6. Pearl Jam (2006): It’s worth noting that the four albums making up the bottom of this list were all released consecutively (not in the order I have them ranked, but these four albums were the band’s sixth, fifth, seventh and eighth, respectively). Pearl Jam is the first real sign of life from the band since No Code, although I maintain that it’s not as good as its reputation. On the positive side, Pearl Jam are firmly committed to rocking here, and when they slow things down (such as on “Parachutes”), they do so in the service of a song rather than aimless mewling; on the negative, I don’t think Eddie Vedder has ever sounded worse than he does on a few of these numbers (“Comatose”). But Pearl Jam sounds crisp and lively throughout, and some songs here — namely “Unemployable” — rank with the band’s best, and more importantly, don’t sound like they’re trying to reinvent Ten or Vs. They’re just strong, catchy, upbeat tunes. Yes, from Pearl Jam!

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