Over Pearl Jam
Many accused Pearl Jam of being a mainstream hard rock band that happened to hop on the alt-rock gravy train at its busiest stop (Grungeville circa late 1991/early 1992), thereby reaping the benefits of constant exposure on suddenly flannel-friendly MTV with hit videos for "Alive," "Even Flow" and, most notably, "Jeremy." In the wake of the unpredictable success of their multi-platinum anthem-fest/debut Ten, Eddie Vedder eventually got used to being a celebrity. Not coincidentally, the band bravely began messing with its straight-ahead rock formula around that same time: "Spin the Black Circle" married punk with garage rock, "Off He Goes" put their own "Daughter" to shame for fireside ambiance, "Around the Bend" manifested the effects of Mirror Ball (their 1995 collaboration with Neil Young) soft and clear, and "Low Light" out-R.E.M.'d R.E.M. in its waltzing, acoustic beauty. In 2000, Pearl Jam began releasing no less than 72 volumes of live material chronicling the American and European legs of their tour in support of Binaural, which came out the same year. 2002's Riot Act proved that the band was as relevant as ever, and in 2006 they returned with a self-titled, heavy blast of anthemic anger at the state of the world. Pearl Jam are one of the few stalwarts surviving from the long-ago age of grunge hype, and they've actually become bolder and better with age.