This past Tuesday, Pearl Jam released their 10th studio album, Lightning Bolt. Prior to the release of the record, there was a lot of buzz and hype. The two singles that were released over the last three months, “Mind Your Manners” and “Sirens” had me excited that this new record could be their best album since the self-titled avocado release. Not only could it be their best album since then, Lightning Bolt could be their best album since Yield.
If you haven’t checked out Pearl Jam in a while, Lightning Bolt is a great place to get back on board with the band. They are currently on a fall tour of the U.S., and for anyone who has never seen them live, I say this: Pearl Jam is one band that you must see in concert before you die. Most of the shows for this fall tour still have tickets available for purchase, albeit not many and not the best seats. Key venues like Brooklyn and Seattle have been sold out since the minute tickets went on sale, so fans in that area (yep – that’s me) are out of luck unless they take a road trip. And if you’ve never seen the band live before, a road trip is worth the cost, time and effort. Pearl Jam is one of the greatest live acts I’ve ever witnessed.
It’s amazing to see that after 22 years, this band is still making solid, meaningful music. The latest single, “Sirens,” is the new “Black.” It is also the greatest Pearl Jam song ever recorded. Between the emotion with which lead vocalist Eddie Vedder sings, the brilliance of Mike McCready’s guitar solos and the haunting piano chords from Boom Gasper, “Sirens” hits every nerve in the soul of the listener. The lyrics are outstanding, highlighting Vedder’s skill in crafting a masterpiece with meaning. The song is also a perfect example of how well the band has aged over the years.
“Mind Your Manners” is reminiscent of “Spin The Black Circle” (from Vitalogy), but stronger and more enjoyable. “Lightning Bolt” is a phenomenal song that captures the Pearl Jam of today and includes another stupendous solo from McCready. Other notable tracks on the new album include “Let The Records Play” and the beautiful ballad, “Yellow Moon.”
Early era Pearl Jam is well represented on this album, although with a modern twist. Influences from Ten, Vs,, and Vitalogy can all be heard with clarity. Yet they are no longer singing about the youth movement and overtaking the world, Pearl Jam have now looked inward and are starting to feel the effects of aging and mortality. A lot of that emotion shows on Lightning Bolt, and is put to good use by the band. Themes of aging, doubt, uncertainty, and the end of life are all captured and exploited in a manner that only a magnificent veteran rock act like Pearl Jam could manage.
It’s been four years since Pearl Jam released their last studio album (Backspacer), but the long wait was well worth it. Lightning Bolt displays only the best of this storied band. Producer Brendan O’Brien worked closely with the group to ensure that only the highest quality was memorialized for this record. The hard work and long hours paid off, as Lightning Bolt is destined to be a number one album and help Pearl Jam reclaim the title of “most talked about rock band.” Although these days, it won’t be for their boycott of ticketing agencies, or their feuds with other famous musicians—this time it will be all about the performance.
In a couple of months when I am pouring over all of the new releases that I’ve heard this year, trying in earnest to pick my ten favorites of 2013, I can guarantee that Lightning Bolt will be battling for the top spot. If you get one new record this fall, Lightning Bolt should be it. And if you go to see one concert this autumn, Pearl Jam should be your concert of choice. And if you have an extra ticket and need a huge fan to keep you company, feel free to get in touch with me. I’d be happy to attend.
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Autumn has finally arrived. Football kicks off tonight, the kids are back to school, and most of us don’t have another day off from work until Thanksgiving break. Wow, that’s a long time away. And with the arrival of fall, I think about new music releases. Autumn is usually the last time I have to purchase a highly anticipated new album until spring, so I relish the fall releases. Here are some of the fall discs that I am looking forward to.
Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks
Release Date: Out Now
In college I was a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails. The Downward Spiral was on constant replay in my CD player and I was in love with the band. As the 90s progressed, I fell out of touch with Nine Inch Nails and never really got back into them. Now with the release of their (Trent Reznor’s? his?) first album in years, this could be a jumping on point for me. I haven’t heard any of the new songs yet, but I am interested in seeing what Trent Reznor has produced for his latest Nine Inch Nails album. The album is in stores now, so maybe I will kick off my football weekend by purchasing a copy.
Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt
Release Date: October 15th
There is no album that I am more eager to get my greedy music loving ears on than Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt. I have been a huge fan of Pearl Jam since I first heard “Alive” in college. From that moment on, I was in love with the band. Their last record, Backspacer, was decent, but I felt it lacked a lot of what I had come to expect from Pearl Jam, and I worried that perhaps the band had peaked and hit their swan song with their self-titled album. Now the band has a chance to prove me wrong and if lead single “Mind Your Manners” is any indication of what to expect from Lightning Bolt, then consider me all in. I have a gut feeling that 2014 may just be Pearl Jam’s biggest year yet.
Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell: Volume Two
Release Date: Autumn
Prior to volume one of this release, I was not much of a Five Finger Death Punch fan. I thought they were okay at best, and then I had the opportunity to review their last record for Hard Rock Hideout (review to be posted soon). Now I am a lover of this band and I anxiously await the release of The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell: Volume Two. If Volume Two is anywhere near as magnificent as Volume One, I will be spending a lot of my Autumn days listening to Five Finger Death Punch.
Saliva – In It To Win It
Release Date: Available Now
I will admit that I am very curious about this album. I was a huge fan of Saliva in the days of Josey Scott and Jonathan Montoya. After their greatest hits record, I stopped listening to Saliva for reasons that I don’t even know. I did not purchase their last record, Under Your Skin, and then when Josey Scott left the band after Jonathan Montoya, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I honestly thought the band was finished. And yet, here they are, having just released another record, In It To Win It. Bobby Amaru has taken over the vocal duties for the departed Scott, and I am very interested in seeing if this new lead singer will breathe new life into the band, or if this is the end of Saliva as we know it.
Stryper – No More Hell To Pay
Release Date: November 5th
Without question, I am going to pick up the latest release from Stryper. After Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt it is the must have release of the fall for me. I’ve always been a huge fan of Stryper and the fact that they are still releasing new material excites me to no end. I can only hope that their new songs are as good as other 80s metal bands who have released new albums lately (Tom Keifer and Jackyl come to mind). If Stryper can continue to make music as solid as the bonus tracks from their hits records, or Murder By Pride, then fans will rejoice. The best news about this new release is that it will contain original material. No more cover albums or re-recorded hits for Stryper—it’s going to be brand new music all the way. That makes me very happy!
Those are the albums that I am most looking forward to this fall. What about you? What are your Autumn Anticipations? Drop a line in the comments section or tweet me (@ryovie) and let me know if I am missing out on anything good.
To celebrate the re-release of Pearl Jam’s 2nd and 3rd albums (VS. and Vitalogy), the band is giving one lucky fan a chance to win an Epiphone Les Paul Custom guitar!
Please click on the image below to read the contest details, and to enter your name for the drawing!! This contest ends on May 30th, so act now!!
Epic Records and Legacy Recordings will celebrate Pearl Jam’s 20th anniversary with the release of newly restored and expanded editions of Vs. and Vitalogy, the second and third albums from Pearl Jam which broke all initial Soundscan records and secured the band’s reputation as a preeminent force in American rock music.
Vs. and Vitalogy will be available in new Expanded Editions (featured three bonus tracks on each) or together in a three-disc Deluxe Edition (featuring Live at the Orpheum Theater, Boston, April 12, 1994) and Limited Edition Collector’s Box Set, on March 29th. Each album will also be released in new commemorative re-mastered vinyl editions on April 12th to coincide with Record Store Day 2011.
Pre-order your copy of the Limited Edition Collector’s Boxed Set here: www.pearljam.com
Details on the new reissue formats are as follows:
The Collector’s Edition (1993-1995)
Packaging: The box will be the same size, shape and linen as the previous box (1990-1992).
Both VS. (originally released in 1993) & Vitalogy (originally released in 1994) will be in this Collector’s Edition.
3 gatefold vinyl jackets – 2 with single LPs and one with 2 LPs
3 gatefold CD mini LP replicas with booklets
Merch envelope (same as last time w/lithographs, ticket reproduction, posters, etc.)
An epic performance recorded at the tail end of mythic Vs. tour, Live at the Orpheum Theater showcases a dream setlist created especially by the Pearl Jam crew and has for years been one of the most sought-after recordings among serious aficionados. The ultra deluxe boxed set of Vs./Vitalogy will also include an exclusive collector’s cassette featuring live tribute and studio performances from a number of Pearl Jam’s fellow artist friends. Broadcast on January 8, 1995, this recording is part of the legendary Monkeywrench/Self-Pollution Radio series produced by the band.
• VS. – 1CD
Original album + bonus tracks
Packaging: 5″ Gatefold Jacket [like TEN reissue], 16 pages saddle stitched, one pocket on right
• VITALOGY – 1 CD
Original album + bonus tracks
Both albums will be available on vinyl with bonus tracks
Amazon Deluxe Edition pre-order URL: http://myplay.me/4fd
This week at Hard Rock Hideout we give you not one, but three Top 10 lists for 2009. We will post one each day this week, as well as our top 10 of the decade later this week. Ryo Vie joined HRH’s merry team of rockers this year, and has reviewed some fantastic music for us. Today I give you Ryo’s Top 10 of 2009.
So here we are – at the close of another year. Rob has graciously asked me to put together my top 10 releases for 2009 and I was more than happy to comply. The rock and roll fan got a TON of great music released this year, from Bon Jovi to Winger to Lynch Mob, it was a great year to be into hard rock. However, not everything can make the list (that’s why it’s a top 10) and since this is HARD ROCK HIDEOUT, I kept this list to my ten favorite hard rock records of 2009. If you’d like to see my list of general favorites for 2009, feel free to visit my blog at http://rockandrollguru.blogspot.com
Now without further adieu, here are Ryo Vie’s Top 10 hard rock albums for 2009 !
#10: House of Lords – Cartesian Dreams
Considering that I left this band for dead years ago, I had no expectations whatsoever when House of Lords released Cartesian Dreams. Perhaps that’s why I had an unbiased mind when I first spun this disc. After one play, I was hooked. Holy hell what an exceptional offering this band turned out. Slick with their euro-metal sound, House of Lords came back in a big way this year. I’m hoping that they team up with other hair metal acts to tour, or at least show up at the major festivals. To hear songs like Bangin’ live would be excellent!
#9: Flyleaf – Memento Mori
A sophomore effort that was worth the wait is the best way to describe Flyleaf’s Memento Mori. They were able to overcome the dreaded sophomore jinx by releasing an incredible record that showcases the talent of lead vocalist Lacey Mosley. As I mentioned in my recent review, she sings with emotion that sweeps through the listener, pulls them in, and doesn’t let go. It is her pure energy that makes Memento Mori such an excellent record. Combined with the talents of her other band members, 2010 should be a huge year for this band. As it is, 2009 landed them at number 9 on my list of best rock albums of the year.
#8: Winger – Karma
Winger surprised everyone this year, including their most die-hard fans, by releasing an incredible rock and roll record. Although Kip Winger sounds like David Coverdale on some songs, Karma is a beautiful disc immersed in a thick grunge sound that gives the record power. The ballads are incredible, and the heavier tracks are quality rock songs that will have you shaking your ass (if you’re into that sort of thing). Karma is an absolutely incredible record that any rock and roll fan should own.
#7: U2 – No Line On The Horizon
Shocked. That’s how I was when I listened to No Line On The Horizon. I was skeptical of the new U2 disc. How could they possibly release another great disc after All That You Can’t Leave Behind and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb? Well, somehow, they made it happen again. Another near perfect album came out this year from the Irish rockers beloved the world over. With incredible songs like the title track, Breathe, and Moment Of Surrender U2 continues to dazzle and show us just why they are one of the greatest rock bands in existence.
#6: Chickenfoot – Chickenfoot
Rock supergroups can be hit or miss especially when there are high expectations. (Case in point: Them Crooked Vultures – awful miss). Fortunately for rock fans (and Van Halen fans) Chickenfoot was a huge hit. Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony have been working together for years, so there was no doubting their chemistry, but when you add in two other super players (guitarist Joe Satriani and drummer Chad Smith) it’s a wild card. These four pulled it off. Satriani showcases some of his best guitar work ever, and Sammy sounds as happy as when he first joined Van Halen. Chickenfoot wins the award for feel good record of the year, and they land in my top 10 for 2009.
#5: Bon Jovi – The Circle
The bad boys from Jersey have grown into the gentle men from New Jersey, but even after all these years they still know how to rock! The Circle delivers the goods in every way imaginable and is more than you’d expect from a Bon Jovi album. Straying away from the country tinged themes of their previous album (Lost Highway), Bon Jovi returns to the rock and roll with this year’s release. Gearing up for a 2010 tour, I can’t wait to hear The Circle live. In the meantime, I’ll be playing this record on a constant loop.
#4: HURT – Goodbye to the Machine
Stunned. That’s a good word to use that describes how I felt after the first few times I listened to this record. I had no expectations going into my review, and after a few listens to Goodbye To The Machine, I was smitten. This record is simply amazing! A heavy, grunge type rock, Hurt delivers exceptional songs backed by intense rhythm, strong lyrics, and a highly talented lead singer. Goodbye To The Machine was probably the best surprise I heard all year, and I’m proud to add it to my top 10.
#3: Pearl Jam – Backspacer
In September, Pearl Jam released their long awaited album Backspacer to the delight of many fans (cousin Ryo included). It had been a long time since their last record (2006’s Pearl Jam) and the new songs were something that fans were crying to get their ears on. Well, the wait was worth it and the time between records paid off. Pearl Jam delivered another fantastic record, and while not quite as good as their self titled previous effort, Backspacer is certainly a worthy disc. A well crafted, well thought, beautifully arranged work of art.
#2: Lynch Mob – Smoke And Mirrors
I’ll be honest, when I heard that this album was coming out featuring original vocalist Oni Logan, I didn’t have much hope for greatness. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited and I wanted the album to do well and sound incredible. However, I’m a realist, and with Logan being MIA for so long, and George being out of the spotlight, I wasn’t sure if they still had that magical chemistry. Am I ever so glad that they erased any doubt that I had. Smoke And Mirrors is a metal classic!
#1: KISS – Sonic Boom
Those who know me will scream bias for picking KISS as my number 1 hard rock record of 2009, but that is not why they are being chosen. Yes, Kiss is my favorite band, but Sonic Boom is a worthy contender for record of the year. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley went into the studio with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer and put together one incredible album. Sonic Boom is so much more than a great Kiss record – it’s a great record. If you played it and had no idea what band it was, you’d still like it. It’s their best work in decades, it’s a strong rock record, and it is the best release of 2009.
For more great top lists for 2009, please check out the following websites: