Monday, March 2, 2015

The 15 Best Pearl Jam Songs

Pearl Jam ‘best of’ lists are typically weighted towards the front-end of the career. Certainly when I saw them at the Big Day Out last year the crowd reacted more strongly to their early stuff. To some extent this is a bit unfair on their later work, which is generally quite respectable. On the other hand if it wasn’t for ‘Ten’ and ‘Vs’ selling millions, would only a few people have cared about those later albums?

On re-listening to Pearl Jam’s work I gained a greater appreciation for two of their mid-‘90s albums that did not necessarily get the warmest reaction when they were first released – ‘Vitalogy’ and ‘No Code’. I remember these being considered by critics and fans as slightly disappointing after the mega-success of ‘Ten’ and ‘Vs’, and being less inclined when I was younger to question the prevailing opinion I only ever owned and really listened to those first two albums. ‘Vitalogy’ was considered too weird, and ‘No Code’ not anthemic enough. ‘Vitalogy’ now though stands to me revealed as probably the best Pearl Jam album, while ‘No Code’ stacks up well against their most famous work.

Having listened again to their catalogue, these would be my 15 favourites:   

1.      Corduroy – now held in a lot higher regard than being just the eighth track on ‘Vitalogy’
2.      Rearviewmirror – ‘Vs’ was the first CD I ever got, and I played this over and over
3.      Last Exit – fantastic opening to ‘Vitalogy’
4.      Black – ‘Black’, ‘Alive’, and ‘Jeremy’ have lost some lustre from repeated listens, but I can’t drop ‘Black’ lower than this
5.      Smile
6.      Alive
7.      I Got Id – oh yeah, I had forgotten about this one, as it is not on any of their albums proper; actually until a day ago I still thought it was called ‘Merkin Ball’
8.      Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town – the track buried near the end of ‘Vs’ that everyone collectively decided that they really liked
9.      Given To Fly
10.  Jeremy
11.  Oceans
12.  Go
13.  Betterman – oh I guess it is in the best 15
14.  Yellow Ledbetter
15.  Light Years
86. Last Kiss
Other lists of the best Pearl Jam songs:

Triple M
Crave Online

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