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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Hail Hail
PostPosted: Tue June 18, 2013 1:17 am 
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This is probably my favorite rocker in the catalog, with Nothingman as my ballad of choice.

The way the riff grinds along so purposefully during the song really reinforces the lyrics for me, which by themselves already produce a very clear message. The bridge is what really ties is all together for me though. The feeling of vulnerability it gives the song is what makes Hail, Hail one of their great songs instead of just a really good one.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Hail Hail
PostPosted: Tue June 18, 2013 3:08 am 
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The sometimes--->hail hail transition makes a lot of sense to me. As stip says, "It is trying to understand, rationalize, and justify love rather than experience it." The song is in many ways "more cerebral than passionate," but at root it's passionate: "I don't wanna think, I wanna feel." The thinking is infused by that passion. And it emerges from a peaceful and reflective song, as a passionate desire might emerge from a period of reflection (whether you're trying to find what's missing or what has you feeling uneasy or something else). The burst of the Hail Hail's guitars is like the explosion of a thought that won't go away.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Hail Hail
PostPosted: Tue June 18, 2013 3:23 am 
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VinylGuy wrote:
Hail, Hail might be one of my favorite songs from them..It took me a while to like it, and the lyrics made so much sense to me these last couple of years. Im really thankful for some of the lines..these two parts being incredible:

Swore I'd love you till the day I die, ah and beyond...
Are we going to the same place? If so, can I come?

That right there is the feeling of someone who is being left alone and just dont want to face the reality now. He still thinks in that vow he made, he believes in it, and for that reason he is still waiting for the other person to point the new direction.

Sometimes realize, I could only be as good as you'll let me
Are you woman enough to be my man?
Bandaged hand in hand

Fuck, the first line is incredible...sometimes we play a part in relationships, and its really really difficult to be something else because of the part the other has given to us.


Great song.

Well written and great observation. I feel that Hail Hail is the initial realization that Ed's marriage isn't what he wants or needs, nor is it healthy for him as an individual. The line (Sometimes realize, I could only be as good as you'll let me) is probably the most nakedly honest line from Ed in the whole catalogue. Various sources seen to indicate that Beth was rather opinionated and Ed seemed to appease her. (MAN ITS HARD TO TIPPY TOE AROUND THIS SHIT).

As I've written elsewhere I hear that Hail Hail is part of a trilogy of breakup (Hail Hail>Wishlist>Parting Ways) though Vinylguy thought U was the 2nd act. (http://archive.theskyiscrape.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=44560&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&sid=e3e51516fcbb3f1bad451befa163a866&start=180


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Tue June 18, 2013 2:14 pm 
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Who You Are

Who You Are is messy, uncertain, sloppy, playful, but committed, and in that respect is a pretty strong first single for No Code, a record about those first messy, uncertain, sloppy, playful, and committed attempts to not just pose questions but find answers. It is also a song that embraces its flaws and imperfections, and so closes out that early run of songs approaching the same theme from different angles (which I think is probably the most interesting part of the record, if not necessarily my favorite collection of songs).

Musically this is a song that seems to struggle to find itself, has some success, and then loses itself again without every actually slowing down. This used to annoy me when I was looking for Pearl Jam to offer something tighter and more definitive (which I suppose I still am), but this song, more than anything on No Code, has grown on me over the years as I’ve come to place less of an emphasis in my own life on answers and more on the process of finding them and the messy context in which that happens.

Regardless, Who You Are is closer to Sometimes than Hail Hail in that the music echoes the journey of the song rather than standing in contrast to it. We start with the sound of a song mid swing, but all its component parts coming from different places, looking to see where and how they fit in with each other. They finally come together in a vaguely eastern, vaguely spiritual backdrop, but disrupted by the slightly jarring main riff--sort of like someone has some unformed idea of what enlightenment looks like, but is too full of nervous energy to sit still and give it structure. Although it is subtle it is Jeff’s heartbeat bass and the handclaps that form the heart of the music for me, which create the feel of a journey people are taking together even though this, like sometimes, is a song for the self. The multi tracked vocals sound like a proliferation of voices coalescing into one. And during the climax and outro the song disintegrates back into its component parts without ever losing the memory of what it briefly was.

So what about the message behind that music? Who You Are, like Sometimes and Hail Hail, is a song about accepting limitations, but Who You Are is the most inward looking of the three. Sometimes asks you to come to grips with a world you can’t change--your own powerlessness. Hail Hail is about finding meaning in ties that bind us to other people. Who You Are is simply about loving yourself for yourself. There are times the sentiment is a bit awkward. This is not Eddie’s finest lyrical hour, and is one of the more clumsy songs on the record. But it is also important to judge a song by its context, and since Who You Are celebrates our flaws, this hardly needs a Leonard Cohen level of profundity in order to work. It just needs a self-aware sincerity that can laugh at itself.

I won’t dwell too long on the stuff that doesn’t work. I can’t decide if the hamfisted opening lyrics are intentionally crafted that way or not. But there is some nice stuff in here once you get past that. Most of the lyrics are about travel and movement (take me for a ride, driving winds, off the track in the mud, stop lights, etc) and while I like the distant soaring urgency in the ‘take me for a ride/just a little time before we leave’ lines the most the trampled moss image works best--calling to mind a solitary journey dark quiet places along paths well traveled, which is in part the point. When you are following where others have been it is not a journey you need to take alone, and the song tries to pull the subject out of itself--as if halfway through the journey a guide shows up to take you the rest of the way. The ‘can’t defend fucked up man’ lyric is nothing special, but the idea is important. You can’t defend them, but the point of the song is that you don’t have to. You just have to accept them.

There is a lightness and humor to this song that I would have liked to see them run with a bit more, as No Code occasionally starts to stumble under its own weight (I think Backspacer will strike a better balance, although many will obviously think it tips too far in the other direction), in particular the ‘that’s the moss in the aforementioned verse’ bit of stage direction narration towards the end of the second verse. I probably hated that 15 years ago when i was still committed to the idea that serious ideas could only be addressed in all caps.

In the end Who You Are reminds us that we’re making it all up as we go along, but we’re not making it up alone, and if you accept that you may not always know your lines, or execute them well, or that they may not even be appropriate for the story you’re telling--if you understand all that you’ll enjoy the ride a whole lot more.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Tue June 18, 2013 2:51 pm 
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i love who you are
not that i was anywhere close to losing interest in PJ at the time, but damn did it hook me right back in


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Tue June 18, 2013 2:58 pm 
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I didn't really "get" this song until the Greatest Hits compilation. Before then it just got lost between the other songs on No Code. Now I love it. I especially enjoy how playful the music is.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Wed June 19, 2013 12:51 am 
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This song definitely strikes me as being the first time that PJ are actually having fun and goofing off on record. I mentioned it before about Ed's vocals on this record, but we're three songs into the album and he has yet to break into the trademark Vedder Scream, pretty much the main thing he was known for besides the fact that he was a baritone. Even on Hail Hail, a song which a year or two before No Code Eddie likely would have growled all over, he never breaks. It's striking how conscious a choice that is, now that we have No Code in it's context compared to what came before and after.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Wed June 19, 2013 1:13 am 
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I never really thought much about its absence until you pointed it out, but I wonder if that's part of the reason why Lukin and Habit stick out so much

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Wed June 19, 2013 1:27 am 
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It was such a bold move for them to release Who you are as single at the time...and yeah, Ed has yet to sing like he used to in this album. As for the song itself, i began to appreciate it with time, at first i didnt quite liked it due to my limitations as a listener rathen than anything else. I never paid attention to the lyrics because, for a weird reason, i dont need to..the music is quiet and warm and the foolness of it just brings me there.
I love the feeling, the bass, those weird guitars and pianos...the hidden gems that are everywhere makes this song so much valuable. And of course, the mighty Jack.

Ed should consider to make a solo album with him.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Wed June 19, 2013 1:55 am 
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come to send -- not condescend
transcendental consequence

is to transcend where we are

who are we???
who we are...


seriously

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Wed June 19, 2013 1:57 am 
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*toucan sam


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Wed June 19, 2013 6:23 am 
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"Who You Are" is a wonderful curiosity of a song that's been served well by its relative rarity over the years. It's easy to posit the theory that losing Jack took away the rumble the song needed, but since that hasn't stopped them from playing "In My Tree" or "Given to Fly," I work it out in my head that there must be something sacrosanct about it, some philosophical reason why they've basically left it untouched since the No Code tour (barring a few performances in 1998 and 2008). It's almost unquestionably the song with the biggest discrepancy between the attention it's been given by the band and its significance in the band's catalog. Every year it gets ignored in concert, its place on "No Code" feels more special, like a valuable book you don't want to take off the shelf for fear of getting fingerprints on it.

Unlike "Hail Hail," analysis of this song's lyrics don't amount to much for me. Part of that comes from the almost childlike, music-lesson shape of the melody, which basically just sounds like a scale tutorial--the lyrics are no more important to me than "do re mi fa so la ti do." Not to say little snippets of phrase don't jump out at you, but to me this isn't a song that sinks or swims on the strength of what it has to say. Instead, it exists at this weird little juncture between meathead simplicity and enigmatic charm--the galloping little trifle that the biggest band in the world had the gall to assume might be a hit single. It's one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Wed June 19, 2013 2:57 pm 
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Kevin Davis wrote:
Part of that comes from the almost childlike, music-lesson shape of the melody, which basically just sounds like a scale tutorial--the lyrics are no more important to me than "do re mi fa so la ti do." Not to say little snippets of phrase don't jump out at you, but to me this isn't a song that sinks or swims on the strength of what it has to say. Instead, it exists at this weird little juncture between meathead simplicity and enigmatic charm--the galloping little trifle that the biggest band in the world had the gall to assume might be a hit single. It's one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs.


Having continued to enjoy popularity following Vitalogy, this was their successful attempt at reducing their fanbase and popularity - alongside the lack of touring. Who You Are sounds like it was put together quickly - the riff as noted is just the first three notes of a major scale and then back down again, the vocal melody follows the riff and the drum pattern is a repeated part of a Max Roach drum solo - it sounds like something that they would use to warm up and perhaps it has that memory for them of tranquility, which I don't think translates to an arena. Like Thumbing My Way Eddie always changes the register of the melody to try and take it somewhere different when it is performed live - which is fine but it shows that he doesn't feel that the song as recorded is suitable.

I still love the song, mainly to do with the feel of it and associations I have with the song at the time the record came out. It's also only the second song to be based on a drum pattern (after WMA) and I'm not sure there are any others so that makes it unique.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Wed June 19, 2013 4:20 pm 
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I adore this song.

The lyrics are more cornball than outright bad. It either feels like a first draft never revised, or an attempt to make it seem that way, like the singer is just improvising with the music.

In many ways, "Stop light plays it's part, so I would say you've got a part," is the quintessential Eddie Vedder lyric. It's a very pure distillation of his philosophy and while there's a weird stoner's veneer of truth to it, you can also kind of see that these are the deep thoughts of a high school drop out. But a gifted one. It's all there.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Wed June 19, 2013 4:36 pm 
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Kevin Davis wrote:
"Who You Are" is a wonderful curiosity of a song that's been served well by its relative rarity over the years. It's easy to posit the theory that losing Jack took away the rumble the song needed, but since that hasn't stopped them from playing "In My Tree" or "Given to Fly," I work it out in my head that there must be something sacrosanct about it, some philosophical reason why they've basically left it untouched since the No Code tour (barring a few performances in 1998 and 2008). It's almost unquestionably the song with the biggest discrepancy between the attention it's been given by the band and its significance in the band's catalog. Every year it gets ignored in concert, its place on "No Code" feels more special, like a valuable book you don't want to take off the shelf for fear of getting fingerprints on it.

Unlike "Hail Hail," analysis of this song's lyrics don't amount to much for me. Part of that comes from the almost childlike, music-lesson shape of the melody, which basically just sounds like a scale tutorial--the lyrics are no more important to me than "do re mi fa so la ti do." Not to say little snippets of phrase don't jump out at you, but to me this isn't a song that sinks or swims on the strength of what it has to say. Instead, it exists at this weird little juncture between meathead simplicity and enigmatic charm--the galloping little trifle that the biggest band in the world had the gall to assume might be a hit single. It's one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs.

You're turning me on, KD.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Wed June 19, 2013 4:44 pm 
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Kevin Davis wrote:
the galloping little trifle that the biggest band in the world had the gall to assume might be a hit single.


I enjoyed and agreed with much of your post. But, I don't agree with this part. They, or at least Ed pursuaded them to, release Who You Are as a way to keep the audience down.

If they wanted to go after a lead hit single, then Hail, Hail would have been a more obvious choice.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Wed June 19, 2013 6:10 pm 
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It's weird seeing this in the Pit. If we start making Play ------- @ Wrigley threads, I won't know where I am.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Wed June 19, 2013 8:22 pm 
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daft twat wrote:
It's weird seeing this in the Pit. If we start making Play ------- @ Wrigley threads, I won't know where I am.


oh yeah please dont be like those guys right? right??

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Wed June 19, 2013 8:27 pm 
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people are posting stips stuff in the pit?


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Who You Are
PostPosted: Wed June 19, 2013 11:04 pm 
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chud reposted the binaural thread and the ones I've done since then (vs, backspacer, and now this) I also post at the pit a few days behind here.

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