Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Greatest Album Is Vs.


The Greatest Album Is… VS
Every band that has been around for a while and released great records runs into this debate; what is their greatest album? The greatest album is… is a column dedicated to tackling that age-old question. What is the greatest album recorded by Pearl Jam? Join with us now as the question is answered and arguments are made that the greatest Pearl Jam album is Vs.

After their debut album Ten received critical and commercial success, Pearl Jam was under immense pressure to release a second album that met or exceeded expectations. They needed to avoid the dreaded “sophomore jinx” and release an album that fans would appreciate and come to love as much as they did Ten. What they came out of the studio with was not only better than their first album, it was the best Pearl Jam album ever recorded. Upon release, the album shattered first week sales records, selling over 950,000 copies in five days. It would remain the number one selling album on the Billboard 200 chart for five weeks and catapulted Pearl Jam to superstardom.

Vs. is a masterpiece. From the guitar crunch opening of “Go” to the quiet closing of “Indifference” Vs. delivers one of the greatest musical journeys ever travelled on a record. Vs. is filled with themes of the time it was released. Police racism is covered on “W.M.A.,” child abuse is tackled on “Daughter,” and gun control vs. gun enthusiasts is documented on “Glorified G.” Pearl Jam used the culture of that time to make beautiful music that portrayed their feelings on some tough issues. Vedder’s lyrical talent was still reaching its peak and he created spectacular words to go along with the astounding music created. The poetic symmetry can be heard on every song.

Hit songs are vast on this album. “Daughter,” “Dissident” and “Rearviewmirror” all went on to be fan favorites. All six singles that were released charted in the top 40 in the US, with “Daughter” going to number 1. The musical spectrum is broad as well. There’s hard rockers (“Go,” “Animal”), soft ballads, (“Elderly Woman…,” “Indifference”), and arena sing along songs (“Dissident,” “Rearviewmirror”).  “Daughter” mixes a clever acoustic intro with a hard rocking bridge and chorus to perfection while presenting a difficult theme to the listening audience. “Dissident” is pure rock, reminiscent of songs from their debut record. And “Rearviewmirror” contains an exceptional opening guitar riff that melts the listener’s ears and then is ingrained in their memory evermore.

While it is filed with staple hits of the Pearl Jam catalog, Vs. also contains a lesser known gem that rarely gets recognized. “Leash” is one of the best songs Peral Jam has ever created. It’s a hard rocking, fist pounding, screaming anthem to youth and uncertainty written at the perfect time in the band’s life cycle. An older more experienced version of Pearl Jam would not have been able to craft such a gem. It took a young, hungry, confused and angry version of Pearl Jam to make such a terrific piece.

Song for song and note for note Vs. is Pearl Jam’s greatest album. One could argue that Ten should hold that honor, and other arguments could be made for Yield, but after careful listening consideration there is only one album that truly stands above all the others. The music is much more urgent on Vs. and the originality is at its best. Vs. took a hungry band that had just reached a small level of fame and notoriety and pushed them into the stratosphere of rock gods. And while the band may have hated all the attention this album brought them, it cemented their career, secured their lifelong fans, and solidified them as one of the best alternative rock bands in the history of rock and roll.  

The greatest Pearl Jam album is…Vs.

Vital Statistics
Released: October 19, 1993
Produced by: Brendan O’Brien
RIAA Sales: 7x Platinum
Peak Position On US Charts: 1
Vs. sold 950,378 copies in its first five days of release
No music videos were made to support this album

Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
Glorified G

Track Listing
Glorified G
Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town

Band Members
Eddie Vedder – vocals
Mike McCready – lead guitar
Stone Gossard – rhythm guitar
Jeff Ament – bass guitar
Dave Abbruzzese – drums

Monday, June 19, 2017

New Music Monday Featuring Nickelback, Factory Edge, and Alan Getto

Welcome to another edition of New Music Monday. This week we have the latest from Nickelback, great alternative rock from Factory Edge, and a bluesy number from Alan Getto. Check them out!

Nickelback – Song On Fire
Nickelback released their brand-new album, Feed The Machine on Friday. The video for the lead single, “Song On Fire” is below. This is another great Nickelback song from another great Nickelback album. Not much else needs to be said. When it comes to Nickelback, the band just keeps churning out the hits.

Factory Edge – Hold On Tight
Next up is Brooklyn-based alternative rockers, Factory Edge with “Hold On Tight.” This song is from their second album, Sunset Park which is due out on August 4th. This is a terrific song with a great beat that you are bound to love. Check it out below.

Alan Getto – Change
Last up for this edition of New Music Monday is “Change” by Alan Getto. This is a perfectly pessimistic song about perseverance. Getto sings about how the mundane needs to be done every day and somehow we find a way to survive it and wake up for another day. “Change” is a great song that everyone should sing along with during their Monday morning commute.

Monday, June 12, 2017

What's The Guru Listening To? - June Edition

Welcome to the June Edition of What’s The Guru Listening To? I get asked this question a lot. What am I currently enjoying and what would I recommend? And since time is severely limited these days, it gets harder and harder to post a full review of the outstanding music that I am discovering (or re-discovering). Therefore, every month I will fill you in on the latest song, album, and/or band that I am obsessed with.  

Here’s what The Guru is listening to this month:

Badfinger – Baby Blue
Although I was late to the party, I recently made my way through all five seasons of Breaking Bad. What an amazing show! I now understand why everyone was obsessed with the program. At the end of the series finale, “Baby Blue” plays during the episode conclusion and then bleeds into the credits. Once I heard that song over the final scene, I started listening to it over and over and over again. It’s a great song that I haven’t paid attention to in years, but Breaking Bad brought it back and I was happy to rediscover this gem.

Son Volt – Notes of Blue
The latest record from Son Volt is another solid release of good music. Although it came out in February, I only started enjoying Notes of Blue recently. It wasn’t until this month that I listened to it to a few times and discovered all the great music contained within. Notes of Blue is another fantastic folk rock album from an extremely talented band that has a lot of great releases under their belt. And while it is no longer the original members, almost anything that involves Jay Farrar is worth paying attention to.

Undefeated – Incubus
Incubus recently released a new album, 8, and while the entire record is great, there is one song that stood above all others. “Undefeated” is a classic Incubus track filled with great hooks, fantastic rhythms, and powerful lyrics. It was the one song that rose above all others from the record and I found myself playing it several times over. I am sure that in the coming weeks I will go back and revisit the entire record, but for now I am content to just listen to “Undefeated” several times a week.

U2 – The Joshua Tree
I am fortunate enough to have good seats to see U2 at the end of the month. Since the band will be playing The Joshua Tree in its entirety, I thought it was appropriate to give the album a few spins. The Joshua Tree is probably my favorite U2 album, and could be one of my favorite albums ever. Every song on this record is a masterpiece. I am excited to see the band in concert, and I am more excited to hear The Joshua Tree in its entirety. To prepare myself for this magnificent show, I’ve been playing The Joshua Tree to re-familiarize myself with the lyrics to all the songs. After a couple of listens, I think I have all the words to every song down. Bring on the concert, my singing voice is ready!

The Clarks
There’s something to be said about the start of summer, a weekend drive, and The Clarks on the radio. The Clarks are a fantastic band from Pittsburgh that not enough people outside of that area know about. They’ve been around for over 30 years with all their original members, a very rare feat in music, and every album they release is a gem. And while I’ve been watching the NHL finals, I hear The Clarks being played in the Penguins arena. As most regular readers of The Rock And Roll Guru know, I am a huge Penguins fan. Thus, I’ve been listening to The Clarks a lot as I get ready to watch Penguins hockey and/or when I take a weekend drive. Their catalog is vast and wonderful and I encourage anyone who hasn’t heard of them to seek out their music and give them a try.

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