I've been shitty at the internet lately. Firefox is not playing any YouTube videos for me (aka The Google Chrome Conspiracy), I'm frustrated about Verizon Wireless's lack of Flash access, and I'm being dramatic on FaceBalls (Faceslash /Faceslash). The Internet is Serious Business indeed.
Nonirregardless, I am here to talk the musics. The first thing I'm going to do is listen to the new Pearl Jam song called "The Fixer." This song is a big deal for a lot of reasons. The upcoming album Backspacer is their first without a record label's support. It also reunites them with producer Brendan O'Brien who recorded many of their early albums and recently remixed their debut album Ten for re-release. Most importantly, this album may be the first Pearl Jam album that I don't buy.
I was incredibly disappointed by their last album (the one with the avocado). There was one song that I loved ("Parachutes") but the rest of the album put me to sleep. It was one in a string of shitty albums I was buying by artists that I thought could do no wrong, but all sounded very stale. I don't know if I changed, or if they changed. Or if America changed. All I know is that if I can change and you can change, everybody can change.
I remember a joke that Eddie Vedder once told in Spin:
Q: How many members of Pearl Jam does it take a change a light bulb?I've listened to 33 seconds of "The Fixer" and it's not bad. Pearl Jam premiered another track on The Tonight Show recently called "Got Some" and I wasn't impressed. The performance was not particularly memorable. The mix wasn't so hot. The vocals were low and weak. People accused it of plagiarizing a Devo tune that I didn't know nor cared to investigate. I'm feeling pretty neutral about "The Fixer" so far. The intro sounds familiar for some reason, and the verses are nice. The vocal melodies are not like anything I've heard them attempt before. They don't necessarily earn Eddie Vedder a gold star just yet, but it is good that after nine albums, they aren't rehashing the same old tricks. I think I just heard "When something's good/I wanna fart to get it back again." Nice. Farts.
A: Change?!? We're not gonna change for anyone!
I think I just heard the chorus. It sucked. I hope that's not really the chorus. A lot of "Yeah yeah yeah's." Like Rage Against the Cage, but not ironic.
Second verse, slightly different from the first. I think Eddie may have a cold. I thought I detected a stuffy nose earlier, and his powerful howling does not appear as bombastic as it could. Musically, the song is getting prettier as it goes, which is good. I like pretty.
1:23 - I think I may be in the bridge, but EV is beating that once-interesting vocal melody to death.
1:32 - I was wrong. THIS is the bridge. I don't believe we needed the third verse for the last 15 seconds. On the bright side, it was at least abbreviated. The bridge is ok. As a bridge, it sounds bridgey, and it bridges what needed to be bridged. The progression progresses progressively and that's progress. The third and seventh chords are a bit of a surprise and momentarily jarring. It took 8 replays of the bridge before it sounded smooth to me, but I like it.
Now we're back to that intro riff, I just realized where I've heard this before--it reminds me of a WJ and the Sweet Sacrifice riff. Check out "White Horses" on their Myspace page. WJ (Billy Alpha) was the one who showed me that Rage Against the Cage link recently. We played on a song together this weekend and he borrowed some RAtC "Uh huh's" and "Oh yeah's" for the lyrics. Rage Against the Cage borrows from Eddie Vedder, and now Pearl Jam is borrowing from WJ. "Fart to get it back again" is clearly about stealing riffs.
OK, so the song fades which is sort of a cop-out. Maybe it's just for the streaming Myspace version, I'm not sure. I was getting bored with the "Yeah, yeah" parts anyway. The music was decent for the outro/choruses, but the lyrics should have either been more interesting, or removed completely. Or a solo or something. I'd rather have preferred something much more dramatic to wrap up the song. Like a fart sound. Or a light bulb changing.
Just to sum up here: The song is decent, but not amazing. I don't think it has a chorus, but there are still some hooks. I think I've already listened to "The Fixer" more times than The Avocado Album, but I'm still not ready to fork over any cash. I don't think I'd turn the dial if I heard it on the radio. I should mention that I did enjoy Eddie Vedder's Into the Wild soundtrack very much, so I haven't written them totally off. We'll see what I think when I'm able to preview more tracks in September.
All right, I've run out of time to dissect the new Michelle Branch song, so I'll have to leave you with a video of my band ripping off WJ and the Sweet Sacrifice, Conan O'Brien, and Eddie Vedder all at once. We also throw in Tim & Eric, Faith No More, and "Birthday Sex" for good measure. This was recorded by blogmigo Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon a couple weeks ago at one of Jersey City's weekly Groove on Grove concerts. I encourage you to record your own video ripping it off, or write a review of talking about my once-powerful howling not being bombastic anymore. Apparently all I need to do is fart to get it back again.