Pearl Jam Podcast Community Ranks Eddie Vedder’s New Solo Album, Earthling, Track-By-Track
It’s been a week since the Earthling record came out. That’s enough time to be able to digest the songs a little bit, separate the contenders from the pretenders, and look at the potential future for these songs and how many future playlists they’ll be added to.
On the whole, Ed’s third solo record is completely different from the first two, and I think the consensus on this is that it stands smack dab in the middle. Into The Wild is a classic, and the idea of writing it for a soundtrack gives the songs a story and a theme it can attach to. Ukulele Songs also can be seen as thematic, but it’s a genre that’s more difficult to connect with for 16 songs. That’s where Earthling fits right in, reaching that middle ground.
Sure, not everything is going to be a home run for everyone, but that’s what makes this unique. You have fans who enjoy more of a pop-rock style who can connect with the lighter songs, there are those who are entertained by the faster, edgier bite of some of the punk-infused tracks, and then some people may really love the songs where Ed utilizes his influence from other artists he grew up admiring.
There is something here for everyone, and that’s why we thought that the best way to determine how to properly critique this record would be to give everyone a say. We sourced polling from the Pearl Jam Podcast Community Facebook group as well as our Twitter account. The results may not be shocking, but this is likely the most accurate account that you can get from some of the most well-studied and passionate fans in this community.
Ranking Eddie Vedder’s Earthling Track-By-Track
Average = 7.64
Median = 8
The consensus seems to be that the song is taking shades of Peter Gabriel and has a euphoric rise and a powerful message. Most people seem to enjoy the connection that the Echo Victor distress call has with the last track, and have even tried to decode some of the phonetic alphabet messages such as Oscar Kilo, a possible Radiohead reference, or Wilco which in this instance could have two different meanings
Craig Peterson: Gets better with each listen. Crank it with a good system. Solid.
2. Power Of Right
Average = 7.68
Median = 8
This ranged within the 7 to 8 rating, with a lot of people understanding this one may have some room to grow on them. A few of these sound as if it had been a Pearl Jam song, it would’ve fit on one of the last three records, and this one would seem like it would’ve been a prime candidate as a Lightning Bolt track to potentially fill the same role as something like My Father’s Son.
Craig Skinner: great groove, perfect for Ed’s vocals
3. Long Way
Average = 6.6
Median = 7
Long Way was fairly controversial with most people from the start. There’s the obvious Tom Petty influence; as a whole it had people a little perplexed, but polling this shows that there are some who’ve come around on it. The numbers here may not exactly match what most people are anticipating, but in the end it will more than likely end up on the lower end of the spectrum in the overall rankings.
Nadene Roff: I really like this song but I feel like it’s about 30 seconds too long for me. It kind of loses me towards the end. I don’t know why.
4. Brother The Cloud
Average = 8.5
Median = 8.5
The third single seems to have struck a chord with many of the listeners. A lot of people were dissecting who the alleged brother Ed was referring to in this song, but after a speech at the Beacon revealed a discussion about suicide, it was easy to attach this to Chris Cornell. I think that aspect, plus a catchy sing-songy chorus, have won the people over.
Eddie Quintana: The part where it gets heavy is a transition that jolts you, but I think this song would have fit really well on Lightning Bolt, and instead of going to the chorus after the heavy part Mike McCready was able to go off and do a solo, I think it would be a song we would be familiar with.
5. Fallout Today
Average = 7.6
Median = 8
A lot of comparisons to R.E.M. in this song. People’s enjoyment of it seems to vary from it being a catchy tune to some, and at the very least, being forgettable to others. As mentioned, there is something for everyone on this record and if you enjoy 80s/early 90s alternative rock, this one might be one you latch on to.
Ashlee Baker: That riff is so swingy, and the bass bending along with it is pretty damn catchy.
6. The Dark
Average = 7.17
Median = 7
This one had the people split just a little bit. It was either take it or leave it for most. The sound from the guitars are certainly befitting of an era and style that Ed doesn’t jump to often. Very 70s/80s arena rock with a dash of Springsteen intensity. It will be interesting to see how this one grows down the road.
Matt Rauseo: I really love this song. Lyrics tell a wonderful story and are just beautiful. The music has this wonderful fun sound to it, and this is a great pick-me-up tempo.
7. The Haves
Average = 5.9
Median = 6
Another song that has the fanbase circulating in different directions. It’s worth mentioning again, there is something for everyone on this record. It’s a love song on the same plane as Parachutes or Future Days, which have specific crowds who either attach themselves to those songs, or push away from them completely. Regardless of opinion, it’s composed well. I can see why Ed is proud of it.
Maya Keller: I like it better now that I heard that explanation (from the Springsteen interview). At first I was a little miffed that he would act like he’s not one of the “haves” himself. I love the image he gave of the houseless couple on the beach.
8. Good And Evil
Average = 7.88
Median = 8
This kind of kicks off a punk rock-centric section of the record that people who might’ve been checked out by The Dark and The Haves are now locked in again. Another that has a gritty guitar sound that you can picture Stone Gossard emulating.
Bryan Cohen: This is the one I’ve played at least 10 times already and am counting it as new PJ.
9. Rose Of Jericho
Average = 7.7
Median = 8
I’ll admit, I hated this song when I just read the track listing. It’s an odd title, backed behind the energy and momentum from the prior song. Most people who rated this one high rated the songs it’s sandwiched in between very high as well. We may not know what a Rose of Jericho actually is, but I guess we want more of it.
Logan Greenwood: definitely getting into the best parts of the record
Average = 8.5
Median = 9
Stevie Wonder seems to be the hit of the record and the biggest home run out of all of these. It’s a quick song, but I think it’s next to impossible to hear it and not be captivated by that harmonica. That they decided to try it for a punk song makes it all the more special. This experiment worked and the Earthlings are seeing the payoff.
Jonathan Doxator: love the harmonica. I would have liked to have seen if Stevie would have jammed on the drums. Dude’s an incredible drummer.
Average = 3.85
Median = 4
I don’t think this is a surprise to many that this was the lowest ranked song on this list. Some people weren’t all that interested in Elton John’s collaboration, especially since it’s such a far cry from just about anything Ed’s ever done. However, from his perspective, getting to record a song with Elton was important to him and putting it on the record was his choice. If everything on the record sounded like this, we’d have a problem. But it’s easy to skip around this one if it isn’t your cup of tea.
Brooke Krause: My youngest loves this one, and Try. So, I’ve got to give it some love since it’s giving him some happiness. But it’s for sure my least fave.
12. Mrs. Mills
Average = 8.06
Median = 8.5
Ahh The Beatles influence here. That was easily the biggest takeaway from the song and most people praised this homage as opposed to the Petty one in Long Way. Once again, Ed is living out his dream by playing on a record with a Beatle, and it comes off as fresh and inspiring in the performance.
Jed Garfunkel: it’s not easy to successfully pull off a Beatles song, both lyrics and melody…and to have Ringo play on it too.
13. On My Way
Average = 7.83
Median = 8
The closing track of the album was anticipated by many, due to the intrigue in what Ed’s father was going to sound like. You’d have to think this was recorded sometime in the 60s, it sounds somewhere in between Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra. But everyone seemed to appreciate the sentiment and many people straight up gave it a 10. It gives some closure to Ed’s story, that the first song that Pearl Jam put together as a band (it opens the Mamasan, I’m calling it the first) that presented Ed as somebody missing a father figure in his life has now, by the magic of audio editing, been connected with him. It took 30 years, but it seems like we’ve officially come full circle.
Marshall Williams: Reminds me of “I Am The Sea” by The Who. I give it a 10, it’s the perfect bow on top to show Eddie from his past to his future by including his father and his daughters on other songs.
Here’s How You Ranked Earthling:
- Try (8.5, wins on median tiebreaker)
- Brother The Cloud (8.5)
- Mrs. Mills (8.06)
- Good And Evil (7.88)
- On My Way (7.83)
- Rose Of Jericho (7.7)
- Power Of Right (7.68)
- Invincible (7.64)
- Fallout Today (7.6)
- The Dark (7.17)
- Long Way (6.6)
- The Haves (5.9)
- Picture (3.85)
Agree with the rankings? Disagree and want to share your own? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.