Into The Wild review by Eddie Vedder

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  • Released: Sep 18, 2007
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.6 (101 votes)
Eddie Vedder: Into The Wild

Sound — 9
Pearl Jam fans are like addicts. They need a new fix on a regular basis. Fortunately, the band has been very good to them, releasing eight studio albums, double-disc rarities and greatest hits collections, and more than 100 live albums in their 16-year career. This output has been more than enough to satisfy these die-hard fans, even if the abundance of recordings has decreased their popularity with the general public through the years. As a die hard, I don't care about this decreased popularity. I just want more music from the band whenever I can get my hands on it. Just a little over a year since the band's self-titled studio effort on J Records, and just three months since the seven-disc Live at the Gorge box set, fans have another fix waiting for them -- this time in the form of lead singer Eddie Vedder's first solo album, the soundtrack to his buddy Sean Penn's Into The Wild film. Technically it's not Pearl Jam. Instead of multiple guitars, featuring blistering Mike McCready solos, and pounding drums from the always-reliable Matt Cameron, formerly of Soundgarden, listeners are left with Vedder's voice and a small selection of backing instruments, including the ukulele. On two songs, Tuolumne and The Wolf, Vedder doesn't even leave his voice, opting to give listeners instrumentals that don't really add anything to the album, but nor do they detract from the listening experience. But the songs on Vedder's solo debut would not sound out of place on a Pearl Jam album. Think about all the sparse songs the band has recorded, like Thumbing My Way from Riot Act, Indifference from Vs., Off He Goes from No Code, and Come Back from Pearl Jam. And then imagine putting all of them on one album. That album would be very similar to Into the Wild. Coming in at a little more than 33 minutes on 11 songs, Into The Sun is a quick and enjoyable listen. Although Vedder's voice doesn't quite hit the notes like it did earlier in his career, he compensates by writing songs that are suited for his rough gravelly sound. Vedder covers two songs for this soundtrack that really suit his voice well. Indio's Hard Sun, written by reclusive Canadian musician Gordon Peterson, is the lead single from Into the Wild for a good reason. It's the best song. There's a big/A big hard sun/Beating on the big people/In the big hard world Vedder sings, which will send chills down the spines of thousands of listeners, something he has done often in his career. The second best song, Society, is also a cover. This time from a song by San Francisco musician Jerry Hannan, who contributes backing vocals. Both songs prove Vedder knows how to interpret the work of others, which he has consistently done throughout his stellar recording career.

Lyrics — 10
Like the sparse sound of the album, Vedder often writes sparse lyrics. Less is more seems to be his motto. Moving on/A scene surreal/Know my heart will never/Never be far from home Vedder sings in No Ceiling. He's right by following his motto. A lot can be said by justing saying a little.

Overall Impression — 10
Although I haven't seen the film, I have read the book it's based on, Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild, a true account of Christopher J. McCandless' inspiration but ultimately fatal journey to the Alaskan wilderness. It's easy to imagine Vedder's songs soundtracking the book, so I'm sure they do equal justice to the movie. By recording his first solo album as a soundtrack for one of his buddy's films, Vedder wisely doesn't allow for people to think he's leaving his band for a solo career. Instead Pearl Jam fans and other listeners can easily enjoy this album without the burden of worrying about the demise of Pearl Jam. They can have their fix and enjoy it too. The next fix, by the way, comes next week with the real of a Pearl Jam concert DVD.

19 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i love "hard sun", it's been on the radio a fair bit. looks like i'll have to check the album out too!
    danman92701 wrote: 100 live Pearl Jam albums?
    Well yeah, you can download all their concerts since 2000 or so.
    All the songs on this album rock just as much as the movie that they went with. Eddie Vedder never ceases to amaze me.
    Incredible Album. Eddie never ceases to amaze me. All the tracks are great, i particularly like 'Long Nights', 'Society' and of course 'Hard Sun'. Cannot Wait to see the film. Great review Thanks
    such an amazing movie, with an amazing soundtrack. i've been listening to it almost daily since i saw the movie.
    I've just brought this album and im very impressed a short but fantastic upbeat listen. It's great to hear the ukulele featured to really bring the album somthing else. Eddie really has done a fantastic job and its sounds fantasticly produced.
    Whooh! Got it and it's class!!! I love rise and far behind. I said in my last coment and I'll say it in this one: Eddie is a legend!!
    I haven't got it yet but the reason it's short is because it's a soundtrack for a film so he needed to restrict it a bit. I need to get it now. Eddie is a legend!
    Eddie continues to prove that he is one of the greatest vocalist of all time. I cannot believe how people don't enjoy his work. It is flawless work and it simply blows me away everytime I insert a new Eddie/Pearl Jam album in my cd player. Too short, that's fine. I will take anything he puts out because I know it is awe inspiring evertime.
    great! hard sun is a truly great song! im waiting on "picture in a frame" too
    have listened to it all day now...great fcking album! i love "guaranteed" too
    I have no say in what radio station we listen to at work and as a result of this I'm so freakin sick of hearing that song every 20 minutes. It's too bad because it is so well done, I really do like the song. Why does radio have to beat the living crap out of everything?
    hard sun is great. but they all are. Ed is extremely talented and this album is a side we don't always see in PJ. Its a good album and i would recommend getting it.
    I love the song society!! Great album!! Shame though that the songs are a bit short... but love them anyway !
    Haha! When I went to see this movie I'd to stop myself cheering whenever an Eddie song came on as though it were a concert! Had to stop myself singing along too!