Few bands can compare to the legendary status of Pearl Jam. With a career spanning more than two decades, they have produced some of the best and most iconic grunge music in history. With so many albums under their belt, it can be difficult to build a list of the best Pearl Jam albums ranked. However, we have taken on the challenge and ranked the best Pearl Jam albums from outstanding to epic.
From their early days as a small band from Seattle, Washington to their massive success today, Pearl Jam has always been a force to be reckoned with.
About Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam is an American rock band formed in 1990 in Seattle, Washington. The band’s lineup consists of founder Eddie Vedder (lead vocals, guitar), Mike McCready (lead guitar), Jeff Ament (bass) and Stone Gossard (rhythm guitar). Since its inception, the band has had numerous drummers, the current being Matt Cameron of Soundgarden.
Pearl Jam was one of the seminal bands of the grunge movement in the early 1990s. Along with Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins and Soundgarden, they popularized the genre with mainstream audiences. Pearl Jam is known for their catchy hooks, energetic live performances and social activism. They have released eleven studio albums, two live albums, three compilations, thirty-six singles and eleven music videos.
Ten is their best-selling album to date, with over 13 million copies sold in the United States alone. Although it is the best selling, is it the greatest album by Peral Jam? Read on to see with our ranking of Pearl Jam albums from worst to first.
Lightning Bolt (2013)
Kicking off our search to find the best Peral Jam album is the 2013 release, “Lightning Bolt.” It was the band’s first album in four years and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 166,000 copies in its first week.
The album was not as well-received by critics as some of their previous releases, with many feeling it was too long and lacked the energy of their earlier work. However, there are still some excellent tracks on the album, such as “Mind Your Manners,” “My Father’s Son” and “Sirens.”
For me, “Sirens” was the highlight track of the album and really showed that Pearl Jam can still write great songs.
Lightning Bolt is a good album by Pearl Jam, but it is not one of their best. It is a solid effort that fans of the band will enjoy, but it does not reach the heights of their earlier work.
Riot Act (2002)
Pearl Jam’s eighth studio album, Riot Act, was released in 2002 to critical acclaim. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified double platinum by the RIAA. Pearl Jam’s first album in three years, Riot Act was seen as a return to form for the band after the lukewarm reception of their previous album, Binaural.
The album’s lead single, “I Am Mine,” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song. Pearl Jam toured extensively in support of the album, playing over 100 shows in just over a year. Riot Act remains one of Pearl Jam’s most acclaimed albums, and is considered by many to be one of their best.
Pearl Jam (2006)
The self titled album, “Pearl Jam,” is the band’s ninth studio album. It was released in 2006 after a four-year hiatus and debuted at number two on the Billboard 200.
Upon its release, Pearl Jam received mixed reviews from critics. Some felt that the album was too long and lacked focus, while others praised it for its return to the band’s roots.
However, there are some excellent tracks on the album, such as “World Wide Suicide,” “Life Wasted” and “Gone.” Overall, Pearl Jam is a good album that fans of the band will enjoy.
The band’s eighth studio album, titled Binaural, was released on May 16, 2000. The album was recorded using a binaural recording technique, which featured two microphones placed in front of each member of the band to create a three-dimensional soundscape. The album was Pearl Jam’s first album to enter the Billboard 200 chart at number two, selling over 663,000 copies in its first week. Binaural was also Pearl Jam’s first album to be nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Album.
The album kicks off with three up-tempo songs before moving into a wider variety of songs that take some time to digest. “Light Years” is a great example of this, as it is a slower song that features some fantastic lyrics. Highlight tracks from the album include “Breakerfall,” “Grievance” and “Light Years.”
Binaural is a great album by Pearl Jam, but it is not their best. The binaural recording technique gives the album a unique sound, but it does not always work in the band’s favor. The album’s length also makes it a bit of a slog to get through.
Pearl Jam’s ninth studio album, Backspacer, was released on September 20, 2009, to critical and commercial success. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, Pearl Jam’s fifth album to do so. Backspacer was Pearl Jam’s first album in almost four years, and fans were eager to hear what the band had been up to during that time.
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The album did not disappoint, with Pearl Jam once again crafting catchy hooks and riffs wrapped in social commentary and personal introspection. While Pearl Jam may be older, they showed no signs of slowing down or losing their edge. With Backspacer, Pearl Jam have proven that they are still a force to be reckoned with in the world of rock music.
Featuring three singles, “The Fixer”, “Amongst the Waves”, and “Got Some”, Backspacer is a strong album from start to finish. If you’re looking for a Pearl Jam album that has it all, then look no further than Backspacer.
Nobody anticipated it in 2020. That’s not it. Comeback of Pearl Jam, but more crucially the near-perfect return of Pearl Jam with eleventh studio album Gigaton. With more than 30 years of experience under their belt, they managed to take a real gem from the hat and produce an album that was full of promise and explosive energy.
In addition to the sheer guts it takes to pull off such an album, Vedder’s irrepressible vocal range is one of the greatest aspects of the record. Although Vedder has always been a talismanic presence in the band, he really goes all out on this one.
Even while the entire album offers lots of foot-stomping moments, we think the album highlight us the funk-infused bopper ‘Superblood Wolfmoon’ is the best of the bunch.
No Code (1996)
No Code is one of those albums that you have to be in the right mood for. It’s not as immediately accessible as some of Pearl Jam’s other work, but it’s a grower. Once it gets its hooks in you, there’s no turning back from this experimental album.
While No Code may not be Pearl Jam’s most popular album, it was a more experimental affair than their previous albums, with the band exploring different sounds and styles. This was probably in part due to the departure of drummer Dave Abbruzzese, who was replaced by Jack Irons.
No Code is an album for Pearl Jam fans who want to dig a little deeper and see the band taking risks. It’s not always an easy listen, but it’s rewarding for those who stick with it.
If you ask any Pearl Jam fan to name their favorite album, there’s a good chance they’ll say Vitalogy. It’s one of those albums that seems to get better with age, and it’s easy to see why.
Vitalogy was the first Pearl Jam album to feature drummer Jack Irons, who replaced Dave Abbruzzese. It was also the first Pearl Jam album to be recorded without a producer, with the band self-producing the album.
The result is an album that feels raw and unpolished, but in a good way. Vitalogy is full of energy and emotion, and it’s clear that the band was going through a lot of changes at the time.
There are numerous track highlights on Vitalogy, but “Not for You” and “Corduroy” are two of the standouts along with fellow singles “Better Man” and “Spin the Black Circle”. If you’re looking for an album that captures the essence of Pearl Jam, then Vitalogy is the one.
After the more experimental sounds of No Code, Pearl Jam got back to basics with Yield. The album was a return to the straight-up rock sound that the band had become known for, and it was all the better for it.
Yield is an album full of catchy hooks and sing-along choruses. Tracks like “Do the Evolution” and “Given to Fly” are some of Pearl Jam’s best, and the album also features one of their most popular songs, “Wishlist”.
While Yield may not be as groundbreaking it is an amazing album where we see Pearl Jam go back to the basics that made us all fall in love with them in the first place.
Few debut albums are as good as Pearl Jam’s Ten. From start to finish, the album is a tour de force of rock music rivaled only Nevermind by Nirvana during the time,
Featuring singles “Alive”, “Jeremy”, and “Even Flow”, Ten is the album that made Pearl Jam into the legends they are today. It’s a classic album that any fan of rock music needs in their collection.
The Ten remaster vinyl for the 20th anniversary is a must-have for any fan of the band, and it’s one of the best ways to experience the album. Featuring the original mix along with the remaster, it’s the definitive way to listen to Pearl Jam’s debut album.
If you’re looking for an album that perfectly captures the sound and spirit of Pearl Jam, then Ten is the one.
While Pearl Jam would go on to make many more great albums, Ten will always be special. It’s the album that started it all, and it’s a timeless classic that still sounds as fresh and relevant today as it did when it was first released.
Topping our list of the best Pearl Jam albums ranked is Vs.
Released in 1993, Vs. was the follow-up to Pearl Jam’s hugely successful debut album, Ten. While Ten was a great album, Vs. is even better.
Vs. is an explosive album full of raw energy and emotion. It’s clear that the band was going through a lot at the time, and they channeled all of that into the album.
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The result is an album that is dark, heavy, and sometimes abrasive. But it’s also an album full of great songs, with “Go”, “Daughter”, and “Animal” being some of the standouts. Listen to the Pearl Jam song “Animal” below.
Vs. is full of catchy hooks and sing-along choruses, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of Pearl Jam’s most popular albums.
If you’re looking for an album that perfectly captures the sound and spirit of Pearl Jam, then Vs. is the one. It’s an essential album for any fan of rock music.
Wrapping Up Pearl Jam Albums Ranked
From their early days as a small band from Seattle, Washington to their massive success today, Pearl Jam has been apart of our daily life for the better part of 30 plus years.
Over the years they have released some of the best albums in music history. Without any bad albums, we have narrowed their studio discography down and did our best Pearl Jam albums ranked from outstanding to epic.
Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite Pearl Jam album? Let us know in the comments below!
FAQ for Best Pearl Jam Albums Ranked
Looking to learn more about Pearl Jam, read our FAQs below.
What Is Pearl Jams best selling album?
To date, Pearl Jam’s best selling album is their debut album Ten. The album has been certified diamond by the RIAA for sales of over 10 million copies in the United States.
What are some of Pearl Jams other popular albums?
In addition to Ten, some of Pearl Jam’s albums that are popular include Vs., Vitalogy, No Code, Yield, and Binaural. All of Pearl Jam’s albums are great and unique in their own way
What is Pearl Jam’s latest album?
Pearl Jam’s latest album is their eleventh studio album Gigaton. The album was released on March 27th, 2020.
What are the best Pearl Jam songs to get to know them?
Some of Pearl Jam’s best songs include “Alive”, “Jeremy”, “Even Flow”, “Go”, “Daughter”, “Animal”. These are all great songs to get to know the band if you’re not familiar with their music.
When did Pearl Jam form?
Pearl Jam was formed in 1990 in Seattle, Washington.