Pearl Jam’s new disk hit stores in December and made quite an impact. What is all the hype about? This is Pearl Jam’s third disk. The original release date was the end of July, but it was delayed numerous times because of problems with management and production of the book that comes with “Vitalogy.” Fans have been waiting with great anticipation for new material. Was it worth the wait? Well, that depends on you. For me, it was.
Although “Vitalogy” has its weak points (“Pry To,” “Aye Davanita”), this is a raging disk! “Spin the Black Circle” and “Last Exit” are killer, straight forward, and to the point. Eddie borders on strange with “Hey Foxymophandlemama, that’s me.” This song is nothing but backward drum beats, guitar riffs, and a boy talking to a psychiatrist about sex and suicide. It leaves an uneasy feeling.
“Whipping,” “Satan’s Bed,” “Tremor Christ,” and “Not For You” are typical Pearl Jam classics, full of great lyrics and guitar riffs.
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As always, the best songs are the slow, or at least slower, ones. “Corduroy” starts fast, but slows as the lyrics go from positive to negative. For some reason, the lyrics are not in the book. “Nothingman” is the best Pearl Jam song I’ve ever heard. It’s gentle and quiet, very reminiscent of “Release.” And last we have “Better Man,” by far the best song on the disk. It’s about a woman who can’t get up the courage to leave an abusive spouse. At a concert in Atlanta last Easter before Eddie sang “Better Man,” he said, “This song is dedicated to the jerk who married my mama.” This song has very special meaning to Vedder, and he expresses it on this record. “Better Man” may be the jammers’ best song. “Vitalogy” rounds out its 14 song roster with “Immortality” and “Bugs.”
Overall, this disk runs hot and cold. Although it is very dark and non-commercial, it’s already a huge seller