January 4, 2009 by MK
Everyone has their obsession. Be it band, artist or team, we carry the torch. Green Bay Packer fans insist on cheese as an accessory. For some Star Wars fanboys, George Lucas can [still] do no wrong, even after several cinematic abortions. Michael Jackson fans use his myriad trials as an excuse to gather and show the world what happens when you think “Billie Jean” was an invitation and not a cautionary tale.
For me, the particular preoccupation is Pearl Jam. From the first time I heard “Alive” to my most recent live show [West Palm Beach, 6.11.08], I’ve been a part of the [admittedly, regrettably termed] “Jamily.”
So why carry on caring?
In short: Because they stick around. When all about you is flailing and failing, telling you goodbye and confounding your sensibilities, they represent a constant. Find your spot when you hear it. And, they’ve continued and represented for you the possibility of continuing. Of finishing. Because life is change and the least of which we like is change. So when something stays frozen, we appreciate it because we feel we’ve come up with the recipe to beat the Gods. For one group, for one song, for one moment. We win.
Or, as Mr. Vedder said it himself, “Troubled souls unite. We got ourselves tonight.”
In The Age of Irony, in the age of indie-rock hipsters, in the age of detachment, Pearl Jam is unabashedly earnest. Like U2 before them, they mean what they say. And it’s okay to actually show and have passion for something once in a while. Even if it’s The Eagles. Well, maybe not.
It’s interesting to note the answer when the question is asked of Eddie Vedder himself [by interviewer extraordinaire Cameron Crowe no less]. What does Pearl Jam mean to you?
Further Reading: Entertainment Weekly’s 2006 deconstruction of Pearl Jam fandom.