Sunday, April 16, 2006

Pearl Jam on SNL

Tonight was a historic night. Pearl Jam performed live for the first time since 1998, wow, I can't believe it's been 8 years...What? They've been performing all along, you say? Huh? They've released 2 studio albums (Binaural, 2000, Riot Act, 2002), a rarieties and B-sides album (Lost Dogs, 2003), a live "album" (Live On Two Legs, 1998), a greatest hits record (Rearviewmirror, 2004), and a string of 72 live concert CDs in the last 8 years? REALLY? Huh.

Anyway, I listened to this haggard quintet perform two new songs on tonight's episode of SNL, and I don't remember a single chord, growl, or harmonizing drummer's note. All I kept thinking was, "GEEZ, Vedder, you look O-L-D." I guess that's what happens when you've been in the spotlight for 15 years, well except for that 8 year stretch where we all forgot you existed.

I must admit, though, that after ripping Pearl Jam and sitting thinking about how this album will probably be their last, all I can hear is, "Don't call me daughter, not fit to, the picture kept will remi-i-i-nd me..." over and over and over.

Maybe these bands that do hold a place in our collective memory banks could get press every four or five years to remind people to pull out old albums, re-buy songs that skip from iTunes, or just put one solid album back into the rotation. That would at least keep us from listening to a new, SELF-TITLED, album from a band that's been around since before I could listen to "secular" music.


Tim said...

Yeah. A picture of Rivers every half-decade in SPIN would make me dust of 1994's "Weezer" and that would be better than having to listen to "Bev-er-ly HILLS! That's where I want, to be!"

Samuel Bills said...

What a way to bring in resurrection Sunday. I think they planned it.

danszombathy said...

Pearl Jam

Let me add R.E.M. to that list. Whole albums of crap with one or two listenable songs (usually the singles) since '92 (Automatic for the People?).

Let's throw Foo Fighters on the list, as well as the Cure, and maybe even U2. The humanism ("We can be the generation who ends poverty!" -Bono) of the Atomic Bomb album really came out in their live show, and much of All That You Can't Leave Behind is cheesy. Pop is probably better than most people give it credit for, but still, it's got nothing on the Achtung Baby-Zooropa period.

I read a great editorial in Magnet magazine addressing the crappiness of older rock artist's new albums. Their solution: have our old rockers write for our new rockers! How great would it be to have the Strokes record a new Tom Petty song, or have David Bowie write the new Killers album? I think it sounds like a plan.

Tim said...

Better yet, have the new rockers write for the old rockers...hmmm, maybe not.

I second the thought of having someone else write the next Strokes album...then I don't have to listen to Julian "mature."

JohnLDrury said...


the writing suggestion is a great especially because a lot of these older artists are actually writing good stuff, they just can't perform it with the energy, dexerity, and freshness that they once did.

also, bands need to remember that the great past bands that are the most reverred are the ones that broke up within one decade of their emergence (Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Nirvana as cases in point). The fact of the matter is that the Rolling Stones the Who, and Pearl Jam are as significant and great as their contempories from the first list, but their persistence beyond their classic period does not allow for the necessary buffer to develop a memory of greatness. As long as we have to watch the current Mick Jagger prance around in tight pants, the early Stones will never be taken as seriously as they deserve to be.

JohnLDrury said...

Am I correct in saying that this is their first televised performance since they played "Animal" at the MTV music awards in 1993? Is this a resurrection, or a sign that you can only turn your back on the mainstream for so long until you come crawling back for affirmation. "Please love us again, pretty please!"

Anonymous said...

I couldn't disagree more. The new Pearl Jam cd is amazing. It is refreshing to actually listen to a band with something to say. It's better than all the emo/screamo crap out there, regurgitating the same old lines and the mindless hip hop; talking about their money, cars and women. I agree their sudden love of the mainstream is very lame - but the music is great. You gotta respect a band who can pack out stadiums night after night for well over a decade.


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