Riot Act


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Bob Waliszewski

Album Review

Pro-Social Content

“Love Boat Captain” attests to the power of love and believes young people “lose hope ’cause they can’t see beyond today.” “Ghost” values love and challenges the empty promises of TV advertising. Lead singer Eddie Vedder honors his partner for her strength and support (“You Are”), and determines to make the most of life (“I Am Mine”). “Thumbing My Way” says, “No matter how cold the winter, there’s a springtime ahead,” but …

Objectionable Content

It also states, “There’s no wrong or right.” A naturalistic order deems the world “an accident” (“Cropduster”). “1/2 Full” says some men are “half full of s—” and wants someone to “save the world,” oblivious to the fact that Christ already has. The s-word also appears on “Help Help.” A half-dozen f-words mar the generally positive “Save You.” Vedder is unfair and unkind in his criticism of President Bush and his party (“Bush Leaguer”). He may be giving a nod to reincarnation on “Can’t Keep” (“I’ve lived all these lives … I will live forever”).

Summary Advisory

When Pearl Jam (28 million albums sold and counting) released Yield in 1998, it seemed Vedder and Co. were moving in a positive direction—which makes Riot Act all the more disappointing. Some upbeat messages exist. However, the band’s anti-establishment wailing, dubious theology and obscenities make this Act worth skipping.

Bob Waliszewski
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