Pearl Jam: Backspacer

Album review
Pearl Jam: Backspacer

Pearl Jam


Label: Monkeywrench
Media: CD
Genre: Rock/pop

If the recent deluxe edition of Pearl Jam’s Ten reminded audiences of the band’s prior glory, then Backspacer serves notice that—even two decades into its career— the Seattle quintet remains a vital, vibrant unit. The bandmates curl together like the five fingers of a fist on the album’s first four cuts—a taut, punkish introduction highlighted by “The Fixer.” Here, amidst a flurry of churlish riffs, frontman Eddie Vedder lays out the crew’s latest mission statement: “When something’s gone/I wanna fight to get it back again.”

While the group’s self-titled 2006 release found it reinvigorated by the ineptitude of the Bush administration, Backspacer’s drive sounds more internal; raging against the dying of the light is a recurring theme (“Get it on/Before it’s gone,” Vedder howls on “Get Some”). These hold- tight sentiments are even echoed in a pair of affecting ballads (“Just Breathe” and “The End”) that sound like holdovers from Vedder’s acoustic excursions on the Into the Wild soundtrack.

Sonically, the album sports a wide, deep soundstage and a thunderous low end. Vedder’s earth-rich vocals are captured especially well, particularly on the anthemic “Amongst the Waves,” a song that suggests that sometimes it’s better to keep on keeping on than to struggle needlessly against the current. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Pearl Jam
  • CD

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