Top 10 Well Written Rock Songs (Number 7: Alive - Pearl Jam)
Updated: Mar 25
Song Name: Alive
Band: Pearl Jam
Release Date (Single): August 1st, 1991
Written by: Eddie Vedder and Stone Gossard
Pearl Jam has been together for a little over 27 years. That almost puts them in the classic rock category. Man, that makes me feel old. :( However, their music has inspired many other current alternative and rock groups. They were one of the first groups that started the grunge age. They started out of the Seattle, Washington area. Seems many of the grunge groups originated from the state of Washington back then.
As for Pearl Jam, they came out with a few hit albums such as Ten, Vs. and No Code. Their biggest successes were with Ten and Vs. What attracted me to Pearl jam is probably why many people did not like them as well at the time. It is the unique voice of Eddie Vedder. He brings a certain passion to songs that other singers have tried to imitate (see Creed). When listening to lyrics, you don't just listen to the song but you experience it with Vedder. Even to this day, I still listen to Pearl Jam even though they are not considered Top 40 radio material.
So for my seventh pick, I chose a song which I think does not influence me as much but you get a glimpse of past experiences by Vedder. The song is titled, Alive. The song is supposedly inspired by true events. Eddie Vedder went on record to say the following:
Vedder's lyrics are about a boy who finds out his father is actually his stepfather, and that his real father is dead. He later revealed that the song was "a work of fiction based on reality," and the chorus of "I'm still alive" was what he considered his curse, as he struggled to deal with the strained relationship with his stepfather and the fact that his real father was dead.
In an episode of VH1's Storytellers, Vedder explained that the interpretation of the song had changed, as fans would react to the chorus by jumping around and celebrating - they heard "I'm still alive" as a positive thing, an affirmation of life. Said Vedder: "When they changed the meaning of those words, they lifted the curse."
The song is part of the Momma-Son Trilogy. There are 2 other songs that he wrote as continuations of this song. Once, which is about the kid going bonkers and going on a killing spree. The other is Footsteps, where he is sentenced to death and the kid blames the mother.
[Verse 1] "Son," she said, "have I got a little story for you What you thought was your daddy Was nothing but a... While you were sittin' home alone at age thirteen Your real daddy was dyin' Sorry you didn't see him But I'm glad we talked" [Hook] Oh, I - I'm still alive Hey, I - Oh, I'm still alive Hey, I - Oh, I'm still alive Hey, ooh [Verse 2] While she walks slowly Across a young man's room She said, "I'm ready for you" Why I can't remember anything to this very day 'Cept the look The look? Oh, you know where Now I can't see I just stare
[Hook 2] I... I'm still alive Hey I... But, I'm still alive Hey I... Boy, I'm still alive Hey I... Oh, I'm still alive. Yeah Ooh yeah. Yeah yeah yeah. Oh. Ooh [Verse 3] "Is something wrong?" She said Of course there is "You're still alive." She said Oh, and do I deserve to be? Is that the question? And if so, if so, who answers? Who answers? [Hook 2] I... I'm still alive Hey I... But, I'm still alive Yeah Hey I... Boy, I'm still alive Yeah Hey I... Oh, I'm still alive. Yeah Ooh yeah ooh Ooh Ooh yeah. Yeah yeah yeah
I picked this song cause I love the Pearl Jam sound. It is unique to them and their albums are still good to this day. Many of the topics that were touched by the group are still relevant.
Although the song itself would not hit home with most of us as the subject matter is quite specific. Some of us actually go through times where you wonder why things happen and why have you been put in this situation.
In this case, this song did not inspire we as much as it is a piece of storytelling. Hearing the struggles through Eddie's voice is just as captivating as having a song hit home. I am sure someone out there has been inspired or felt that this song speaks to them. This is what got me hooked on future albums and I still isten to them to this day.
Alive - Pearl jam
What do you think? Was this a good choice?