Pearl Jam’s new album Backstepper is their best since Yield -also produced by Brendan O’Brien, but that in itself is not a compliment. PJ seemed well on their way to joining aging rock bands like R.E.M., U2 and Costello on the nostalgia circuit. Nostalgia circuit? Sure, dya think their crap albums over the past ten years have brought em any new fans?
Backstepper is a fast, loose little rocker and not a fast loose crappy little rocker like Accelerator but one with some actual good (though no great) songs. “The Fixer,” and “Got Some” are groovers and “Supersonic” sounds like a modern take on the punk-pop they’ve been known to espouse though a touch cleverer. The rhythm section is a pleasure and Eddie’s vocals are at peace with themselves. The worst song is better than anything on their three dreadful 00 albums though even while they were recording dogs like Bianural Pearl Jam were awesome live.
So Backstepper has three stand out tracks and a couple of other also rans but way too much PJ by the numbers like “Super Sonic and rotten ballads like “Just Breathe”. Yeah, I get it, Vedder sincerely loves his family, and yeah, he is “a lucky man to count on one hand” the ones he loves but the sentiment though sincere is romcomy -it echoes Homer Simpson’s “everyone I love is under this roof” when Lisa’s crush leaves Springfield. The song is a snooze and you wish(list) Lukin would show up to kick his contended butt. I realize growing up in rock (and hip hop) is really tough but it’s not my problem, it’s Vedder’s (and Jay-Z’s) problem and if this is the best he can do with true love I’m afraid it isn’t even closely good enough.
The rest of the album hummms contendly on ably played rockers and tasteful ballads; Pearl Jam is a good band and a more than a good band live. Is it enough?
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – April 1983 (Volume 14, Number 11)
the final issue edited by Susan Whitall
hard rock meets classic rock meets Americana
Chuck D is at the Grammy Museum
On The Red Carpet For The Screening Of “The Beast Inside” At The Angelica Cinema, Sunday, January 29th, 2023: pictures by Billy Hess
a powerhouse performance by Sadie Katz and SohoJohnny as you never thought you’d see him
that SNL gig was excellent
Miley rises to top of the celebrity food chain
captivating, hooklined, country pop songs
it’s a bit different because it’s smaller