Pearl Jam – No Code

ARTIST: Pearl Jam 220px-pearljam-nocode

TITLE:  No Code



SINGLES: Who You Are (#31 US, #5 Mainstream, #1 Modern, #18 UK), Hail, Hail (#9 Mainstream, #9 Modern), Off He Goes (#34 Mainstream, #31 Modern)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW:  Red Mosquito, Sometimes

LINEUP:  Eddie Vedder, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, Jack Irons

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Pearl Jam changes course a bit, and makes a more personal and varied record, which confounds some fans and radio programmers. 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Anyone expecting Pearl Jam to come roaring out with a huge statement in the first song on their fourth album must have been surprised and shocked to hear the moody “Sometimes” as the lead cut. That was a sign of things to come.

While No Code had some of their trademark alterna-hard rock, the album changed up styles more than any other Pearl Jam release, even in some songs (like “Present Tense”). They also dabble in hard core in a tribute to Mudhoney and Melvins bassist Matt Lukin and also in spoken word and exotic rhythms. Some fans expecting a wall-to-wall record like the first two, were just as surprised as they were with some of the odder cuts in Vitalogy.

This even had a sung by Stone Gossard (“Mankind”), a big curveball.220px-nocode_-_triangle

There’s plenty of good stuff here – plenty of classic Pearl Jam sounds. I think people were expecting one thing and were delivered another, as the songs and performances themselves are pretty good.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Former RHCP drummer Jack Irons joined the band after going on their last tours.


GRADE: A-:  While it doesn’t have a certified classic song, the album is varied, and has aged pretty well due to its variety of sounds and subjects.


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