By at 9:37 PM Wednesday, September 18th 2013


Pearl Jam Bring New Hope With ‘Sirens’

Pearl Jam, Music



When a new Pearl Jam album arrives, there’s always an accompanying ballad-anticipating anxiety, that “oh shit” feeling where you don’t know if you’re dealing with a momentum killer. Songs like Come Back and The End don’t exactly offer replay value for fans with high miles on their heart, or anyone who’s less than keen to step into the narrative shoes of, say, a man dying of cancer, even for three minutes. The gravity is too powerful, the subject matter damn near devastating. Sure, the same light can be shone on classic downtempo PJ tracks like Immortality and Indifference, but their poignant poetic beauty defies the gravity they carry.

Every so often, though, a song like Inside Job, Present Tense or I Got Shit will appear and serve as an Ibogaine bath of the soul, a rejuvenation of spirit. You’ve gotta be tuned in to feel the frequency of the wordless vocal cascade of Arc, but if you’re there, it resonates like a tuning fork. You are affected, finally, through the dead layers.

Today, the official track debut and video for Sirens arrived, the latest single from Pearl Jam’s new album Lightning Bolt. It’s a heart grabber, with nuance and passion blending into a moving picture of cherishing love amidst a certain mortality. Danny Clinch directed the live performance video, which finds the band performing in dramatic shadows.

The song is magnificent.

Instrumentally, Sirens is enormously dynamic, with Boom Gaspar’s emphasizing piano chord pounding a framework around a mix of electric & acoustic guitars (note Mikey’s 12-string) and a percussion that keeps the tempo from ever tiring. McCready’s solo isn’t a shift into a new gear with the high-reaching optimistic zeal he’s all but trademarked, but a thread pulled out of an already unraveling heart. It’s not a celebration, it’s a declaration.

And then there’s Eddie. Lyrically, Sirens is among Vedder’s best work in a decade, marrying earnest emotion with a poetic spirit that doesn’t drown in melodrama. “All things change,” he acknowledges, but like us all, he wants one constant, one star to stay the course by. “Let this remain.” He knows there is a way to be found. He’s pleading for her help in finding it.

For years we’ve stomped the “Publish’ button within moments of a new Pearl Jam song’s arrival, and reflected on the moment later, often privately. But that’s not why we started Antiquiet. And while we’ve already discussed that point, it’s moments like this when a better path is illuminated. We’re not the only place to find a new Pearl Jam song – 50 other sites and social feeds have been beating you over the head with it all day. There’s an aggressive push from all sides to get your clicks. That’s the game. But where’s the passion?

It’s here. What matters is that a new viscerally overwhelming connection is made with a piece of art that serves as a higher form of language. A new piece of music hits home on more than a “fuck yeah” groove or volume-maxing charisma. It presents a soul speaking honestly, an instrumental design that provides a journey to which no weathered heart is a stranger. Maybe it puts into words what you couldn’t. Maybe it takes you to a place you can’t go on your own. Maybe it finally connects the constellations in a chaotic sky.

Perhaps I’m a little more susceptible to the currents at the moment. Life has thrown me an unexpected barrage of lightning fast curveballs lately, as life will do. So I find myself entirely hijacked, and in some lights saved, by a new Pearl Jam song, just as I was in 1992 when first hearing Garden, Deep and the rest of Ten. It’s a different experience two decades on, of course. They’re different. I’m different. Yet across all those years I can still find a fuel in the passion when the band is firing on all levels. I still find a fire in the soul for a song that hits at just the right moment, with just the right balance. I still remember the love that brought me to this point.

Sometimes a song speaks louder than it should. Sometimes it reaches that higher connectivity, and a new bloom occurs.

I found that today with Sirens.

Hear the sirens
Hear the circus, so profound
I hear the sirens
more and more in this here town

Let me catch my breath to breathe
and reach across the bed
Just to know we’re safe
I am a grateful man
This life has been a light
and I can see clear
how to take your hand, and feel your breath
or feel this someday will be over
I hold you close, so much to lose
knowing that nothing lasts forever
I didn’t care before you were here
I danced with laughter
with the ever-after
But all things change. Let this remain.

Hear the sirens covering distance in the night
The sound echoing closer, will they come for me next time?
Oh every choice, mistake I’ve made, it’s not my plan
to send you in the arms of another man
And if you choose to stay, I’ll wait, I’ll understand

It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead
If I think too much, I can get overwhelmed by the grace by which we live

our lives with death over our shoulder
Want you to know that should I go
I always loved you, held you high above too
I study your face, the fear goes away

It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead
If I think too much, I can get overwhelemed
by the grace by which we live
our lives with death over our shoulders
Want you to know that should I go
I always loved you, held you high above too
I study your face, and the fear goes away
The fear goes away
The fear goes away
The fear goes away

Keep an eye on Pearl Jam’s official site for more updates.




Meanwhile, On The Internet...

  1. You’re such a wonderful writer, Johnny. This is a great song, and you’re absolutely right.

  2. JG10 says:

    This is spot on and exactly how i felt. Brilliant piece here about a really special song

  3. Joe says:

    I think “I can’t get over Wound by the grace” should be “I can get over-whelmed by the grace”

  4. so beautiful songs..THANK YOU PEARL JAM – THANK YOU MIKE

  5. I tried so hard to wrap my head around the song the first time I heard it… Echoes of “November Rain” and (don’t laugh) PJ’s “Olympic Gold” and other tones from other songs I’d never connected with. I really had a hard time getting past some of that… And then around the third listen, I finally paid attention to the lyrics and found myself sobbing like a baby… I get it now. Well played, Pearl Jam, well played…you got me…

  6. Murray says:

    While the lyrics are very deep, I’m just not getting an emotional connection with the music. For me it’s the music that catches my ear and then I delve into the lyrics. Hoping this song grows on me…

  7. steve says:

    Well said. I appreciate the fact that you waited a day to post/write this review. When I heard this song yesterday I really didn’t know what to think of it. Within 10 seconds of my very first listen my initial reaction was… “WTF, this is it, pearl jam has gone adult contemporary, I’m done with these guys.”

    Of course I gave it a few more listens. Each listen I found myself getting lost in a few parts of the song (in a good way). I revisited the song again today and found my mind wandering only to realize “Wow! This is really got something great going on”. It is waaaay different from anything they’ve put out, but I think your review said it exactly. And to your point I think this is the type of song that deserves more time to absorb it before reacting to it, so thank you for taking that time before writing your review.

  8. Stone Fan says:

    You’re going a bit too far there. The music is really good, the solo fantastic, but the rest tends to ramble. It’s not going to be a big hit becuase there’s nothing to sing along to.

    It’s better than the end, but not as good as Comeback, which became a mini hit on its own, not as a single. Good song, but not great and not going to be close to a big hit.

    • J says:

      Why are you concerned with whether it will be a hit or not? I judge the quality of a song based on how I feel about it, not how mainstream media feels about it. There are plenty of gems they put out that weren’t hits.

  9. Fuck, that’s the kind of stuff i want to read on antiquiet.

  10. Peterfied says:

    This song sounds like Hoobastank. Pearl Jam fans are lying to themselves about this being ANY good.

    • James says:

      Right how dare people like something you don’t like. Get lost. It’s a powerful ballad, something they are very well known for, and it’s a very deep and beautiful song.

      • Brian says:

        Same thing I felt James. But I still love the track. Pearl Jam has more than enough cred to delve off into an out of the ordinary style and still maintain the essence that makes them superior artists.

  11. LKDaddy says:

    Possibly one of the best written reviews I have ever had the fortune to read and I’m a nearly 37 year old musicophile, I’ve read a LOT.
    That last paragraph fits EXACTLY into my life/feelings.
    Very well done sir, I salute you.

  12. vitriology says:

    This is one of the best song’s PJ has ever written. The music seriously matches the build of Ed’s lyrics. I don’t think they’ve been this successful since Given to Fly…and this is a better song. Sirens gets more cathartic as it progresses and it just reaches that an amazing build…like a sustained panic. Can’t describe it well with words but my god, this is special.

  13. Your review is amazing…dead on….i got off work at 2am….have to be back at 1030….been listening to this song for three hours straight. Ed has a way of making me feel like a kid…listening to a new song a million times….you nailed it all in your review…as good as the song itself. The guy who said it won’t be a hit….there’s nothing to song along to…you are wrong. There is much to sing along to. Im a music lover….if you need hits, miley cyrus is getting alot of attention. Stone gossard is amazing on this song too.

  14. Alex says:

    This song is a turd, and this article is a poem about a turd. Shine on you crazy turd polisher.

    • Eli says:

      I liked this review and I think Alex’s comment is funny. This song is oddly compelling. First time I heard it, I assumed sirens referred to to Greek mythology. Then, I hear McCready mention in an interview that Ed wrote it overnight in an L.A. hotel room. He could hear police or ambulance sirens. Anyway, it works both ways. Although I like the sound of mythical singers waking a man in Seattle better than the other option.

    • Tina says:

      So many songs are cookie cutter versions of surface emotions with a catchy hook. Not everything these guys have done has been a commercial hit and it seems they could not care less. They never fail to evoke something real and excruciatingly deep. They’ve been a part of my musical library since “Ten” and though we’ve drifted apart at times, PJ and I, always…always I come back and find myself wooed and reignited. Bitter sweetly reminded of the past and beautifully aching in the present.

  15. Phil says:

    Nice job capturing the spirit of PJ and the emotions of Jamily members- only one bone of contention, The End is an amazing song

  16. Phil says:

    Nice piece of writing capturing the essence if the song and the Jamily emotions PJ fans feel. Sirens had a lot to live up to with the pre-release comparisons to the epic black. It is not black, but is an amazing song musically and lyrically- one bone of contention I have is the end is also an amazing song….

  17. Redawna says:

    You completely nailed it! It is an amazing song. And so fitting for my journey right now. Funny how that happens, Pearl Jam continues to be the sound track for my life.


  19. vitriolic says:

    Random words pulled from a thesaurus and the reminiscent ramblings of a nobody. This song is shit and thats coming from a Pearl Jam who who loves all of their stuff. Delutional review of a poor song.

    • zachredyellow says:

      I love all the PJ “fans” who choose to dog new songs, dog the band. Normally I withstand the urge to reply, but…
      Here is a perfect example of a moron contradicting himself: “This song is shit and thats coming from a Pearl Jam (I think you meant to say fan here, you fucking idiot) who who loves all of their stuff.”
      Hey vitriolic, go listen to some Shinedown or some Seether. Get your rocks off, duder. And, please, never call yourself a Pearl Jam fan again.

  20. Kim says:

    Could not agree more with this post. Awesome piece. Awesome song.

  21. mike says:

    Amazing song and an amazing article. Sick of reading stuff from people who just wanna piss on our parade. The fans of this band get it. And the non fans dont. We will find the beauty in songs that we may not normally care for from other bands. Not brainwashing. Its a love and a connection to something and appreciating the art and effort. They will never make another ten or vs but i for one am glad for that. Its why they are still doing it. Pearl jam till i die.

  22. Dave Krusen says:

    This song is not good. It sounds like a Keith Urban song. Don’t ask me why I know what a Keith Urban sounds like, we all make sacrifices. Been a fan of this band for more than half my life. Will buy the album, but this song is weak and ill-conceived

  23. Marie says:

    I couldn’t agree more with your article. This song is amazing and I’ve been listening to it since last week… First time, I thought “Hey! Is PJ into Country, now?!…” But now I really think the lyrics are close to perfection and, as you wrote “then there ‘s Eddie”!…

  24. Alex says:

    I just listened to this again, and all it makes me want to do is take a steel-toed boot to the nuts of whichever one of these fucks it was who ran off with the real Pearl Jam, the one that disappeared after Vs.
    They never recovered the same vibe after dumping Dave Abbruzzese. But hey, Eddie made a suh-weet ukulele CD! I’ve got five that says Eddie and Stone are the Massengills in the Pearl Jam punchbowl, Matt just shuts the fuck up and cashes checks and that McCready probably wants to dig up Layne so he can do a CD that rocks. The lyrics might be nice if you’re butthurt, but I remember a time when there was some AUDIO to go with the words. Sad.

  25. Paul says:

    First of all, great article. Funny how people still want PJ to redo Ten and Vs. Don’t get me wrong those are two of the best albums ever recorded, with some of my all time favorite songs (there will never be another BLACK) but dudes, that was 20 years ago. Bands evolve, people evolve! Thankfully. This is a great song, a grown up song, with very poignant lyrics. I was blessed to see them at Wrigley and the other new ones are very good too! They continue to make great music that moves me and makes me think, which is the beauty of an artist.

  26. bryan says:

    I haven’t really followed PJ in a long time, not since Binaural, but when I heard this song I was completely captured by it. It’s not quite the same feeling I got from Release, but similar and I noted the feeling. It has revived my interest in the band.

  27. Pete says:

    The song is growing on me with each listen. It’s Amazing that PJ are still making Heartfelt music, and going strong, twenty years into their run. They’re exploring a new phase of life, and music, with the same spirit, but the focus of older, and wiser men. It’s just good to know that they are still out there making music from the gut and soul. I’m just glad to be along for the ride.

  28. CM Jones says:

    As a fan of this band, I didn’t know what to think of it the first time I heard it on HFS 97-5 in Baltimore (that was during the new music slot at 4pm w spam.) Then I heard it again in the afternoon 2:30 or so near the end of Crash’s show and I dig it now. Hope WHFS plays it again on my way home

  29. KT says:

    first time in a long time I’ve listened to a song over and over and over and over. Spent the evening searching on line for lyrics….reviews….comments. Came across yours, James. Shocked me at how well you captured my thoughts.
    Thanks for a great review. Well done and spot on!

  30. Christine Daniels says:

    Love it!!! Beautiful art as usual.

  31. Quite part of articles. I recently stumbled upon your web site plus accession money to say that I receive basically liked profile a person’s blog page posts. Anyway I will be following to your nourishes as well as My partner and i accomplishment you gain access to consistently quick.

  32. This sounds like a really good Nickelback song.

  33. Mark says:

    Spot on…Sirens Lyrics are so beautiful. For me, it is an amazing love song. Having lost a few of my closest loved ones…these lyrics ring home in a deep powerful manner. Pure art by Pearl Jam and Eddie.

  34. Hearing this song reconnected me to PJ. Casual listener for two decades, I have listened to almost their entire studio records and tons of YouTube concerts in a few months! Looking forward to enjoying my Ten Club benefits: ).

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