Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam’s music has played as the soundtrack to my life since the first time I heard Ten in 1992. Since that time, every few years Pearl Jam releases an album that appears to mirror my life both in content, style, and growth. Pearl Jam is in a different category than most bands for me. There is music, and then there is Pearl Jam. I have never felt this type of connection to any other artist. The following posts will be an exploration of this connection.I realize that for some reason liking the band carries a stigma in Indie elite circles, as if Pearl Jam is a has-been band that peaked with the release of Ten. I have nothing to prove to anyone by writing these posts, I simply want to catalog my memories in one place.

I cannot write about my life without writing about the music of Pearl Jam and vice versus. I have spent so much of my life immersed in their music, and now I feel compelled to explore the relationship for myself, a sort of inventory of my life.


Once- The lyrics fluctuate back and forth between the possibility of an unblemished past and the reality of pain. This oscillation between past and present, fantasy and reality, if we are not careful, the protagonist shows us -can lead to insanity. Read full post.

Evenflow- Starting off with a catchy riff, an anthem like chorus, a mid-song breakdown into a loose jam session held together with drum and bass, and an explosive McCreddy guitar solo to end the song, Evenflow defines Pearl Jam. Read full post

Alive- art
…..barely there to be known…..Read full post.
Why Go- I was not fully cooked when I entered the “real” world. I was a series of half-baked ideologies, dreams, and scars. I needed an anthem, and Why Go fit that bill. Why Go is to this day one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs.Read full post.
Jeremy- I was here. I am here. I was here.
I mattered. Read full post.
Black- Listen to Podcast.

Oceans- Listening to it now, however, I can see it as a pre-cursor to many of the songs that would come later, as the band released some tension and started to find that tribal rhythm section that Jack Irons perfected. Read full post.

Porch- I cannot count the times, I have slammed by body against the darkness, against the wall, against my own pain, against other bodies, against the shear power of hope, against anything that stood in its way. I cannot count the times, I have slammed by body against pure ugliness of the world and screamed my lungs outs.Read full post.

Garden- The chorus is textbook Vedder. While the dirge like entry, could be the poetry of any teenager, the chorus shows scope and vision. It is as if he knew that someday he would hear his words echoed back to him by full stadiums. Read full post

 Release- At times barely moving, at others awash in white water, the song Release by Pearl Jam is the indictment through absolution at once. It is resolution through rebirth. It is salvation, recovery, and acceptance. It is victory though surrender. It is potency through vulnerability. It is the period at the end of the sentence that is Ten. After the tumultuous ride of the album, Release is the deliverance. Read full post.


Go was the beginning of a new era both for Pearl Jam and for me. This album is still the crutch I use for dealing with difficult feelings and conflicts within myself. The anger and frustration of a band misunderstood becomes the perfect blue print for a self also caught in confusion. The sheep becoming the perfect metaphor. I was free in terms of independence, but still felt misunderstood and bound my a rage and an anger that only this album could help me unleash and slowly understand. Read full post

The sound of feedback in the darkness sets the scene, and like on Go, an amped up rolling tribal guitar, bass and drum intro set McCready and Jeff Ament bouncing on the stage, while Vedder unmoving, eyes distant and closed, begins his declaration of defiance. Exuding a tension filled rage, he sings with the calm of a bomb about to explode. Read full post

Musically, Daughter opens as a promise, where so many times in the past Pearl Jam had offered us only accusations and threats. The irony of course being that lyrically the song is nothing but an indictment. It is worth nothing that even in its subversive vitriol, this is the gentlest, dare I say most feminine song, we have ever heard from the band up to this point. Daughter was a stark departure from the sound and tone we were accustomed to from Pearl Jam. Read full post

I've never fired a gun. Never even held one. Never actually been near one when it was fired. In short, I have lived nearly forty years and the closest I have ever gotten to a real gun is by watching people shoot them on TV. I don't get them. I don't get the point of guns. Seems pretty simple to me-- guns are designed to kill things. I don't want to kill things nor do I want to be killed, so I will stay away from guns. Everything else is posturing and compensation. Read full post.

there is a moment
in the silence
from which blooms
a voice,
a dissident is here
escape is never the safest place
a dissident is here...Read full post 

I was a bit shaken the first time I heard W.M.A by Pearl Jam. Sonically it was very different to anything the band had ever produced. Sure there were hints of the tribal drumming that bookends Ten, but now there was a snake like bassline slowly constricting the song as tension building guitars accentuate the drawling Vedder howls:

Police stop my brother again.......Read full post. 

There is an inexhaustible, unbridled, uncomfortable amount of angst ridden rage in the cells of young men. Add to their pre-exisiting condition of undefined and unexplainable fury, a sense of victim-hood doused with alcohol and you'll have a good sense of my mood on many nights in the 1990s. Read full post.

This was the voice of vindication. Of a rage so profound even though it was tempered and searing. it would bring the earlier emotions to a boil and breaking them down only to build them up again into something new. This music was proof that I would not only survive, but I would flourish and grow. I would shine. I would love. Myself. Once and for all I knew I would be okay. Read full post

Like Gloried G and W.M.A, Rat falls into the bizarre musical experiment, social commentary batch of songs form Vs. Musically the song reminds me of a similar funk riff, almost rap like cadence that Vedder played with on the early B-Side Dirty Frank. But Rats does tend to open up a bit and allow for some great bluesy jamming solo work. Take a look. Love the lift and build up during the outro. Read full post.

Every time I hear Elderly Woman Behind a Counter In A Small Town, it feels like that voice, the one I keep buried inside, the one of the frightened yet confident child is allowed to sing. For me the lyrics are from me to me. The narrator is my present self conversing with my various past selves. This song is about wanting to hold on and move on. It is a battle of selves through time. Read full post

Leash is a cocktail of emotional tension and release, and so warrants a line-by-line breakdown. I have always understood the opening line as a call! A gathering of tribes. There is no salvation beyond suffering. No help beyond our own tribe. Only those who are broken and have faced pain can mend and heal that pain. But there is power in healing. Because our pain is not our own to bare alone-- it is a tool we can use to help others. Read full post