Sunday, 6 April 2014

Pearl Jam Top 50

When Grunge was king and Nirvana were the band of the moment, I was always a Pearl Jam man.  I can't remember when or where I first heard 'Alive' but it was the first song I heard and as you can see below, arguably the best.  I remember getting the 'Even Flow' white vinyl 12" on my 14th birthday and acting out the Eddie Vedder stagedive from my settee for a friend at my birthday party, winding myself in the process.  My white T-shirt with the cartoon version of the band on the front used to get a lot of comments, usually from strangers.....Pearl Jam are that kind of band.

'Ten' is one of my all-time favourite albums, pure and simple, and the A-side is still one of the best first halves to any album ever.  'Vs' kept up the pace to an extent with another array of great songs, but following that their press policy, spat with Ticketmaster and the general decline of the grunge movement following the death of Kurt Cobain turned them into a different band.

'Vitalogy' was like the bridge album, still holding onto some of the qualities that made them successful, but also a more stripped-down approach.  In my opinion this marked the shift from the Stone Gossard/Jeff Ament stranglehold on songwriting to Eddie Vedder becoming band leader.  The high quality of Stone's songs on 'Ten' in particular, coupled with his further involvement in his side-project Brad and a lower share of the songwriting later on suggest to me that he lost interest.  If that's true it was a shame (no Brad pun intended).  Subsequent albums were patchy, but still had their fair share of outstanding songs.  It seemed like on the whole they were content to produce albums that sounded like you were just dropping into their practice room, sometimes with great results, sometimes exactly how that sounds.

'Binaural' for me was a big return to form, with some real quality songs, but then it fell away again, the 'By Era' chart reflecting this.  I haven't long since owned 'Lightning Bolt' as I write this, but the fact that two of the songs made it into this chart already also gives me hope for the future.  All of that said, listening to the 50 songs listed below proves that Pearl Jam are an incredibly vital band and one that I had the pleasure of growing up with.

1. Alive
2. Better Man
3. Rearviewmirror
4. Black
5. Given to Fly
6. Jeremy
7. Even Flow
8. Porch
9. Nothingman
10. Go
11. Once
12. Animal
13. Yellow Ledbetter
14. Spin the Black Circle
15. State of Love and Trust
16. Why Go
17. I Got ID
18. Daughter
19. Nothing As It Seems
20. Light Years
21. Just Breathe
22. Garden
23. Corduroy
24. Thumbing My Way
25. Blood
26. Rats
27. Leash
28. Whipping
29. Glorified G
30. Not for You
31. Brain of J
32. Dissident
33. Hail Hail
34. Off He Goes
35. Insignificance
36. Last Exit
37. Release
38. Do the Evolution
39. Lightning Bolt
40. Getaway
41. Save You
42. Thin Air
43. Habit
44. WMA
45. Deep
46. Who You Are
47. Life Wasted
48. Got Some
49. Last Kiss
50. Alone

By Era
Ten 13
Vs 10
Vitalogy 7
No Code 4
Yield 3
Binaural 4
Riot Act 2
Pearl Jam 1
Backspacer 2
Lightning Bolt 2
Other 2

By Songwriter (Music only)
Vedder/Abbruzzese/Ament/Gossard/McCready 16
Vedder 10
Gossard 7
Ament 5
Gossard/Ament 2
McCready 2
McCready/Ament 2
Covers 1
Gossard/Irons 1
Gossard/Vedder/Ament/McCready 1
McCready/Ament/Cameron/Gossard/Vedder 1
Vedder/Gossard/Ament/McCready/Krusen 1
Vedder/McCready/Gossard 1

or alternatively

Eddie Vedder 14.2
Stone Gossard 12.7
Jeff Ament 10.9
Mike McCready 7.2
Dave Abbruzzese 3.2
Covers 1
Jack Irons 0.5
Dave Krusen 0.2
Matt Cameron 0.2

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