Pearl Jam
Vitalogy


4.5
superb

Review

by tom79 USER (76 Reviews)
March 14th, 2006 | 19 replies | 6,416 views


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist


4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Vitalogy, Pearl Jam's third studio release is somewhat different from their previous two albums, Ten and Vs as you will notice with a first listen. This is another solid release from the Seattle rockers and a very commercially successful one at that, thought not as much as their massive debut. Vitalogy isn't a direct concept album, however seems like one as the songs flow together and the lyrics seem to correspond with each other. Many people seem to think that the death of Kurt Cobain had an effect on the lyrics of the record as some lyrics deal with death (Last Exit, Immortality), but most of the songs were written before his death in April of '94, however, Immortality is said to be a tribue to him. Vitalogy was recorded mostly in Seattle, and was released in December, 1994 as grunge era was slowly beginning to fade away. This record contains some of Pearl Jam's best hard rock songs as well as some of their best ballads. However, the album has some very strange or odd songs, that may just seem like filler to some, but are experimentations which may bring the record down a bit for some people when they first listen to the album. Pearl Jam even won a Grammy with the song Spin The Black Circle for best rock song. This album would be the last album to sell multi-million copies world wide though. Pearl Jam's Vitalogy is listed at #492 on Rolling Stone's top 500 albums of all time and it is the last Pearl Jam record to feature Dave Abbruzzese on drums.

Eddie Vedder's vocal performance on this record is just amazing as he sings with intensity, emotion and at times he sounds like he is going to lose his voice like on Spin The Black Circle which just makes the song even better. Stone Gossard and Mike McCready give solid performances on guitar, as they have the past two as well. There weren?t as many great solos on the record as oppose to their other albums, but there still some good ones, mainly the solo on Corduroy. Bassist Jeff Ament and drummer Dave Abbruzzese give stellar performances as well. Eddie does do a good job on the song writing as he writes some serious lyrics for example on Nothingman where he sings: "Once divided nothing left to subtract/Some words when spoken can?t be taken back/Walks on his own with thoughts he can't help thinking/Futures above but in the past he's slow and sinking". Eddie also sings some weird yet humorous lyrics like from Satan's Bed (written by Stone Gossard) where Eddie says: "I've never slept in Satan's Bed/Although I must admit still visits my place/Uninvited as you know he don't wait". And with all those lyrics he also sings just some plain creepy ones like in Bugs: "I got bugs in my room, bugs in my bed, bugs in my ears; they're eggs on my head". Enough about the lyrics, lets get to the music.

Vitalogy delivers some of Pearl Jam's best hard rock songs like the album opener Last Exit, the Grammy winning, almost punk rock Spin The Black Circle (which the lyrics refer to Eddie's love of vinyl records) and the single of the album Tremor Christ. All three being standout tracks. The slower, ballad type songs (Immortality, Better Man, Nothingman) on the record are all well done. Better Man, one of PJ's more popular songs, is just a great, upbeat song that starts really slow but picks up the pace as the song goes on. Immortality is definitely one of the best on the album as well as one of the longest at over five minutes. Eddie's vocals standout the most here as he sings over the quiet background guitar and slow drums. Nothingman is the softest, calmest song on the album, and put together very nicely. Eddie sings the song very well with great emotion. Nothing instrumentally stands out on the track but the vocals make up for it. Track number eight, Corduroy is in my opinion one of Pearl Jam's greatest songs. It blends between hard and soft rock with its changing tempos. It has a catchy verse and chorus and a great guitar solo as I mentioned earlier. Overall, just an amazing song.

The thing that brings the album down the most is the filler/experimental tracks, or on the other hand one might look at is Vitalogy's key signature and identity. But there's no denying these aren't the most accessible tracks, especially to first timers. Those songs being Pry, To, Bugs, Aye Davanita and the album finale Hey Foxymophandlemama, That's Me. Bugs has Eddie playing the accordion with him just talking throughout the song some weird lyrics. It was kind of interesting to hear the first time, but just got old quickly. Pry, To is another weird song with Eddie spelling P-R-I-V-A-C-Y over and over. On the positive side, the music in the background is very different, but in a good way, kind of funky. And the song is only a minute long. Aye Davanita is probably the most tolerable of the filler/experimental songs. It is basically an instrumental with many different types of instruments including what sounds like a tambourine and a keyboard. If you listen closely you can here Eddie whispering the title. It can just be seen as a transitional song that leads into Immortality. The album finale, played by future drummer Jack Irons, the oddly titled Hey Foxymophandlemama, That's Me is another very weird or experimental song. It has some random voices in it that are hardly comprehendible over some messy instruments. It also drags on way too long at over seven minutes. It ends the album on a rather strange note.

Luckily, Vitalogy has far too many great tracks to let the experimentations drive away accessability, and to some, those songs make Vitalogy what it is. This definitely one of Pearl Jam's best releases to date and I recommend it any casual fan of Pearl Jam that doesn?t have this record. It shows Pearl Jam's more creative side, as well as some softer songs, but still shows they can make some great rock songs like on Ten and Vs.

4.5/5

Pearl Jam on Vitalogy:
Eddie Vedder: Vocals/Guitar; Accordion on 'Bugs'
Stone Gossard: Guitar
Mike McCready: Guitar
Jeff Ament: Bass
Dave Abbruzzese: Drums

Standout Tracks:
Last Exit
Spin The Black Circle
Tremor Christ
Corduroy
Better Man
Immortality



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Zebra
Moderator
March 14th 2006



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This review is much more informative then the other one, so props to you. There are some excellent moments on this album, but I dont think that the last three tracks are anything special, which brings the album down a notch.

Two-Headed Boy
March 14th 2006



4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Immortality is amazing. Nice review, very detailed.

Music_Is_My_Life
March 14th 2006



100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review. This album definitely has some of PJ's best and its just a few tracks that aren't up to par. 'Course I'm a big PJ fan so I may be biased. ;)

ktstein
March 14th 2006



438 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Spin the Black Circle, Better Man, and Satan's Bed stand above here. Everything else is blah...if you want good Pearl Jam, IMO, check out "VS."

Werny
March 15th 2006



148 Comments


...Why did you forget to mention the classic packaging!? That's worth the price alone!

I'll do it for you then.

The packaging is digipack, but it has pages like a book, filled with lyric excerpts and bits out of an extremely old book called, yes, Vitalogy. Pretty funny and cool looking.

Classic album, although something's missing really.

(ps. Stone wrote the silly lyrics for Satan's Bed)

gimo80
March 15th 2006



223 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hell yeah, there's a contents page and everything :p

Anyways, not a bad review and pretty informative, I'm just not totally keen on the introduction, but it gets a lot, lot better. Sorry if it's not my place to criticise, but hey :p

Sadly, I really felt that the album shared the same vibe throughout, making a tad one dimensional in places - there are a lack of proper effects and there are waaay too many crappy fillers. Bugs is just a joke.

Better Man on the other hand is the saviour for the album. It's amazing

tom79
March 15th 2006



3365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[quote=Werny]...Why did you forget to mention the classic packaging!? That's worth the price alone![/quote]
yea i know i should have but the other review had a pretty good description of it, and i was really just reviewing the music.
[quote=Werny](ps. Stone wrote the silly lyrics for Satan's Bed)[/quote]
thanks for that
This Message Edited On 03.15.06

Digging: Rainer Maria - Look Now Look Again

Neoteric
March 15th 2006



3243 Comments


Spin The Black Circle kicks major monkey testes

Two-Headed Boy
March 16th 2006



4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Congrats on the featured review, well done.
/high fives guy in same league as self.

Two-Headed Boy
March 16th 2006



4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

And he's Canadian, and we live relatively close together. Dammit, high five!!

tom79
March 16th 2006



3365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol thanks AV8RS

whatduffhuck7
March 16th 2006



163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pearl jam= one/the best band there is

i personally like vs better but without a dought this is a good cd.

whatduffhuck7
March 16th 2006



163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pearl jam= one/the best band there is

i personally like vs better but without a dought this is a good cd.

rigneyclan
June 21st 2006



9 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Vitalogy wouldn't be Vitalogy without the "filler" tracks. This is definitely Pearl Jam's best album.

MrKite
May 29th 2007



5020 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just listening to this now to see if I should leave the rating the way it is.
Better Man beats everything on this by miles.

Patrick
December 23rd 2007



1891 Comments


I've always found the trapdoor in the sun metaphor to be very intriguing. I also like the picture of the guy with his face chained to the girl's.

711
December 23rd 2007



1341 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

favorite pearl jam album.

TremorChrist
October 2nd 2008



22 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for recommending my favorite song off the album which is (obviously) Tremor Christ. The ending of the song really makes it memorable when the instruments go quiet and Eddie sings "Pulls the bow back..." It's really intense even after several listens. Anyways, really great album with some standout tracks. Nice review, but it was hard to find the song reviews since none of them were bolded (italic writing is hard to find in bug paragraphs). Other than that, great job!

ohfoxxxycole
February 27th 2012



4353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

my favorite pearl jam album



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