Wednesday, March 26, 2014

One Year, 100 Albums: #28 Pearl Jam "Vs."

Pearl Jam Vs., 1993

First albums are often the rawest album in a band's catalog, but for whatever reason, this sophomore album is the rawest, hardest rocking album the band has ever done. I know it's supposed to be about conflict, and boy does it deliver on adherence to a theme.

If you only know Pearl Jam from the radio, you might be SLIGHTLY aware of the bitchin' guitar solos present in a lot of their songs, but I'm not sure you can know the levels of bitchin' they achieve without listening to the first song on the album, "Go"

The best thing that I ever did with regards to PJ was purchasing a bootleg live album (from their Official Live Bootleg Series, of course) and just immersing myself in that. I picked out an album with as many songs that I knew that I loved and then sat back and let the songs that I'd never heard before wash over me. After a while, it seemed that most the "new" songs that I loved from the live album were from Vs. and so when I bought this album, it was no big surprise that I loved it as much as I do.

It has rockers like "Go" and "Animal" and "Rats", quiet reflection in "Daughter" and "Elderly Woman..." and "Indifference", and a lot of incendiary political stuff on tracks like "WMA" and "Glorified G". It also has the closest thing to a Bruce Springsteen song that PJ has ever done in terms of feeling the need to get in your car and drive away from your troubles and start over ("Rearviewmirror").

If you only buy one Pearl Jam album in your life, this one is an EXCELLENT choice. It encapsulates every good quality that the band brings to the table.

Pearl Jam had a longstanding policy against making music videos and I couldn't find a satisfactory live video. So here's 3 songs! If you have a favorite Vs. era live video, post a link in the comments!

Pearl Jam - Animal
Pearl Jam - Rearviewmirror
Pearl Jam - Indifference

You can buy Vs. at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

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