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9. Binaural (2000): There must be someone out there who will claim Binaural as his or her favorite Pearl Jam album, but I can't find that person. (A cursory Google search including the terms "Binaural," "favorite," "Pearl Jam" and "album" yielded nada, but maybe I had to go more than five pages deep.) It's not always the mediocrity-slog it's made out to be -- Pearl Jam always claims Fugazi as a philosophical model, but "Evacuation" actually has a bit of Fugazi in the music, too -- but it is a lot of work for very little reward. The rockers are a lot better than the slow songs (I'm hesitant to call them "ballads," because to me they feel lacking in the emotion required by that word) and there are too damn many slow songs. Still, if I were making a Pearl Jam mix, "God's Dice" would be somewhere on there.

More than many other bands, it’s hard to rank Pearl Jam’s discography. Die-hard fans are almost unusually protective of the band and their albums; casual fans more or less dropped off entirely by the mid ’90s; critics frequently overrate the band’s new material as it is released, then revise (and downgrade) their opinions when the next new material is released; haters, meanwhile, are (naturally) gonna hate.

Those disparities make considering the band’s catalog an interesting challenge — it’s been a thorny, uncomfortable couple decades with the band, who remain one of the most successful live rock acts in the world, yet have all but disappeared from the cultural conversation. (By comparison, imagine the reception that might greet, say, a new Radiohead or U2 album; then think about the last time you even realized Pearl Jam were still releasing new music.)

Part of that is because Pearl Jam’s musical influence has been limited almost exclusively to some of the worst MOR rock in history. (The only credible band I can think of who claim PJ as an influence are the Strokes.) Another part is by design: The band has gone to such great lengths to erase itself from the public eye (seemingly wary of success early on, and perhaps embarrassed by their spawn in later years) that it has succeeded in disappearing completely. But once every few years, a new Pearl Jam record is produced, and the response is always the same — on one side, you’ve got the “This is their best album since Vitalogy” camp; on the other, you’ve got everyone else, who stopped caring after Vitalogy.

But I’ve been thinking a lot about Pearl Jam recently — I wrote about the 20th anniversary of the Singles soundtrack a few weeks ago, and then, about a fan who was given the opportunity to craft for the band his dream setlist, which they then performed live. And as I thought about them, I tried to put into context their music — nine studio albums since 1991.

This list only takes into account those nine studio albums; I didn’t include the thousands of live sets they have released or their B-sides or their EPs or their expanded reissues or the album they made with Neil Young (although FWIW that last one would probably rank pretty high on my list). It starts here, ranked from worst to best. Check it out and make your case for Riot Act in the comments.

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Comments (124)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  2. woozefa  |   Posted on Jul 13th, 2012 -1

    why?

  3. As I am one of those “diehards” my immediate reaction is to bristle at this article.

    However, I agree with your number one, [although I'd put No Code lower (but not last) and Binaural higher (but not top 4)].

    Binaural had some great tracks on it, many of them immortalized in the DVD “Touring Band 2000″. I return to “Breakerfall” and “Evacuation,” often. “Thin air” is a great slow burner and “Of the Girl” is so wide and breathy you could run through it.

    I disagree that Backspacer is better than the self-titled album. Self-titled had force, and signified a new power and voice for the band – post the political whining of “Riot Act” (I say that lovingly). Backspacer wasn’t as consistent, in my opinion.

    There is on statement I disagree with though:
    “(By comparison, imagine the reception that might greet, say, a new Radiohead or U2 album; then think about the last time you even realized Pearl Jam were still releasing new music.) ”

    I’m not sure if you remember this but Backspacer had a fucking Target campaign behind it. I remember those commercials well. Also, there was that Cameron Crowe movie, too. If anything, U2 are struggling for the kind of relevancy that Pearl Jam still has. Radiohead is, and will always probably be, fine.

    Regardless, thanks for taking the time to write about my favorite band.

  4. I saw that “Yield” was the second worst and stopped reading. Been a fan since “Ten” and I have to severely disagree with your list. Personally, I feel their “black period” ran from “Binaural” through “Pearl Jam.” Obviously it’s all opinion, but here’s my list, best to worst: 1. Vitalogy 2. No Code 3. Yield 4. Vs. 5. Ten 6. Backspacer 7. Binaural 8. Riot Act 9. avocado

    • I couldn’t agree more. To me “Yield” is either #1 or #2 on their “best of.” The fact that it’s second-worst according to this list renders it totally meaningless.

      • Likewise; I’d put Yield at #1. I haven’t followed Pearl Jam much after Binaural: I own avocado on CD, but I’ve only listened to it maybe twice. I’ve also listened to Backspacer once without owning it; that’s about it for those albums.

        My ranking for the albums I’m reasonably familiar with would thus be:
        1) Yield
        2) Ten
        3) Vs.
        4) Binaural
        5) Vitalogy (it would be higher, but heyfoxymophandlethatsme is enough to push it from potentially #3 to #5)
        6) No Code (not that No Code is bad; it’s pretty consistent, but also has fewer standout tracks than anything above)

        And I put Yield at #1 in spite of Jack Irons being my least favorite drummer the band has had.

    • I couldn’t believe that Yield was so far down the list either. Honestly, it’s probably #1 on mine. I think it’s one of their most consistent, and overall I think it’s their best sound (I’ve tried to put my finger on it, and I think I’m partial to the Jack Irons albums).

  5. Good list – I’d probably have Yield higher – MFC and Do the Evolution are too good (though I dislike Given to Fly). And I don’t know if it’s a sign of popularity or scarcity, but Binaural on vinyl tends to be the Pearl Jam record that goes for the most on eBay, from what I’ve seen.

  6. ‘No Code’ is my favorite Pearl Jam album. It is a really solid mix of songs that are deep and rewarding. Maybe not radio ready, or immediately approachable like some of their other albums, but it is the one that I return to most often when I want to listen to Pearl Jam.

    I also think ‘No Code’ has aged the best. For instance, if nine completely different bands put out each of these albums next week, I think ‘No Code’ would get the most attention.

    Anyway, I also feel compelled to point out that I woke up the other day with “Nothing As It Seems” in my head. And I have been fighting to get rid of it ever since. That song is a great slow burning illusive melody, and deserves special recognition regardless of how bad Binaural was.

    • THANK YOU. Finally. No Code is in my top 10 of all bands of all time. Why doesn’t anyone else see this? The band reached some depths rarely achieved. Binaural and Yield need to replace Avocado and Backspacer on here as well. If Lightning Bolt was on here, it should be dead last.

  7. It’s all opinion but Yield #8? That just seems silly to me. Vitalogy #1 is also crazy to me as the CD was cleary not a strong effort. Not for You, Tremor Christ, Whipping, Betterman etc etc are all songs a 6 year old could have written on guitar. Sure you have Eddie words and voice but the CD is lacking and even the band considers it the worse. It’s all opinion though here are mine

    9.) Riot Act
    8.) Binaural
    7.) Pearl Jam
    6.) Vitalogy
    5.) Backspacer
    4.) Yield
    3.) Ten
    2.) No Code
    1.) Vs.

  8. Riot Act isn’t nearly as bad as people make it out to be. It’s the only Pearl Jam album released in the last decade I can listen to. I think its because it veers so wildly between styles, like Vitalogy did. The self-titled album is a boring retreat into their first two records, and Backspacer just wasn’t interesting to me in any real way. I’ll also agree with an earlier poster that Binaural is also severely underrated. It’s a great melancholy album, but that isn’t what people want from Pearl Jam, so the album gets unfairly trashed.

  9. come on man, the very idea of ranking these is just totally unfair

  10. As a COMPLETE diehard PJ fan of course I cringe at this list (and I somewhat hate the fact that it even exists). However, I do respect the fact that everyone’s entitled to rank such an awesome band, and well, that’s a complement in it’s own f-ed up way.
    With that said, I do think you should cut Binaural some slack, of course it’s not as good as Vitalogy, or No Code (then again, WHAT IS?!), but I definitely wouldn’t dismiss it altogether. Tracks like sleight of hand and nothing as it seems (listen to the version featured on the PJ 20 Soundtrack…SICK!) definitely deserve some sort of mention (I think). Also, C’man, Yield wasn’t that bad either (felt you were a little too harsh there..)
    Anywho, I guess I just agree with one of the first comments to this whole thing “thank you for taking the time to write about my favorite band”.
    Cheers.

  11. These would rotate regularly, but you get the idea with whereabouts they’d be on a list for my own taste.

    1. No Code
    2. Vs
    3. Vitalogy
    4. Ten
    5. Binaural
    6. Yield
    7. Riot Act
    8. Pearl Jam
    9. Backspacer

    To summarise: Backspacer sucked & Binaural is ALOT better than most make out

    An honourable mention should also be given to Lost Dogs & Benaroya Hall, both would feature at highest end of the bands catalogue for me

    Roll on record number 10!!

  12. Another Yield apologist checking in. Although it did have the dreaded spoken word filler track towards the end, it was largely consistent without being too glossy (Backspacer… “yeah yeah yeah”… ugh) or muddled with ill-conceived experimentation (nice try on You Are, but it totally doesn’t hold up). I would place it three or four places higher, but then again, it connected with me when I was in high school, so there goes any semblance of objectivity.
    I agree with Vitalogy as the #1 pick, though. It was Commercially Viable Pearl Jam’s last stand, and they went out with a weird, so-ugly-it’s-beautiful bang.

    • I thought You Are was one of the better tracks on RiotAct.

    • I had to look up the tracklist to see what “the dreaded spoken word filler track was”. I actually like “Push Me, Pull Me”, and I would consider the only weak filler track to be Red Dot, and even that is mercifully short and serves–to me–more as an intro to the kickass “MFC” than a song in its own right (sorry, Jack Irons).

  13. I would controversially put No Code ahead of Ten. Just like would controversially put water instead of milk on my Cheerios. Face it, you wish you were such a rebel.

  14. I love Riot Act and the Self Titled album

    1. Ten
    2. VS
    3. Riot Act
    4. Pearl Jam
    5. Vitalogy
    6. Yield
    7. No Code
    8. Binarual

  15. I disagree with this list. But I’ve been a fan since Ten, and therefore biased. I’m pretty surprised how high the writer and people replying rank No Code. I don’t hate the album, but I think one, maybe two of their later albums could go above it. And VS. below No Code, come on! I dislike how the bottom of this list is all PJ’s most recent releases, they aren’t that bad, and some are quite wonderful. If I was pressed to make a list right this second, I suppose it would be as follows:

    9. Binaural
    8. Backspacer
    7. Yield
    6. No Code
    5. Riot Act
    4. Pearl Jam
    3. Ten
    2. Vitalogy
    1. Vs.

    The “Big 3″ are prolly interchangeable, depending on my mood. The Brendan O’Brien remix of Ten is downright godly.

  16. Binaural is my favourite Pearl Jam album… you’ve found me!!

  17. How are the Strokes influenced by Pearl Jam? I don’t hear it.

  18. My ranking: 1. Vitalogy 2. Ten 3. Vs. 4. No Code 5. Yield 6. Binaural 7. Pearl Jam 8. Backspacer 9. Riot Act 10. Lost Dogs
    49 minutes ago · Like

  19. Controversial.

  20. NO CODE FTFW! ! ! !

  21. Don’t really have a problem with the first part of this list (though, personally, I’d flip Yield and Riot Act), but the top four need rearranging. I’d actually call Vs. their best album, but I can see making an arguement for Vitalogy. Under no circumstances would I put No Code over Vs. though.

  22. Riot Act was the first album they released that I didnt like. Dont understand the hate on Binaural and Yield. Vitalogy is clearly #1. I also like No Code more than Ten. Alice In Chains inspired far more shitty bands than Pearl Jam did.

  23. longtime pearl jam fan chipping in.

    id say pearl jam never made a “bad” album in the way Neil Young did with his fuck you statement spate of albums in the 80′s. That said, my favourite constantly revolves, but id have to say the ones i go back to the least are Riot Act and Avocado. There are a few good songs on these 2 particular albums but talen as a whole. they are certainly less enjoyable compared to the rest.

    And yes, Yield is a great new millenia pop record for pearl jam, so yeah i dont get the hate for it.

  24. Longtime fan, and I must say that I’m surprised by so much hate for Riot Act…after 9/11 and the Roskilde deaths, I found it to be their most emotionally charged album that really resonated with me. It was the perfect album for how I was feeling in 2002 and it’s actually my favorite PJ album out of their entire catalogue (guess that makes me an outlier). I was pleased and surprised to see No Code ranked so highly and Yield so low – I thought I was only one who preferred their textured experimental bent. The ‘poppier’ stuff never really appealed to me. I really haven’t cared for the last two albums at all.

    My ranking:

    Riot Act
    No Code
    Vitalogy
    Ten
    Vs.
    Binaural
    Yield
    Pearl Jam
    Backspacer

    • Much close to my list. I think Riot Act pissed people off, but I agree that it’s purpose and cohesion feel utterly necessary. Ghost, Cropdutser, 1/2 Full, You Are and Get Right get left out of so many conversations and it infuriates me. I DO enjoy the more recent stuff, but not as completely.

      And I think State of Love and Trust is their best song. THEN comes Corduroy.

    • I TOTALLY agree with your sentiments about Riot Act. I consider it, as well as Yield, to be one of the most seriously underrated rock albums of all time. I love it. It’s one of my PJ faves.

  25. I’m sorry..I don’t agree with you!
    Yield should be ini an higher position…maybe not the first but surely second or third!

  26. I’m 33, European (Greek) so, first line, I think Pearl Jam really saves the term “U.S.A.” on their behalf. I’m not 50 nor 60 so I am not part of the world that changed in the 70s (flower power culture and so on), from puritanism to progressivism. So, I never compare them to any other significant rock bands of that era. For me, when I was growing up as a wealthy teenager within a Brit Pop invasion, Pearl Jam and their attitude towards mass media set a musical yet decisive limestone in my life. (And this is the drawback on Nirvana vs PJ argument in favour of the latter).
    Riot Act in number 7 doesn’t make sense to me for the reasons above, and of course for the fact that European citizens are believed to appear more politically involved than PJ’s compatriots. And this really means a lot to me.
    Apart from that, I imagine myself working with the same 4 people continuously in the last 20 years, with the obligation of inspiration for a decent outcome. No clue, actually no possibility for any of us how to be successful in such an enterprise. And given for granted that none of them is more successful as individual than when in collaborative work, I have nothing but admiration for the band. Yes I am a die hard fan but I’m rational enough to put all those arguments down and think outside of the box.
    It’s not all about the money or the personal success, and their last tour really proved this. They didn’t promote anything, just rocked and made some money while having fun and satisfying their fans.
    Yield which is as a concept, artistically derived from band member J.Ament, is one of their most optimistic and upbeat albums and should deserve higher rank. I’d put the self titled album in the worst rank, just because with everything else there was something happening at that time in the world (or in their world or in the band’s world) that moved them make those albums. My top would be, too, Vitalogy and the second one No Code, as a solid no-skip-any-track album. Last, I’d put Backspacer in number 8 not because it’s worse than others but because we are not so used to mellow happy and cheerful tones all at once from them. I just recently bought all 9 original albums at once (some I had in vinyl from the past) and re-listened to them in full, so I think my personal view is quite updated and distant of the casual Ten-era Fans. Seems that the only thing that raises your fans’ interest when you are happy in your life and with problems solved (that indisputably leads to a weak, according to many, Backspacer album), is to create the necessity for a worst to best album list. Yet, we love them! Thank you for the hosting my view and sharing yours!

  27. Wow, it’s funny how opinions can differ so much. Album “order” aside, I really can’t respect anyone who would pick Save You over Can’t Keep. Sorry Nelson, you stink!

  28. I will probably get slammed for this but I think Ten is their worst album by far. The production sounds horrible and every awful modern rock cliche can be traced back to Ten. Pearl Jam, like the Grateful Dead, are best as a journeyman road warrior type live band. Why even bother with the studio stuff when they have so much quality live stuff out there?

  29. Utter gash sir! Well done.

  30. I don’t know why but I seem to like Riot Act a lot more than other people. Probably because in the prime of my adolescent anti-Bush fury when it came out. Regardless, I d put it ahead of both Avocado and Backspacer.

  31. My favourite albums has always been Vitalogy, and it still is, I never thought it was a transition album as you say, No code is a transition album to me, my least fav album along with Ten. Binaural is my third favourite, though at the time it was released it was my fav one, even after riot act came out, That was until Avocade was released, that is my second fav album now, being Binaural third, and Riot act the fourth, Backspacer and Yield are kick ass rocking albums, but music is borader than hard rocking songs.

    All in all, we can gather hundreds of people all over the world, discuss this issue, and create a consensus on which PJ album is the worst, and that album will be way much better than any other album ever released by any other band, and I guess any musician would love to have released any PJ album on his or hers resume.

  32. Pearl Jam are my favourite band and have been for about 10 years now so I found this a fascinating subject. I saw them for the 5th time recently and they played arguably my favourite set to date. Off he Goes, Deep, Lukin and Not for You were all present. I agree and disagree with some of the comments but of course it’s all interesting opinion. Here’s my top 10 at the moment:

    1) No Code
    2) Versus
    3) Vitalogy
    4) Ten
    5) Binaural
    6) Yield
    7) Pearl Jam
    8) Backspacer
    9) Riot Act (although I love Green Disease)

  33. Crack is whack, y’all. Crack is whack. Put down the pipe.

  34. /article ignored due to low rating…

    The 1990s albums > The 2000s albums

    Binaural and Riot Act were ambitious misfires. Eponymous was a nice album, but hardly a classic. Backspacer is a simple crappy album that appeals to people with simple crappy taste.

    Check out Pitchfork’s review of Backspacer for a nuanced contemporary take on Pearl Jam’s legacy

  35. Album quality aside, “Do the Evolution” had one GREAT music video.

  36. Binaural is when I went from casual fan to hardcore fan, so it hold a pretty special place in my heart, and if listening to songs like Slight of Hand and Of The Girl acoustically, especially in the pre-set to the last Boston show where they played all their songs really deepened my appreciation for the album. Also, songs like Grievance and Insignificance are great rockers that touch on politics before Eddie started shoving it down everyone’s throat. Though I will say that Evacuation is the worst song the band has ever written in my opinion, and it’s too hard for me to push to one of the top spots, but I still really love the album. Also, Yield is my favorite Pearl Jam album, so this list gets off to a pretty terrible start I think, but I respect your reasoning, and always love hearing people discuss Pearl Jam albums. Here is my list:

    9. Riot Act
    8. Avocado
    7. Backspacer
    6. Vitalogy
    5. Binaural
    4. Ten
    3. No Code
    2. Vs.
    1. Yield

  37. I would put Vs. at #1. It’s one of the Pearl Jam albums that I can listen to from start to finish all the way through. (‘Elderly Woman Behind The Counter..’ is actually one of my favorite Pearl Jam tracks.)

    Vitalogy definitely has its moments, but I didn’t think it was as consistent as Ten or Vs. I would put it at #3, with Ten at #2.

  38. One thing is for sure, Pearl Jam fans are very sensitive. I saw the band in the beginning in Chapel Hill(20 people there maybe) about a month after “Ten” came out.. They put on a good show then, not great. Especially compared to Soundgarden who I saw on their “Badmotorfinger” tour around the same time. Regardless, I’ve always thought their album output is comparable to their live shows. I’ve seen them around 10 times and sometimes they are one of the best bands in the world, and other times they are just going through the motions. “Pearl Jam 20″ more or less confirmed what a lot of people have suspected, Eddie is the chief and the rest of the guys do not get to contribute the way they should. I think after “Vitalogy” was probably when Stone & Jeff kind of checked out. Anyway, IMO “Ten” is still the most consistent without any filler tracks. Then “Vs.” & “Vitalogy” are pretty much interchangeable. After that, it’s just a song here & there.

  39. My favorite music video ever. Drove me nuts when the far-inferior Korn video by the same artist got so much love and people forgot this existed.

    • Oops, thought I was replying to the post with the “Do the Evolution” frame. Obviously I’m talking about that.

      Anyway, my list:

      1. Vs
      2. Vitalogy
      3. No Code
      4. Ten
      5. Pearl Jam
      6. Binaural
      7. Yield
      8. Backspacer
      9. Riot Act

  40. Cant say I agree with numbers 9 through 5, but 1 through 4 were nailed!!!

  41. 1. Vs
    2. Vitalogy
    3. Binaural
    4. Yield
    5. No Code
    6. Ten
    7. Riot Act
    8. Backspacer
    5. Pearl Jam

    Binaural and Yield are slept on and I can’t figure out why. Perhaps it has to do with the myriad of fans PJ has. I have friends that don’t like anything beyond Ten and it’s one of my least favorites. It is a great album but stacked up against other greats like Vitalogy or Yield and it’s no contest. Binaural and Yield are from their darkest period but from great strife comes great art(Given to Fly, Wishlist, Love Boat Captain). I think they are fantastic albums and I obviously disagree with the last two on your list. I don’t think you ‘get’ them but that’s ok. I don’t get Pearl Jam or Backspacer either.

  42. Can’t really say I agree with Binaural being the worts some great tunes on there, and I liked the overall atmosphere of the album. Save for the last 2 somgs no code is only of my favourite albums of all time, let alone Pearl jam, so it gets top notch for me. Ten, yeah it has great anthems, but I very rarely wont to listen to it. Love Yield too

    9. Riot act
    8. Backspacer
    7. Pearl Jam.
    6. Binaural
    5. Ten
    4. Vs
    3. Vitology
    2. Yield
    1. No code

  43. 9. Pear Jam
    8. Binaural
    7. Backspacer
    6. Vitalogy
    5. Riot Act
    4. No Code
    3. Yeld
    2. Vs
    1. Ten

  44. i love you binaural, don’t listen to them. they know not what the speak. heck, i love you pearl jam circa 2000 and all you’ve done for us: the magical Touring Band 2000 DVD, the beginning of the official bootlegs to which so much joy was found in finding those killer setlists and my perfect Evenflow solo (Philadelphia, 9/2/00). And of course the quote of tour:

    “Is my band ready to kick it??” – Stone Gossard (Jones Beach, 8/25/00)

  45. I actually agree 90% with the list. I would have put No Code as #1, because they reached AND achieved what they were looking for. Same with Vitalogy. Just a killer album! 10 is a classic, but dated and really never achieved what Nirvana (Or Mother Love Bone for that matter) were able to capture.

    One of the best live bands I’ve ever seen and they appear to be aging gracefully.

    I still think they should change that horrible band name though…

  46. Do more of these for other bands! Would love to see OK Computer VS. KID A vs. the field, orones for seperate musicians (i.e, best Dave Grohl albums of all time, including Nevermind, Colour & the Shape, etc.)

  47. Riot Act is crap. Through and through, and no if’s, and’s or but’s. It’s dreck, it’s underwritten, it’s just abysmal.

    Top Pearl Jam Albums

    1) Vitalogy (last exit, tremor christ, corduroy…)
    2) No Code (Side A is their most imaginative and most effortlessly creative…hail hail, in my tree, smile)
    3) Yield (Lean, concise, and Vedder singing at a higher range, very floaty, and breezy)
    4) Vs. (angry, merciless, poppy and violent all at the same time)
    5) Ten (classic rock radio designated but dated and suffers from over-singing and too much reverb)
    6) Binaural (moody, atmospheric and contains a lot of slow burners that are wonderful)
    7) Avocado (pearl jam by the numbers, really solid and a little dull but still strong as all hell)
    8) Backspacer (uplifting and tight but the acoustic numbers contain some of Vedder’s lamest and easily written lyrics…plus his voice on the quieter ones is really weak)
    9) Riot Act (just shit. bad production, too long, too mid-tempo, no hooks, not interesting at all.

    • I understand that we are all entitled to our opinions, but your comments about Riot Act are incredibly disappointing. Riot Act is not only underrated, but it is a truly GREAT ablum. I rank it their third-best album, behind only Vitalogy and Yield. It concede it has only one or two “great” songs, but (like Vs.) it has absolutely no even moderately “bad” songs whatsoever. Not a single poor track on the entire album. And many of the songs that are not quite “great” are very, very close.

  48. Long after the fact, but here’s my rankings of PJ efforts:

    9. Riot Act (Of the 15 or so songs on here, I still listen to three, and usually dump the rest. Not a good ratio).
    8. Backspacer (4 great songs, 7 filler tracks. Better ratio than ‘Riot Act’, but not by much)
    7. Binaural (Probably their most underappreciated effort, but one consistently stifled by bad/indifferent production. For great live versions of these songs, see the 2000-era bootlegs and “Live at Benaroya Hall”)
    6. Self-Titled (Too self-consciously a “return-to-capital-R-RAWK” effort, but one that still packs a lot of wallop. Docked points for some U2-y sounding — and not in a good way — tracks like “Gone” and “Army Reserve.”)
    5. No Code (The precise moment when their ballads started becoming more profound than their rockers. Lots of misses, but the effort to traverse the road less-traveled is appreciated, and songs like “Off He Goes” and “Smile” and “Red Mosquito” are amongst their most affecting.)
    4. Ten (So many iconic songs, but there’s the barely-out-of-cock-rock production and mixing, and, let’s face it, the legacy of it. Still, so, so many amazing songs.)
    3. Vs. (Was my favorite for a while, but many of its past adolescent favorites — “W.M.A.,” “Dissident”, “Rats” — have not held up well to adult scrutiny. But this the sound of a band coming into its own, and absolutely killing it.)
    2. Yield (Just a simple, humane, understated rock record at a time when, thanks to the emergence of popularized rap-rock and teen pop, music was anything but. From a purely holistic POV, it’s the album, save for number one, that fills me with the most happiness, joy and contentment. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less.)
    1. Vitalogy (What the article said. The masterpiece that holds up to personal post-everything embrace of experimental music, underground music, everything.)

  49. Artists that loudly proclaim they’re influenced and inspired by PJ:

    MY MORNING JACKET
    GASLIGHT ANTHEM
    The Strokes
    Kings of Leon
    thenewno2
    Gomez
    Ben Harper
    Incubus
    Jack Johnson
    John Mayer

    That’s a whole festival lineup right there …….

  50. FIne then, how ’bout Liam Finn, St. Vincent, Queens of the Stone Age? all fans and “inspirees”?

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