Pearl Jam’s rise to success here in Australia is just more proof that nobody listens to lyrics anymore. The song ‘Alive’ from their debut album Ten, is about incest. Yah great. Except a lot of people didn’t know that at the time. Including me. OH HEEYYY-AYE-YAI WHOOAA-OHHH, AHM STAHL A-LAHVE OH-WAY-HEEYYY (not that’s not some weird arse sanskrit or Welsh but a literal translation of the title) Eddie Vedder is the only man I know who is afraid of consonants. Either that or his jaw dislocates an awful lot. I’ll be damned if I understand a fucking word of it. Pearl Jam was all over the radio in the early nineties here in Australia and we took to it much like a rag would to sump oil. It was as if somehow, fuzzy distortion, flannelette and lots of indecipherable lyrics were suddenly new concepts. We had James Reyne for fuck’s sake. Not even the guy that cracked Germany’s Enigma Code in World War 2 could work out what the fuck Aussie Crawl were singing about.
Anyways I initially thought ‘Alive’ was something about stepfathers and didn’t know about that thing Eddie had for his Mother until a few years later. Long time readers of this blog will remember a post in which I wrote about my former experiences with a man that scared the daylights out of me with his Oedipus complex and thing for Jim Morrison. Well then it should come as no surprise to you all that I ended up at a Pearl Jam concert with this very same man in 1995. At least I think it was. I can’t be sure. I do remember enjoying ‘Animal’ and ‘Rear View Mirror’ and drunkenly singing along with the mob to ‘Alive’ but I just couldn’t make it to the end. This clown standing next to me kept splattering in my face about how much he wished he was a girl and had boobies just so he could fuck Eddie. (sic) You can imagine. I had to get out of there immediately. I can get pretty anxious around crowds and in lots of traffic and will think nothing of bailing a concert before the end, unless the band is really worth it. Obviously Pearl Jam wasn’t and much to my boyfriend’s annoyance, I wanted to leave early. Though not over that one issue entirely, our relationship pretty much ended there in the car park that evening. His behaviour had always been erratic and frightening. It was time to call it quits anyway. No wonder he looked at me funny in the car when the words to ‘Better Man’ suddenly punctuated our argument. We strained to listen to what we were missing. The words ‘she lies and says she’s in love with him, can’t find a better man’ could not have resonated at a more significant time. Yeah good on ya Eddie, nice one! I know reader; it’s pathetic and sad but it’s true. It was indeed my most triumphant MTV moment. I wonder, has a song lyric ever synchronized so perfectly with your situation like that before?