Monday, September 14, 2009

Pearl Jam's 5th Greatest Album (Vitalogy)

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.

From number six to number five, we jump from 2006 to 1994, from Pearl Jam's most recent release (until next week), their self-titled "Avocado" record, to their third studio album, the bizarre, unsettling and black grunge-era highlight Vitalogy. The word "experimental" has been used in reference to our number eight ranked-album, Riot Act, along with LPs still to come later in the countdown, but Vitalogy ranks as the first and strangest of all of Pearl Jam's journeys into the weird. The album was released a mere 13 months after Vs., the band's sophomore effort, but the music reflects changes that reach well beyond a year's time. Eddie Vedder's first full album as the band's musical director created an instant impact. The punk-influenced songs became punkier, there were fewer ballads and the album's entire tone was a definite and direct result of Vedder's own troubled and paranoid state of mind. Additionally, this period marks the only time in the band's history that a member has been fired and another hired in the midst of recording an album. The group has never struggled like it did throughout 1994 and '95, and Vitalogy is the recorded document of that struggle. And while Kurt Cobain took his own life after the band had written most of the material for the album, his suicide is still very present in the dark madness of most of the songs. Vitalogy is not only the music of Pearl Jam in 1994, but also the very sound of the band's exhausted, frightened collective mind at the height of its fame.

The discussion continues here.