With the release of this new Pearl Jam album, Lightning Bolt, I found myself a little bit more excited than I should have been. It is the first album Pearl Jam has released since my freshman year of high school, and I am now a freshman in college. It is definitely an album that does not disappoint.
1. – “Getaway” – This song is such a great opener for Lightning Bolt. It is very Beatles-esque. It reminds me a lot of Johnny Guitar from Backspacer and Satan’s Bed from Vitalogy. There is really cool drum part during where it says “Science says we’re making love like the lizards. Try and say that fossils aren’t profound. Silence says we’re not allowed to consider. Silence says stand up sit down you’re out.” The other lyric that I really like is “It’s all right. I’ve got my own way to believe. It’s okay. Sometimes you find yourself being told to change your ways. There’s no way, mine is mine and yours won’t take its place, now make your getaway.” If only I could explain how much I relate to that, then the world might have a better understanding of open minded people.
2. – “Mind Your Manners” – I knew this song before all the other ones came out, as did thousand of other fans. It is one of my favorite upbeat songs on this album. My favorite part of the songs is “Try my patience, my patience tried. This world’s no longer good enough. That makes me want to cry-y-y-y-y-y-y.” Leave it to Eddie Vedder to use the word “metaphysically” in a song. That is such an eloquent vocabulary word. The last lyric really made me think about what Ed is trying to say to: “Go to Heaven. That’s swell. How do you like it living in Hell?” What?
3. – “My Father’s Son” – “This gene pool don’t love me.” The first time I heard this song, I wanted to listen to it again. It was great. The chorus reminds me of one PJ song that I cannot quite place and the end reminds me of Brain Of J from Yield (the best Pearl Jam album ever).
4. – “Sirens” – The title is obviously a metaphor for something that I have not quite figured out yet. The lyric “Let me catch my breath the breathe then reach across the bend” was definitely a throwback to “Around The Bend” on No Code. This song also sounds like something that could have been on Ed’s Into The Wild soundtrack. The first time I heard this song, I cried through the part “Just to know you’re safe. I am a grateful man. This light is pit, alive and I can see you clear. Oh, I could take your hand, and feel your breath for feel that someday will be over. I pull you close, so much to lose.” I also really like the line, “It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead.” During the guitar part at the end, I was in the library at school sitting in a pool of my own tears. Do not get me started on the first time I heard it live… (FYI, that was at Voodoo Fest in New Orleans. They opened with it.)
5. – “Lightning Bolt” – I heard this song for the first time at the Wrigley Field, and I instantly fell in love with it. I sang the chorus every day and when the album finally came out, I played the crap out of this song. This song has a seductive sound to it. “She’s Rock and Roll. She’s lightning bolt, uncontrollable like you!” This is definitely the best title track on any album I have ever heard, and it is my favorite on the album.
6. – “Infallible” – The guitar in this song reminds me of “Rival” from Binaural and “All Those Yesterdays” from Yield. “Somehow, it is the biggest things that keep on slipping right through our hands by thinking we’re infallible. Oh, we are tempting fate instead” is super powerful. Whoever is on backup vocals, I love it! And the yeah yeah yeah at the end was the perfect pitch for Ed’s voice.
7. – “Pendulum” – This has been the opening song at almost every Pearl Jam show on the Lightning Bolt tour. (One of the exceptions would be Voodoo in New Orleans, which was the only show I could get to on the tour. College sucks.) I love the howl at the end of “easy left me long ago.” “I’m in the fire, but I’m still cold” is definitely a paradox. The “ah ah ah ah ah” sounded a lot like ARC from Riot Act: very tribal.
8.- “Swallowed Hole” – I love the guitar in the intro. It reminded me of “Down and Leatherman” from Lost Dogs. I love the little stutter that Ed does when he sings, “I can set myself right hear and d-d-drown…” He is definitely channeling his inner “Who.” (You know, The Who, the awesome band.) “Whispered songs inside the wind. Breathing in forgiveness and the chapter I’ve not read, turn the page.” That is freaking perfect. OK, moving on.
9. – “Let The Records Play” – Intro channels its inner Ten and VS. in the beginning. “Shaken, the breaking, not one for faking” has perfect internal rhyme. “The reeling is healing. He lets the records play. There’s wisdom in his ways” Stone Gossard deserves a medal for writing this song because that lyric alone explains how much music helps people.
10 – “Sleeping By Myself” – I like the Ed version from Ukelele Songs better. “I should have known there was someone else. Now I’m alone, I always kept it to myself. Now I believe in nothing. Not today as I move myself out of your sight. Oh, I’ll be sleeping by myself.” If that is not sad, then I do not know what is. “What’s left of me is gonna have to be free to survive.”
11. – “Yellow Moon” – It sounds a lot like “Sirens” from earlier in this album. Oddly enough, it reminds me of “Rival” from Binaural. Overall, this song is probably my least favorite on the album. That’s all I have to say about that. (If you catch that reference, you rule.)
12. – “Future Days” – I heard this song at the Wrigley Field show for the first time. I cried then, and I still get weepy when I hear it now. Every single lyric is so beautiful, my favorite being, “All the missing crooked hearts, they may die but in us they still live on.” This is definitely my favorite slow song on Lightning Bolt.