Pearl Jam's excellent new Lightning Bolt (@PearlJam, #LightningBolt)

The chief achievement of Lightning Bolt is that it is an album, wittingly or otherwise, almost exclusively for men, by men. Eddie Vedder seems to get men or rather manliness (for whatever that means in this metrosexual age) in a way that Hemingway perhaps got or envisioned it to be anyway, in the 20s.

I've been listening to Lightning Bolt for almost a month now and I like it a lot. It is easily the best album Pearl Jam has produced in a very long time. It ranks maybe somewhere right after Ten and Vitology along with Yield. I like their last Backspacer a lot as well but it sort of faded away over time. It was too punk and lacked legs. No big songs that you'd keep going back to. Lightning Bolt fixes all that. It caters to hard-core Jam fans with hard rocking songs and soothes the other Jam fans who live for Black, or Indifference or Immortality. With Lightening Bolt, Pearl Jam have gone ahead and created a brilliant album. An album that really is a huge achievement given how far behind they'd fallen with duds like 'No Code', 'Riot Act' and the self-titled 'Pearl Jam'. Lightening Bolt has energy, it has legs, it has life. It is fun to listen to from start to finish. Not something you can say about too many music albums these days. It is so great to see a rock band go back to what worked in the first place rising about the political discourse that they may or may not be suited for but something that never served their art well.

And they knew they were on to something good. They promoted this album incessantly on Social Media. They instagrammed every photo and retweeted the smallest praise from everyone (a reason I avoid following favorite artists on twitter - it cheapens their appeal to me to some extent.) and slow revealed songs, streamed the album free on new iTunes Radio. And seems like it generally paid off. They are somewhat relevant again and that's not easy in our age of '15 seconds of fame'.

Here are my thoughts on some of the key songs.
  • Sirens. A big song. Something that you can come back to year after year. A soothing, beautiful song. 
  • Sleeping by myself - a really beautiful tune that sounds all Vedder and no Jam.
  • Mind your Manners. Spin the Black Circle is back! Rejoice!
  • Lightning Bolt. A big rock love song. Beautiful tunes. 
  • Infallible. A fallback classic Jam tune with really good guitar play. 
  • Let the records play. Now here's a surprise - a dance track almost. Nicely done. 
  • Yellow Moon. A very classic Jam ballad. Beautiful soft song, a very post Cobain Jam tune. 
  • Pendulum is my favorite song from the album. A dark, brooding sound bordering Indifference with less dramatic flair.