Have I mentioned that “Do the Evolution” has maybe the best music video ever? The entirety of life on Earth, and some wacky predictions for the future (giant groundsnake things!), all before the hayday of CGI.
Anyway, fresh from the lively town of Whogivesafuckville comes a newly irrelevant Pearl Jam. It isn’t as if they aren’t trying, but 2000 was a time of Britney Spears and Limp Bizkit. Breaking through would mean a terrific record with crashing messages and such, but it just isn’t here at all.
The real problem here is a lack of ideas. But let’s not forget the boring, leaden, “heavy” production and overpowering, encompassing sincerity to turn this into a CD that sounds like an old man wearing a comfortable sweater. Stealing Soundgarden’s drummer cemented them as the last survivor of the alt-rock revolution, but there’s no steam here – no surprise on an album where the hidden track is called “Writer’s Block.” The sequencing is bloody stupid, too. The three “rockers” then get all soft for like half an hour?
But really, there’s just nothing here that’s all that good. “Breakerfall” teases getting all hard-rock but kills it by getting super cheeseball. “Gods’ Dice” has nothing memorable. “Evacuation” is memorable only for being annoying. “Light Years” sounds like adult-oriented-rock. There’s a few nice moments, but who really cares. The highlight is “Soon Forget,” a ukelele and vocals only light number on the transience of money. Nice as that is, EVERY song is about something super-serious and unsmiling. Or, if smiling, smiling like a sage delivering koans, and the often decent lyrics can’t match up.
Also, minus an extra point for breaking my fifteen year old heart many years ago. After this point PJ made it obvious they weren’t changing a god damned thing. While the songs would get better, every album sounds like shrug a Pearl Jam album. I guess someone had to fade away instead of burning out.