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 Post subject: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Fri December 28, 2012 4:13 pm 
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old thread archived here


Buggy wrote:
This is a multi-part series for each album. We'll move on to the next album when it seems like it's been discussed enough. I'd like to reiterate that the aim of these discussions is to hear opinions on what you think is the single most significant flaw for the album being discussed. We're not looking for general album bashing, but rather a critical look at the single biggest weakness for each record.

Example of a poor post:
There are so many things that suck on this album. Track 4, 8 and 9 are terrible and the lyrics for such and such a song a really bad. Not only that, but the cover is stupid.

Like I said, we're not looking for general album bashing. What I suggest is to go give a listen to the album being discussed. For some of us, it's been a while listening to these older albums all the way through, and it helps you think and take that critical view before you post. Try and be insightful and give good reasons why you believe the flaw you're pointing out is the biggest flaw of the album.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 6:26 pm 
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I don't know that they've ever played with as much intensity and ferocity as they did on Vs. Even the ostensibly laid back songs are practically bursting with energy, which is what helps make a song like Indifference so much more interesting to me than, say, All or None, or what helps separate daughter from almost every acoustic number that came after. But I think the sheer commitment to the songs helps hide the fact that, in the songwriting department anyway, Vs. is kind of an underdeveloped album. There are 6 towering songs on the album (Go, Animal,Daughter, RVM, Small Town, and Indifference), and the rest is full of fairly average songs, or a nice idea that isn't built off of in a super compelling way. And so why it is my third favorite pearl jam album, and one of my all time favorite albums by anyone, I think it is actually one of their weaker records from a compositional standpoint. It's just that the record never (to its credit) gives you a chance to notice.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 6:52 pm 
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Dissident and GLorified G sitting in the middle, just waiting to suck.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 6:55 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 7:24 pm 
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BurtReynolds wrote:
Dissident and GLorified G sitting in the middle, just waiting to suck.


Fuck that. Rats and Leash are the real stinkers.


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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 7:37 pm 
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Leash and Blood is the correct answer.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 7:38 pm 
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Wendy Carlos's Twin wrote:
Fuck that. Rats and Leash are the real stinkers.

Heathen wrote:
Leash and Blood is the correct answer.

you are both wrong. those songs are fine.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 8:03 pm 
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Burt is correct.

WMA is actually the worst thing about Vs.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 12:45 am 
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Blood rats and WMA are awesome

Leash isn't.


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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 12:47 am 
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Heathen wrote:
Leash and Blood is the correct answer.


Seconded. Even when I was 13 I wondered if maybe ''Leash'' wasn't just a tiny bit over the top. Now it seems so overwrought as to be comical.

Overall this is my least favorite album (minus Lightning Bolt, of course). As is the case with Ten, what other people hear as ''intensity'' and ''passion'' just strikes me as more of the same old angst-go-round, and once again I prefer later live versions of the songs with more restraint and less drama in them. But I also find this album to be a less satisfying front-to-back listen than Ten--despite opening perfectly, the pacing of the record is jarring, and in the end it's just too much undercooked songwriting in one place for me. Easily the album that has fallen the most in my estimation since I first heard it (apart from maybe Backspacer).


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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 12:57 am 
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Kinda off topic, but I effing love Animal with Jack Irons.



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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 3:02 am 
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Kevin Davis wrote:
Heathen wrote:
Leash and Blood is the correct answer.


Seconded. Even when I was 13 I wondered if maybe ''Leash'' wasn't just a tiny bit over the top. Now it seems so overwrought as to be comical.

Overall this is my least favorite album (minus Lightning Bolt, of course). As is the case with Ten, what other people hear as ''intensity'' and ''passion'' just strikes me as more of the same old angst-go-round, and once again I prefer later live versions of the songs with more restraint and less drama in them. But I also find this album to be a less satisfying front-to-back listen than Ten--despite opening perfectly, the pacing of the record is jarring, and in the end it's just too much undercooked songwriting in one place for me. Easily the album that has fallen the most in my estimation since I first heard it (apart from maybe Backspacer).

Funnily enough, not only is Vs my favourite Pearl Jam record (edging out No Code by a hair), one of the main reasons it holds such a lofty position is that it has, to me, the most enjoyable beginning-to-end flow of any of their full-length efforts.

Diff'rent strokes, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 4:25 am 
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I’d call Vs. one of PJ’s least flawed albums. Hits like “Daughter,” and “Elderly” have been played quite a bit, so it’s easy to forget how great they were when the album was first released. And tracks like "Go," "Dissident," "Rats," and "Blood" sound as good as ever to these ears. Vs. was a massive leap forward from Ten and pretty much kicks ass front to back. I’d have to nitpick to find a fatal flaw, but that’s one of the things we do best ‘round here, so here goes.

The fatal flaw of Vs. is that the band became superfamous and was also publicly criticized by cool kids like Kurt Cobain. This made the band extremely self conscious and they went out of their way to prove to the world that they were cool/punk/politically aware/whathaveyou. This was most apparent on W.M.A., which is the low point of the album, both lyrically and musically. There’s no real “song” here and the lyrics sounds like someone who just read Howard Zinn for the first time, which may well have been the case. The result is some pretty entry-level political posturing. (Racial profiling = bad.) This type of thing shows up to varying degrees on songs like Glorified G (Guns = bad) and Daughter (abusing girls = bad). This sort of paint-by-numbers politics weighs the album down at times. Mostly, it’s forgivable and what’s good about Vs. is so good that is easily overshadows what doesn’t quite work or hold up over time. But yeah, it’s self-consciousness combined with a burning desire to make the Kurt Cobains of the world take them seriously that made Vs. a slightly less-than-perfect sophomore effort. That said, I fucks with it.


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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 5:19 am 
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Kaius wrote:
WMA is actually the worst thing about Vs.

PryTo wrote:
This was most apparent on W.M.A., which is the low point of the album, both lyrically and musically. There’s no real “song” here and the lyrics sounds like someone who just read Howard Zinn for the first time, which may well have been the case. The result is some pretty entry-level political posturing. (Racial profiling = bad.) This type of thing shows up to varying degrees on songs like Glorified G (Guns = bad) and Daughter (abusing girls = bad). This sort of paint-by-numbers politics weighs the album down at times. Mostly, it’s forgivable and what’s good about Vs. is so good that is easily overshadows what doesn’t quite work or hold up over time. But yeah, it’s self-consciousness combined with a burning desire to make the Kurt Cobains of the world take them seriously that made Vs. a slightly less-than-perfect sophomore effort. That said, I fucks with it.

Just plucked the words right outta my mouth. ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 10:00 am 
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It's unsophisticated, but at least there are some nice phrasings in WMA. Eddie has good politics but his political writings have always read like someone who read zinn for the first time. Insignificance and maybe grievance are the only two political songs with sophisticated lyrics (actually I think mym and infallible are also very smart) So while undoubtedly true of vs., I think that's maybe more than a product of Kurt Cobain and a singular moment. Its reasonable to assume that this is more of a genuine shift in writing and approach. It's not like their peers were writing politicized records, they've stuck with many of those themes and ideas long after they needed them to be fashionable. Perhaps the bands ability to now write for a new entity called pearl jam rather than whatever it was that rose from the ashes of mother love bone reflected this shift.


So I agree with the criticism about the somewhat trite nature of the political songs (even if I broadly share the politics), I don't think its posturing or marketing. I think they're genuine sentiments expressed by people who are not nearly as talented at expressing these particular sentiments as they are about others.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 12:53 pm 
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There are some great songs in Vs (Go, Rearviewmirror) and a lot of dreck (Glorified G, Dissident, Leash, Rats). I like it better than Ten but less than every other 90s album.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 1:26 pm 
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The weaker songwriting moments on the album tend to be lyrical more than anything, and songs like Leash, WMA, and Glorified G have a sonic quality that I enjoy enough that I can look past the words. The band just sounds so fantastic on that record, and frankly the adolescent nature of a lot of the songs is appropriate for that brand of spastically earnest delivery. Part of why S/T was such a failure was that it tried to recapture this concussive punch, but also to be the smartest guy in the room. At some point committing to raw emotion means sacrificing the chance to edit, and I guess I'm glad that happened here.

Dissident was always kind of boring, and Blood was too....but mostly the big flaw in this album is that I can't really relate to it very much. I appreciate it from a distance, which usually just means not listening to it anymore.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 9:03 pm 
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I don't understand the lack of love for Blood. That song rips shit up. I love WMA too, but I can understand the criticism of that one.

Personally, I think Leash is just silly in a bad way and Rats has dumb lyrics (they just don't make sense- I've never been able to figure out Ed's angle with that one). Glorified G and Dissident both sound kind of filler-y to me as well. Pretty much everything else is gold, Jerry.


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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 9:42 pm 
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I'd say it's actually one of, if not their most, consistent albums. I put it on the other day and didn't skip a track. I mean, like, every other record has some shit on it other than this one. Consistently great songs. WMA/Leash are the weakest, but both still listenable good songs. This record is particularly 'the Dave show'. He dominates this record, and as a result it has a feel quite unlike all the other pj albums - it's particularly concerned with groove and rhythm, and they only went as far again in that respect on no code, with tunes such in my tree. Great sounding record as well, sounds awesome cranked up loud and is also great through headphones. This record does not have a major flaw.


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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Vs.
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 9:51 pm 
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mac wrote:
I'd say it's actually one of, if not their most, consistent albums. I put it on the other day and didn't skip a track. I mean, like, every other record has some shit on it other than this one. Consistently great songs. WMA/Leash are the weakest, but both still listenable good songs. This record is particularly 'the Dave show'. He dominates this record, and as a result it has a feel quite unlike all the other pj albums - it's particularly concerned with groove and rhythm, and they only went as far again in that respect on no code, with tunes such in my tree. Great sounding record as well, sounds awesome cranked up loud and is also great through headphones. This record does not have a major flaw.

Pretty much my feelings too.


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