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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Mankind
PostPosted: Mon July 08, 2013 6:22 pm 
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digster wrote:
Maybe I framed it wrong; I feel a strong cohesiveness across a wide variety of sounds on Binaural, but because I'd rank it above No Code in that regard doesn't mean the latter has anything wrong with it.

Plus, if there's an album someone likes better, in terms of the quality of the songs, I feel like cohesiveness will come much more naturally and easily. For example, I find Backspacer to be one of the more disjointed records the band has done, but I'm sure my opinion on the song quality impacts that feeling.

Completely agree.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Mankind
PostPosted: Sun July 14, 2013 9:08 pm 
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I’m Open

If mankind represents a cynical dead end (why bother caring), I’m Open is a reprise of the deep, raw longing that lies beneath most of the songs on this record, closer to the surface some places, hidden others, but always present. No answers here, but we do have a palpable need for them, and a willingness to make yourself open to them, to strip yourself of your past regrets, the surrounding bullshit, the past you carry, and actually seek them out.

Musically I’m Open creates the same hazy dream space as Present Tense and Sometimes, although this feels a bit darker and heavier, beautiful, but with something stifling underneath it that needs to be let go. Songs like Sometimes, Present Tense, and Who You Are are clearly further along the road to self-discovery, have uncovered more of the code, than has happened here. Having said that, the music does lighten during the chorus (during the ‘come in’s’, especially, where the music slowly, gently ascends ), as if the healing has begun.

Eddie’s voice has its customary deep richness, but spoken word is rarely when he is at his best--the music in his voice is diminished. It’s too bad, as it results in a deeply personal song losing some of its intimacy, and comes across as a bit heavy handed (especially given the I AM NOW THINKING BIG THOUGHTS feel to the music, which lacks the subtlety of other songs on the record). it also draws extra attention to the lyrics, which may be the point.

Lyrically there are some nice moments here, but it does border on overwrought at times. They address a deep disenchantment with the world, the replacement of magic for fact, a world where everything is what it is, and we are bound to what it’s in front of us. You can’t dream in a world like that, let alone move beyond it. The singer feels trapped, innocence long abandoned (a call back to In My Tree).

However, through nothing more than force of will, a willingness to open up (open up to what we don’t quite find out yet) and let go, the singer prepares himself to reenchant his world, to look for places to let the magic back in. What he imagines we don’t discover in the song, although we’ve been offered glimpses throughout the album. We may get the clearest picture in Around the Bend .

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Mankind
PostPosted: Mon July 15, 2013 12:09 am 
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stip wrote:
I’m Open

If mankind represents a cynical dead end (why bother caring), I’m Open is a reprise of the deep, raw longing that lies beneath most of the songs on this record, closer to the surface some places, hidden others, but always present. No answers here, but we do have a palpable need for them, and a willingness to make yourself open to them, to strip yourself of your past regrets, the surrounding bullshit, the past you carry, and actually seek them out.

Musically I’m Open creates the same hazy dream space as Present Tense and Sometimes, although this feels a bit darker and heavier, beautiful, but with something stifling underneath it that needs to be let go. Songs like Sometimes, Present Tense, and Who You Are are clearly further along the road to self-discovery, have uncovered more of the code, than has happened here. Having said that, the music does lighten during the chorus (during the ‘come in’s’, especially, where the music slowly, gently ascends ), as if the healing has begun.

Eddie’s voice has its customary deep richness, but spoken word is rarely when he is at his best--the music in his voice is diminished. It’s too bad, as it results in a deeply personal song losing some of its intimacy, and comes across as a bit heavy handed (especially given the I AM NOW THINKING BIG THOUGHTS feel to the music, which lacks the subtlety of other songs on the record). it also draws extra attention to the lyrics, which may be the point.

Lyrically there are some nice moments here, but it does border on overwrought at times. They address a deep disenchantment with the world, the replacement of magic for fact, a world where everything is what it is, and we are bound to what it’s in front of us. You can’t dream in a world like that, let alone move beyond it. The singer feels trapped, innocence long abandoned (a call back to In My Tree).

However, through nothing more than force of will, a willingness to open up (open up to what we don’t quite find out yet) and let go, the singer prepares himself to reenchant his world, to look for places to let the magic back in. What he imagines we don’t discover in the song, although we’ve been offered glimpses throughout the album. We may get the clearest picture in Around the Bend .


i miss this experiments they used to make around those records...musically its a really nice piece, and shows how good they are at these things..most of his peers couldnt make a song like this.

I really like Ed`s lyrics in this one, i wish they sometime played this song proper live.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: I'm Open
PostPosted: Mon July 22, 2013 8:37 am 
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I'd like an instrumental version of this. The lyrics are too heavy handed at times and wreck it for me. But the music creates a great atmosphere.

Is this an extension of the Red Mosquito event?


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: I'm Open
PostPosted: Mon July 22, 2013 10:56 am 
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interesting thought. I'd say no if only because the Red Mosquito song is so full of regret, but I can see this is a different telling of the same story.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: I'm Open
PostPosted: Mon July 22, 2013 11:18 am 
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might as well finish this

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: I'm Open
PostPosted: Mon July 22, 2013 11:18 am 
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Around the Bend

Although songs like In My Tree, Present Tense, and Sometimes may feel like they are the core of the album--the key moments with the take away insights, I think it is probably Hail Hail, Smile, and Around the Bend where we learn the most important lessons, and where our ability to make peace with imperfection while striving for something better is showcased best. As is almost always the case with Pearl Jam’s music, salvation is found through other people, leraning to open yourself up to them, accepting their imperfections, and letting them heal you. They make us whole. Oddly enough, for a band that doesn’t write too many love songs, almost every Pearl Jam song is, at base, a love song--a celebration of or longing for it.

Around the Bend is no different, and offers the clearest insight into what gets let in during I’m Open. If I’m Open looks for a way for an adult to recapture the magic the world strips away from us, Around the Bend tells us we can most easily rediscover it within family, within the people we love enough to make ourselves open to, vulnerable--the people who come to mean more to us then we mean to ourselves. Forgiving yourself for your transgressions, the peace you can make with yourself, doesn’t make the world magic for you, but it lets you find magic in other people, and perhaps see the magic in yourself reflected in them.

This was a song that took me a long time to come around to--probably not until I had a child. I have an appreciation for the gentle peacefulness, the longing for it, the awareness of its fragility, the way the music captures the way time freezes a particular moment and keeps you there even though the rest of the world is still moving past. How each day lasts forever and passes so quickly. Most of the time you’re aware only of the grind, but the moments where you can live in the stillness are magical, and the music captures that. It captures the aspirational warmth, the desire to keep everything perfect for the person in front of you--the need to make the world a better place, for all its flaws, because there is someone in your life who deserves better.

Eddie’s vocals linger on each word, in no hurry to move on, grateful for the chance to be here. It’s an understated performance, but more realistic for it. These are quiet feelings and honest enough to not require much dressing up. In a lot of ways this is one of the more genuine sounding song in the catalog---which is only amplified by the heart on sleeve earnestness of I’m Open and the dismissiveness of Mankind.

It is also worth noting that the other songs about relationships with others (Smile, Hail hail) are loud, the tenderness in them roughed up a bit by the music. Around the Bend, with the focus on parent and child, is much softer, more intimate, because the parent/child relationship in many ways obliterates (for the parent) the distinction between self and other. And because they are unified the music lacks the opposition present in the other songs.

I do not have much to add regarding the lyrics that I didn’t say above. There are few memorable lines here, but together they describe the experience of watching your child (or anyone you care deeply for) sleep, thankful for the moments you have, praying that the world becomes worthy of them, and vowing that no matter what, you make yourself worthy of them too.

And that’s what the album is about. If we learn to forgive ourselves we can start to become the person our loved ones deserve. If we make our peace with the world we can make the most of the time we have with them. There may not be a grand unifying theory of everything--there may not be one answer to everything that is wrong with the world, and ourselves, But there is this, and it is enough.

***

As a postscript, I think No Code was one of the more ambitious albums they had done to date. Making peace is a lot harder than making war. There is a lot on here that is tentative, and the album has always felt disjointed to me--perhaps the pieces all fit together, but there isn’t a particularly satisfying rhyme or reason to how they are arranged. Still, that may also be what gives the album its heart and its charm, and it may be what so many fans find compelling about it. These are the first tentative steps down a new road, the first stabs at finding safe passage through difficult spaces, and beginnings are imperfect. We stumble. We double back. But the important thing is that the journey has begun.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Around the Bend
PostPosted: Mon July 22, 2013 12:37 pm 
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i love this song, its so nice and soothing to me, i used to listened to it most nights before going to sleep just because it was such a nice peaceful thing to hear before bed.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Around the Bend
PostPosted: Mon July 22, 2013 1:06 pm 
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Needless to say, I love this song. It's not one that I actively seek out when I'm in the mood for PJ, but if it comes up randomly in the rotation, I find myself repeating it often. A close friend of mine just had a baby and holding her really put the song in perspective for me. Great write up, too, stip. :thumbsup:


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Around the Bend
PostPosted: Tue July 23, 2013 1:11 am 
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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Around the Bend
PostPosted: Tue July 23, 2013 5:52 am 
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Beautiful write up Stip. I'd never given Around The Bend enough attention (as I end the album at PT). When my son was born I returned to ATB but it wasn't how I felt. It was more like a 45min version of Lukin followed by ATB. Finally life is like ATBend and it is now appreciated as it is. A beautiful ode to a beautiful moment.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Around the Bend
PostPosted: Fri July 26, 2013 1:59 am 
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Around the bend is one of those rare PJ songs i dont need to hear often, but its perfect for what it is; a calm, genuine
lullaby, that can also be read as a weird love obsession type of song.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Around the Bend
PostPosted: Fri July 26, 2013 9:31 am 
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i was humming this to my daughter tonight when I rocked her to sleep for the first time

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Around the Bend
PostPosted: Fri July 26, 2013 10:46 am 
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stip wrote:
i was humming this to my daughter tonight when I rocked her to sleep for the first time

Hope everyone is well, dude. Enjoy those moments.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Present Tense
PostPosted: Thu August 15, 2013 12:01 pm 
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Sgt. Crackpot wrote:
Sometimes those little imperfections are what give an album that little extra character. I often hear minor playing and mixing flaws in a lot of albums (not just PJ), and most of the time it doesn't bother me. It shows they're human.

I hate hearing an over polished, 'perfected' protools piece of shit music, because it usually sounds soulless.


Imperfections are fine - I'm referring to a distracting fade in and out of Mike's guitar channel which is a post-production mistake/choice rather than an instrumental one.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Lukin
PostPosted: Thu August 15, 2013 12:05 pm 
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stip wrote:

Lukin


Like Habit, this was one of the first songs written for No Code, and while it does not really fit in with the rest of the record, it may very well have inspired it. Lukin is a musical tantrum.. Maybe the song was meant to be a primal scream--a kind of stress relief. But if so it is inadequate, and points to the need for something a bit deeper, more substantive, more permanent.

The song feels vaguely claustrophobic, like walls are closing in with a deceptive speed (the siren accents are distant and gentle, and gives you a sensation in the back of your mind like the rest of the song isn’t as frenetic as it actually is). Eddie’s shrieking vocals are hard to listen to. Angry, but there is a ‘woe is me’ feel to them that is a bit of a turn off. As with Habit it’s the lack of empathy that makes it difficult to relate. This is one man’s private hell.

The lyrics match the claustrophobic sentiment. The verses describe an intense feeling of alienation--you get the feeling that the worst part about losing your keys is that it is going to force you to spend time around people that are alien to you, that judge you, that want something from you. An invasive intimacy. Like a virus. Stopping off at a friend’s for a beer doesn’t make the rest of the world any less relentless, and as soon as he leaves things just got worse.

We’ve all had days where we felt like that. But this doesn’t just seem to be about a bad day. It feels more like a ground state--and an unsustainable one at that. In that respect Lukin poses the problem the rest of No Code attempts to solve, and Present Tense may very well be the most efficient summation of the insights the album offers.


Certainly not just about a bad day...the narrator gets shot!

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Around the Bend
PostPosted: Sat August 17, 2013 1:52 pm 
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Scanning through these essays... do you guys have day jobs?

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Around the Bend
PostPosted: Sat August 17, 2013 1:54 pm 
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Lounge Lizard wrote:
Scanning through these essays... do you guys have day jobs?

Most of us used to.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Around the Bend
PostPosted: Mon August 19, 2013 3:21 am 
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Lounge Lizard wrote:
Scanning through these essays... do you guys have day jobs?

I have a lot of downtime in the summer

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Around the Bend
PostPosted: Mon August 19, 2013 3:25 am 
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Lounge Lizard wrote:
Scanning through these essays... do you guys have day jobs?

Listen bub, you make time for the shit that matters.


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