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Welcome Back Vedder: (No Sweathogs Harmed in the Writing of this Post) July 27, 2006

Posted by doctorolove in Music, Pop Culture Rants.

Allow me to be the first to say, Welcome Back. The new album is great. You came back not a moment too soon. Some shit’s been going down and I’m hoping you may just be the man to stop it.

I don’t have the time to care about just what you’ve been doing during your self-imposed exile. Maybe you were playing the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” card. Maybe you were hard at work in your Fortress of Grungitude creating the next big advancement in flannel. Maybe you were in the lab, with a pen and a pad, trying to get your damn label off. Whatever the case, let me get the hugs, kisses and ceremonial bows out of the way. Love the new hair. And that weird evil smirk has actually moved into a full-on smile. But enough ass-kissing. You’ve got to get to work.
First of all, it’s your city – or at least the one you are forever tied to for being part of the Grunge movement- good old Seattle. It’s falling apart at the seams. The street cred it received in the early nineties is on life support. The music form you were at the forefront of is morphing into this strange hybrid of garage band style sounds coming out of the mouths of boys who looked like they just stepped off the bus from Hipsterville. The coffee house chain, which latched onto your back like a deranged tick sucking the suddenness of your success, is poised to take over the world. And their coffee isn’t even good anymore. They have replaced their mass brewed, high caffeine lattes with more and more forays into aspects of the restaurant business they don’t belong in. (If I want a coffee flavored shake, I will frequent a Baskin Robbins. When I want pizza, I don’t hit the gyro stand, capiche?) They are even priding themselves on being the sole distributor of Tracy Chapman’s newest CD. Don’t get me wrong: Tracy Chapman is great at what she does, but her core values are not the anarchist, change the world angst the city of Seattle so greatly bottled up and sold in the early nineties. And good old Starbucks, which prided itself on being that different, pro-union, proletariat symbol by aligning itself with Seattle, is turning into the annoying old women who run the Community Board meetings. And the final nail in the coffin might just be the SuperSonics. The basketball team whose high-flying fast breaks and back page drinking arrests mirrored the quick success and dizzying parties of the Seattle scene are packing up and leaving town. Yup, they are leaving your once great bastion of angst and moving to the hipper meaner plains…of Oklahoma?!?! Somehow I don’t think Shawn Kemp would have had the same impact on the NBA if he was partying at a farm instead of carousing on Pine Street.

Next up, the world itself. Sorry to spring this one on you, but no musicians are doing their part for it anymore. There’s Bono…and um…the other guys from u2…and I think Sting did something for landmines, I don’t know, wasn’t listening (Bono’s eyes are so dreamy behind those multi-colored shades). Pearl Jam, even though they were all for the anarchy and angst of the Grunge movement, always seemed to have something to say. When you impress Neil Young, who even though his brain creaks and smokes when he has a revolutionary thought nowadays, you must be doing something right. You were there to rail against the republicans when the dropped their “Take Back America” shtick. You came out against Somalian hunger and worldwide poverty. And you weren’t fooling me with your fight against Ticketmaster. Sure, somebody viewed it as a ruse to garner more door receipts for you and your band, but to me, it was a veiled attempt to stick up for the little guy. And I agreed, because being short, paying big money for your tickets was the only way I could see over the crowd. Sure, everybody with a guitar was singing protest songs at Kerry rallies, but how genuine a cause can something be if Ben Affleck is its’ de-facto spokesman? I won’t blame this whole “shit-talking cowboy” mess on you, but I may pin on ya the fact that it cost me 85 bucks for standing room tickets for your MSG show. Though I may not have bitched if I had a low-income tax cut, so I guess that cancels each other out.

And last, but by no means least, your most important challenge – the music. As stated, the rock and roll scene has splashed down into a toilet. The bands of today with their cute names (The ——, insert catchy sounding Mad Libs-like noun here or those with really long pithy names that obscure some movie title or Ayn Rand line) and their three chord monstrosities don’t seem to realize that punk has been done, and done better by those before them. Grunge was the destabilization and de-evolution of punk, boiling it down to its’ basest element and rapping it up in flannels and cargo and shirts that are just beginning to smell like B.O. Every band sounds the same with their emo whining and their clever rhymes. And if they don’t sound like one another, they sound like, well, you. Every lead singer with no originality seems to think that by copying your guttural melodic style untold riches and fame can be theirs. I can only imagine what it must be like for you to hear every other song and wonder, “Did I record that on a really bad weekend?” While the growling subtleties of your voice were not yours alone (Joe Cocker alone probably raised the stock of Smith Brothers Cough Drops by himself in the seventies), you were the first to give the lilt a sense of beauty. Please usurp them all up and consume their voices like Jet Li did to the alternate universe versions of himself in The One.

SO as you can see, there’s a whole bunch of things to tackle. The album is out and as I said, it’s pretty good, so you’re already working on that. And if you need any ideas on how to start rallying the world to a cause, just turn on CNN for about ten minutes and I’m sure you can find something to rally your fan base around (Kanye West has got the Katrina thing taken of, though). And as for Seattle, your guess is as good as mine. I was thinking you and Bill Gates do a duet, something catchy. I-tunes alone’ll send that baby nationwide.

Again, Eddie. Welcome back. Everybody though, please move out of his way cause this nation’s got some ‘splainin to do.



1. Riss - July 27, 2006

I’ll be the first to say that I don’t know crap about music but I enjoyed this post. And laughed out loud at “Fortress of Grungitude.”

2. doctorolove - July 27, 2006

We at EARWACS thank you…and the Fortress of Grungitude is located at 323 new Highway, located behind the old mall, next to Denny’s…This week’s special is Aggravated Ennui and Flan

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