House of classic rock with grunge doors

American alternative band Pearl Jam released their 10th studio album “Lightning Bolt”

© Copyright Pearl Jam 2013
© Copyright Pearl Jam 2013

Once considered one of the world’s most influential alternative bands, Seattle’s Pearl Jam went back to old tones in its new 12-song album “Lightning Bolt”. Released after a four-year break (last studio record), new album gives an old glance of frontman and songwriter Eddie Vedder’s perception of new millennium music.

Jam’s first single, “Mind Your Manners” reflects strong semi-punk aggression, which is widely seen through Danny Clinch’s chaotic music video, released at the end of August 2013. Video can be seen also as an echo of the whole album itself, hence why it was so effective to use this song as first single.

Written mostly by Vedder and Michael McCready (lead guitar), album  “Lightning Bolt” introduced a new glance of authority and maturity, especially in “Getaway” and “Spin The Black Circle”.   Impressionistic lyrics, as seen in many previous albums (such as “Ten”, “Binaural” and “Vitalogy”), tackle various emotional and chaotic topics, but also satirical as directly seen in “Swallowed Whole”.

After 22 years since the release of their first studio album “Ten”, which then, and now, is praised as one of the best alternative albums in the world, it is quite symbolic that Pearl Jam’s tenth album somehow reflects that very first one. Some might say that the quality is quite different, but it remains to be seen whether we will repeat “Mind Your Manners” lines the way we did with “Jeremy” or “Even Flow”.

Since its release, the album, and therefore the band, was criticized for being predictable, which lead to labeling Pearl Jam as one of those bands you often criticize using old work vs. new work thesis, but I don’t think it’s the case.

I agree, it is very hard to bring back rock and grunge from the 80s and 90s, but with a little bit of space and adrenaline rush, and maybe with “Lightning Bolt”, we might be swept away once more.


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