You Are Old: Pearl Jam Twenty
Success came swiftly and voluminouslymillions of records sold, Grammys, VMAs, the cover of Time magazinewhen 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 doesnt run on coolnessit runs on resilience, business savvy, and the loyalty of fans. To that end, Cameron Crowes victory lap doc rewards those whove 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 werent 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 cant-win propositions of rock activismall are either ignored or dispatched in montage. Perhaps Pearl Jams arc too closely resembles Crowes own, and he cant see whats so uniquely poignant about dimmed but enduring stars.
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