Thursday, January 30, 2014
Coming Home to You
A nice, little acoustic/piano/organ song of Ed's called Coming Home to You appears to have leaked onto the scene. We don't know if this from an upcoming solo project or an old demo. We hope to have more for you soon, but for now, you might have to make due with a review by stip:
There are worse ways to close out the week then a bonus song from Eddie Vedder. I don’t know the backstory behind Coming Home To You. I wonder if it was recorded for Out of the Furnace. It’s certainly more fleshed out than something like the leaked uke demos that circulated before the official album, with bass, keys, simple drums, harmonica, double tracked vocals--basically everything a serious DIY home recording needs. This is a song someone else was supposed to hear.
Although the first few notes immediately reminded me of Thumbing My Way, Coming Home To You quickly moves into Skipping meets Drifting territory. It has a tender campfire western feel, full of hushed sentiments delivered in open spaces. It’s a private moment, but not a solitary one. This is being sung to someone--part love letter, part apology.
Coming Home To You is a pleasing listen, but not particularly compelling--it sounds like a song destined for the background of something more interesting. Eddie’s vocals have a deep, gentle, low rumble that feel wiser, heavier, more knowing and experienced for being buried in the mix. He sounds really good, and listening to this makes me wonder why so many of Pearl Jam’s recent productions (basically everything after Man of the Hour) seem to hate Eddie’s lower register. The music (especially the bass and keys) provide an appealing but unassuming depth. It’s a lovely little song not worth too many glances. I’m not sure it aspired to anything more. It would have worked great in a movie where it had to enhance the feel of a scene without stealing focus.
There’s an early lyric in the song ‘I’m in love/I’ve got nothing to prove’ which pretty much encapsulates the entire song . This is how I feel, and I’m not apologizing for it. If this wasn’t meant for a movie I can only assume that Eddie has a whole file of songs like this he busts out when he’s just looking for sex. It is full of eye rolling sentiments that are trite and obvious unless he’s singing about you to you, in which case I’m sure it’s going to feel impossibly profound. That’s basically how love works. People are going to compare this to Future Days, a song I’ve come to like quite a bit. They share a similar sentiment and unironic style that could care less about being judged, but Coming Home to You lacks Future Days’ schmaltzy over the top charm. When a song whispers the way this one does it demands that the listener pay attention, and it’s not clear there’s much to listen for.
Eddie has been trying to write the perfect version of this type of intensely personal and intimate song for a while. Unfortunately, he keeps losing sight of the fact that asking for a commitment from listeners who exist outside the experience you’re writing about means you must figure out a way to make that experience real to them. He fails to do that here. I think Eddie actually sounds pretty great, but there is little here to reward a long term investment once the song starts to feels familiar. No connection. There’s a core, moving and beautiful, but it’s not for you.
Coming Home To You is a window into a private, unguarded moment. But we are not invited to feel its light and heat, and in its absence I’m just not sure what we’re witnessing is all that interesting to watch.