5 Deep Cuts From Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam is one of those bands with such rabid fans that even their lesser-known offerings are crowd-pleasers. Knowing those lesser-known songs has become a badge of honor, separating the posers from the devotees. If you’d like to join those ranks and don’t feel well-versed in Pearl Jam’s back catalog yet, take the five deep cuts we’ve listed below as a jumping-off point for your research.

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1. “Blood”

Vedder takes aim at companies using the band as a product for their gain in “Blood.” Spin me round! Roll me over! / Fucking circus! / Stab it down! One-way needle! / Pulled so slowly, Vedder sings. “Blood” is an unrelenting stomper, complete with a driving guitar riff and roaring vocals from Vedder.

[RELATED: The Best 17 Eddie Vedder Quotes]

2. “Leash”

“Leash” criticizes overbearing parents. Drop the leash, drop the leash… / Get outta’ my fuckin’ face, Vedder sings in the chorus. Vedder was inspired to write this song after a girl he knew smoked weed, got caught by her family, and was sent to a mental institution (per Genius). “Leash” follows in the footsteps of songs like “Another Brick in the Wall Part II” with a message that essentially asks those in power to let children find their way.

3. “Nothingman”

While the first two songs on this list are antagonistic, anti-establishment anthems, “Nothingman” is a softer offering from Pearl Jam. Essentially a break-up song, Vedder sings about his shortcomings in a relationship: Once divided, nothing left to subtract / Some words when spoken can’t be taken back / Walks on his own with thoughts he can’t help thinking / Future’s above, but in the past he’s slow and sinking.

4. “The Long Road”

“The Long Road” was recorded during sessions for Neil Young’s Mirror Ball album. Vedder was moved to write this song after he was told about the death of a teacher that changed his life. Vedder left the session and went outside to start playing a guitar riff in an empty studio – “ringing a bell” for his late mentor.

“So I kept hitting the bell, then the other guys, and Neil came into the room,” he said before he played the song at a concert in 2006. “Without saying anything, they just picked up their instruments and started [playing]. I went up to the mic, and then this song happened.”

[RELATED: Watch: Pearl Jam and Johnny Marr Cover Neil Young and The Who in London]

5. “In My Tree”

No Code is probably Pearl Jam’s least-picked-over album. And, on that deep-cut album, “In My Tree” is one of the least streamed songs. Vedder takes a bird’s eye view of the world in “In My Tree,” avoiding bad headlines, societal expectations, and any other pressures altogether.

Up here in my tree yeah / Newspapers meant enough to me yeah…no / No more crowbars to my head yeah / I’m trading stories with the leaves instead yeah, Vedder sings.

Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

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