Eddie Vedder – Earthling
Sometimes, when the front person of a band gets a bit creatively antsy, they strike out on their own and release a solo album. These tend to yield, shall we say, mixed results. Some are inspiring and innovative, while others are sad and full of ego. Eddie Vedder, however, more than proves his talent outside of Pearl Jam with his stellar 2022 album Earthling. Backed by a band that includes TWO Red Hot Chili Peppers members, Alanis Morrsette’s bassist, and the guitarist for The Frames, Eddie and “The Earthlings” as he dubbed them bring their A-game on 13 rock solid tracks. Here we see Eddie utilize his soaring growl of a voice over songs that range from driving punk-styled offerings to ballads with a signature Vedder twist. Oh, and one KILLER collab with Elton John. Earthling doesn’t feel like Eddie is trying to show he’s more than Pearl Jam. Instead it’s an album that easily clears the high bar set by that legendary band and shows he’s so much more than just a frontman trying to prove something.
I’m sure you’re probably wondering why I would feature an Eddie Vedder solo album before a Pearl Jam album on Sound Selections. Well, simply put, this album is JUST THAT GOOD. Along with his previous solo album Ukelele Songs (which I WOULD have featured if I owned it on vinyl), Earthling is a well-crafted effort that impresses and proves Eddie is not about to rest on his laurels. His powerful voice and expert songwriting are inspiring to hear and his rapport with his backing band makes every song feel tight yet relaxed, with the working well with each other as if they have been in the band for ages. Pearl Jam might have set the bar high for Eddie’s solo works, but this album sets the bar high for every other frontman’s solo efforts. It more than lives up to expectations and is an excellent listening experience even if you’re (somehow) not a fan of Pearl Jam.