The biggest fear that comes with being in a rock band is irrelevance. No matter how hard you think you’ve tried and that a real formula can work from song to song, there comes a point when you will have to mix things up to keep up with the times. Then again, the more artistic bands aren’t meant to stay in one sound forever.
Throughout every decade of rock and roll, there have been bands ready to twist their sound into different forms whether they succeed or not. While some of these records are a bit more misguided than others, there is nothing in their catalog that sounds like nostalgia or an attempt to chase trends to appeal to the market in general. On each respective project, these songs feel more like new creative endeavors than anything else, taking the gist of what they had before and turning it into something entirely new.
While fans might have rejected some of these albums, you can’t really fault these artists for following their hearts and doing whatever their creative spirit satisfied. Because if there’s anything rock and roll is known for, it’s deviating from the norm.
Most of us have probably suffered enough from Pearl Jam for all of our collective lives. It’s not from Pearl Jam per se… just the endless amounts of copiers who have come and gone since 1992 trying to copy Eddie Vedder’s signature singing style. Even though Creed or Puddle of Mudd could make a living creating their own versions of Ten, these Seattlites left their debut in the rearview mirror a long time ago.
As early as Vs. Eddie was always trying to experiment with different variations on the Pearl Jam formula, which often came in the form of weird rock art like the funk of Rats or the almost punk sounds of Blood. On Vitalogy however, the masses felt it was going to be a one-band trip, with most of the art rock trends going through the roof alongside classic hits like Nothingman.
Since then, Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament have left virtually nothing behind, from the weird downtempo material on No Code to the ongoing experimentation in Binaural and Riot Act with the sound recording. Hell, even when they went back to more rock material, songs like The Fixer were accompanied by a new wave twist. Going even further with Gigaton, Pearl Jam is still one of the few active rock groups that still manages to surprise us.