Sound — 10
Pearl Jam's second album is also their rawest sounding album. While "Ten" had an arena rock/arena rock feel to it, "Vs." has that old stripped down, in your face sound to it. Their first album to be produced by alt. rock legend Brendan O'Brian gives the band a completly different feel from their debut. The band itself lends it's intense energy to the overall sound of the album, as if "Vs." was recorded live in concert. It's this intensity that seperates "Vs." from every other studio album Pearl Jam did because they never sounded so verocious.
Lyrics — 8
Eddie Vedder is, and always will be, considered one of the great rock vocalists of all time. His vocal style is instantly recongizable, and also one of rock's most imitated and accesilble voices. While much credit and accolades are given to his voice, his lyrics mostly are shortchanged when it comes to acclaim. One of Pearl Jam's strengths comes from Eddie's heartfelt and passionite lyrics, that are relatible to any person from any walks of life. On "Vs." Eddie shows off his more primal side. He comes close to screaming himself hoarse on the album's first two tracks, and keeps up the intensity throughout the album. The lyrics range from gun control (Glorified G) to simple stories like not wanting a love to leave (Go). While Vedder fell into a comfort zone with his vocal tone from "Yield" on, on "Vs." he never sounded more passionate, or more angry.
Overall Impression — 8
While "Vs." stands as one of Pearl Jam's best works, it's faults are glaring. "Vs."'s strengths lie in it's opening, or more accuratly, from "Go" to "Dissident." The first five tracks are some of the strongest, most complete songs Pearl Jam has ever done. However, "W.M.A." begins to kill the album's momentium. Even though "Daughter" came after two of the most intense songs in Pearl Jam's repitouir (Go and Animal), "W.M.A." kills the passion the band brought to the album. "Vs."'s only saving grace in the second half is "R.V.M." and "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town." Besides that, Pearl Jam's "Vs." stands as an enigma in their discography. Half of the tracks, from "Go" to "Dissident", "Rearviewmirror" and "Elderly Woman..." stand as some of the best work Pearl Jam recorded to record. The rest, well, it all depends on the listener.