Pearl Jam
No Code


2.0
poor

Review

by Jordan M. STAFF
March 28th, 2014 | 94 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Control Myself, CHAPTER 4: “Sometimes I Live, Sometimes I Cringe…”

Without a doubt, Vitalogy was a straining process for all of Pearl Jam. With Stone Gossard relinquishing all but a smidgen of power to their enigmatic frontman, tensions were growing ever stronger- not least due to the complete failure that was the anti-trust suit dictating whether in fact Ticketmaster was or wasn’t a monopoly (legally it was declared as following all required legislations). With fans passion waning in the eyes of cancelled D.I.Y. shows in the middle of country paddocks, it was in some ways a wise move to release No Code. By separating the hardcore from the casual, No Code was an album destined to bomb and be appreciated by cults among the masses. Unfortunately, it also leads to it being quite possibly Pearl Jam’s most inaccessible and inconsistent release to date.

Tell-tale signs litter the record- the immediacy of the album openers of past such as “Once” and “Go” are now unclear, with the fairly uninspired “Sometimes” opening the record, unwinding with a thin riff and little in the way of force. Similarly the inflection of World Music and Eastern Philosophy to Vedder’s lyricism goes amiss, as far too often the likes of “Smile” and “Hail, Hail” fail to impress even with the new found development for experimentation signposted on Vitalogy. So wrote with tracks that require deep concentration and effort, the likes of “Red Mosquito” and “Who You Are” that actually do impress feel stymied by the overall feel of difficult tracks such as the prosaic turn of “I’m Open” and Gossard’s needless vocal contribution to “Mankind”.

That’s not to say that No Code is in fact a terrible album; any serious Pearl Jam fan understands the intent and context of the album without having to take such difficulties on face value. But the general uninspired need to experiment and remain grounded injures any will to repeatedly listen to this album. Gone are the anthems in the vein of “Alive”, gone are the punk thrashing moments of “Blood” and nowhere to be found is the beauty of “Better Man” or “Daughter”. In its place is an album of tracks that never reach true catharsis as much as they dawdle there only to leave you without an insatiable chaotic payoff. Serious and repeated listens can offer an album of well-meaning quality and rewards, however the unfortunate lack of inspiration leads it to be regarded as quite possibly Pearl Jam’s poorest release.

NEXT: “It’s Evolution, Baby…”



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user ratings (857)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • shindip (4.5)
    Despite seeming sprawled and unfocused, deeper insight into the album reveal it to be Pear...

    YoYoMancuso (2.5)
    No Code is a transitional record and nothing more, but still an enjoyable album by a fanta...

    onlythebrave (3.5)
    Pearl Jam's fourth album, in which they experiment with worldbeat and consciously reject t...

    TPM731 (2.5)
    Like a car with a near-dead battery, No Code sputters and slowly moves ahead, but never pr...

  • Underachiever (4)
    No Code is a very good album from a very good band that sadly ended Pearl Jam's massive ch...

    joh soxe (4.5)
    ...

    Oddsen (3.5)
    ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
dannyboy89
March 27th 2014


13408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Good review, although I disagree. This isn't all that bad imo, although it does lack the energy of Ten and Vs..

Killerhit
March 27th 2014


6013 Comments


be honest son

this is the best pearl jam album ever made

dannyboy89
March 27th 2014


13408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It's pretty inaccessible, agreed. Same goes for everything else they did post-Vitalogy up until they released The Avocado Album.

Mistico
March 27th 2014


131 Comments


say isn't this...

oh yeah

regardless

pos

dannyboy89
March 27th 2014


13408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yield I think is their most accessible effort though




It's the most straightforward of their post-Vitalogy/pre-Avocado Album years, but I wouldn't say most accessible. Unless you're the type that listens to little other than Linkin' Park, Limp Bizkit, Nickelback and stuff like that.



Note: not implying at all that that's your case Arcade.

Killerhit
March 27th 2014


6013 Comments


ooooookay

RobbaqPL
March 28th 2014


187 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Eh, this album's okay, but several tracks are just unbelievably pointless.

Sciroccu
March 28th 2014


913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Not their best for sure.

YoYoMancuso
March 28th 2014


12742 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

all your reviews are good but i finally agree with you on this one

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
March 28th 2014


15004 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

odd

BMDrummer
March 28th 2014


14493 Comments


Good review, but I disagree.

Killerhit
March 28th 2014


6013 Comments


their gr8tst

not even ten could top this

ExcentrifugalForz
March 28th 2014


2124 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

How can review state that the punk thrash moments are gone when this has Lukin

and Off He Goes is maybe the most beautiful song PJ has done.

dannyboy89
March 28th 2014


13408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Didn't know you were that much into PJ Killer.

Killerhit
March 28th 2014


6013 Comments


honestly i don't give a damn about no code

tell you the truth don't think i ever jammed this

dannyboy89
March 28th 2014


13408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Lol.

tom79
March 29th 2014


3674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

'Off He Goes' might be my favorite PJ song

Digging: PUP - Morbid Stuff

dannyboy89
March 29th 2014


13408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Red Mosquito is my track pick on here and it's not even close.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
March 29th 2014


15004 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i think mankind is my fav here

danielcardoso
July 25th 2015


11770 Comments


For me, probably Present Tense. Or Hail Hail.



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