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)

January 1, 2012

Eddie Vedder ~ Ukulele Songs

(Click on heading to visit official website of Pearl Jam.)
Style: folk rock, pop
Label: Universal Republic
Year: 2011
Home: Seattle, Washington

Members: Eddie Vedder ~ vocals
Chris Worswick ~ ukulele

Guests: Glen Hansard, Chan Marshall "Cat Power" ~ vocals

Some say that there's no more new music out there as it's all been done, let alone no more suprises ... but the lead singer of one of the father groups of grunge doing a vocal & ukulele albums? That certainly has got to get an award for suprises. & as for being new music ... this is not your father's ukulele album ... nor is it a rock album or a grungle album. Pearl Jam is anything but easy-listening. Classic rock influenced, yes ... though many grunge fans may decry the fact that their movement was helped by a band that drew from Mountain as much as the Sex Pistols. But, if anyone had predicted that frontman EV had a solo album up his sleave surely the easy-listening emotive acoustic outcome leaves any follow-up predictions in the dust. But, it shouldn't be surprising, really, considering that Pearl Jam has had its share of ballads & pondering moments, albeit against an agitated plugged in background. The thing that's unbelievable here obviously is the choice of instrumentation. There's not an electric instrument in sight nor even any studio tweaking or overdubs. It's a strange yet refreshing moment ... even in comparison to all the great music that has been put out over 2011. One voice, one ukulele. So simple & so powerful. Clicking of plectrum & all. It may not rock but its as intense as anything EV put out with Pearl Jam ... & on that level may rock out even more ... in the deep seated gutteral way. Of course, as everyone whose ever listened to Pearl Jam knows & it remains true here on Ukulele Songs, the real secret is EV's deep masculine baritone. In his 40's he may not have the crazy energy or intentions of youth but his voice still retains the same texture that the world fell in love with two decades ago & it's here in pure stark form unencombered by layers of sound. This is the EV girls dreamed of singing to them alone from the edge of the bed ... or something like that. EV is intimate with this collection of mostly original love songs in a way he could never be with Pearl Jam. Further, it's obvious that he's not trying to show of his singing prowess but just sing a collection of songs that reach into the soul that one might expect coming from Johnny Cash or Willie Nelson versus a grunge rocker. Also deserving mention is Chris Worswick who is a premiere ukulele player showing that the instrument is everything but the toy Tiny Tim might have made us believe. Ukulele Songs will haunt you & you'll be going back numerous times to discover more & more. A masterpiece no doubt on every level. It's hard to make a masterpiece these days.

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