Pearl Jam was one of the most influential grunge bands of the 90’s. Next to Nirvana, Pearl Jam is one of the most recognized rock and roll bands from that era and the mere fact that they are still around and still relevant to this day, make them one of the best bands to come out of our generation.
The band was known for grunge, but deep down, Pearl Jam had soul. Their softer-than-most acoustics made them catchy in a way that most grunge bands could never dream of. Led by Eddie Vedder, the band is notorious for consciously not “selling out”, steering away from the glamorized music videos (even though winning several MTV music video awards) and even having a very public issue with Ticketmaster.
Over the years, Pearl Jam’s music has graced countless television shows and movies, including “Friends” with “Yellow Ledbetter” and “Scrubs” with “Long Road” as the most noteworthy, but can also be heard on episodes of “One Tree Hill”, “Parenthood”, “Castle”, “Flashforward”, “Cold Case”, “Californication”, and “Friday Night Lights”. Some of the films playing Pearl Jam on their soundtracks include “Basketball Diaries” with “Catholic Boy” starring a young 1995 Leonardo DiCaprio, “Big Fish” with “Man of the Hour” starring Ewan McGregor, and several other titles including “The Namesake”, “Reign Over Me”, and even the animated feature, “Surf’s Up”.
The reason Pearl Jam is my pick for Soundtrack Song of the Week is due solely to the recent exposure the band has had with the song “Just Breathe”, a very emotional and passionate song featured in both the trailer and end credits of the 2011 documentary “Buck” (limited release this weekend). My first time seeing the trailer, the song alone gave me goosebumps, but matched with the inspirational story of the real life horse whisperer, Buck Brannaman, the effect was majestic. Even in the credits, the song allotted me shivers, truly driving home the effects of the film.
There are perfect moments in film history where pairings of music and picture create a visual and audible symphony. The director or music agent find the perfect song to encapsulate their films and in doing so, make a memorable moment last even longer. Years from now, I will look back at “Buck” and not only will I remember a truly great documentary, but I will remember Pearl Jam’s anthem at the end of the film.
Pearl Jam, though a band of the 90’s, is still finding a way to remain relevant twenty-some years later. If they continue to release more songs like “Just Breathe”, you can bet they will be around even longer. If you get a chance to see the film “Buck”, I highly recommend it. If not, be sure to check out the trailer containing the soundtrack song of the week.