68 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better Loud than Too Late
This is Pearl Jam's best album of the 2000s. Continuing where Pearl Jam left off, the band matches the energy of their last outing with better, tighter songs. The lyrics (notably, all are credited to Vedder) are exceptional. No longer bound by anti-Bush righteous rage, Vedder seems to feel freed to sing songs with more empathy and positive energy. There are still plenty...
Published on September 25, 2009 by Brandon J. Smith
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars....
I think this album will take a bit of "work" to like, which has been the case with most of their albums (for me anyway). The songs that immediately grabbed me are: the fixer, just breath, amongst the waves, and force of nature. So these four warrant my satisfaction, in a immediate sense anyway. These songs all have nice elements and seem not to be overdone. The...
Published on October 20, 2009 by ziggedyzow
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68 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better Loud than Too Late,
This is Pearl Jam's best album of the 2000s. Continuing where Pearl Jam left off, the band matches the energy of their last outing with better, tighter songs. The lyrics (notably, all are credited to Vedder) are exceptional. No longer bound by anti-Bush righteous rage, Vedder seems to feel freed to sing songs with more empathy and positive energy. There are still plenty of songs about troubled souls and surfing, but the overall tone is warmer and filled more with empathy than anger.
The band's playing is excellent as always, and Brendan O'Brien's return to the fold is welcome - this album, even more than the Ten Redux cd, is proof positive that O'Brien is THE man to produce Pearl Jam's albums. He adds a few touches of keyboards and strings here and there to augment the standard guitar/bass/drums rock format, and the result is a sound perfectly suited to Pearl Jam's strongest batch of songs in years.
Pearl Jam fans who have been waiting for a new great album but weren't quite convinced by their previous cd should give this one a shot, and fans who have stuck with the band all these years will not be disappointed. This is Pearl Jam for 2009 and beyond.
49 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best since 'Yield',
This review is from: Backspacer [Vinyl] (Vinyl)
A quick note -
*this album is available for purchase at a regular price at any Target location.
*this album is available for download at a regular price on itunes.
*this album is also available for purchase at any locally-owned record/cd store.
Otherwise you will have to pay the expensive price listed here because Target is the only big-box chain store which sells Backspacer in the United States. Amazon must have fandangled a way to buy it from overseas and then resell it to you here, though that is just a guess.
On to the music.
It is wonderful. The album is again produced by Brendan O'Brian. As a whole the disc feels more upbeat than 2006's self-titled offering. With that being said we still get plenty of Eddie's growl and plenty of songs that rock. If you are already a fan of the band, you ought to stop reading this review and go purchase this now. You will not be disappointed.
The songs on the album are as fresh and inspired as you would expect a new recording to be from a band as creative as Pearl Jam. I feel that Binaural, Riot Act, and Pearl Jam are all excellent albums. But Backspacer is the most 'fun' to listen to of that group. The songs are tight, concise, and inventive. I doubt anything on the album is much longer than four minutes.
I was pleasantly surprised Target had a supply of Backspacer available for purchase on vinyl, and that is what I bought. The disc is nice and heavy, probably along the lines of 180 grams. It doesn't seem quite as hefty as some of my 200 gram records. Regardless, the sound quality is excellent. This is about all I have to say. I feel an album needs many years to really grow on me and allow me to accurately compare it alongside the material that came before it. But I can easily give this recording a five-star rating, and recommend it heartily to Pearl Jam fans, and fans of good music in general.
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Way it Should Be done! Best rock record in a long time!,
This is how bands should make and sell cd's. This is the version which comes with download codes to get two complete PJ shows (like an additional 60 some songs!!!!!)
First the Backspacer album itself. Incredible. Production and songs are amazing. The first two songs have a more hardcore edge. Fixer opens up into an amazing anthem sound. Poetic lyrics, amazing singing, hard rocking guitars, excellent drumming and bass. This is the best band of the last twenty years, and this album proved it to me. This album is a MUST listen to. The entire album as a whole flows great together. Especially from Just Breathe to The End. It is concise and tight, and not a moment is wasted. Awesome.
Again, this is the version where you get to choose from 10 or 12 concerts and can download those COMPLETE concerts. So for one price you get the album, and two complete shows. This is a deal you cannot beat. After hearing the live shows, I have been converted into a complete Pearl Jam maniac!!!! Believe me, this album is and band is ALL THAT!!!!!
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They did the Evolution, Baby!,
First off, I will let you know that I am biased in the fact that PJ is my favorite band of all time and I love all of their stuff. This album is great. The guys seem to be evolving and moving in a different direction with each album. The one thing that I love, (and that others seem to hate because they say "when is Pearl Jam going to equal the material that they put out on Ten)?, is that these guys progress musically and experiment, rather than rehashing old material. Each of their albums is excellent in the fact that they are willing to try something new. Sure, there are straight forward facemelters on Backspacer along with slow songs (I refuse to call any of PJ's songs ballads), but that is to be expected from a rock band. That is what they do. The thing is, they are different than the ones that were on Ten or Yield or Riot Act etc. That is great in my opinion. The sonics and reverb used on Backspacer is great. The percussion and bass is just right. The vocals and lyrics are awesome. All around this is a great album. And if these dudes don't win some kind of award for packaging, something is wrong with society in general.
Peace and Love,
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 9th Studio Album. Still making great music,
This review is from: Backspacer (Audio CD)
Love this album. Purchased it when it first came out in 2009. Has cool rockers like Got Some, The Fixer, Gonna See My Friends, Johnny Guitar, and Supersonic. A great love song in Just Breathe. A tearjerker in The End. Both songs used in episodes of Castle. Speed of Sound is a nice song. Some prefer the demo version. But both are great. My top 3 on the album though are Unthought Known, Force of Nature, and Amongst the Waves.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars....,
I think this album will take a bit of "work" to like, which has been the case with most of their albums (for me anyway). The songs that immediately grabbed me are: the fixer, just breath, amongst the waves, and force of nature. So these four warrant my satisfaction, in a immediate sense anyway. These songs all have nice elements and seem not to be overdone. The guitar solo on amongst the waves is edgy and showcases mcready's maturity. But I would like to hear more from mcready on this album. There are nice textures in "force of nature" that sound a bit like the edge from U2...not a bad reference. I think Gossard is weak on this album, as he's usually pitching in with some solid chord progressions but he seems to be playing in the background.
I can't say much about the lyrics yet as i'm still trying to understand what eddie wants to say. It hasn't been so hard in the past to understand eddie and perhaps he was more of a poet in previous albums. His words on this album seem a bit simplistic, maybe reflecting the simpler musical layout.
At the end of the day, this album will be spun a lot on my HD. I think it is "good", and after a hiatus of listening to it, the album will trigger memories. All PJ albums have this quality of triggering memories or bringing one back to the place they first spun the record.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars new Pearl Jam fan,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Was not really a Pearl Jam fan but really enjoyed this cd. Shocked my son by buying Pearl Jam and it's good to shock your children every now and then. Great songs!
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully constructed and a real grower,
After seeing Pearl Jam put on a wonderful show in Perth, I went back and listened to Backspacer and must say it is a definate grower. The following Monday, Unthought Known opened up Flashforward and I was sold on this album. As far as consistancy goes this must rate highly amongst Ten, Vs and Yield.
(1) Gonna See My Friend
Powerful opener but a little one paced and one of the weakest on the album. Sounds great live though.
(2) Got Some
You can imagine someone screaming down the face of a massive wave when this song opens with its surf safari feel. Nicely constructed, powerful and catchy and likely to become a crowd favourite. Vocals and guitar are brilliant throughout
(3) The Fixer
Brilliant single and one of the most upbeat Pearl Jam songs of all time. Very catchy, and a certain mosh pit favourite. Catchy, and "Yeah Yeah Yeah" works brilliantly. A song likely to generate a new legion of fans. My 19 month old son goes off to this!
(4) Johnny Guitar
Guitar driven and gives Mike a chance to cut loose a little. Pretty good song overall but not quite as catchy as some of the others. Powerful vocal performance from Ed.
(5) Just Breathe
Nice vocals, music and a likely crowd pleaser after a frenetic concert opening. When I first heard this it sounded like something from Into The Wild. A little one paced so they should be careful about playing this song to death.
(6) Amongst The Waves
A great song and one that has grown on me. A surf song but without the Got Some surf safari twang. Is this to Backspacer what Given To Fly was to Yield?. One of the most complete and satisfying songs on the album
(7) Unthought Unknown
This is set to become a Pearl Jam classic. What a brilliant and beautiful song that builds and reaches a wonderful crescendo. Only early days but this song is to Backspacer what Better Man was to Vitalogy. Enough said
A fast paced grower and another potential crowd favourite. Mike's guitar on this is quite heavy in parts but is much cleaner than Spin the Black Circle or Do The Evolution.
(9) Speed of Sound
For one of the weakest songs on the album this can creep up on you but unlikely to have any serious longetivity.
(10) Force of Nature
The Wah pedal gets a work out and this is a pretty good song and consistant with the rest of the album.
(11) The End
Great song to wrap up proceedings. Heartfelt vocals and a song that will go down well live once Vedder needs a rest. A song likely to be played in the middle as opposed to the end that is reserved for Pearl Jam classics.
This is an album that you can play from start to finish without skipping any songs. It is far more commercial sounding than other Pearl Jam albums but that isn't a bad thing at all. This is not selling out, but who wants Pearl Jam to produce 11 versions of Bugs. Hard core fans want to see obscure music, however with their back catalogue this just adds to Pearl Jams appeal to a new generation. The songs sound brilliant live, and with Unthought Known we have a future classic that will be sung with gusto until they finally give touring away. Kids these days are right into Green Day (as witnessed at their recent Perth concert) but why not lash out and buy them this wonderful album?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you need it,
This is a great example of a band entering the later era of their career with both a finely tuned ear for what defines them (a la Pink Floyd's Division Bell) and a firey refusal to play "old" (see: Neil Young). It's not going to compete with Tom Waits for growing old with fire and smoke, but neither is it that "Hi, we're old now, and a little more laid back since we got out of rehab" moment that almost every band that ever survives has. Even Pearl Jam's beloved Who lost almost everything that made them great (save for the ability to stand on stage and churn out workman-quality renditions of the songs that they used to believe in)...and the second decade of the sprint is where Pearl Jam one-ups them. Not only in their performance of Love Reign O'er Me (youtube it if you haven't seen it), but in their ability to continue producing new creative material that is as relevant and potent as anything they've ever done.
Pearl Jam's embracing of the classicism of their sound is a saving grace as they grow old, in much the same way the aforementioned Neil Young's folky simplicity served his insistent youthfulness and Waits's blues-from-beyond-the-grave ethereal quality made him timeless. As long as they don't grow complacent about their purpose (which their new-found love of merchandising is starting to suggest might happen) then they will continue to be as promising as any fresh-faced artist.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Meet Eddie Ramone,
I guess getting Bush out of the White House has calmed Eddie Vedder down a little. "Backspacer" is an open and airy slice of rocking - dare I say it - fun from Pearl Jam, whose righteous rage has clouded many of their albums for the last ten years or so. This time, they take a cue from one of their influences by making a short (barely 35 minutes) album with tightly wound songs, the longest of which sprints to the four minute mark. Just call it "Rocket To Seattle."
The lead single, "The Fixer," sounds like "Wishlist" on speed-dial. Complete with an "Uh huh huh huh" intro and some super power chords, Eddie enunciates (!!) the manners in which he'd like to save a little love in his life. (Curiously, it is also one of the numbers Vedder didn't write.) Like much of their self-titled 2006 album, "The Fixer" and songs like "Got Some" and "Supersonic" are the sound of Pearl Jam openly embracing classic and classicist rock, with guitarist Stone Gossard banging out muscular riffs in almost gleeful abandon.
Vedder has also broken into a sensitive place. With songs like "Just Breathe," which sounds like a leftover from his soundtrack for "Into The Wild," he and the band touch a nerve that their younger selves would have only been able to stab a claw hammer into. It's their best ballad to date.
Their age is kind of showing on "Backspacer." "Ten" has reached its 20th anniversary, and "Backspacer" reunites the band with producer Brendan O'Brien to excellent results. The difference is that all parties are now OK with just being a terrific rock band without forcing embellishments or drawing out the proceedings. The band still treats Rock as the means to deliver a message (as "Got Some" and "Unknown Thought" still show); just now the message is delivered with a firm handshake instead of the shaken fist.
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