Pearl Jam

Much like Agent Fox Mulder, I want to believe (in Pearl Jam) but I just don’t.

Sure, like every other guy in the early 90’s I bought Ten (from Columbia House no less) and promptly forgot about the band.

I dug Nirvana more, likely due to my high school buddy who drove a hearse and listened to Pennyroyal Tea and Polly almost incessantly. I was more a fan of Lithium and In Bloom, but we agreed to disagree.

I also was quite into Screaming Trees. I still think Nearly Lost You is one of the only true “grunge” songs out there. It has all the requisite elements: the throaty, smoky lead singer; droning, washed out guitar track; chunky rhythm section. Perfect pop tune with a flannel shirt.

Lastly, while I didn’t appreciate them at the time, my metal tooth is now sufficiently black and rotted and so I have a much greater appreciation for Soundgarden (and Chris Cornell’s otherworldly howling) and Alice In Chains. If I had it to do all over again, I’d support these bands with my CD and concert dollars. As it stands, I downloaded the singles (Ha, a Singles reference!) and now own the full albums.

Stone Temple Pilots, while a rock radio (and early alternative) mainstay, is clearly not grunge but some sort of unholy glam/hard rock/poseur mashup. It sucks but I keep on listening to Weiland. His facial hair alone (and to a lesser extent that of Layne Staley) made “grunge” interesting.

But Pearl Jam held no interest for me for a long time.

Just not interested.

Nope.

I had that Temple of the Dog album, but mostly for the single Hunger Strike. Good stuff.

I did dig Do the Evolution off of Yield, mostly for the video, but not much else of their work. Maybe it was the perceived pretension of Eddie Vedder’s vocal stylings/stage presence and the release of all those live albums.

Not my bag. It just seemed like Pearl Jam were a band you either loved or hated. Not feeling the love, I settled for ambivalence.

But their recent SNL performance and the words of AJ have me re-examining my opinion. Was I wrong? Should I buy the older stuff? Did I miss the party?

YouTube had videos of the live performances, but NBC had them scrubbed in their unending quest to make sure the hip youngsters whom they want to watch SNL never actually watch. Go figure. Instead, you can get “official” videos, via Pearl Jam themselves, for Worldwide Suicide and an Electronic Press Kit promoting their upcoming album.

Words of encouragement or shouts of mental disease/defect are welcome.

Rock on!

7 thoughts on “Pearl Jam

  1. I do now, and have always, hate Pearl Jam. They literally have only one song I like, and it has a stupid title (something like, “little old woman behind the counter at a store” or some crap). I think Eddie Vedder is way to whiny.

    The bands I dug in high school were Smashing Pumpkins (the used to be SOOO good!), Weezer, and Blur. I also really like Nirvana, I was just more into SP at the time.

  2. You and my wife are both big SP fans. I was into a lot of power pop in high school, like Matthew Sweet.

    I also had a thing for roots-y bands like The Jayhawks and Counting Crows and I was in love with the blue album by Weezer.

  3. It always bothers me that STP gets lumped into the Seattle scene, they were (are?) from California (San Diego if I remember correctly).

    The Four Horsemen of the Seattle grunge scene were Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains. I listened to them equally, saw SG and AIC live (both fucking awesome), missed a chance to see Nirvana before Kurt went boom, and have always passed on PJ.

    Like all other bands of the era PJ should have ridden into the sunset forever when the clock struck 2000.

  4. I wouldnt say I’m a huge Pearl Jam fan, but they are pretty good, especially live… I like a handful of songs like “Yellow Ledbetter” which is really good when done with just Eddie and Mike McCready as opposed to the whole band.

    But yeah, I think 9/10 people preferred Nirvana over Pearl Jam but you have to admire their staying power, still rocking in the free world after most grunge bands bit the dust

  5. AIC was always my favorite of the Seattle bands. Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell singing together was the best! Soundgarden and Nirvana were also great. In fact, they all still play a prominent role on my iPod/mp3 collection.

    As for Pearl Jam, eh. Ten was good, and the second album was pretty good, but I quickly lost interest after that.

    Thanks for bringing up the grunge stuff. Need to go listen to Dirt or Facelift now.

  6. daz says:

    In my opinion PEARL JAM standalone:-
    8 Studio albums to have a debut like TEN and then over a decade later produce RIOT ACT is amazing. Songs that mean something instead of throwaway rubbish, brilliant musicians, Mike McCready is up their with the greatest guitar players of all time, stone gossards amazing riffs, and Eddies amazing voice and lyrics. Live they are hard to beat just superb. Fighting ticketmaster and doing what they can to keep concert ticket prices down, at their height they withdrew and stopped making videos and press and let the music do the taking. Almost 18 years and still going strong.

  7. rj says:

    I really don’t like Pearl Jam either. I’ve tried to give them a chance because I like every other grunge band out there but there’s just something about them that annoys me. Probably Eddie Vedder’s voice. Although I do love STP and I don’t think they were a ripoff band at all.

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