Pearl Jam Mix #3

Pearl Jam's Official Website!

By Patrick Gosnell

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: I can’t claim to be a life-long fan of Pearl Jam, nor can I say that I’ve even seen them live in concert. Having only reached the meager age of 11 when Ten was released, I can’t say that I was there from the beginning either! So why am I creating an ultimate introductory mix for these Seattle-based grunge-rock pioneers? Because I connect with their music! (What else do you need?) Though I missed the Ten bandwagon, I distinctly remember hearing “Animal” off PJ’s sophomore album in my friend’s basement one day after school. Abbruzzese’s drumming was superb and the ferocity of Vedder’s vocals had me intrigued. For the next 10 years, all the way from Vitalogy through Lost Dogs, I maintained my fan status, but at a distance.  I would crank up the band’s singles when they came on the radio (who doesn’t jam out on the steering wheel when the drums kick in on “Better Man“?!), but was I buying albums or standing in line for concert tickets? Well, no.

But! With what I like to call Pearl Jam’s “rebirth” (what else is it when your 8th album is the self-titled one?) in 2006, I upped my fan status to “legit” and bought in completely. I was digging the new, more punky Pearl Jam with frenzied little numbers like “World Wide Suicide” and “Life Wasted.” McCready seemed hell-bent on writing some actual hooks and the lyrics were more frenetic, yet just as impassioned as earlier records. After falling in love with songs like “Unemployable” and “Big Wave” I felt ready to go back and dive deeper into PJ’s back catalogue, finding gems like “Satan’s Bed” and “Of the Girl.” And now, with their 9th album, Backspacer, I think we can all see that Eddie, Mike, Stone, Jeff, and Matt have expanded (ironically in only 37 minutes!) upon their zeal for hard-hitting, though-provoking, buck-the-system Rock & Roll!

WHY: I think a lot has already been said this week about why Pearl Jam deserves to be called one of the best bands out there: their incredible musicianship, the ways they look out for their fans, the way they believe in the power of rock and roll to bring about change! I think it’s a testament to the band that people are still talking about them this much 20 years after their first album was released. The Red Hot Chili Peppers and LL Cool J were both nominated for induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the first year they were eligible, and I think it’s safe to say that Vedder and Co. will follow suit with their lasting imprint on alternative rock.

SONGS: The first thing you’ll see on my list is that it contains more hits than our other contributors’ exemplary mixes. However, you still won’t find “Jeremy,” and only half of my final choices appear on the band’s greatest hits record. Dan Provost did an excellent job recreating the PJ concert experience with his list, and Pat Tremaglio is an obvious super-fan who included many favorites that you’ll never hear on the radio. But with a band as iconic as Pearl Jam, I felt that we could not end “Pearl Jam Week” here at 80MFL without offering an introductory mix that showcases some of the songs that propelled PJ into the upper echelon of modern rock.

Once” kicks it off by taking everyone back to the first thing they heard back in 1991, followed by one of my all-time favorites, “State of Love and Trust.” Some may argue with the inclusion of not one, but two songs from Backspacer, but I believe these songs (“The Fixer” and “Amongst the Waves“) represent the vitality and merit of 21st-century Pearl Jam. I also wanted to make sure I covered what I consider to be the 3 main sides of the band — Unhinged (“Go,” “Animal,” “Big Wave“), Somber  (“Wishlist,” “Man of the Hour,” “Crazy Mary“), and Monumental (“In Hiding,” “Glorified G,” “Given To Fly“).  Two songs that highlight Vedder’s knack for poetic storytelling include “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter In a Small Town” and “Unemployable.” And since Pearl Jam has had so many drummers over the years, the percussion on each album lends distinctive flavors to the band’s otherwise consistent lineup. I’ve chosen the great Jack Irons-era tune, “Who You Are,” for its distinct tribal feeling. And finally, I want to say congratulations to “Corduroy” and “Given To Fly” for being the only songs to make all 3 lists this week!  (I guess they must be good.)

LINK: Click on the list below to see the 80MFL iMix, where you can listen to samples, download what sounds good, or get the whole thing!

Click the list for our Pearl Jam iMix


“Animal” from Vs.

“State of Love and Trust” from Rearviewmirror

“Unemployable” from Pearl Jam

~ by Patrick Gosnell on September 25, 2009.

One Response to “Pearl Jam Mix #3”

  1. i just found a site that is posting live video and photo coverage from Pearl Jam’s shows on their national tour! Check it out if you can, you may like it 🙂

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