Listful Thinking: Top 5 Pearl Jam Songs

Grunge Week at Blinded By Sound, Vol 5: Pearl Jam
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Pearl Jam was easily the most difficult band to condense to five songs owing to the fact they have easily the deepest discography of the Seattle bands. They went through a succession of drummers and had some bumps along the way but never disbanded and rarely took extended breaks. Pearl Jam remained the top musical priority of the four founding members who remain at the band's core.

Because this was such a difficult list to compile, I expect to get CRUSHED by Pearl Jam fans for the songs I selected and those I didn't. Similar to what I said with my Tears For Fears edition, these are the five I'm choosing today. I could edit and re-edit this list every day and come up with a different quintet but this is what I'm going with so bring your slings and arrows.

  • State Of Love And Trust: This has been a favorite of mine since the day I bought the Singles soundtrack and has stayed with me since 1994. I love the way Vedder seems at times like he's about to come unhinged, I love the way he sings, "I'll do this one myself," and the harmonies where used. This is also a bad, bad riff and while I'm not a huge McCready fan, this is one of his favorite solos.
  • Nothingman: I remember the moment this song really hit me. It's 1996-97 and I'm in a pizza place outside Denver with my then girlfriend and this gets played from the jukebox. It's good it struck a nerve then because I would soon feel like a "Nothingman" and would be back in Alabama for good. I can't possibly quantify just how much this song has meant on many dark nights of the soul. There were nights I felt so alone that even singing in past tense, as he does here, that "She once believed in every story she had to tell" sounded like a place I wanted to be. It's a sad place to be when being dumped feels better than being alone. It's a dark state of mind to not see those two things are one in the same. I suppose it's knowing you had that connection, even if it didn't last. Fast forward a couple decades and those feelings are still shadowboxing with me.
  • Come Back: I loved Eddie's vocal on this long before his words took on a profound resonance in my present tense. He searches and soars, yearns and aches, all the while trying to reassure himself. I love McCready's tone and phrasing on the solo here.
  • Nothing As It Seems: I liked this when it first came out but it has grown on me in the years since. Vedder is so good when he sings in that lower register. The feeling of being disoriented and the way he describes it in the lyrics has always stood out for me. I seem to like this song the more frequently I hear it. It also can't be coincidence that many of my favorite PJ songs are ones where I like McCready's work and this is another of those.
  • Release: I could do a Top 5 from Ten and leave omit classic songs which is why I'm not too worried about the reaction to my choice of "Release."