Vs was a puzzling one. First, the name. Was it V’s? Or was it Versus? Could never figure it out. And then, what on earth was that animal on the cover? It looked like a sheep, but the scariest one ever. But enough about the skin-deep stuff.
This was when Pearl Jam suddenly got a wind of what fame was and, instead of other bands falling all over each other to get a piece of the gloss and a dig into the drugs, these guys just stepped back and decided it wasn’t for them. It was time to see what the fans really liked. It was Pearl Jam asking their fans: glamour Vs music. Pick one. Surprisingly, a whole bunch of fans chose the latter and stuck around. And it paid off.
This album was brilliant in it’s own right, more experimental in many ways with tracks like W.M.A and Rats. They refused to make videos of any of these songs, though I think they were bullied into allowing concert footage of Animal and Rearviewmirror to get aired on MTV and the like. The anger and musicianship didn’t falter for a moment on any song, but didn’t quite pack the commercial punch of Ten. I don’t think the band minded that much actually.
But this was the beginning of a long period of hibernation from public view. More albums did come forward with more and more artistic experimentation in the music and the CD covers too, but no more videos for a while.
You just had to listen.