Worst to Best: Pearl Jam

Ready or not, here below is my personal worst to best about Pearl Jam discography. Of course, updated to the new album Dark Matter. 

Let's go!

12. "Gigaton" (2020)
To me their worst album by far. I like 2 or 3 songs, the rest of them I don't want to hear them anymore in my life. I find some of them too modern and others too boring or not inspired at all (the last part of the album kills me). Maybe I'm too drastic, but It's because I love this band.

11. "Dark Matter" (2024)
Still modern and with some not very inspired songs, but in this one, I enjoy at least half of the album (let's say the first part), and a big step ahead of its predecessor. Here is the full review (track by track), in case you missed it. 

10. "Riot Act" (2002)
A transitional album for the band. There are lots of amazing songs like Save You, Love Boat Captain, and I Am Mine, just to name three, but there are lots of others like You Are, Help Help, Get Right, just... meh. I really like the production on this one, though.

9. "Lightning Bolt" (2013)
Some people hate this one but to me, apart from a couple of episodes in its second part (Sleeping by Myself is beautiful with the ukulele, definitely not the full band version here), Lightning Bolt is a very solid album with lots of energy and with great ballads like Sirens, Infallible, Pendulum and especially Yellow Moon.

8. "Backspacer" (2009)
A very short album (35 minutes, the shortest of their discography), straight to the point and without bad songs, apart maybe from Johnny Guitar. The ballads are more Vedder solo style (The End and Just Breathe) and there are great mid-tempos like Unthought Known and Amongst the Waves. 

7. "Pearl Jam" (2006)
Known as the "Avocado" album, it's a return to a more straightforward style after the experimental Riot Act. I'm really attached to it as it was the first Pearl Jam tour I attended and I love some songs like Come Back, Severed Hands, the punk Comatose and Inside Job. I love the avocado cover (mainly because it's my favourite colour).

6. "No Code" (1996)
My least favourite from the "golden era" of the band (the first 6 albums, to me). Experimental and eclectic with amazing songs like Hail Hail and Off He Goes but also songs I've never understood like Mankind (Gossard should not sing) and Who You Are (a strange first choice as a single, for that era).

5. "Binaural" (2000)
A very strange production and sound (binaural), in fact, I prefer almost every song of this album live (Grievance and Insignificance are a great introduction for the "new drummer" Matt Cameron). The only one I prefer the studio version is the beautiful Nothing as it Seems (another odd choice as a single, with one of the best performances by Mike McCready).

4. "Vs" (1993)
Unpopular opinion, I put it this way: the songs on this album are amongst the best of the Pearl Jam career, but I never liked the production. Again, I prefer the all songs live (apart from Dissident, probably), especially Go (and especially played by Matt Cameron, I don't like the drumming of Dave Abruzzese, here. Another unpopular opinion). 

3. "Yield" (1998)
You can mix my position 1-2-3 as you want as they make sense anyway to me. I love the sound of Yield, my favourite production of the Pearl Jam discography by far (it sounds great in the car!) and with songs like Brain of J, Do the Evolution, Wishlist and especially my favourite Given to Fly (see the name of the blog).

2. "Ten" (1991)
Their debut, is iconic for a reason, with classics like "Alive" "Black" "Jeremy" and "Even Flow,". Everybody loves this album, with all great songs and no fillers. The worst song on this one probably would be the best, in their last 4-5 albums, just to let you understand the level, if you don't know much about Pearl Jam.

1. "Vitalogy" (1994)
I put this one first but, again, positions 1, 2 and 3 are on the same level to me. This is a very strange album, with lots of experimental songs and with Vedder who takes charge of the songwriting. Classics like "Better Man", "Spin the Black Circle" "Nothingman" "Corduroy" and "Immortality", maybe their best closing track. What can you say about this one? Well, maybe we could have lived happily without "songs" like Stupid Mop or Aya Davanita but we can forgive them.

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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