Pearl Jam
Lightning Bolt



by Jordan CONTRIBUTOR (90 Reviews)
May 25th, 2014 | 7 replies

Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Control Myself, CHAPTER 10: "Everyone's a Critic Lookin' Back Up the River..."

Pearl Jam have long since established a sense of formula with their music; underneath the bevy of tender radio ballads and songs raised on razor-sharp riffing, Pearl Jam are no longer the experimental band they had once claimed to be in hopes of relevance. Instead- at least since Backspacer- the band have become clever enough to accept their spot on FM radio. It's fitting then that instead of further identity crisis, they released the consistent yet unsurprising Lightning Bolt.

'Unsurprising' remains a difficult adjective to apply to Lightning Bolt, however it seems the most fitting. Chaotic, guitar-centric opener that feeds off an infectious vocal hook ("Getaway")? Check. Throwbacks to former glories in terms of both folk and punk music ("Future Days" and "Mind Your Manners" respectively)? Check. Without a facet of experimentation, the likes of "Let the Records Play", "My Father's Son" and the sorrowful power ballad "Sirens" remain exciting but all-together tepid outings; if this is what we get instead of bad experiments in the vein of "Bugs", then I'm happy. The matter of the fact is that Pearl Jam have learnt to grow with their audience, even if it comes at questioning relevance from their critics.

And in the end, that's what Pearl Jam's career has more or less been. While proving their power early on only to face dissent from 'trendy' artists such as PJ Harvey and Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder's wild crew of Seattle survivors have done themselves a favour by settling into their groove of a formula. They may no longer be the word that's on the tip of everyone's tongue and they may pale in comparison commercially to many others, the utterly resilient 5-piece can never be faulted. As the only true survivors of the Seattle scene, they deserve every piece of hyperbole written about them and are more than deserving of their current status as rock legends. be continued...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Contributing Reviewer
May 25th 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

Finally it's fucking done. whatever happened to my Metallica series, anyway?

feedback appreciated.

Digging: John Grant - Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

May 25th 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

Congrats on finishing

May 25th 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

bugs rules


May 25th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, excellent album in my opinion. Some of Eddie's best lyrics in a long time.

Digging: Ghost (SWE) - Meliora

May 25th 2014


As the only true survivors of the Seattle scene, they deserve every piece of hyperbole written about them and are more than deserving of their current status as rock legends.

You rule for this sentence. Best closing sentence to a discog ever.

March 25th 2015


Album Rating: 2.5

Love me some Pearl Jam, but I cannot get into this.

August 29th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

New album may be coming in 2016, hope it happens. Getaway is incredible, Pearl Jam's openers in genearl rule.

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