Vs. (album)

Vs. (album)

Infobox Album |
Name = Vs.
Type = studio
Artist = Pearl Jam

Released = October 19, 1993
Recorded = March 1993 – May 1993 at The Site, Nicasio, California and Potatohead Studio, Seattle, Washington
Length = 46:17
Label = Epic
Producer = Brendan O'Brien, Pearl Jam
Reviews =
*Allmusic Rating|4|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=At0jw7io8g77r link]
*"Entertainment Weekly" (B-) [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,308481,00.html 10/22/93]
*"The New York Times" (favorable) [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE7D61430F937A15753C1A965958260&scp=1&sq=pearl+jam+vs.&st=nyt 10/24/93]
*Robert Christgau Rating-Christgau|dud [http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?name=Pearl+Jam link]
*"Rolling Stone" Rating|4.5|5 [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/pearljam/albums/album/135104/review/5945402/vs 12/23/93]
Last album = "Ten" (1991)
This album = "Vs." (1993)
Next album = "Vitalogy" (1994)
Misc = Extra album cover 2
Upper caption = Alternate cover
Type = studio

Lower caption = Artwork for the 1993 vinyl edition.
Name = Vs.
Type = album
single 1 = Go
single 1 date = 1993
single 2 = Daughter
single 2 date = 1993
single 3 = Animal
single 3 date = 1994
single 4 = Dissident
single 4 date = 1994

"Vs." is the second album by the American alternative rock band Pearl Jam, released on October 19, 1993 through Epic Records. After a relentless touring schedule in support of its debut album, "Ten", released in 1991, the band headed into the studio in early 1993 facing the challenge of following up the commercial success of its debut. The resulting album, "Vs.", featured a rawer and more aggressive sound compared with the band's previous release.

Pearl Jam decided to scale back its commercial efforts for "Vs.", including declining to produce music videos for any of the album’s singles. Upon its release, "Vs." set the record for most copies sold in a week, a record that has since been broken. "Vs." occupied the number one spot on the "Billboard" 200 for five weeks, the longest duration for a Pearl Jam album. The album has been certified seven times platinum in the United States.


For its second album, Pearl Jam felt the pressures of trying to match the success of its debut album "Ten". In a 2002 interview, guitarist Mike McCready said, "The band was blown up pretty big and everything was pretty crazy.""Interview with Stone Gossard and Mike McCready". "Total Guitar". November 2002.] "Vs." was the first Pearl Jam album to have production duties handled by producer Brendan O'Brien. It was also the band's first album with drummer Dave Abbruzzese, who had joined the band in August 1991 and toured for the album "Ten". Rehearsals for "Vs." began in February 1993 at Potatohead Studio in Seattle, Washington. The band then moved to The Site in Nicasio, California in March 1993 to begin recording. Abbruzzese called the tranquil recording site "paradise" while frontman Eddie Vedder said, "I fucking hate it here...I've had a hard time...How do you make a rock record here?"Crowe, Cameron. [http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/10560431/five_against_the_world "Five Against the World"] . "Rolling Stone". October 28, 1993. Retrieved on May 27, 2008.]

The band took the approach of recording one song at a time, [Peiken, Matt. "Dave Abbruzzese of Pearl Jam". "Modern Drummer". December 1993.] and agreed with O'Brien to mix the songs as each one was finished. O'Brien had the band members set up much as they do live,Rotondi, James. "Blood On the Tracks". "Guitar Player". January 1994.] and most of the songs were developed out of jamming sessions. Guitarist Stone Gossard said that most of the songs were arranged once Vedder joined in and started singing.Garbarini, Vic. "Spit Fire". "Guitar World". February 1995.] The first week of recording produced "Rats", "Blood", "Go", and "Leash" before the band hit a lull. In order to keep up his intensity, Vedder traveled into San Francisco and began sleeping in his truck, as well as the sauna at the recording studio. Bassist Jeff Ament said that "toward the end it got fairly intense" and that the band "tried to make it as uncomfortable for [Vedder] as we could."Weisbard, Eric, et al. "Ten Past Ten". "Spin". August 2001.] The album was finished in May 1993. Vedder later said, "The second record, that was the one I enjoyed making the least...I just didn't feel comfortable in the place we were at because it was very comfortable. I didn't like that at all."

Music and lyrics

The album featured a much looser and rawer sound compared with the band's debut album "Ten".Huey, Steve. [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:dnfpxqugld0e "Vs." review] . Allmusic. Retrieved on May 27, 2008.] Besides the heavier songs, the album features two acoustic ballads in "Daughter" and "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town". A few of the songs incorporate elements of funk, including "Animal", "Blood", and "Rats". Paul Evans of "Rolling Stone" said "'Animal', 'Daughter' and 'Blood'...are songs of a kind of ritual passion, tapping into something truly wild."Evans, Paul. [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/pearljam/albums/album/135104/review/5945402/vs "Pearl Jam: "Vs."] . "Rolling Stone". December 23, 1993. Retrieved on May 27, 2008.] In a 2002 interview, Gossard said, "We got our heavyosity out on that record."

The songs on the album tackle personal as well as social and political concerns. Topics on the album include child abuse ("Daughter"), gun culture ("Glorified G"), police racism ("W.M.A."), and the media ("Blood"). "Glorified G", a song mocking gun enthusiasts, was inspired by an incident in which Abbruzzese told the band he had just bought two guns which sparked a conversation about guns within the band.Jones, Allan. "Pearl Jam — The Illustrated Story, A Melody Maker Book". Hal Leonard Corp, 1995. ISBN 0793540356] "Daughter", "Dissident", and "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" are three storytelling songs. "Daughter" tells the story of a child who is abused by her parents because they do not understand her learning disability; "Dissident" tells the story of a woman who takes in a political fugitive; and "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" tells the story of an old lady who has been stuck in a small town her whole life. [Wall, Mick. " [http://www.korat.co.il/pearljam/Ibook/Vs/elderlywoman.html Pearl Jam] ". Music Book Services Corporation, 1996. ISBN 1886894337.]

Release and reception

"Vs." debuted at the top of the "Billboard" 200 and stayed on the chart for five weeks. "Vs." sold 950,378 copies in its first week and outperformed all other entries in the "Billboard" top ten that week combined. [ [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,308749,00.html "Pearl's Jam"] . "Entertainment Weekly". November 19, 1993. Retrieved on May 27, 2008.] This set the record for most copies of an album sold in its first week of release. [ [http://www.pearljam.com/timeline/ "Pearl Jam: Timeline"] . pearljam.com.] This record has since been broken by the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync. "Vs." eventually achieved seven times multi-platinum status. [ [http://riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?table=SEARCH "Gold and Platinum Database Search"] . RIAA. Retrieved on May 27, 2008.]

Paul Evans of "Rolling Stone" gave "Vs." a favorable review. He said, "Few American bands have arrived more clearly talented than this one did with "Ten"; and "Vs." tops even that debut." He added, "Like Jim Morrison and Pete Townshend, Vedder makes a forte of his psychological-mythic explorations...As guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready paint dense and slashing backdrops, he invites us into a drama of experiment and strife." Jon Pareles of "The New York Times" stated that "Pearl Jam uses its new album...to broaden its music," and added that "most of the album...projects individual misery as public catharsis."Pareles, Jon. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE7D61430F937A15753C1A965958260&scp=1&sq=pearl+jam+vs.&st=nyt "RECORDINGS VIEW; Pearl Jam Stays the Course With Its Own Rock Hero"] . "The New York Times". October 24, 1993. Retrieved on May 27, 2008.] David Browne of "Entertainment Weekly" gave the album a B–. He said, "Vs." is not a carbon copy of "Ten"; for that alone, [Pearl Jam] get points." However, he countered by saying that "Vs." confirms once and for all that there's nothing underground or alternative about [Pearl Jam] ." [Browne, David. [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,308481,00.html "The Courtship of Eddie"] . "Entertainment Weekly". October 22, 1993. Retrieved on May 27, 2008.]

Pearl Jam made a conscious decision beginning with the release of "Vs." to scale back its commercial efforts. [Ashare, Matt. "The Sweet Smell of (Moderate) Success". CMJ. July 2000.] The band declined to produce music videos after the very successful "Jeremy", and opted to give fewer interviews as well as make fewer television appearances. "Ten years from now," Ament said, "I don't want people to remember our songs as videos."

"Vs." included the hit singles "Go", "Daughter", "Animal", and "Dissident". All four placed on the "Billboard" Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock charts. "Daughter" was the most successful, reaching the number one spot on both the Modern and Mainstream Rock charts, spending a total of eight weeks at number one on the latter. Album tracks "Glorified G" and "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" also charted. In 1995, "Daughter" received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and "Go" received a nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance. The album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. [http://www.rockonthenet.com/archive/1995/grammys.htm 37th Grammy Awards] . RockonheNet.com. Retrieved on May 27, 2008.]

Imagery and design

The picture on the front cover is of a sheep from a farm in Hamilton, Montana. According to Ament, the cover was a representation of how the band felt at the time, with Ament stating "we were slaves." The album booklet contains additional drawings and writings by Vedder, including one page apparently doodled at a business meeting that says "I will never trust anybody again." The lyric page for "W.M.A." features a portion of a news story concerning Malice Green, allegedly a victim of police brutality.

Originally, the album was titled "Five Against One" (The song "Animal" features the lyric "One, two, three, four, five against one..."). It was changed at the last minute, first to a self-titled album and then to "Vs.", a nod to the general theme of conflict present in most of the songs in the album. Referring to the title, Vedder said, "They were writing all these articles...Our band against somebody else's band. What the hell are they talking about? You know, don't try to separate the powers that be. We're all in this together." [Vedder, Eddie. "Rockline Interview". KISW-FM, Seattle, Washington. October 18, 1993.]

The decision to change the album's name at the last minute resulted in a few different versions of the record:
# Some of the first pressings of the cassette still contained "Five Against One" printed on the cassette itself.cite web | url= http://www.pjcollectors.com/detail.asp?id=554 | title = Vs (Five Against One) | date = 2006-07-03 | accessdate = 2008-07-31 | publisher = Pjcollectors.com]
# The first couple of pressings of the CD and cassette do not contain the title printed on the artwork at all. [cite web | url= http://www.pjcollectors.com/detail.asp?id=1212 | title = Vs | date = 2007-12-23 | accessdate = 2008-07-31 | publisher = Pjcollectors.com]
# The vinyl version has never had the title printed on it.cite web | url= http://www.pjcollectors.com/detail.asp?id=1331 | title = Vs. | date = 2008-01-20 | accessdate = 2008-07-31 | publisher = Pjcollectors.com]

There are also different versions that are unrelated to the title:
# The initial versions of the CD came in an Ecopak. While not rare, they went out of print quickly and are now hard to find. The song titles aren't printed on the back cover of this version, but the artwork remains the same. [cite web | url= http://www.pjcollectors.com/detail.asp?id=319 | title = Vs. | date = 2006-01-17 | accessdate = 2008-07-31 | publisher = Pjcollectors.com]
# The picture of the "elderly woman" changed at some point after the first pressings. Allegedly, the original woman never gave permission for her picture to be used, so Pearl Jam changed the picture to another woman. [Vedder, Eddie. (Speaker). (2003). "2/9/03, Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, Australia" [Audio Recording] . Epic.] The difference is easy to spot, as "the new and improved woman behind the counter" is printed below the picture. [(2003) Album notes for "Vs." by Pearl Jam, [CD booklet] . New York: Sony Music.]
# The cover art on the vinyl copies is different from the CD and cassette.
# The lyrics to "Indifference" are only printed in the cassette version.


Pearl Jam promoted the album with tours of the United States in the fall of 1993 and the spring of 1994. [ [http://pearljam.com/tour/shows.php Pearl Jam: Set Lists] . pearljam.com.] The fall 1993 tour focused on the Western United States, while the spring 1994 tour focused on the Eastern United States. Industry insiders compared Pearl Jam's tour to the touring habits of Led Zeppelin, in that the band "ignored the press and took its music directly to the fans." During this tour the band set a cap on ticket prices in the attempt to thwart scalpers. [DeRogatis, Jim. "Milk It!: Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion of the 90's". Cambridge: Da Capo, 2003. ISBN 0-306-81271-1, pg. 58–59]

Several songs from the band's third album, "Vitalogy", were premiered during this tour. The band's April 3, 1994 concert in Atlanta, Georgia was broadcast live on the radio in the United States. [ [http://www.monkeywrenchradio.org/radiowaves/19940403.html "Are we on the air? Wow!"] monkeywrenchradio.org.] A few days later, the body of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was found in his home due to an apparent suicide. This deeply affected Vedder, who later said that "the day that we found out about Kurt...I was just spinning."Marks, Craig. "Let's Get Lost". "Spin". December 1994.] He considered canceling the remainder of Pearl Jam's tour, but then opted against it, stating, "I decided I would play those next two weeks and then I'd never have to play again." Pearl Jam was outraged when it discovered after a pair of shows in Chicago, Illinois that ticket vendor Ticketmaster had added a service charge to the tickets. [Wall, Mick. "Alive". "Nirvana and the Story of Grunge". "Q". p. 99.] Pearl Jam's plans for a 1994 summer tour were cancelled as a result of a Ticketmaster boycott. [Gordinier, Jeff. [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,304203,00.html "The Brawls in Their Courts"] . "Entertainment Weekly". October 28, 1994. Retrieved on May 27, 2008.]

Track listing

All songs written by Dave Abbruzzese, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, and Eddie Vedder.
#"Go" – 3:12
#"Animal" – 2:49
#"Daughter" – 3:55
#"Glorified G" – 3:26
#"Dissident" – 3:35
#"W.M.A." – 5:59
#"Blood" – 2:50
#"Rearviewmirror" – 4:44
#"Rats" – 4:15
#"Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" – 3:15
#"Leash" – 3:09
#"Indifference" – 5:02


Two songs were rejected from the album that later appeared on the band's follow-up "Vitalogy", "Whipping" and "Better Man". Both songs made their live debuts at the band's May 13, 1993 concert in San Francisco where the band premiered most of the newly recorded songs for "Vs." [cite web| url=http://www.pearljam.com/tour/setlist.php?date=199305130000| title= Pearl Jam Shows:1993 May 13, Slim's Café San Francisco, California] "Better Man" was said to have been rejected because Vedder was not comfortable with the song's accessibility. Another song that was recorded during the album's sessions is "Hard to Imagine".Cohen, Jonathan. [http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/search/google/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=812822 "Pearl Jam: Spreading The Jam"] . "Billboard". March 30, 2001.] "Hard to Imagine" later made its way on to the soundtrack for the film "Chicago Cab", however this version was recorded during the sessions for "Vitalogy". The version recorded for "Vs." appears on the rarities compilation "Lost Dogs".(2003) Album notes for "Lost Dogs" by Pearl Jam, [CD booklet] . New York: Sony Music.] According to Gossard, "Hard to Imagine" was cut from "Vs." because the band already had enough mellow songs for the album. [Letkemann, Jessica. "Interview with Stone Gossard". "Tickle My Nausea" Pearl Jam Fanzine. 1998.] Pearl Jam's cover of the Victoria Williams song "Crazy Mary" (to which Williams herself contributed background vocals and guitar) [ [http://www.sonymusic.com/artists/SweetRelief/SweetRelief_ABenefitForVictoriaWilliams.html "Sweet Relief - A Benefit For Victoria Williams"] . sonymusic.com.] and the Pearl Jam/Cypress Hill collaboration "Real Thing" were also recorded around this time. "Crazy Mary" appeared on the tribute album, "", while "Real Thing" appeared on the "Judgment Night" soundtrack.


* Dave Abbruzzesedrums
* Jeff Amentbass
* Stone Gossardguitar
* Mike McCreadylead guitar
* Eddie Veddervocals
* Brendan O'Brien, Pearl Jam – production
* Nick DiDia – recording
* Kevin Scott, Adam Kasper – assistance
* Lance Mercer – inside color photography
* Ames – artwork, black-and-white photography
* Joel Zimmerman – art direction

Chart positions



External links

* [http://pearljam.com/releases/release.php?release=vs&type=Studio "Vs." information and lyrics at pearljam.com]

succession box
before = "A Touch of Music in the Night"
by Michael Crawford
title = Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
years = October 31, 1993 - November 6, 1993
after = "Then Again..." by John Farnham
succession box
before = ""
by Meat Loaf
title = "Billboard" 200 number-one album
years = November 6, 1993 - December 10, 1993
after = "Doggystyle" by Snoop Doggy Dogg

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