Backspacer review by Pearl Jam

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  • Released: Sep 20, 2009
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (125 votes)
Pearl Jam: Backspacer
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Sound — 10
In 2009, Pearl Jam released Backspacer. Resulting in Their first #1 album of the decade. I must admit, I was a little concerned when I heard that Pearl Jam's new album had pop and new wave elements to it. But just like Binaural and Riot Act, it is like a different genre poured through a Pearl Jam filter. The only thing pop about this album is that there are a few slower songs and that PJ actually seem happy. If you do not like pop, don't worry about it, this is far from it. 01."Gonna See My Friend" 02."Got Some" 03."The Fixer" 04."Johnny Guitar" 05."Just Breathe" 06."Amongst the Waves" 07."Unthought Known" 08."Supersonic" 09."Speed of Sound" 10."Force of Nature" 11."a"

Lyrics — 9
Like I said, the more positive lyrics is a new thing for Pearl Jam. This is most evident in The Fixer were Eddie Vedder gives a situation, then offers a way to fix it. The song Just Breathe is a song about love, Vedder even described it as "as close to a love song as we've ever gotten." I also like the lyrics on Speed of Sound and Force of Nature. Another new thing on this records is that it is easier to understand Eddie Vedder, even on faster songs, unlike the last record. Also Backspacer is the first Pearl Jam album to feature lyrics exclusively written by Vedder since the band's 1994 album, Vitalogy. EV, still the best.

Overall Impression — 10
The record sales do not lie, Backspacer is the best PJ album of the 2000's(Avocado is close though). It is an album with wider appeal than the previous records. My favorite song is Got Some which I have liked since it was played on The Tonight Show. My least favorite song is "Unthought Known". All the others are worth a listen. I do not like how short the record is, there are some missed opportunities to have a big ending, but Pearl Jam is not about that anymore. There is also two free concert downloads for hours of amusement with the CD. If it were stolen or lost I would get it again. This is the Pearl Jam album of the decade!

48 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Phycopath09
    THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR. It's not Vedder or McCready. This could pass as pop. It's terrible. One song doesn't even have drums in it.
    janetthegreat
    i gotta say when i listened to the first few songs i was like...this..sounds really average but other songs in the album made up for it
    SOADriff
    Phycopath09 wrote: THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR. It's not Vedder or McCready. This could pass as pop. It's terrible. One song doesn't even have drums in it.
    One thing you may not know is they were aiming for a pop sound when making this record. And if you think a song is bad because it doesn't have drums, then you need a serious punch in the face. Anyway, all i've heard is rave reviews about this album, these are the first bad comments i've seen. Thats UG for you, i guess. i'll probably check this out.
    PJ=Metal
    I loved this album its pretty good not the same pearl jam im used to but it didnt disapoint
    cooljew
    honestly its not a great album imo, but seriously people, pj is the opposite of "sellouts", a sellout is a band who goes along with whats popular instead of being musically creative, and pj is the ****ing height of creativity. supersonic's a groovin tune.
    Jugulator_cro
    LOL at the people who compare Backspacer to Ten. Great album BTW, far better than I expected.
    Gh.
    Certainly nothing spectacular, but Backspacer is surely great album worth it's price.
    dylanzig
    Awesome album. All the haters should keep it to themselves. Pearl Jam is certainly one of the greats.
    Deliriumbassist
    It's a great album. They needed to get back to that straight forward rock thing they touched upon with Do The Evolution and Spin the Black Circle. They've done the weird albums, and the audience isn't getting any younger, so what better a way than to write music that can appeal more to the next wave of Pearl Jam fans? That's not selling out, as the band are fans of this sound, that old school rock and punk. There's a lot of positive energy in the album, and I'm sure they're all the happier for it.
    AudioDemon
    I had my guitar custom work done in Bellevue, WA by a guy named Mike Lull, and my guitar was done late because he was working on guitars for Pearl Jam.
    GIBSONroks6167
    I'm so sick of people tossing around the "sellout" thing...honestly, the media distorts things SO much that we will never have any real idea of what's actually happening with big bands like PJ unless we actually know the members personally (which I highly doubt most people reading this do). So if you're not positive about the bands motivation to make this record, than don't slam them. If you don't like the music, don't listen to it; it's that simple. But all things aside, I thought this album was incredible, even if they did "sellout" like some people are assuming.
    TheSilverBeatle
    I'm not the world's biggest Pearl Jam fan...I haven't even heard the whole "Ten" album. The first time I gave them a serious listen was when my dad got the Rearviewmirror collection...and I loved Disc 2, all the slower more melodic songs, Corduroy being one of my favourites. The first Pearl Jam album I bought was their self-titled. I remember listening to the stream on AOL and as soon as Life Wasted started I was like "woah...this is awesome." That album remains one of my favourites. With Backspacer I fell in love with The Fixer...I was singing it in my head all day, then once I learned it I was playing along with the song over and over. The album did take some time to grow on me...(maybe cause I was hitting repeat over and over on The Fixer, Unthought Known and Amongst The Waves) but it's now pretty much tied with their self-titled album for my favourite. That was a long rambling, the bottom line is this album is amazing. Great lyrics, great melodies, great singing (Eddie is on of the view singers who gets better with age). Great job guys!
    Pearl Jamison
    i just bought it today and love it! im just waiting for anouther abum like vs. to be released ( my fav pj album )
    mitch311
    I own 6 pearl jam albums and I really didn't think this was very good. This is pretty average pop music and to me it kind of goes against their morals they've had in the past.
    PearlJamania
    Yeah, have to say I was pretty disappointed with this album. I don't think the songs were particularly well written by normal PJ standards- it sounds like they wrote 11 songs and called it quits instead of writing heaps and getting rid of the not so good ones. So yeah, pretty disappointed after the self-titled album promised so much for their new material. In saying that, can't wait to see PJ in November ay it's gonna be awesome!
    Hobo279
    I don't know why exactly...but I've always hated Vedder's vocal work on The Fixer. It gets under my skin in a bad way. Solid album otherwise though.
    Oldschoolgrunge
    I think that this is a great Pearl Jam album. I have all of them, and they have all been good in their own way. But this is really showing the mature, grown up side to Pearl Jam. Much like bands that are around now from back in the 90's they don't sound the same now, and people say they are selling out or not as good, but I think it's something different. I really like the mix here, from Got Some to Just Breathe it's just a perfect mix. I really loved it, I think the last two cd's Avocado and Backspacer are to great albums and I can't wait to see what else they have coming.
    GoingNumb
    man, there are a lot of grumpy and judgemental people on this site. It's almost dumb to think that just because an album doesn't sound like the previous album, it automatically sucks. Sure, Pearl Jam's Backspacer isn't Ten or Vs, but this is still a solid album. I think what's fun, is that it's more punk (to me). it's not total punk, but it adds a punk vibe (especially the first four songs). Pearl Jam was always facinated with punk music, and it shows on their album, especially in Get Some. Plus, it's evident (a while back ago) that they wanted to move away from the Grune era. But just because The Fixer isn't Alive or Johnny Guitar isn't Animal, doesn't mean they're bad tracks. This is an awesome album and the songs are amazing. THIS ALBUM IS NOT POP. Does anybody even know what "pop" is? Just because the drums are a bit tempo, doesn't mean it's Michael Jackson. Pearl Jam was obviously trying to aim for something new and fresh. Just because they sell there album only at Target (and Indie stores) doesn't mean they're sellouts. Tons of bands are doing exclusive deals, and it's been successful than just distributing to different stores. Plus, it's the first time i've seen Target sell Vinyls and 45s in like, forever. This album is definately one of Pearl Jam's prime albums. I'm really obsessed with Get Some. one last comment: the issue regarding the song "without drums"...it's obsurd. It's horribly stupid to judge a song or album based on the fact that ONE song doesn't have drums. Pearl Jam fans at least know this.
    IfDaysEnd
    I don't think that the fact that this album isn't heavy or grunge really matters. It's all quality music; the odd time signatures, the melodies, the feeling put in the lyrics and the making of it, they're all part of a great album. I think it's a more mature sound, and pop or not, it's Pearl Jam, and this cd has their name all over it.
    TryingYourLuck
    kgesme21 wrote: Phycopath09 wrote: THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR. It's not Vedder or McCready. This could pass as pop. It's terrible. One song doesn't even have drums in it. You're kidding right? This is a joke? Backspacer has been by far the best album of this year!
    maybe because theyve been advertising it like crazy on tv like sellouts..
    SGofawesome
    This album absolutely blows. It isn't Pearl Jam, Megadeth's endgame is the best of the year hands-down. By the way, you can't call this more mellow than the normal PJ, they're a mellow band, at least at their best, which isn't much.
    b4t3man
    Phycopath09 wrote: THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR. It's not Vedder or McCready. This could pass as pop. It's terrible. One song doesn't even have drums in it.
    BLASPHEMY!
    tommyg_99
    Phycopath09 wrote: THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR. It's not Vedder or McCready. This could pass as pop. It's terrible. One song doesn't even have drums in it.
    What a dickhead, seriously. Who cares if it doesn't have drums? This is a pretty solid album, with some great cuts. Just because the album is slightly more mellow than previous albums doesn't mean it's a bad album.
    starfire666
    I'm completely blown to kingdom come by this terrific record. There's no such thing as a bad song to be found here, Eddie delivers a stunning vocal performance, no fillers, just great music. What Mr. Vedder does with the melody in the chorus of Force of Nature is incredible, pure genius. Best album since Yield !!! thank you ....
    200tommo791
    This album is really not good, and I like PJ. And the review for Porcupine Tree's new album I just read, and it got a 6.7 from UG team, whereas I think that is one of the best releases this year up with Muse & Behemoth! Well, that is the difference of opinion =) If it didn't exist, this world would be quite boring. Rock 'n' Roll!
    Linkerman
    I've been a PJ fan for many years, and i really loved this album. I think it's their best album to play live: simple and effective. Long live PJ!
    Patrijz
    200tommo791 wrote: Well, that is the difference of opinion =) If it didn't exist, this world would be quite boring. Rock 'n' Roll!
    QFT!
    '93
    i liked it quite a bit...its not at al like ten (which i loved) but is still good...very good, their 2nd best album imo (maybe even best)
    kgesme21
    Phycopath09 wrote: THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR. It's not Vedder or McCready. This could pass as pop. It's terrible. One song doesn't even have drums in it.
    You're kidding right? This is a joke? Backspacer has been by far the best album of this year!
    Rioc act
    for sure the best album of the year so far! we will see what josh homme and dave comes up with
    kurtshapedbox
    I really love every song on this CD. Not my favorite by Pearl Jam, but it's very strong and unique. And WOW! There have been some really really dumb statements made in these comments. It's not that I couldn't understand why someone would dislike this album...but some of the crap people have said here makes me brain f**king hurt. If your going to hate on the album, at least pull your head out of your ass and use your brain first.
    godberry
    way too pop for me. not that i dislike pop, but i don't like it when pearl jam is doing pop. i liked it when eddie vedder was pissed off about everything.
    Randaman
    Phycopath09 wrote: THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR. It's not Vedder or McCready. This could pass as pop. It's terrible. One song doesn't even have drums in it.
    Erm.. The Fixer has pretty clear drums in it. You fail.
    BoxCarMothra
    Phycopath09 wrote: THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR. It's not Vedder or McCready. This could pass as pop. It's terrible. One song doesn't even have drums in it.
    They've done songs without drums on older records, you know.
    bebe17
    Phycopath09 wrote: THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR. It's not Vedder or McCready. This could pass as pop. It's terrible. One song doesn't even have drums in it.
    Well, sir, I have to say that you seem to be very hypocritical in your opinion of this album. You say that it could pass as pop (I'm guessing you're attempting to slam it). But then (in another atempt to slam the album) you say that one song doesn't even have drums. That kind of closed-mindedness is the driving force of pop. I understand that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if you're going to state yours, I think you need to give it half a second of thought first. As for Backspacer, I thought it was magnificent
    victus
    paquiquinho wrote: Best album of the year. Third best Pearl Jam album after Ten and Vitalogy IMO. You're all out of your minds. I must be in the twilight zone. This is by far the worst Pearl Jam album. It's not even a good album! There are two decent songs on the whole thing. I have no respect for the musical tastes of anyone who enjoyed this crap.