Sunday, September 29, 2013

Song Of The Week: 9/29/13

Song: "Unthought Known"

Artist: Pearl Jam

Album: "Backspacer"

Year: 2009

"Unthought Known" is a very uplifting song. It appears to be about being cognizant of how your decisions affect those around you. It's about overcoming negativity and really taking a step back to appreciate your surroundings, whether that is those you love or just the beauty of the environment itself, the sky, the stars or the ocean. The song vibes of positive energy, maybe something Pearl Jam was incapable of doing in years past. Pearl Jam, of course, was part of the grunge explosion of the early 90's. They formed in Seattle, Washington in 1990 out of the ashes of Mother Love Bone, which was the band that Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament were in before their lead singer Andy Wood died of a heroin overdose. After some healing from the tragedy, Gossard, Ament and guitarist Mike McCready began to jam. They gave a demo tape to former Red Hot Chili Peppers' drummer Jack Irons, who then sent the tape to Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam was born. In 1991, the band release the landmark album "Ten". Thanks in part to hit singles "Alive", "Evenflow" and "Jeremy", "Ten" reached #2 on the Billboard charts and proceeded to stay on the charts for more than two years making it one of the highest selling albums ever. To this date it has gone platinum 13 times! 1992 featured some prominent shows for the band including the all acoustic performance on MTV Unplugged as well as joining bands Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ministry on the upstart Lollapalooza Festival. In 1993, Pearl Jam dropped "VS". This album sold 950,378 copies in the 1st week, outperforming all other entries in the top 10 that week combined! This proved to be a record for 1st week sales up until 1998 when country act Garth Brooks finally broke it. "VS" spawned the singles "Go", "Animal", "Daughter" and "Dissident". In 1994, Pearl Jam embarked on a long battle with Ticketmaster over service fees they charged which made the ticket prices go too high. This battle became more of a fiasco for the band as it proved to be way too hard to tour by alternative methods, playing alternative venues. This was a difficult time for the band no doubt. You wouldn't know about the tensions within the band when "Vitalogy" was released to record sales however. The single "Spin The Black Circle" won a Grammy but cracks in the armor were beginning to show. The first being the firing of long time drummer Dave Abbruzzese over philosophical differences. In 1995, the non-Ticketmaster tour almost killed the band entirely. Fan bases were not happy that the band was playing venues out of market and the tour was mostly a failure. The band, minus Eddie Vedder, backed up Neil Young on his "Mirror Ball" album and subsequent tour. PJ did manage to drop the EP "Merkin Ball" that year which featured the songs "I Got Shit" and "Long Road", the latter which featured Neil Young on pipe organ. 1996's "No Code" was a clear departure for the band. They were pulling back the reigns and the style of that album was much more subdued. Though it debuted at #1, it quickly fell down the charts. 1998 was somewhat of a rebirth for the band. They released "Yield" which was a more collaborative effort, all members bringing material to the table, not just Eddie. The band also reluctantly decided to work with Ticketmaster again and finally embark on a proper tour to support the album. The tour was a major success for the band and is highlighted on their "Live On Two Legs" album that dropped in '98 as well. In 1999, Pearl Jam had unexpected success when they released the obscure J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers cover, "Last Kiss". This song became their highest charting single to date. In 2000, PJ released "Binaural". This was the 1st album to feature Matt Cameron on drums, who replaced Jack Irons, who replaced Dave Abbruzzese. It was also the first album not to be produced by Brendan O' Brien and the 1st PJ album not to reach platinum status. PJ began releasing all of their live shows through "official bootlegs" at this time to offer the fans the highest quality recordings while keeping the price at a respectable level. At one point, Pearl Jam had 72 albums debut on the Billboard 200 at the same time, an official world record! On June 30, 2000, tragedy befell the band once again as 9 fans were trampled to death during their performance at Denmark's Roskilde Festival. On October 22, the band performed their 10th anniversary show at the MGM in Las Vegas. The band also released the "Touring Band 2000" DVD documenting some of their live performances during that tour. 2002 saw the band release "Riot Act", the 1st album to feature B3 organist Boom Gaspar, a friend of Eddie's from Hawaii. The band also received it's first real political backlash with their anti-George Bush song "Bushleaguer". 2003 saw the band leave longtime label Epic Records. They released a 2 disc b-sides and rarities compilation "Lost Dogs" and also a live dvd, "Live At The Garden" which was the band's July 8, 2003 perforance at Madison Square Garden in New York. 2004 saw the band embark on the Vote For Change tour, which featured other acts such as Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty to name a few. The tour was in support of getting Bush ousted from the Presidency in the upcoming election. The band also released the all acoustic live album, "Live At Benaroya Hall" as well as "rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991-2003), their last official release through Epic. In 2006, the band performed a short live set at Easy Street Records and released the performance exclusively to independent record stores. At this time the band signed to Clive Davis' J Records to release their self/titled album "Pearl Jam". The single "World Wide Suicide" was the band's 1st #1 single since "Who You Are" in 1996. The band would go on to headline the Leeds and Reading Festivals that year as well. 2007 saw the band cover The Who's "Love Reign O'er Me" and release their powerful version of the song as a single. The band would headline the rejuvenated Lollapalooza Festival that year as well as release the dvd "Immagine In Cornice" which documented that band's Italian shows from 2006. In 2008, PJ headlines the Bonnaroo Festival and also appeared on VH1's Rock Honors in tribute of The Who. They performed "Love Reign O'er Me" and "The Real Me". In 2009, not only did the band re-issue "Ten" with all kinds of bonus material, they also released their 9th studio effort "Backspacer". This album was the first since "No Code" to debut at #1. Brendan O' Brien was also back as producer of the album as well. This album was probably the most positive album ever released by Pearl Jam as evident in songs such as "The Fixer" and "Unthought Known". On October 31, 2009, the band played the last official performance at the Philadelphia Spectrum, which was torn down soon after. 2011 saw the release of "Live On Ten Legs", a live compilation of songs from tours between 2003 and 2010. It also marked the release of the Cameron Crowe directed "Pearl Jam Twenty", a documentary about the history of the band. On Labor Day weekend of that year, Pearl Jam played a festival in East Troy, Wisconsin to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Both nights featured a Temple Of The Dog reunion, as long time friend of the band Chris Cornell appeared at the event. Currently, Pearl Jam is about to drop their 10th studio album, titled Lightning Bolt, on October 15, 2013. They have already released the hard, punk edged single "Mind Your Manners" as well as the big, pop ballad "Sirens" from the new album. They plan to tour in support of "Lightning Bolt" in October and November and in 2014 will headline the Big Day Out festival in Australia and New Zealand. Pearl Jam has become one of the biggest American bands ever. Their influence reaches far and wide and you hear it in post grunge acts such as Seether and Staind as well as newer punk edged bands like The Gaslight Anthem. Along with fellow Seattle bands Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains, they forever changed the musical landscape back in the 90's and they are still very much relevant today.

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