Alive (Pearl Jam)

When I first left Disney’s Future Corps ensemble to go on the road with my touring band Isis (In hindsight what a most unfortunate name, huh!?! Yikes!) in the early 90’s I often lamented the banal nature of the hair bands of the late 80’s whose material seemed to be all the rage in the clubs we played. One can only imagine my gratitude when the Seattle music scene took over the airwaves. While I certainly enjoyed Nirvana, Screaming Trees and the like it was Pearl Jam that truly caught my ear. In particular, this track, Alive, and it’s accompanying video (featuring Matt Chamberlin) were a real favorite.

Some important aspects to consider in studying this tune include the copious use of ghost notes, the laid back feel and pocket of the slower tempi coupled with simultaneous development of intensity in the layering of the drum parts double time rates. Also of note is the subtle use of odd meter in service of the melody. (See accompanying score)

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