Eddie Vedder

Ukulele Songs

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AllMusic Review by

There is no irony in the title of Eddie Vedder’s first full-fledged solo album: these are indeed songs performed on a ukulele, an instrument uncommon but not unknown to rockers. George Harrison was a well-known advocate of the small four-string instrument, and Vedder’s hero Pete Townshend once cut a lovely little gem called “Blue Red and Grey” on ukulele, a song that could easily slide onto this gently ramshackle collection of covers, re-recordings, and new tunes. To say that this is a minor album is to dismiss its intimacy and miss its appeal: Vedder’s self-imposed curse is that he takes everything very seriously indeed, so to hear him without the weight of the world on his shoulders is disarmingly inviting. He has nothing more in mind on Ukulele Songs than singing, whether it’s with duet partners Glen Hansard and Cat Power or just on his own, tossing out love songs, something he generally has avoided with Pearl Jam. Vedder never has been ashamed of his bleeding heart -- it’s something that grounds Pearl Jam even when they’re in full-blast bombast mode -- yet it’s refreshing to have a record where that heart is pushed toward the center, beating fully and proudly on his lightest, sweetest album yet.

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