One reason Pearl Jam’s ninth album is their best since 1994’s Vitalogy? It flies by. Backspacer clocks in at a breezy 36 minutes and hits the ground running with a raging spirit that we haven’t heard since the band got all serious a decade or so ago.
There’s a sense of joy here: rolling drums, chunky guitar riffing, and songs with kick-out-the-power-chords titles like “Supersonic” and “Speed of Sound.” Backspacer has its share of clunkers, but they haven’t made an album this consistent since grunge was still in fashion, and this time they sound like they really mean it.
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