Pearl Jam Mix #1

Pearl Jam's Official Website!

By Dan Provost

WHEN: 1990-present

CULPRITS: Eddie Vedder (Vocals, Guitar), Mike McCready (Guitar), Stone Gossard (Guitar), Jeff Ament (Bass), Matt Cameron (Drums) / Former members: Dave Krusen (Drums), Matt Chamberlain (Drums), Dave Abbruzzese (Drums), Jack Irons (Drums) / Touring member: Boom Gaspar (Keyboard)

ALBUMS: Ten (1991); Vs. (1993); Vitalogy (1994); Merkin Ball (EP; 1995); No Code (1996); Yield (1998); Binaural (2000); Riot Act (2002); Lost Dogs (2003); Pearl Jam (2006); Backspacer (2009)

HOW: My introduction to Pearl Jam occurred my freshman year of high school, in 1999. I had obviously heard of them, but for one reason or another never thought to explore their catalog. I was over at a friend’s house trading our CD collections with his incredible 1x external CD Burner (who said piracy never helped anything?), and that’s how I came to acquire Ten. It was all downhill from there. Although unintentional, I went through the rest of their catalog chronologically (I remember buying Vs. and Vitalogy together at a CD Warehouse for 4 bucks each), and Binaural was the first album I was able to purchase on the day it was released. I suppose what drew me in for good was: none of their albums are bad.  It seems like a ridiculous thing to say, but as I slowly discovered their catalog I was just waiting for that black sheep (surely it’s No Code…) but it never came. But even with that staggering level of consistency, quality-wise, they still managed to evolve and mature with each successive release.

WHY: Pearl Jam is the most important band I have ever heard. I think it would be fair to say almost all of my early music discoveries were in some way related to Pearl Jam. If you did a six degrees of separation exercise, every band I listen to today would in some way connect to my discovery of Pearl Jam. And the band’s importance in my life extends beyond music: they are the reason I first bought a DVD player (so I could watch Touring Band 2000), the reason I got into video editing (I was part of an online community that sought to marry the best audio bootleg with the best video for every concert), and the reason I learned Photoshop (to create artwork for said bootlegs). I’ve seen them live 8 times (6 of which were part of a post-high school cross country road trip with 3 buddies), which fueled my obsession for seeing live music.

I could tell you why PJ’s music is great, but I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. The reason they are such an easy band to connect with and obsess over is all of the non-music things. Like when they stood up to Ticketmaster because they wanted kids to be able to afford going to their shows. Or how they design an original, screen-printed poster for nearly every concert. Or how they allow people to record their concerts, and began offering official soundboard quality CDs to relive the experience at a dirt cheap price. Or how they wildly mix up their live setlists, so no two shows are ever the same.

SONGS: I figured there were two logical ways to consider the selection and sequencing of the songs: like a vinyl record (with a distinguished Side A and Side B) or like a live set. Although the vinyl record idea made sense (they have a song called “Spin the Black Circle” after all), Pearl Jam’s reputation as a phenomenal live band made the choice easy. Furthermore, I felt that through the hundreds of bootlegs I’ve listened to and the few times I’ve seen them live, I have a pretty good handle on the general ebb and flow that is a Pearl Jam concert.

Generally, a Pearl Jam concert starts off with a slower number, so the set begins with “Of the Girl,” my favorite show opener. They then string together a series of faster, harder songs (“Brain of J,” “Animal,” “Severed Hand,” “Insignificance“) and then before burning too long they back off to some mid tempo tracks (“Corduroy,” “In My Tree,” “Given to Fly“). I use the middle section of the mix to calm things down a bit (“Immortality,” “I Got Id,” “Dead Man“) before abruptly kicking things back into overdrive to close the main set (“MFC,” “Red Mosquito,” “Present Tense“). “Arc” serves as a segue (see what I did there?) to the encore, which features two favorites (“Rearviewmirror” and “Alive“) and finally a slow, contemplative song (“Indifference“) to close the set like it began.

Pearl Jam’s catalog is incredibly deep and rewarding to those who choose to dive in. I wanted to include at least one track from each of their proper studio albums to obtain a good cross section. The band have a reputation for having stellar b-sides, so I included the best one here (sorry “Yellow Ledbetter“). Pearl Jam also has the reputation of being an incredible cover band, but unfortunately I couldn’t find room to include one (but I would definitely check out “Crazy Mary” or “Baba O’Riley“).

As a testament to the depth of Pearl Jam’s catalog, I feel I could make this mix several times over, using completely different songs for each, and it would still achieve the desired effect of introducing someone to the band. That said, I hope you enjoy the one I came up with.

LINK: Click the list below to hear every Pearl Jam album for FREE on Lala.com!

Click the list to hear Pearl Jam on Lala.com

SAMPLE SONGS:

“Immortality” from Vitalogy

“Severed Hand” from Pearl Jam

___________________________________

Dan Provost is a designer living in New York City. He currently works for Nokia as a user experience designer and freelances for Pitchfork TV as a motion graphics designer. He used to be staunchly opposed to playlists and mixtapes (believing that “the album” should be preserved as a single conceptual unit) but this website is slowly altering his world view. You can check out more of his work here.

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~ by eastbk on September 21, 2009.

3 Responses to “Pearl Jam Mix #1”

  1. Nice writeup. “Of The Girl” is real solid and a song that most people probably don’t know. I like the inclusion of “Dead Man”, great tune!

  2. Loved the idea behing the live show list, great way to distil the essence of the band. Fantastic write-up!

    Pat, can’t wait to read yours!

  3. I’m going to see them tonight. I’ll try to not expect them to be like they were 15 years ago and pretend they’re a new band I’m seeing. That’s my experiment I’m doing. haha

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