Backtracking September 2018
A look back at an established artist or bands entire back catalogue
Every few weeks the Solo Armada will select a chosen artist/band and invite you to listen to each and every studio album that the artist/band has produced and discuss on social media.
A Facebook Event group will be created for each featured artist for all to discuss, comment and share thoughts.
From their debut to the last album released. An opportunity to understand and discover a bands original beginnings and how their music has evolved over the years and not rely on greatest hit compilations or that comfortable album that you’re so familiar with.
To date Pearl Jam have released ten studio albums. Appearing during the early 90’s grunge scene, the band hail from Seattle and their debut album Ten catapulted them to huge success which continues to this day where they now sell out worldwide stadium tours.
Over the next few weeks you are invited to listen to Pearl Jam from their first album to their current. Below you will find a list of Pearl Jams entire back catalogue of studio albums in chronological order to help aid you. However, it’ entirely up to you how you want to listen. Maybe you’re already familiar with the first few albums and lost touch with the newer releases. Or prehaps you’ve never really given them the listen they deserve. In your opinion are they even that good?! This is the chance to find out and discover new, old songs and albums.
This is Backtracking.
Ten – Released 27th August, 1991
After the band Mother Love Bone disbanded, guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament approached vocalist Eddie Vedder, drummer Dave Krusen and guitarist Mike McCready to form Pearl Jam.
After a slow start sales wise, by late 1992 Ten had reached number two in the billboard charts and became famous for the the singles “Even Flow”, “Alive” and “Jeremy”. The album helped introduce what was then known as alternative rock to the mainstream music industry and public.
Ten remains Pearl Jam’s most successful commercial album to date.
VS – Released 21st October, 1993
VS was the first Pearl Jam album to feature drummer Dave Abbruzzese replacing Dave Krusen.
Having had massive commercial success with Ten the band decided to scale back the commercial aspect for VS and didn’t produce any music videos for single releases.
At the time MTV and music channels were at their peak and this was seen as drastic risk as it reduced potential advertising for the band. Upon it’s release VS set the record for most albums sold in it’s first week and held the number one position in the charts for five weeks.
Vitalogy – Released 6th December, 1994
Vitalogy is considered to be one of Pearl Jams more experimental albums especially when compared to the previous two releases.
The third album was written and recorded whilst the band were on the road touring their previous album VS and contains songs that are more diverse and shifting in sound.
Two weeks prior to the official launch date Vitalogy was released on vinyl and sold 34,000 copies in the first week. When the album was released on other formats it went on to become the second highest selling album in it’s first week of release… second to Pearl Jams previous release VS.
No Code – Released 27th August 1996
No Code was something of a bump in the road for Pearl Jam, creatively and successfully. The toll of touring previous albums was beginning to show and arguements occured regularly in the studio.
Brendan O’Brien produced No Code and knew the band as he also produced previous albums VS and Vitalogy, helped calm situations and got the band through a difficult period.
Jack Irons officially replaced Dave Abbruzzese as drummer for the recording of No Code even though he had been with the band halfway through the production of Vitalogy.
Yield – Released 3rd February, 1998
Yield marked a more collaborative approach for the band in how songs were written rather than rely solely on Eddie Vedder to compose the final product. It resulted in the band returning to their early, more rock based sound and was more upbeat compared to previous work.
Other members of the band would turn up to the studio with near complete songs to record which eased the pressure on Eddie Vedder to finish songs and energized the band and process.
The previous tour for No Code was only short and for Yield, Pearl Jam embarked on a full-scale tour. It was drummer Jack Irons last appearance on a Pearl Jam album.
Binaural – 16th May, 2000
Binaural was a turbulent time for Pearl Jam during it’s production. Not only was Eddie Vedder suffering from writers block, Mike McCready was admitted to rehab for an addiction to prescription drugs.
After five albums, Binaural was the first time Pearl Jam had not worked with producer Brendan O’Brien as the band felt it was time to try something new. Tchad Blake was brought in as a replacement and although the band were happy with the final recordings of the slower tracks, they wanted a heavier sound for other tracks and Brendan O’Brien was asked to work on the final mix.
The album reached number two in the billboard charts but was the first for Pearl Jam that failed to reach platinum status in the United States.
Riot Act – 12th November 2002
The band started production on the album at the beginning of 2002 when the 9/11 terror attacks were very much influencing the political climate. This also influenced the albums direction.
Most of the album was recorded live and the creative process was described as positive where the band completed a lot in a short space of time.
Several of the tracks were inspired by the Roskilde Fetival tragedy where nine fans lost their lives during Pearl Jam’s performance.
Pearl Jam – 2nd May 2006
Pearl Jam was released four years after Riot Act and was the longest time between album releases up to then. The length was attributed to Eddie Vedder and his partner having a child and the band touring midway through producing the album.
It was the first time since debut album Ten that the band went into the studio without already having material to work with. The result a was more aggressive and up-beat sound than previous releases and marked a return to the bands roots.
Backspacer – 20th September 2009
Backspacer features tracks with a rock ‘n’ roll element and in some cases a kind of pop vibe. It was an album where the band weren’t as quick to dismiss suggestions when it came to producing and constructing new songs.
The albums title is a homage to the key that was present on typewriters that went out of use in the 1950’s. Eddie Vedder would regularly pen the lyrics to songs using typewriter throughout the bands history and backspace key was a reminder and reference of looking back on life, a subject reflected throughout the album.
Lightning Bolt – 15th October 2013
After the positive experience whilst producing Backspacer the band intended to repeat the process. They began composing new songs as early as 2011 but fond that individual side projects each band member has would disrupt the making of Lightning Bolt.
It wasn’t until March 2013 where work resumed on the album which ended up having a heavier rock sound and song that were longer when compared to the track on Backspacer.