Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pearl Jam's 3rd Greatest Album (No Code)

I didn't rank them.  I'm just passing the word on from Charles Peelle's Examiner posts.  Go check 'em out.  Harrass him.  It's good fun.

Emotions probably run higher about this album than anything else in the band's library. 13 years after its release, No Code remains Pearl Jam's most polarizing LP. Its sheer variety and wild arrangement are likely the reasons why many fans list it at number one, while plenty of others (like the commentator above) believe it to be the band's worse. Some (Yield advocates) cannot handle the inconsistency of the album's moods and themes, others (Ten and Vs. fanatics) are annoyed by its inaccessibility and what it did to the band's career, while many (Vitalogy folks) think the band would have been better off continuing in the dark direction of their previous record. But this is what they chose to do instead. No Code is the unsung hero of the Pearl Jam catalogue. Daring, adventurous, and honest to its core, the album is the finest example of the band writing, recording and performing without regard for the results. In other words, on this album, PJ was doing whatever the hell it wanted. After the astronomical sales of the first two albums and Vitalogy going five times platinum, No Codewas the great destroyer that tore down the entire concept of Pearl Jam up to the point of its release, only going platinum and alienating many listeners with its eclectic take on eastern, world and experimental music, along with garage, punk and classic rock, dashed with a bit of spoken word, folk and country. Sounds like a mess, huh? That mess is part of the allure of the album, an uncompromising, underrated masterpiece in the history of Pearl Jam's recordings, destined to forever fly under the radar for many and to be the quintessential cult classic for both devoted and pretentious Ten Clubbers.

The discussion continues here.