« Previous | Next »

I Don't Get Pearl Jam

I have never understood the allure of the band that calls itself Pearl Jam. I didn't get it in the 90s, I didn't get it in the 00s, and I still don't get it. Nothing they have ever done or performed has ever "reached" me.

Besides the pose, the look, the stance, the sound, what exactly is Pearl Jam? I've never heard any *music* there, just guys doing the Pearl Jam act. I have tried numerous times to listen to their allegedly best albums, and I come away thinking, after 40 minutes of listening (if I can last with it playing that long), when does the music start, as in a kid in a car asking, "are we there yet?" Because I don't ever get "there" with Pearl Jam. I mean, never.

And then they occasionally will do a Who cover song and I'm like, no, you are Pearl Jam, you made a conscious choice years ago to be Pearl Jam and because of that decision, one you have to live with forever and ever, you can't pull off a Who song, you are nowhere near The Who's caliber nor do you sound like The Who nor play like The Who nor bring any new meaning, perspective, or insight to Who music, nor possess any of the visceral raw power of The Who. For Pearl Jam to cover The Who feels pointless and offensive.

Pearl Jam is like a big con: here, America, come fill this stadium and listen to sound that appears to be Rock but has no authenticity or soul what-so-ever. Pearl Jam is no different than most product that passes for country music these days, in that regard. It's just an act, and the public is fooled by it, but money is being made, and it will continue as long as money is being made.

In 2011, Rolling Stone did a poll, asking readers to rate "the best songs ever" by Pearl Jam. I've listened to these songs, all the way to number one, and I'm like, yeah that is Pearl Jam, but, like, these are the best? I still don't hear any music there, nothing that moves me in the slightest. The thing that strikes me listening to Pearl Jam is its resemblance to what passes for Top 40 country today. Same soul-less emptiness, nothing there to relate to. Imagine if U2 had no good songs, but still went out and did its stadium act, and everyone was ooh ahh and cheering. That's Pearl Jam. A band without a single good song, and yet everyone pretends they're great.

« Previous | Next »


What I'm Up To (Now)

Me Elsewhere

My Book (learn more)

The Friendly Orange Glow: The Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture, by Brian Dear
Twitter Feed