"Musically it didn't match its predecessor but Vs. had its moments": Pearl Jam's Vs. (30th anniversary edition)

The 30th anniversary edition of Pearl Jam's second album Vs. is a worthy reissue but light on extra content

Pearl Jam - Vs. album art
(Image: © Sony Music)

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Following their outstanding debut Ten, Pearl Jam felt the pressure as they settled in to record Vs. Tired of being in the constant glare of the music media and MTV, they scaled back their promotional duties, refusing to produce any videos for this 1993 album. 

Although the recording process was a struggle for Eddie Vedder, who hated the studio, it didn't stop Pearl Jam setting a then all- time record for first-week album sales in the US. 

Musically it didn't match its predecessor but Vs. had its moments. The frantic Go, the guitar guzzling Rearviewmirror and the spine-tingling Dissident were right up there with some of their finest hits. It did have some duffers though – Glorified G, Rats and Leash to name but a few. 

Unlike a lot of reissues, this edition is devoid of extras other than a couple of bonus tracks on the digital release (Cready Stomp and Crazy Mary). While the vinyl formats are pleasing to the eye, hearing the digital Dolby Atmos version is perhaps the biggest draw as it throws up fresh sounds that couldn't be heard on the original.

Damian Jones

Freelance journalist for Classic Rock, NME, Sky News, Bandcamp Daily, The Sports Network (TSN), NewsBreak, Uncut Magazine, Festival Flyer, The British Music Digest.