Woke up at 4am this morning and for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking about Pearl Jam. It had to do with an article I read about Cameron Crowe’s documentary about them called “Pearl Jam Twenty”. I just couldn’t shake it off me – Pearl Jam is now twenty years old. Just, wow.
I first discovered Pearl Jam when I was around 18. I saw their now iconic videos for “Evenflow” and “Alive”, which I happen to videotape on Betamax. I was instantly hooked. I couldn’t wait to go home from school so I could watch those videos – much like how it is when we have new cassettes/vinyls/CDs of newly discovered artists. There’s just something about them that’s refreshing and raw. And Eddie Vedder’s now famous growl and snarl just struck me (in a good way). Mind you, this was the very early 90’s when rock and roll singers still did their best (or bad in some cases) impressions of Robert Plant’s high-pitched wails. Eddie had a growl…and he’s not even in a thrash/hardcore band. And the lyrics, how fragmented and incomplete they seem, yet so comfortable. Those were words I could have written.
Then it finally arrived, their debut album “Ten” became available in my country (late from the rest of the world as always). And I ate up that record everyday, every guitar nuance, every breathing, every sigh that was recorded I consumed. The height of my love affair with this band reached its zenith when they came to Manila around 1995 during their “Vitalogy” tour. And as bonus, they had Mudhoney in tow. That was a night I would never forget.
Now, twenty years after and their songs are still significant. Twenty years is a long time for a band. Twenty years is a long time for almost anything. Just to put things in perspective: I am now more than twice my age when “Ten” first came out. Another way of seeing that span: someone born on that day would now be older than I was when “Ten” was released.
I’m glad Pearl Jam is still around. I no longer listen to them as much as I did during my youth. But it’s a nice feeling knowing that some people are still making worthwhile music.