Riot Act finds middle of the road

Hallie Thomas

Hallie Thomas

Innovation is the product of youth borne out of the need of rebellion. In the early Nineties, Pearl Jam released Ten and Vs–two albums that gave the grunge movement a band to fill arenas. Now, Eddie Vedder & Co. are facing middle age and innovation has given way to legacy. Some artists create albums that can be viewed as single efforts, flowing from end to end; others are created merely as collections of songs which test the waters for the next creative direction. Riot Act may be Pearl Jam’s divining rod–searching for what lies next in their destiny.

The album is an experimentation in middle-of-the-road rock, veering from the bluesy-folk of “All or None” to the industrial sex of “You Are.” The spoken word “Bushleauger” criticizes some obscure politician that is “Not a leader/ He’s a Texas leaguer,” and the transcendental ballad “Can’t Keep” lulls the listener into a meditative trance that Thom Yorke would be proud of.

There are a few efforts that are unmistakably of the band (i.e. “Save You”, “Ghost”, and “Get Right”), but others seem to be crossovers from Vedder’s solo soundtrack work (“Thumbing My Way”).

Pearl Jam can do anything they want to do, and with this effort, they decide to create dull contrasts. Judge the songs individually, for no continuity is intended, and pray that the superior songs will win out in the end.

3 Stars

#1.887601:3385761231.jpg:a&e.jpg:Eddie Vedder works hard on Riot Act to prove that he?s still got mojo?hair or no hair.:Courtesy photo