Pearl Jam’s “VS.” is an album that many consider to be a true masterpiece. During the era in rock music when grunge was highly popular, with bands such as Sound Garden and Nirvana dominating the charts, Pearl Jam decided to experiment with a different sound.
While the end result is a different one, it’s highly successful as well.
“VS.,” Pearl Jam’s second album, features a rawer and more aggressive sound of music, as opposed to their first album, “Ten,” which was known for having a slightly softer and more alternative feel.
Actively sacrificing commercial success for the album by not having music videos for any of their singles, it seemed that Pearl Jam’s focus was to make good music and forget about everything else.
It’s fair to say that they succeeded in that mission with this album.
From the beginning of the album, the band starts out like a rocket launch ready for takeoff. Their shockingly heavy and aggressive sound, with a mix of few acoustic driven tracks, allows you to turn the volume up and enjoy the ride. The swift drumming of Dave Abbruzzese, the smooth bass of Jeff Ament, the insane guitar riff solos from Mike McCready and Stone Grossard as well as the melodic vocals from lead singer, Eddie Vedder are blended together in a grungy virtuosity that is as effective as it is sublime.
It is not often that a second album can be enjoyed as much as the first, especially in the flash-bang world of modern rock and grunge. “VS.” however, can effectively be labeled the the “Godfather II” of grunge.
Containing 12 tracks which touch upon powerful topics that our society encounters even today, such as gun control, racism and child abuse, the album still sends a poignant message today.
Notable tracks include “W.M.A.,” “Daughter” and “Rearview Mirror.” “W.M.A.” features tribal sounding drums along with a smooth bass, which whispers as the song moves along; it has a Red Hot Chilli Peppers type of sound to it; a song to which you can turn up and mimic each drum motion. “Daughter,” which is acoustically driven and the most popular on the album, displays a very catchy chorus.“Rearview Mirror” is a track that is played with great intensity and is sung with extreme passion, epitomizing what grunge and modern rock has the potential to be.
Because of this, “VS.” is an album that highly surpasses the bands first release. The instruments on this album are played with such passion and aggression that you see exactly what the band was trying to show its fans- we are eclectic; we can do more with our song.
And they do.
Get ready to jam and experience a rush like no other.