Most people either love Pearl Jam or hate them. There isn’t a lot of middle ground for them. And lead singer Eddie Vedder has been called a poet. But is Eddie Vedder a good songwriter?
Here is what I think:
Eddie Vedder is an incredible songwriter. He has penned some classic compositions like “Better Man”, “Wishlist”, “Just Breathe”, “I Am Mine”, and “World Wide Suicide”, that have captivated fans and have lyrics that are impossible not to latch onto.
And honestly, I’m not even really a fan.
Pearl Jam found itself caught in heated debates when Nirvana’s vocalist Kurt Cobain called their band “corporate puppets”, who lacked the underground purity of Nirvana.
In the early days of Pearl Jam, Vedder wasn’t the only lyricist for the band. But he significantly provided passion-filled lyrics, varying from personal to political, giving a peek into his literary talent.
But is he the most talented songwriter emerging out of the grunge scene?
Fans don’t think so. A famous debate online concluded that Vedder’s songwriting is average compared to legends like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and alike. But to say that Vedder has no talent would be ridiculous.
Let us find some concrete answers!
“A lot of what songwriting, I think, is writing messages to yourself.” – Eddie Vedder @PearlJam pic.twitter.com/ESjAnkZLi4
— Adib Hidayat (@AdibHidayat) July 11, 2017
Did Eddie Vedder write all of Pearl Jam’s hit songs?
No. Eddie did not write all of Pearl Jam’s hit songs. He may be the chief lyricist, but other band members like Jeff Ament, Mike McCready, and Stone Gossard shared their valuable input in composing the music.
Pearl Jam’s vast catalog consists of over 150 songs. More than two-thirds of the lyrics have been composed by Vedder, with each member lending their precious experiences, giving the albums a sense of relatability.
Check out songs like “Low Light”, “Inside Job”, and “Rival”, whose lyrics are solely written by Jeff Ament, Mike McCready, and Stone Gossard, respectively.
Here is the list of Pearl Jam’s awesome hit songs and the names of their co-writers:
- Better Man: Eddie Vedder
- State of Love and Trust: Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Jeff Ament
- Even Flow: Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard
- Rearviewmirror: Eddie Vedder
- Given To Fly: Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready,
- Jeremy: Jeff Ament, Eddie Vedder
- Yellow Ledbetter: Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Jeff Ament
- Alive & Black: Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard
Pearl Jam wrote each of these songs over the past 20 years.
But their classic beats are unforgettable and have sustained the tests of time. It is probably because of the amount of effort that each Pearl Jam member put into creating these.
6. Ten – Pearl Jam (1991). Favorite PJ album. Songwriting is amazing and Vedder’s distinctive voice makes these songs extremely memorable. Lot of emorion in these songs. pic.twitter.com/v2GlbFO17h
— PsychoDelicJoey (@PsychoDelicTV) August 7, 2020
Who writes the lyrics for Pearl Jam?
Eddie Vedder typically writes the lyrics to Pearl Jam songs while various band members help write the music. So being the lead singer, Vedder is the voice of the band and sings his own words.
Vedder’s talents have always been creating songs based on his intense personal experience that many audiences relate to and apply in their own lives.
A lyric has chains to follow that connects with fans. Lucky for Vedder, this connection between him and his fans has only grown over the years.
As much as Vedder is a good songwriter, he also excels in writing about political statements.
According to The Sky is Scrape:
“Lyrics from tracks like ‘Do the Evolution,’ ‘Grievance,’ and ‘Marker in the Sand’ look at the political world with a skeptical eye, while the song ‘Bushleaguer’ provides an excellent satirical take on everybody’s favorite President.”
The entertainment website also added:
“Vedder’s specialty is the personal, no doubt. He and Pearl Jam become stars by being direct and earnest and they haven’t changed that approach at all. Whether he’s whimsical on “Elderly Woman…” or exhausted on “All or None,” Eddie Vedder knows how to tap into his own mind and make his statements mean something to the rest of us as well.”
Eddie Vedder’s lyrical process is essentially complex which is difficult to replicate.
Check out my recent article if you want to know how to sound like Eddie Vedder. I get into why and how he sings the way he does, including the 1 thing that might eventually trash his voice.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
The 5 members of Pearl Jam, seen here thinking they are in 5 different bands. pic.twitter.com/vC9s9IsE2p
— DrunkOnMystery (@DrunkOnMystery) September 16, 2021
Do the other members of Pearl Jam help write their songs?
The other Pearl Jam members all collaborate in writing their songs, creating a complete album that is truly a group effort. However, not every member helps write every song.
As listeners, we might not be aware of the entire process of curating a song, but the hard work that goes into it isn’t hidden from anyone.
From testing thousands of tones to experimenting with the vocals, from deciding what you want the final song to sound like to ensuring each note is clean.
And being a band from the 90s, Pearl Jam has probably been through all the hardships already.
And if it weren’t so, the band wouldn’t have sustained challenges of the everyday growing taste in the music industry for so long.
Pearl Jam’s unique sound comes from its ability to use intricate and complex textures in lyrics, vocal range, energy, and tones which is often credited to the band’s incredible use of minimal autotune.
Pearl Jam using Autotune?
Check out my recent article to find out the list of Pearl Jam songs that carry those subtle and underlined elements of autotune. You will be surprised.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
As a band that participates in the songwriting process, Pearl Jam members say that they have become better musicians.
In my opinion, trusting one another in the band is the key to really kicking the band’s chemistry to a new level. And you can give the song everything it needs.
Happy Birthday to @PearlJam’s Eddie Vedder! Celebrate the voice behind countless rock classics like “Alive,” “Better Man” and “Just Breathe” with our Pearl Jam A-Z playlist: https://t.co/9NKOGnDV9i pic.twitter.com/uTDdwL5Q5w
— Pandora (@pandoramusic) December 23, 2019
Who wrote Better Man by Pearl Jam?
Pearl Jam’s Better Man was written entirely by lead vocalist Eddie Vedder. It is a classic masterpiece from the band’s third studio album, Vitalogy (1994). But Vedder first performed it with a different band before joining Pearl Jam.
Reportedly, despite the lack of commercial release, the single “Better Man” reached the top of Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks, spending a total of eight weeks at number one.
Better Man is known to be a reflection of Eddie Vedder’s childhood memories.
His relationship with his step-father, “the bastard that married my momma”, Peter Mueller, who divorced Vedder’s mother in the early 1980s.
Part of the song is also dedicated to how far Eddie has come from the teenager sitting on the bed in San Diego writing the lyrics for the track, thinking if anyone would ever listen to it.
Vedder first performed it with one of his early bands that he used to play called Bad Radio with a slightly faster tempo.
With initial rejection, Vedder later re-recorded “Better Man” with Pearl Jam.
Producer Brendan O’Brien said that “this is one of their best songs. It took us recording it two times before Eddie became comfortable with it because it was such a great pop song.”
Tough 1 Shot Question :
Into the Wild – Eddie Vedder #movie #soundtrack #music https://t.co/Q0IAlBdjjs pic.twitter.com/0EESozXYb9
— Mac :: Scotland (@Fudgel11) September 26, 2020
Did Eddie Vedder write the songs for Into the Wild?
Eddie Vedder wrote 9 of the 11 songs on his solo album, Into the Wild. It was created for Sean Penn’s film “Into the Wild” and was released on September 18, 2007.
When asked by Los Angeles Times about the songwriting process behind the track, this is what Eddie Vedder had to say:
“I don’t remember a damn thing about it. It just kind of flew out. It felt like other things were at work. Things came through, musically and lyrically, that I really didn’t have to do too much work on. It felt more like just grabbing sparks around my head and putting them on the fire.”
For Vedder, the biggest thing that the song gave him was the unspoken trust that he has in his songwriting process. This is one of the similarities that I found when comparing Pearl Jam with their other contemporary Nirvana.
Kurt Cobain is also known to have repeated the same process in writing lyrics.
Read my recent article to look at Pearl Jam and Nirvana’s journey to creating complete albums. I got into which band was “better”, who sold more, and which one is more popular today.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
And for the most part, I believe you would agree that every singer, artist, and music composer must trust the process really; otherwise, it makes the creation a lot harder.
Now that I have covered Eddie Vedder’s biography in great detail and deeply understood his songwriting process, I think Eddie Vedder is a great songwriter.
However, when you begin comparing Eddie Vedder’s writing ability with his other contemporaries like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and others, Vedder cannot be said to be the only one driving the generation crazy with his literary talents.
And honestly, every era has a feel that songwriters attempt to capture in their lyrics, but only a few can carry this to the next generations. Eddie is undoubtedly one of them.
Photo which requires attribution:
Festimad 2007 Eddie Vedder by Mario is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped, edited, and had a text overlay added.