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Essay/Term paper: Eddie vedder is a vampire

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Science

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Eddie Vedder Is A Vampire


Although at first he may seem to be just your average angst ridden lead man
for a popular rock and roll band, Eddie Vedder, the vocalist and lyricist for
Pearl Jam, may very well be a vampire. Although it is impossible to tell,
everything points to his being an immortal. An in depth analysis of his lyrics
shows that Pearl Jam's second album, "Versus", has been used by Vedder as
sounding boards for the complex emotions and change of perspective that come
with one's transition to vampirism. Other lyricists have used vampiric images
before - for instance Sting, in Moon Over Bourbon Street, which was written in
first person - but Vedder is unique in that his lyrics evolve over time as being
indicative of his vampiric state. Either he has become a vampire, he believes
himself to be a vampire, or he is leading a fictional double life, from which he
draws inspiration for his lyrics.
What exactly is a vampire? Numerous myths, folk tales, and works of
fiction exist on the matter of what makes up a vampire, but if they do exist,
vampires have been incredibly careful to conceal their presence from most people
(supposedly following a law known as the Masquerade), and very little is known
about them definitively. However, some basic facts are common to most sources.
These are: vampires drink blood, vampires live forever if not killed, and
vampires undergo grievous bodily harm if exposed to sunlight; this normally
kills them.
Many other things about vampires, such as their aversion to garlic,
their superhuman abilities, and their prohibition on entering abodes unless
invited, are mentioned in some sources and not others, and so it is unclear as
to how much of this applies to real vampires, and how much is pure myth.
Eddie's vampiric tendencies became apparent in the lyrics to "Versus",
Pearl Jam's second album. Pearl Jam's first album, "Ten", contains no real
evidence of vampirism, and his lyric writing style is subtly different from that
in "Versus". In "Ten", the lyrics are often in ballad form, generally relating
tales of normal people. The songs Jeremy, Alive, Deep, and Black were all
number one hits in the U.S. from "Ten". Eddie was not writing about himself in
these songs, and was only assuming personas for the narrative, a standard device
for composers of fiction of any kind. Thus, the lyrics were simply Eddie's view
of the world around him, incorporating characters and situations which he could
relate to.
Eddie's lyric writing style had change considerably in the second album,
"Versus". Although he still wrote some songs similar to those on "Ten",
expounding upon the specific lives of characters and the situation they
encountered (i.e. Daughter), there is also a tendency for social commentary.
The general trend in "Versus" is for the lyrics to offer a critical view of
human society, often comparing it to vampiric society. It would seem that at
this stage, Eddie had become aware of the existence of vampires, and had been
offered the chance to become one of them. This is corroborated by the lyrics.
Eddie views Vampires as a different "species" to human, with a different
society, customs, and moral code. Many of the lyrics on "Versus" are attempts
by Eddie to compare the two "species", humans and vampires. A general disgust
with the human race and it's customs is evident, and Eddie is considering
vampirism as an alternative to all that he dislikes about human existence. The
song Rats is a good example. At first it would seem to be a comparison of
humans with rats, but even a brief glance at the lyrics would indicate that
several qualities are mentioned common to both rats and humans: "they don't eat,
don't sleep". The correct interpretation becomes clear when one considers
Eddie's comparison of humanity with vampirism. In the song, the humans are
represented by rats, and vampires by "they". It is essentially a list of all
things bad about the human race, which Eddie hopes to rid of through the change
to vampirism:

"they don't... lick the dirt off a larger one's feet
they don't push
don't crowd
congregate until they're much too loud
fu#? to procreate "till they are dead
drink the blood of their so called best friend"

While the last line may appear to contradict the vampiric interpretation, in
fact it strengthens it. Most known vampiric codes strictly prohibit the
drinking of a fellow vampire's blood (known as "diablerie"), and tales exist of
vampires being ostracized for it.
Several of the other songs on "Versus" have vampiric interpretations.
Animal is indicative of Vedder's disgust with the human race; he'd "rather be
with an animal" than with a human. W.M.A. is also a song of general disgust
with human society, focusing on the race conflict in the United States of
America. By becoming a vampire, Eddie hopes to distance himself from this sort
of persecution. Essentially Eddie is trying to escape from his responsibility
as a human by becoming a vampire. Indifference shows Eddie's final
considerations of vampiric society, although he remains cynical. However, it is
clear that he has made his decision ("soon light will be gone" and "but I won't
change my mind"). The vampiric implications are the most clear in the second
verse:
"I will hold the cradle
"til it burns up my arm
I'll keep taking punches
"til their arms grow tired
I will stare the sun down
until my eyes go blind
hey, I won't change direction
and I won't change my mind"

This verse deals with one's conversion to vampirism, the exact process of which
isn't known for sure, but Eddie's version seems to confirm the most popular
rumors, which hold that a vampire (the sire) must first drain the prospective
vampire's blood, killing the victim, who then must drink of the sire's blood, or
remain dead forever. Thus, the conversion from human to vampire involves dying,
but remaining animate after death. This is what Eddie is describing in the
second verse, although he has varied the cause of death for the sake of poetry,
and in keeping with the Masquerade. The chorus, however, shows an increasing
cynicism with vampirism: "how much difference does it make?".
Indifference was Eddie's last song before his conversion, a romantic
attempt to crystallize his last thoughts as a human. The reality turned out to
be much less sedate, as is evidence by Blood. Apparently the bloodletting
wasn't as clean as imagined: "my blood... drains and spills, soaks the pages,
fills their sponges". The song, musically primal and violent, is as much a
homage to Eddie's last remaining drops of human blood, ("It's my blood" repeated
over the thrashing guitars and drums), as it is to his violent conversion. The
greatest indication of Eddie's vampirism, though, is on the lyric sheet of "
Versus" before Blood, on which Eddie scribbles:

"This meeting is driving me crazy... changing me
I will never trust anyone again...
[unintelligible]... in a different light... Biting the bullet
SWALLOW
You've blocked out the sun
You're killing my only flower
I've studied this question... now I study this answer"

Although the exact events of Eddie's conversion can only be guessed at, it was
obviously a harrowing affair, and one which affected Eddie deeply. It seems
that Eddie's perception had forever changed, which is evident in further songs
about vampirism on "Versus."
Three other songs on Versus would seem to have been written after
Eddie's conversion to a vampire: Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small
Town, Leash, and Rearviewmirror.
Rearviewmirror is the companion song of Blood, dealing also with Eddie's
conversion. However, while Blood is a description of the encounter at which
Eddie was changed, Rearviewmirror relates Eddie's feelings after he has had a
chance to adjust to his new condition. Throughout the song, a car trip is used
as an analogy of Eddie's transformation, "I took a drive today, time to
emancipate". Eddie remains cynical about the experience, "I'm not about to give
thanks, or apologize," and he describes his transformation once more in
retrospect:

"I couldn't breath
holding me down
hand on my face
enmity gauged
knotted by fear
forced to endure
what I could not forgive
head at your feet
fool to your crown
fist on my plate
swallowed it down"

The last four lines reflecting Eddie's diminutive status when compared to his
sire, especially during the humiliating conversion. Since drinking from his
sire was necessary, the wrist was obviously offered ("fist"). After the
conversion, vampires remain physically the same as before, hence "it wasn't my
surface most defiled". Eddie obviously fled his sire after the meeting:

"I gather speed
from you fu#?ing with me
once and for all
I'm far away
hardly believe
finally the shades are raised"

The last two lines reflect the new perspective that Eddie has gained from his
newfound state.
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town is a relatively sedate
song, and relates Eddie's thoughts on seeing an old friend, someone whom he had
only known before his conversion. The vampiric link is tenuous, and relies on
the fact that physically Vampires remain exactly as they were when first
converted: "lifetimes are catching up with me, all these changes taking place,"
implies that Eddie has already noticed how others around him have changed, while
he hasn't: "I changed by not changing at all." The irony is that he has changed
more than anybody else.
Leash is also a look back at Eddie's former life, comparing humanity and
vampirism from the other side of the fence. "Troubled souls untie, we've got
ourselves tonight," and, "we got the means to make amends," would seem to
indicate that Eddie is ready to make a life without life, entering a vampire
society and leaving humanity behind. However, he has trouble adjusting and
hence, "I am lost." However, he is confident of eventually settling down: "will
myself to find a home... we will find a way, we will find a place." At the end
of the song, Eddie sings, "the lights, the lights" displaying his newfound
sensitivity to sunlight, and then sings, "I used" with the same melody as he
sang, "I proved to be a man," leading to the obvious statement, "I used to be a
man."
"Versus" represents the early stages of Eddie's vampirism, from his
initial consideration of the idea, to his conversion and subsequent
disillusionment, and his beginning to come to terms with what has happened to
him. However, several other songs not related to vampirism are also featured on
the album, either written before Eddie begun brooding over the matter, or as a
form of artistic relief from his transformation physically, mentally, and
emotionally. Also, the order of the songs on the album isn't chronological,
something which may have something to do with the Masquerade, but probably has
more to do with the arrangement of songs


 

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