LIGHTNING BOLT – Music Monday and PJ of the Day

imgres-2We’ve had about a week to process the full LIGHTNING BOLT album from Pearl Jam. What do you think?

PearlJam_LightningBolt_tracklist-2

I was nervous when I heard snippets of “Mind Your Manners” and “My Father’s Son” over the preceding months, and was hoping this release wouldn’t be a new collection of “World Wide Suicide” and “Spin the Black Circle” type songs. I like those raucous tunes, but am aging right along with PJ members, and feel it’s time to advance. (I say, knowing full well no other Pearl Jam album will ever take the number one spot in my music-soul of 1990’s TEN.)

But all my fears have been put to rest. Grand job, PJ. Grand job! There is enough to bring along those of us who have been diehard Seattle grunge-era Ten Club members for a quarter century. Yet unmistakable is the infusion of sound cultivated in Eddie Vedder’s recent solo¹ projects², complimentary and gorgeous. In their evolution, Pearl Jam has given us yet another record that shows how they’ve grown and continue to glow with magnificence. Dare I say it…? If you’ve never listened to Pearl Jam, LIGHTNING BOLT is a good place to start.

There are a few 1970s style male-point-of-view ballads. (Jim Croce, anyone? How about some James Taylor?) Pearl Jam has come through with love songs and it makes my usually cynical heart happy!

I’m particularly smitten with “Sirens”, a song of mortality and inevitable separation. While it is obviously directed to a romantic love, certain lines are reminiscent of those kind of love songs that can be for any loved one: from a parent to children, between friends, between family. I, of course, think of my kids in these lines:

Have to take your hand and feel your breath for fear this someday will be over.
I pull you close, so much to lose knowing that nothing lasts forever.
I didn’t care, before you were here; I danced in laughter with the everafter.
But all things change. Let this remain.

And Mike McCready’s guitar solo… SHUT UP! So unexpected, so good. Uber-fans will recognize chords from that beautiful breakout beast of a song “Breath” from the Singles movie soundtrack! (“Oh yeah, huh, huh!” Maybe I’m the only one?)

So… here is “Sirens”, complete with lyrics. Listen, love, repeat!

Hear the sirens
Hear the sirens
Hear the sirens
Hear the circus so profound
I hear the sirens more and more in this here townLet me catch my breath to breathe and reach across the bed 
Just to know we’re safe, I am a grateful man
The slightest bit of light and I can see you clear
Have to take your hand and feel your breath for fear this someday will be over
I pull you close, so much to lose knowing that nothing lasts forever
I didn’t care, before you were here I danced in laughter with the everafter
But all things change
Let this remainHear the sirens covering distance in the night
The sound echoing closer
Will they come for me next time?
For every choice, mistake, I’ve made, it’s not my plan 
To send you in the arms of another man
And if you choose to stay I’ll wait, I’ll understand
It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead 
If I think too much I can get overwhelmed by the grace by which we live our lives, with death over our shoulders
Want you to know, that should I go, I always loved you, held you high above, true
I study your face and the fear goes away
It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead
If I think too much I can get overwhelmed by the grace by which we live our lives with death over our shoulders
Want you to know, that should I go, I always loved you
Held you high above, true
I study your face and the fear goes away
The fear goes away
The fear goes away 
Aah ah, oh oh
Aah ah, oh oh