Okay, so I grew up a pretty big Pearl Jam fan, and was really into their first few albums. But at some point in the mid-90’s, I just became completely obsessed with hip-hop, and really stopped paying attention to much else for a few years. In that time, Pearl Jam kept putting out albums, and I missed a lot of them. I was on my heavy hip-hop shit, and if not that, was really diving in to old soul music.
By the early mid-2000s, The Shins and other indie acts got me back into folk and rock music, but I still wasn’t really checking for new Pearl Jam material. I listened to their old stuff that I loved, but I don’t know, I just never really checked out their new albums. So when it came time to put together this list of The 50 Best Pearl Jam Songs, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time now, especially after I saw the PJ20 doc. So to get started, I called on a few of my closest buds, who are die-hard PJ fans, to help me sift my through their back catalog.
It was a fun process, too. I started by emailing my boys, saying basically that I was going to be writing this list, and wanted their input as to what they thought were the best Pearl Jam songs, and their help identifying some sleepers and rarities. The email thread was epic, and turned into multiple threads, with everyone sharing links and stories of live shows and experiences involving Pearl Jam. We all got super into it. I forced us all to dig deep with crazy questions and requests to put songs in different categories and shit like that, and it actually turned into a really special experience for all of us.
And of course, I did my own research too, listening to all their albums, combing through interviews, reading the Pearl Jam Twenty book, searching endlessly on YouTube, etc. And after about a month of mixed research with my boys and on my own, I started compiling and writing my list for Pigeons & Planes. Today, it was published, and I’m very proud of how it came out. I’m sure Pearl Jam purists may disagree at times with my selections and the placement of certain songs, but hey, that’s what shit like this is for! I’m no expert, never claimed to be. I’m just a fan like the rest of you. Enjoy.
Shout to my boys Tommy Dee, Triple J, Duigs, Tony, and Coop for the endless support and historic Pearl Jam email threads. I dedicate this post to you my dudes. Thank you. And mad love to Pearl Jam. I discovered some seriously amazing songs I had never heard before putting this list together, and fell in love all over again with some old favorites. You guys fucking rock.
One lucky Pearl Jam fan recently got to create their setlist for an actual live show. Read about it, and see the setlist, in the link below. Props to dude for setting it off with “Wash,” that’s my shit.