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Music  |  Reviews

Pearl Jam: Backspacer

[Universal/Island]

September 18, 2009  |  6:30am
Pearl Jam: <em>Backspacer</em>
Grunge vets alternate between vital and listless

Babies born the year Pearl Jam formed are hopefully enjoying their first month of college as this review hits newsstands. And yet these rock ‘n’ roll veterans—who have logged countless tour dates, battled Ticketmaster in court and are now on their ninth proper LP—keep chugging along. Most of their new album’s first half alternates between gritty guitar-led jams and able pop-rock, and in these moments, Backspacer truly succeeds. But too much of the record’s second half leans toward the introspective tunes frontman Eddie Vedder executed perfectly on the Into the Wild soundtrack. But outside of a filmic context and stamped with the name Pearl Jam, several of the songs fall flat, dragging down an otherwise upbeat and enjoyable release.

Listen to Pearl Jam's "The Fixer" from Backspacer:


The Pearl Jam Takeover

Poll: Which is the Best Pearl Jam Album to Date?
Paste's PJ Mixtape: Our 25 Favorite Pearl Jam Songs
Review: Pearl Jam: Backspacer
Watch the Cameron Crowe-Directed Music Video for Pearl Jam's "The Fixer"
Pearl Jam Gears Up for Backspacer Tour
Eddie Vedder Vs. The World: A Butcher Ranks the Many Beefs of Pearl Jam's Frontman
Watch a Documentary on the Making of Pearl Jam's Backspacer

How to Sing Like Eddie Vedder: An Illustrated Guide
Pearl Jamband: Is Pearl Jam a Modern Grateful Dead?
Watch a Grainy Highlight Reel From Former Point Guard and Pearl Jam Namesake Mookie Blaylock!
Backspacer Cover Artist Releasing a Children's Book
Plaid Jam: Channel Vedder & Co. Through Their Signature Print
Wailers and Wannabes: A Lexicon of Eddie Vedder Sound-Alikes
All Those Yesterdays: Brendan O'Brien Reminisces on the Evolution of Pearl Jam and the Making of Backspacer
The Super-Impossible Brain-Busting Pearl Jam Trivia Quiz
Listen to Songs From Pearl Jam's Backspacer
Why So Serious?: One Writer's Mostly-Failed Attempt to Find Humor in the History of Pearl Jam
An Expert Fan's Guide to Pearl Jam's Bootlegs

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