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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 5:19 pm 
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durdencommatyler wrote:
stip wrote:
I've wondered about that and it is entirely possible that I am either wrong about Habit (I'll make a similar argument with Lukin in a few days--even mankind) or wrong about the album as a whole. If someone else has a larger meta story that integrates it I'd love to hear it. What do you think?

I don't think pearl jam sits down to write concept albums per se. But I think Eddie tends to really have one big idea in mind (something he's working through at the time) when he writes, and this gets reflected in the album as a whole. I think the albums end up being cohesive without necessarily being planned that way. But there may always be outlier songs written and included that don't fit (which is why retracking threads are interesting to me). I doubt there was a sign in the warehouse that said "No Code is about X and if it doesn't fit that theme we have to cut it from the album"--although they've made that decision before.

When songs don't fit, however, it tends to not be the sound of the song so much as the feel of the song, and so (again I don't think there is necessarily intentionality here) including the songs may be justifiable in terms of the contrast.

I think contrast probably has something to do with it. But also just mental headspace or where a given member is emotionally. Sometimes you just need to get it off your chest, as you know.

No, I don't have a larger meta story for the album. I'm not sure there really is one. But I like the search for one. I'm not saying you're wrong, necessarily. I'm just curious what happens to you and your process when you encounter these "outliers." At some point, at least for me, when I see them, I have to wonder if my initial ideas or concepts are/were accurate.

Also, while I do agree that Ed does tend to circle themes in his mind (especially as he's gotten away from storytelling songs like Jeremy, Small Town and Better Man), we can't just look at Eddie. Buy this point other band members are writing lyrics. So it's not entirely up to him. Or do you imagine Ed and Stone (for example) talked at length about the lyrics to Mankind?


the other writers do complicate things.

And I tend to be reasonably confident in my overall take on the album before I start to write--I listen to it a few times before to get a sense of the whole. But as I go through each song (I never write up more than a song a day) I definitely start to notice things I didn't notice before which often alter, in the details, my overall sense of the album. Connections between hail hail, smile, and around the bend now seem important to me and I never noticed them before. The travel/journey imagery is a lot more striking now that I see it cropping up over and over again.

Certainly if I was drafting this as a formal piece of writing and went back to edit each album after I finished my initial draft a lot would change. Thing would be tighter and more unified, more streamlined, and I'd really have a firmer handle not only on what I think the major themes are, but how they manifest and interact. In my professional writing I draft quick and spent a LOT of time editing and revising. These things certainly suffer for the lack of post drafting attention they get.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 5:26 pm 
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Thanks for the response. So, you're confident then that outliers just exist? You don't usually try to go back (while listening through and formulating your initial ideas) and try to figure out how or indeed IF they aren't outliers at all? Obviously, I'm just talking about posts here, not professional work.

I love hearing how others processes work. It's infinitely interesting and valuable to me. So thanks for taking the time to reply.

For me, I think I'd get caught if I were doing what you're doing. I wouldn't be satisfied with outliers. I'd try to reformulate until I got something that worked. Which is why I tend to fall off these things. Because sometimes, outliers are just outliers. Not everything does necessarily fit. Because they aren't intending or thinking about it in those terms.

Of course, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 5:29 pm 
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Back to Habit, specifically.

The only song I like less in Pearl Jam's catalog (proper: not counting things like Turning Mist or Cready Stomp) is Gods' Dice.

Nothing about Habit works for me. I was hoping you'd provide a larger context for me to view the song; maybe I could find something there. But if you're thesis is correct and this is an outlier, it just seems to support my feeling that nothing about this song ultimately works.

It should have been left off No Code.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 5:32 pm 
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yeah i like it a lot, too. great song.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 5:35 pm 
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:haha:


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 6:16 pm 
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durdencommatyler wrote:
Thanks for the response. So, you're confident then that outliers just exist? You don't usually try to go back (while listening through and formulating your initial ideas) and try to figure out how or indeed IF they aren't outliers at all? Obviously, I'm just talking about posts here, not professional work.

I love hearing how others processes work. It's infinitely interesting and valuable to me. So thanks for taking the time to reply.

For me, I think I'd get caught if I were doing what you're doing. I wouldn't be satisfied with outliers. I'd try to reformulate until I got something that worked. Which is why I tend to fall off these things. Because sometimes, outliers are just outliers. Not everything does necessarily fit. Because they aren't intending or thinking about it in those terms.

Of course, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.


If I dramatically changed my mind mid stream I think I'd go back and, if not rewrite old posts, at least indicate that something had changed. And if I could think of a way to make it all fit together I would. I'm stumped because I can't, and because the outliers often do just feel like that. It's not like Habit felt like a lynchpin track I couldn't get to fit.

It helps that I've been sitting on all this stuff for a long time--so there has been plenty of time to think about the big picture with these albums. I doubt I could write a thread like this two months after a new album. And if I tried the likelihood of me having to go back and revise earlier claims would be much higher.

There are definitely times I will change a particular read on a song based on what people argue or say here, but usually it's not something significant enough to negate what I had already written.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 6:19 pm 
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durdencommatyler wrote:
Back to Habit, specifically.

The only song I like less in Pearl Jam's catalog (proper: not counting things like Turning Mist or Cready Stomp) is Gods' Dice.

Nothing about Habit works for me. I was hoping you'd provide a larger context for me to view the song; maybe I could find something there. But if you're thesis is correct and this is an outlier, it just seems to support my feeling that nothing about this song ultimately works.

It should have been left off No Code.


I do like Habit. I think Eddie sounds horrible and the chorus sucks, but it's a good riff and has a bad ass jam at the end. Musically it's solid. But I agree it doesn't belong here.

I've always felt that no code is probably their most disjointed album. These are early stabs at ideas that will reproduce themselves again and again, usually in a more unified and cohesive fashion, in the later albums. So the way in which Habit doesn't fit makes sense in some ways. No Code is grappling with some new ideas, and there are a lot of kinks here. In a lot of ways the album itself is a bit of a rough draft and isn't going to work.

I don't know how i'd want to retrack it, if at all (in terms of messing around with the order) but I think if I wanted the album to have a clearer statement, rather than feel like a work in progress, I'd cut Habit, Lukin, and Mankind. I wouldn't replace them with any of the b-sides from that era either, except perhaps Hard to Imagine (although it's basically covering the same ground as Red Mosquito)

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 6:26 pm 
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stip wrote:
durdencommatyler wrote:
Thanks for the response. So, you're confident then that outliers just exist? You don't usually try to go back (while listening through and formulating your initial ideas) and try to figure out how or indeed IF they aren't outliers at all? Obviously, I'm just talking about posts here, not professional work.

I love hearing how others processes work. It's infinitely interesting and valuable to me. So thanks for taking the time to reply.

For me, I think I'd get caught if I were doing what you're doing. I wouldn't be satisfied with outliers. I'd try to reformulate until I got something that worked. Which is why I tend to fall off these things. Because sometimes, outliers are just outliers. Not everything does necessarily fit. Because they aren't intending or thinking about it in those terms.

Of course, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.


If I dramatically changed my mind mid stream I think I'd go back and, if not rewrite old posts, at least indicate that something had changed. And if I could think of a way to make it all fit together I would. I'm stumped because I can't, and because the outliers often do just feel like that. It's not like Habit felt like a lynchpin track I couldn't get to fit.

Completely agree.

Just makes we wonder what the band's headspace was at the time. What were the conversations about this track? How do they feel about it?

I remember seeing those early tracklists that had All Night on the album (I can't remember was that in place of Habit or something else?). Why was that dropped? Why did they feel that Habit fit the album more or better than All Night? Similarly, what about Don't Gimme No Lip. Was that one ever a real contender?

But anyway, since so many of the ideas and themes seem to, if not fly, that at least, float in the face of Habit and its message, why is it here if not as a result of pacing or contrast? We aren't there yet, but Lukin makes sense because of the personal nature of the thing, the real life experience and needed to get it out. Maybe there's something of that in Habit as well.

Do we know if there is a specific real life story/component behind Habit? Do we know who it is about, if it is about a real person?


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 6:32 pm 
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I understand that this viewpoint of the album can sound like a copout, but I think No Code's main thematic thread is an uneasy attempt to come to terms with all the shit that was flying around Eddie's head in Vitalogy. It sounds so confusing because they're trying to be happy, or at least gain a foothold, but they don't know how. They get a better grip on the next record.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 6:34 pm 
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With Habit, what always struck me about the vocal on the record was the fact that it was such a raging, screamer of a song but it doesn't really project rage, anger, or even righteousness (despite the lyric pointing in that direction). The vocal sounds frenzied and terrified. I just picture somebody helping their friend go cold turkey, on his fifth cup of coffee and freaking out as the situation slips out of his grasp.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 6:42 pm 
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I'd move Who You Are to the end or near the end. It could be viewed as an answer to the questions and situations in the rest of the album, but its position in the album makes it seem just be another dead end.

I've always viewed the album as a frantic grasping for some way to make sense of the world Eddie found himself in. A way to live. The songs are all over the place because he doesn't know the answer. Its perfectly schizofrenic. Songs about retreating, substance abuse, insanity, hopelessness, longing. Habit fits in perfectly with that.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 6:43 pm 
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digster wrote:
I understand that this viewpoint of the album can sound like a copout, but I think No Code's main thematic thread is an uneasy attempt to come to terms with all the shit that was flying around Eddie's head in Vitalogy. It sounds so confusing because they're trying to be happy, or at least gain a foothold, but they don't know how. They get a better grip on the next record.


agreed

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 6:43 pm 
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or what Digster just said.

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Last edited by BurtReynolds on Thu June 27, 2013 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 6:43 pm 
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digster wrote:
I understand that this viewpoint of the album can sound like a copout, but I think No Code's main thematic thread is an uneasy attempt to come to terms with all the shit that was flying around Eddie's head in Vitalogy. It sounds so confusing because they're trying to be happy, or at least gain a foothold, but they don't know how. They get a better grip on the next record.

Interesting. On its face, I like that. And I think I would agree off the top of my head. But I'll have to give it some thought.

What you're saying here makes sense since there are so many "personal" songs on the record. Sometimes is a prayer/meditation and I think it's Ed really opening up on that one. Smile has a connection to a real person. Red Mosquito is based on/inspired by real events. Lukin is obvious. I'm Open ties in to that as well. As does Around the Bend. Habit may also fit into that idea, if it's really about a specific person.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Pearl Jam (at least Ed) have always written personal songs. That's hardly unique to No Code. But the idea that they're trying to deal, to get through it, makes sense. Especially with all the traveling imagery Stip mentioned.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 6:44 pm 
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BurtReynolds wrote:
I'd move Who You Are to the end or near the end. It could be viewed as an answer to the questions and situations in the rest of the album, but its position in the album makes it seem just be another dead end.

I've always viewed the album as a frantic grasping for some way to make sense of the world Eddie found himself in. A way to live. The songs are all over the place because he doesn't know the answer. Its perfectly schizofrenic. Songs about retreating, substance abuse, insanity, hopelessness, longing. Habit fits in perfectly with that.


that does make sense. If you play up the grasping nature of all this it is easier for Habit to fit in.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 6:45 pm 
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I feel like I'm an idiot for never really noticing the whole "grasping for some way to make sense of the world Eddie found himself in" thing. It's kinda obvious now that we're talking about it.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 6:47 pm 
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It does, although it still feels a bit out of place with the delivery. if you hear it more as judgmental rather than the frantic concern (which makes sense, although I don't think that's what I hear) this fits even better.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 7:14 pm 
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durdencommatyler wrote:
Finally, to me, the "speaking as a child of the 90s" is so tongue in cheek that the tongue gets bitten off and swallowed. I don't think he's pegging himself as a spokeschild of the 90s as much as he's spitting the bitter absurdity of it out of his mouth.


That line has always made me wonder if there's supposed to be a connection between this and Against the 70's, where the only non-Vedder line is Watt saying "Speaking as a child of the 70's." Habit started appearing in the live set right after Ed toured with Mike Watt, right? Is there more to it, or is Ed just thinking he's clever? Is Habit directed to one of the other "all-stars" in Watt's band?

Also, while I don't have my copy next to me, doesn't the polaroid for Habit have the line being "Speaking as someone who will live to see the year 2000"?

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 7:18 pm 
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Lament wrote:
durdencommatyler wrote:
Finally, to me, the "speaking as a child of the 90s" is so tongue in cheek that the tongue gets bitten off and swallowed. I don't think he's pegging himself as a spokeschild of the 90s as much as he's spitting the bitter absurdity of it out of his mouth.


That line has always made me wonder if there's supposed to be a connection between this and Against the 70's, where the only non-Vedder line is Watt saying "Speaking as a child of the 70's." Habit started appearing in the live set right after Ed toured with Mike Watt, right? Is there more to it, or is Ed just thinking he's clever? Is Habit directed to one of the other "all-stars" in Watt's band?

Also, while I don't have my copy next to me, doesn't the polaroid for Habit have the line being "Speaking as someone who will live to see the year 2000"?

Both songs may have a criticism or a sarcastic element to them. Maybe that's the connection Ed wants to draw. Or maybe it's just a weird shout out.

But, yes, the polaroid does have that on it. Maybe that was the original line and Ed did it differently on a take or two.

But it is interesting to note that there is a change.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 7:22 pm 
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Not that any of my last post helps or reveals anything. Just thinking about loud...


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