Thursday, February 15, 2007

10 Songs Show Why Pearl Jam Rules. . .

Awhile back in a discussion about Rage Against The Machine on a forum I frequent, another member posted in regards the early 90's rock Scene:

"The only good grunge band was AIC (Alice in Chains), IMO (In My Opinion), everything else - Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, etc. - sucked balls." (the identity of the person who spoke this will remain anonymous, as I like the guy and wish no ill will.)

Well, Pearl Jam, is one of my favorite bands. Also with maybe the exception of their very first album, they were not really grunge (but thats an argument for another day). But I thought I would undertake the argument for one of my favorite bands, through their songs. So I intend to present ten songs that prove Pearl Jam is a great band. But first, for those who need it:

A Little Backround Info:

Pearl Jam is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, and is considered one of the most influential bands of the 1990s. Founded in 1990, Pearl Jam was one of the "Big Four" bands of the grunge movement, alongside Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. As of December 2006, Pearl Jam has sold over 31 million records in the U.S. alone. Pearl Jam is one of the few currently active bands from the alternative rock breakthrough of the early 1990s.

Current members

Other members

Former members

Partial Discography:

Ten. (1991)
Vs. (1993)
Vitalogy. (1994)
No Code. (1996)
Yield. (1998)
Binaural. (2000)
Riot Act. (2002)
Lost Dogs. (2003)
Pearl Jam. (2006)

Well, all that aside, without further adieu, 10 great Pearl Jam Songs:

10) Lukin' - at a succint minute and two seconds, this No Code track was a reminder of how much they rocked. After Vitalogy and th elong string of ponderous ballad that were released in its wake, it seemed like it was time for PJ to just rock out again. In this burst of vitriol they proved they still could.

09)Masters Of War (Bob Dylan Cover) - Normally I would not include a cover song in such a list, but this is an exception that needs made. He sings it with such intensity that he really sells it. I am not gonna lie, I agree with a lot of the politics PJ does and that helps revitalize the Dylan cover as well. If you dont have it elsewhere you can find it on the Lost Dogs compilation disks.

08)Jeremy - Eerie shit. A little overplayed when it was first released (okay, A LOT overplayed) , I agree, but the song stand the the test of time. This tune off of Ten chronicles the story of an ignored child that builds to a grizzly climax in his school. What I dont get is no one mentions that Eddie Vedder wrote a song about a cituation awfully close to the Columbine Shooting 8 years earlier. Time flushes out how well PJ had a finger on the pulse of their generation.

07)Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A small Town - A great song (off of Vs. ) showing the quiet desperation of being trapped somewhere without being able to get out. Also one of the most poignant aspects of there live shows, as the whole crowd sings along.

06)Worldwide Suicide - A rocker of the most recent Pearl Jam disk, it is a searing criticism of the current political affairs (Iraq War and such). Shows the band still has their fire 15 years later, and can still be a viable force in pop music.

05)Corduroy - even the inevitable "artist writes a song whining about how fame and success makes everything different" song (this one off of Vitalogy ) is interesting an unique when PJ does it, the metaphor is incredibel, sometimes I think they were trying to write poetry (that just happened to be put to music).

04)Long Road - Off a two song EP, Merkinball, in cahoots with Neil Young, this song does a great job of bottling emotion into a song. there is a section in the middle that is cathartic in its emotional purity. I get a tear in my eye every time I listen to it.

03)Off He Goes - I am not going to lie. While this is a very nice song on its own (a nice mid tempo acoustic ballad off of No Code ), I really like it because the lyrics remind me with a personal relationship I had during high school, right during the time that album came out (1996). I thoroughly suggest it, but with this one, if you dont see what I see in it, I would understand.

02) Even Flow - from the very first time I heard the very first chord of this son, I was hooked. Before I even knew who wrote or performed it. It just rouses something in my soul. I could explain it technically, but why ruin the fun. It just makes me happy. also the video with Eddie swinging from the rafters is cool.

01)Yellow Ledbetter - (B-Side on the Jeremy Single) This song is the prime example in modern rock of how feeling can actually trump meaning in a song. While the song seems to have no set lyrics, The music, and Vedders delivery definately stike a chord in the listener. The guitar and Vedder's vocal inflections alone would be enough to make a great song, to me. Also it is interesting that it is one of the most enduring PJ songs, in fans hearts and on the Radio, and it wasnt part of a full length release until 2003's Lost Dogs, which was released a full 12 years after the original song.

a review from ALL MUSIC sums it up just as well:

"For anyone who missed Pearl Jam's roots in classic rock, "Yellow Ledbetter" spelled them out loud and clear. A gentle, Jimi Hendrix-esque ballad with an intro heavily indebted to "Little Wing," "Yellow Ledbetter" was actually never released on a Pearl Jam album, instead appearing as one of two B-sides on the "Jeremy" single. Pearl Jam had a knack for coming up with strong B-sides during their early years, and it's easy to see how "Yellow Ledbetter" could have made the cut for inclusion on Ten with just a bit of tightening up. As it was, the song achieved a surprising amount of college radio play for a B-side upon its release in 1992, and grew to become a fan favorite and concert staple. Lead guitarist Mike McCready receives a rare co-writing credit, and it's easy to see why, since his airy Hendrix imitations provide the essential meat of the song; his solo even ends in a trill lifted verbatim from Hendrix's solo on "May This Be Love." Eddie Vedder's vocal is alternately intense and achingly wistful, with the latter particularly suiting the song's mood. Overall, though, "Yellow Ledbetter" is something a little more than that -- it's the sound of a band overflowing with prime material."

I hope if you do not agree with me after all this, that you can at least see why I think what I do.

Happy Listening,



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