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 Post subject: What is each albums major flaw? Part 4: NO CODE
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:02 am 
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This is a multi-part series for each album. We'll move on to the next album when it seems like it's been discussed enough. I'd like to reiterate that the aim of these discussions is to hear opinions on what you think is the single most significant flaw for the album being discussed. We're not looking for general album bashing, but rather a critical look at the single biggest weakness for each record.

Example of a poor post:
There are so many things that suck on this album. Track 4, 8 and 9 are terrible and the lyrics for such and such a song a really bad. Not only that, but the cover is stupid.

Like I said, we're not looking for general album bashing. What I suggest is to go give a listen to the album being discussed. For some of us, it's been a while listening to these older albums all the way through, and it helps you think and take that critical view before you post. Try and be insightful and give good reasons why you believe the flaw you're pointing out is the biggest flaw of the album.

You can also still participate in the previous album discussions.

Previous album discussions:
Ten
VS
Vitalogy


Last edited by Buggy on Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:03 am 
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Well, this was the album that got me thinking about making these threads. Here is what I originally said in my first post...

I was thinking about No Code recently and how I love each song on there from beginning to end, and yet Vitalogy is actually my favorite album, but it has several songs I dont really care for. I came to realise what the flaw for me was in No Code. There is no song on there that really stands out above the rest and says 'I am the standout track of possibly the greatest pearl jam album'. Instead, it's a collection of REALLY GOOD songs that lacks the final punch to make it outstanding.

No Code is like getting a B+ for every class on your report card. It just falls short of being really great. To me, it's really missing a couple of songs that push it over the edge and make it really memorable. I think my favorite song on the album is In My Tree, a rather unfriendly radio song to be the best song on the album. In fact, I think this was really the first album that Pearl Jam sort of wrote out any and all hooks in their music, wheather that was intentional or not. That basically lead to little or no radio play. There are really no popular "hits" on the album, and while certainly one doesnt expect the band to write an album of hits, even just one might have rivaled Vitalogy as my favorite PJ album.

Major Flaw: Missing a cornerstone song (or two) to push it into greatness.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:06 am 
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hey, 'red mosquito' was good enough to spawn a helluva pearl jam forum :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:11 am 
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Alright, this is where it starts getting good. This is THE album that got me into PJ. I almost turned off "Who You Are" when it premiered on the radio and thank god i left it on.

If there is one flaw on this album, I would say its Habit. All the songs seem so distant from the first 3 albums except this one. I just could never get into it.

Around the Bend is one of my favorite PJ songs of all time and the run of Who You Are into In My Tree into Smile is just killer.

This album set the stage for the epic that was to follow....

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:18 am 
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Cal Varnsen wrote:
This album set the stage for the epic that was to follow....


pretty much every album's fault is that they aren't yield.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:23 am 
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corduroy_blazer wrote:
Cal Varnsen wrote:
This album set the stage for the epic that was to follow....


pretty much every album's fault is that they aren't yield.[/quo

:lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:24 am 
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I totally agree with your views on this one !!

I Love No Code !!

But I think Pearl Jam made a bit TOO MUCH of a jump in sound from Vitalogy to No Code.
It was bit of a shock to alot.

Like you said, No Code doesn't have a huge hit anywhere.
But if you took every song that was on the album and spread them out amongst all the other albums they would blend in just fine.

& I think No Code added to Yields success, it alowed us to a accept a different side of the band !!

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Last edited by B.A.R.K. on Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:25 am 
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A fantastically erratic, Crazy-Horse-sloppy rebirth of an album. As experimental as this band has gotten, thus far. Fantastic.

My complaint would be that it wasn't fully realized. Neil can make a record in a week and it sounds fully conceived, if messy as fuck. This record does not generate that feeling.

Vitalogy and Yield pwn this record, but it's better than everything else they've done.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:26 am 
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The only two songs on this album that i ever skip are habit and i'm open. For me that is the flaw.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:52 am 
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No Code was the album for me where Pearl Jam transitioned from the greatest rock band of all time who put out one near perfect album after another to a very good rock band who will remain my favorite band ever based on the strength of their live material and the first three albums. it is the record for me where Pearl Jam became human. Because of that No Code will always be associated with something negative in my mind.

I appreciate the searching nature of the material, although there are times that it gets a little too self indulgent for me. But I have two primary problems with the record

1-As Buggy said, No Code doesn't have an elite set of songs that I can point to and say that these are as good as anything they've ever done. Just about every other record has that for me (except for Binaural).

2-I think the flow on this album is terrible.

I'll go song by song for No code

I enjoy sometimes as an opener, but I can't help but feel that the song is something of a lightweight. Go and Last Exit, and even Once, all ripped their albums open and got your blood immediately pumping. Sometimes is too meditive to open the album, and the music is a little too plesant. It doesn't create enough atmosophere (a la can't keep) to really capture me.

Hail Hail has great lyrics but I've always thought the music was a little boring. Jack Irons was always a pretty bland drummer for me except for his showcase songs, and while i like the song a lot, it was not good enough to really draw me into the album

Who You Are--I've critiqued this one in the SOTM thread so I won't go into it again. An interesting musical experiment but i've always thought it had really sub par lyrics and this song is not as deep as it thinks it is. A terrible choice for a single--especially with habit as a b-side

In My Tree is a really excellent song, and with it the album starts to pick up momentum. Smile is a very solid follow up to. The lyrics are really simple, but the song is sweet enough that it works and then

WHAM!

no code runs into the Off He Goes wall. I think this song is self-indulgent as hell and just flat out BORING. Off He goes puts me to sleep and completley kills the flow of the album. If it were two minutes shorter maybe it would be better

I love the jam at the end of habit and the riff that propels the song along is pretty good, but the chorus is just abysmal and it's like 50% of the song. It also bothers me that I'm 7 songs into the record and there has not been a song that blows me away

I love Red Mosquito and have nothing bad to say about it, but it is not strong enough to carry an album. As good as it is, it is no Alive, RVM, or Corduroy. But Red Mosquito gets me excited for no code

Lukin is a joke--it's a great b-side but it's a one minute throw away

Present Tense--I've always waffled about whether or not I think these are brillaint lyrics or high school poetry but it is a nice affecting song. But if you compare it to an indifference, release, or immortality I feel that it again comes up short. Like Red Mosquito, it is a very solid second or third best song but not strong enough to be an album's centerpiece.

If they ended No Code there I'd be fine. Ultimatley a little disappointing but still with a number of good songs. But the end of no Code is just AWFUL.

When eddie vedder is your singer no one has any business providing lead vocals but him. And if they are going to put a stone song at least they could have put on don't gimmie no lip. This song also kills whatever mood present tense created.

I'm Open has two great verses but the I'm Open come on in chorus is just boring. This is another b-side that somehow made it onto the album

And around the bend is a sweet enough lullaby, but I've always found it kind of boring and next to the three titans that closed out the first three records (release, indifference, and immortality) this is all kinds of disappointing

So in the end No Code was a huge let down. None of the songs fall into the all time greats (present tense and red mosquito come close), and a few real clunkers (off he goes, i'm open, mankind, and around the bend) and near clunkers (lukin and habit) mean I'm only left with Sometimes, hail hail, who you are, in my tree, smile, red mosquito, and present tense. That's only 7 songs--and I like sometimes and who you are less than just about every song on their first three records. So there isn't much for me on No Code except shattered expectations.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:18 am 
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My major problem with No Code as Stip mentioned is the flow of the album or lack of. For me this album does not have a mood to it or any kind of identity. As was mentioned before there is nothing that really stands out about No Code it is basically a collection of some really good songs with some songs that are b-sides at best. No Code will probably always be my least favorite Pearl Jam album.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:21 am 
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I fucking love this album almost in it´s entirety..the only thing I can see as a flaw is how boring Off He Goes turned for me after a few listens..
but that´s just it

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:28 am 
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i think No Code is a stand out album for Pearl Jam because it was such a change from Vitaogly which was of course marvelous...but No Code had its own sort of mellow easy going feel to it.

Sometimes is a great opening song because of the tempo which changes near the end setting the listener up for Hail Hail. This song is also very good but perosnally i prefer live versions over the studio because i think the studio verison is too slow. A lot of fans put down Who You Are but i think its a great song just because it is so simple yet the lyrics are deep. Similar to Hail, Hail i think that In My Tree sounds better live but the album does do the song justice with the nice bassline. I love Smile. Its also a very simple song but the chorus is just phenomenal and of course the song would not be same without the harmonica.
Off he goes is well...alright nothing special i think this songs alittle too simple because of the guitar and the simple lyrics. When i first heard Habit i was disapointed but that song has grown on me immensly. Red Mosquito has to be my favourite track on this album because of mikes genius guitar work and the ending part which im sur everyone knows what im talking about. Lukin is good but when sung live Eds energy is overwheliming and incredile much better then the album. Same goes for present tense i think it just rocks better live. Without stone we wont have Mankind, and i thankful for it because i really like that song its very catchly. I'm Open is a bit random but i like Eds voice which adds to the story and poety. Lastly Around the Bend is a faboulus lullaby that i know ill be singing to my childnre when i am a father.

All in all, No Codes a great album but its biggest flaw would have to be the tempo in each song i think they are too slow if faster like the live verisons that would be more rocking. And yes it is no yield but it is espically now Binaural :D


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:38 am 
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I dont see any major flaw in No Code. I love the way it flows, the simple production. Well, Off He Goes doesnt sound so great as in LoTL butn still sounds amazing and I prefer when the song sounds better in the stage than in the studio. Im Open is a beatiful monologue. Smile and In My Tree are incredble songs IMO. So it is the only album that i cant never get tired of even if is not my favourite.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 3:15 am 
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Of all the PJ albums, No Code was the one I had to listen to the longest before I loved it. Ten-Vitology was instant love, but NC had a learning curve because it was such a departure from the sound that came before.

Now the album makes sense and I wonder why I ever had a problem with it. But the flaw was a personal one, it was a drastic change. In the end, PJ was right and I love the album.

The other flaw is I'm Open, still don't dig that song.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 3:18 am 
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I think the album is missing the stand out track(s) as well. When making a mix of definative songs for a friend it's hard to figure it out, same goes for Binaural.

That, and the flow is completly runined with "Mankind" and the album just trials off for me there. Up to that point, I think it's mapped out well.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:06 am 
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I'm having a hard time finding something negative to say about No Code. If it weren't for Yield, this would probably be my favourite album of all time. It took me a long time to really get into this album, but in the end it was so rewarding.

(I'm typing as I listen)
Sometimes is beautiful as an opener, as good live as on No Code, it leads you gently into the album and then, just as you put your speakers louder, whaaaam Hail Hail comes in. Beautiful lyrics, rocking song, nice bridge. Not spectacular, but still way better than most of Ten & Vs. Who You Are is not exactly what you expect of Pearl Jam, but I think it contains some great things and it has this catchy thing that I cannot explain. I want to dance around my room on this song more than on any other song. Only explanation I could find: Jack's drumming. The guitar sound is wonderful as well. Then comes In My Tree. Always in my top-10 Pearl Jam songs and one of the absolute stand-out tracks on this album. Those drums people, those drums. :shock: And the bass, and Eddie's voice and the effects on the guitar in the background. Chills all over my body at the "Wave to all my friends" line. Same goes for "I remember when". Unbelievable song. Smile is another story. It will never be one of my very favorite songs, but I will never skip it either. It has something. Simple song, nice harmonica, quite negative lyrics that still give a positive feeling. Sweetest song they have.

Then comes Off he goes, and where others start questioning the beauty of No Code here, it takes all doubts away for me. I love this song on so many levels. The lyrics speak to me as if it was written about me. This song is absolutely not too long for me. I love the unison between the different guitar parts. The last guitar build-up after "he's off again" is phenomenal. Habit kicks right back in where Hail Hail had left us. This used to be one of those average songs to me, but it really grew on me and even more with seeing it live. There's some nice background sounds on the album during the chorus. Kick ass! Symbolic to the lyrics is that it seems the music picks up several times after falling down. Red Mosquito is another one of those songs that needed to grow on me. Now I love it, I would even consider it one of the best on this album. The guitar work is amazing. Lukin is nice, Lukin is fun, Lukin rocks, but Lukin isn't really that special. I'm still training to get those lyrics right. First verse is going really well. But then it comes, people, Present Tense, the guitar intro alone, the guitar sound alone, it just predicts magic. The lyrics to the first verse are Eddie's best for me. Talking bout that one stand-out track... this is my 2nd favorite PJ song (beaten by Given to fly). That's as high as it gets. This song is a pure masterpiece. Some notes are somewhere missing, some guitar sounds are slowly building up or fading away, it all adds to the beauty of the song for me. Then enters that accoustic guitar. Howly shit. :shock: And then that final build-up until the break-down. Everytime I hear it now, I think the "Come on Toronto, make something happen" with it (although I had seen it at Hamilton as well). This song is one of those songs, when I read a negative comment about them, I feel the need to react. Simply breath-taking.

NEGATIVE THING FOUND
Mankind is my least favorite song on this album and I could have my No Code without it. It's fun to hear Stone sing, but well... I don't know, it doesn't do much for me. A shame cause we're at 11 and I've had 2 all time favorites and 8 other beautiful songs. This is where the battle with Yield is lost.

Luckily for me, the album takes off one last time with I'm Open. I know many of you don't like it, but I really love it. trading magic for fact, no tradebacks, waaaw. There's also lots of things happening in the background during the "I'm open, come in"-part. Love it. Last line is magic again. The album ends like it began, in all piece, calmly, smoothly, beautifully. Around the Bend is not one of my very favourite songs, but I'll never stop before it. Love the piano on it.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:08 am 
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I agree with the point that there was no real stand-out track on this album. The only one that came close for me was "Hail, Hail".

Plus the last 2 songs kill the album for me.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:19 am 
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As much as I love this album, as great as I think it is, it's very easy for me to find a flaw on it...and I found it before the album even came out.

I went out and bought the Who You Are single when it came out, because I heard the track, loved it, and sadly it wasn't getting a lot of radio play in good ol' Fresno, Califorina....So I went down to pick it up, and sure enough there was another song on it called 'Habit'

I wasn't a big fan of it then, I bought the album, it became the song I skipped, and to this day, I'm just not a big fan of it. It seems like it doesn't really fit onto the album in the grand scheme of things, and the song doesn't really seem to go anywhere lyrically, or musically, and it annoys me more than anything.

Granted, most if not all my arguments, to Habit could be applied to Lukin as well, but I love Lukin, and plus it's only a minute long...hell Habit could have been a minute long, and I think that might make me like it better...

Other than that though...No Code is a classic, and a crowning moment for this band.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:44 am 
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The first real bump in the Pearl Jam road. Other than Merkinball and Leaving Here, the first new Pearl Jam music in 2 years. During that time, the band lost a drummer, gained a new drummer, toured, recorded an album with Neil Young and the recorded this one. No Code certainly shows the band had taken something from the Mirrorball project and the album has an openness to it that wasn't heard on prior recordings.

Sonically, the band lost the tightness it had on the previous two albums. Certainly, Jack's style of play is much looser than Dave A's and that played into the open sound of the album.

Musically, this is a band that has grown a lot in the two years since Vitalogy. From Hail Hail to Habit to Red Mosquito, they weren't afraid to put something that sounds different from any previous material. Red Mosquito reminds me the most of their time with Uncle Neil.

Lyric-wise, Ed is his most introspective with Off He Goes. Some solid lyrics throughout the album and he seems to be getting away from the angst-driven lyrics to go towards more overall socially driven ones.

My main problem is simply song selection. Who You Are, I'm Open, and especially Mankind. All could be easily replaced by just about anything and I would be kept "inside" the album. All three round out my top 5 least favorite PJ songs.

I think, overall, the album is a strong album, with some great songs. The production is noticeably different from that which came before, but it doesn't take anything from the album. But for the songs I mentioned ( and I'm starting to really dislike Present Tense), this could have been a second or third favorite album.

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