Sunday, 17 April 2011

Report Card - Pearl Jam, pt. 1 (1991 - 1995)



So, it was pointed out to me that I've been slack with putting out an edition of an old feature, Report Card! For those new readers that are asking, "qua?" the Report Card focuses on one artist, group or band and highlights their entire singles discography, awarding them a grade for both song and video. At the end, an overall grade is assigned and trust me, this is one subject you don't want to fail. Luckily, failure is not an option for the band we'll be looking at today... Pearl Jam! The request for the Jam was sent in by regular reader and all-round awesome person, Rayna, so if you're a fan of grunge's greatest act, you have her to thank. Of course life is never easy when you want to do one of these posts. Despite PJ's excellence, they weren't a big fan of the music video after the overwhelming success that was 'Jeremy,' so the majority of tracks will be based on song alone. These songs alone are still generally better than what passes off as rock music today, so whatever, yeah? What else... well, Pearl Jam's released a lot of material in the past twenty years, so we're going to be breaking this up into two parts. Today we'll be looking at the earlier music, from 1991 to 1995, with part two giving us, well, everything else. Alright, dust off your flannel shirts, don't do (or cut) your hair and get ready to move from side to side in a totally apathetic, yet non-emo, manner. That's right, we're getting our grunge on, kids!


PEARL JAM


Alive (1991)




As far as a debut song goes, this was a strong choice to introduce the world to Pearl Jam. Every element that separates Pearl Jam from their contemporaries is present; Vedder's distinct vocals, a powerful story and some sweet guitar riffs. What of the video? Well... they all look really young?


Song: A
Video: C


Even Flow (1992)
 




How do you follow-up a groundbreaking debut? With an even better second single. Duh. Unfortunately, due to issues with the original video, Pearl Jam released another performance video which doesn't do 'Even Flow' justice.


Song: A+
Video: D


Jeremy (1992)




If you read the Top 100 Music Videos post, you'd know that I'm a massive fan of the clip for 'Jeremy,' which placed at #8. It will go down as one of the greatest videos of all time and there really is no other Pearl Jam video that can compare to how good 'Jeremy' is. You'd already know that there's another intense story here, this time dealing with the true story of a boy who shot himself in front of his classmates.


Song: A+
Video: A+

Oceans (1992)





I'm not going to lie... I've never really gotten into 'Oceans.' Every now and then it's a good listen but it doesn't have me reaching for the replay button. Maybe it's because I can't surf. And I mean can't surf.


Song: B-
Video: C+

Black (1993)




Amazing song, incredible lyrics... this is good music right here. Literally one of the greatest songs of all time. If only there had been a video.


Song: A+


Crazy Mary (1993)




Not an official single, but it did chart in America. Definitely the best cover that Pearl Jam have ever done (yes, it's better than 'Last Kiss').


Song: A+


Go (1993)





Song: A-

Daughter (1993)




I swear, Eddie Vedder is like a musical social worker.


Song: A+


Animal (1994)




Get your rage on! 'Animal' somehow works, despite the quiet vocals and misheard lyrics. It works so well that it's probably one of Pearl Jam's funnest songs.


Song: A


Dissident (1994)




Song: B


Spin the Black Circle (1994)




Song: A-


Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (1994)




'Elderly Woman' really cements Vedder's legacy as a master storyteller. This song is beautiful, it's sad... it makes you think of all the times you wish things had worked out differently. I actually get a little emotional just thinking about this song. 'Hearts and thoughts they fade, fade away.'


Song: A+


Yellow Ledbetter (1994)




How weird would it be to not hear 'Yellow Ledbetter' played last at Pearl Jam concert?


Song: A


Not For You (1995)




'Not For You' can leave you feeling surprisingly chilled considering it's practically a massive FU to the concert industry. This one's currently on repeat in the car.


Song: A+


Immortality (1995)




No, it's not about Kurt Cobain.


Song: B+


Better Man (1995)




Pub-rock standard, karaoke classic. What more could you want?


Song: A+


Corduroy (1995)




Song: A


MID-TERM GRADE:
A+


So the early years were amazing... can they keep their grade average up next time? We'll find out soon enough. 

1 comment:

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