Pearl Jam has spent over 20 years commanding the Billboard 200 and the bands new album "Lightning Bolt" is no exception. Currently nestled atop the list as the number one selling album in America, this marks the fifth time the band has climbed to the top of the charts.
Long time fans are, no doubt, driving sales of this album. The song list and album pace is typical Pearl Jam; alternating between mid-tempo rock anthems and blustery, punkish outbursts with just one or two somber moments sprinkled in. This is what fans want, expect, and have received. However, there is not likely a number one single to attract new listeners or extensive radio play.
There is also one disturbing issue with "Lightning Bolt": for the first time in their long and illustrious career, Pearl Jam seems stale and self-referential. Careful listeners will hear Mind your manners, the first single from the album, sounds quite a bit like 1994’s Spin the black circle. My fathers son, and Swallowed whole also harken back to melodies, keys and constructs that have been heard in the catalog before.
Available as a download, CD and on vinyl, "Lightning Bolt" does offer something for every kind of music buyer. There are even separate mastering credits for the vinyl version and the digital implying that the sonic quality of the album was made a priority. Check back soon for a deeper look at the track list and a comparison of the digital and analog formats in future articles.