The Eclectic Quill

Website of Joshua McGee


Vedder Tuesday Ⅰ: I Got Shit

I hereby declare a new tradition.  It's Tuesday night.  So, you've gone and had your cheap tacos, your cheap beer, your free Redbox new release, whatever discounted Tuesday thing you have going.  You come home to settle in at your email, your Twitter account, or this very site.  And I'll post the lyrics to a song by Mr. Ed, or Eddie, or Edward, or "Jerome Turner" Vedder, very famous frontman of Pearl Jam.  It will be a song that you may have heard, but probably never understood the lyrics to, because the best rock lyricist since Dylan sounds like he's singing underwater most of the time.

OK, so, how do I know what he's saying?  Yeah, good question.  Once in a while we are graced with lyrics in liner notes.  Otherwise, aggregates of other peoples' guesses help.  Wikia brings the collective power of wikitude to the task.  Lots of live recordings with him emphasizing different words helps.  But his lyrics change over time, sometimes have simultaneous variants, and, in one dramatic case, (probably) different lyrics every time, and (possibly) Ed himself doesn't know what he's saying (an attempt at that transcription will never show up on this program.)  Then there is what I want him to be saying.  So, sometimes I'll be wrong, and, if this is a successful series, sometimes you will be right, and maybe we can get spirited exegetical discussions going (I refer you -- vaguely -- to a throwaway line in Infinite Jest involving parents, parsing, Pearl Jam, and R.E.M..  Help, Dave?)

Criterion for selection?  Probably "what's been playing in my head".  I'm not front-loading this series; it gets decidedly better than this.

You with me?  Here we go.

My lips are shaking, my nails are bit off
Been a month since I've heard myself talk
All the advances this life's got on me:
Picture a cup in the middle of the sea

And I fight back in my mind
Never lets me be right
I got memories, I got shit
So much it don't show

I walked the line
When you held me in that night
I walked the line
When you held my hand that night

An empty shell seems so easy to crack
Got all these questions, don't know who I could even ask
So I'll just lie alone and wait for the dream
Where I'm not ugly and you're looking at me

And I'll stay in bed
Oh, [???]
If just once, I could feel loved!
Oh, stare back at me!

I walked the line
When you held me in that night
I walked the line
When you held my hand that night
I walked the line
When you held me close that night
I paid the price; never held you in real life

The [???] may have the words "could've seen" in it.  Maybe a "you" towards the beginning.  He may be wishing that the other had seen something.  But I'll stop now, because discussion belongs inside.

(I'm fucking around with Roman numerals -- I'm going to be changing the "I" in the title to Unicode after the new post alerts get propagated -- and I would be very interested to hear how the "I" in the title looks to you.)

2 Responses to Vedder Tuesday Ⅰ: I Got Shit

  1. Karina says:

    Excellent choice for a first Vedder Tuesday, sir. Believe it or not, I never did like this song, well, not the recorded version anyway. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform it live last year, and completely changed my mind about it. He changes the lyrics a lot when he sings live, I don't really see the point in looking up lyrics to any of his songs. I tried with this one and failed to decipher them miserably.. here, have a listen:

    By the way, Backspacer will be released a week from today, so I guess you'll have some new songs to choose from for your second installment of the Vedder lyrics post series. Looking forward to next week's post.

  2. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Tuesday Vedder II

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *