ARTIST: Pearl Jam
YEAR RELEASED: 1994
CHART ACTION: #1 US, #4 UK
SINGLES: Spin the Black Circle (#18 US, #16 Mainstream, #11 Modern, #10 UK), Not for You (#12 Mainstream, #38 Modern, #4 UK), Immortality (#10 Mainstream, #31 Modern)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Last Exit, Nothingman, Corduroy
LINEUP: Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Mike McCready, Dave Abbruzzese. Jack Irons played on one cut as he replaced Abbruzzese.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Pearl Jam broke out of the mold everyone put on them, and put out an album with varied textures, and experiments that’s mostly successful but has a couple big flops.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Most all of the songs here are winners, and stay with you forever. “Not for You” and “Better Man” are among the best songs of the 90’s, and “Spin the Black Circle” is a furious tribute to 45s. The other cuts, such as “Last Exit” and “Tremor Christ” are fantastic too.
The band wanted to do some experimenting, though. “Bugs” is just silliness, “Pry, To” a throwaway, and then there’s “Stupid Mop” or whatever it is, which just wastes everyone’s time for over 7 ½ minutes.
That last cut almost ruins the record, making the greatness before a bad trip. Of course, you can delete it now that you’re streaming, but still, it’s a downer and downgrades the record a notch. Still, it was nice to see Pearl Jam try to break away from preconceived notions and succeed.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The CD case was elongated and made it hard to fit into the standard CD holders and racks of the time. Remember that?
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. Three alternate takes and demos
GRADE: A-: Sadly, the experiments downgrade a potential A or A+ record.