Pearl Jam’s new album ‘Lightning Bolt’ classified as classic rock
By Megan Platt
Pearl Jam reemerged with the release of their tenth studio album, “Lightning Bolt,” Oct. 11, four years after their last record.
Their 2009 album “Backspacer” proved the band could continue to top the charts even after a decade of making music, but “Lightning Bolt” is what designated Pearl Jam as “America’s foremost torchbearers of classic rock,” by Rolling Stone.
Though met with mixed reviews, “Lightning Bolt” successfully heralds the band’s time-honored sound.
Co-written by singer Eddie Vedder and guitarist Mike McCready, the album begins with a slew of vigorous guitar riffs and heavy rock ’n’ roll vocals.
It offers some hard-hitting jams, such as “Mind Your Manners” and “My Father’s Son,” as well as some hidden gems, like the album’s sixth track “Infallible,” which is Vedder’s take on the current state of society.
“There’s aPink Floyd vibe to some of it,” said McCready in an interview with Rolling Stone. “[And] there’s a punk rock edge to other stuff.”
The album features Pearl Jam’s new single, “Sirens,” which is arguably the most inspiring song that exhibits Vedder’s raw, yet romantic, lyrics. As one of the softer songs on the album, it exposes a natural theme of mortality that strings through the entire album.
“They say to write what you know,” Vedder told Rolling Stone. “I think that’s maybe one thing that we all know. It’s living while you’re alive, and living to the day you die, and being cognizant of the end. And you might lead a more appreciative life, if that’s part of your approach.”
“Lightning Bolt” shows Pearl Jam’s loyalty to the resilience of their original style from the 1990s.
While proving the durability of their music to an older generation, Pearl Jam’s classic sound failed to impress some newer listeners.
“The feeling of déjà vu is compounded by the strip-mined subject matter, as Eddie Vedder explores familiar themes of family strife and domestic unrest while once again celebrating the therapeutic powers of surfing and listening to music on vinyl,” Pitchfork said.
However, Pitchfork also commends the band for “their notoriously epic live shows, wherein the band is famous for loosening up and stretching out.”
Fans from Chicago experienced songs from Pearl Jam’s new album live when they played at Wrigley Field in July. Even after suffering a two-hour rain delay, the band exploded onto the stage just after midnight with a three-hour-long set.
“We have five minutes left,” said Vedder to the band’s Chicago fans gathered at Wrigley Field. “But we don’t want to mess it up in case we ever want to play here again.”
Pearl Jam is continuing their “Lightning Bolt” tour into December, hitting major cities like Brooklyn, Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle. They’ll bring their new sound overseas with a tour in Australia and New Zealand starting January 2014.