Rolling Stone (p.74) - 4.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he songs sound steelier than ever....Despite his rage, Vedder was also more willing than his peers to dip into folky beauty."
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.53) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."
Rolling Stone (11/11/93, p.72) - 4.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...the g-word in Pearl Jam's sound [on VS.] isn't `grunge' but `groove'....VS. isn't a one-man show--it's a group effort..."
Entertainment Weekly (10/29/93, p.72) - "...Eddie keeps getting Vedder....I'm particularly impressed by that 12-second scream he emits in `Blood'..." - Rating: B-
Q (1/94, p.82) - Included in Q's list of `The 50 Best Albums Of 1993' - "...a mature, progressive, marvelous new record..."
Melody Maker (1/1/94, p.76) - Ranked #4 in Melody Maker's list of the "Albums Of The Year" for 1993 - "...about as great as classic American rock gets..."
Melody Maker (10/16/93, p.40) - "... a raw, festering wound of an album, a brilliant, relentless passion play..."
Village Voice (3/94, p.5) - Ranked #2 in the Village Voice's 1993 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
Village Voice (3/1/94, p.5) - Ranked #14 in the Village Voice's 1993 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
Pearl Jam: Eddie Vedder (vocals); Stone Gossard, Mike McCready (guitar); Jeff Ament (bass); Dave Abbruzzese (drums).
Recorded at The Site, Nicasio, California and Potatohead Studio, Seattle, Washington.
VS. was nominated for a 1995 Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. "Daughter" was nominated for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals, and "Go" was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Although it topped the pop charts and sold 5 million copies, Pearl Jam's stunning second album is unknown to much of the rock audience. Recoiling from the octopus-like grasp of the music industry, the group refused to support VS. with either videos, singles or a major tour, and rock radio was given just two acoustic-powered ballads, "Daughter" and "Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town," as so-called emphasis tracks.
The former was about a sexually abused young girl promising to rise above her past, the latter about a forgotten woman with nothing but long gone memories. The rest of the album rocked significantly harder--harder and more raw, in fact, than anything on TEN--and zoomed in on a cusp between those two stories, on moments when outlaws, outcasts, the dispossessed and the disaffected were being called to political judgment. The woman sheltering a "Dissident" gives in and turns him over to the police. But the abused subjects of "Go" and "Rearviewmirror"--two of the album's most musically heroic songs--manage to turn the tables and get away.
There was a suffocating bleakness to much of VS. (in "Rats," humans are compared most unfavorably to those animals) that would have dragged down a lesser rock band. But singer Eddie Vedder had the support of one of the most transcendent of all classic-rock bands, with a supple rhythm section and two creatively complicated guitarists equally at home with the thrashy pulse of "Go," the delicate prettiness of "Elderly Woman..." (check out the layered, stereo guitar work there) and the new wave angularity of a song like "Glorified G." It was serious, but also serious rock and roll.
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