Day 68: The Coronavirus Countdown - 100 Days of Great Music

Our two picks today - Pearl Jam and Lana Del Rey - have crossed paths at music festivals, and there's even a YouTube video of Eddie Vedder tossing a tambourine to Del Rey watching one of their performances from the wings in Rio De Janeiro in 2018.

While Pearl Jam has grown far beyond their early grunge roots, Del Rey has some definite baroque and dream pop leanings that bring to mind Mazzy Star and another seminal act from that sub-genre named The Sundays.

The band's debut Reading, Writing And Arithmetic is an old favorite that makes for a good bonus pick.

- Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb


Lana Del Rey

Norman F*****g Rockwell! (2019)

Why I Love It

Talk about a revelation. I knew a little bit about Lana Del Rey before this album was released last year, but I wouldn't have called myself a fan. I heard a song here and there and liked them okay. But that all changed when I checked this record out after seeing people rave about it on social media. My jaw dropped at how spectacular it was on first listen. As the title indicates, there are plenty of f-bombs dropped throughout most of the album's 14 tracks. Knowing that, one would expect the tone of the record to be completely different from what it is in reality. The album is a dreamy masterpiece of well-crafted songs that draw you in and never let go. Listening to it is sort of like stepping into a west coast dream world. Words really can't do justice to how amazing this album or how much I adore it. In the last year, I have not stopped listening to it ad nauseam.

Album Highlights

"Mariners Apartment Complex," "California" and "Happiness is a Butterfly"

Kendall on Chuck's Album of the Day

Whoa. Like Chuck said, this one's a revelation, and I'm a sucker for the dream-pop of Mazzy Star. I almost immediately picked up on the connection here on this Lana Del Rey album especially starting with "Mariners Apartment Complex" in the track two slot. Chuck's been talking about this album over the past year, and it's immediately a new favorite of mine. It's not a stretch to say it might have made my list if I had taken notice of it before now.


Pearl Jam

Ten (1991)

Why I Love It

I'll admit that I didn't pay much attention to Nirvana when they first hit the grunge scene in 1991, and I didn't really pay much attention to their breakthrough album Nevermind until several years later when I was living in Austin.

But Pearl Jam's Ten was another story altogether. This one hit me like a ton of bricks when I first heard it, and it has only grown in my estimation through the years. The album's emotional centerpiece is "Jeremy" - a chilling story that was inspired by the suicide of Jeremy Wade Delle in 1991 in front of his second-period English class. The song only became more eery and prescient in the wake of all the school shootings that happened as the 1990's progressed.

I remember being almost rattled by the intensity of the song. The entire album, in fact, feels fueled by desperation, and Eddie Vedder's anguished vocals in retrospect almost feel like a plea to society at large to pay attention. He almost seemed to be giving voice to an otherwise quiet rage that was simmering below the surface in a large segment of America's suburban youth. The same youth who were experimenting with drugs while being shuffled back and forth between single parents in the aftermath of a divorce - fending for themselves while mom and dad were both forced to work. Those same kids are still at risk in today's social media environment, and I can't see a picture of Jeremy Wade Delle to this day without feeling a little guilty like Vedder's narrator in "Jeremy" and wondering if we are all, in some way, responsible for all the Jeremys that followed and are still yet to come.

Album Highlights

"Once," "Even Flow" and "Jeremy"

Chuck on Kendall's Album of the Day

I mentioned how much I love Pearl Jam's first three albums leading up to my selection ofNo Codeearlier in the countdown. This record is one of the greatest all-time debuts and greatest albums in rock and roll history. It's perfect. Although I was not a fan in the early days because I knew the days of hair metal were numbered, I realized the greatness of the music coming out of Seattle and leading a new chapter of rock and roll. And hearing Pearl Jam open a show at Wrigley Field with "Release" was nothing short of a religious experience. Excellent choice, Kendall.

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