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 Post subject: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Fri December 28, 2012 4:16 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?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:18 pm 
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First off, let me preface this by saying that when Binaural came out I probably had it in my top 3 pearl jam albums. Maybe even top 2. I was a big fan at first. But Binaural hasn't aged well for me. I have a few major issues.

1. Too many sub par songs. god's dice, evacuation, breakerfall, thin air, soon forget. these are minor moments, and they make up 40% of the album. The fact that the album starts with three of them, and that thin air appears just as it starts building some momentum, is devastating. I think Of the Girl is an interesting mood piece (I quite like the music even if the song itself is somewhat underwhelming) but by the time Of the Girl appears what Binaural is in desperate need of is A list songs. Insignificance tries to get the back half of the album going again and then Of the Girl dials things right back down.

2. Pacing. There are a number of high spots on Binaural, but the album can't seem to put a run of these songs together to ever build significant momentum. the album is a series of brief, quickly deflated peaks. If you could have had a run that moved from, say, Nothing As It Seems -> Insignificance -> Grievance - > Rival I'd have a lot more time for a cool down piece like Of the Girl or Sleight of Hand. Likewise, when we finally get an interesting stretch at the end we have the completely unnecessary, awkward, and not particularly funny or insightful bit of humorous social commentary of Soon Forget, which once again hits a reset button before Parting Ways.

The pacing/tracking problem on Binaural is particularly troubling because the strong songs on the album are, I think, not really meant to stand alone. These are all songs that are greater in each other's presence than they are apart, but the album doesn't let them support each other.

3. The missing songs. It's not that binaural produced the greatest set of B-sides ever (that was Ten), but there were a lot of them and some are quite good. And Binaural needs more good songs. And they are all perfectly capable of fitting in on the album. There's not an issue like there might be where a song like Hard to Imagine doesn't fit sonically, or where something like Down or Undone change the message of the record. They were just left off for whatever reason. And the album could use fatal, education, and Sad (my three favorites, but take your pick). Hell, I'd prefer the humor and groove of Sweet Lew to Soon Forget, which could have enlivened an album that takes itself REALLY seriously, even by Pearl Jam standards.

4. The sound. Obviously some people will be drawn to this, but for me Binaural is muddy, muted, and works to play against almost every strength that draws me to the band. It could have been an interesting experiment, and perhaps if the final result was stronger (it could have been) I'd be more forgiving. But as an experiment I think it was comparatively unsuccessful. This album requires a lot of work, and doesn't sufficiently reward you for it.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:20 pm 
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So here's how I would have done it.

Sad
Education
Light Years
Nothing as it Seems
Insignificance
Grievance
Rival
Fatal
Of the Girl
Sleight of Hand
Parting Ways


Of the girl and sleight of hand aren't favorites by any means, but they're hurt by the fact that I am already slightly fatigued by the time I get there, and they are mood pieces that would be enhanced by a more extended commitment to the mood.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:25 pm 
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this kinda sums up my feelings. I've posted it before.


Binaural (2000) I once had a conversation with this guy about Pearl Jam in which he claimed that the band’s best era was 1998 to 2002. This is the sort of argument a person makes after digesting so much of a particular artist’s work that it has driven him to the brink of insanity. It’s like saying, “You know, Raging Bull and Goodfellas are solid, but they pale in comparison to Scorsese’s output from 1997 to 2002.” The early ’00s were clearly a bad time for Pearl Jam — Mike McCready struggled with drug addiction, there was the Roskilde tragedy, and the band was perceived by many casual observers as passé. Pearl Jam should’ve taken an extended break after Yield, but instead it plowed forward with the most dispiriting and deeply confused record of its career. Binaural represents the worst instance of Pearl Jam attempting to make music least suited to its specific skill set — it’s a record of dense atmospherics and measured brooding by the most stridently anthemic and emotive band of its generation. What’s supposed to be a pained, delicate sigh comes off as a dull, thudding roar. Binaural is a three-dimensional sonic representation of a band being flattened against a psychic brick wall.

http://grantland.com/features/pearl-jam ... rly-rated/

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:27 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:27 pm 
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Yeah, Binaural is pretty much the Pearl Jam album that's most ripe for a tracklist redo.

Fatal, Sad and Education should all be on the album. Of the Girl should open. My mind changes about what needs to go (except for Evacuation), but retracking this album takes it from the low end of Pearl Jam's catalogue, to matching some of the 90's albums.

In summary: Binaural's biggest flaw is track selection.


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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:29 pm 
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Binaural's major flaw is that PJ fans are arena rock fans.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:30 pm 
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I love Binaural..its a though album to get into, but its wonderful once you are there.

I been listening to Superunkown a lot this last couple of days, and i feel Binaural was the last moment of PJ with a sonic idea in mind, at least in studio...and maybe the last time they did something with a producer who pushed them a lot more than Brendan or Adam Kasper.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:30 pm 
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No way I'm writing about this again

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:49 pm 
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Heathen wrote:
Binaural's major flaw is that PJ fans are arena rock fans.


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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:51 pm 
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stip wrote:
this kinda sums up my feelings. I've posted it before.


Binaural (2000) I once had a conversation with this guy about Pearl Jam in which he claimed that the band’s best era was 1998 to 2002. This is the sort of argument a person makes after digesting so much of a particular artist’s work that it has driven him to the brink of insanity. It’s like saying, “You know, Raging Bull and Goodfellas are solid, but they pale in comparison to Scorsese’s output from 1997 to 2002.” The early ’00s were clearly a bad time for Pearl Jam — Mike McCready struggled with drug addiction, there was the Roskilde tragedy, and the band was perceived by many casual observers as passé. Pearl Jam should’ve taken an extended break after Yield, but instead it plowed forward with the most dispiriting and deeply confused record of its career. Binaural represents the worst instance of Pearl Jam attempting to make music least suited to its specific skill set — it’s a record of dense atmospherics and measured brooding by the most stridently anthemic and emotive band of its generation. What’s supposed to be a pained, delicate sigh comes off as a dull, thudding roar. Binaural is a three-dimensional sonic representation of a band being flattened against a psychic brick wall.

http://grantland.com/features/pearl-jam ... rly-rated/



worst.

I truly love this record from start to finish. I love everything about it. I love that the guitar tones are subdued and not in your face distorted. The songs speak for themselves and dont hide behind a wall of distortion. Grievance is intense because its intense.

This album is all sexy. The only flaw is that the band are idiots about it and dont play much from it.


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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:52 pm 
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This is probably pearl jam's most flawed album in that it promises so much but fails so enormously.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:55 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:55 pm 
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Strat wrote:
stip wrote:
this kinda sums up my feelings. I've posted it before.


Binaural (2000) I once had a conversation with this guy about Pearl Jam in which he claimed that the band’s best era was 1998 to 2002. This is the sort of argument a person makes after digesting so much of a particular artist’s work that it has driven him to the brink of insanity. It’s like saying, “You know, Raging Bull and Goodfellas are solid, but they pale in comparison to Scorsese’s output from 1997 to 2002.” The early ’00s were clearly a bad time for Pearl Jam — Mike McCready struggled with drug addiction, there was the Roskilde tragedy, and the band was perceived by many casual observers as passé. Pearl Jam should’ve taken an extended break after Yield, but instead it plowed forward with the most dispiriting and deeply confused record of its career. Binaural represents the worst instance of Pearl Jam attempting to make music least suited to its specific skill set — it’s a record of dense atmospherics and measured brooding by the most stridently anthemic and emotive band of its generation. What’s supposed to be a pained, delicate sigh comes off as a dull, thudding roar. Binaural is a three-dimensional sonic representation of a band being flattened against a psychic brick wall.

http://grantland.com/features/pearl-jam ... rly-rated/



worst.

I truly love this record from start to finish. I love everything about it. I love that the guitar tones are subdued and not in your face distorted. The songs speak for themselves and dont hide behind a wall of distortion. Grievance is intense because its intense.

This album is all sexy. The only flaw is that the band are idiots about it and dont play much from it.


I read a review that said 'I've never seen anyone say Binaural is their favorite Pearl Jam album' and I thought of you, Strat.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:56 pm 
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McParadigm wrote:
No way I'm writing about this again

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:57 pm 
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McParadigm wrote:
No way I'm writing about this again


you have everything you've ever posted written in word and properly indexed.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:57 pm 
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also, I wish light years was puzzles and games, or at least not light years.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 3:58 pm 
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mastaflatch wrote:
McParadigm wrote:
No way I'm writing about this again

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 4:02 pm 
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harmless wrote:
mastaflatch wrote:
McParadigm wrote:
No way I'm writing about this again

yeah, I know. When there are soooooo many flaws it's hard to get the energy to talk about them again.

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 Post subject: Re: What is Each Album's Major Flaw?: Binaural
PostPosted: Tue June 10, 2014 4:08 pm 
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Binaural's flaw is that it's outtakes are so good it makes people needlessly obsessive about finding ways to get them on the album.

Other than that, Soon Forget's lyrics are kind of blah. It's another winner otherwise, for me the last of their no-holds-barred classics.

The pacing in particular is immensely good on this record; in particular, this album has a better, more thoughtful back half than any other in their catalog.


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