Pearl Jam: Pearl Jam 

CD Review

With so many brilliant Seattle bands having disappeared into oblivion, one thing is certain: Pearl Jam continues to carry the Jet City torch. With their latest self-titled release, they have once again opted for change, not allowing history to repeat itself. In songs like "Worldwide Suicide," there are hidden meanings and paths that only the likes of Nostradamus could have envisioned. Pearl Jam has opted to shy away from contemporary sounds in their latest effort, using antiquated amplifiers loaded with Cathode Ray Tubes which produce melodies similar to some of Kiss's early releases. However, Pearl Jam did not leave the pop-crazed totally unsatisfied with tracks like "Unemployable," where the sounds are a little predictable, but Vedder does what he always does: he makes something which could sound just average sound great and different. For the socially conscious types, this album offers plenty of politically charged tracks, like "Army Reserve," which is another anthem in a growing catalogue of songs about war. It's easy to feel the flower power of this new age being washed upon the backs of today's youth when Vedder sings about a lie and a crooked world. While it is easy to agree with Pearl Jam, it is equally as easy to tune the message out and enjoy what the boys from Seattle have to offer. They are, after all, phenomenal musicians. Ex-Soundgarden now-Pearl Jam drummer is a mainstay and his offerings to the album are noticeable for sure. The irony here is that Pearl Jam's musical talents have evolved in their maturity though unfortunately, the complexity of the songs will likely pass right over many of their listeners' heads. I can only hope the passion of this album finds a way to overcome that.

--Lance Foster

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