With Yield, Pearl Jam created their most accessible record since Ten. Despite its straightforward nature, Yield also feels like the completion of a retreat from the forefront of popular music; throughout their early career they evolve from a mega stadium band to likeable rock artisans.
I like the sound on Yield, and it’s just about the most representative album they’ve made, but some of the material is too slight so it’s below the level of their best albums. There’s nothing particularly jarring; the experimental pieces (Jack Irons’ ‘o’ and ‘Push Me, Pull You’) fit in fine. ‘Given To Fly’ is one of the group’s finest efforts, even if it’s heavily inspired by Led Zeppelin’s ‘Going To California’. The plaintive ‘Wishlist’ is another highlight, with a memorable e-bow solo from Vedder himself, while ‘All Those Yesterdays’ is an enjoyable ballad that references The Beatles with a drawn out pronunciation of “yesterdays”. The mid-tempo tunes that litter the album are all pretty, but the rockers aren’t as interesting or as hard-edged as their predecessors.
While Yield is not the most compelling album in Pearl Jam’s catalogue, it documents a comfortable transition into the group’s middle age.