Growing up in the 1990s, there were a lot of singers/bands that I liked, and still do. For me, Pearl Jam eclipses them all. After nearly 30 years, I enjoy their music now as much as ever. It was a huge thrill for me when I got to see them live at Wrigley Field in Chicago a few years ago.
If you haven’t listened to them before, Pearl Jam is a rock band that comes from the Seattle area, back when the grunge rock scene was really big there. Pearl Jam is considered to be one of the four big grunge bands to come out of that era, along with Soundgarden, Nirvana, and Alice in Chains.
Their first album, Ten, came out in 1991 and continues to be one of the standards of 1990s rock music. After that, they came out with Vs., which in many ways was similar, in 1993. Yet there are a few songs on there that are experimental, and they continued this trend with Vitalogy in 1994 before doing an almost exclusively experimental album, No Code, in 1996.
Since then, Pearl Jam’s sound has continued to evolve. Though they’ve done some albums that have songs reminiscent of their early 1990s sound, they’ve also tried a lot of different kinds of rock. For me, a hidden gem in their catalog is Riot Act, a folk rock album which came out in 2002.
Part of the problem with putting out a wildly successful album, as Ten was, is that fans expect something fresh and new, yet many also don’t like it when a band’s sound changes. This is a tough balance to find. Fortunately, Pearl Jam has been able to stay relevant while trying new sounds over the years. Their latest album, Gigaton, just came out a couple of weeks ago.
Many of Pearl Jam’s albums are available on Freegal. With your LTPL library card, you can download five songs per week. If you’re listening to Pearl Jam, I’d recommend going in chronological order with their albums, starting with Ten, as it’s easier to appreciate their later work if you start with the early stuff.
There are lots of other great songs on Freegal as well. Click here to get started!