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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Pearl Jam’s “Back Spacer”

    Pearl Jam’s opening thrashes the senses in their latest album ‘Back Spacer!’ The album’s start of ‘Gonna See My Friend’ brings to mind the old-school Pearl Jam of the early 1990’s, as prevalent rock roughens the complacent ears out of their comfort zones.

    The band is not the same as they were nearly twenty years ago, for they have grown tremendously. The musicians that molded ‘Back Spacer’ are Jeff Ament, Matt Cameron, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready and Eddie Vedder, and they have weathered the lashes of time’s vicious storm.

    Pearl Jam has come a long way from the early success of their debut record ‘Ten’ and their multi-platinum follow-up ‘Vs.’ The group’s transformation is apparent by the transparency of their music, wherein feeling is never hidden– from their innovative song writing to their powerful and ingenious art.

    The ocean greets the senses in ‘Amongst The Waves’ and Vedder’s balmy vocals compliment the poetry in the lines, ‘love ain’t love until you give it up’ and ‘if not for love I would be drowning/I’ve seen it work both ways, but I am up’. Visions of swimming the waves with a lover cross the strumming guitars, and the consequences of giving over to her emerge, whether ‘her’ pertains to the ocean or the girl, as one rises and falls.

    ‘The Speed of Sound’ brings a new quality similar to such great songs as, ‘Elderly Woman Behind A Counter In a Small Town’ from the album ‘Vs.’ The softer Pearl Jam songs are often some of their best, as is the case here. No feeling is lost with the acoustic guitar dominance of songs like ‘The End’ and the tense pleasure depicted even accentuates that evolved sense of feeling that comes across.

    Listening to this album is just like listening to ‘Vs.’ When it first came out, it is addictive. The record will play through to the end and can then repeat itself, still triggering all of the right synapses in the brain. ‘Back Spacer’ does not get old after the third straight listen through, just as the great records of Pearl Jam’s yesteryear never used to.

    The self-titled ‘Pearl Jam’ ‘ album, the band’s previous release, is an excellent collection of music. A few songs, hard ones and softer ones, jump out as being exceptional and overall it plays very well. It was probably the band’s best release in a decade.

    ‘Back Spacer’ is of a different breed , for this album has no lull. Even with multiple favorites begging attention, there are no songs that could be skipped in the span of the 40 glorious minutes that make up the start to finish here.

    Two of the fiercest rock and alternative music albums ever created were ‘Ten’ and ‘Vs.’ and with ‘Back Spacer’ Pearl Jam makes a bid at this being another addition to audible greatness. If this album is purchased at a Target store, then two complete Pearl Jam concert recordings can be downloaded for free. Enjoy this record!’

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