Sunday, June 28, 2009

MUSIC: "Backspacer" Tracklisting and Details Revealed

In German magazine Visions July 2009 issue, Pearl Jam reveals the track listing, overview, and info about "Backspacer," produced by not-since-Yield Brendan O'Brien, the poorly named new album set for release this fall. 11 songs in 39 minutes.

1. "See My Friend": This is head-on 2000s-era Pearl Jam: aggressive garage rock, over a repetitive hook, bookended by Stone's Who-style power chords and Mike's meandering lead guitar.

2. "Got Some": We heard it, we dug it, my first impressions were Pearl Jam meets Devo meets The Police. Not an all-together bad handicap match.

3. "The Fixer": Some are calling it the album's first unforgettable track. A tight classic-rock style tune that holds up well. Clever lyrics, an old melody, cool vocal harmony, and unique rhythms swell to a pseudo-anthem. You'll see this in Target commericals. I'm still not sold.

4. "Johnny Guitar": Editor's Note: As mad as I got before I read even further, an insider purports that it is "not as bland as its title suggests." Classic PJ, enough sincerity for a Peanuts pumpkin patch, decent lyrics.

5. "Just Breathe": The album's acoustic ballad. This is a mature undertaking for Pearl Jam, who pairs acoustical tinklings with a string section. Bet your money it's the mid-album love song, i.e. "Thin Air," "Parachutes."

6. "Amongst the Waves": Editor's Note: Song titles making me angrier still. "Oceans," "Big Wave," "The Whale Song," WE GET IT. This song is designed in the ascending, anthemic style of "Given to Fly." We can expect a lot of Eddie Vedder Metaphors from this one, lyrically.

7. "Unthought Known": Track opens climactically, but plateaus into a soulful mid-tempo rocker. Insider says, "Slightly blurry ending but still more palpable than anything off the last album." Eddie plays this one on his solo tours no one cares about but figurehead try-hard die-hards.

8. "Supersonic": Editor's Note: A tribute to the band's old favorite basketball team? The obligatory wild song that you can find on every Pearl Jam album since “Vitalogy”. Almost cheerful, driven by Matt Cameron’s thunderous pounding, in the beginning reminiscent of Soundgarden (Editor's Note: Please don't let me down.). But Soundgarden were better at creating those angular bundles of energy. We'll see how well PJ pulls this off without going off rails.

9. "Speed Of Sound": "Supersonic" part II. Exotic but melodic. A strange pop song with a different sound than the rest of the album and its clear-cut production. Suspenseful tone.

10. "Force Of Nature": Editor's Note: STILL not digging the song titles. A rock song like a Pearl Jam concert: An innocent beginning, but it grows naturally and expands and has you totally in its grip before you know it. Almost interactive.

11. The End: The literal denouemont. The second acoustic song but one of the strongest ballads by the band since a long time, amongst other things because its urgency manifests in Vedder’s vocals. "Even the end of the end needs a worthy ending." Normally I don't like when I hear gossip about a "new album" with a closing track titled with something like "Parting Ways" but I am, in this case, intrigued.

Keep your fingers crossed for a big showing in September.

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