This decade found Pearl Jam settling comfortably into themselves, churning out solid album after solid album, solid tour after solid tour – not breaking new ground for them, but releasing tons of good tunes and doing what they do and doing it really well. Some people see this negatively as the same old Pearl Jam, but I actually appreciate exactly where they are at this point. Twenty years after releasing their first record, The Stones officially announced their decline when they sharted out Emotional Rescue and went on to become a touring novelty act (though I still think Tatoo You is a solid album).
Amazingly, PJ is almost twenty years in and they still seem to be releasing enjoyable, relevant records. I was not a fan of these guys when they first blasted onto the scene, but over the years I have really come to appreciate them for what they are – a solid straight ahead rock band with tons of great tunes.
“Light Years”, to me, is the best embodiment of everything they did well early in their career, filtered through their post-Versus need to avoid a simple, catchy song. At times, this has been to their detriment – are good pop hooks really something to avoid? – but it’s hard to argue with their output.