I am by no means a reviewer (as you are about to find out, lol) but i felt the need to get this album up on here for some discussion so.... here goes!
Backspacer see’s Pearl Jam reunited with Brendan O’Brien, who also produced Vs, Vitalogy and Yeild.
Pearl Jam did something they’d never done before with this album, went into the studio with the songs music and lyrics all thought out already. They’ve also gone with the ‘all killer, no filler’ approach for this album, which is evident as its only 37 mins long.
Alot of fans were bugged by this, but id rather they put on 11 songs that they really like rather than extra songs which they thought were just OK.
There is only one way to listen to the opening tracks of this album... LOUD. The first 3 tracks just grab you and pull you in so you’re surrounded in a wall of sounds, which is a very happy place to be.
When i played this album in my car, i found myself driving faster to go along with the tempo of the tracks, luckily no speed camera’s were around.
Gonna See My Friend - This is just straight up old school rock, or even Ramones-like in a way. Certain parts of it in the middle actually puts me in mind of songs from Guns N Roses’ Appetite for Destruction.
Got Some – I absolutely love Matt’s drumming in this song, so tight and hard hitting. Another punk-like song with some solid background riffs.
The Fixer – This was the first song i heard from the album, and ill admit it took a few listens to grow on me. I felt it was a little too ‘poppy’ for Pearl Jam, but once i sat down and listened to it properly, it grew on me pretty quick, not least for Eddie’s great lyrics in there.
Johnny Guitar – I really like this song, it has so many different parts to it that all come together very well. The biting guitar chords being struck right before the vocals start, then Eddie almost spoken word parts (Now Johnny he be having lots of women, Oh the reason he'd be smiling known to him) is something new to me.
Just Breathe – If you’ve heard the soundtrack or seen the movie ‘Into the Wild’... you could swear this song was left off it. Amazing vocals in this, so much so that you wouldn’t think it was the same singer from Ten. My favourite off of the album, if im in a relaxing kind of mood.
Amongst The Waves – Eddie sure likes his references so the water in his songs/song titles, and this song feels very much like a wave. It starts out with a sense of urgency in the vocal, even though the music is slowly building to the chorus like a wave finally reaching and washing over you. The bridge part right where the solo comes in is interesting, like the song changes tempo but at the same time stays the same, and the solo, although short.. again puts you in mind of old Pearl Jam. I suppose the song needs vocals, but the music behind it is what interests me most.
Unthought Known – Now, also being a member of PJ’s official forum, ive seen alot of people rave about this song being an instant classic and straight in their top 5.... there’s something im not getting out of this i feel. I like it but i don’t think its anywhere near the best song on the album, nevermind top 5 of all time. It reminds me a little of Love Boat Captain, and those drums parts in the middle section put me in mind of Green Day’s when September ends. I don’t think it’ll ever grow to classic status in my eyes.
Supersonic (sorry, no studio versions on YT for some reason) – First time ive ever heard of a band ripping of their OWN songs. If you’ve heard the Stone-sung ‘Mankind’ off of No Code, you’ll know what i mean, he pretty much used part of the same riff in here.
This song just makes me feel really happy that i’ve heard of Pearl Jam ... those guys who are now in their early to mid 40’s and still know how to rock out like they did all those years ago. This is definitely my fav along with Just Breath, you just cant help but be happy and bounce along when you hear this. My fav song... is laced between, IMO, two of the weaker songs on the album...
Speed of Sound – Like Unthought Known, im not sure how to come at this song, its almost ballad-like. I don’t like trashing PJ and i dunno what good to say about this song... so ill move on, lol.
Force of Nature – The effects at the start of this song are really cool, there’s a hint of Bu$hleaguer in there, and i really like the melody of the vocal, it fits in so well with the music. The chorus reminds me of another song but i cant think what it is. A solid track on the album.
The End – Quite a sad song, i guess about someone who wants to feel loved by the ones close to him/her before ‘the end’. It is a beautiful song though, and the way he just sings over the chord progression is just genius. Simple but very effective.
The perfect way to end the album... before you go right back to the start for the opening of ‘Gonna See My Friend’ to lift you back up.