Let's start out by saying that Binaural
is my favourite Pearl Jam
album (so far). I haven't heard the new one yet, but what I have heard sounds awesome so far.
So, why is it my favourite PJ album? It's hard to explain. Binaural is an album that takes a lot of time and a lot of listens to get into, even demands it, but it rewards that time spent very well.
At first the songs don't seem to flow too well, they come across as a bit random, but for me they eventually formed into a really gorgeous listening experience that really reaches into me. Here's track by track:1. Breakerfall
A powerful rocker that starts things off with a bang, short and sweet. Full of energy, and I love the double-octave harmonies through the verse. Great title/lyric too.2. Gods' Dice
Not quite as engaging as Breakerfall, but keeping up the early theme on this album of fast rockers and a nice catchy chorus.3. Evacuation
Maybe the weakest song on the album, this finishes up the opening barrage of three short, fast rock songs. It regains a bit of extra points for the ending, which has superb screaming vocals from Eddie, which are just plain cool.4. Light Years
This is about as close Pearl Jam get to a ballad, and it's absolutely beautiful. A sad tale of losing a friend and wishing you'd had a bit more time with them. Eddie's on lyric-writing form here.5. Nothing As It Seems
Another slower song to follow Light Years, this one comes across as more downbeat. I personally really dislike the verses in this song, and the detuned guitars can be jarring, but the chorus is one of the most gorgeous the band have ever done.6. Thin Air
Okay, here comes the super-powerful middle section of the album which is just one stunning track after another. This is a wonderful little acoustic ditty that has a melody which you can't believe nobody has come up with before. Great stuff.7. Insignificance
Back to the heavier stuff now, this is a song that took me a while to appreciate. Eventually I realised it's just a pop song smothered in distortion, and a very good one. The chorus "BOMBS! Dropping DOWN!..." is so unbelievably catchy, and the stop-start riffs are perfection. Again, the lyrics are stunning.8. Of The Girl
My personal favourite song off the album, and my favourite Pearl Jam song. One of the most beautiful pieces of songwriting I've ever heard, very laid back yet at the same time really intense. The resolution of the chorus brings this together in a way that can bring tears.9. Grievance
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. A heavy song similar to Insignificance, driving and powerful and again has lyrics that you can't help but be wowed by.10. Rival
A groovy, slow rocker in 6/8 that (again) has a terrifically catchy melody and guitar riffs. Dealing with the topic of guns in schools, it really resonates on every level and is very funky to boot. Eddie's voice is in good form here.11. Sleight Of Hand
Not my favourite song, it's one of those weirder experimental ones, but it works fairly well. Like Nothing As It Seems, the verses are a bit unmelodic and jarring, but the chorus brings it together beautifully.12. Soon Forget
A little song with Eddie on the ukelele. Absolute genius, love it. It's about people like Bill Gates.13. Parting Ways
A slower, ballad-like piece to finish off. It's not my favourite song but it works well. The string section is what makes this especially notable as it's arranged very well.
There you go. I would also say this album has the best cover art of any Pearl Jam album so far. Give this album the time it deserves and you won't regret it.