A Famous Poet Once Wrote: The Times They Are A-Changin'
By Shelly Keidar
We are living in one of the strangest periods in history. Most of us are at home, working limited hours, trying to find creative ways to entertain our kids without breaking quarantine rules. So we thought we’d get together a list of 20 Pearl Jam songs that relate to this situation, one way or another. This way, you can take some time for yourself, and listen to your favorite band. And if they’re not? Well, they will be after these!
1. Oceans – Personally this is one of my favorites, and it has this meditative quality to it – when closing my eyes and playing this, I can totally imagine myself drinking a beer on a beach somewhere (preferably San-Diego, but let’s not be too greedy). It really calms you down and allows you to start your day properly.
2. Long Road – A small piece of philosophy, this one talks about our common faith, reminding us we are all in the same situation. It speaks of the continuum of life, how time passes and we are walking the same path together. A perfect fit for Corona times!
3. Just Breathe – Eddie expresses his thanks for everything he has, his loved ones, and apologizes to them if he did not express his feelings enough or if he took them for granted. We all do that, but this time is an opportunity to approach our dearest and tell them how much they mean to us.
4. Sirens – I know this one may come off as cheesy, but think about it – so is “Black”, and it is one of their greatest songs. I love the way the song describes life so accurately – it is fragile, love, relationships – we need to work to get them to last. And…we need to be grateful for what we do have.
5. I’m Open – Sometimes, you just have to let go. Realize that not everything is under your control. I love how Eddie describes the process of becoming an adult, “trading magic for fact, no tradebacks”. Any other choice we have?
Quarantine Overdose Songs
6. Do the Evolution – This one is painfully true, from start to finish. We humans are supposedly evolutionarily advanced, but in fact, we are much worse than animals, treating the planet like a playground (or a trash can, take your pick), admiring money, condescending over others…not too high in the evolutionary ladder, if you ask me. P.S. the video still scares the s*** out of me!
7. Glorified G – And so, there are those who lost it and they are sure the world is coming to an end. What does that have anything to do with the right to bear a weapon? Zilch. But they believe in god! Good luck convincing them otherwise.
8. In My Tree – I’m no drummer, but boy this is a drummin’ masterpiece!! It gives me the urge to escape somewhere, and totally fits with the quarantine, if it can be fulfilled by building a treehouse. Just like in kids’ movies, there is something about watching things happen from above, which allows you to step away from the situation and judge it better.
9. Garden – This haunting song sounds to me like it is about someone looking for refuge after being beaten at a battle. They hope to find some peace of mind and comfort after being wounded, and I love its sound.
10. Dance of the Clairvoyants – I can’t say I had the chance to listen to Gigaton with the attention it deserves yet, but when this first single came out, I was all over it. I kind of hoped the boys would make an entire pop album, influenced or similar to Arcade Fire (this was my first association). The lyrics of every day looking like the previous one strangely came true in the past month or so…
11. Wishlist – It seems like in our daily lives, we always want more of everything: more money, more property (you probably know “society” from Into the Wild soundtrack), more love, more food, more alcohol, more followers, more of everything. I think it is safe to say that recently our wishlist has narrowed down to: stay healthy.
Getting out of Quarantine Songs
12. Given to Fly – There are a LOT of theories as to what the song is about, but anyone will agree it is about someone who doesn’t give up, no matter what they’re going through. “He still stands”.
13. Hail Hail – No code is my #1 PJ album, but I never really saw this song as what it is: a game of push and pull within a relationship. In a good relationship, it is not always clear who is leading who, who is stronger, who is more in control. In current times when quarantine forces us to be confined with our loved ones, everything is amplified, for better or worse.
Midnight till Sunrise
15. Light Years – All logic falls apart in this song, kind of like a house of cards. Nothing makes sense anymore and we cannot get our heads around what is going on (sounds familiar?). Faraway lovers reflect their light upon each other, and this song contains one of the most beautiful lyrics ever written: “We were but stones; Your light made us stars”. Classic tattoo material.
16. Off he Goes – This is quite the gem. A quiet, almost hidden song about true friendship that is stronger than everything that happens around it. I visualize Eddie helping a close friend, who’s fighting his demons, anxieties, problems, and trying to make it easier on him. I know I am lucky to have a handful of these people in my life. I truly hope the feeling is mutual.
17. Release – Originally a song about a father-son relationship, this is a classic show opener, but can also fit for those magical hours just before the sun rises and colors the sky with purple and pink hues. Look for the live Verona version from 2006. It will bring you to tears.
18. Indifference – So, when all approaches and strategies fail, we can always fall into the worst of feelings – not feeling at all. Although it mentions the morning, this is definitely a song to be played in total darkness (or at least by candle-light, just watch out for your arms). For the faint-hearted, this is a real downer, but Eddie’s singing here is visceral.
Post Corona Songs
19. Bugs / Rats – Remember the opening scene of Terminator II, when a robot leg crashes a human skull? This is my imagination of the day after the human race ceases to exist: bugs take over the planet.
20. Elderly Woman Behind a Counter in a Small Town – “I seem to recognize your face”, the poet/surfer sings, and the true question is: will we be able to recognize ourselves after this is over? Will intimacy be the same? Will we, are we able, to be kinder to each other and stop focusing on things that don’t really matter?