Yield (Epic Records)
Most music authorities are putting a lot of pressure on Pearl Jam's new album, Yield. For the first time in their career Pearl Jam seem to be in a state of decline and Yield is the album that is either going to resurrect them to royalty in the modern rock pantheon, or be the final nail in their coffin. Yield is not the album that will propel them back into the spotlight but it should delay judgement on their fate until their next release.
Personally, I think Pearl Jam's finest album is 1996's financially disappointing No Code. I had been a brief fan when Vs. was released in 1994 but quickly grew tired, like most of the nation, of grunge music. No Code seemed the first album they released that had real emotion behind it. For the first time I think Pearl Jam made an album for themselves, not for the millions of people buying their music. The public punished them for this by not buying the album. It seems on Yield Pearl Jam has learned their lesson and is again giving the people what they want to hear.
"Given To Fly" is their most radio friendly tune since Ten. So commercial Pearl Jam even made a video for it. It is an amazing song and definitely a highlight of the album, but the more personal songs are the ones that really stick out as masterpieces.
"All Those Yesterdays", the album's closer, is flat out their best song ever. Strangely, its writing had nothing to do with Eddie Vedder. Stone Gossard wrote the music and lyrics. He has stepped out of Eddie's shadow and has shown to be an amazing songwriter in his own right. "No Way", his other song on the album is fantastic. If Pearl Jam is to remain together to make more albums Gossard should step up and challenge Vedder for leadership of the group. Vedder and Gossard have the talent to be the best song writing tandem since Lennon/McCartney.
The strangest song on the album, "Do The Evolution", is interesting but doesn't seem to belong there. On repeated listenings it sticks out and doesn't mesh with the album's more personal songs. Although it is good to see them trying new things.
Songs like "Brain of J.", "MFC", and "Push Me, Pull Me" we have already heard again and again on previous Pearl Jam albums. While the rest of Yield shows their amazing growth as artists these songs really weigh the album down. It is as if the band is trying to satisfy old fans and attract new ones. This is nearly impossible and usually causes everyone to dislike the album.
That is not possible with this album though. The inclusion of such simple personal songs such as "Low Light" and "Wishlist" bring Yield together. Every album Pearl Jam gets better and better at the slower emotional songs. Maybe one day they could do a slow acoustic album. If the songs on this album are any indication, that would be wonderful. Overall Yield is a hit or miss album. Thankfully most of the songs on this one are bulls-eyes. Grade: B+