I’m pretty morose, so this review will be even less interesting than my usual uninteresting reviews. Isn’t that nice? It sure is, imaginary readership, it sure is. I don’t like when the cleaning people are around my office. Okay now, this is a double CD of outtakes, B-sides, and fan club singles. As a rule, I don’t attack outtake comps harshly unless they’re Moldy Peaches-esque fanslaps or blatant money grabs. I’m pretty sure Pearl Jam are being nice to their fans by releasing this, and that makes me feel warm inside.
So we’ve got four kettles of fish here: The first kettle are B-sides. There are eleven of these. Then there are outtakes – twelve of these. There are also four songs from complilatons and soundtracks, and four songs from fan club singles. Then there are several strange omissions, like the cover of “Sonic Reducer.” But hey, rarities comp and therefore the musical equivalent of fanservice.
The CDs are divided thusly: CD one is mostly loud songs and CD two is mostly quiet songs. At least, I’m assuming this was an intentional division (or at least an intensional divison!). These are badegories, as after one disc you’re tired of mostly unsuccessful attempts hard rock, and after the second you’re sleepy. I don’t feel like doing actual reviewing work, so here are my classy notes on CD one’s songs, which I scribbled while drinking overly sweet orange liquor alone in my apartment on St. Patrick’s Day:
All Night – Good for 5 secs. Bad false start. Unsuccessful hard rock.
Sad – Better when titled ‘Letter to the Dead.’ Understatement!!! (ed: I’m referring to lyrics such as the following: “In his room with memories for days, he faced / An undertow of futures laid to waste, embraced / By the loss of one he could not replace / And there’s no reason that she passed / And there is no god with a plan / It’s sad.” “SAD”??? Fucking heartbreaking, yes, but “sad”? Geez. Also, great song)
Down – Travelling Wilbury-esque! Yay! Nice little riff – understated.
Hitchhiker – “You fool” = suck. UHR. Multiple instances of Star Wars speak.
Don’t Gimme No Lip – UHR. Title?
Alone – Old school! Decent grunge-rocker, catchy, angsty chorus. Bombastic solo.
In The Moonlight – UHR. Forgettable.
Black, Red, Yellow – Pretty good B-side. I like colourlists. Memorable chorus about something.
Education – Cynical! Should’ve made Binaural, though not awesome. ++Production – mixed really nicely.
You – Aww! Wub song! Love the riff – it’s all build-y. Totally not Yield’s style, what this comp would be all about in happyland. Aww, PJ. btw, way to forget about the fucking riff.
Leavin’ Here – Obviously themed feminist blues-rock. Catchy but too unnuanced. Kinda neat topic, though.
Gremmie Out Of Control – Silly surf-rock. At least it’s negative.
Whale Song – Nearly Vedder-free preachy enviro-relaxo song. Sorry, but no.
Undone – Okay, but chorus really doesn’t match breezy guitars. Sound concerned about it, damnit!
Hold On – Loud, hookless bluesy rocker.
Yellow Ledbetter – YES – old timey indecipherable vocals and excellent guitaring in a classic style.
Then there’s disc two, which has too many slow, forgettable songs about death that fail to stick (I like “Footsteps,” though). It actually gets worse with repeated listenings, which is a shame given that very few songs are actually bad. But like I said earlier – fanservice. It does, however, have the excellent and poppy “Last Kiss,” which was their most successful single ever. Of course, that’s followed by two terrible funk songs, one of which is forgivable because it’s short and about basketball player Lew Alcindor, but the other is long and a straight-up Red Hot Chili Peppers impression. Gah. Then there’s also an instrumental that sounds like a rock version of a video game song, and then a silly acoustic song, and then a secret hidden bonus track that’s thankfully put five minutes after the last song ends where NOBODY would think to look.
Having described half the gosh darned double-album, here’s a brief list of some of the people at the gym that I hate. These people and activities are by no means a final list, just five I wrote during said scribbling/drinking:
1. Pledge Guy. Really, there’s this guy in the sauna who will coat his body in what smells like Lemon Pledge, but has the smell strength of Vicks Vapor Rub. It’s more or less unbearable. Once I was there while he was applying this odious stuff, and another guy said to him “whoa, that’s strong!” To which Pledge Guy replied, spaced-out but firm, “it opens the pores.” Truly someone who doesn’t particularly care for anyone except himself, or he wouldn’t engage in his destructive, annoying behaviour.
2. Fat White Supremacist. There’s this guy I see around quite often, a man not just chubby but corpulent, but I can’t recall seeing him actually exercising. Turns out he’s a white supremacist who tells me, among other things, that Stephen Harper is Jewish and part of a Jewish conspiracy, that immigrants are ruining our country and that our country was great until we started allowing them (it’s unclear where he draws the line since he’s one himself, obviously), black people are inherently untrustworthy, and many other things. It’s reassuring that he’s fat; it would be harder to laugh at him otherwise.
3. The Chattering Asian Guys – And to counter the goodwill of the previous entry…At least once a week I’m in the sauna with these guys, who are probably nice enough, but never, ever, stop loudly talking in, I think, Cantonese. It goes on and on and is very animated. It’d be okay, but I can’t understand any of it, and so it ends up being like construction noise while I’m trying to relax.
4. Brush Guy – Worse than he sounds, Brush Guy is a fairly fat Jamaican guy who violently scrubs his body all over with a brush on a long wooden stick, all the while making annoying, grunting “aah” and ooh” sounds. He also invariably stands there naked, making the difficulty in ignoring him even more offensive.
5. – Anyone who stands next to me in the showers unnecessarily – This happens nearly every time I’m there, and I can’t explain it. When choosing a shower I am careful to choose one that is between two unoccupied showers. As you do. As everyone does. Or so I thought, until I discovered that actually, a great deal of men prefer to choose one next to me, forcing us to awkwardly share soap, take painstaking measures to avoid physical contact (we’re naked here), and splashing me with their disgusting naked-men water spray. And why? What’s the benefit of this? It happens ALL THE TIME. It’s unreasonable and indefensible, as far as I’m concerned. Unsexy times when I’m naked are times, for me, to be silent and keep my eyes cast downward and get through with as little human contact as possible. How some fellow men do not agree with this is positively beyond me. There is a point at which being comfortable with our bodies is just fucked up.
And more next time! Buy this double album if you’re a big Pearl Jam fan! Otherwise just download “Sad,” “Yellow Ledbetter,” and “Last Kiss”!