The Authoritative Top 10 Pearl Jam Songs

OK ... authoritative as chosen by me. :-) When anyone asks me my favorite singer or band, there is no hesitation that it is Pearl Jam. Lollapalooza 1992 pretty much defined my musical interest in this band, and there has been no turning back.

I was challenged to come up with my Top 10 favorite songs by this band, led by Eddie Vedder. I would say their catalog consists on the order of 175+ songs, and I like a bunch of them. Narrowing the list down to 10 was horribly difficult. But I did it. I quickly narrowed down the list by grabbing my "5-star" rated songs off of iTunes. There were about 25 of those. Then I listened to those 25 to come up with my decision.

Without further ado, here is the list of all Pearl Jam lists, with video samples so you can get an idea of how great these songs are:

10.

Down (Lost Dogs, 2003): An uplifting song off of their Lost Dogs album, I have no real main reason for liking this song other than I just like it. It almost has an R.E.M type feel to it. Talks about being lifting yourself up from the depths of some sort of despair. I would say this is the most "poppy" song on my list. At least it is not "Last Kiss", I guess (although, I like that song better than a lot of people). By the way, for the video below, I was at that concert in San Francisco :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o1wVTP3gSI

9.

Love Boat Captain (Riot Act, 2002): This song starts builds from slow to fast and ends slow. A great blend of melody and singing. It is actually a very emotional song, especially to Pearl Jam. It is dedicated to nine people that died during a concert Pearl Jam was giving in Denmark in 2000. "Lost nine friends we'll never know, two years ago today".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhtgreZF1cQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6CvDtJmU58

8.

Rearviewmirror (Vs., 1993): A hard-hitting, fast-paced song with Vedder on the guitars. The beginning instruments just captures you. And then "I took a drive today/Time to emancipate". For some reason, I initially thought this song was about some sort of date rape, but them came to realize it was about becoming free of abuse of someone who was hated with a passion. Apparently, this is about Vedder hating is stepfather. The end of this song gets your air guitar going. :-) Oh, and for you Cold Case fans, this song was featured in a two episode series featuring Pearl Jam (right after their greatest hits album "Rearviewmirror" came out).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6lCVgE6xnM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e5N5y58k6U http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Fxk2JrZgvA

7.

State of Love and Trust (The movie "Singles" soundtrack (1992) / Rearviewmirror, 2004): This was written for the 1992 movie "Singles". A song about love and faithfulness, this is just one of those songs that jams. It is fast and the ending guitar playing is awesome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60HrwY_CsiQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xxw6cf3jFIs

6.

Yellow Ledbetter (Lost Dogs, 2003 / Rearviewmirror, 2004): Mainly a very popular concert ending song, the lighters get thrown up when this song is played. It has been admitted that Jimi Hendrix was "ripped off" for this song. Not a fast song. Lyrically powerful. I believe Vedder has mentioned this being about someone dying in war. I love the song-ending guitar. Another Cold Case featured song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs8y3kneqrs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agF6VCzzjn0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhcnKYvzfZc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLd22ha_-VU

5.

Black (Ten, 1991): Number 1 on many Pearl Jam fans' lists, Black is probably the song I would introduce to a new listener of Pearl Jam...especially one who is more inclined to softer ballads. One of their most emotional songs, I believe it is about a couple's breakup and the pain that goes with it (others say it is about a suicide or an abortion). The sticking lyric - "I know someday you'll have a beautiful life, I know you'll be a star in somebody else's sky, but why, why, why, can't it be, can't be mine?". And another Cold Case featured song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6X8Ic86Hx3w http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DTFwYZ6YJU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFVlJAi3Cso http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi2x28FEwCo

4.

Porch (Ten, 1991): The best song on their debut album Ten in my opinion. Just beating out Black. There really isn't a whole lot to the song, actually. A quick intro, an awesome beginning riff, verse, awesome instrumental, verse, awesome ending. Quick and hard hitting 3 minutes. A great concert song. This song got me loving Pearl Jam. Period. In a way, this song will always be my favorite. By the way, the crowd jump in the second video below from Pink Pop 92 is freaking amazing (about 2 minutes and 50 seconds in).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7piN4dsj-Gg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckRsIy4Zqgo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXtAm7QbwMc

3.

I Got S**t (Merkin Ball, 1995 / Rearviewmirror, 2004): The made for release title is "I Got ID". I like the original title better :-) Capturing me with its initial guitar sequence by Eddie Vedder and Neil Young (yes, that Neil Young), the lyrics start off depressing and emotional. And it stays that way. Great riffs. Neil Young adds a bunch to this song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAMm5ry64MA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMyToPVWH9c

2.

Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (Vs., 1993): I think this is the longest title of any Pearl Jam song. It is a fairly popular song. Having an acoustic feel, this song really showcases Vedder's lyrical and singing ability. About a woman working in a small town who sees a long lost love interest. I love it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1wQ8cOJbtY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i6fCGkFYa0

1.

Immortality (Vitalogy, 1994): This song actually snuck upon me as my favorite song. While popular, it is not as well known as songs like Jeremy, Alive, EvenFlow, Last Kiss, etc. In fact, I would call it is a nice gem. I am not quite sure I understand the entire song, although rumors are it is about Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and lyrics were added after his death. For those musical instrument inclined (not me), I think it is a simple enough song. But it is the perfect blend of great vocals, melodies and instrument play that make this tops on my list. And, in case you are interested, it is featured in Cold Case :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1KlnKvtJJw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2niU_FZ_-w http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PowCFdg0rrY

[Other songs in consideration for the top 10: Life Wasted (Pearl Jam), Comatose (Pearl Jam), Corduroy (Vitalogy), Given to Fly (Yield), Faithful (Yield), Dissident (Vs.), In Hiding (Yield), Unthought Known (Backspacer), Animal (Vs.), Evenflow (Ten), Sad (Lost Dogs), Alive (Ten), Thin Air (Binaural)]

10 Songs That Have Made An Impact On My Life

I have thousands of songs in my music collection. And I have heard thousands above and beyond those in that collection.

For some reason, I got to thinking about which songs actually have made an impact on me on a personal level. They are not necessarily my favorite songs nor do I necessarily listen to them much anymore. But they are songs that actually had a noticeable impact on my life or emotions.

Here are 10 songs (well, technically 11 since one set has two songs associated with it), in no particular order of favoritism, that have made some sort of impact on me:

Just the Way You Are - Billy Joel: First song at my wedding. Nuff said, really.

Black - Pearl Jam: My favorite song off the album that made me a Pearl Jam lifer. And they still remain my favorite band ever. Just listen to the lyrics of Black sometime. Love lost.

Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana: As cliche as this song has turned out to be, this song literally brought me to a whole new level of musical appreciation. That's really the bottom line. Defined my generation.

Cheeseburger in Paradise - Jimmy Buffett: First concert I ever saw with my then college girlfriend (and now my spouse). Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh.

Cornflake Girl - Tori Amos: First concert I ever saw in a concert hall with the piano as the primary instrument. Tori Amos rocks the piano and it made me a Tori Amos fan forever.

Caribbean Queen - Billy Ocean: My first EVER concert. I was about 10 years old at the county fair in Ft. Lauderdale. It was at that point I new I loved music.

To The Bone - Sex Police / Fun & Games - The Connells: These two bands really help define my college experience. The Sex Police specifically helped to define one of the greatest times I have ever had in my life.

Brass Monkey - Beastie Boys: Might have been the first *cassette tape* I owned. Remember the tail of the airplane on the cover? My middle school years were heavily influenced by this song and album from many different perspectives.

Joining You - Alanis Morissette: Just listen to the lyrics and you will understand why I put it here. I really find the story in the lyrics kinda chilling (the story might actually be true if I remember correctly). And I love the riffs. I have never grown tired of this song. Alanis is one of the most underrated musicians of my time.

Ice, Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice: The first *CD* I ever owned. Got it as a joint gift with my first portable CD player. Also the song that made me realized that I might just sometimes be ridiculed for the choice of music that I may like (as I am with Kelly Clarkson now).


Top 25 Played Songs In My iTunes Collection As of April 2009

It has been about a year since I posted a list of my favorite music at a given point in time. I always like these sorts of lists because it gives me a chance to reflect on my personality when it comes to music. I also like when I see other lists like this because it reminds me that I am missing a bunch of great songs in my music collection, even though I have well over 3000 songs. So I go and buy some.

Anyway, I was looking at my iTunes playlists today and found one called "Top 25 Most Played". I looked in there and was surprised what I saw. Now these are the most played since I moved my music to iTunes in May 2008. Here is the list:

  1. Last Name -- Carrie Underwood (Played 33 times)
  2. Walk Away -- Kelly Clarkson (31 times)
  3. Life Wasted -- Pearl Jam (29 times)
  4. SIgned, Sealed, Delivered -- Stevie Wonder (25 times)
  5. All Mixed Up -- 311 (25 times)
  6. Killer Queen -- Queen (24 times)
  7. Hello (American Idol Performance) -- David Cook (21 times)
  8. Seasons of Love -- Rent the Musical (20 times)
  9. Comfortably Numb [Live] -- Roger Waters with Van Morrison (19 times)
  10. Gloria -- Van Morrison (18 times)
  11. Because of You -- Kelly Clarkson (18 times)
  12. Killing Me Softly With His Song - Fugees (16 times)
  13. Since U Been Gone -- Kelly Clarkson (16 times)
  14. Drops of Jupiter -- Train (16 times)
  15. No Diggity -- Blackstreet & Dr. Dre (14 times)
  16. Higher Ground -- Stevie Wonder (14 times)
  17. Don't Know Why -- Norah Jones (13 times)
  18. Wanted Dead or Alive -- Bon Jovi (12 times)
  19. Jump Around -- House of Pain (12 times)
  20. Illusion, Coma, Pimp and Circumstance -- Prince (12 times)
  21. It's So Hard To Say Goodbye -- Boyz II Men (11 times)
  22. Don't Let Love Go -- En Vogue (11 times)
  23. Upside Down -- Jack Johnson (11 times)
  24. Behind These Hazel Eyes -- Kelly Clarkson (11 times)
  25. Verse Chorus Verse -- Nirvana (11 times)

(Moving up quickly: Independence Day -- Martina McBride, Kiss from a Rose -- Seal, Alone -- Heart, On the Other Side of the Truth -- Sex Police, Animal -- Pearl Jam)

So what does this list show? Well, that I have a pretty diverse musical taste. I like American Idol (yes, I admit that with no shame). Kelly Clarkson seems to be my favorite artist (although it really is Pearl Jam). And.....that I let my kids listen to the Curious George Soundtrack a little too much (WHAT THE HECK IS JACK JOHNSON DOING IN HERE :) )


MacBook Pro Slot Drive Is Finicky - It was the CD-R Brand After All

UPDATE: It ended not being the brand necessarily. I used a CD drive cleaner and all seems fixed: http://joelmarcey.com/2009/01/05/macbook-pro-superdrive-burn-problems-update-fixed-with-laser-lens-cleaner/ This weekend I went to the Apple Store Genius Bar to see if they could find a resolution to my slot drive problems.

Well, it was the CD-R brand after all! I showed the Genius Bar representative my problems with my Sony (Brand A - I don't need to protect the innocent anymore) and my Memorex (Brand B) CD-Rs. She popped in a Staples brand CD-R (Yes, a Staples Brand!!!), and it burnt an iTunes playlist flawlessly.

Thus it seems the MacBook Pro slot drive is finicky; but better than having it sent in for repairs. ;-)

I am heading to Staples soon. :-)

My Christmas and Holiday Song List for the 2008 Season

As I said last year, I like lists. Just to be in the holiday spirit, I thought I would share my Christmas and Holiday song list that I have compiled for this season. I think it is pretty good. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or just general happiness to all!

  • Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
  • Happy Xmas (War Is Over) -- John & Yoko
  • Sleigh Ride -- Amy Grant
  • Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! -- Frank Sinatra
  • My Grown-Up Christmas List -- Kelly Clarkson
  • I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas -- Bon Jovi
  • Here Comes Santa Claus -- Elvis Presley
  • The Little Drummer Boy -- Bob Seger
  • Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) -- U2
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas -- The Pretenders
  • Do You Hear What I Hear -- Carrie Underwood
  • Winter Wonderland -- Eurythmics
  • White Christmas -- The Drifters
  • The Christmas Song -- Hootie & The Blowfish
  • Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town -- Bruce Springsteen
  • Jingle Bell Rock -- Daryl Hall And John Oates
  • Wonderful Christmastime -- Paul McCartney
  • Run Rudolph Run -- Chuck Berry
  • Last Christmas -- Wham!
  • Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me) -- Elvis Presley
  • Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree -- Brenda Lee
  • Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer -- Gene Autry
  • Seasons of Love -- From the Musical "Rent"
  • Auld Lang Syne -- Barenaked Ladies

Top 15 Listened to Songs of 2008 So Far

I love music. I really love music. I have many thousands of songs from country to rock to R&B to rap. So it is real hard to pick all-time favorite songs. I gauge my favorite songs by the play count in Windows Media Player, where I play most of my music when I am working on my computer.

Here are my top 15 listened to songs of 2008 thus far (I had some ties, so I went with 15 songs):

  1. Killer Queen - Queen (One of the greatest bands ever!)
  2. No Diggity - Blackstreet
  3. Life Wasted - Pearl Jam (My favorite band!)
  4. Behind These Hazel Eyes - Kelly Clarkson (yes, that Kelly Clarkson -- this is a great song and she can actually sing)
  5. Man in A Box - Alice In Chains
  6. White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane
  7. Killing Me Softly - The Fugees
  8. Total Eclipse of the Heart - Bonnie Tyler (One of my favorite "slow" songs ever, period!)
  9. Hot Blooded - Foreigner
  10. Pretty Vegas - INXS (actually saw the new INXS in concert -- very good!)
  11. Sin Wagon - Dixie Chicks (By the way, the documentary Shut Up and Sing was great)
  12. To The Bone - Sex Police (My favorite band in college)
  13. Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
  14. Alone - Heart
  15. Verse Chorus Verse - Nirvana

Will see if these stick throughout the rest of the year.

Sometime I may be able to come up with my favorite songs ever. I have to imagine at least one of these would make the list.