Pearl Jam: 10 of the Best
The best Pearl Jam songs are drawn from a career that began as one of the hardest rocking bands of the early ’90s grunge scene, but have evolved dramatically over time.
Pearl Jam have announced a massive UK Tour and in expectation of some huge nights ahead we celebrate Pearl Jam by taking a look in the rearview mirror at some of the great work the band has done with this list of the 10 Best Pearl Jam Songs:
10. ‘Siren‘ This velvet-grunge ballad – the second single from their latest album Lightning Bolt – ascends fragilely as Eddie Vedder evokes the way love lingers as a relationship fades. “I study your face and the fear goes away”.
9. ‘Even Flow’ The driving guitars, the familiar Jeff Ament bass pluck at the beginning and Vedder’s somewhat difficult to decipher lyrics all made this into one of the band’s most beloved and memorable tracks.
8. ‘Better Man’ Though it didn’t appear until Pearl Jam’s third album, ‘Better Man’ was actually penned by Vedder in his teens. The singer pulled from his own experiences with his stepfather while writing the track. The song begins with Vedder’s solitary strumming, but eventually turns into a melodically rocking track about a woman settling in life for the presumed betterment of her family.
7. ‘The Fixer’ Pearl Jam was in need of a creative rebound in 2009 and ‘The Fixer’ provided it in a big way. Ironically, the track focuses on the desire to fix situations in life. The infectiously catchy riff that drives the track started from drummer Matt Cameron, with the band as a whole taking on a more collaborative approach to the song and their ‘Backspacer’ album.
6. ‘Rearviewmirror’ One of the standout tracks from the band’s sophomore set, ‘Vs.’ The track starts with a repetitive bass line that’s only enhanced as the guitars are added, but it’s Vedder’s emotional abandon that really drives the song.
5. ‘Given to Fly’ Pearl Jam offer a not-so-subtle nod to Led Zeppelin.
4. “Jeremy” Perhaps the most controversial Pearl Jam song, “Jeremy” is about a student who shot himself in front of his class mates. Vedder spotted the story in the corner of a newspaper and wanted to give it some significance.
3. “Alive” Another story about discovering your father isn’t biologically related, though this one is a fictional mini-opera about incest and crime which plays out across the songs “Once” and “Footsteps.”
2. “Yellow Ledbetter” B-sides don’t often go on to be more popular than their A-side, but that’s exactly what happened after “Yellow Ledbetter” first appeared on the “Jeremy” single. The fans adore it, and it eventually went from mainstream radio to the charts.
1. “Black” The record label knew it would be a hit, but the band refused to release “Black” as a single And yet, as with “Yellow Ledbetter,” the song found its way onto the charts anyway. It has one of the great sing-along melodies in rock, and today, it’s the best Pearl Jam song of all time.
Tickets for Pearl Jam’s UK Tour go on sale Friday 20 December 2013. Buy Pearl Jam tickets on Eventim
What do you think of our choices? Would you rank these Pearl Jam songs differently? Let us know in the comments.