Rockers Stay Timeless with Rerelease

In the years 1993 and 1994, Pearl Jam was not just the biggest band in Seattle, but in the world.  Almost 18 years later, Pearl Jam has decided to reissue 1993’s Vs. and 1994’s Vitalogy; two very different records that were made at the apex of the band’s creativity and popularity.  

The two reissues are being sold as a box set that will also feature previously unreleased tracks from both sessions and a bootleg CD from a 1994 show at Boston’s Orpheum Theater.  The set is also a part of the band’s year long commemoration of their inception in Seattle 20 years ago.

After the organic and rough sounding Ten, Vs. seemed to go in the complete opposite direction.  Front man Eddie Vedder was angry, which led to a very crisp and gritty record.  From the opening drum beat of the first track “Go,” the band seemed to be on the offensive, ready for attack.

Even though grinders such as “Animal” and “Blood” are present, we seem to hear for the first time

Vedder’s keen ear for pop sensibility.  The mother-daughter relationship explained in “Daughter” and the dispatch of suburban life in “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” gaveegrunge fans in 1993 a hint that Pearl Jam was their own band with a broad sound that could touch upon anything from funk (“Rats”) and even some satirical country twang (“Glorified G”).

Vitalogy on the other hand indulged the band into a more experimental sound and also reunited them with their love for Neil Young, as evidenced on Eddie Vedder’s version of a diss track “Not For You.”

The group’s punk background is demonstrated on tracks “Last Exit” and “Spin the Black Circle,” while

classic sing-a-long and FM radio staple “Better Man” makes its appearance as well. Perhaps the band’s most triumphant moment of their career is the blistering track “Corduroy,” the most emotional and powerful song about a corduroy jacket in the history of rock n’ roll.   

The band did a great job putting together this box set that covered a pivotal period in their career.  In these two records, we see the band explore their punk and hard rock roots that were recorded in a mix somewhere between rawness and frustration.  These songs defined the Pearl Jam that fans know

today, and it’s just another example that anger and pain can make the greatest art.