Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Pearl Jam: Yield [Epic, 1998]
The reality they come to terms with here is musical, and I'm impressed they had it in them. From the electronically foreshortened riff that announces their need for attention to "Push Me, Pull Me" studio manipulations that signal their refusal to be pigeonholed, the nice techy edge of Brendan O'Brien's production can't conceal their aesthetic conservatism or materially enhance songwriting and performance skills they've never pitched higher. Like nobody less than Nirvana (right, they're dumber, thank you for sharing), they voice the arena-rock agon more vulnerably and articulately than any Englishman standing. Rarely if ever has a Jesus complex seemed so modest. A-