Pearl Jam Vitalogy

Pearl Jam Vitalogy
This is where things started to get interesting. Many fans long for a return to the "old" Pearl Jam, but the version of the band they so desure ― the one that soloed hard and riffed even harder ― only existed for two records. Vitalogy, though certainly a mainstream rock record in comparison to other albums that dropped in 1994, marked a turning point for the band. Vs. showed a rock band trying desperately to not look and act like a rock band, even if they still sounded like one. With Vitalogy, that ethos started to bleed into Pearl Jam's music. The homogeneity of much of their earlier material was stripped away ― most of Vitalogy's best songs stand in stark contrast to each other. Few could mistake the opening salvo of "Last Exit," "Spin the Black Circle" or "Not For You" for anything the band had done before. But there were enough vestiges of the "old" Pearl Jam on tracks like "Nothingman," "Better Man" and the mighty "Corduroy" to endear the record to fans and rock radio alike. The record's weakest material is also its most experimental. "Pry to," which is barely a song, and "Bugs" point to the direction the band would take on the subsequent and underrated No Code, but here come off as half-baked and self-indulgent. The bonus tracks ― alternate versions of three of the album's best-known songs ― suggest the creative well might have dried up by this point. Vitalogy is chock full of highlights, and finds the version of Pearl Jam we know today ― a hard touring rock band with garage rock leanings and a conscience ― emerging from the empty shell of rock stardom. (Epic/Legacy)