Almost three decades after Pearl Jam’s career-changing album Ten catapulted them from an independent act with a knack for channelling their alchemy in fusing their angst and alienation with a love for hard rock of the seventies, British independent music and punk rock to a veritable mainstream act. While some of their contemporaries have famously imploded or their careers taking detours south, Pearl Jam are still alive and here to tell the tale.
Not for You: Pearl Jam and the Present Tense is a biography that has been channelled through the lens of Ronan Givony, who is not merely a self-professed Pearl Jam tragic but a lifelong lover of independent music with a weak spot for one of Seattle’s most well-known grunge bands.
The result is a melange of a biography of a band that started out with a rebellious attitude, its significance for their fan base and shedding light on how their brushes with fame as well as disenchanting trials and tribulations not only impacted them but also the social biotope they evolved from.
Ronen Givony's viewpoint is that of a fan – not of one that is blindly looking for reaffirmation, but one that is looking for answers from a band that is unique in many ways and whose story entails that is being elaborated on entails more than just music. The interesting bit is how Givony not only chronicles events but contextualises them and highlights how they shaped the quintet to what has survived and transcended several decades of musical and societal changes.
Starting from the eruption that was grunge in the early nineties, the band’s role and significance along with their idealist activism and personalities of their individual constituents is worked out in a critical manner to portray the picture of a musical outfit that for the author has coined both his adolescence and adulthood, with an outspoken and authoritative voice that should resonate with any music aficionado and fan of the likes of Nick Hornby’s literary emissions.
7.0 / 10
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