The importance of Pearl Jam is undeniable: they have already ten albums and we are waiting for number eleven entitled Gigaton, which will be released on March 27, 2020. But, what relevance does the pioneer grunge band of the nineties have in the streaming era? Let’s look at the data breakdown.
Below we find an infographic on the reproductions of the entire Pearl Jam discography -sans Gigaton, obviously-. Ten discs that ordered according their Spotify streaming volume look like this:
What many already think appears, that Ten (1991) is his best work. Then the top 5 closes with Vs. (1993) and Vitalogy (1994), their second and third albums respectively, which tend to be among the band’s historical fan favorites. And surprise, his last two record outputs Backspacer (2009) and the very weak Lightning Bolt (2013) peaked high.
Ten is by far Pearl Jam´s best album
Ten is a key album for grunge and alternative rock of the nineties. To this day classic tracks like Alive, Jeremy, Evenflow and Black are at the top of the genre’s songs. Those four tracks are the main responsible for keeping the trajectory of Pearl Jam consolidated. Its relevance is irrefutable. To such an extent, that in truth the amount of streamings of Ten is equivalent to the accumulated of almost all the rest of his discography. These are the same data as before, but in a different comparative infographic:
Just like that: Ten is the best Pearl Jam album.
While albums like Vs. or Vitalogy are considered contenders for the best Pearl Jam album, Ten‘s legacy is undeniable. These two albums mentioned are solid, with great songs that fall within Pearl Jam‘s most played on Spotify: Daughter, Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town, Betterman, Spin the Black Circle.
Pearl Jam new “sound strategy” since 2010
The fact that works like Backspacer or Lightning Bolt are so high in reproductions is mainly due to the impulse of the singles Just Breathe and Sirens respectively. These are less rabid songs, with which Pearl Jam managed to expand its audience not only to historical fans of the genre but also to audiences who prefer the most radiant.
Usually, those of us who have followed the band since its inception do not appreciate their latest output much. Either due to a certain repetition of ideas, or perhaps a care and neatness in its sound that we did not want. In any case, it must be said that the change has paid off.
The fact is that Pearl Jam knew how to get out of the flattening of its Binaural / Riot Act era, which are not bad jobs but no one considers them as the most transcendent. On the basis of friendlier singles, Eddie Vedder and company enjoyed the earned reputation.
Pearl Jam´s underrated albums: Yield and No code
It is surprising to see Yield not enter the top 5 of the band’s streams on Spotify. Obviously, the excellent singles Do The Evolution, Given to Fly and Wishlist have not transcended so much among the new public. And No Code was always that album, both loved and hated, that has classics on the band’s setlist like Hail Hail or Present Tense … “but” whatever.
These two albums have been somewhat forgotten in the era of digital music. As expected, No Code, because neither the critics nor the media have wanted it. To find Yield here is more of a surprise, as many consider it among the best Pearl Jam records, it has powerful singles and good ballads.
In short, Pearl Jam will continue to live off Ten quietly and that they have managed at least half to reactivate their relevance in the current production. Where will Gigaton sit in this lattice?
Listen to Pearl Jam on Spotify.