“DD Review: Pearl Jam – Single Video Theory.”

Score: 10/10


There’s really nothing I could say to describe how great this hourlong video is, this is more of just a promotion of it than a description. One thing that jumps out however is the effect that “All Those Yesterdays” has on the vid, or rather, the effect that the production has on that song, which closes Yield, the album from which all of the complete songs on SVT are culled. I’d just actually included “All Those Yesterdays” on this random mixtape, having started out with “Satan’s Bed” but then opted against it, and I thought, Damn, this band really did get better. [1] The incessant Stone Gossard riff harks vaguely to Pink Floyd, as “Nothing as it Seems” purportedly does, something like the simplicity of “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.” Without a doubt, part of the video’s importance is showcasing this song, which otherwise being the album closeur gets little press, especially coming as it does on an album so loaded with singles. [2]
There’s a lot more I could say here, about how Eddie Vedder seems the boy of the group, about how “Wishlist” is indeed a little boring without Brendan O’Brien’s pool balls crashing, or whatever that is, [3] but what far outweighs the little moments of humanity are the many, many supernovas of divinity, which to the credit of the direction done in part by Cameron Crowe come each and all in musical form. Jack Irons wows and blows away with his octopus-like relentlessness of complexities, Ament embodies every bit the rural space cowboy from Montana, his whole body grooving along with the beat, and Mike McCready sits hilariously back and complacent, at one point detailing certain instances of being scared of Vedder, smirking and saying something like “IIII”m just gonna stay over here.”
In a way, it’s funny writing this, it’s funny I even have to. Yield was like the band’s millionth in a row album to debut at number one or two, but I guess just so many people my age around this time were so heavily into rap, or else the jam bands, indie rock having yet to launch (hell, mainstream rock was still so da** good, in this da** Yankee’s opinion), and people just wanting to get outside the norm, try to stand apart, to do their own thing. And Pearl Jam as we all know, embodied the great paradox — a mainstream band that didn’t do interviews or videos, and for at least one tour succeeded in entirely circumventing Ticketmaster. All this, and I even remember rebelling against Pearl Jam around this time. But that’s just being young. Vedder even says, on this video, in a featured little aside: “‘To feel.. not WHAT to feel, but just to feel something.’” [4] Indeed, that is often the real challenge.
[1] Regarding all the change and growth they went through, Jeff Ament even comments at one point during Single Video Theory, pertaining to how to prepare for the upcoming tour, “We should probably change our name or something.”
[2] Though “Do the Evolution” technically wasn’t a single, it did get radio play, and it did spawn the album’s one music video, which ironically seems to have nothing to do with the title of this film (I have no idea how Single Video Theory got its title).
[3] A trick borrowed perhaps from R.E.M.’s “We Walk.” Funny story, Vedder reportedly visited the R.E.M. studio during the New Adventures in Hi-Fi sessions, hence I guess spawning the band’s resident “Pearl Jam song,” as I’d like to call it, the dark and strutting “Low Desert.”
[4] Not because I have to, but because I can, I’m going to now divulge quotes from each of the hitherto unquoted members, all of these taken from aforementioned video: {Stone Gossard} “‘That’s part of what I like about the band, I think we come from very different places and we see the world very differently, at times.’”

{Mike McCready} “‘It’s a strange dynamic: there’s Ed, Stone, Jeff, Jack and me, and it’s always kind of moving around.’”

{Jack Irons} “‘The most inspirational part of a song might be its inception, when the song is “given,” so to speak.’”

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