Happy birthday Eddie, Merry Christmas, and thanks to you and the band for an excellent and thrilling Pearl Jam year 2018. I've had several memorable personal meetings with band members and saw seven shows (and was at the venue for two canceled ones, Buenos Aires and London) on three different continents. A close to perfect year, except for one thing … What's happening with this new album?
In 2015 in Buenos Aires, Stone Gossard told me the band had recorded 25 demos. In the summer of 2017, manager Kelly Curtis told me, at the premier of the airing of Let's Play Two, that he expected a new album not later than the spring of 2018. Both Jeff Ament and Mike McCready has publicly talked about a new album coming up, but at the moment … radio silence is pretty much complete.
What to expect
Are we in the era of Zack de La Rocha, who has more or less completed two solo albums with icons such as DJ Shadow and Trent Reznor? Or how about the 'highly anticipated' Guns N'Roses album Chinese Democracy, which turned out to be a disappointment after 15 years in the making. Or what about Tool, which is rumoured to put out a new album in 2019. Last time was the excellent 10.000 Days in 2006. Actually released the same week as the eponymous 'Avocado album' pushing Pearl Jam down to #2 on The Billboard Top 200 list. Meaning that infants born at the time of 10.000 Days, will be teenagers when the follow up is released!
Hopefully we won't have to wait as long for a follow up album after the excellent Lightning Bolt from 2013.
Pre-Christmas is the time of waiting, and maybe the good Edved, is just testing us and our patience? Just as he knows it from himself being a passionate Chicago Cubs fan, as he expressed in Let's Play Two. But then again, 'the longest wait in history... The Cubs had a 108 year long trophy starvation. Ouch, don't even wanna go into that one. As Eddie says, 'If there's one thing you're not as a Cub fan; that is spoiled'.
We fellow Jammers have been pretty well spoiled on the live, film and activity scene for many years. We're just missing that one piece in the puzzle. So while it's almost driving us mad, here's a list of songs on the challenges of waiting patiently, wishing and hoping for the best.
Corduroy – Pearl Jam
Eddie's opening line says it all. But just to ensure, 'Eddie, we'll take all what you can give. No problem.’
Tired Of Waiting For You - Kinks
An old personal favorite from the main inspiration of the melodic, storytelling Brit pop, just 30 years in advance. One of many amazing tunes from the gifted hands of Ray Davies. Just like us, Ray's seriously tired of waiting.
Waiting On A Friend – Rolling Stones
What a great track from the early 80s from the eternal rockers. There's a classic quote from Charlie Watts, defining rock and roll as two hours of playing and 22 hours of waiting around. Maybe that's what Jagger/Richards had in mind when they wrote the song.
Waiting For The Sun – The Doors
Here's another classic. Jim Morrison sure wasn't waiting around too much, instead burning his candle on both ends. Just 27 years on the planet but what a voice and what a band. Christmas time in Scandinavia gets pretty dark here, and for sure we are waiting for the sun. For now in the company of Jim and The Doors.
Waiting On the World to Change – John Mayer
The playboy with the magic guitar fingers, certainly got a case here. The planet could be in much better shape as we approach 2019. We'll add some activism and good spirit, and cross our fingers for Mayer's wishes to come through.
Waiting – The Sharing Patrol
Dwelling on the concept, couldn't resist throwing this one in from my old band. Recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark 1990. We were patient. Waiting like the end of the World. That goes for the girl, and the international success (still waiting, seemingly endlessly for the latter, by the way). (Note: not on the playlist)
I'm Waiting For The Man – The Velvet Underground
This is scary stuff. I've heard Lou Reed and VU more or less my entire life. My older cousins introduced me to this music when I was eight or so. There's undoubtedly better ways to spend the 26 dollars Lou had in hand at the time, but that doesn't prevent this from being a masterpiece, way ahead of its time.
Waiting On A Dream – Lee Ranaldo
On this fine track, from one of the many solo albums of the Sonic Youth mastermind, he almost sounds like Michael Stipe and R.E.M. on their guitar-dominated Monster album. As a true friend and source of inspiration for Pearl Jam and for grunge as a genre, Sonic Youth, or in this case, their excellent Fender Jaguar maestro, Lee Ranaldo, has do be represented.
Waiting For A Dream – Rufus Wainwright
While Randalo is 'Waiting on… Rufus Wainwright is Waiting for a dream. I always had a weak spot for this Canadian opera-loving flamboyant, drama queen of an artist, with the most amazing voice and not without a sense of humor. On this track in the low-key vulnerable mode, from the excellent album Want 2, opening with the breath-taking Agnus Dei, if you're in the mood for more.
Waiting For The Big One – Peter Gabriel
When Peter Gabriel announced that he was leaving Genesis in 1975 the World of Prog Rock literally collapsed. To this day the genre hasn't fully recovered, but it still feels the agony and pain of his fatal decision. The band put their drummer, named Phil C., in front and did pretty well, but that's another story. This humorous track, is from his great first solo album released in 1977. The waiting paid off. Sledgehammer revolutionized the music video, and the establishment of Real World, is a living milestone in the interaction between 1st and 3rd World Music, which has made Gabriel a legend and an icon way beyond music.
Waiting For The End Of The World – Elvis Costello
'Elvis is king' the endless repeated line goes, in the miniature squares on the cover and back of Costello's sensational 27-minute long debut album My aim is true from 1977. Released on the label Stiff Records, with the saying 'If it ain't stiff, it ain't worth a fuck'. Its not a coincidence that data-programmer Patrick Declan McManus turned into a full time musician, after playing some songs during a union strike. He adopted the name Elvis Costello, elegantly developed and added to the blossoming British punk-revolution, and took the World by storm with his geeky Buddy Holly look and excellent compositions and lyrics. This track closes My aim is true, with a string of super sharp, hilarious and visual 'youth lyrics', which in my mind weren't seriously challenged until Arctic Monkeys debut album, three decades later. This is where it all started with the quote, 'Elvis is the best, forget about the rest'.
Better Man – Pearl Jam
Waitin', watchin' the clock, it's four o'clock, it's got to stop. It's time for a new album – we've waited long enough.
Happy Holiday … while we wait turn it up. Go to Spotify.