Pearl Jam 

Pearl Jam

Hopefully Pearl Jam didn't use the last four years since its prior album to record these thirteen new tracks. Such a long gestation would be the funny-smelling breath indicating a deeper cancer. Nope, it sounds as if the band threw this record together in a few recent months before its May 2 release, which would explain the four solid hits and nine middling ones. The successes ("World Wide Suicide," "Parachutes," "Big Wave," and "Come Back" ) suckle from the simple yet nutritious formula of power chords + box pattern + angry mumbling = grunge. All can be mastered by a sixth-grade guitarist. And any other arty weirdness like the use of an organ on "Life Wasted" wilts in comparison to earlier attempts, like the oddly prescient "Bugs" off '94's Vitalogy.


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