Pearl Jam
Riot Act



by tom79 USER (79 Reviews)
March 29th, 2006 | 29 replies

Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

With the release of 1996's No Code, Pearl Jam were beginning to out grow their messy "Grunge" sound that made them famous in the early nineties and began experimenting and trying new things in their music which saw them as a unique band, though they hinted that with Vitalogy. But also, they still had the signature rock sound of early days, but yet in ways different from material from their debut. Two albums and a few years later brings us to Riot Act; the bands seventh studio album, released in 2002. Pearl Jam have gone through a number of drummers since Ten, but in 1998 shortly after the release of Yield, former Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron was hired to play as the full time drummer for PJ and made his debut on Binaural and he appears on this album to make it his second as a member of the band. If you were to listen to Riot Act and then listen to Ten or other earlier releases, you will notice how much Pearl Jam have changed or evolved. The main difference being that Riot Act, for the most part, is more dark and dreary (musically and lyrically) but still a fair share of upbeat songs.

Eddie Vedder still has his signature voice and he demonstrates it well on this album, although as times it doesn't sound like he's giving the same energy as say...'Spin The Black Circle', still a good performance nontheless. His song writing abilities are top notch here, like they are the majority of the time. He sings some of his deepest lyrics yet, as he has showed us before on songs from previous albums like Release and Immortality. For example in the mellow rock song Love Boat Captain where he sings about nine fans who died at a PJ show in Denmark in 2000. Eddie sings during the song: It's an art to live with pain, mix the light into grey/Lost 9 friends we'll never know, 2 years ago today; And if our lives became too long, would it add to our regret". Eddie also shares his political views on the song Bushleaguer. During one of the verses Eddie sings: "A confidence man, but why so beleaguered"; He's not a leader, he's a Texas leaguer; Swinging for the fence, got lucky with a strike; Drilling for fear, makes the job simple; Born on third, thinks he got a triple". On the song, he explores his vocal range as he sings the verses noticeably deeper and then in the chorus, it hardly even sounds like himself, as it is even raspier than usual. Help, Help again shows Eddie trying different things with this vocals, as he sings the song somewhat higher pitched, especially in the chorus.

As different as Riot Act may sound or may seem, Pearl Jam proves they still know how to rock hard with Save You. The song is one of the more popular ones from the album as well as one of the best. From the opening sleek guitar riff to the pounding drumming of Cameron, this song is one of Pearl Jam's heaviest songs to date and in my opinion, definitely one of their best. 1/2 Full is a hard rocking song with one of the best guitar performances on the album as McCready plays a very well done bluesy style solo. Get Right and Ghost are two more solid rock tracks with an all round solid performance from the band. Get Right has an excellent solo for the best on the album and one of the best chorus's on the album with the backing vocals working very effectively. Ghost has a very heavy riff that remains consistent throughout the song. Nothing especially stands out on the track but the guitar keeps it alive, making it one of the better ones on the album. Green Disease is probably the most up beat song on the album once it gets to the verses. With its extremely quick drumming with Eddie's voice changing tempos all the time, this song is easily one of the best on the album as well as one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs. I Am Mine is probably the most popular track off this record as it is easily recognizable even to non-fans of Pearl Jam. The song has an eerie opening guitar riff that lead into Eddie's calm vocals in the verse where he sings "I know I was born and I know I will die, but in between in mine; I am mine". The song gets more up beat in the chorus as Eddie sounds more like he is singing with more passion and emotion. Overall, simply one of the best on the album.

With Pearl Jam's earlier albums, they were known to put out a rocking first song (Once, Last Exit, Go) but with Can't Keep, Pearl Jam gives the impression that the album is going to be on the softer side of things, kind of like Sometimes from No Code. The song remains calm the whole time with no real climax. It is not bad song, but in my opinion, not the greatest song it start the album off with. PJ gives its fair share of acoustic ballads and soft rock on the album, and for the most part, they are well done. Thumbing My Way is an acoustic track with little to no drumming. Eddie songs the song quite well although at times it is difficult to comprehend what he is saying. It can kind of get repetitive, but still a nice, emotional song for the softest on the album. Cropduster mixes acoustic and electric guitar and has the perfect blend between hard and soft rock. All or None is the album finale is my probably the better of the acoustic tracks, although it is not one of Pearl Jam's best in my opinion, it is a good way to end off the album. It sounds very similar to Thumbing My Way but with a very mellow guitar solo and some piano, which separates it for the better from the other acoustic songs. Arc is an odd song that shows Vedder's experimentation with his vocals. The minute long track is basically just Eddie belting out his voice layered over some deep backing vocals. The song sounds almost like a worhip song of some sort.

Pearl Jam's Riot Act may not be Pearl Jam's best effort, but not their worst either. This album has some of Pearl Jam's best songs but then it has some that just don't quite measure up. If you are a fan of Pearl Jam and still don't own this record, I recommend it, but if you are not too familiar with too much PJ's work I suggest getting Ten or Vs.

Standout Tracks:
Green Disease
Save You
I Am Mine
Get Right
All or None

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Comments:Add a Comment 
March 29th 2006


Very nice work.

I never heard this in full, but I do like what I have heard a lot.

Two-Headed Boy
March 29th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

I like this better than Ten.

Good review.

March 29th 2006


Nice, detailed review.
My friend always wear a 'Riot Act' shirt and I've never heard any of it. I'm compelled to do so now that I've seen an actual review for it.

March 29th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks, check out the recommended tracks.

Digging: Pinegrove - Cardinal

March 30th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

good job with the review it was about time this album got reviewed!!!

the album is an interesting one which I definately have to be in a certain mood for. Its a little too inconsistant and I feel it would be stronger with more songs like "Save You" and "Ghost"

also worth noting that this was pj's first album with Boom on keyboards which adds to a few songs on the album like "I am Mine" and "Thumbing My Way"

March 31st 2006


Pearl Jam is getting bader and bader, i think.. But you write well

March 31st 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

[quote=benjii]Pearl Jam is getting bader and bader, i think..[/quote]

I wouldn't say they are getting worse, maybe just different, which isn't too bad. It's hard to make new albums that were as good as Ten or Vitalogy. Plus there new album sounds good. And thanks for the compliment.

April 16th 2006


is this album out in england yet???? i think it might be being released on may 2nd or is that another album by pearl jam? anyway how do you do quotes? (sorry there lots of questions i just don't much anymore lifes become so confusing!)

April 16th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

yeah this isn't the new album. This was released about 4 years ago. And you thought right, the new album does come out May 2.

And by the way, to do quotes go like this. [quote=whoever the quote is by]quote here[ /quote] (but dont space the /)

This Message Edited On 04.16.06

April 18th 2006


[quote=tom79]yeah this isn't the new album. This was released about 4 years ago. And you thought right, the new album does come out May 2.

And by the way, to do quotes go like this. [quote=whoever the quote is by]quote here[ /quote] (but dont space the /)
thanks i got into pearl jam a while ago but i'm still getting to grips with the albums

This Message Edited On 04.18.06This Message Edited On 04.18.06This Message Edited On 04.18.06

September 9th 2006


[quote=spat]Will anybody really care about Eddie Vedder's anti-Bush rant in ten years, especially considering they didn't care at the time?[/quote]I agree with that.

Great review. I'll be buying this soon.

January 22nd 2007


Album Rating: 3.0


Your review > mine.

November 14th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

this is my favorite post-2000 pj release. whil binaural is still good, this is amazing and kicks the hell outta their selftitled. i mean, what the fuc is that shite? but good review, although id prolly give it a3.5-3.75

June 19th 2009


their best album by far

June 19th 2009


Album Rating: 3.5

You must be kidding.

June 19th 2009


What PJ should I get besides their first three

June 19th 2009


Album Rating: 3.0

this is probably their best since vitalogy imo. a lot of people like no code but i think that's kinda average

June 19th 2009


ok, maybe not by far, but i don't care much for ten or vs (usually their most praised work.) their not bad, i could just never get into them, mostly because all the unfounded hype caused a pretty big letdown once i found them to be just above average albums

December 23rd 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

Don't think much of Tom's review.

Riot Act is undervalued IMO.

I think it's an excellent CD with many great songs and superb playing as is usual for PJ

May 27th 2010


help help is really good

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