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Rate Dissident
5 stars 21%  21%  [ 6 ]
4 stars 46%  46%  [ 13 ]
3 stars 18%  18%  [ 5 ]
2 stars 11%  11%  [ 3 ]
1 star 4%  4%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 28
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 Post subject: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Fri December 28, 2012 4:50 pm 
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old thread archived here

slh619 wrote:
This is an interesting song. Perhaps there are personal hidden references in it, but it seems to be a song that involves a kind of storytelling that Pearl Jam has seldom done. It’s a fictional narrative. Eddie’s songwriting at the time was purposefully obscure, so it’s difficult to trace more than a basic sketch. I’m going to go ahead and fill in the details with my version of the story. I hope that you will find it entertaining.

She found him alone, hurt, fleeing from the state and brought him into her house. She was unsure, but he needed her.

"What to say...what to say"

She was frightened, and soon she had reason to be frightened not only of getting caught by the authorities, but of his sexual advances.

Finally, “At a quarter past...a holy no...,”

it was all too much to take. And “She had to turn around. When she couldn't hold, oh...she folded...." She alerted the authorities that a “dissident is here.” Since “Escape is never the safest path,” she turned him in to save his life, or so she tells herself.

But this act of betrayal left her disconsolate.

"And to this day, she's glided on
Always home but so far away
Like a word misplaced
Nothing said, what a waste"

She’s never said a word, never reflected on her decision, but the meaning has slowly drained from her life. For her, escape hasn’t been the safest path either.

I like the approach, but in order for this type of song to be fully engaging, a level of detail is required that Eddie was not open to attempting. He does, however, deliver a chilling vocal performance that almost fills in the gaps.

There is also a lot to like about the music. The riff is truly sensuous, and the guitar tone evokes the sound of saxophone leads from 1940’s spy thrillers. The bridge is dramatic, made especially so by Eddie’s faint, haunting vocalizations in the background. The drama and momentum in the chorus pivots around the line “She had to turn around,” and the vocal itself turns around a single note.

My main criticisms of the song are a lack of lyrical detail and a melody that is less than compelling. Still this song can be a very enjoyable listen, and there are some very good live performances. 3 stars.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Wed July 31, 2013 9:00 pm 
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I was listening to MTV Unplugged the other day and I completely forgot about that little improv part where they started playing Dissident :shock:

Is it just me or does this song sound amazing when it's all acoustic? You can hear that guitar riff much better and for the first time I realized just how freaking sweet it is. I've always been a little "meh" with Dissident but now I'm really wishing I could hear a full acoustic version.


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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Wed July 31, 2013 9:29 pm 
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A song that has grown on me over the years. The opening riff and the vocals near the end are spectacular. solid 7.5/10


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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Wed July 31, 2013 9:38 pm 
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Where in the unplugged do they play dissident?


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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Wed July 31, 2013 9:56 pm 
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stupidmop wrote:
Where in the unplugged do they play dissident?


I think it's in the uncut video with the timestamp.


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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Wed July 31, 2013 10:28 pm 
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I voted 3 stars because this is the single most played out song in the catalog. Probably deserves a 4. If pearl jam has a single 'generic' song (in that it is basically a template for so many others' I'd say it is dissident

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Wed July 31, 2013 10:42 pm 
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Despite being on an album of absolute blinders, this is somehow my favorite of the lot.


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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Wed July 31, 2013 10:45 pm 
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For the past several years, it seems like every time I decide to put on Vs. for a start-to-finish listen I always forget that this song exists and am momentarily taken aback when it appears in between Glorified G and W.M.A.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Wed July 31, 2013 11:32 pm 
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I voted 2 stars but that might be a little harsh. 3 just seemed too much. This song bores the shit out of me.


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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Wed July 31, 2013 11:35 pm 
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I do not like this song. There's something about that riff that i hate, i don't know that it's cheesy but it's always sounded very american to me. And even i don't really know what i mean when i say that.


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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Thu August 01, 2013 12:02 am 
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I like the guitars in the verses but the loud lead is abrasive. I used to love this song. It's roots slowly rotted.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Thu August 01, 2013 5:07 am 
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I love how the song fits in the album and I really like the song. I always listen to it when I play the album from start to end, but for some reason when it comes up randomly, I tend to skip it. Not sure why. It's almost like I hear the entire song the second I hear the first few notes and then I'm satisfied with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Thu August 01, 2013 7:01 am 
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My version of Vs. has this and Glorified G removed. those songs in the middle kill the momentum. Of all the early story songs, this one is weirdest for me. Seems like a totally random thing to sing about. Musically, it veers dangerously into adult contemporary radio.

I'll give it two stars!

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Thu August 01, 2013 9:13 am 
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My problem with Dissident is that it doesn't sound like something young people would sing. Doesn't feel like it fits with the youthfulness of the rest of the stuff. It's not punky, it's not raw, it's not balls to the wall. It's polished, it's traditional, it's tired. It belongs on U2 Pop (you'd need to replace the lyrics, of course, but musically it's right there). It's generic and blends in with the cheesy glam rock we've all long grown to hate by then.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Thu August 01, 2013 12:01 pm 
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I always thought Michael Bolton would do a good cover version of this. The outro would be incredible.

I always thought this was another rape song - after Animal. Soon she was down, soon he was low. A holy no. She had to turn around. The second half is the baby from the incident 'the conflict' which is then offered up for adoption - sold to the state.

I Might Be Wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Thu August 01, 2013 12:25 pm 
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Love this song. 5 stars.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Thu August 01, 2013 1:09 pm 
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Though the poll results say different, I think I'm in RM's vocal minority in thinking this is one of the best songs in PJ's early catalog. The production and arrangement do it a disservice--it has that icky "'80's hangover" sound that was so prevalent in early '90's mainstream rock, where the brawny and dramatic guitars are engaged in this kind of weird tug-of-war with those thunderous, overbearing drums, leaving the finished product in a sort of indistinct limbo somewhere between alt-rock and power ballad. In turn, it wails and thuds where it ought to shimmer. But if you can peel those outer layers away I think "Dissident" is actually a really pretty song with some unusual harmonic turns, a committed and empathetic vocal performance from Eddie, and some of those slightly off-color arpeggios of Stone's that count among the most musically engaging features of early Pearl Jam (think "Garden" or "Release"). Like a lot of early Pearl Jam songs, I'm partial to the way the later-period live versions strip away some of the bombast in favor of a greater attention to the composition; to that end, it wasn't until the 2000 boots that I realized how much I really liked "Dissident." Even still I'd like to hear a quieter, more introspective arrangement of it someday--I think it would reveal nuances in the composition that have always been there but have never really been readily apparent.


Last edited by Kevin Davis on Thu August 01, 2013 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Thu August 01, 2013 1:10 pm 
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I'll still give this one 4 stars. It's not one I seek out, but I do still really enjoy the studio cut. Ed sounds amazing on it. It's classic PJ.

This one gets a lot of heat - mostly attributable to being a logical extension of Ten. It was the song you expected to hear on Vs.


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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Thu August 01, 2013 1:11 pm 
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it was, and it is really good. But for whatever reason I just can't bring myself to care about it anymore. I do occasionally get reminders about why I did, however.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the Moment: Dissident
PostPosted: Thu August 01, 2013 1:12 pm 
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I keep coming into this thread to try and write my opinions of this song, and I can't pin them down. Sometimes I love this song to death, other times it's just *there*. But because it's on Vs., and there isn't a single bad song on Vs., it's gonna get a high score. I just don't know what that score is.

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