Pearl Jam continues to rock! Backspacer, their latest album, showcases the band's ability to keep the music coming mostly hard and fast.

(Disclaimer: Backspacer is only sold through Target, and I work for Target. Disclaiming: It's good for what ails ya.)

The majority of Backspacer is simple, straightforward rock. Songs like "Got Some" and "Johnny Guitar" go straight for the jugular, while the band shows a more romantic (or romantically frustrated) side with tunes like "The Fixer" ("If there's no love/I wanna try to love again") and "Unthought Known" ("look for love and evidence/that you're worth keeping").

Pearl Jam also has a tender, thoughtful side, shown through on "Just Breathe" and "The End." Indeed, the latter song is quite mournful, wondering how nothing stays the same -- "people change as does everything/I wanted to grow old/just wanted to grow old" -- and apologizing just for company.

Just about everything on Backspacer works. The band's lineup, the same since 1998, has the perfect blend of music to match Eddie Vedder's rough, often howling voice. While few of the tunes are radio-friendly enough to make it onto top 40 radio, Backspacer is a rewarding listen from start to finish.

Overall grade: A
Reviewed by James Lynch

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