Review Summary: Control Myself, CHAPTER 8: "I Ain't Ever Going Back Again..."
Pearl Jam do openers in style, and Pearl Jam
is no exception; you're thrown into the mix as soon as you hit play, overcome by Mike McCready's massive riff and a grooving rhythm. Needless to say, Eddie is no slouch as he delivers hook after hook, delivering an insatiably done chorus that's worth it's later reprise. Even without mentioning substance, "Life Wasted" is so good because it's perfect on the surface. It's what every Pearl Jam opener should
be and it's fantastic to hear. Late album upstart "Inside Job" matches it equally, rearing 7 minutes of jagged guitar glory from McCready and a simply epic vocal performance by Vedder that prove Pearl Jam to be preeminent and vital. Were the bands 2006 comeback to be judged solely on these 2 excellent pieces, it's likely that Pearl Jam could have had one of the best albums of their career on their hands.
The problem, then? Everything sandwiched between the two is totally forgettable, banal and lacking in provocative. It does what every Pearl Jam album shouldn't
; fall into complacency.
None of the singles other than the afor-mentioned "Life Wasted" captivate or burn and, uncharacteristically, are rather non-anthemic in nature. "World Wide Suicide" is likely the worst offender, with a sound that led itself to the bands anti-Western infatuation that riddled No Code
with inconsistencies. Lapse of experimentation then leads to some downright foolish numbers that become wholly unnecessary, with the turgid Hall & Oates aping "Parachutes" an embarrassing cousin to string perverted "Sirens". Pearl Jam
's inconsistencies come from it's desire to simplify things stifled by it's inherent need to break norms, which isn't usually a problem for Pearl Jam. Why it is here is anybody's guess. Momentary reprise comes in "Markers on the Sand"; if you still bothered to pay attention I'd be surprised.
Post 'comeback' excitement has not seen this age too well but it's besides the point. Pearl Jam managed to near completely trip up on the formula that they had perfected for so long and it's eerily forgettable. Most will know though that they managed to hit back with excellence on Backspacer
and Lightning Bolt
; in the meantime though, there was this.
NEXT: "Something's Broke...? I'm Gonna Put a Bit of Fixin' On It..."