Saturday, December 18, 2010

Song of the week: Pearl Jam's "Come Back"

Pearl Jam has been one of my two favorite bands for a while. I put their 8th studio release, a self-titled album, as my #1 album of the decade last year. Pearl Jam has some of the bands best material, especially when it comes to the rockers. Eddie Vedder was writing with the memory of his recently departed friend Johnny Ramone in his head and the thought of the world he's bringing his newborn daughter into, and the first half of the album really has an almost breathless sense of punk and rock energy. Tighter as a band than ever, they go through weightier songs about the War in Iraq ("World Wide Suicide" and "Army Reserve") and religion ("Marker in the Sand"), but also don't forget to have fun, since they also include "Big Wave", Vedder's tribute to his favorite past time, surfing. To me it's unquestionably their best album, and I still stand by its #1 ranking on my top ten list of the decade.

But my favorite song on the album is the emotional plea "Come Back", a very basic song about a guy who's lost someone, I get the feeling from death, and just wants them back. The ballads on Pearl Jam's albums are often their best material, giving Eddie's voice a chance to show it has more than just rock power, it has a striking vulnerability when he wants to show it. When he says "Please say that if you hadn't have gone, I wouldn't have lost you another way. From wherever you are, come back" you can feel his hurt and loss and when he ends with "Come back, I'll be here" in that great booming voice, I can't help but be moved by the desperate begging in his voice. It's their most emotional song, and one of their best. And I think it's a great song to show to people who only have an idea of Pearl Jam from "Jeremy" or "Alive" or "Last Kiss" or whatever of their hits.


moviesandsongs365 said...

I quite like "Come back", my favourite eddie vedder songs are acoustic, have you seen the movie "Into the wild" ?

Vedder wrote the whole soundtrack, beautiful. The film wouldn't be the same without those tunes.

Kyle said...

Yeah, great soundtrack on Into the Wild. Kaki King, another favorite artist of mine, also contributed to Vedder's work.