Pearl Jam is, if not my complete favorite, one of my favorite artists. They have so many unique qualities about them that provide a Utopia to the ears. Their driving riffs, pounding drums, and lyrical triumph combine into one and you get Pearl Jam. I had originally planned to do 10, but I had to include an extra 5 to make sure certain great tracks still get recognized. Here are what I consider the Top 15 songs of Pearl Jam’s tenure:
15. Do The Evolution
To begin our adventure through Pearl Jam greatness, we look at Do The Evolution. A very interesting track it is, coming off Pearl Jam’s 1998 album Yield. I think this would have been a great track to open the album. It’s weird. It’s fun. It’s controversial. ‘Nuff said.
The first song on the list to submerge from Pearl Jam’s amazing debut album, Ten. To give you a small warning, there will be a LOT of Ten songs on this list. Garden is one of Pearl Jam’s slower songs. It is possibly Pearl Jam’s SMOOTHEST song as well. It starts off with a very smooth guitar riff. The chorus is very powerful, and then backs to the smooth feel from the beginning again. Great track.
Garden is followed up by another track from Ten. Black is also another smooth, slow Pearl Jam song. This is one of few Pearl Jam songs on this list that don’t offer you a great deal as far as instruments go. Basic parts mainly, with some interesting guitar hooks. But that doesn’t matter. Pearl Jam is able to make this song electrifying, the same way Garden is. It connects to your brain with its driving vocal chorus and smooth bridges.
This is probably the second or third Pearl Jam song I ever heard. Back when I was a kid and did not know which bands did which songs, I heard this one frequently on the radio. So it reminds me of my childhood, just riding down the road listening to a daunting, Pearl Jam romantic tragedy.
11. The Fixer
Backspacer is an awesome album. Do not allow the fact that only two Backspacer songs are included in this list give you the idea that it isn’t. The Fixer is a very good lead single for the album. It supplies a catching guitar hook and drum track. The listener is even able to feel the soul of Pearl Jam’s music in this piece as it crunches its way into their ears. When something’s broke, everyone wants to put a little fixing on it.
I will cut the ribbon on the top ten with a song from Ten. Once is, in my honest opinion, the PERFECT song to open the album and in a certain aspect, Pearl Jam’s career. Reviewing this article in the upcoming year’s, I might be upset at not putting this song at a more respectable position. It is one of the band’s most underrated songs. I just enjoy this song so much. The lyrics are also very important for those that pay attention to Eddie Vedder’s story, as it preceeds the events in “Alive” and then “Footsteps.
9. Yellow Ledbetter
It really is difficult for me to put this song ahead of Once. I wish I could give them a tie really, but I don’t want to do that. The one aspect that pushes this song into the ninth spot on my list is the guitar solo. If I was making a list of Pearl Jam solos, this would be in contention for #1. It’s just soooo good.
8. Just Breathe
My favorite song from Backspacer. If you listen closely and thoroughly to Pearl Jam’s library, you will notice that they do not do many love songs. I am proud of that for two specific reasons. They do not wear out the love song category, and secondly when they put out a love song it is so heartwarming and touching. Looking at this track at 8 on any list makes me feel a little uneasy. So you know the following 7 tracks have to be completely earth shattering.
The second most underrated song on this list. I love the opening guitar riff! It forces a smile on my face just hearing the track burst open into life. The phrase “A dissident, a dissident is here,” gives me goosebumps. A slow, but not necessarily smooth song, this track makes me want to listen to more and more Pearl Jam.
Approaching the top 5, you might have expected this song a little later on. Yes, it is amazing. It is used too much? Probably. But 6 is still a good spot on this collection of grunge goodness. Jeremy is arguably the most lyrically tense and polished output in Pearl Jam’s career. A story about a boy that doesn’t socialize, gets angry, and eventually takes his own life. A very powerful song, and one of the band’s most recognized and praised. I might have said it was used too much, but it deserves 95% of the praise that it receives.
Ah, man. Entering the Top 5. Daughter, by itself, is one track that makes Vs. a good album. I get irritated by the multitude of everyday people saying Ten was good but they didn’t do anything after. This song is so well polished, lyrically and musically, that when combined with the other tracks (including Dissident), Vs. is a superb attempt as well.
4. State of Love and Trust
State of Love and Trust kinda feels like an outcast song to me. It is so frequently overlooked, making me say its also the most underrated on this list. But not only due to these qualities did I put it at #4. The forcing guitar riff and smooth solos coexist so well with the verses and chorus. Great, great track.
3. Last Kiss
Twelve down, three to go. Last Kiss is probably the first Pearl Jam song I ever heard. Yes, it is also probably the most heard Pearl Jam song. But I don’t care. It is still amazing. One of the saddest songs I know of, it holds a special place in the music portion of my heart.
2. Even Flow
The song that inspired me to listen to more Pearl Jam and eventually become a huge fan, clocks in at #2. This song even led me to the song you will find here in a minute at #1. I love the lyrics. The story of a homeless man finding refuge, is inspiring and interesting. I also enjoy the guitar solo and basically all of the song’s instrumental pieces. I have to thank Guitar Hero 3 for showing me this track. I played the game and ran upon Even Flow. Afterwards, I HAD to know more about Pearl Jam. I then discovered that Betterman and Last Kiss, two songs I had known forever, were Pearl Jam songs. So Pearl Jam has 3 songs THAT good?! They must be an excellent band. So I head out to the store and pick up their greatest hits collection, rearviewmirror...
I add rearviewmirror to my iPod and am soon pleased to discover my #1 Pearl Jam song of ALL TIME…
There is so much to be said about Alive. It tells so much about Eddie Vedder and really defines Pearl Jam as a group. Throughout their career, they have faced many hardships. They have had tangles with Ticketmaster, critics, and the media. However, the band is still alive. Along with these aspects, the song is also a great representative for anyone that has been through a hard time. I myself know how this feels. It is a good song to just crank up when you are down and realize, “I’m still alive.” Sure, the remainder of the song’s lyrics are personal to Eddie, but it still fits. I would also like to add that the solo is an extra soul to the song. It pushes the song to its almost 6 minute point. Not a second of this song is wasted. Every second makes you crave the next. And when combining these reasons, I find Alive to the be the greatest Pearl Jam song of all time.
What did you think about my list? Hate it? Love it? Comment and tell me what your opinions are.