest heartthrob ... cause no one will deny Eddie Vedder is a heartthrob. While Ten is stuffed with sing-along memorable lyrics perfect for MTV, Vs. focuses more on the music with the lyrics seemingly to get lost in the mix or treated as just another instrument & not the main focus. Sadly, maybe because of this, the album also has less memorable songs than its predecessor, or at least memorable in a different way. It's also an album that takes a few listens to get into, as it's so different than Ten & what we expect from Pearl Jam let alone it's fierce & aggressive. But, after a few listens one might even consider it a far stronger & entertaining album than Ten & more a reflection of the band than a producer or record label. It feels like a live album of a band having creative fun without the inherent weakness of a live setting making Ten seem like a overly controlled band looking for a hit. In the end, as long as one puts aside expectations, Vs. is a worthwhile purchase, but then most Pearl Jam albums are worthwhile additions to any musical collection as there's band quite like Pearl Jam.

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