Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rock of Ages: Pearl Jam - "Porch" (1991)

Ahh yes, Grunge. The death of hair metal. It couldn't have come sooner! While in everyone was on drugs in L.A. living these fake lives, a bunch of long haired, flannel wearing misanthropes from Seattle were writing a different brand of music. The next two artists are only two of the most important from this booming sound from the great Northwest. Pearl Jam is easily one of the best of this era, especially on their insanely great debut, Ten. It's one of the defining albums that changed the musical landscape of the 90's for good. Not a single bad song on the record. My personal favorite is "Porch", a searing fast paced riff heavy track that has some of the bands most notable guitar workouts. Amidst the fast paced chugging of the guitars and drums, Vedder spews forth lyrics at a fever pitch. His voice is filled with tons of angst and power. It cracks, it screams, it yearns and is mournful at times. Funny that it used to be the thing about Pearl Jam I liked the least.

"Porch" is a qunitessential grunge song lyrically. All about the different fears and paranoia and angst that went along with the coming of the 90's and the end of many institutions. It's a fantastic song from Ten that gets its due now. Not a single from the record, but a gloriously fantastic album cut. There really isn't a song on Ten that wasn't a possible hit song. Pearl Jam was one of several acts that changed the music of the 90's. Some say for the worse (see The Wrestler) but I say for the better. Yes, the 90's may have been more brooding and cynical and less free-wheeling, but the music as a whole was technically much better in style, quality and structure. The riff from "Porch" is one of the best of the 90's as is the guitar solo. It's almost as kick ass as the next entry in Rock of Ages, but let's not jump ahead of ourselves.

Up Next: Soundgarden will crucify you

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