Saturday, April 15, 2006

I've faced it, a life Wasted.

It's only April, and we could be looking at THE album of 2006!

Gonna kick off this update with a look at PEARL JAM, the upcoming self titled album due out on May 2nd. Some of my oberservations are reprinted from my earlier preview, with some additions. Track by track:

Life Wasted
- This one is awesome! Ed's voice is slightly screaming, great driving start stop riff. Comparable to some of the heavier stuff on Binaural (It reminds me a lot of Grievance), only tighter. Love the sound of Ed's voice on this one. If there's one tune from the new one so far that really hearkens to Pearl Jam's arena rock roots, this is it.10/10

Worldwide Suicide - The Single. For those who haven't heard it, i'd best describe it as a solid mix of aggressive punk and arena rock. It doesn't quite hook you instantly, it doesn't have that "sing along" charm of some of PJ's other uptempo rockers, but it's a great tune. A little different from what you might typically hear from the band. Closest relative would probably be Binaural era stuff, but that doesn't quite nail it. Awesome chorus, excellent guitar work. A little too blatant in it's anti-Establishment message, but Eddie generally isn't overly subtle anyway. Also great song. 8/10

Comatose - Heavy! Akin to Blood or Spin the Black Circle. Basically 2:30 of raw punk-style aggression with that trademarked Pearl Jam piss n vinegar. Ed hasn't screamed like this since Do The Evolution. Again, more great lead guitar work - i love how much soloing the guys are doing these days. 9/10

Severed Hand - Starts off a little trippy before going in an almost U2-ish direction with sweeping guitars and all that. It settles into a strumming rock rythm that's almost funky with some great harmonics. McCready and Gossard complement each other very well in this one, and Vedder sings it a little restrained - Guitar wise it sounds very much like older PJ with less "raunch" in the guitar tone. I'd compare it to Vs. era material. It's a great uptempo rocker with a fantastic chorus and some awesome solo work. 9/10

Marker in the Sand - Kicks off with some great funky guitar work and a pretty straight ahead rocking verse structure. The song explodes into this melodic epic sounding chorus. Very awesome stuff! This is gonna go over awesome live!. Amazing! 10/10

Parachutes - Holey shit! This is definitely a departure. This one almost echoes some of The Beatles stuff. It's pretty low key stuff, bass, accoustic, some mellow drumming. It's got a different sound for sure, closest of their back catalog i could compare it to would be All Those Yesterdays, though even then it's not quite accurate. It isn't entirely "lounge lizard" per se, but maybe Lounge by way of Pearl Jam. Great song! 9/10

Unemployable - More melodic rocking. This one has some amazing harmonies. This one has a real retro vibe. More harmony in the chorus. This is really becomming Pearl Jam's most melodic album to date. 8/10

Big Wave - Punk rocker. Not as extreme as Comatose, but pretty upbeat. Almost a No Code vibe from this one. Some awesome guitar work, great leads. Ed really sounds like the ghost of Pearl Jams past on this one. Another great tune.would be a 9 out of 10 if it didn't end with a fade. 9/10

Gone - Starts like a slow one, Reminiscent of Black really. A Sombre accoustic riff accompanied by some volume swells. The song comes in like a wave (very "Given To Fly") for the chorus. It's got an awesome, sombre sound. Amazing tune. It'd sound right at home on Ten, or maybe even Yield. Brief but Beautiful McCready solo towards the end. 10/10

Wasted Reprise - Short little reprise of "Life Wasted". Not much to say here. Just Ed's voice and an Organ for a minute or so. Pretty neat. 7/10

Army Reserve - Pretty upbeat stuff. A little on the funky side. There's some old school Eddie screaming on this one, reminiscent of Vs. The song starts a little out of phase, and becomes more harmonic as it progresses. Solid stuff. Some great guitars (again), and Ed really delivers. 8/10

Come Back - Pearl Jam ballad. Great laid back guitar work, some organ, Eddie sounding like he did back in the early days. Great melodic tune, along the lines of many of PJ's early b-sides. 10/10

Inside Job - 7 minute epic! Not very often you see Pearl Jam go in this direction outside of a live venue, and man is it ever amazing. The song goes from slower melodic Pearl Jam into rocker territory, breaks down, goes into solo territory for a bit, and just careens to a finish. Quite possibly one of the strongest songs PJ has ever laid to tape. 10/10

Obervations: This is the most cohesive package Pearl Jam has ever assembled as a group. As my buddy Dan says, the band is really playing as a unit, and the fire is back, burning so brightly that you just might have to squint. For the first time, ever really, the band seems to be a collective whole. They're comfortable in their skins, they're enjoying playing off of one another. This is, for me, quite possibly the best, most complete album they have ever done. The guitar is a little cleaner, a little more forceful. Ed's vocals are less restrained than they were on Riot Act or Binaural. Musically the songs are effortless, they roll over you like a wave, there's not a jarring or off putting moment, everything sounds like golden honey. It all just flows together. It's hard to single out better or worse, as the whole thing is really one big experience. The self-titled approach was definitely the way to go, this is the new Pearl Jam, a transcendental piece of work, a re-birth. This is their "Dark Side of the Moon" or their "Led Zeppelin IV". It is not to be missed. Much as i love me some Chemical City, This one probably has "album of 2006" honors already. Honestly, anyone who can still claim the Jam's first three albums as their best after this one, really need to let go of the nostalgia. (And Yield and No Code smoked their first three in my book). Another perfect score! 10/10

What's that? You still want a regular old Saturday update?

Sarah's Birthday was earlier this week, the big 2-7. We were both working so we didn't get to do much. Got her a CD (Alison Krauss disc she'd been after for a few years), a dozen rozes, cooked some supper for us. Sucks having to work 12 hours on your own birthday. Our anniversary is next week (6 years), we're hoping to get out for supper or something then.

Flu is gone, leaving me with a nasty sinus infection - which never fails.

Weather has been awesome this week - we really are into our spring. Can't wait for those nice warm nights, sitting on the front step with a cup o tea looking up at the night sky with a bit of music straining out through the open front window - ahhh those are the days. Not long now! Nice big backyard with a firepit to break in this summer as well - should be fantastic.

Arames continues his struggle. Level 12 now (still haven't fully recovered from the "save game wipe".). Haven't braved the arena yet, but i did find the shrine of Mehrunes Dagon and discover the ancient daedric text, the Mysterium Xarxes. Bastard Mankar Camran escaped through some sort of portal with the Amulet of Kings, but his time will come. Have sealed a few Oblivion gates as well. Not really sure what i'm going to tackle next, maybe make up some lost ground in the Thieves guild. There's also the matter of flushing out some Mythic Dawn spies in the town of Bruma.

Been actually playing a few different games this week - tried out the new Tomb Raider on the 360, which was actually pretty damned cool! I'll be updating The Busted Controller sometime this week. I've been busy.

Grabbed some DVD goodness this week as well, Undergrads (the complete series on two discs), which was just this great little animated series. Lots of geek humor - shame it didn't really go anywhere after season 1. The Black Crowes new live DVD, which is freakin awesome - even though Chris Robinson now looks like Jesus, it's just great to see these guys back at it again. The Long Good Friday, a freakin awesome British ganster flick starring bob Hoskins that i haven't seen in years, and The Chronicles of Narnia (the snazzy 2-disc, slightly more expensive variant). Not a bad haul for the week. Next week - CROSS OF freakin IRON!

That's enough rubbish outta me,

The rundown:
Watching: The Black Crowes - Freak and Roll... Into the Fog / The Long good Friday / Undergrads

Listening to:
Sam Roberts - Chemical City / Pearl Jam - Self Titled / Jeff Martin - Exile and the Kingdom / Fu Manchu - Eatin' Dust / Aviatic - Arrival / David Gilmour - On an Island

Reading: Ultimate Spider Man

Playing: Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (xbox360) / Tomb Raider: Legend (xbox360)

Eating: The souls of small children / Dr. Pepper

Wishing: nothing really.

I'm the winner. I'm the Risk champ. Hooray for everything.

"Where there's smoke... There's Chris Robinson, his hempware wardrobe hanging a little too closely to that open oven."


Mitch said...

Why no track-by-track of On an Island? I still can't decide whether or not I should buy it.

Cross of Iron is a near-great movie. The first act is a little flabby. It gets better (and becomes more Peckinpah-esque) as it goes along. Transfer's a bit iffy in spots, probably due to the source print. Still worth it, though.

Sarah has put up with you for six years?!? I need to get me one of them Canuck women.

SteveTP said...

You should ;)

I may atempt a track by track sometime teh week - i'm just not as well versed on all things Gilmour as i should be (whereas Pearl Jam and Sammy i've been following since their beginnings). We'll see though - could be a fun experiment.

I'd say any issues with Cross of Iron are probably source related. I can't wait to see the director's cut! Myc old Warner VHS died years ago.

Dude, Canuck women are the best! :)

SteveTP said...

Addendum: I really need to start proofing my comments before i post em, i'm getting sick of seeing "teh" and "-ign" instead of "the" and "-ing"

Mitch said...

They amped up the bit rate on Cross of Iron (it runs between 7-8 thru the whole flick), so the flaws almost have to be in the source print.

Sarah got a sister?

SteveTP said...

She does, she's single, and she's living in Alberta right now. Just had a messy split too. Late 30's i think.

too old? ;)

Mitch said...

Hey, I'll be 36 in September. Heh-heh.

SteveTP said...

well, i think she's 38, she's kinda cute - great smile! She's got a 5 year old daughter named Harley, who's a lot like Abby really.

Mitch said...

Okay, we're gonna need a photo. Time to get Mitch back in the game!