Into The Wild

(2007), 8/10
Eddie Vedder’s first solo album is a set of low key songs for the movie Into The Wild, which documents a social misfit who gives away his worldly possessions to live in solitude in Alaska. It’s not hard to see how Vedder identified with the protagonist, given his constant railings against corporations and Bush in his Pearl Jam songs. Vedder performs the album almost entirely solo, with minimum backup from singer-songwriter Jeffrey Hannan, who contributed the song ‘Society’, and Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker. Most of the album is acoustic and folk-based, with Vedder playing mandolin on the memorable ‘Rise’. At only thirty three minutes the album maintains momentum with short songs – ‘No Ceiling’ packs two verses and two choruses into its ninety seconds, while ‘The Wolf’ is one and a half minutes of organ and wordless vocalising. Into The Wild does feel slight, but at the same time it’s captivating and charming. At this point in Pearl Jam’s career, Vedder’s solo career seems more compelling than his band’s work, although I didn’t find his solo followup Ukulele Songs as interesting.

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