Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Pearl Jam – Dance of the Clairvoyants

Missed opportunity: following up “Batdance” or “Shoedance” with “Cassandrance”…


Thomas Inskeep: I guess they’ve been listening to the 1975?

Julian Axelrod: Swap out Eddie Vedder for a meticulously art-designed 20-something Welsh chanteuse and “Pearl Jam” for something like “Elken Pines” and this could be Pitchfork’s Best New Track tomorrow.

Kylo Nocom: Even established ’90s legacy acts can have their stylistic pivot to new wave, but only Eddie Vedder has emulated David Byrne’s possessed-priest anxiety with such poise.

Hannah Jocelyn: “The past is the present and the future is no more” is the perfect Veteran Band Goes Political line. Unfortunately, the rest is more like “the president’s c r a z y/did you hear what he said?” even though that line’s vagueness was the whole point. “I know the boys wanna grow/Their dicks and fix and file things” almost works as a reverse “I did your mom… a favor” type entendre, but hearing Eddie Vedder being David Byrne is weird enough; why does he need to be Return To The Moon-era Matt Berninger as well? I do like Talking Heads pastiches, though.

Brad Shoup: Ament getting hype over letting Gossard play bass tells you what kind of baseline we’re looking at. Eddie Vedder does an uncanny David Byrne — hearing him put period-appropriate pauses in “positive! positive! positive!” is even funnier than him singing about boys’ dicks — and everyone else makes like a dance-punk band in a snowstorm. 

Edward Okulicz: Huh, so there’s a line drawn from every mediocre “dance” “rock” band of the early 2000s to Pearl Jam, except it’s not in the direction you’d imagine. Earnest Eddie is my preferred Eddie, and this isn’t, and maybe Pearl Jam just aren’t loose to make the right mood for this mode.

Alfred Soto: I didn’t need to like “Dance of the Clairvoyants” — I needed to piss off Pearl Jam’s fuddydudd fans, whom I used to annoy by wondering aloud when Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, etc would release their drums-‘n’-bass record. The joke’s on me: two decades after covering “Love –> Building on Fire,” Vedder and co. release their own Talking Heads-indebted thumpalong. In 1999, “Dance of the Clairvoyants” would’ve pissed off fans; now they’ve reclaimed the Heads as part of their glorious youth. The rest of us are stuck with Vedder getting surly over a sequencer. 

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