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

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