well, it's not really catching up, because i finally downloaded one today and bought the other right afterwards. but i digress, and without any more delay:
"pearl jam" by pearl jam
i've given this two listens so far, and i gotta say that i'm well on my way to loving it. i'm one of those guys who actually kept on listening to pearl jam after they became "less popular". i mean, when you understand that they claim to be nothing more than a neil young cover band, and listen to their albums within that prism, well, you can't say they're back because they never went away. but after this album, i guess, they're back. there's a certain energy to this album (maybe it's the addition of an organ to the arrangement) that's been lacking recently. anyways, i never fall in love with a pearl jam album on the first listen. it takes awhile. but this energy's really accelerating the process for me. and it's no doubt where it's coming from. as green day has recently taught us, musical energy comes from anywhere, but in these days, it's in one very easy-to-find place: hatred. and there's a lot of anti-bush venom on this album. i'm well on my way to ditching the book i read on my bus for this on my ipod.
"we shall overcome: the seeger sessions" by bruce springsteen
then again, it doesn't take much for me to love the boss. and, man, i gotta tell you, this album is truly amazing. it's purely bluegrass and jazz funeral music, with banjos and brass, drums and strings, and bruce's raw and painful voice weaving us through songs about loss and hope. and it's a tremendous achievement. this is currently my second listen, and there's a cavalcade of sounds and instruments i just didn't catch the first time around - and i'm sure that my next listens will be about finding more. it's just fun, and i want to kick my legs up as i march down rue st. charles. someone toss me beads. and what's knocking me out is that it's so different than "devils and dust", which was dour yet beautiful. this is somewhat celebratory, even when singing about "his oklahoman home that blown away". go buy this album and embrace what's a triumphant return to a forgotten, truly american art form.