Pearl Jam: Lightning Bolt

By: Jack Z.

     What more can you possibly say about Pearl Jam? With the release of their tenth studio album, Lightning Bolt, the Seattle-born band is now entering their third decade of producing angry, teeth-gritting rock music. But the question is, how do they do it? How has a band that began in the early 90’s survived and grown through the continuously changing times of music? Maybe Eddie Vedder and the members of Pearl Jam have found the fountain of youth, but more likely, they’ve adapted and reacted to the world around them.

     When Pearl Jam started, they were the definition of 90’s rock. When angsty teenagers needed to get their anger out, they turned to the hard hitting riffs and thundering lyrics of Pearl Jam. When the grunge era ended, the members of the band began to mature. Much to listener’s dismay, so did their music. That being said, Pearl Jam’s newfound maturity contributed to the production of some of their greatest music.

     Now we have Lightning Bolt, and Pearl Jam delivers what they promised. Coming out of a busy four year break, including an Eddie Vedder solo album and a documentary, they bring to the table their most diverse album yet. Fans of the gritty Pearl Jam sound will be happy to find tracks such as “Mind Your Manners,” “Lighting Bolt” and  “Getaway,” while those who like their emotion-filled ballads will enjoy tracks like “Sirens,” “Infallible,” and “Future Days.” In addition to returning to their origins, they explore new sounds in “Let the Records Play” and “Swallowed Whole.” All of these elements combine to create an album that could only be from Pearl Jam.

     Don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t think this album compares to their first album, or even the following two. That being said, Pearl Jam continues to be an amazing group even when they’re not at their finest. With the amount of talent between the band members, it’s hard to see them putting out anything that isn’t worthy of huge praise, and it’s safe to say that Lightning Bolt earns just that.


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