"Binaural" by Pearl Jam (2000)
Pearl Jam is one of those bands that has strived to change direction with each album. Ten made them superstars, something that lead singer Eddie Vedder could do without. Since the release of that album, they've taken on Ticketmaster in a high profile lawsuit, and even refused to make music videos.
With the release of No Code, it seemed Vedder would get his wish. The album was very good but not as successful as their first three efforts. Their next album Yield was a stronger record and sold even worse. Now, Pearl Jam releases it's sixth album entitled Binaural. This one will probably drive fans of Ten even further away.
I actually find that Vitalogy is their best album and am not at all bothered by the fact that the band has changed their sound. In fact, I welcome the change. Music should be whatever the band wants it to be. Few of our great bands remain content to rehash the same old stuff.
For me, Binaural represents a step down from the innovation and energy of Yield. Not because it sounds different, but because it doesn't seem to connect. Sure, there are some great numbers like "Light Years," "Thin Air," "Insignificance," and "Parting Ways." There's even a nifty little Hawaiian sounding ballad called "Soon Forget." It's the less stellar numbers like Evacuation and the single Nothing As It Seems that really disappoint. They just don't pack any punch.
Still, Binaural is hardly enough to turn me off of Pearl Jam. I still admire their intensity and growth as a band, and I look very forward to what lies ahead. On a side note, Pearl Jam will be playing Las Vegas on October 22, with Brit rockers Supergrass opening.
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