A lifetime of rock star excess has taken its toll on Eddie Vedder’s voice but not on his talent. Most recent performances have tilted towards the gentle, the acoustic, the Americana, reflecting his larger embrace of the broad expanse of American music. And yes, he can still rock when needs be.
But these isolated vocal tracks–”Alive” above and “Black” and “Porch” below–show how powerful Vedder’s pipes were back in the day at the height of grunge. Vedder used a lot of vibrato, more than one can hear in the full band versions. He doesn’t use it so much when he holds a note, but on all the little notes in between.
And on “Porch” there’s a powerful pleading to the entire delivery that’s both vulnerable and hypermasculine at the same time. Where Kurt Cobain always seemed to be delivering rage inward, Vedder delivered it outwards, like the sound of mountains as a logging company got to work.
The videos try to match up concert footage with these studio tracks and the fact they sync so well show the consistency in his delivery. (The sped up tempo changes, not so much.)
Of course, isolated vocals also mean remixers attack! Here’s a few that might horrify a few grunge stalwarts.
Eddie Vedder Sings Disney’s “Let It Go” at Pearl Jam Concert in Italy
Willie Nelson Sings Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” (And We’re Taking a Deep Breath Too)
The Rolling Stones “Shattered” Covered by Eddie Vedder & Julie Andrews (Ok, It’s Really Jeanne Tripplehorn)
Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the artist interview-based FunkZone Podcast and is the producer of KCRW’s Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.
ALWAYS my FAVE singer, forever!
The BEST ! Eddie Vedder could yodel and more than half the room would be in tears saying ” that is so beautiful / moving ! Thank you LORD for allowing me to grow up in ” E.Vedder and PEARL JAM’S TIME !
Eddie has an amazing and powerful voice. Pearl Jam music is on every one of my playlists because of Eddie’s voice.
Of course I love the music but it’s that voice that grabs ahold of my soul.
Eddie could sing the owners manual from my DVD player and it would move me!!
I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment of being grateful to live in the world while Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder were around!
Only one thing can be said!! Amazingly unique!!! Nobody can play that songs with the same soul.