Nirvana or Pearl Jam?
As the grunge movement gained momentum in the late 80s, little did the world outside of Seattle know what would be hitting them square in the nads in the coming years. It would be an unabashed embrace of American rock and roll-loud, raucous, and completely balls to the wall. Of the countless bands that rose to prominence under the grunge flag that quickly found a home atop many a flagpole during this time period, two always seemed to be the centre of attention for the ‘sides’ that seemed to form out of nowhere:
Nirvana and Peral Jam.
Even though both of these groups found massive success in the early 90s, and both came out of the clubs of Seattle, during their initial foray into the big leagues it was hard to find a true fan of both bands. It always seemed you loved one, hated the other. Thought Kurt Cobain was King Slacker who wrote awesome songs even though you could never quite tell what the hell he was singing? Then Eddie Vedder was a whiny surfer from San Diego with a mother complex. Vedder was your introspective lyrical hero? Then Cobain was a one hit wonder who no doubt would fade into oblivion sooner rather than later.
Of course, we all know how the stories of both Nirvana and Pearl Jam have unfolded over the years. And even though one of the biggest knocks against Pearl Jam was that they were ‘corporate’ rock since their label, Epic, was a subsidiary of Sony BMG, they’ve done a pretty good job of playing the game by their own rules, thank you very much. Refusing to release singles, not filming videos, avoiding awards shows, brawling with Ticketmaster-all the things a record label loves. While I haven’t always been onboard the Pearl Jam train (they lost me for a bit in the late 90s), I do give them credit for what appears to be a career that, once it comes to a close, they’ll be able to look back on and not feel like they made a living short changing anyone. Which, I suspect, might be a little more difficult down the road for many of today’s current batch of pop stars.
From their debut album 10, here’s Alive.