Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Video of the Week: Pearl Jam

Part 2 of my ''Favourite Videos Of All Time'' posts... good thing, too, because I have to get back to newer stuff that I've been listening to (and, of course, watching).

There are two sides when it comes to Pearl Jam - the I Hate and the I Love. Few people are ambiguous. You'll have guessed that if this is one of my two favourite videos of all time, I'm on the I Love team...

My passion for them, though, really is objective. As a matter of fact, I once made fun of people who liked them, back in the 'Jeremy' days, by rocking my head and torso like I was having a seizure and singing 'Jeremy spoke in... spoke in...' to people I knew loved them.

Then I saw them live... It was like witnessing the Second Coming, if you're religious. That Eddie Vedder character can really interact with a crowd, and that Jeff Ament dude can sure jump, and that Mike McCready guy can sure fire up his guitar with fiery solos.

And the songs were good too. All the songs apart from 'Jeremy'. Well, 'Jeremy' too, but it's been overplayed, for sure. But 'Black', 'Alive', 'Why Go', 'Garden' - top-quality stuff. Back then, I was also big on 'Even Flow', more than now, after having witnessed it a dozen times live (at least). And that second record, Vs, better than the first. And their willingness to go to bat for their fans, and their will to shed a part of their fanbase that they disagreed with (and thus a flood of more 'artistic' records like Vitalogy and, my personal favourite, No Code)... and their disdain for the video-making process and the way tehy're presented by networks like MTV...

It all led to them, in 1992, at the height of their popularity, after winning 5 MTV Awards for 'Jeremy' (and, I think, a Grammy for it as well)... until 1998's 'Do The Evolution' - in which they don't even appear.

'Do The Evolution' is Todd McFarlane's first all-animated video (ahead of the one he did for Korn just a few months later) and first aired, in Canada, the day after their 1998 Toronto performance (August 22nd, officially in barrie, Ontario, a great fucking show, of course). It depicts the evolution of mankind, through wars, famine and genocide - and paints a pretty bleak picture of where we come from and where we're headed, with a bit of the old 'History Repeats Itself' thrown in for good measure.

It was groundbreaking then, but because PJ had gone under the radar in those years, many people not only have yet to see their greatest video, they have also yet to hear one of their best songs - period. It's their loss. I present it here anyway, because I'm a good person, but those who don't like them likely won't even bother, but if they did, they'll be amazed that the whole thing still stands today - both the message and the quality of the art.

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