Black

by Pearl Jam

~ The slow burn ~

I’ve noted in a couple of places how I enjoy intricately layered production and songs that you have to listen to multiple times to really appreciate all of the parts as they appear. This one definitely fits that mold.

This was the first mellow song in the track order of their debut album. After four straight balls out rockers (Once, Evenflow, Alive, Why Go) they slowed down and gave us a softer side. Given that this was the era of the power ballad, there was an immediate assumption that this was some sort of grand bombastic love song as reinterpreted by Pearl Jam, but if you give it a closer listen you realize it’s nothing of the sort.

As the song builds along, you get different layers added throughout the song, from the backing vocals, to Rick Parashar’s repeated piano riff, to different guitar textures. By the end of the song, it’s almost a different composition than where you started, but it’s a great ride.

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