After the punk blast of “Mind Your Manners,” the first single from Pearl Jam”s upcoming album, “Lightning Bolt,” the Seattle group comes back with a gentle, very melodic ballad, “Sirens.”
With an acoustic guitar and piano base, the song unfolds at a leisurely pace. Eddie Vedder is such an intense singer that when he lays back behind the groove a little bit here, it”s such a pleasure to hear him hold back, while sacrificing nothing emotionally. And, make no mistake, there”s a lot of emotion in “Sirens,” as he sings about the possibility of losing the woman he loves to another man or to his “going away.” If that happens, it’s vital that she know he always loved her, as he stirringly sings, “When I see your face, the fear goes away.”
Pearl Jam has no shortage of lovely ballads and this one has the same graceful beauty as “Backspacer’s” “Just Breathe,” but there”s something melodically about “Sirens,” especially with the layered harmonies and Vedder”s vocal performance here, that will grab you by the throat before you realize it. Plus, there”s a lived-in feel to the lyrics and an emotional acceptance that I”m not sure Vedder could have pulled off before he got into his 40s. “It”s a fragile thing, this life we lead,” he sings.
If “Mind Your Manners” and “Sirens” are any indication, “Lightning Bolt,” which comes out Oct. 15, is going to be a hell of an album.
What do you think of “Sirens?”
UPDATED: Pearl Jam released a performance video for “Sirens” today, as well as made the song available on iTunes.