Eddie Vedder | Ukulele Songs

Monkeywrench (2011)
By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  May 27, 2011
1.0 1.0 Stars

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Unless your name is Tiny Tim or you perform with Michael J. Epstein, you shouldn't be putting out an entire album of ukulele songs (see our review of Tune-Yards from this week); something just feels weird about it. But Eddie Vedder gives it the old Hawaii try, and comes off less like a laid-back surfer and more like a dime-store Jack Johnson. The songs, a handful of covers and about a dozen originals, aren't terrible, but the ukulele gets really old, really quick. There's no other instrumentation, and pretty soon it just starts to grate on the eardrums as Vedder keeps obliviously plucking the nylon strings, never stepping outside of the folk basics with his apparent amateur ability. Highlights come when guest vocalists help mix things up; the Frames' Glen Hansard is a perfect fit with his dour sense of longing on the Everly Brothers' "Sleepless Nights," whereas Cat Power gets downright sing-songy on "Tonight You Belong to Me" — yes, that song immortalized in The Jerk. At its core, Ukulele Songs isn't much more than a novelty work that would've been better as an EP, and not the follow-up to Vedder's acclaimed solo debut for the Into the Wild soundtrack — but hey, at least it isn't the new Pearl Jam record.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Eddie Vedder, Eddie Vedder,  More more >
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