Pearl Jam – Even Flow

Ah, Pearl Jam. I still love this band. I know people forget what they used to think about bands like this, as time passes and tastes change. But I sure haven’t forgotten. I still think they’re a vital band whose history should not be overlooked, and whose new music has always been just as great and as durable as anything else they’ve done.

When we were in Toronto last weekend, our good friend Kristy gave me this CD single she’d found somewhere in her travels, knowing I’m a big fan of the band. Get this – it was released 16 years ago. I know! How often did we hear this song, and how often does rock radio still play it, even after all these years? Exactly.

This is also a really neat copy, made in Austria. I know you may be saying, “well, so?” but I’m enough of a music geek to be tickled by imports and different singles, cover art and the like. I know, but I think I have a life. So there.

Hearing Even Flow now is like inviting an old friend over your threshold, knowing exactly how they’ll react and what they’ll say in every moment because you’ve spent so much time with them already, but not thinking of it as anything other than it being the way it should be. The song is still so strong, a template for many other rock bands who claim to be trying to have a little soul and power simultaneously.

I played this track for our friend Susan the other night, during a demonstration of my wonderful new MacBook Pro, and all she said was “thank g-d for Hendrix, eh?” Haha. Yah, it’s long been acknowledged that these riffs (and the solos) are certainly in his style. And so what? It’s a nice tribute.

Well, if Even Flow is meant to sound like Hendrix, Dirty Frank is Pearl Jam channelling the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s funky, bouncy and has a really cool, sweet groove. It would have been great on the album, and in fact my copy of Ten is the Euro version (of course), which includes it anyway, but it must have been hard to cut this track for the North American release. It’s ton of fun, and has an amusing reference to the Theme From Shaft, too.

Last up on the single is a remix of Oceans. There’s drums at the beginning, in fact they’re all the way through, and the guitars seem heavier somehow. But it’s basically the same song as on the record, otherwise. Still, what a great track, and I love hearing different versions of songs. They’re like snapshots the band took on their way to their final vision.

I don’t know if this is collectable these days are not, but I’m definitely going to hang on to it. I am very grateful to Kristy for making a gift of such a great little collection of songs!

Track Listing:
01 Even Flow
02 Dirty Frank
03 Oceans (Remix)

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