Pearl Jam have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, and I for one could not be happier. I can’t remember when exactly it was I fell in love with Pearl Jam, but I remember listening to Ten for the first time, and feeling like time had stopped. I was already used to the organised chaos of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and other bands that had shaped my music taste, but I hadn’t heard anything like this before.
I remember just being in awe of the raw emotion of tracks like Alive, Oceans and Black. But it was actually Release that got to me the most. The great thing about Pearl Jam, is that you don’t have to know the roots of the songs to understand what they are about. Eddie Vedder leaves everything on the track. He pours his soul into ever performance. I once heard him say in an interview that his intensity is real, it isn’t a stage act. Not to mention their performances in 90s were insane. You’d see Eddie Vedder climbing up camera cranes and diving into the crowd, and Jeff Ament playing bass lying on the floor after he fell over from rocking out.
Now with most bands that have been around for twenty odd years you hear a lot of apprehension from fans about their latest albums. “Yeah but their early stuff was better”, “It’s not the same”. My argument is that these musicians are so young when they start making music, that as they mature, their sound matures with them. Bands like Pearl Jam don’t move with the times, they will always sound like Pearl Jam, not like the the current music of the genre. They don’t allow a generation to shape them (Kings of Leon you’re back in my good books but you’re not out of the woods yet). But having said all of this, Pearl Jam’s last two albums Backspacer and Lightning Bolt have been incredible. They have a somewhat political edge, but also a reflective vibe, and a wisdom to them.
There is an artistry to the way that Pearl Jam structure an album. If anyone has seen High Fidelity starring John Cusak and Jack Black, you hear what is referred to as the perfect mix tape. How you kick it up a notch, then cool it off. Listening to Pearl Jam’s last two albums, I finally know what this means. It’s such an experience. Proof of this, is the last songs on both albums. Backsapcer closes with The End, and Lightning Bolt finishes with Future Days. They’re both the musical equivalent to the last chapter in a book. If you haven’t listened to them, I recommend you do. Then you will probably blame me for the mood you experience after, probably for a couple of days. But I make no apologies!
Now I’m not a musician, or an expert, I’m not going to discuss the nitty gritty of their music, or their technical ability. I’m merely a fan who appreciates Pearl Jam’s integrity, originality and raw emotion. I love the chaos and the power of their music, and I like it loud!