No Code Songs Ranked

No Code is the fourth studio album by the American rock band Pearl Jam, released on August 27, 1996 through Epic Records. Following a troubled tour for its previous album, Vitalogy (1994), in which Pearl Jam engaged in a much-publicized boycott of Ticketmaster, the band went into the studio to record its follow-up. The music on the record was more diverse than what the band had done on previous releases, incorporating elements of garage rock and worldbeat. Although No Code debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, making it Pearl Jam’s third consecutive number one album, it left a large section of the band’s fanbase unsatisfied and quickly fell down the charts. Critical reviews were also mixed, with praise to the musical variety but criticism to the album’s inconsistency. The album became the first Pearl Jam album to not reach multi-platinum status, receiving a single platinum certification by the RIAA in the United States. Here are all of No Code songs ranked.

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11. Johnny Guitar

“I’m Open” begins and ends with spoken word poetry from Vedder, which is interesting to listen but may end up leaving the impression of him being pretentious and rambling. For those who can appreciate the song, though, it’s an interesting piece of music that deserves a bit more praise.”

10. Around the Bend

“Around The Bend” finishes the album, a number mostly carried by the bass and drums. The vocals are soothing and relaxing, and listening to it right now in my tired state is actually wearing me down further! The story behind it is that Vedder wrote it as a lullaby for one of the member’s kids, and that quality leaves it’s fingerprints through the whole song, both in lyrics and instrumentation. It’s good to listen to when you want to get away from everything, if only for four minutes, because of it’s optimistic and calming lyrics.”

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11. Lukin

“This song takes a turn for the more abrasive side of Pearl Jam. “Lukin” is a 1 minute long song, with a simple three-chord riff and screechy vocals from Vedder, describing his own fallacies and a stalker that might or might not be out to kill him.”

10. Mankind

“Mankind” is something that is either enjoyable or unenjoyable in my opinion, with little to no middle ground. Rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard employs the mic on this song, who also wrote the lyrics for the song. What’s being conveyed is a man that is watching mankind obsess over the little things, while he sits back and wonders why. Again, you either like it or you don’t.”

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9. Sometimes

“Sometimes” begins the album, a track that is moody, and somewhat somber, exploring religious themes about the creation of man and man’s struggle through life while remaining concise.”

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8. Who You Are

“Who You Are” was released as the somewhat surprising first single off this album, and people’s reactions to it at the time were mixed. Many appreciated the soft, tribal-like direction the band was steering toward, whereas others wanted the third sequel to  Ten  — simply no changes in musical direction.”

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7. Habit

“Habit” has a garage rock/grunge-type riff to it, with muddled and often hard-to-understand vocals from Vedder. It seems to explore the drug use of someone close, how it’s wrong for them but yet they’re still sucked in and on the way to self-destruction. However, the two breakdowns Both crammed into a 3:36 song), coupled with the guitar solo (Which is pretty impressive) fading out right as it gets some good momentum behind it, put the track lower than it deserves to be.”

6. Smile

“Smile” has a riff with a similar dirty quality to it, and relatively simplistic lyrics. The harmonica interspersed throughout adds another dimension to the trudging rocker, making it one of the more standout tracks.

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5. In My Tree

“Somewhat like a second, low key part of Who You Are, but stands on its own just as well. “Up here in my tree… newspapers matter not to me…”… it might have a political edge (ignoring the media), but that could be stretching it. Jack’s drumming shines again.”

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4. Red Mosquito

“Red Mosquito” has something closer to a country rock vibe going for it, with interesting vocal melodies. It’s got a good flow and progression to it, and is one of the better tracks off the album.”

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3. Present Tense

“Present Tense” is a slow and introspective number, which also happened to put me in a much better mindset after some personal issues that had plagued me. The atmospheric guitar work during the verses highlight the lyrics and message without getting in the way, but I’ll leave that message for you to discover yourself. It’s worth it.”

2. Off He Goes

“”Off He Goes” is one of my favorites from the album. The lyrics set a narrative over a slow acoustic guitar, telling the story of a friend that sets off on a trip brought on by what could be strains in his personal life (“Know a man…his face seems pulled and tense…/ Like he’s riding on a motorbike… in the strongest winds”), and as doubts creep into the narrator’s mind about this friend’s return, he unexpectedly shows up again, seemingly the same person. However, he is soon off again, and the song ends on a note similar to how it started.”

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1. Hail, Hail

“Hail, Hail” picks up the pace, with a dirty, fuzzed out riff and a good bass line. The song manages to take the somewhat depressing lyrics about a relationship gone wrong while staying fast paced, and as the song goes on some hope manages to seep in.”