Pearl Jam is number four in the list labeled "Steve's Top 5 Bands." I know a lot of folks who can't stand them and that's fine. Like I have said before the great thing about music is that we all react to it differently be it positively or negatively. Pearl Jam is one of those bands that I admire as well as like. I might not agree with their politics and all that jazz but they walk the walk when it comes to it. I respect that. They are not full of crap so good for them.
Watching the clip here makes me sad I have only seen them once. I was so far away from that show it almost feels like I didn't see them at all so that makes me sadder. I do have a cool blue Pearl Jam t-shirt with a monkey on it so that counts for something. They really get into it on stage and that's cool to watch. I prefer bands to be into what they are doing, to really be feeling it. Oasis, at least for the first two records, were a great band but man they were boring to watch.
I like this song for a couple reasons. First off, it rocks. It's got a killer riff and it gallops along. Second, I love the lyrics. It makes me think of a young Eddie Vedder getting picked on and beat up in school. Then he becomes a rock star and those same assholes who kicked the shit out of him are lifting their beers saying how cool he is and how the music speaks to them and maybe they can get that girl over there drunk and all nail her. These are the same people who would now call him queer and probably again kick the shit out of him if they crossed paths in a bar or on the street. An interesting development: your juvenile tormenters now wearing your t-shirt. (Side note since I mentioned my PJ t-shirt before, I am not one of those t-shirt wearing tormentors. I don't really fall in the tormented category either. I was pretty much ignored in high school).
Maybe the song isn't really about all that. Maybe it's just about fame and dealing with all the complications fame brings. But that is what I think about when I hear it. I read an interview with Seal a long time ago where they asked him why he doesn't put his lyrics on the record sleeve, or in this case I guess the CD insert. He said something along the lines of it being up to the listener to judge what the lyrics are and interpret the song because when they hear it it belongs to them. I like that idea.
And since I was talking about Pearl Jam, here are two pictures I took of Mike McCready and Jeff Ament when I saw them a year ago at The Black Cat here in DC when they did a mini-tour with Dug Pinnick of King's X and the drummer from The Fastbacks as Tres Mts. A fine record in of itself.