Pearl Jam
No Code


2.5
average

Review

by Trajan Paul Murphy USER (17 Reviews)
January 19th, 2014 | 20 replies | 745 views


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Like a car with a near-dead battery, No Code sputters and slowly moves ahead, but never properly gets going.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

By the time of 1996, grunge was more or less dead in the eyes of the mainstream. Kurt Cobain had died, Alice in Chains had faded into obscurity, and the first wave of post-grunge was on the rise. Pearl Jam was among the last major grunge acts left by 1996, and they decided that it was time for a change. They wrote and recorded the album No Code, and in the process experimented with art rock and worldbeat.

Due to the fact that No Code is looked upon by many as Pearl Jam's lowest point, one might expect the album to be lacking creativity. However, this is one credit that can be given to the album. One will know that they will be in for a different experience when album opener "Sometimes" rears its head. Rather than a blazing and fast-paced opening track such as those from their first three albums, it is instead a melancholy ballad. While No Code is, without a doubt, a Pearl Jam album, it sounds notably different from all their records both before and since. The band does a good job incorporating the new worldbeat elements into their sound, and thus, the problem lies not within the level of creativity, or the overall sound.

No Code's problem is that, while there is nothing particularly bad about it, there is nothing particularly good about it either. Most of the songs have nothing that grabs your attention, either good or bad. Like a car with a near-dead battery, it sputters and slowly moves ahead, but never properly gets going. The band clearly has good ideas, and has done their best to execute them, but they still lack that one essential quality.

Even the two apparent exceptions to this rule don't do very much in the album's service. The track "Mankind" is notable due to the fact that for once Eddie Vedder steps down from the microphone and lets guitarist Stone Gossard temporarily take his place. Gossard's vocal work is perfectly passable, but lacks the distinctiveness and charm of Vedder's voice. The other exception "I'm Open" stands out because the verses are spoken rather than sung. As the only true highlight, "I'm Open" is the best track on the album, but is still not nearly enough to rescue the rest of No Code from being forgotten after several listens.

While No Code's experimental nature must be applauded, it is still quite unremarkable. Besides two tracks, it fails to arouse any interest, and simply sputters along for fifty minuets. It will fail to impress anyone who doesn't have "PJ" tattooed on them, and for anyone else, your time would best be spent elsewhere.



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user ratings (623)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TPM731
January 19th 2014



217 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm not sure about the quality of this review, so any constructive criticism is welcome.

slagun
January 19th 2014



680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really cant agree with the rating nor the review. So many great songs on here, Present Tense being one of PJ's best

Digging: Edge of Sanity - Crimson

TPM731
January 19th 2014



217 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

What about the review don't you like?

dannyboy89
January 19th 2014



11912 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

No Code's problem is that, while there is nothing particularly bad about it, there is nothing particularly good about it either. It lacks something that can't quite be described, something that is vital for a good album. Like a car with a near-dead battery, it sputters and slowly moves ahead, but never properly gets going. The band clearly has good ideas, and has done their best to execute them, but they still lack that one essential quality.


This criticism is too vague, try to clear it up, even if you struggle with it. You might get negged for such comments.

Otherwise I think this review is pretty decent. On a sidenote, I think "Red Mosquito" is the best track on this.

TPM731
January 19th 2014



217 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I wasn't sure how to describe what it lacks. If you can give me a different idea as to how I can get the idea across, I'd love to hear it.

dannyboy89
January 19th 2014



11912 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Let's see if these suggestions help:

-The songs feel rather boring (or something along those lines)
-The album as a whole lacks energy
-Many of the songs feel like filler
-The band sounds uninspired here



TPM731
January 19th 2014



217 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks. Going to edit it now.

dannyboy89
January 19th 2014



11912 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Much better, have a pos.

Sciroccu
January 19th 2014



752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great album indeed...

InbredJed
January 19th 2014



5612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this has my favourite production of any PJ album, plus the positivity and life exude from the players. Songs which may at first listen seem like filler are revealed to be apre-genator of the styles we find in Eddie's soundtrack work on Into The Wild.

The album also effectively integrates folk, indian and some experimental elements to a greater effect than was accomplished on VS.

Multiple listens of this album just reveal more value.

Fav Trax: Hail, Hail, Who You Are, Smile, Off He Goes, Red Mosquito, Present Tense, Around The Bend

dannyboy89
January 19th 2014



11912 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Multiple listens of this album just reveal more value.



Agreed Inbred.

StallionMang
January 19th 2014



5239 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Damn I thought this was pretty good, good review tho so pos'd

Digging: TTNG - This Town Needs Guns

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
January 19th 2014



11956 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'Due to the fact that No Code is looked upon by many as Pearl Jam's lowest point'

u wot m8

Digging: Various Artists - In Utero, In Tribute

emprorzurg
January 20th 2014



510 Comments


I like this review, this is a nice review, concise and to the point, no waffle

Sciroccu
January 20th 2014



752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

sure but seriously a 2.5 ?

emprorzurg
January 20th 2014



510 Comments


opinions can be wrong?

Sciroccu
January 20th 2014



752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

lol my mistake

emprorzurg
January 20th 2014



510 Comments


now I look like a tool because my comment has nothing to do with what you said

Sciroccu
January 20th 2014



752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

lol in fact I changed it before I read your comment but u were right

TPM731
January 24th 2014



217 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

You mileage may vary. I think that's a good thing to keep in mind about any form of entertainment.



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