Clint Brownlee offers a fresh look at the CD and LP photography of Pearl Jam’s Vs., and with a little help from bassist Jeff Ament, reveals new meaning 30 years since the album’s release.
If you’re with me here, there’s a good chance you’ve been with Pearl Jam since the beginning—and you may have already asked yourself, “If this guy was interested in a tough period for the band, did he forget about Vitalogy?” It’s a fair question. The general consensus is that PJ’s third record represents equal parts soaring creative victory and spectacular implosion. The band members themselves tend to agree when they reflect on Vitalogy, as does producer Brendan O’Brien. In 2001, he said, the album was “a little strained.” Then he elaborated: “I’m being polite—there was some imploding going on.”
If you’re of a certain age and musical bent, the midnight record release party likely holds a special, nostalgic place in your heart. Because they’re where you scored some of the albums that shaped your youth and young adulthood. Because high school and college were decades ago, and the good stuff from that long and challenging era now shines brighter than the mistakes and regrets. Because, perhaps, you’re not sure if you’ve attended a release party since the turn of the millennium.
Vs. roils with fury—and at times, gently steams over the trappings of fame, human faults, and societal injustice. Tapestry is both an anthemic embodiment of second-wave feminism and an apotheosis of the Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter sound and scene. To coincide with our latest releases, authors Clint Brownlee and Loren Glass continue to explore these two albums, expanding upon their work right here on the blog.
It’s been seven years, but they’re finally back in business. Pearl Jam officially released Gigaton last Friday, and we couldn’t be more excited. This self-recorded and self-produced album features twelve new songs, including “Dance of the Clairvoyants,” “Superblood Wolfmoon,” and “Quick Escape” which were all released as singles earlier this year. It’s experimental and creative, providing critical commentary during a crucial political moment. And though their tour has been postponed until further notice, there’s still plenty of Pearl Jam content you can access from home while you wait. Of course, you can…