Pearl Jam — “Just Breathe” (from Backspacer) — Just

Pearl Jam — “Yellow Ledbetter”
(from Rearviewmirror [Greatest Hits 1991-2003]) — Yellow

I see all these little girls screaming, crying, fainting at the sight of that mop-haired doofus-lite Justin Bieber nowadays. Well, when I was 16, I honestly believed I would grow up to be Mrs. Eddie Vedder, and that we would live happily ever after in Seattle next door to a Starbucks. That didn’t work out, obviously, but I still have his music in my heart, and these are two of my favorites. “Just Breathe” (from the band’s latest record, Backspacer) is an acoustic ballad in which Eddie takes stock of his life and counts his blessings, something we all find necessary to do sometimes. And it’s anybody’s guess as to what “Yellow Ledbetter” is about; I’ve heard everything from war to boxing, so who knows? No matter: Eddie’s delivery of the indiscernible lyrics, coupled with Mike McCready’s heart-shattering guitar solo, make this song great. (And to all you little girls out there who have come down with Bieber fever, I hope Justin’s music still means as much to you two decades hence as Eddie’s does to me. I doubt it highly, but I still hope.)

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