Pearl Jam
Lightning Bolt


3.0
good

Review

by Robbie Byrne USER (19 Reviews)
November 20th, 2013 | 9 replies | 914 views


Release Date: 10/14/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Like the band themselves, Lightening Bolt has its moments of glory, but ultimately fails to impress.

0 of 1 thought this review was well written

Crafting a stunning debut album is perhaps the epitome of the double-edged sword. On one hand you have your moment of glory, while one the other every subsequent offering will be compared to the original. In 1991, Pearl Jam’s debut album, Ten was released to critical acclaim; its visceral songwriting resulted in a work of abrading emotion unheard of in the alternative rock circles of the time. For Pearl Jam, Ten placed a curse that has yet to be lifted and now, ten albums into their lengthy decline there is every sense that their latest offering is an absolute stinker.

From the outset it is clear that Pearl Jam are immune to current trends; a lack of electronica and an apparent return to their punk roots may seem like commercial suicide, but at times it does pay dividends. 'Mind Your Manners' caged youth and tight percussion section sees Pearl Jam at their most immediate since Vitalogy, while the invigorating 'My Fathers Son,' with its chugging bass line evokes the grandiose mysticism of 'Garden.' Nevertheless, Lightening Bolt is not all crunching powerchords and vented anger, 'Sirens' see’s the band thread a more emotional path where a rare Eddie Vedder falsetto and gentle acoustic fretwork combine to produce a genuinely heartfelt ballad.

So could this be? Could this be the Pearl Jam record that banishes the curse of Ten? Not a chance. Lightening Bolts closing half resembles a ponderous mess of discarded B-sides from music past. 'Infallible’s' criminal lyricism 'keep on locking your doors/ keep on building your floors' screams Nickelback at their most compliant, while 'Swallowed Whole' comes across as little more than a poorly rehashed Led Zeppelin throw away. The closing trio of tracks draws from a variety of nondescript influences, creating a sound alien from their trademark grunge roots. It seems that opening roar has faded into a whimper...

On paper, Lightening Bolt is the perfect alternative rock album for 2013; it opens with a pair of intense rockers, has a generous helping of mid-tempo radio friendly numbers and closes with some soft folk balladry. Though in reality Lightening Bolt finds Pearl Jam with the cruise control switched firmly on, it is too inconstant, too wandering and too generic to stand up against the bands earlier distinctive sound. Yes, it has its moments of youthful genius, but you just wish they would last longer.



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3.4
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Ecnalzen
November 20th 2013



6487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is pretty alright. The verses of Infallible are just like, damn... Too bad the chorus kind of fucks it up.



RHCP1999
November 20th 2013



53 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Haha true! Infallible reminds me of a Nickelback song... it killing me which one it is though :S Overall though its a semi-decent effort.

Ecnalzen
November 20th 2013



6487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Gross. No wonder you aren't a fan of it then. The bass and guitar just mesh so well on those verses. The whole song could have been the verse and I would have been cool with that.

Never been too big on this band; I didn't realize they had punk roots. I was honestly really surprised by Mind Your Manners, but I think they pull it off pretty nicely. I also really liked Pendulum. It's almost kind of eerie sounding.

You might put quotations or something around song titles in your reviews. Lets them stand out more. I think the general rule is to italicize albums names and put quote marks around song titles.

RHCP1999
November 20th 2013



53 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Agreed! I didn't either, tbh i thought they were always grunge, but several articles I read said they had grunge roots. Yep ill fix the quotations, the italics must have disappeared when i copied the article from word. Cheers for the feedback.

RHCP1999
November 20th 2013



53 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

*Grunge roots? Meant to write punk roots !

greencorn5
November 21st 2013



194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The bass and (I believe) organ on Infallible are fucking incredible. Really makes that song. I am a huge PJ fan and it used to be all about Eddie and the lyrics but over the years I've come to appreciate their music more. I have to change my rating but for me this album is a solid 4 if not 4.5

greencorn5
November 21st 2013



194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

If they had say one more hard rocker on here and switched it in place of Sleeping By Myself (already on ukulele alb) I think this would be their best offering since VS.

Pheromone
November 21st 2013



3460 Comments


I have this on CD (well it's more like a book) but haven't got around to it

Digging: Early Day Miners - Placer Found

RHCP1999
November 21st 2013



53 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Best thing about the album is the packaging



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