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

For the cover song music video, CLICK HERE!

Pearl Jam

C                                                   F                        C
I wish I was a neutron bomb – for once, I could go off.
I wish I was a sacrifice, but somehow still lived on.
I wish I was a sentimental ornament you hung on
The Christmas tree… I wish I was the star that went on top…

C  F                   C                F                     C
I wish I was the evidence, I wish I was the grounds
C    F                 C                            G                        F
For fifty million hands upraised and open toward the sky

I wish I was a silhouette – someone who waited for me.
I wish I was as fortunate, as fortunate as me…

I wish I was a messenger and all the news was good.
I wish I was the full moon shining off a Camaro’s hood.

SOLO:   G – F – C  /  G – F – C  /  G – F – C

I wish I was an alien at home behind the sun.
I wish I was a souvenir you kept your house key on…

I wish I was the pedal brakes that you depended on.
I wish I was the verb “to trust” and never let you down.

I wish I was a radio song, the one that you turned up.
I wish I was…

** 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. **

New Radicals’ “Maybe you’ve been brainwashed too.” – The Weekend Review

By Chris Moore:

RATING:  4 / 5 stars

History will record the New Radicals as a one hit wonder.  At best, their legacy will live on in their hit single “You Only Get What You Give,” which nicked the top 40 in the U.S. and reached #5 in the UK.

Not bad for their first single.

Even Gregg Alexander, the New Radicals’ core member, realized what he had found himself in the middle of, touring in support of the song in the late nineties.  He is on record as saying the business of promoting a one-hit wonder — his words — was just not for him.  To a certain degree, I understand this.  After all, anyone who has spent any time reading about musicians knows what happens to the careers of most bands that top out early.  Some recover, but most are left clinging to their fleeting fame.  Even those who continue to put out excellent music often face a dwindling fanbase, as the masses return to the radio for the next big thing.

And yet I am left wondering what Alexander and company would have produced for a follow-up.  New Radicals is an outstanding debut effort that covers a vast amount of ground lyrically and instrumentally, dipping into several genres for inspiration.  Floating amidst it all, I can’t help but notice the echoes of Mick Jagger and some very Beck-esque inflections in Alexander’s leads.  It isn’t often that a band so masterfully blends influence and originality.  And the New Radicals are an original band, there is no question there.  For one thing, they aren’t shy about pushing the envelope lyrically — theirs was a special blend of catchy, infectious rock and roll that even my younger self, frightened of straying too close to vulgarity and blasphemous ideas, couldn’t resist.

This is, after all, an album that starts with a woman muttering, “Make my nipples hard…”

I didn’t even know what that meant when I first heard the album!

Twelve years and what feels like a lifetime away, New Radicals continues to provide a provocative listening experience.

New Radicals' "Maybe you've been brainwashed too." (1998)

New Radicals' "Maybe you've been brainwashed too." (1998)

Despite the unexplained reference to the female anatomy, the first track unfolds into an upbeat rocker that careens between alternative rock and purposeful homage to the Rolling Stones.  Five minutes does seem a bit lengthy for the somewhat repetitive content of “Mother We Just Can’t Get Enough,” but it does lay the groundwork for one of the central themes of the album — disgust directed at greedy institutions.

Next comes the aforementioned single “You Only Get What You Give,” a piano-fueled power pop number that functions as a personal mantra of sorts.  According to Wikipedia, the media was quick to pick up on the celebrity allusions in the bile-spewing rant in the outro, to which Alexander pointed out that they entirely ignored the more significant references to health insurance, the banking system, and Y2K hysteria.

This only confirms his perspectives on the media and corporate America that are expressed across multiple tracks.  (This was further confirmed by the fact that I used to pass shifts at Staples Copy Center singing along to “You Only Get What You Give” when it played once every four hours or so on satellite radio — unedited!  If I needed any confirmation that people, especially groups of people like corporations, don’t listen to lyrics, that was it.)

“I Hope I Didn’t Just Give Away the Ending” builds up until Alexander, sounding like he’s out of breath, cusses and stretches out the final line, “I think I just gave away the ending…”  The energy of this track is infectious; on a couple occasions, it seems like he is referring directly to the listener.

The fourth track, “I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore,” takes the tempo down a notch, but still maintains that same energetic high that started with the opener; the outro here finds Alexander screaming like he’s auditioning for a hair metal band.  Still, the song certainly makes up in emotional resonance what it lacks in subtlety.

As the album stretches out, the instrumental and vocal ranges of the New Radicals become clearer — of course, it doesn’t hurt that Alexander has outstanding musicians like co-guitarist Rusty Anderson (more recently known as Paul McCartney’s guitarist) along for the ride.  “Jehovah Made This Whole Joint For You” is a fantastic track, even if I can neither offer an explanation for the lyrics nor entirely forgive boneheaded lines like “She’s into some real deep shit.”

What is perhaps the greatest shame surrounding the mid-tour breakup of the New Radicals is their abandoned second single, “Someday We’ll Know.”  This should have been an instant classic, a beautiful ballad that stretches the songwriting formula previously established on this album.  Instead, the song was forgotten in the aftermath of the band’s dissolution.  Still, it has been revived by several different acts; the Hall and Oates cover on 2003’s Do It For Love is by far the best.

Other songs approach the mastery of “Someday We’ll Know,” including the somber, foot-tapping “In Need of a Miracle” and the deep track gem “Flowers.”  These are the tracks that I first fell in love with in 1998, and they continue to draw me in over a decade later.

“Gotta Stay High” is a pretty song, a nice inclusion on the release that may not reach the heights of the others, but is strong all the same. 

However, there are some low points on this admittedly imperfect release, foremost among them being “Technicolor Lover.”  This is the sole track that doesn’t involve any of the other band members, and it shows.  “Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too” may create a hypnotic bed of vocals and music that works with the theme, but that doesn’t make it a great track.

It all wraps up with the heartbreaking “Crying Like A Church on Monday,” a song that involves a religious symbol in a fitting metaphor that doesn’t involve an attack on the institution.  It is a sensitive, vulnerable closing to an album that bursts at the seams with angst, anger, and disgust.  It is yet another reason why I will continue to wonder what that second New Radicals album may have sounded like…

For now, I’ll just have to cling to the most well-known post-New Radicals song that Gregg Alexander wrote but did not perform — “The Game of Love.”  Yup, the same “The Game of Love” skyrocketed to popularity in the form of a Santana and Michelle Branch duet.

“Wishlist” (Pearl Jam Cover)

For Pearl Jam chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

You know what I wish?  I wish that I would wake up tomorrow and there would no longer be anyone on the entire planet who smoked cigarettes.  Never mind the health risk — which, by the way, there are few ingestible products that come with a “may cause cancer” label.  The concept of breathing tar into your lungs aside, let’s consider the ramifications to non-smokers on the road. For instance, I sat in a McDonald’s drive-through tonight for ten minutes and was delighted by not only the automobile emissions but two smokers puffing away.  The breeze was such that my car was filled with noxious fumes.

In a sense, this was great, because the fish filet and large fries actually seemed healthy by comparison!  🙂

Seriously, though, what really gets me is the disposal of the butts.  It’s happened so many times recently that I’ll be driving down the road and someone in the car ahead of me will flick a lit cigarette out of their window.  I don’t know if it’s due to me being older, a generally law-abiding dork, a teacher of transcendental texts like Emerson’s “Nature,” or a combination of the three, but this is enough to drive me crazy recently.  To paraphrase our friend Matt Griffiths from the WCJM morning show, it’s just enough to tweak my hypothalamus and send me into an uncontrollable rage!

I suppose I simply can’t imagine driving in my car, holding a lit piece of paper in my hand, and saying to myself, “I’m done with this.  Why not chuck it out the window?”  Since when did that become the acceptable form of cigarette disposal?! Think twice ye smokers, lest you piss off the drivers behind you (such as myself tonight when a highly tossed butt bounced off my car, lit ashes flying everywhere)…

For those of you wondering what this has to do with my post tonight, prepare to be dazzled.  Well, maybe not dazzled…

Just as I have ranted about something that has bothered me and later wondered if it was too negative, so did Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam decide that he should try writing something positive.  Out of a lengthier “stream-of-consciousness exercise,” we have the “better wishes” presented in this little gem of a song.  It was an instant favorite of mine upon first listening to Pearl Jam’s 1998 album Yield.  As with Binaural, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this album, as it sold less and seemed generally regarded as at least somewhat inferior to previous releases such as Ten and Vitalogy.  But I love this album, and I love this song.  For once, the song I love most is actually in my vocal range!

Okay, so that’s not entirely true.  My first pick for a song to learn and play would have been “Do The Evolution.”  For any of you familiar with that song, you should be sitting at your computer laughing at simply the notion of my attempting to sing a song like that!  I understand my own limitations!  🙂   That being said, you should take the time to search on YouTube for “Pearl Jam Evolution” and watch the official music video; it’s simply amazing — a very cool use of animation to visualize the lyrics to a song.

Along with my acoustic cover song music video tonight, I also send a shout out to my girlfriend Nicole who is a big fan of this song.  (I hope you like it!)  As she is currently in possession of my CD copy of the album and my iPod is tied up with my Bob Dylan playlist (518 out of 622 tracks!), I had to rely on my iPhone to listen to “Wishlist” tonight as I wrote out the lyrics and chords.  What a Mac nerd I am… but I love it.  Speaking of Macs, if I don’t end up writing a full review of U2’s No Line on the Horizon, please allow me to go on record saying that “Unknown Caller” has to be the worst track on the album for a number of reasons.  It’s only redeeming quality is that Bono makes lyrical references (“force quit and move to trash”) that bely his computer loyalties…

Although I have so much more I could say — about Pearl Jam’s re-release of Ten tomorrow, this song, other music, the fact that my dad and I just bought tickets to see Bruce Hornsby at the MGM Grand on Friday(!), life in general — I think this is enough for one night!  As a final note, please allow me to point out that this is officially the tenth post in the Pearl Jam category here at the Laptop Sessions, rounding us off to an even ten just in time for the re-release of Ten for tomorrow’s New Music Tuesday, March 24th, 2009!

For all you new music fans, don’t forget to stop by the blog tomorrow night for an all-new high-quality Jim Fusco Tuesday.  I have it on good authority that he’ll be taking it to a WHOLE…  NOTHA….  LEH-VAL….

See you next session!

“All For You” (Sister Hazel Cover)

For Sister Hazel chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to another week of brand new cover song music videos!  For me and Jeff, this week isn’t just another week, though.  I’ll be back in school on all but Wednesday this week, so it’s the beginning of the end of summer.

As with every summer in my life, this one wraps up with me having accomplished some tasks that I’m proud of, and yet falling short of doing all that I wanted to.  As Jeff pointed out in last week’s post, the summer certainly does fly by.  If you’re an ambitious person — like myself — and yet a person who puts value on relaxation during the summer — like myself — then you’re bound to feel like you’ve fallen short (watch it!) by the end of August.

On the plus side, I spent an incredible amount of time this summer playing guitar.  I have played my own songs as well as some of my favorite Laptop Sessions cover songs repeatedly until I can now comfortably pick up and play about twenty different songs without worrying about forgetting lyrics or chords.  Unfortunately for me, my mastery of a song — whether a cover version or an original — fades over time, so this practice was a process.  In the midst of all this playing, I’ve been bitten by the writing bug, and I have written ten songs over the past couple months.  Of the ten, five are complete and five have some more work to be done, namely lyrics here and middle eights there.  I’m really excited about this set of songs, and when I combine them with the best from my previous four years of songwriting — yup, it’s been a whole four years since Love Out of Fashion — I have a set of songs that I’m really proud of.

Now the only problem is what to do with them…

Jim offered his services as producer, drummer, and instrumentalist extraordinaire on my next album as a birthday present last year, and I gave him some demos a while back which we talked about a bit.  However, now that I’m not living with him, it presents a difficult situation in terms of really living with the songs and playing, recording, listening, mixing, and otherwise playing around with the tracks as the album is in progress.  At home, I have the facilities via my MacBook to record demo-quality tracks with layered vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, and harmonica, but I really should invest in a higher quality mic.  And, without drums, what’s the point at this, well, point?

So, for now at least, the songs remain as demos.  I’m itching to work with them, though, so it’ll only be a matter of time before I work out a plan for how to put these songs down in some enjoyable format.

Without further ado, I bring you my Laptop Session of the day, a cover of Sister Hazel’s “All For You” from their 1997 album …somewhere more familiar.  This band is most definitely what you would refer to as a one hit wonder, as “All For You” reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Unless you count #59 as a hit – which is the height reached by their 2000 single, “Change Your Mind,” the highest charting of any subsequent single in their career – then they are one hit wonders indeed.

Just last week, Sister Hazel released Release, and I decided to try it out.  At the same time I was in Newbury Comics, I came across a used and very cheap used copy of their aforementioned 1997 album, so I picked that up as well.  The older album is very ambitious with Lennon/McCartney-esque harmony duets on every song (a la “All For You”).  The instrumentation is very catchy and impressive, even if all the songs do start to sound the same after a while.

Regardless, I’ll be listening to the new album this week and I’ll get back to you.  For now, though, I ask you to direct your attention to the video below, and I kindly remind you not to close this tab until you’ve come back tomorrow for Jim Fusco Tuesday and then again for Jeff’s “Thumpin’ Thursday.”

See you next session!