Pearl Jam — Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade
Wed, 17 Jun 2015 13:41:34
We countdown the best alternative albums of the past 10 years and explore the meaning of the genre...
The word "Alternative" has been passed down through multiple generations of music now, and it's continuously changed. In the most classic sense, we think of it as the Generation X grunge forbearers like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, and everybody else from the iconic Seattle scene. At the same time, Pixies were alternative, and they came from Boston—same thing with Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers, both hailing from Los Angeles. Of course, we can't forget Melvins from Washington even though they sounded different from the general scene associated with their home state. Nowadays, what is alternative? Radio and the industry will tell you it's the folk pop we typically hear on "Alternative" stations. However, where are the guitars?
Truth be told, they haven't gone anywhere. Moreover, there have been some truly monumental "Alternative" albums this past decade—even this year. Most of these will even be widely regarded as classics someday. We wanted to highlight and countdown the Top 15 Alternative Albums of this Decade. They've got the hallmarks of the genre's timeless work, which we all still crank today. Some of these will be from quite recognizable names and others will be from people who still aren't afraid to keep a guitar handy when they're breaking the mold. The point is that Alternative music in the classic sense is stilling being made, and we wanted to spotlight that—even with some gems out this year! As a note, we are counting albums releases since June 2005 to keep in line with the exact decade.
4. Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt
Everybody always rattles off Pearl Jam's first three albums as their best. Any conversation about the band usually leads to even the biggest diehards extensively extolling the virtues of Ten, Vs., and Vitalogy. That's a trio of some of the greatest records in history. That goes without saying at this point. However, the band makes music at that same level to this day, and 2013's Lightning Bolt [Monkeywrench/Republic Records] is blinding and shimmering proof of that fact. Lightning Bolt belongs on the same plane because it's just as energized and also dynamic, yet it benefits from the wisdom and vision of two decades touring and recording. The group—Eddie Vedder [vocals], Stone Gossard [guitar], Mike McCready [guitar], Jeff Ament [bass], and Matt Cameron [drums]—turned up the electricity to high volume here and turned out another classic.
One of their most powerful songs, "Getaway," kicks off with a calculated guitar before exploding into Vedder's soulful refrain, "Sometimes you find yourself having to put all your faith in no faith." "Mind Your Manners" amplifies the primal punk of "Spin the Black Circle" and "Blood" with its own striking spark, while "My Father's Son" might just be their most unequivocally intense moment since "Once."
Watch the Music Video for "Mind Your Manners"
See the other artists and albums on our Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade feature!