.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/0950dbde7e29e004e3fe3c81167903e282c78dad.jpg Vs.

Pearl Jam

Vs.

Epic Associated
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 0 0
December 23, 1993

Pearl Jam are explosive. Few American bands have arrived more clearly talented than this one did with Ten; and Vs. tops even that debut. Terrific players with catholic tastes, they also serve up singer-lyricist Eddie Vedder. With his Brando brooding and complicated, tortured masculinity, he's something we haven't seen in a while — a heroic figure. Better still, he's a big force without bullshit; he bellows doubt.

Like Jim Morrison and Pete Townshend, Vedder makes a forte of his psychological-mythic explorations — he grapples with primal trauma, chaos, exultation. As guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready paint dense and slashing backdrops, he invites us into a drama of experiment and strife. "Animal," "Daughter" and "Blood," their terse titles urgently poetic, are songs of a kind of ritual passion, tapping into something truly wild.

And when Vedder roars, "Saw things ... clearer ... /Once you were in my rearviewmirror," it seems that it's not only some personal sorrow that he's willing himself to tear beyond but the entire weight of the past itself.

Voicing the dreams and furies of a generation, Nirvana rock brilliantly in the now. They suggest a visceral understanding of rehab rites of passage and gen der overlap, stardom fantasy and punk nihilism. Their themes parallel both David Cronenberg's "venereal horror" and David Lynch's atonal wit, and their inchoate striving after feeling combats the blithe vacuity of outdated Warhol-style hipness. Blank generation? Not really, just young people fighting for some kind of meaning.

Nevermind, of course, spotlighted grunge and Seattle, making it obvious that in a hinterland far from America's vigilant media capitals, space remained for uncooked vision. Punk guitar, pop hooks — the album sold trillions. And in Kurt Cobain it delivered a nervy singer and a mind representative of new, conventionally apolitical rebellion. With In Utero, Nirvana go deeper inside themselves; the prevailing mood is complex unease, tense with self-loathing and fitful pride. "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle," "All Apologies" and "Serve the Servants" are crisis music. Any real future will have to deal with the emotional overspill Nirvana's songs bravely refuse to contain.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Love Is the Answer”

    Utopia | 1977

    The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com