I could do a top 20 song list and Pearl Jam could easily fill out half, perhaps even 3/4, depending on what kind of day I am having. The band certainly offers a full catering menu of emotions and subjects to play off of- Having a day where politics is in your ear, some Riot Act could match up well… or not. Youthful angst, some Ten please. Yes dining a la carte would be nice, but this is an album list. I adore both of the previously mentioned albums. In fact I enjoy every album in their catalog. The most complete album for my is Vs. which is why it is the #5 album for my list.
Go and Animal bring Ten to the album. It is a bridge from where they have been to where they are going. They are fast tempo, grungy and angry. They are both good songs. They have not been near the top of my favorite on the album for quite some time, but they are solid songs.
Daughter was one of the airplay darlings of the album and I think it is a credit to the song that it doesn’t feel overly worn when I hear it. So many songs from the 90’s lost their sparkle for me due to overplaying. I worked in restaurants where the radio or cable radio was the music source. Daughter is and was welcome as an old friend.
Glorified G has actually grown on me as time has passed. Perhaps it is due to how outrageous arguments can get over fire arms these days. One look at our entertainment and its reliance on gun violence reflects with certainty how much we glorify firearms in the USA.
I certainly understand the want to regulate who can have what and what can be had. All weapons are designed to kill, but some are portals to large scale carnage in a short amount of time. Why those need to be readily available I can’t quite get a grasp on.
Dissident is a top 5 Pearl Jam song. I received a Pearl Jam boot leg CD for Christmas in 2005 that has a live version of the song. From the limited exposure I have had to their live catalog it appears they rework some of the songs to keep them fresh. Eddie’s vocal meanderings are also enjoyable. I tend to find myself on the “other” side of many arguments and conversations. This song always feels like a celebration of that.
W.M.A. a/k/a Pearl Jam palate cleanser.
Blood… is there any doubt that heroin use was rampant in the Seattle scene and perhaps PJ had their dalliances? This song on its surface would seem like a solid yes. I love it for its intensity. Whether telling a story or an actual experience you get the anxiety of a junkie’s perspective.
Rearviewmirror is one of Pearl Jam’s finest achievements. It tells a story as classically as any story song I have listened to. I have always felt some connection to the song, not literally, but emotionally. I can’t think of higher praise to give an artist but to say they made that connection.
Rats is probably one of the more underrated (unhearlded? I don’t know…) songs on the album. I love the lyrics and the way Eddie spews them, almost venomously at times-
They don’t eat don’t sleep
They don’t feed they don’t seethe
Bare their gums when they moan and squeak
Lick the dirt off a larger one’s feet
They don’t push don’t crowd
Congregate until they’re much too loud
Fuck to procreate till they are dead
Drink the blood of their so called best friend
They don’t scurry when something bigger comes their way
Don’t pack themselves together and run as one
Don’t shit where they’re not supposed to
Don’t take what’s not theirs, they don’t compare
They don’t scam, don’t fight
Don’t oppress an equals given rights
Starve the poor so they can be well fed
Line their holes with the dead ones bread
Yeah, they don’t compare.
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town is Pearl Jam commercial success number two off the album. The song, just like Daughter, still shines in my eyes, maybe even more than a bit brighter even.
Ed Ved takes us on a journey vocally, the hope, despair and recognition of change. I still get the lift to my spirit during certain lyrics. I used to wonder why people got stuck on “their” music. Like many things it all becomes clearer further down the road.
Leash has not aged well to me, perhaps because I am out of the angsty range (finally!). It actually has me reaching for some W.M.A. not really. It just doesn’t resonate like it did at say, 20, 21.
Indifference is one of the grandest traditions on Pearl Jam albums for me, the final song. Typically, I love them. The are often at the top of my favorites list off any album. This one is no exception.
Eddie hits it out of the park. It is equal parts vocal delivery, vocal nuance and lyrical mastery. Pearl Jam knows how to close out an album. Despite this songs mellow pace and ambient noisiness in the background it is formidable, intense and beautiful.
Pearl Jam has had an album on every musical device I have owned. Sometimes it is down to one album, other times it is most of their catalog. Vs. doesn’t spend much time off portable music playing device. To me it is one of the bands most complete works and it stands the potential erosion of being exposed to almost two decades.