It is one thing to try to exist outside the musical industry conventions and another to keep on producing good stuff. In their everlasting battle against ticket masters, bootleggers and major companies, Pearl Jam may have lost the passion on the way. “Riot Act” is an album I was waiting for, even if a lot of people around me kept saying to me that the last two albums were shit regarding the early albums. I am a fan, I have all the albums, 2 videos, 5 live albums and a bootleg. It does not oblige to like this album and I don’t. This review was made on locations in my favourite record shop, because I realized I was not fanatic enough to buy this album, simply because it is truly awful. Once again, someone will come knocking on my door to tell me I did not get the point and this is a mature album. I don’t care, I am not at home.
Exterior. A crowded street.
(Angus, standing, looks around him. He seems to be looking for something in his pockets while his eyes scrutinize the street ahead of him and suddenly he realizes that his cigarettes are in his backpack. He takes one and starts to smoke.)
A passer by : Do you have a cigarette please ?
Angus : I am sorry, I have just asked someone for this one.
Angus moves from the overexposed spot where he was standing and comes closer to his destination, a record shop.)
Angus (voice over) : cause I am in too deep and I try to keep up above in my head instead of going under, cause I’m in too deep…(ad lib).
(He enters the store and directly reaches the first floor where his favourite CD dealer is fulminating against some of his colleague’s incompetence ).
Interior. Record shop. Day.
CD dealer (irritated) : Hi Angus. Shitty day today ! I can’t understand such a mis-organisation. (he calms down and shakes Angus’ hand).
Angus : Hi. You’re ok?
CD dealer : Surrounded by the cast of Dumb and Dumber. The Pearl Jam is out, you know.
Angus : Is it good ?
CD dealer : It is shit compared to Ten and Vitalogy. I have not listened to it so much. I wait to find it in vinyl and then I may buy it. He doesn’t know how to sing anymore.
Angus : I like Yield but it seems I am one of the only ones. I suppose maturity stinks.
CD dealer : Yeah. You can listen to it over there.
(Angus motions himself through the counters, lifts the headphones, turns the volume up and grabs a copy of Pearl Jam’s Riot Act on the counter.)
Angus (voice over the music) :
I am pleasingly surprised by the artwork, a break up with the typewriter
strictness of the previous albums with that sloppy writing and obscure cover.
The title is false protest, the guys are old now they are not subversive at all.
What’s that ? I hoped they were through with mid tempo ballads.
Oh shit! What’s that sound ? This overdrive is really awful. Ok, two chords, that’s all, you took it easy on that one.
Oh, oh, oh, Seattle we have a problem. How many tracks are there ? Thirteen or so. I’ll buy if I like half. So what’s the single? “I Am Mine”.
Is it a pale reference to the Beatles song “I Me Mine”? I hope not, they should not use references they cannot understand. Is this a single? Another poor semi-acoustic ballad. I am tired of these. Gossard should keep these for his shitty solo albums. In fact these were better before. listen to Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In a Small Town or Better Man for example.
It’s slow, slow, desperately slow……Look at this girl’s ass ! Come here baby, let’s go fucking in the bushes. Oh, and she’s got the perfect breast. Damn, I wish I could speak some French !
Is this a Fender Rhodes ? Matt would tell me. I like it. Another Vedder’s solo thing I suppose. One good out of seven, I don’t think I will buy the album.
Heavy guitars but the riffs are desperately poor. It’s no use going on.
(Angus puts the headphones back
down and starts to look around the indie rock counters. Five minutes later, he
looks at his watch)
Angus (voice over) : Shit ! Dawson’s Creek starts in 15 minutes, I must go. I’ll come back later to listen to Pearl Jam again, you may be wrong man. Maybe it is the sound in those headphones.
(Angus leaves the shop and hurries home).
Angus (voice over) : say my name, say my name…..
Fade to black.
/dec 1st 2002/