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What Year is It?

September 23, 2009
by

BackspacerPearl Jam and Alice in Chains are releasing albums in the same month.  If it weren’t for the sound of Pearl Jam’s Backspacer, I could be fooled into thinking it’s 1993.  This ain’t the Pearl Jam of my teens. Nor does Backspacer sound quite like any other recent rock albums I have heard.  There are a lot of moving parts, and they artfully shift from blending with each other to asserting themselves.  The overall effect is a fantastically textured record.  DJ says it’s their best work since Yield, and he’s the kind of guy who knows about these things.

Black Gives Way to BlueThe new Alice in Chains album, Black Gives Way to Blue is streaming for free until its commercial release.  I haven’t listened to the whole thing yet, but I did get the single Check My Brain on iTunes.  Jerry Cantrell has a fantastic, if narrow, sense of harmony, and this song picks up where the band left off when Layne Staley died.  The song is built off of a riff I can best describe as a hellish drone.  I love it, but it doesn’t represent much of a departure from Cantrell’s earlier stuff.  As for New Guy’s vocals, they’re really good, but again – it’s a little too similar to the old sound for me to totally freak out.  Because I really like Alice in Chains – and their work has held up well over the years –  I am looking forward to hearing the whole record, but my expectations are not too high.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. JoJo permalink
    September 23, 2009 12:06 pm

    i really like your music writing; your diction is pleasing. it sounds like stuff.

    also, when i was but a wee lad, i subscribed to that ‘you know this is a rip off, dummy’ packages from columbia house. you know, buy like 10 cds for a penny, then have to subscribe to a whole bunch of albums for a year at 37 bucks a pop, or some such. in making my initial selection, i needed a 10th cd to get my grubby identity-forming hands on. i saw pearl jam’s ‘ten’ on the list, and i got it because i had heard their “one song” on the radio.

    and then i probably went to bar mitzvah lessons.

    why does your review not contain a link to columbia house’s cds-by-mail offer?

    • Barry permalink*
      September 23, 2009 12:10 pm

      Because I’m from the “dick” side of the pantheon.

  2. David permalink
    September 23, 2009 1:29 pm

    Please do me a favor and don’t like Pearl Jam. Don’t buy their records, don’t listen to their music, and whatever you do, please do not attempt to go to one of their concerts. They have enough real fans and don’t need anyone else at a show yelling for them to play their “one song” from the radio. Just stay home, go for a walk, go to take a cruise, go do whatever you want, but just don’t bother wasting space at a PJ show.

  3. Barry permalink*
    September 23, 2009 1:33 pm

    Please do me a favor and wash the sand out of your vagina. Everyone has to love your precious little dumplings as much as you?

    Anyhow, I wrote nice things about them.

    • David permalink
      September 23, 2009 1:35 pm

      You shut up. I am telling your readership not to bother with Pearl Jam. It’s not worth their time.

      • Barry permalink*
        September 23, 2009 1:36 pm

        No, you shut up. My readership thinks your advice is bogus. When you get out of your snit, perhaps my readership’s collective mind will change.

  4. David permalink
    September 23, 2009 1:42 pm

    You speak for your readership? What is a snit?

    • Barry permalink*
      September 23, 2009 1:48 pm

      I speak for my readership when a sandy-vaginaed little snit-ster is telling them what concerts not to go to. I suggest you use a dictionary. Once you’re done looking up “snit”, hit yourself in the face with it until you’re no longer compelled to be the arbiter of who is and who is not allowed to see your precious dumplings in concert.

      • David permalink
        September 23, 2009 1:50 pm

        Last time I checked I WAS half of your readership. Snit this.

      • Barry permalink*
        September 23, 2009 2:06 pm

        Look. We need this feud to end. It’s tearing me apart. Perhaps Len Riskin can mediate our dispute.

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