There is a song making the radio rounds right now and I cannot hear it enough.
It is a Pearl Jam song.
And, while there was a time I would listen to PJ quite frequently, that time ended long ago. Not for any reason other than nothing really struck me... Until now.
The song is Just Breath from their newest album.
Why do I like it?
I've given this careful thought.
First, there is a striking tension in Eddie Vedder's voice. It's a complicated dichotomy of fragility and power. It's tender, but forceful, meaningful.
Second, compositionally, it's quite nice, and nothing like a PJ song. In fact, it seems like it would have come from the solo soundtrack he did for Into the Wild, which I do own and is nice.
Third, lyrically, though simple, it is capturing.
Fourth, when I hear the song, I can easily imagine Will Oldham singing it, especially in the refrain. So it appeals to that soft-spot I have for BPB.
In the end, I guess I like it because it speaks to me, and what more can you ask for? When it happens, we can only give way to that which fills us. As I am older now, I have given in to this. In younger days I may have fought it for several reasons: it didn't seem cool, acceptable, whatever... But now, it's best to embrace the things that speak to us.
Listen to the song:
Here is an impeccable live performance from Austin City Limits on NPR's website that demonstrates that EV does have some decent guitar chops if you ever doubted...
And finally, another tender performance by a musician and a song that speaks to me: