The Music Box's #2 album for 1998
First Appeared at The Music Box, January 1999, Volume 6, #1
Written by John Metzger
Earlier this year, Pearl Jam reemerged with Yield — its best album, thus far — and embarked on a blockbuster tour that took Chicago's United Center by storm. For the release of its fifth outing, the band took a step back from its fight with TicketMaster, which gave it a moment to regroup and rebuild.
On Yield, Pearl Jam drew the best elements from its first four discs and combined them into a cohesive, multifaceted listening experience. Singer Eddie Vedder continues to pump emotion into his lyrics, from the desire and longing of Wishlist to the sheer exhaustion of living life on the Beatle-esque All Those Yesterdays.
Musically, Pearl Jam has begun to move towards more melodic, acoustic-based excursions, but make no mistake — the band can still shake houses to the ground with its thunderous, harder-edged anthems like Brain of J or Pilate. It also still draws from the legacy of Led Zeppelin, most notably on Given to Fly and In Hiding. Vedder's vocals fuel the fire contained in the twin guitar onslaught of Mike McCready and Stone Gossard as well as the driving rhythm of drummer Jack Irons and bassist Jeff Ament.
All of the experimental journeys that Pearl Jam has taken on its previous efforts along with its keen attention to detail have also finally come to fruition on Yield, and it does so at all the right moments — filling each song with an inspired sense of urgency. Witness the eerie choir that creeps into Do the Evolution, the ambitious, life-questioning, psychedelic musings of Push Me Pull Me, or the spoken word piece that hides in the background of Faithful. There's plenty more to discover throughout Yield, and much of it is tucked into the nooks and crannies of the music, making this album a pure joy to savor.
Over the last few albums, Pearl Jam certainly has matured, and Yield seems even more revealing and personal. Do the Evolution tackles the arrogance of mankind, and on Faithful, Vedder questions the blind following of religion, when people can't even be faithful to each other.
However, when Vedder sings, "I'm not trying to make a difference," on No Way, it's really hard to take him seriously. The band has always tried to make a difference. It's part of its essence, and I, for one, look for the group to use its popularity in order to bring attention to important social and political issues and at least attempt to change what's wrong. Regardless, taking a step back and re-evaluating itself was a very smart move for the group, and it helped to make Yield Pearl Jam's best disc yet.
Yield is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1999 The Music Box