Eddie Vedder - Ukulele Songs

Album cover
Folk
Monkeywrench Records
Eddie Vedder
Ukulele Songs
Eddie Vedder - Ukulele Songs Review rating:
3
User rating:
Average: 3 (2 votes)

With his solo debut Into the Wild, Eddie Vedder painted vivid pictures of Alaskan wilderness; his powerful vocals, delicate guitar work, and congregation of backing singers and orchestration fusing into a more than satisfactory soundtrack for the 2007 film. Although many expected more from the Pearl Jam front man, Into the Wild was the pleasant and solid record that Vedder needed to cultivate to get his solo career on the right foot. Four years after the release of Into the Wild, Vedder has continued his foray into a solo career, this time with nothing but a ukulele and his illustrious voice. Haven’t you always wanted to hear an album backed only by a ukulele?

Like with the debut, those familiar with Vedder’s Pearl Jam work are to encounter something far removed from the emotional wrecking-ball Ten or even the innovative No Code. Considering its austere backdrop, Ukulele Songs is as stripped-down as an album will come these days, but this fact should not deter listeners. Although coming off as pedestrian and unexciting at first, the record holds a rare potency in Vedder’s versatile vocals, which is something that has not ceased to exist throughout his career. The aforementioned statement is apparent from the get-go, as Vedder is soaring through a re-working of Pearl Jam track “Can’t Keep.” Throughout the past few decades, Vedder’s vocals had lost a bit of the angst that was so evident on Ten and Vs., and instead brought out how effortless it was for him to climb up and down the latter with ease. As folk solo artist, Vedder has been meticulous about giving each and every note a certain depth and strength, no matter how well-written the lyrics are. The fact that Vedder is an incredible vocalist however, was not brought to life by this album. And what’s worse is that his pipes are not enough to save Ukulele Songs from being entirely one-dimensional. As many could have predicted, a ukulele is not the resourceful instrument that one would wish to attribute to back a solo record. With this said, little distinguishes one track for another, making it difficult to highlight underscores.

If Into the Wild left any room for growth, it was within Vedder’s lyricism. Throughout his career with Pearl Jam, Vedder had revealed flashes of lyrical brilliance, but at times left a bit to be desired. Ukulele Songs fails to demonstrate anything different, as much of the record is jam-packed with pleasant, yet somewhat ordinary songwriting as depicted by “You’re True:” “If no one sees me, I’m not here at all. You could be the one to liberate me from the sun”. With monotonous instrumentation, run of the mill lyricism, and a lack of diversity present on Ukulele Songs, Eddie Vedder’s sophomore release does nothing to further his solo career, or his music career in general. What is furthered however, is Vedder’s will to do things his own way, just as his idol Neil Young had done. And overall, he is better for it.

1. Can't Keep
2. Sleeping By Myself
3. Without You
4. More Than You Know
5. Goodbye
6. Broken Heart
7. Satellite
8. Longing to Belong
9. Hey Fahkah
10. You're True
11. Light Today
12. Sleepless Nights
13. Once in a While
14. Waving Palms
15. Tonight You Belong to Me
16. Dream a Little Dream

Eddie Vedder (born Edward Louis Seversen III on 23 December 1964) is the lead singer and lyricist for the band Pearl Jam. He has also been involved in other music outside of Pearl Jam, and released his first solo album, a soundtrack to the movie 'Into the Wild' in September 2007. ... read more

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