Song of the Day #1,339: ‘Daughter’ – Pearl Jam

Best 90s Artists – #4 – Pearl Jam

Die-hard Pearl Jam fans would likely be insulted to see them labelled as a 90s band. After all, Pearl Jam has released four albums since 2000 (all of which went Gold in the U.S.), they are currently recording another and they have toured consistently and successfully for over two decades.

But there’s no denying that, along with fellow Seattle rockers Nirvana, Pearl Jam defines the grunge era.

Eddie Vedder is more complex than the grunge label suggests. Here’s a man who recently recorded an album of songs performed on a ukulele, and who wrote the score for Sean Penn’s film Into the Wild. And even at his grungiest, he was more vocally, lyrically and musically interesting than his peers.

That more nuanced side is perhaps best highlighted in ‘Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town,’ an acoustic character sketch that stands out among the heavier guitar on those early albums.

‘Daughter’ is another of the quieter tracks. Those two songs and a handful of other standouts from the band’s first three albums make up my Pearl Jam universe, a land where I’m forever in my 20s.

Alone… listless… breakfast table in an otherwise empty room
Young girl… violence… center of her own attention
The, mother reads aloud, child, tries to understand it
Tries to make her proud

The shades go down, it’s in her head
Painted room… can’t deny there’s something wrong…

Don’t call me daughter, not fit to
No picture kept will remind me
Don’t call me daughter, not fit to
No picture kept will remind me
Don’t call me…

She holds the hand that holds her down
She will…rise above…ooh…oh…

Don’t call me daughter, not fit to
No picture kept will remind me
Don’t call me daughter, not fit to me
No picture kept will remind me (2x)
Don’t call me…

The shades go down (2x)
The shades go, go, go…

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,339: ‘Daughter’ – Pearl Jam

  1. Jorge Farah says:

    Good post. As a fan of Pearl Jam, I would not debate the “90s band” label; they were very firmly in the sound of the era. I happen to think the more interesting part of Pearl Jam came a little later than Vs., in fact, immediately after. The Vitalogy-No Code-Yield-Binaural stretch is an amazing run of nuanced, finely crafted records, with a certain darkness to them that is absent from the first two albums or any of their more recent output. “In My Tree” is by far my favorite Pearl Jam song, and No Code will always be my favorite of their albums.

  2. Dana says:

    I have very little familiarity with Pearl Jam, but from the little I have heard and read about them and Vedder, I can see why they have their legion of fans. Again, their grunge sound (like Nirvana’s) is not one to which I gravitate, but I guess the 90’s as a whole was the first decade where the popular music was not “my music.” I remain, by and large, most comfortable in the 60’s to 80’s sound and, when I allow a new artist into my life, like Ben Folds or Counting Crows, for example, it is probably because much of that sound harkens back or builds upon a familiar platform.

  3. Amy says:

    I know very little of Pearl Jam, but I loved the Into the Wild soundtrack and I’m loving this song today, so perhaps I ought to give Vedder not only my appreciation but also the chance that I might like some of these albums. however, as Dana points out, it’s sometimes hard to imagine going back and rediscovering music you never properly discovered in the first place. Reminds me of The Voice last night, when Blake had never heard of the Nirvana song. “You have to get out of Oklahoma,” they scolded him. I’d say “Oklahoma” is a state of mind, and I fear I live there with Blake. 🙂

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