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 Post subject: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Mon July 07, 2014 1:13 pm 
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Well, the title could be better, especially given the pretty great artwork the record has.

I'm not going to speculate about the recording process or anything like that (how they wrote, etc), especially because I really like the final product. And in the end, I think Lightning Bolt is one of the strongest set of core songs they have put together in a long time.

The problem with L-bolt is that allmost every single song makes some poor choices somewhere along the way that knocks it down a notch. I suppose a lot of this has to be put on the shoulders of BoB, although in the end the band has to sign off on anything. The desire to make this a real radio friendly sounding record (and it is) means that some songs have too much gloss when they need a little scuff and tarnish.

Getaway--too bright. I love the screeching guitars that come out of the 'science says...' verse. I wish the whole song sounded like that. You can keep the bouncy bass line (which I really like) and Eddie's vocal melody (which is strong) and make the whole thing more compelling by dragging it kicking and screaming through the dirt

MYM--no real complaints. Fantastic song

MFS--The opening lyrics are really terrible, but beyond that no real complaints on this song. I like the song, and it has some lovely moments, but it could have been better

Sirens--Another song whose mawkishness would be nicely offset by a less crisp performance. Plus the solo tries way too hard.

Lightning Bolt--other than a false start at the beginning I think this is one of the most well crafted anthems (musically) in their catalog. And BoB just cuts the legs out from underneath it with a fade that just makes no sense. It's not even like the Life Wasted fade where he aborts the ending. This song was screaming for a huge guitar solo and we don't get it.

Infallible--While I really like the optimistic direction the chorus goes in, and I think the music on this one is top notch, I can see wanting to see this song feel a bit rawer. I think Infallible really captures the aesthetic of Lighting Bolt and what turns some people off. Pearl Jam's big sweeping musical gestures always felt a bit embattled and lived in, and it probably made them feel more authentic. These were survivor's stories. Infallible has a huge pop chorus, pristine to the point that I can see how it might ring a bit false

Pendulum--I'm really happy with the sound, but I wish this one was a bit longer. You didn't use it on Backspacer. You could have tacked on another minute

Swallowed Whole--whatever the hell they did to the main acoustic guitar part is terrible, which is too bad because the rest of the song is great

LTRP--the live versions of this song I heard really took off because they sounded less processed and affected (a fair critique of the fixer as well, but it makes even less sense here)

Sleeping By Myself--this song is a small triumph, and BoB deserves nothing but praise here.

Yellow Moon--It's a very one dimensional song, and while I quite like that one dimension it would have been nice to have the verses feel less precise so the wonderful bridge would have felt more offset.

Future Days--the best parts of this song are (excepting the piano intro) the flourishes BoB added in. I wish the vocals sounded a bit more subdued so they could exist within those spaces. This is such an overly sentimental song (which is not where Eddie does his best work) that the sentimentality needs to hide within the music.


So again, while lightning bolt is certainly in my top 5 pearl jam albums, and a great collection of songs from start to finish, it is a really frustrating album--a masterpiece that was never fully executed.

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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Mon July 07, 2014 6:59 pm 
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LB's major flaw is "too much Ed."

"Future Days," a recycled "Sleeping By Myself," and "Lightning Bolt" took up too many valuable slots on a record that took way too long to ultimately produce. If you're going to make the fan base wait a looong time, you better deliver an exceptional product.


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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Mon July 07, 2014 7:00 pm 
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Shitty songs.


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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Mon July 07, 2014 7:12 pm 
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I think Mike mentioned early on that the album was a 'logical extension of Backspacer' and while usually Mike and all the other band members are talking out of their ass when it comes to the progress of a record, but it makes sense here. The two albums are relatively similar; LB just has a wider scope and is better. But the same problems apply; the songwriting has some major stumbling blocks, it's one of PJ's weakest albums lyrically, and there are some questionable production choices. The latter is really noticeable; songs like Yellow Moon could have been so much better than they were if they weren't spitshined within an inch of their life. So it's basically everything I thought about Backspacer, but the results aren't as poor as they were there, to me at least.


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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Mon July 07, 2014 7:18 pm 
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no soul.

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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Mon July 07, 2014 7:18 pm 
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stip wrote:
Shitty songs.

Coach wrote:
Shitty songs.

cutuphalfdead wrote:
Shitty songs.

digster wrote:
Shitty songs.

BurtReynolds wrote:
Shitty songs.


Agreed.

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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Mon July 07, 2014 7:29 pm 
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Stop complaining about Sleeping By Myself! It's a huge improvement on what was already an excellent little song

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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Mon July 07, 2014 7:36 pm 
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sirens and future days.

i have never disliked pearl jam songs as much as i dislike these two.

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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Mon July 07, 2014 7:54 pm 
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LB is the PJ album with which I have almost no experience. I listened to it a couple of times when it came out and was completely underwhelmed. And I liked Backspacer. I did like Pendulum, Yellow Moon, and Getaway had the skeleton of an okay song. I heard MYM when it was issued as a single and thought the band smoked and Ed sounded awful. I’d say Future Days is the lowest of low points for him vocally. It truly sounds like a parody of that annoying goat warble thing that’s become his signature. So Future Days is probably the weakest point on the album. Whoever said “no soul” nailed it. There’s just nothing to latch onto with LB; the songs don’t resonate or stick at all. I’d say it’s easily their worst album. I guess the upside of that is that S/T and BS are starting to look pretty good by comparison, especially S/T.


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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Mon July 07, 2014 8:04 pm 
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digster wrote:
I think Mike mentioned early on that the album was a 'logical extension of Backspacer' and while usually Mike and all the other band members are talking out of their ass when it comes to the progress of a record, but it makes sense here. The two albums are relatively similar; LB just has a wider scope and is better. But the same problems apply; the songwriting has some major stumbling blocks, it's one of PJ's weakest albums lyrically, and there are some questionable production choices. The latter is really noticeable; songs like Yellow Moon could have been so much better than they were if they weren't spitshined within an inch of their life. So it's basically everything I thought about Backspacer, but the results aren't as poor as they were there, to me at least.


I'm sure I asked this before, but which are the songs (besides future days and sirens) that you think are the lyrical problems?

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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Mon July 07, 2014 8:09 pm 
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stip wrote:
digster wrote:
I think Mike mentioned early on that the album was a 'logical extension of Backspacer' and while usually Mike and all the other band members are talking out of their ass when it comes to the progress of a record, but it makes sense here. The two albums are relatively similar; LB just has a wider scope and is better. But the same problems apply; the songwriting has some major stumbling blocks, it's one of PJ's weakest albums lyrically, and there are some questionable production choices. The latter is really noticeable; songs like Yellow Moon could have been so much better than they were if they weren't spitshined within an inch of their life. So it's basically everything I thought about Backspacer, but the results aren't as poor as they were there, to me at least.


I'm sure I asked this before, but which are the songs (besides future days and sirens) that you think are the lyrical problems?


That one about the ocean.

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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Mon July 07, 2014 8:54 pm 
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stip wrote:
Stop complaining about Sleeping By Myself! It's a huge improvement on what was already an excellent little song


I knew you'd be pissed about that; I just can't let it go! :D


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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Mon July 07, 2014 9:31 pm 
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I think it shares a very common PJ problem; the last half of the album isnt as strong as the first one. Specially since ..Riot Act?
It clearly needs another uptempo song after Pendulum, because Infallible and LTRP are not enough.

I love the start though, the first tracks are great, and it feels like a mix between BS and Avocado with some Yield. Ed´s voice is impressive, and i guess thats because of Brendan o Brien, otherwise the production is too clean, the guitars lacks any sort of cool distortion and the songs are too "nice".

But the main problem is a song like Future Days. Its pj worst song by far.

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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Mon July 07, 2014 10:22 pm 
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THE ALBUM WAS WRITTEN BY PEARL JAM THATS ITS BIGGEST FLAW. AVE SATHANUS.


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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Tue July 08, 2014 12:04 am 
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It doesn't feel like an album. It's like a Flight of the Conchords record, except it isn't charming.


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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Tue July 08, 2014 12:16 am 
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It sounds like it was written out of obligation by five guys who barely talk to each other, and then they paid another person real money to pee all over it.

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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Tue July 08, 2014 1:13 am 
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+1 almost everything said so far

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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Tue July 08, 2014 1:30 am 
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The biggest flaw is calling this thing an album.

The songs themselves are pretty good, actually, with a few exceptions. But I'll never go back to the album as a whole because it doesn't work as a whole. They should have released the songs individually if the choices that were made were going to be this bad. Stip is correct when he says every song has something that knocks it off the rails, despite being decent individual songs. And without a cohesive album to fall back on, they just mostly fall through the cracks and into the garbage.

Getaway- neutered, no punch
MYM- needs a crisper more relavent intro, but that's a stretch. This is the tune with the least flaws
MFS- Ed just can't seem angry anymore. Sorry doesn't work now
Sirens- plodding, yet too calculated
LB- shakers and tambourines- go away!
Infallible- ugh that chorus combined with that melody and those words... Most disappointing song in the catalog. Had so much potential
Swallowed whole- acoustic guitar is horrible. Great song otherwise
Pendulum- one or two tricks, then it's over. Needed further development. Guess they needed 8 years instead of 5 for this one
LTRP- goes nowhere. Nice stone lick with nothing meaningful around it. PJ plays the blues paint by numbers
SBM- great song- still should have been a Xmas single. Doesn't fit at all
Yellow Moon- cant get out of its own shell
Future Days- piano, cheap guitar. This is a middle tier Ed solo song


Overall- this nudges backspacer, but not by much.


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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Tue July 08, 2014 5:07 am 
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I like this album and I don't care for the artwork. I don't like the Don Pendleton album art, show posters, skateboards, or any of it. But I like these songs.

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 Post subject: Re: What Is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Lightning Bolt
PostPosted: Tue July 08, 2014 6:47 am 
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Iholdthepain wrote:
That one about the ocean.


:-).

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