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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 1:59 pm 
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The riff is dumbdumb simple. The band does some nice interplay around it, though.

Life Wasted is an otherwise middle tier song that suffers badly for two things:

1. Being played in a key where, in order to lean upwards the way he wanted to, Ed ended up with a whiny sounding, paper thin tone.

2. A brutally boring chorus. It's not a melody (or a lyric) that benefits from trying to pretend that it's an anthem. Maybe if they had done more exploration around that stop-start interplay in the intro, here, they could have given it a swaggering self-satisfied kind of sound. Like a good feeling, I guess. But going big and fist shaking just does not do it any favors.

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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 2:46 pm 
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I agree the range Eddie is forced to sing in is not necessarily doing him any favors. It's not really until Mind Your Manners that I think they figured out how Eddie should sound on these kinds of songs.

I really like that chorus. It's catchy and simple, and while it's delivered with passion there's a welcome simplicity to it given the frantic feel of the rest of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 3:35 pm 
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I don't know that I'd classify Mike only playing half the riff while Stone plays the whole thing as "weirdness" -- more like a noble attempt to take advantage of a dual guitar setup despite there not really being much different for a second guitar to do. I've always found that element of the arrangement cumbersome and ill-executed -- it doesn't add any dynamic, it just sounds like they're trying to needlessly complicate something simple.

I like the song, and agree that it rises, falls, and coasts in a way that is more dynamic than the theoretical AC/DC song Stone compares it to, but nothing about it strikes me as "weird."


Last edited by Kevin Davis on Tue May 03, 2016 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 3:52 pm 
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However they achieve it, or whatever you want to call it, there's a stuttering uncertain quality to the way it is executed, like it's tripping over its own feet trying to get going, that I think fits the song really well and I find compelling, rather than cumbersome. That's probably the last word I'd use, actually (well, not the last) since it's always felt like a song that is surprisingly light and limber on its feet, despite the heavier feel.

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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 3:52 pm 
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I mean this may well be a top 10 song for me, so it's doing something right.

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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 4:05 pm 
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It does a lot of things right! I just don't think that particular touch is very effective, nor do I think there's anything really out of the ordinary about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 4:18 pm 
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stip wrote:
However they achieve it, or whatever you want to call it, there's a stuttering uncertain quality to the way it is executed, like it's tripping over its own feet trying to get going, that I think fits the song really well and I find compelling, rather than cumbersome. That's probably the last word I'd use, actually (well, not the last) since it's always felt like a song that is surprisingly light and limber on its feet, despite the heavier feel.

I think the most obvious weirdness is that both chords of the main riff blast through your speakers on an upbeat rather than a downbeat.


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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 4:30 pm 
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tragabigzanda wrote:
stip wrote:
However they achieve it, or whatever you want to call it, there's a stuttering uncertain quality to the way it is executed, like it's tripping over its own feet trying to get going, that I think fits the song really well and I find compelling, rather than cumbersome. That's probably the last word I'd use, actually (well, not the last) since it's always felt like a song that is surprisingly light and limber on its feet, despite the heavier feel.

I think the most obvious weirdness is that both chords of the main riff blast through your speakers on an upbeat rather than a downbeat.

Yeah, I do like that. It gives it a small dose of Rolling Stones, and that serves it well. Would that this band had more of that.

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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 4:33 pm 
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McParadigm wrote:
tragabigzanda wrote:
stip wrote:
However they achieve it, or whatever you want to call it, there's a stuttering uncertain quality to the way it is executed, like it's tripping over its own feet trying to get going, that I think fits the song really well and I find compelling, rather than cumbersome. That's probably the last word I'd use, actually (well, not the last) since it's always felt like a song that is surprisingly light and limber on its feet, despite the heavier feel.

I think the most obvious weirdness is that both chords of the main riff blast through your speakers on an upbeat rather than a downbeat.

Yeah, I do like that. It gives it a small dose of Rolling Stones, and that serves it well. Would that this band had more of that.


Matt, Stone, and Jeff need to write the next album together in a vacuum. Then let Ed and Mike fit their parts in after the rhythm tracks have been sorted out.


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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 4:41 pm 
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tragabigzanda wrote:
McParadigm wrote:
tragabigzanda wrote:
stip wrote:
However they achieve it, or whatever you want to call it, there's a stuttering uncertain quality to the way it is executed, like it's tripping over its own feet trying to get going, that I think fits the song really well and I find compelling, rather than cumbersome. That's probably the last word I'd use, actually (well, not the last) since it's always felt like a song that is surprisingly light and limber on its feet, despite the heavier feel.

I think the most obvious weirdness is that both chords of the main riff blast through your speakers on an upbeat rather than a downbeat.

Yeah, I do like that. It gives it a small dose of Rolling Stones, and that serves it well. Would that this band had more of that.


Matt, Stone, and Jeff need to write the next album together in a vacuum. Then let Ed and Mike fit their parts in after the rhythm tracks have been sorted out.


Didn't they initially do that for Backspacer up at Jeff's place in MT?


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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 4:42 pm 
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EJ wrote:
tragabigzanda wrote:
McParadigm wrote:
tragabigzanda wrote:
stip wrote:
However they achieve it, or whatever you want to call it, there's a stuttering uncertain quality to the way it is executed, like it's tripping over its own feet trying to get going, that I think fits the song really well and I find compelling, rather than cumbersome. That's probably the last word I'd use, actually (well, not the last) since it's always felt like a song that is surprisingly light and limber on its feet, despite the heavier feel.

I think the most obvious weirdness is that both chords of the main riff blast through your speakers on an upbeat rather than a downbeat.

Yeah, I do like that. It gives it a small dose of Rolling Stones, and that serves it well. Would that this band had more of that.


Matt, Stone, and Jeff need to write the next album together in a vacuum. Then let Ed and Mike fit their parts in after the rhythm tracks have been sorted out.


Didn't they initially do that for Backspacer up at Jeff's place in MT?


Ugh, forget my idea then.


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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 5:02 pm 
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EJ wrote:
tragabigzanda wrote:
McParadigm wrote:
tragabigzanda wrote:
stip wrote:
However they achieve it, or whatever you want to call it, there's a stuttering uncertain quality to the way it is executed, like it's tripping over its own feet trying to get going, that I think fits the song really well and I find compelling, rather than cumbersome. That's probably the last word I'd use, actually (well, not the last) since it's always felt like a song that is surprisingly light and limber on its feet, despite the heavier feel.

I think the most obvious weirdness is that both chords of the main riff blast through your speakers on an upbeat rather than a downbeat.

Yeah, I do like that. It gives it a small dose of Rolling Stones, and that serves it well. Would that this band had more of that.


Matt, Stone, and Jeff need to write the next album together in a vacuum. Then let Ed and Mike fit their parts in after the rhythm tracks have been sorted out.


Didn't they initially do that for Backspacer up at Jeff's place in MT?

There isn't a lot of Keith Richards in them anyways, and the whole "everyone demos complete songs" thing just strips it further into singer-songwriter directness, but my guess is the final step to it becoming a dull streamlined rock record is when Ed picks his choices from the always-described "30 or 40 ideas" they start with. How many variations have we heard of "if Ed doesn't feel it, it goes."

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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 9:13 pm 
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McParadigm wrote:
EJ wrote:
tragabigzanda wrote:
McParadigm wrote:
tragabigzanda wrote:
stip wrote:
However they achieve it, or whatever you want to call it, there's a stuttering uncertain quality to the way it is executed, like it's tripping over its own feet trying to get going, that I think fits the song really well and I find compelling, rather than cumbersome. That's probably the last word I'd use, actually (well, not the last) since it's always felt like a song that is surprisingly light and limber on its feet, despite the heavier feel.

I think the most obvious weirdness is that both chords of the main riff blast through your speakers on an upbeat rather than a downbeat.

Yeah, I do like that. It gives it a small dose of Rolling Stones, and that serves it well. Would that this band had more of that.


Matt, Stone, and Jeff need to write the next album together in a vacuum. Then let Ed and Mike fit their parts in after the rhythm tracks have been sorted out.


Didn't they initially do that for Backspacer up at Jeff's place in MT?

There isn't a lot of Keith Richards in them anyways, and the whole "everyone demos complete songs" thing just strips it further into singer-songwriter directness, but my guess is the final step to it becoming a dull streamlined rock record is when Ed picks his choices from the always-described "30 or 40 ideas" they start with. How many variations have we heard of "if Ed doesn't feel it, it goes."

What is the alternative (at this point)? Force Ed to write lyrics and melody to songs he doesn't feel, achieving results that people will detest anyway.
Besides what we heard of their ideas isn't exactly exiting. It's just different kinds of mediocre that variously appeal to people based on their taste rather than those ideas being particularly promising on their own.


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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 10:18 pm 
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Mine wrote:
McParadigm wrote:
EJ wrote:
tragabigzanda wrote:
McParadigm wrote:
tragabigzanda wrote:
stip wrote:
However they achieve it, or whatever you want to call it, there's a stuttering uncertain quality to the way it is executed, like it's tripping over its own feet trying to get going, that I think fits the song really well and I find compelling, rather than cumbersome. That's probably the last word I'd use, actually (well, not the last) since it's always felt like a song that is surprisingly light and limber on its feet, despite the heavier feel.

I think the most obvious weirdness is that both chords of the main riff blast through your speakers on an upbeat rather than a downbeat.

Yeah, I do like that. It gives it a small dose of Rolling Stones, and that serves it well. Would that this band had more of that.


Matt, Stone, and Jeff need to write the next album together in a vacuum. Then let Ed and Mike fit their parts in after the rhythm tracks have been sorted out.


Didn't they initially do that for Backspacer up at Jeff's place in MT?

There isn't a lot of Keith Richards in them anyways, and the whole "everyone demos complete songs" thing just strips it further into singer-songwriter directness, but my guess is the final step to it becoming a dull streamlined rock record is when Ed picks his choices from the always-described "30 or 40 ideas" they start with. How many variations have we heard of "if Ed doesn't feel it, it goes."

What is the alternative (at this point)? Force Ed to write lyrics and melody to songs he doesn't feel, achieving results that people will detest anyway.
Besides what we heard of their ideas isn't exactly exiting. It's just different kinds of mediocre that variously appeal to people based on their taste rather than those ideas being particularly promising on their own.


The Backspacer argument is sound, but follow my train of thought: Jeff has been writing consistently interesting music for his solo/side-project stuff throughout the PRAMG; Matt has consistently written some of the best PRAMG material; and Stone has historically contributed a lot of great riffs (Amongst the Waves notwithstanding). But yea, "Ed needs to feel it" is the ultimate truth here, and I think he's not getting out of the Cat Stevens/Bruce Springsteen zone any time soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 11:00 pm 
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michael stipe played the exact same function in REM until the end. its why they have almost no bsides. lots if ideas, but stipe determined what became a song.

i dont think this is a process issue as much as it is just not liking what is currently influencing Ed

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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 11:40 pm 
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Hopefully it's just a matter of wanting to do songs that the whole band is on board with, and Ed simply being the final step in the process when the songs are being made from the ground up. Otherwise it seems like a ludicrous practice.


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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 11:49 pm 
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i love the final jam of Life Wasted...its amazing.

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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 1:29 am 
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This album sounds pretty damn good to me after 10 years. The production issues are wildly overstated. Just my opinion. Haters gonna hate.

I still refuse to call it Avocado though!


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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 2:11 am 
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stip wrote:
michael stipe played the exact same function in REM until the end. its why they have almost no bsides. lots if ideas, but stipe determined what became a song.

i dont think this is a process issue as much as it is just not liking what is currently influencing Ed


Agreed. I don't think it's particularly a process thing, cause they're not doing anything that different from most other rock bands. Band members demo up material and bring it into the group. And with the type of songs PJ writes (overall, they're relatively straightforward rock songs), the melody writer/singer just has an outsized influence (like Stipe). So Ed has a bigger influence on the songs just by the nature of the role he plays, and if he's not up to par the music's going to suffer. I don't know if there's a magic fix to that kind of issue.


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 Post subject: Re: Pearl Jam (self titled): Official Album Thread
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 2:57 am 
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Relevant to the current discussion, from a 2011 interview with Ed (in regard to writing for the then untitled Lightning Bolt):

Ed Vedder wrote:
The way we write as a group, we all bring songs in and invariably in the past it would take a lot of time to get things right. Now I jump on things immediately. The band will have a piece of music with no lyrics, and now it has to be a knockout in the first round. The ones that go 15 rounds, they become harder to appreciate, because you only remember the battle after they’re done. If you can get in there right away, you capture something in those first 15 minutes. That’s the way it seems to be working best for us.

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