Pearl Jam – Black – Five Years of Friday Nineties
It was five years and one day ago when I started doing this column. Look!
Little did I know that I would still be doing it five years later. And I think that five years is long enough to constrain myself to music. See, I (and in some important cases for which I am grateful, we) always did songs. Week in, week out, it was songs. I have not gone through all of them, not by a long shot. But I am passing up SO MUCH OTHER STUFF. The Usual Suspects, Roseanne, Waco, the first Gulf War (the one everyone liked), all of that is ripe for exploring, picking apart, mocking. All the stuff we usually do, but not always musical. Hell, even Jimmy Fallon got in on it this week with his Saved by the Bell Reunion.
Why should I leave all that comedy gold to the guy who has the best job in TV? I can probably get the guy who was the voice of Doug. He’s probably alive. I hope.
I can’t let this rich history go to waste. And I can’t let five years of music go without playing one of the most memorable songs of the decade. I remember one of my friends telling me that he heard Eddie Vedder was at a beach and heard some dude singing some of their songs and when he started to play Black, Eddie went up to him and asked him not to sing that one because it meant too much to him. Now, that story makes no sense at all because nobody who only wore corduroy jackets would ever go to the beach, but it doesn’t make the song bad. It just makes my friend a liar.
And seriously, this song is REALLY sad. If you can read these lyrics, especially the end, and not have a face in your mind when you do it, you are either cold and dead or really frigging lucky. And nobody is that lucky. But you know what? I feel pretty lucky to have been doing this for five years without getting bored or tired. And if you do, too, then let me know what you want to read. Got a thing for Full House? Want to drone on endlessly about Pulp Fiction? How about the first reality show ever: The Real World? Let me know – the possibilities are endless, just like Bill Clinton’s baffling sexiness!
Friday Nineties is dead; long live Friday Nineties!
Sheets of empty canvas, untouched sheets of clay
Were laid spread out before me as her body once did.
All five horizons revolved around her soul as the earth to the sun
Now the air I tasted and breathed has taken a turn
Ooh, and all I taught her was everything
Ooh, I know she gave me all that she wore
And now my bitter hands chafe beneath the clouds of what was everything.
Oh, the pictures have all been washed in black, tattooed everything…
I take a walk outside, I’m surrounded by some kids at play
I can feel their laughter, so why do I sear?
Oh, and twisted thoughts that spin round my head, I’m spinning, oh,
I’m spinning, how quick the sun can drop away
And now my bitter hands cradle broken glass of what was everything
All the pictures have all been washed in black, tattooed everything…
All the love gone bad turned my world to black
Tattooed all I see, all that I am, all I’ll be…
I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life,
I know you’ll be a star in somebody else’s sky,
But why, why, why can’t it be, can’t it be mine?