Pearl Jam's Backspacer More of Same
Despite controversy over Target release, album is praiseworthy—not groundbreaking
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2009 1:56 PM CDT
Pearl Jam, lead singer Eddie Vedder, performing on stage during a sell-out gig at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, Tuesday Aug. 11, 2009.   (AP Photo / Yui Mok, PA)
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(Newser) – Pearl Jam “plays it tight, short and fast on its ninth studio album, Backspacer (Monkeywrench), out Tuesday,” writes Greg Kot for the Chicago Tribune. In its first self-released album, the band steamrolls through 11 songs in just 37 minutes—but it’s 37 minutes of “step-on-it-and-go attack.” The guitars are a thick tangle,” Eddie Vedder sings “like he’s cornered,” and the drums “keep the songs rocketing along.”

Of course, much of the attention focused on Backspacer revolves around the deal Pearl Jam brokered with Target to release it—so fans will likely be happy to know “Pearl Jam hasn’t sold out,” writes Jim DeRogatis for the Chicago Sun-Times. However, “neither has it bravely reinvented itself; it essentially has given us more of the same—some strong, some filler, but nothing mind-blowing.”