Friday, July 21, 2006

On behalf of the founder of the New Release Thursday Institute, the exalted Little Miss Monkeyshines, I welcome you to the NRT annex. This weeks feature actually came out in June.

Fourteen years after their debut release, Pearl Jam has released their self-titled album. Which, to many non-faithful fans, is apropriate since (according to them) all albums recorded between Ten and this one, didn’t count. Over the past few weeks, I can’t tell you how many times the phrase “Pearl Jam is back” has been uttered or written. I happen to disagree. You see, there are two camps: There are those that expected every subsequent release to have the same orgasmic, give-em-everything-you-have-every-time style that makes most bands famous before they crash and burn. Then there are those, like myself, that watched them as they evolved and matured. I’ve followed them closely since I discovered them in a live performance back in the summer of 92. I went to the show, largely to see The Red Hot Chili Peppers and was blown away by the show-stealing display of belt-you-in-the-face rock and roll. Complete with Eddie’s stage antics which included his signature move of climbing to the top of the scaffolding that surrounds the stage and jumping into the crowd. (He almost kicked me in the head.)

To make matters worse, those in the just-give-me-more-of-the-same club were further irritated by Eddie’s belly aching about being famous. After the daunting fame that accompanied the smashing success of Ten, he intentionally lead the band in a path that strayed from the careening rode to stardom. Instead, much to the dismay of his band mates, whenever he felt like the band was beginning to break into a gallop that might result in a radio hit, he would pull back the reins. In hide sight, it was the wisest thing he could have done for the band. Instead of going full bore into the realm of super stardom — a strategy that would have probably meant the end of Pearl Jam — he nurtured the quintet into a solid, unbreakable band.

With this release, Eddie and the boys have reached the maturity they were seeking. They’ve decided that it’s time be okay with giving it all now and then. Actually a bit more than now and then. The first half of this avocado clad masterpiece is pure wad-shooting rock and roll that’s making them as popular as ever and is their best single collection of new music since Yield. Like I said before, Pearl Jam has always been a little antiestablishment-minded — some times even combative. Take the afore mentioned stance against their own success; their battles with Ticketmaster; their continuous disdain for GW and his wars. And this album is no different but somehow they managed to harness the rage to fuel a rediscovered popular success. The first single from Pearl Jam, "World Wide Suicide," is an unveiled attack on the administration and the current war they have our country wallowing in. The albums opening track, “Life wasted,” is also destined for radio conquest. It’s a brash, teeth-gritting, call to arms designed to rally disenchanted liberal activists to stop lick our wounds and take back our country. Hell, almost every track is dripping with brilliance so I’m not going to dissect them. Just go listen to them. A lot.

Pearl Jam is bound for greatness. They are as raw and hard-hitting as they were in their beginning and they are the closest thing to a true, honest-to-goodness rock and roll band that there is right now. Eddie’s saber-toothed vocals and intelligent, yet artful lyrics. Two fantastic and complementary guitarist: Stone Gossard’s kick-you-in-the-nuts, bounce-off-the-walls, frenzied style blends well with the more complex, intricate and unique style of Mike McCready. And Matt Cameron? Please. This guy plays drums like he made it up.

Make room in the Hall of Fame for Pearl Jam and make room on your self for Pearl Jam.


Blogger Nick Badway said...

Wow! How big of a dork am I for not knowing they were coming out with a new record? Keep your answers to yourselves please. Rhetorical question.

1:59 PM, July 21, 2006  
Blogger LMMS said...

Well, you beat me to it. The new PJ album has now offically been 'blogged'. I've been putting it off for some reason, but now I don't have to worry about not doing them justice because it's been done for me. Thanks! The weird thing? The first time I laid eyes on PJ was in 1993. I also went to see the Chili Peppers, but along with them came PJ and this other little known band - The Smashing Pumpkins. Since two of the three have been taken care of, perhaps I'll pull out the Chili Peppers for next week. Hmmm...

Also, glad to hear that monkeys are making there way into your life more and more. Speaking of which, I have to place an order for one of those t-shirts - it's classic! And your client who's now in marketing? Has nothing to do with the monkeys. We are all alcoholics to some level. Each and every primate center in the US has at least four bars within walking distance of the front doors and it's not because of the monkeys. It's because of the people. However, I cannot be certain that this was her issue.

Hope your car is better. Been there, done that. You have my sympathies.

8:12 PM, July 22, 2006  

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