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You Are Old: Pearl Jam Twenty

Success came swiftly and voluminously—millions of records sold, Grammys, VMAs, the cover of Time magazine—when Pearl Jam dropped Ten 20 years ago this August. Which was also when the backlash began. Out-credded at the outset by its Seattle sibling, the punkier, unrulier Nirvana, Pearl Jam was never cool. Fronted by the foghorn-throated Eddie Vedder, gorgeous and humorless, the band cut solid records yet always acted cornered. But as proved by U2, longevity doesn’t run on coolness—it runs on resilience, business savvy, and the loyalty of fans. To that end, Cameron Crowe’s victory lap doc rewards those who’ve remained steadfast even as Pearl Jam has listed toward irrelevancy and presents a collagist historical chronicle that mixes archival footage with recent interviews. This could be fine, I suppose, if openings for genuine inquiry weren’t cravenly declined. Crowe, the famed rock reporter-turned-filmmaker-turned-faded brand, refuses to complicate his hagiography with ideas. The mainstreaming of alternative, the splintering of the music industry, the can’t-win propositions of rock activism—all are either ignored or dispatched in montage. Perhaps Pearl Jam’s arc too closely resembles Crowe’s own, and he can’t see what’s so uniquely poignant about dimmed but enduring stars.

 
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8 comments
Joe
Joe

Obviously you are not a fan of one of the greatest bands to come out of the 90's. Pearl Jam did not generate life long fans through business savvy, rather they produced music that defined my generation. It seems that your article is very biased an fairly unprofessional. I hope you rethink your writing process before post another vindictive poorly written article.

Brian Lutz
Brian Lutz

wow, hater's gotta hate...oh well, can't please everyone

In my opinion, Pearl Jam is the greatest rock band of our time...

Jhon
Jhon

What a sanctimonious, snotty, arrogant, smug and ultimately sickening explanation of a documentary film about a nice bunch of guys that played music together for 20 years.

This is a fine example of why reviews about rock music seldom matter. Pearl Jam and the music they create together will certainly be treasured much longer than the self righteous opinions of this psuedo-intelliectual hack.

WaxBrain
WaxBrain

Piss off. The point of the film, like all of PJ's work all these years is simple:It's about the music, and it's about the fans. They're still the best and most punk rock band there is and has been the last 20 years. Who kept working? Who kept touring? Who kept us entertained?I see only Sonic Youth still standing along w/ PJ. The only 2 bands that matter.If you dont like it, piss off.

facebook-1080713927
facebook-1080713927

Pearl Jam was and probably always will be pigeon-holed as a grunge band. The narrow, general perception is that they faded away with the genre. They've recorded and toured almost non-stop since Ten came out. For anyone who doesn't think that they are still relevant, go to any one of their sold out arena shows anywhere in the world. This film was made to celebrate that.

Sakara
Sakara

who's cameron crowe....what's pearl jam....so once upon a time they were somebody?

teaclown
teaclown

Amen. To call Pearl Jam irrelevant because they're not on MTV and top 40 stations shows just how out of touch and irrelevant the VV is. Their music continually evolves and their shows are unforgettable. Don't write about what you don't know.

Lademar Eric
Lademar Eric

Sakara who's somebody now? And why waste your time posting here if both are so irrelevant? Makes sense.

 

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