ARTIST: Pearl Jam
TITLE: No Code
YEAR RELEASED: 1996
CHART ACTION: #1 US, #3 UK
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.
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.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
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.