Life is so sweet 'cause I let it be

I picked up Rearviewmirror, Pearl Jam's greatest hits at the library and it's been making think a lot about grunge lately. I think it's been overlooked and often written off as a fluke and that's a shame.

It's true that bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Alice in Chains begat bands like Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit and Yellowcard which doesn't help their legacy. But I'll argue until my face turns blue that grunge has nothing to do with the rap rock that spring up later. You can get musical inspiration from bands but that doesn't mean you're the next Kurt Cobain.

In fact, I think that's the problem. What was great about grunge was the anger tinged with an interesting combination of humor and self-loathing. Fred Durst can sing about the bitches all he wants but that's boring anger. I like Eddie Vedder's anger better.

Maybe I'm just a product of my times but listening to all those old Pearl Jam songs that I hadn't heard in years was really refreshing. They still sound great and they stand out as a little island of excellent music that everyone loved. As the music world becomes more and more fragmented (I told someone that Nouvelle Vague was "A French electronica group doing bossa nova inspired covers of 80's new wave songs.") I like to think that there could be another movement that touched everyone. I just hope it has nothing to do with American Idol.


I'm glad I got that off my chest. Now it's back to the "backs." Today's album is Back To Me by Kathleen Edwards. I first heard the young Miss Edwards when she opened for Guster at the Taft Theatre in Cincinnati in 2003. She was drinking shots of Makers Mark between songs and telling stories about how much her band likes Cracker Barrel.

I don't remember the music being great but my curiosity was piqued. I bought her first album, faller, and enjoyed it immensely. So when her second album was released to mediocre reviews, I hoped the experts were wrong. Unfortunately they weren't. Back To Me isn't terrible, it just lacks the swagger and smirk of her first album. We've all heard of the sophomore slump, so I just hope this is a textbook example of it. I eagerly await a third album to see if Kathleen Edwards can get her groove back.

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