Binaural is the sixth album by Pearl Jam, released on May 16, 2000 by Epic Records. The album was the transition to a new era of the band's poetry and position before the mainstream media. Some internal difficulties were big obstacles to the band while recording the album that for the first time used the binaural technique, a method that uses two microphones to record the sounds and creating a 3D stereo sound.
The dark times of Binaural are the connection of multiple events that led Pearl Jam to face many obstacles, some of them inside the band and others as big tragedies that would change their lives forever. According to Mike McCready, the band was less popular than ever, and it's widely known that the fall of the popularity of the 90's rock bands, especially from Seattle, gave space to mainstream media substitute them, something that even the bands contributed to. Mike, who suffers from Crohn's Disease, was having a peak on his illness and got addicted to the prescripted drugs. Eddie was suffering with writer's block, not a disease, but was having difficulties on coming up with the lyrics, a role he always held with predominance. In a change that happened since Yield, all band members were coming up with their parts after individual work, and this forgetfullness of Vedder was an obstacle to closing the album.
The band, at first, wasn't recording with Brendan O' Brien, but hired Tchad Blake, who was known for using the technique of binaural recording. Due to production difficulties, the band once again worked with O'Brien, who mixed the heavier songs while Blake kept his work on the slower ones. The atmosphere of recording was little shaken, because Mike was in rehab due his problem and Matt Cameron replaced Jack Irons who left during the Yield Tour.
The album addresses themes like war, peace, violence, autority abuse, discomfort in life and love. This last one was not seen exactly as a deep, forgotten, complicated and maybe unrequited feeling, but as some kind of salvation. This different idea was raw on the album, and it would be only matured on the next album, Riot Act. To this maturation, some tragic events would happen between 2000 and 2002. The greatest tragedy occured June 30, at the annual Roskilde Festival in Copenhagen. When the band took the stage, their appearance incited a literal stampede, trapping unfortunate attendees under a sea of muddy people. Nine fans were trampled to death in a mosh pit during the band's performance including three Danes, three Swedes, a German, an Australian and a Dutch man. Pearl Jam stopped the show and were shocked by the episode. They cancelled their performances and gave up on playing festivals until 2007, when they played at Lollapalooza.
- God's Dice
- Light Years
- Nothing As It Seems
- Thin Air
- Of The Girl
- Sleight Of Hand
- Soon Forget
- Parting Ways
- The album's cover is a modified image of Hourglass Nebula taken by Hubble Telescope.
- Jeff Ament – bass guitar, inside photography
- Matt Cameron – drums
- Stone Gossard – guitar
- Mike McCready – guitar
- Eddie Vedder – guitar, vocals, ukulele; credited as "Jerome Turner" for album conce
- Matt Bayles – engineering
- Tchad Blake – production, mixing, portraits
- Liz Burns – assistance with NASA photos
- April Cameron – viola
- Dakota – canine vocal
- Justine Foy – cello
- Mitchell Froom – keyboard, harmonium
- K.P. Handron, R. O'Dell, NASA – inside cover
- J. Hester, P. Scowen, NASA – booklet cover
- Wendy Melvoin – percussion
- Brendan O'Brien – mixing
- Pearl Jam – production
- R. Sahai, J. Trauger, WFPC2 science team, NASA – front cover
- Adam Samuels, Ashley Stubbert – second engineers
- Pete Thomas – percussionpt