There are 3 bands that I absolutely love: U2, Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam. There are many more of course. Anyone who knows me know I have an extensive music collection and eclectic taste.
Pearl Jam and I have a history. When their first album, Ten, came out I snatched it up from the local record store and played it on rotation. I was about 11 or 12 and it was one of the first CDs I bought. Now, 25 years later, the adult me has been blessed to have seen PJ live and as of Monday evening, for the second time.
Because of the recent PJ concert, this edition of Friday 5 is in tribute to them. I give you my top 5 favorite PJ songs, the songs I crank up and try to sing with Eddie. Because let’s face it, as much as I love Eddie’s voice, I will never truly know the words to Even Flow.
In no particular order and recognizing that many others could be on this list, here goes nothing…
Number 1 – Hail, Hail from the album ‘No Code’: I love the beat of this song. It’s poppy and yet has an edge. I love the line that goes, “I get the words and then I get to thinkin’/I don’t want to think, I wanna feel/How do I feel?” And then, “Hail, hail, the lucky ones, I refer to those in love.” To me it’s a song of love, wondering if the person you fall in love with is or will be enough.
Number 2 – Elderly Woman Behind the Counter In A Small Town from the album ‘Vs.’: It’s slow, melodic and almost bluesy. I love the idea of meeting up with someone from long ago, how a place can shape us and over time memories fade and yet come back. There’s hope in the song, well to me there’s hope.
Number 3 – I Am Mine from the album ‘Riot Act’: PJ played it Monday evening and is a recent addition to my fave PJ list, mostly because of the verse: “The North is to South what the clock is to time/ There’s east and there’s west and there’s everywhere life/ I know I was born and I know that I’ll die/ The in between is mine/ I am mine” Need I explain more?
Number 4 – Alive from the album ‘Ten’: Alive is a personal song for Eddie, finding out his real father died before he even really knew him. Today fans have embraced the song as an anthem for any countless reasons. The song holds a place in my heart because it’s one of the first PJ songs I heard.
Number 5 – Release from the album ‘Ten’: Again, I believe this is a song about Eddie and his father. Not sure. The song is haunting. The lyrics and music with Eddie’s voice…goosebumps. The song has also become a prayer to me. This idea of God as the parent and me the child asking, “Oh dear dad/ Can you see me now/ I am myself/ Like you somehow.” Then the song crescendos into the lyrics “I’ll wait up in the dark/ For you to speak to me/ I’ll open up/ Release me.” Takes my breathe away! There’s some spiritualness hidden within the song that I haven’t been able to pinpoint and name, though I know it’s there.
Well, there you have it Readers.
As Pearl Jam reminds us (via Neil Young), “Keep on Rockin’!”