Review : Eddie Vedder - Into The Wild
BillboardIn 1990, recent college graduate Christopher McCandless cut off all contact with his family, donated all his money to charity and embarked on an epic cross-country journey that ended with his death two years later in the Alaskan wilderness. His story was first told in a 1996 Jon Krakauer book and is about to hit the big screen in a Sean Penn-directed film with this soundtrack from Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder. The motivations behind McCandless' journey may have been known only to him, but Vedder effectively conjures the endless possibilities of the open road with sparse, never morose, tracks akin to Pearl Jam's "Thumbing My Way" or "Elderly Woman." Especially appropriate are the bittersweet "End of the Road," the primal "The Wolf" and the finger-picked acoustic instrumental "Tuolumne," which mirror the long stretches of McCandless' quest that were made in complete solitude. —Jonathan Cohen...full text
ThephoenixThurston Moore, Eddie Vedder, and Kevin Drew don’t play in the kind of tightly controlled rock bands that privilege streamlined sonics over the expression of individual creative wills. Moore’s group, Sonic Youth, have spent the last two and a half decades demonstrating that a love of pop and a love of noise needn’t cancel each other out. Since their early days as Seattle’s brightest commercial light, Vedder’s Pearl Jam have morphed into a weird and wily grunge-folk act. And Broken Social Scene, the expansive Toronto-based indie-rock troupe Drew leads, make out of disarray not just a musical ideal but an organizational one, too.
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Nonetheless, all three men have new solo albums out this month that suggest each has more on his mind than can be contained by his day job. A determined dabbler, the 49-year-old Moore has complemented his recent Sonic Youth work with a host of small-scale collaborations with the underground noise denizens who consider him an elder statesman. But Trees Outside the Academy (Ecstatic Peace) is his first real collection of solo songs since 1995’s Psychic Hearts, and it’s no mere outtake reel. Most of the dozen tunes are built around folksy acoustic guitar, and that might have been a product of location: Moore recorded Trees with producer John Agnello at Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis’s house in Amherst, not far from where Moore lives with his wife (and bandmate), Kim Gordon, and their daughter, Coco, in Northhampton. (Mascis didn’t just play landlord; he plays guitar on a few cuts as well. Other guests include Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth on drums, Samara Lubelski on violin, and Christina Carter of Charalambides on vocals.)
Trees’ mood is reflective, but not necessarily mellow: if pretty melodies pop up throughout, so do nasty guitar fuzz and creepy piano chords. And Moore seems more interested in playing with language than in telling stories. “Oh, pardon me, purple veil/Take care of the girl who loves you,” he sings in “Fri/End,” a rollicking folk-rock strummer. “She rides the hot, hot rail/Devotional dharma crackles above you, and all the snaggle tongues shall lick tonight.” Alrighty, then....full text
PopmattersAside from maybe that Jay-Z record attached to American Gangster, it’s hard to imagine a songwriter marrying up with a movie topic more logically, more effectively, than Eddie Vedder and Christopher McCandless, the detached American kid-gone-walkabout who serves as the doomed protagonist of Into the Wild. At its heart, the story of Wild is one of alienation and distancing and and the self-discovery that can be found only in wandering and escape and solitude, themes you may remember from Every Other Thing Pearl Jam Has Ever Done (if you’ve ever made out to Better Man, read that sentence again immediately). Eddie Vedder does emotional distance like Springsteen does cold dark rivers. Luckily, both chestnut metaphors still seem to be working for both.
The brief (33-minute) soundtrack for Into the Wild is Vedder’s first disc-length foray into the solo projects he’s been undertaking with increasing consistency in recent years. These have included a Beatles cover, sets at Jack Johnson’s Kokua Festival and those pre-show sets he treats Pearl Jam audiences to, which generally consist of semi-bizarro cover songs and, in one instance, a hopeful tribute to the Chicago Cubs (sorry, dog). However, Into the Wild seems, more and more with each listen, to be just about as fortuitous an occasion as he could have hoped for to crystallize some of those rock-less indulgences. Once again, that’s Vedder, Sean Penn, alienation and redemption through discovery. This album could have written itself, and in recent interviews Vedder has indicated that was more or less the case....full text
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