Eddie Vedder has always been one of my favorite vocalists and lyricists. His voice always seems to carry the weight of intense emotions and a heart-on-his-sleeve vulnerability. And his words are (rather simply) poetry. The music becomes especially powerful when it's stripped down. (Best example: Pearl Jam's unplugged performance of "Black.")
So, when I heard that Eddie Vedder was releasing a solo album featuring mostly himself and a ukulele, I was interested. What's more vulnerable than an under-appreciated rock god playing the Cousin Oliver of stringed instruments?
Now, I don't have the foggiest idea of how to review an album, but I do know that I really like it. It's been personally cathartic to listen to the breezy, light upbeat melodies played on the ukulele coupled with dark, sad lyrics about longing, love, loss, jealousy, acceptance and sadness. I was sold by "Sleeping by Myself." (Tried to include a link to that gorgeousness, but it's been taken down for copyright something or other.)
Through no fault of its own, Ukulele Songs will be a forgotten album. Though he will be touring with Glen Hansard (from The Frames and The Swell Season... Lordy, I wish they'd come to Austin) in support of Ukulele Songs, this album will be thought of as a novelty...a sideshow to whatever Pearl Jam does next. Which is unfortunate because at times, Ukulele Songs is exquisite.