13 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

After the surprise success of its debut album, Ten, Pearl Jam has spent its entire career trying to sustain and expand its impact with varying degrees of commercial success. The group has never succumbed to the easy anthem or played nice towards radio. No Code, its fourth studio album, begins with the quiet, contemplative “Sometimes” where singer Eddie Vedder calls his legions of fans into the intimate tent for a little meditation before kicking up the jams with “Hail, Hail,” where the band pounces from centerstage. “Who You Are” combines a Bo Diddley beat with a Led Zep-eastern-mystic melodic loop that proves PJ find heaviness not just in volume and velocity but in a nod towards spiritual grace. There’s still the blunt punk of “Lukin” and the surfing-alterna-groove of “Mankind” to roughen up the edges, and the harmonica-grunge of “Smile” that reflects the band’s collaboration with Neil Young, but the real beauty here shines through the Vedder ballads, “Present Tense,” “Off He Goes,” and  “Around The Bend.” Pearl Jam would never be content as just another hard rock band and every one of its albums stretches the definition without losing the plot.

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

After the surprise success of its debut album, Ten, Pearl Jam has spent its entire career trying to sustain and expand its impact with varying degrees of commercial success. The group has never succumbed to the easy anthem or played nice towards radio. No Code, its fourth studio album, begins with the quiet, contemplative “Sometimes” where singer Eddie Vedder calls his legions of fans into the intimate tent for a little meditation before kicking up the jams with “Hail, Hail,” where the band pounces from centerstage. “Who You Are” combines a Bo Diddley beat with a Led Zep-eastern-mystic melodic loop that proves PJ find heaviness not just in volume and velocity but in a nod towards spiritual grace. There’s still the blunt punk of “Lukin” and the surfing-alterna-groove of “Mankind” to roughen up the edges, and the harmonica-grunge of “Smile” that reflects the band’s collaboration with Neil Young, but the real beauty here shines through the Vedder ballads, “Present Tense,” “Off He Goes,” and  “Around The Bend.” Pearl Jam would never be content as just another hard rock band and every one of its albums stretches the definition without losing the plot.

Mastered for iTunes
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Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
233 Ratings

233 Ratings

AudioFiend ,

Piece of the Puzzle

To say that this album is nothing like Ten, Vs, or Vitalogy is to miss the point. They didn't want to make another album in the same vein, they wanted to expand upon their influences and conciously move away from the mainstream. No Code is far from necesary for the casual fan, but for those who want a genuinely excellent and genuinely pearl jam album and want to be able to witness another chapter in the evolution of Pearl Jam, No Code is undeniably required.

Ponnazinator ,

Pearl Jam's forgotten masterpiece

Pearl Jam's career is usually seen by most people as consisting of their first three hard-rocker albums (Ten, Vs., and Vitalogy), followed by a group of forgettable tangent albums, and now their recent comback with their self-titled album. Its a bloody shame at that, because the first of these 'tangent' albums, No Code, is an absolutley gorgeous peice of work.

No Code lacks the ferocity of the first three albums, but then again PJ pushed that grungy-rock sound as far as it would go anyhow. This album focuses much more on ballads (such as the beautiful Off He Goes, my all time favorite PJ song) and songs with a more diverse pallete of sounds (such as Lukin and In My Tree, the latter almost too beautiful to be believed). The songs on No Code tend to also be far more complex than the average PJ song of the Ten-Vitalogy era, most often needing more than one listen to fully appreciate. This ain't the old PJ at all, they became a mature group with boundless talent that trailblazed into the formerly unknown.

No Code is also far more 'listenable' than most other PJ albums- imagine having to sit through the entirety of the ultra-aggressive (but totally awesome) Vs. without killing someone. I can easily listen to the entirety of this album as every song sounds very unique and they flow brilliantly too - the transition from the song Sometimes to Hail, Hail hits me in the gut every time. So diverse is the sound of No Code that I swear you'll touch upon every emotion in the book while listening to it.

At the end, No Code is the type of album to take on a road trip and listened to over and over again - the complex songs take time to sink in and enrapture you. Though not as easily accesible as PJ classics such as Ten, you'll find that if you give No Code a chance it'll become one of those albums you'd never tire of and certainly the best PJ album out there.

elderly woman behind the counter in a big town ,

Just as good as the rest but in a different way

I was scared when I got home after buying this album, because the first thing i did was read some of the reviews for it, and i was afraid i wouldnt like it. Boy was I wrong, this is my favorite album by them tied with Vs., even though it is completely different, in the way that instead of most of the songs being hard rockers with some ballads thrown in for relief, it is mostly ballads with rockers thrown in for relief. If you like any of their slower songs from other albums such as Daughter, Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town, Nothingman, Given to Fly, or from theyre new album Parachutes or Come Back, you will love this album but if you only like theyre harder songs, then you may want to consider buying something else instead. Also don't miss getting the song Present Tense it is amazing it gives me the chills

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