By Eddie Vedder
For his first venture into solo work the Pearl Jam frontman has produced this soundtrack for close friend Sean Penn's film 'Into The Wild'. As the title suggests, it is the true story of a rich kid who ditches comfort to search for himself in the Alaskan wilderness. Go with the stereotypical thought on this one; the kid (Christopher McCandless), with no training or prior experience in the outdoor wilderness, does not survive very long, and Eddie Vedder harnesses the sound of his thoughts and sights on his final journey.
Lasting a mere 33 minutes, the songs are very short, some only 90 seconds, but in that short space of time they produce images that do not need blockbuster treatment (and costs) to catch on film. 'Setting Forth' is similar to Pearl Jam's 'No Code' sound, a good track to drive to, and among the sixties inspired tracks ('Far Behind', 'End Of The Road') and country banjo tunes ('No Ceiling', 'Rise') Vedder has honed in on his acoustic folk style very well.
I pinpointed Gordon Peterson's 'Hard Sun' cover (featuring Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker) as the main theme without watching the film, and the second cover of 'Society' (featuring Jerry Harman) puts thoughts in your mind of just why this kid took this step, with society too focused on itself. 'Tuolumne' is a short instrumental, whereas 'The Wolf' is Vedder's trademark strange song (come on, all the Pearl Jam albums have them) with his tribal howls replacing any lyrics. Another Pearl Jam addition, the hidden track, can be found after final bluesy tune 'Guaranteed', though it already appears in some form on the album before you get to it. Stand out track for me is 'No Ceiling'; the title itself states freedom. A good first attempt from Eddie Vedder.