This year marks 20 years since Pearl Jam were formed out of the ashes of a promising Seattle band Mother Love Bone (whose singer Andrew Wood died before their first album was released), so 2011 looks like being a bumper year for fans, even without the prospect of either a new studio album or a tour.
Pearl Jam are hardly a band short of live albums (especially if you take into account their ‘official bootleg’ releases, but I’m still looking forward to Live On Ten Legs (a sequel of sorts to 1998 live album Live On Two Legs), not least because it features covers of Joe Strummer and PiL, as well as the usual mix of classics and stuff from their excellent 2009 album Backspacer.
Also coming up are re-releases of second and third albums Vs and Vitalogy, two bona fide 90s rock classics that will hopefully get the same kind of treatment as the re-release of debut album Ten did a couple of years ago.
And then there’s Pearl Jam Twenty, a documentary by director Cameron Crowe, whose connection to the band goes way back to his Seattle-tastic film Singles, where they appeared as members of Matt Dillon’s fictional ‘Citizen Dick’ band and contributed a couple of songs to the legendary soundtrack. There’s not many details about this documentary yet, but former Rolling Stone journo Crowe is a safe bet to deliver something worthwhile.
And there’s still some ‘special events’ lined up, so it’s all sound really promising. Pearl Jam are an awesome band who have stood the test of time despite the rocky start they got off to during that brief ‘war of words’ with Kurt Cobain and then the ‘difficult’ years when they didn’t do music videos or interviews and then tried to take down Ticketmaster. Clearly a ‘Pearl Jam Album By Album’ feature needs doing in the near future…
It was released to a crescendo of hype and was then hit by an inevitable backlash, but Kanye West's fifth album is still my album of the year no matter what the naysayers might gripe about. Yes it's completely over the top and barking mad, but so is Kanye himself and it works so well as a contrast to the bleak minimalism of his last album