This article originally ran in 2020, but we’re dusting it off for Eddie Vedder’s birthday on December 23rd.
The idea of a deep cut usually isn’t so complicated. They’re the padding, the filler, the less marketable tracks buried deep on records or used as buffers between the singles both band and record company pin their joint hopes on. Of course, what’s beautiful about deep cuts is that once we’ve grown tired of the singles we’re urged to consume again and again, we stumble upon these afterthoughts, and they can often become our favorite songs off a record.
Pearl Jam kinda throw a wrench into that idea, though. First off, the band at one point were so popular that their non-singles, b-sides, and outtakes often found their way onto the charts and even became radio staples in some cases. And while most bands, especially established ones, rarely look beyond their hits and a handful of new tracks when piecing together a setlist, Pearl Jam dive right into their deep pool of deep cuts and have often turned them into fan favorites. That being the case, a deep cut from a Pearl Jam album isn’t always the same as a deep cut in concert — as this feature will show — and often doesn’t feel like a deep cut at all.
Like we said, it’s complicated.
So, to keep things as simple as they can be when trying to scan across 30 years, we limited ourselves to 10 deep cuts, one from every studio album (or its respective singles, sessions, or tour). The great news is, of course, that not only are all of these songs waiting for you in Pearl Jam’s catalog (and in a Spotify playlist at the end of this article) if you want to revisit them, but you’re likely to hear a heap of them whenever they hit the road.
So, here they are. Ten Pearl Jam deep cuts so deep (how deep are they?) that you can’t touch the bottom.
I walked right into that, didn’t I?
— Matt Melis