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Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder Pens the Lyrics that Fulfill My Soul

Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam

I love Pearl Jam so much that it almost physically hurts me. Eddie and I have a true love that will withstand all time and space. He is my “best friend” in the whole wide world. His lyrics are my mantra in life. The depth of their meaning reaches in all the way to my toes and explodes out of me. Any time I have a problem I cannot solve, I can turn to his lyrics and find the answer. A particularly good one is “In Hiding”. He literally locks himself up in his house for three days and ignores the world. When he reemerges, he realizes that the problems aren’t so bad after all; “It’s all state of mind” and he can go on to solve whatever it was that is bothering him. I can’t usually afford to spend three days, but I can spend a day like that from time to time. Even if the problem isn’t tangible, going “In Hiding” is a good prescription for what ails you

My favorite lyric is from the song “Present Tense” off of No Code. “You can spend your time alone/Redigesting past regrets, oh/Or you can come to terms and realize you’re the only one/Who cannot forgive yourself, oh/Makes much more sense to live in the present tense.” Enough said.

Listen to the lyrics some time. They’re full of gems such as this.

An amazing aspect of Pearl Jam is that the music so perfectly complements the lyrics. The music can be just as moving as the words that are sung to it. In fact, the two must almost coexist in order for the full effect to take place. For example, everyone loves the song “Betterman”. Few people realize, however, that the song came from Eddie’s “Bad Radio” days. Bad Radio was a band that he was in when he lived in CA, long before he met up with the Seattle boys. And they were horrid. The lyrics were fantastic, but the music itself just sucked. I have their demo cd buried in my collection. Thank God Jack Irons was able to connect the man with the lyrics to the group with the music. Such magic is rarely created in bands.

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And sometimes Pearl Jam’s music can outshine the words that are being sung. A classic example is “Yellow Ledbetter”. That song is the only one that is consistently played at every Pearl Jam show. Most of the time it is performed as the last song; sometimes there is one more song after it. Every time Eddie sings it, he makes up new lyrics to the verses. I don’t think I have ever heard the same verse lyrics more than once. And I have been to many concerts and have many more on cd. That song is all about the music. Mike McCready’s brilliant guitar playing frenzies up to the ultimate climax, then he gently brings you back down, leaving you satisfied and spent, and looking forward to the next encounter.

I could probably spend hours talking about Pearl Jam and how wonderful they are and how they shape my very being and have since 1991. I am not who I am without them. Eddie Vedder always talks about how Pete Townsend and The Who saved his life. I like to say that Pearl Jam saved my life. And I know I am not alone.

When Pearl Jam exploded onto the scene in the early 1990s, many of us grabbed hold with both hands for dear life. Eddie was unwillingly thrust into a role that he was not yet ready to play. One of my favorite old quotes of his was “You can’t save someone from drowning when you’re barely treading water yourself.” The beautiful thing that happened was, as we were clinging to him for support, he began to cling to us for support as well. We began a sort of give-and-take relationship. Neither of us would exist without the other. Now he is willing to accept that responsibility. Look at other lyrics and watch the VH1 Storytellers if you don’t believe me.

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So, I am going to close this with the full lyrics to “Save You”, which is on the 2002 release Riot Act. These lyrics were originally written for Mike McCready, who had been going through some tough times. But they can be applied to anyone who has found himself or herself in a relationship with this amazing band.

Gonna save you f***er,….not gonna lose you
Feeling cocky and strong,.. can’t let you go,…
Too important to me

Too important to us,… we’d be lost without you
Baby, let yourself fall,… I’m right below you now

And f*** me if I say something you don’t wanna hear
And f*** if you only hear what you wanna hear
F*** me if I care,… but I’m not leaving here

You helped me when I was down,… I’ll help when you’re down
Why are you hitting yourself?… c’mon hit me instead

Let’s pick up your will,… it’s grown fat and lazy
I’m sympathetic as well,… don’t go on me now

And I’m not living this life without you, I’m selfish and clear
And you’re not leaving here without me, I don’t wanna be without
My best… friend. Wake up, to see you could have it all

Cause there is but you,… and something within you
It’s taken control,.. let’s beat it, get up let’s go!

Oh you’re in your own world, let’s see the whole world
Let’s pick up your soul

And f*** me if I say something you don’t wanna hear
And f*** me if you only hear the treble in your head
Please help,… me,… to help you,… help yourself

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Help me help yourself,… please want me to,… please let me to

Help you