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Alive/Pearl Jam

Last Christmas, a colleague bought me the book ‘Touch Me, I’m Sick – The 52 creepiest love songs you’ve ever heard’ by Tom Reynolds. The book pillories artists for writing songs that “for some reasons have gone off the rails into the realm of the tawdry, the overwhelming, the obsessive, the self-absorbed, and the completely weird.”

It’s so entertaining (and downright hilarious) that I can’t help sharing with you excerpts from some of the articles. To Mr. Reynolds (assuming that somebody other than my girlfriend reads my blog), I’m a huge, huge fan of yours, so I hope you don’t mind.

To you guys, If I leave you hanging after every post, it’s because nothing beats buying the book. So go check it out.

Let’s start off with Pearl Jam’s ‘Alive’…

“Since its 1991 release, I estimate I’d heard ‘Alive around 23,891 times while only deciphering that a mother was in her son’s room trying to accomplish something. I finally ran out of patience and Googled the freaking lyrics. Now, I figured out the rest and realized ‘Alive’ is even creepier than I assumed it was and not in a good way.

“… Alive exemplies the pretentious and self-important excesses that befell grunge groups and turned them into boring wank fests. Listening to the bands like Mudhoney having attacks over ‘selling out’ and ‘artistic integrity’ while impaling themselves to get record contracts really got tiresome.

“As for Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam, they greeted every platinum sale of their CDs as some kind of whore deal, and by 1994 I was ready to scream ‘shut the hell up already’ when Kurt Cobain martyred himself with 20-gauge.

“While the decline of grunge is attributed to Cobain’s suicide and overbearing media attention, I think the 1996 music documentary Hype! shows what was really behind its collapse… The film features more than 30 bands in performance. The problem is, 26 of them suck.

“They couldn’t play, couldn’t write and couldn’t perform. Most sounded like 16-year-olds pretending to be Neil Young’s Crazy Horse. The best moment in the whole film is an electrifying debut performance of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by a then-unknown Nirvana, shot inside a seedy club.

“… The band’s raw sound was fresh and original, eclipsing practically every one of its contemporaries. Pearl Jam has good musicians, but I found Vedder to be a tedious vocalist who takes himself way too seriously. But at least the band is still ‘ahhh-laavvee‘”

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