“Thin Air” by Pearl Jam – Chords, Tabs, and How to Play

Originally posted 2009-02-28 20:57:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

“Thin Air”
Pearl Jam

Intro: E

E                                          C                  E
There’s a light… when my baby’s in my arms;
There’s a light… when the window shades are drawn.
Hesitate… when I feel I may do harm to her…
[Wash it off…] ’cause this feeling we can share.

E       C                                      D – A             E
And I know she’s reached my heart… in thin air.

Byzantine… is reflected in our pond;
There’s a cloud… but the water remains calm.
Reaching in… the sun’s fingers clutch the dawn to pass;
Even out… it’s a precious thing to bear…

And I know she’s reached my heart… in thin air.
Yes, I know she’s reached my heart… in thin air.

E   F             C              G
It’s not in my past to presume…
G             D                            A
Love can keep on moving, in both directions.
F               C               G
How to be happy and true…
G       D                           A
Is the quest we’re taking on together…

E
Taking on… on, on, on…
Taking on… on, on, on on, on.

There’s a light… when my baby’s in my arms…

And I know she’s reached my heart… in thin air.
And I know she’s reached my heart… in thin air.
Yes, I know she’s reached my heart… in thin air.

E        C                                               A – E
Yes, I know she’s reached my heart…

** These chords and lyrics are interpretations and transcriptions, respectively, and are the sole property of the copyright holder(s). They are posted on this website free of charge for no profit for the purpose of study and commentary, as allowed for under the “fair use” provision of U.S. copyright law, and should only be used for such personal and/or academic work. **

The Deep Racks Report: “Binaural”

Originally posted 2009-03-01 16:00:23. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

I think we’ve all heard the term “deep track,” used to refer to songs that do not receive much (or any) commercial radio airplay.  This series is dedicated to brief but focused reports on ALBUMS that do not receive as much commercial or critical attention as they should.

RELATED LAPTOP SESSIONS: Chris – “Thin Air” (chords included!)

When Pearl Jam released Binaural in 2000, they were met with solid sales — #2 on Billboard in the first week of its release — and decent critical reception — Rolling Stone gave it the 3.5 out of 5 stars nod.  For any other band, this may have been exciting.  However, for Pearl Jam, #2 on the Billboard 200 could be considered a minimum expectation, as even their debut album had hit that position.  As for the critical reception, Rolling Stone had rated all of their previous albums (except their first two, which had not been rated) a full four stars.  This may seem a minor change from 4 to 3.5, but it is a significant one.  The subtext?  Binaural is somehow inferior to Pearl Jam’s previous releases.

Fast forward to 2009, and let’s talk dollar signs.  I’m not referring to album sales — although Binaural is infamously the first Pearl Jam album to fail to reach platinum status, never mind the 7x and 5x platinum statistics of Vs. and Vitalogy respectively or the 12x platinum(!) heights of Ten.  I’m referring to the sticker price.  The average retail value in stores like Best Buy and Circuit City — stores at which the average for CDs is largely in the $12.99 – $14.99 range — is $5.99.  Even on Amazon.com, the price is higher (albeit a measly $1) at $6.99.  What does that say about this album, a fully studio-produced main catalog Pearl Jam release, that its retail value is less than half of the average price one would expect?

While I can’t tell you why it is valued for so low, I can report that this is an excellent album!  Admittedly, I purchased it during Circuit City’s store closing sale for only $4.  I didn’t expect to like it.  Rather, I wanted to get my feet wet with a Pearl Jam record before listening to their debut Ten when it is remastered and re-released later this month.  After a couple listens — and contrary to my expectations — I’ve become hooked on this album.  Right out of the plastic, the packaging is a positive sign — a three-fold digipack with full lyrics reproduced as images of typewritten and handwritten notes.  From the breakneck pace of the first track “Breakerfall” to the sad, soothing sound of the final track “Parting Ways,” the sequence of this album is just right.  The first three tracks are among my favorites on the album (“Evacuation” is possibly the best, most rocking track on the album) and make me reconsider every time I want to take it out of my CD player after a full rotation.  “Light Years” slows it all down and (contrary to Rolling Stone‘s criticisms) unwinds into an excellent ballad of sorts.  The single “Nothing As It Seems” comes next, which I do like, although I couldn’t tell you why this particular track was chosen as the single when there were so many other excellent choices.

For three more tracks, the pace is heavy and slower, but these are some excellent tracks — “Thin Air” (see above for the link to the Laptop Session version), the show-stopping “Insignificance,” and “Of The Girl.”  Truth be told, the next trio of songs are the only sequence on the album that I could do without.  The energy of “Grievance” and “Rival” are undeniable — the latter won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance — and “Sleight of Hand” is a nice lead-up to the final two songs on the album, but I can see why one might have seen Pearl Jam treading water with these tracks.  Then again, taking the Grammy into consideration, perhaps my opinion is simply the opposite of all paid critics.

The album ends slowly with “Parting Ways,” but the final highlight of the album — the song that first made me perk up and pay attention lyrically — is the penultimate track “Soon Forget.”  It’s just Eddie Vedder and a ukulele, but it’s so much more.  The arrangement fits the song perfectly, as Vedder sings about a man who “trades his soul for a Corvette,” “trades his love for hi-rise rent,” and is ultimately “living a day he’ll soon forget.”  As the song concludes with his funeral scene, Vedder sings, “He’s stiffening.  We’re all whistling, a man we’ll soon forget…”

Granted this is my first Pearl Jam album experience, but if the other albums are so much better, then I can’t wait to hear them!  There’s nothing wrong with this album, and it certainly doesn’t deserve the drastically reduced retail price or ho-hum reviews (Rolling Stone was so distracted that the review is largely a commentary on late 90s pop music, framed by a comparison between Matchbox Twenty and Pearl Jam).  Based on the quality of individual tracks and on the thoughtful sequencing of the album as a whole, Binaural is more than worth your time!

Music Review: Pearl Jam’s “Backspacer”

Originally posted 2009-09-21 22:41:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

RATING:  4 / 5 stars

By Chris Moore:

This most recent Pearl Jam release is aptly titled; in many ways, Backspacer is closer in focus and energy to Ten than any of their more recent efforts.

Most reviews have wasted little time in pointing out that this album holds the band’s record for brevity — 37 minutes from the first guitar strum to the final vocal fade.  This can, of course, be interpreted in one of two ways, the worst case scenario being that the album was hurriedly prepared and produced.

This could not be further from the truth.

Backspacer is a strong, purposeful album comprised of eleven very upbeat, very direct tracks that leave little room for the listener to catch his breath over the record’s half hour span.  For the most part, these tight, three minute tracks are energizing and satisfying, catchier and cooler than anything Eddie Vedder and company have turned out in a long time.

This is, of course, a mixed bag.  After all, short, to-the-point pop rock is fun when done properly — which, by the way, it certainly is here.  Still, the electric soundscapes of 2000’s Binaural and the distortion-drenched protest of 2002’s Riot Act were excellent installments in the Pearl Jam catalog, even if their respective values have been minimized by critics who seemed more concerned with comparing them to early releases like Ten and Vs.

It should be noted that 2006’s Pearl Jam lacked cohesiveness as an album, although several songs on that release are among the best of their career (“World Wide Suicide” or “Marker in the Sand,” anyone?).  This eponymous release is an album of wild energy and abandon, which works particularly well in the first half of the track listing.  That being said, Vedder rips his vocal chords to shreds in his effort to sing without holding any emotion or effort in reserve.  This works well in some places, and yet crackles to pieces in others.

Pearl Jam's "Backspacer" (2009)

On Backspacer, Vedder has somehow been able to amp up his emotions and energy, and yet his vocals stand out as some of the best of any Pearl Jam recording to date.  Some songs, like the opener “Gonna See My Friend,” harken back to the roughly shouted vocals of Pearl Jam.  Most, however, feature Vedder at his best.

The opening track is also notable for a strumming pattern that is evocative of some mid-1950s Chuck Berry-esque riffing — with a decidedly grunge rock twist to it, of course.  “Gonna See My Friend” is a catchy track but certainly does not stand out among the other excellent album starters of their career.

From the first millisecond of “Got Some,” there is suddenly evidence that this might be an excellent album.  Jeff Ament’s collaboration with Vedder is a nice addition to the other outstanding Ament contributions — think: “God’s Dice,” “Ghost,” and “Low Light;”  if you’re really kind, forget “Pilate.”  The best part of “Got Some” is that, by the time it has finished, you haven’t even heard the single yet.

“The Fixer” comes next, a tour-de-force taken on very convincingly by Vedder.  I have vacillated about three or four times a day since I picked up the album on Sunday, and I’m still not certain whether I like “Got Some” or “The Fixer” better.  I suppose I’ll just have to keep listening…

As the album continues, there are other rockers performed at breakneck speed (“Johnny Guitar,” “Supersonic”), as well as considerably slower, more instrospective numbers (“Just Breathe,” “The End”).  These latter tracks were clearly influenced by Vedder’s recent solo project, writing and recording the soundtrack for the Sean Penn film Into the Wild.  The fingerpicking patterns that open these songs are reminiscent of his solo tracks, yet these songs clearly show the progress Vedder has made in such a short time, particularly in terms of structure.

For once, I am forced to agree with Rolling Stone‘s assessment of this album.  Their four star rating is a simple means of stating that Backspacer is an excellent album, but not a masterpiece.  From track 6 to “The End,” the album takes some repeated listening to really be appreciated.  At first, I felt that some of these tracks were too tight and traditional to ever truly stand out.  As I’ve listened, more and more of these songs have stood out, like the soaring “Amongst the Waves” and the excellent “Speed of Sound” (listen to Vedder’s vocals in the first few lines as he momentarily invokes Leonard Cohen).

Backspacer may not be the next Ten, but it is silly to even entertain that desire.  (If you read music reviews in the major magazines, you wouldn’t know it though!)  What this release does offer is an energetic, cohesive Pearl Jam album — and that, for me, has always been more than enough.