They’re Evolving, Not Regressing
One accusation frequently levelled against Pearl Jam is that their new material isn’t up to the standards of earlier albums like Ten, Vs and Vitalogy. That’s not necessarily true, though. Has their sound changed? Of course it has. It would be boring if every album they released had the same sound, wouldn’t it?
After twenty five years in the music business, Pearl Jam are continuing to experiment with their sound. Each member has branched out with side projects and, with age and experience, their sound has morphed considerably. But they’re not regressing. Their music isn’t getting ‘worse’. They’re just evolving.
Take their 2009 album, Backspacer, for example. It was still the Pearl Jam of the early days, but with a few modifications: the tracks were tighter, more focused and incorporated elements of punk and folk rock. The album’s standout track, Just Breathe, was a million miles away from Blood or something equally heavy, but it’s still awesome.
A lot of people jumped off the wagon when the band started to change in the 2000s, but their fans, their true fans, know what’s up.