Hidden Gems: Pearl Jam – Yield

Yes, Pearl Jam did make other albums after Ten

For those who were around when Pearl Jam released their debut album Ten, you are all too familiar with how big this band was, selling trillions of albums in record time and helping bring grunge into the mainstream.  However, for the rest of us who weren’t there in the early 90s, this is one of the most frustrating bands to try to figure out.  Rock N Roll history claims this is a grunge band, but these guys never really made grunge music.  All their music is too diverse and complex, and calling them a grunge band is like calling Mt. Rushmore a rock – a huge understatement.

Yield was released in 1998, and while it offer the kind of music you are expecting, it’s a great album that cannot be judged by the band that made it.  Yield ranges from in-your-face hard rock (album opener “Brain Of J.”, “Do The Evolution”) to softer, but still rocking, jams (“Pilate”, “Given To Fly”).  There are times during the record that I’m reminded of Led Zeppelin, especially Led Zeppelin III, from the great guitar work, the contrast in songs, and Eddie Vedder’s booming but passionate vocals.  Of all Pearl Jam’s albums this is the one I would recommend to newcomers.  It may not represent the band fully, but it might be their most accessible.  It definitely has their most accessible songs, especially “Wishlist” – follow the link to youtube below to listen to the song.

It seems to me the reason why this band is so frustrating to listen to is because we’re expecting something else to come out of these guys – we’re all expecting to hear the same kind of grunge rock Nirvana was bringing to MTV.  However, the more I listen to this album the more it seems to me that grunge music was never what they were about.  These guys wanted to do everything, and they got pretty close on this album.  So if you pretend this album was made by a totally different band, you might really enjoy this.

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1 Comment

  1. Yield is Pearl Jam’s most mainstream album, by far. It was their first album that your parents would listen to as well.

    Collectively, it is probably their 5th best album musically/lyrically, but still better than 95% of anything that came out in 1998.

    The album only contains one of their top 25 best songs (in my opinion, of course), which would be Given To Fly. But Faithfull and MFC are two fantastic songs as well.

    Yield marked a time in Pearl Jam’s career that they began being happy as huge, rich, and famous rock n roll stars. Some say their writing was never better than the times they were angry at the world. I think there’s a lot of truth in that, but a happy Pearl Jam is still better than no Pearl Jam at all!

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