"And if In Utero, Nirvana’s big follow-up album, showed Cobain’s attempt to negate and reject the stardom he’d stumbled into, Vs., the Pearl Jam album that followed a month later, represented an honest attempt to step into that stardom and reshape what, exactly, it meant. Vs. isn’t a better album than In Utero, but maybe that’s just because it set a more difficult task for itself.
That runaway success obscures but also underscores what Pearl Jam were able to do here: They made a huge-sounding rock album that made ethical sense to them, and they helped create a world where, for a time at least, the term “rock star” meant something new and exciting. They weren’t particularly comfortable back then, but now, because they stuck to their guns then, they can keep putting out albums and touring arenas two decades later.”
Short and sweet, but feels on-point to me.