Backspacer

Studio Album by released in 2009

Backspacer review

Pearl Jam’s second breath

It may seem that after a decade that continued up to the beginning of the new millennium and was far from a successful one the American rockers Pearl Jam do not have many chances to win back the former glory. The old fans now remember with nostalgia of their debut album, 1991’s Ten, and those who thought the band to be the source of everything negative in the 1990s’ music in the USA are probably quite satisfied and are not willing to hear anymore from them. Nevertheless, Eddie Vedder and his team do not consider finishing their creative path, on the contrary, these grown up musicians have finally got their second breath open. This year they release the ninth studio album Backspacer, the first release in three years following the great record Pearl Jam 2006. If the latter pretended to be the best album in the then past ten years, then Backspacer different from the rest of the band’s albums judging by many parameters, will easily become the best in Pear Jam’s entire discography. The band members have not only given the maximum of time and effort to the album Backspacer but have also chosen a new approach to work in many respects which just cannot but justify itself – the result really exceeds expectations.

Backspacer simply cannot be worse than its predecessors

Certainly, working on Backspacer, the musicians of Pearl Jam have thrown away a good deal of old views, deciding to finally get out from the comfort zone in which they have stayed for almost twenty years. First, they have once again joined efforts with the producer Brendan O’Brien for the first time since 1998’s album Yield, only this time they have made up their minds not to argue with him agreeing with everything and trusting the professional’s experience. Second, for the first time in a long time the band has really rehearsed instead of simply discussing the members’ ideas. Finally having made the soundtrack for Into the Wild, Eddie Vedder has changed his attitude to the lyrical tracks which has also found reflection on the record, and written all the lyrics himself – this has happened for the first time since 1994’s album Vitalogy. With such characteristics Backspacer simply cannot be worse than its predecessors, but one can make sure of that only listening to it from beginning to end – the creation lasts just 37 minutes, also a record for Pearl Jam. The disc opens with three of the most vivid and energetic compositions which little could expect from Pearl Jam: Gonna See My Friend, Got Some and the first single The Fixer. Each of these songs can be thought one of the best here, and gives way for the others, no less impressive. One can definitely name a most beautiful love ballad Just Breathe with one of the best tunes ever written by the band among the album’s highlights as well as a melodious and emotional song Amongst The Waves with very unusual metaphoric lyrics, a deep research of human psyche Unthought Known and Speed Of Sound, a desperate story of a guy staying in the bar too long. The album closes with two more love numbers: Force Of Nature, the most life-affirming in Pearl Jam’s history, and the saddest and most melodious The End.

Trying something new neglecting the old habits

Pearl Jam’s ninth album has proved to be new in all the word’s meanings: in the respect of the approach to it, its mood, lyrics and many others. Another fact deserving attention is that for the first time since 1996 when the album No Code was recorded, the band has worked far from its native Seattle – the musicians have made a two week session in Los-Angeles, which also signs their readiness to try something new neglecting the old habits that never brought too much success. As a result, as if they have got rid of some chains the band has created Backspacer which is completely different from all the previous material. The album is much livelier, more optimistic and life-affirming. Of course the war and politics themes have once proved quite a lucky choice for Pearl Jam, but turning to those of love and addiction, including that to music, the guys have definitely made the right choice. Once again the toughness mixed with confidence and positive emotions have appeared in their music, which have once attracted the audience’s attention to the band. Hopefully, some no less interesting creations will follow Backspacer, and Pearl Jam will continue discovering new territories.