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 Post subject: SOTM: Corduroy
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 2:52 am 
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I miss the song of the moment threads, since they generated some substantive posts about what the songs mean to people. Here's a humble attempt to start them again. :D Since none of the previous posts were about Vitalogy songs and that's my favorite album I thought what better place to start than with

Corduroy

The waiting drove me mad
You're finally here and I'm a mess
I take your entrance back
Can't let you roam inside my head

I don't want to take what you can give
I would rather starve than eat your bread
I would rather run but I can't walk
Guess I'll lie alone just like before

I'll take the vermin’s path
And I must refuse your test
Push me and I will resist
This behavior's not unique

I don't want to hear from those who know
They can buy, but can't put on my clothes
I don't want to limp for them to walk
Never would have known of me before

I don't want to be held in your debt
I'll pay it off in blood, let I be wed
I'm already cut up and half dead
I'll end up alone like I began

Everything has chains
Absolutely nothing's changed
Take my hand, not my picture
Spilled my tincture

I don't want to take what you can give
I would rather starve than eat your breast
All the things that others want for me
Can't buy what I want because it's free
Can't buy what I want because it's free
Can't be what you want because I'm

Why ain't it sposed to be just fun
To live and die, let it be done
I figure I'll be damned
All alone like I began...


If pearl jam has a song that defines them lyrically Corduroy is it. Pearl Jam’s music means a lot of different things to me but if there is a theme running through it (the early albums especially) it is a running battle to come to grips with a world that has betrayed you or let you down in some meaningful way (I think all the really great grunge music has that in common). What do you do when the places and people you’ve looked to for trust, for inspiration, and for protection abandon you, let you down, or were never what you were looking for? What’s left? Their music offers two answers---the struggle itself has meaning (that’s what difference it makes) and the solidarity we can find with others who feel the same way (think of Leash—I Am Lost, I am no guide, but I am by your side, I am right by your side).

If you take that as a starting point then Corduroy is a statement of defiance, the lyrical heart of an entire album devoted to figuring out what music means to them and who it belongs to. What if the thing you waited for and worked towards your entire life lets you down? In their case, the song is about music—the commodification of the industry, the way the music stripped of its authenticity, its meaning, its passion, and its power. They watched this happen to themselves and the grunge movement they helped spearhead, which was co-opted almost immediately.

The waiting drove me mad
You're finally here and I'm a mess
I take your entrance back
Can't let you roam inside my head

These are some of my favorite opening lines to any pearl jam song. Sometimes we spend so much time and so much energy wishing and hoping for something that by the time we get it we’re changed and it is no longer what we need—in fact it may even be harmful. I’m sure Eddie had rock start dreams when he was a kid, and once he finally got to live them they weren’t what he needed, or even wanted. There is a powerful sense of betrayal here. The song is about music and fame for Eddie—but because the song is so well written it could be about whatever you need it to be. A good friend of mine always thought it was a love song and it works just as well that way. As long as there was something we desperately pined for that wasn’t really what we needed.

I don't want to take what you can give
I would rather starve than eat your bread
I would rather run but I can't walk
Guess I'll lie alone just like before

More betrayal, more isolation, more desolation. Once we’ve lost what we were holding out for what do we have left? In the end we have ourselves, and the meaning we can give to ourselves—and that is going to have to be enough. The rest of the song justifies abandoning the bread and being alone. Better to be starving and free than a fat slave

I'll take the vermin’s path
And I must refuse your test
Push me and I will resist
This behavior's not unique

It’s not enough that our dreams didn’t give us what they wanted—the real problem is that they won’t live us alone—again there is a sense of being trapped here—we got what we wished for and now it won’t leave us alone—so you need to struggle against the very thing you always wanted. What a mindfuck.

I don't want to hear from those who know
They can buy, but can't put on my clothes
I don't want to limp for them to walk
Never would have known of me before

I don't want to be held in your debt
I'll pay it off in blood, let I be wed
I'm already cut up and half dead
I'll end up alone like I began

More defiance—a realization that even if there are consequences we can let go, and we’ll be better for it

Everything has chains
Absolutely nothing's changed
Take my hand, not my picture
Spilled my tincture

Here we have some of the grasping solidarity that we find in songs like Leash or Not For You—it is what makes music that on the surface is about isolation and betrayal so compelling. None of us know what it was like for the band to go through having to be the biggest band in the world, loved and hated for their image, not who they were—but all of us can relate to the feeling even if we can’t relate to the circumstances. And as human beings—not as fan and idol—we can reach each other and hold onto each other. If you’ve seen them live you know this feeling.

I don't want to take what you can give
I would rather starve than eat your breast
All the things that others want for me
Can't buy what I want because it's free
Can't buy what I want because it's free
Can't be what you want because I'm

Why ain't it sposed to be just fun
To live and die, let it be done
I figure I'll be damned
All alone like I began...

Similar to Indifference, the song ends on what seems to be a down note (I’ll be damned, all alone like I began) but that ignores the exisistential empowerment running through the whole song. He started alone, but in control and free—not mastered by fame, the music industry, a failed relationship, or whatever you hear when you listen to the song. And it is from that point that we can emancipate ourselves—we can begin again.

I probably could have been more articulate about all that, but it’s been a long day and this is a long post. :) What does everyone else think?

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Last edited by stip on Thu Oct 26, 2006 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 2:55 am 
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Wow. I didn't read your entire post, but you take this shit really seriously. Nice.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 2:55 am 
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*varmint's path

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 2:56 am 
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Well I couldn't make it to any of the shows so I have to compensate somehow. :)

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"Better the occasional faults of a Government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a Government frozen in the ice of its own indifference."--FDR

The perfect gift for certain occasions


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 2:56 am 
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stip wrote:
Well I couldn't make it to any of the shows so I have to compensate somehow. :)

That's too bad. How far away is the closest one to NJ?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 2:56 am 
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Cal Varnsen wrote:
*varmint's path


That one's never sounded right to me.

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The perfect gift for certain occasions


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 2:58 am 
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good song, not great though.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 3:02 am 
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Bammer wrote:
stip wrote:
Well I couldn't make it to any of the shows so I have to compensate somehow. :)

That's too bad. How far away is the closest one to NJ?


Montreal was about 9 hours, which I had tickets for but had to give away--my best friend is about to have his first kid and I'm the godfather and wanted to hang around for that (that f'ing kid better appreciate it). I was away when the philly tickets went on sale and my friend tried to get them and said the server crashed or something like that. It's a tragedy. I had tickets to the Philly VFC show but then someone threw me an my fiancee an engagement party that night so we had to go to that. I need a good long east coast run. Something can't come up every night. :)

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The perfect gift for certain occasions


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 3:04 am 
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stip wrote:
Bammer wrote:
stip wrote:
Well I couldn't make it to any of the shows so I have to compensate somehow. :)

That's too bad. How far away is the closest one to NJ?


Montreal was about 9 hours, which I had tickets for but had to give away--my best friend is about to have his first kid and I'm the godfather and wanted to hang around for that (that f'ing kid better appreciate it). I was away when the philly tickets went on sale and my friend tried to get them and said the server crashed or something like that. It's a tragedy. I had tickets to the Philly VFC show but then someone threw me an my fiancee an engagement party that night so we had to go to that. I need a good long east coast run. Something can't come up every night. :)


How far is Philly? If it's not a super long drive, I'd go and try to scalp if I were you. Do it man, do it!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 3:22 am 
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Bammer wrote:
stip wrote:
Bammer wrote:
stip wrote:
Well I couldn't make it to any of the shows so I have to compensate somehow. :)

That's too bad. How far away is the closest one to NJ?


Montreal was about 9 hours, which I had tickets for but had to give away--my best friend is about to have his first kid and I'm the godfather and wanted to hang around for that (that f'ing kid better appreciate it). I was away when the philly tickets went on sale and my friend tried to get them and said the server crashed or something like that. It's a tragedy. I had tickets to the Philly VFC show but then someone threw me an my fiancee an engagement party that night so we had to go to that. I need a good long east coast run. Something can't come up every night. :)


How far is Philly? If it's not a super long drive, I'd go and try to scalp if I were you. Do it man, do it!

Thats what I'm probably doing. I hope too many people don't get that idea, though....

Anyway, back on topic. I like Corduroy. Not my absolute favorite, even on Vitology, but I like the simplicity of the chorus.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:23 am 
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As far as overplayed live songs, this is one I can't stand anymore.

I can take Even Flow cause of Mike's solo. I did like it on Vitalogy and LOTL made me pumped about the song live, but then after I started getting the bootlegs and other shows, it just doesn't so it for me anymore.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:33 am 
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I agree--I've never been a huge live fan and it is one of my all time favorite songs. I think they should slow it down a bit more. it is a slow burn on Vitalogy and it's like they're rushing to catch a bus when they do it live

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 5:00 am 
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I liked the song of the moment threads. :thumbsup: I think that you summed up how I feel about the song pretty well.

Corduroy is one of my favorite live tracks. I really love the musical intro to the song and the jam at the end. The song also has some of my favorite lyrics in them. Corduroy is one of those Pearl Jam songs that makes me very, very homesick.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 5:54 am 
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One of their best songs, no doubt.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 6:50 am 
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It's all Eddie's this one. He's all over it-from the title about his own brown jacket,the "autobiographical" lyrics, and the song musically with its intro-break down and jam at the end. Bands have concert staples and if this is theirs........cool. would love to hear it acoustic, even solo acoustic!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 3:32 pm 
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kowylad wrote:
It's all Eddie's this one. He's all over it-from the title about his own brown jacket,the "autobiographical" lyrics, and the song musically with its intro-break down and jam at the end. Bands have concert staples and if this is theirs........cool. would love to hear it acoustic, even solo acoustic!



they played it acoustically twice at bridge school.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 3:39 pm 
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OrpheusDescending wrote:
One of their best songs, no doubt.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:31 pm 
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without a doubt, if there had to be one definitive pearl jam song it would be corduroy... from eddie's intro riff, to the lyrics and melody, to the totally rocking outro where mike can just go off it never fails...

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 10:00 pm 
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Cal Varnsen wrote:
*varmint's path

"Varmint" is the Yosemite Sam bastardization of the proper word "vermin".

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 10:22 pm 
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my absoulute favorite song
holds a lot of memories for me as well

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