No one could really know what Pearl Jam would come up with next with the releases following their 1994 album, Vitalogy. Binaural, released in 2000, follows Pearl Jam’s tradition of attempting to explore new grounds with their music. Binaural was the first album to include the drummer, Matt Cameron, who at the time was a former member of Pearl Jam’s grunge contemporary, Soundgarden. The departure of Jack Irons inevitably lead to a change in the band’s music. However, albeit an amazing drummer, Jack Irons departure did not leave Pearl Jam in the dust. Matt Cameron brought a new ingredient, making Pearl Jam more focused and stronger than before. Cameron ultimately added a new back bone to the band without any sacrifice. At this point, Pearl Jam was ahead and matured from their grunge years during the early 1990s. Maintaining what makes Pearl Jam unique, they continued their string of experimentation with the introduction to binaural recording, which attempts to use 3-D stereo sound in order to place the listener in the same room as the performers of the music. Binaural recording is used for the intent of listening to it with headphones, rather than stereo speakers, hence the use of the technique, “Dummy head recording”. Pearl Jam also integrated sounds of psychedelic and post-punk sounds into this album. In addition to Pearl Jam’s progression to new grounds, bassist, Jeff Ament, and guitarist, Stone Gossard, contribute their own lyrics to the album, making it the second album that singer, Eddie Vedder, gives lyrics rights to other band members since their previous album released in 1998, Yield. Along with the new experimental sound to the instrumentation, the lyrics featured in Binaural are darker and focus on social criticisms. Lyricist and singer, Eddie Vedder explained that the album is about the importance of freedom in humanity and how people should be comfortable with their own existence. Risking the loss of fans, Pearl Jam wanted their audience to listen with new ears without any expectations.
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