Pearl Jam

Epic Records, 1998


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Yield comes as a follow up to Pearl Jam's shockingly experimental No Code, and is a radically different record from its predecessor.

No Code was a record of various random ideas poured in an album, without any care as to what the outcome would be like. Yield, on the other hand, has a structure and a focused sound, which is maintained throughout consistently.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Yield finds Pearl Jam in a tranquil mood; the band is least angry on this record. The album has the benign sound of late-eighties REM or The Tragically Hip. As a matter of fact, on a couple of tracks -- "Faithful" and "MFC" -- Vedder's mellowed-down folky avatar has a distinct resemblance to The Tragically Hip's Gordon Downie.

In the records leading up to Yield -- No Code and Vitalogy -- there were definite signs of the group's gradual departure from the grunge sound that defined the early period of its career. With Yield, Pearl Jam, takes a complete exodus from the aggression that seemed so natural to it, and converts it into more poignant feelings, with the cuts here more simplistic and touching.

"Wishlist" is probably the simplest track Vedder has ever written, and it is only befitting that it should find its way into Yield, of all the other records in the Pearl Jam catalog. It is a track of seemingly random but pensive wishes sung by a very different Vedder, a more helpless Vedder, whose intense anger is all but locked up in a safe whose keys have been intentionally lost.

Even on the aggressive pieces on the record, the group's anger seems to be more defensive than aggressive. Perhaps the only tune on the album that has the rage and bitterness of a much younger Pearl Jam is "Do The Evolution." However, the frustration and sarcasm of this "love peace, not war" number comes across more as a result of helplessness and despair than a feeling of uncontrollable rage.

In a way, it is somewhat disheartening to see a band like Pearl Jam going mellow with its sound. However, on the other hand, it is extremely impressive to see this legend of grunge produce such an excellent folk-rock record. Pearl Jam is still as talented as it ever was; only the style of music has changed.

Rating: B+

User Rating: C+



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