Volume 91, Issue 85
Wednesday, March 11, 1998
home and dry
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
When superstar status seemed to envelop Pearl Jam in 1992, the band decided the only way to continue was to do things their own way.
While many of their principles have been more than admirable (cheap concert tickets, no videos, rare media) the result has become a distancing of sorts from their fan base. The band's stormy relationship with Ticketmaster for example, actually resulted with the band not playing live at all anywhere. Most of their fans have probably forgotten what they look like.
All this is fine for Pearl Jam, however. They have always been concerned about music first and have decided to just side-step all the bullshit. While their last release, No Code, received a cold reception from the record-buying public, the album itself was a surprisingly diverse and mature recording showing tremendous growth within the band. It was immediately clear that Seattle's only band to survive the grunge era still has plenty left to offer.
Enter Yield. While Pearl Jam has never opted for any wide sweeping changes in their sound (a la techno) the subtleties in their music and songwriting are consistently improving. Pearl Jam is a rock band. While infinitely more intelligent and inventive than 90 per cent of today's acts they remain a rock band nonetheless.
With Yeild's opener, "Brain of J," Pearl Jam reannounces their presence with authority. It's a blistering number in which lead singer, Eddie Vedder, howls: "The whole world will be different soon, the whole world will be relieved." The album then meanders into the song "Faithfull," which is easily the best thing Pearl Jam has written in years. A song of both faith and fear, this number has a haunting quality that highlights the entire band's talents.
While Yeild is certainly a more palatable offering than their last couple releases, it's still not the fist pumping anthem stuff of yester-year. Pearl Jam has become too sophisticated for that, which will make the long-term effects of this record much more rewarding.
Nonetheless, songs like "In Hiding" and "MFC" are destined to receive a lot of radio attention. What makes this more special in 1998 is that by remaining uncompromising in their principles and musical dedication, Pearl Jam has proven that they'll Yeild to no one.
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