Corduroy

Happy Halloween and Day Four of The iPod Challenge!

I’m excited for today’s post, and I’ll tell you why. I chose one of my absolute favorite Pearl Jam–nay, songs in general for today: Corduroy.

Oh god, Corduroy. Corduroy, Corduroy, Corduroy.

This song is off 1994’s “Vitalogy” album and I’ll even go as far to say that is also my favorite Pearl Jam record to date. It was Pearl Jam’s, or PJ for those tragically hip among us, 3rd effort, and boy howdy, was it a good one. You couldn’t turn on the radio in the 90s without hearing a PJ song blaring forth. It all started, of course, with 1991’s “Ten” album and songs like “Jeremy,” “Even Flow,” and “Alive.” The Jam also helped paved the way for the grunge rock movement, along with Nirvana (hey man, nice shot), Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains. These four bands shaped the era. Some succeeded better than others, obviously. I have read that Kurt Cobain tried digging his dirty fingernails into  Eddie Vedder and Company by calling them sellouts and criticizing  the aforementioned album “Ten” by saying that it “was not a true alternative album because it had so many prominent guitar leads.”

Apparently, Mr. Cobain never actually listened to his own band’s first commercial success record. Your song “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Mr. Cobain, is four minutes and thirty-eight seconds of you jack-hammering your poor guitar and Lil’ Davey Grohl monkey pounding on the drums. So please, Mr. Cobain, please continue speaking ill of leading guitars. Please. We’ll all sit here quietly.

Same to you, bucko.
Same to you, bucko.

I’m attacking a dead man. This is my life now. This is where I’m at with things.

Back on track, let’s discuss this song further. Where was I? It’s super good…Vitalogy…ah, yes. I was about to explain why this song is so goddamned fucking tremendously brilliant.

Paint, if you will, a picture, you and I engaged in a kis–oopsies. Sorry. Wrong song.

But seriously, picture this as you read what I have to write: the first few seconds are soft, gentle pluckings of some chords. Slowly and deliberately, the guitar gets louder and there’s the faint sound of snare drum being tapped lightly, the occasional quiet kick of the bass drum, then, in a feverish crescendo, the tempo speeds up even more and in a sudden explosion, the words, the waiting drove me mad! Those five words perfectly describe my feelings waiting those thirty seconds for something to happen. The anticipation is brutal and the payoff is worth it. It’s also impossible when listening to this song to not slap my knees in time with the drums. Impossible. Even if I were on my death-bed, comatose and until then wholly unresponsive to any external stimuli, if this song were to be played while in my last moments, I’d still slap my knees and then pass quietly from this mortal coil.

That’s not the only “oh holy shit” moment for me in the song. The second comes during the bridge to the song, and it’s also a swirl of anticipation, and in my humble opinion, the reason bridges in music were created were for this very instance.

Everything has chains…absolutely nothing’s changed, take my hand, not my picture…

Eddie, you magnificent bastard.

More of the lyrics. Sweet Fancy Moses.

The waiting drove me mad… you’re finally here and I’m a mess
I take your entrance back… can’t let you roam inside my head
I don’t want to take what you can give…
I would rather starve than eat your bread…
I would rather run but I can’t walk…
Guess I’ll lie alone just like before…
I’ll take the vermin’s path… oh, and I must refuse your test
A-push me and I will resist… this behavior’s not unique
I don’t want to hear from those who know…
They can buy, but can’t put on my clothes…
I don’t want to limp for them to walk…
Never would have known of me before…
I don’t want to be held in your debt…
I’ll pay it off in blood, let I be wed…
I’m already cut up and half dead…
I’ll end up alone like I began…
Everything has chains… absolutely nothing’s changed
“Take my hand, not my picture,” spilled my tincture
I don’t want to take what you can give…
I would rather starve than eat your bread…
All the things that others want for me…
Can’t buy what I want because it’s free…
Can’t buy what I want because it’s free…
Can’t be what you want because I’m…
Why ain’t it supposed to be just fun
Oh, to live and die, let it be done
I figure I’ll be damned, all alone like I began…
It’s your move now…
I thought you were a friend, but I guess I, I guess I hate you…

As with any song, the words are open for some leeway with interpretation. Apparently, according to the believe it or not vibe of Wikipedia, it’s about a goddamn actual corduroy jacket Eddie had, hence the title. Or, as EdVed said in an interview, “It is about a relationship but not between two people. It’s more one person’s relationship with a million people. In fact, that song’s almost a little too obvious for me. That’s why instead of a lyric sheet we put in an X-ray of my teeth from last January and they are all in very bad shape, which was analogous to my head at the time.”I’ve never been good at symbolism or interpreting things. I hated that bit in English class where we were supposed to find the meaning behind certain authors’ writings. That’s just my issue of not thinking what I have to say is correct or relevant, but to me, this song is about…stuff.

Hahaha!

Okay, let’s be serious here. To me, it’s about someone, waiting for someone, the excitement of it all, the driving yourself crazy waiting to see them, and when they finally get there (you’re finally here and I’m a mess), realizing the tizzy you worked yourself into is foolish (I take your entrance back, can’t let you roam inside my head). Being defiant in letting this person control you, goddamn it. Fuck you! You think you can waltz back into my life? Well, you have another thing comin’, pally. So says me, at least.

You guys, this song is amazing, you guys. I’m not kidding. Even if you’re not a Pearl Jam fan, you think Eddie wails incoherently and with a comical bravado to his voice, well, you need to listen to this song and trust me on it. Put all criticisms of Pearl Jam to rest and accept this song for the greatness it possesses, because brother, it’s a great goddamn song.

Take a listen for yourself.

This concludes Day Four. See you tomorrow.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s