by Jessica Letkemann
v. to produce, make way, harvest
Yield, Pearl Jam's fifth album, was released on Epic Records on February
3, 1998 in the United States. Like all four of PJ's other albums, Yield
was produced by Brendan O'Brien with Pearl Jam. Recorded at Stone's home
studio, Studio Litho (the same place that No Code was partially recorded),
as well as at another famous Seattle studio, Studio X in the Bad Animals
studio (owned by Ann and Nancy Wilson of the band Heart), Yield contains
a total of fourteen songs, one of which is the untitled eight track, and
another of which is a hidden track called "Hummus" that appears
several minutes after the last official track, "All Those Yesterdays."
Recording for Yield got truly under way during the spring of 1997 when Jeff,
Stone, Ed, Mike, and Jack convened in Stone's studio after approximately
four months of rest after their European No Code tour ended in late November
in Spain. Come summer time, when Stone was doing a lot of interviews to
publicize his other band, Brad's second album, Interiors, music journalists
got him to comment a little bit on the Pearl Jam album in progress. "This
is more of a rock record than No Code ­p;- less jammy," Stone told
Alternative Press magazine, "with more musical cohesion. There's also
more individual songwriting. We've recorded it over a seven month period;
it doesn't take much to get us excited about recording."
Eddie, who surfaced with Mike for the early June Tibetan Freedom Concert
in New York, even had a few things to say to the press about the music the
band was then just creating. Ed told the online music magazine Addicted
To Noise (www.atn.com) that the new record would be heavier as well.
Later, when Pearl Jam were opening for the Rolling Stones in November, both
Ed and Jeff had something to say about the then completed album. "We
talked about touring [in 1997]," Eddie said in the Los Angeles Times,
"But we didn't want to lock ourselves in the studio with a time table.
We wanted to give ourselves time in and out of the studio to let everyone
come up with songs and lyrics and to have some time for themselves, and
it worked great. During one stretch, we came up with something like 32 songs.
To me, the new album is a natural progression from No Code. I love that
album, but I found myself waiting in a couple of places for some more up-tempo
numbers. This time, a lot of the songs start off quiet, but they lift up."
"It seems like the best group of songs," Jeff told the San Francisco
Chronicle, "Whether it's the best performances, or the best pop songs
or the most commercial songs, I don't know yet. What's different [about
Yield] is that people came to the table with complete songs, even lyrically.
So from that end, I think everybody feels they contributed Rhythmically
and phrasing- and tone- wise, Eddie's doing stuff he's never done before.
So I'm excited about that."
Those two interviews provided valuable clues about Yield. For one, several
songs, including "Given To Fly," "In Hiding" and "Pilate"
do indeed begin more on the quiet side and then "lift up." Jeff
was accurate when he mentioned that all of the members of the band brought
complete songs to the album. Jeff wrote both the words and music for both
"Low Light" and "Pilate," while Stone is completely
responsible for composing "No Way" and "All Those Yesterdays"
(lyrics and all), Jack wrote and sang the untitled eighth track, and Eddie
wrote all of "MFC" and "Wishlist." Meanwhile, the rest
of the songs are collaborations featuring Eddie's words and various band
members' music. To say, as Jeff did, that vocally, Eddie is doing things
he's never done before is both an understatement and a compliment. "Push
Me, Pull Me" is a quasi-spoken word jam with falsetto higlights, "Do
The Evolution" finds Eddie's voice at its rawest, that is, before he
breaks into a high-pitched chorus of "hallelujah" like a tarnished
Like No Code, Yield has a mysterious credit for "album concept"
in the liner notes. Jerome Turner, the person responsible for No Code's
album concept, turned out to be a pseudonym for Eddie Vedder. Carpenter
Newman, Yield's album concept maker, has a suspiciously odd name that could
turn out to be Eddie or some other member of PJ in disguise, or perhaps
could turn out to be an actual person named Carpenter. The truth remains
to be known.
The album artwork, as you'll see on the following pages, mainly consists
of intriguing photographs, some including the members of the band and some
just taken of interesting scenes. The photos were taken by Jeff Ament, Jerry
Gay, and Greg Montijo.
Because Pearl Jam wrote a surplus of material in the course of making this
album, a number of new songs have yet to reach our waiting ears. Some of
the rumored titles of the songs that didn't make it to Yield are "You,"
"Wales," "Weatherman" and "All Night." "Weatherman,"
apparently was retitled and released as a B-side on the "Given To Fly"
single as "Leatherman."
copyright 1998 Tickle My Nausea / J. Letkemann