Pearl Jam
Riot Act


3.5
great

Review

by Jordan M. STAFF
April 15th, 2014 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Control Myself, CHAPTER 7: “A Texas Leaguer…”

Pearl Jam themselves have never proclaimed comebacks as such but critical plaudit will often extend to rockist hyperbole when it comes to the release of a new Pearl Jam album. Records such as the middling Yield and their forthcoming self-titled were hardly the most exciting of prospects, and given time to age they often wear off the hype very quickly. The odd exception to this rule however comes from what is potentially one of their most commercially unsuccessful records yet- the filthy grime and warts of Riot Act.

Named after a form of martial law forbidding collusion as a conspiracy for terror, Riot Act is an aurally political piece signifying frustration from the band after extended bouts of disaffection. Notably, it contains the strides into Marxist territory criticizing Bush-administration of “Bu$hleaguer”, a song rarely performed live for its controversial stances; a shame too, its prosaic croon and a threatening intent makes it one of the best songs in the Pearl Jam canon. On less straining counts, “Save You” and “Ghost” provide heavy doses of stoic musicianship still made specifically to avoid airwaves, armed wall-to-wall with skyscraper-sized riffs and a punishing dead eye. Any moment that does give way to tenderness- “Love Boat Captain”, for example- is met instantly with juxtaposing lyrical themes, in this case commenting on the unfortunate events that facilitated their shying away from the live environment at Roskilde Festival in Denmark.

Everything surrounding Riot Act is so brilliantly concise that it is hard to believe the band had spent so long faltering like they did. Cataclysmically fused together with rough precision, the likes of “Cropduster”, minimal and ethereal “I Am Mine” and the crushingly hooky “Green Disease” see Pearl Jam master an art they’ve gone so long failing at. Finally, pretentious preconceptions are laid to rest and the band master the craft of both art rock depth and hard rock naivety.

Riot Act is to this day the most underappreciated of all of Pearl Jam’s albums. Not containing a single hit or deep cut that doesn’t automatically provoke irrational amounts of hate, Riot Act is still a strong release filled with tightly written songs. Pearl Jam would go on something of a hiatus after this albums release, with their 2006 return providing not nearly enough energy or musicianship to keep it running- Riot Act in that sense was really but one of a kind.

NEXT: “I Ain’t Ever Going Back Again…”



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Comments:Add a Comment 
dannyboy89
April 15th 2014


13408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This is one PJ album I'm planning to listen to more sometime. Pos'd for a well-written review as usual.

Toondude10
April 15th 2014


13829 Comments


Another great review from Arcade. Though, you probably could elaborate a little more on that third paragraph. Pos'd

Ignore that neg, probably just some asshole troll

Toondude10
April 15th 2014


13829 Comments


No problem. I'm assuming by the title that the next review is going to be more negative.

greencorn5
April 15th 2014


362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm glad someone else likes this album, it is in their upper echelon for me. All or None is a great closer too.

RunOfTheMill
April 15th 2014


3951 Comments


Nice review.

Salvidian
April 15th 2014


752 Comments


Just curious, but what exactly was wrong with it? It honestly reads like a 5. And no, I'm not neg'ing
or pos'ing your reviews, in case you were curious.

Killerhit
April 15th 2014


6013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell yeah

Salvidian
April 15th 2014


752 Comments


I suppose that was implied in the review, but there's a reason why people say underground music is
best. ;) Pos'd anyway.

Toondude10
April 16th 2014


13829 Comments


Lol

Toondude10
May 28th 2014


13829 Comments


WHO NEGGED THIS!!!

IMMA KILL 'EM

danielcardoso
September 2nd 2015


11770 Comments


Riot Act was a great surprise, didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Listening to individual tracks can be a bit satisfactory, but the best experience is really to listen to the entire album from start to finish. Probably my fave PJ since Vitalogy.

claygurnz
March 3rd 2016


5245 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I Am Mine is awesome, need to check this.

jtswope
March 3rd 2016


5788 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I Am Mine is fantastic, but it's one of the only truly worthwhile songs on here.

claygurnz
April 27th 2016


5245 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was a pleasant surprise to me.

danielcardoso
May 29th 2016


11770 Comments


Help Help is so good.

strawberriesandgravy
August 14th 2016


39 Comments


Better than Binaural

danielcardoso
August 14th 2016


11770 Comments


About a year ago i'd probably agree, now i think binaural is just a little better but both are really good and overlooked hard, nice bump dude.

CosmicPie
September 16th 2017


1320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is real solid. More than I was expecting.



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