Pearl Jam | Lightning Bolt | Review

[title size=”1 to 6″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]Album Grade: B[/title]

By Kyra Nicole Sallans

Lightning Bolt gets pretty far away from the unbeatable grunge of Ten, yet Eddie Vedder’s unique vocal style still maintains the band’s identity, though his lyrics are rather tired and empty. The songs “Pendulum,” “Swallowed Whole,” and “Yellow Moon” bear themes of enlightenment and loss of desire while others such as “Infallible” and “Sirens” are looking to restore hope in minds of others. It could be a sign of maturity in the commercial music world, but rather than singing to the hearts of the tortured youth, they indirectly sing to the heads of the mindless masses. “Let the Records Play” and “Sleeping by Myself” are simply in-genuine and forced; maybe something good to play in the background of your humdrum in-home mixer.

The album does however open with three adrenaline pumping ditties that are sure to get your day moving on the drive to work in the morning. Their single on the album, “Mind Your Manners,” is reflective of something you may expect from the Offspring while their closing track, “Future Days” has 50’s rock tones like something you might infer to be inspired by the Eagles. Lightning Bolt offers quite the variety as far as genre goes. Anyone could probably find one song that speaks to them as the album goes from a fast-paced punk style, to slow progressive rock, to acoustic and ambient rock, to folk rock… did I mention that it gets pretty far away from grunge?

The title track of the album has an overall tolerable composition, but in accordance with the lyrics all I could think of was Tenacious D’s album Rise of the Phoenix and satire probably isn’t the lyrical style Pearl Jam was going for. The track “Infallible” has a quirky introduction that puts you in the scene of impending chaos, making it the most captivating track of the album. The rest of the song has a late Alkaline Trio feel with the poppy, stereo ahh’s that fill in the track’s background.

Overall, the album is something to checkout for any diehard Pearl Jam or 90’s fan. There are a couple of tracks worth investing in such as “Getaway,” “Mind Your Manners,” “My Father’s Son,” and “Infallible.” Other than that, it’s certainly not something I’d go out and buy right away unless you have extra money to frivolously blow. The majority of the album makes bearable background music but it’s nothing as captivating of raw emotion as some of their former works like Ten and Riot Act.