Eddie Vedder — "Ukulele Songs" Review 5 out of 5 stars
Mon, 06 Jun 2011 17:02:14
Eddie Vedder doesn't need much to make you feel.
On Ukulele Songs, the iconic Pearl Jam frontman examines love, life, loss, and so much more, and he does so with nothing more than a ukulele and his legendary voice.
Vedder's lyrics remain some of the most poetic and powerful ever committed to tape, and that's where the true beauty of Ukulele Songs lies. Standout cut "You're True" covers a sonic breadth that belies the singer's minimalist approach as he flawlessly delivers vivid lines like, "Lonely cliffs and waterfalls. If no one sees me, I'm not here at all" and "'I'm like an ocean's tide come in". He paints pictures that soar with a pronounced serenity. However, at the same time, the track's buildup could match that of even the most ethereal sonic fantasy on Led Zeppelin III. "You're True" is one of the album's longer numbers clocking in at over three minutes. The storytelling brevity on "Once In Awhile" is heart-wrenching as he hits nearly every emotion imaginable in under a two-minute span of time. Vedder's versatility colors the album during lullabies like "Dream a Little Dream", where his rustic tones juxtapose brilliantly with the lilting small strings.
"Sleeping By Myself" is just as painfully gorgeous as "Black" or "Better Man", and it's got a timeless refrain to match. "Satellite" rises from a dreamy strum into more ponderous verses before breaking into another crescendo on the chorus of "I've seen the light, I'm satisfied that the brightest star is you, I'm holding tight beaming back to you".
With Ukulele Songs, Vedder further carves out his place on the rock 'n' roll Mt. Rushmore alongside other storytellers like John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Pete Townshend, and Tom Waits. Yet, all Vedder needed was that ukulele.
If this is what he does with one instrument, imagine what's in store for the next Pearl Jam record?
Have you heard Ukulele Songs? What's your favorite Eddie Vedder lyric?