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 Post subject: You Never Forget Your First Time: Riot Act
PostPosted: Fri December 28, 2012 4:10 pm 
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Share the story of the first time you heard this album

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 Post subject: Re: You Never Forget Your First Time: Riot Act
PostPosted: Fri December 28, 2012 4:30 pm 
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Riot Act was my first Pearl Jam release with the wonders of the internet. I think I may have discovered RM by this point, although I was an infrequent poster at best. But I was using programs like grokster and the like, and so this was the first album that I discovered piecemeal as songs leaked, which makes for a very different first time experience. In the past I knew two-three songs prior, which served as my window into the album—the familiar stopping points as I tried to digest the whole. Here I absorbed the whole thing one song at a time, making new mix cds for myself each time I was able to find a new leaked song. I still remember most of my first reactions, and the basic order I heard them

I Am Mine—I first heard this as an AOL first listen kind of thing, and was immediately taken with it. On first listen it reminded me a bit of a sea shanty the way the song rolled. But it was striking and by the second or third listen I was in love with it and very optimistic for the new album, especially with the bad ass cover art (I was picturing something much more aggressive with the skeletons and fire representing anger more than exhaustion—a call to arms rather than surveying the aftermath of a battlefield)

Next I heard you are and save you on a radio station promo. They were both a let down after how much I loved I am Mine. Musically they were okay—Save you felt a bit generic but I could recognize that they were doing something new with You Are. The real let down here was Eddie’s voice which never had the power and lift I had come to expect on two songs that really needed it. Interestingly enough Save you has since become my second favorite song on the record after I am mine, and both of these have definitely grown on me

I got everything else piecemeal on file sharing programs. I really liked Ghost from the beginning (for the solo) and Green Disease (for its energy). In an opposite move from You are and Save You both of these have since gone down quite a bit in my estimation. I wanted to like ½ full and All or none a lot more than I did and looking back I forced myself to be more into those songs than I was since they were both stylistically similar to some of my favorites from past records. Thumbing my Way was a powerful first listen, but was so dark I knew I wasn’t going to play this one that often. A work I could respect but would never enjoy. The rest of the album was fun because it was new (except for Bushleaguer, which was a huge letdown) but I think I knew even then that few of these songs would stay with me.

I remember that the last song I actually found was Can’t Keep. I had heard the ukelele version and loved it so I was expecting a fast rocker, keeping with first song traditions, so I was really unprepared for how spacy and atmospheric it turned out to be. But it worked, and this was one of my early favorites, and one of the few songs on Riot Act I can say that I honestly love

I knew all the songs before hand so the first time I heard the official CD from start to finish didn’t quite have the mystery and magic it had for previous albums, but it was still great hearing a clean copy with headphones, reading lyrics, and taking it all in. I had no regrets approaching the album this way. I only wish the songs were better.

Oh yeah--and I remember wondering why none of the songs had that wave lyric from the fanclub newsletter and then being pleasantly surprised to discover it when I heard Undone on the I Am Mine single. A disappointing record once I got past the new album discovery phase, but what a great set of b-sides!

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