Thumbing My Way

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"Thumbing My Way"
Song by Pearl Jam
from the album Riot Act
ReleasedNovember 12, 2002
RecordedFebruary–May 2002 at Studio X, Seattle
Genre Folk rock
Length4:10
Label Epic
Songwriter(s) Eddie Vedder
Producer(s) Adam Kasper, Pearl Jam

"Thumbing My Way" is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam. Written by vocalist Eddie Vedder, "Thumbing My Way" is the seventh track on the band's seventh studio album, Riot Act (2002).

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Pearl Jam American band

Pearl Jam is an American rock band formed in 1990 in Seattle, Washington. The band's current lineup comprises founding members Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament (bass), and longtime drummer Matt Cameron. Keyboardist Boom Gaspar has also been a session/touring member with the band since 2002. Drummers Jack Irons, Dave Krusen, Matt Chamberlain and Dave Abbruzzese are former members of the band.

Eddie Vedder American musician, songwriter, member of Pearl Jam

Eddie Vedder is an American musician, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter best known as the lead vocalist and one of three guitarists of the American rock band Pearl Jam. He is known for his powerful baritone vocals. He also appeared as a guest vocalist in Temple of the Dog, the one-off tribute band dedicated to the late singer Andrew Wood. Vedder has been ranked at number 7 on a list of "Best Lead Singers of All Time", compiled by Rolling Stone.

Contents

Origin and recording

"Thumbing My Way" was written by vocalist Eddie Vedder. Drummer Matt Cameron revealed to Vedder that he considers it the nicest chord progression Vedder has come up with. [1] Vedder on the song:

Matt Cameron American drummer

Matthew David Cameron is an American musician who currently serves as the drummer for Pearl Jam. After getting his start with the Seattle, Washington-based bands Bam Bam and Skin Yard, he first gained fame as the drummer for Soundgarden, which he joined in 1986, appeared on every studio album, and remained in until the band's break-up in 1997. In 1998, Cameron was invited to play on Pearl Jam's U.S. Yield Tour. He soon became a permanent member and has remained in the band ever since. In 2010, Soundgarden reunited, and Cameron remained with them until the death of Soundgarden's lead singer Chris Cornell on May 18, 2017.

In a musical composition, a chord progression or harmonic progression is a succession of chords. Chord progressions are the foundation of harmony in Western musical tradition from the common practice era of Classical music to the 21st century. Chord progressions are the foundation of Western popular music styles and traditional music. In these genres, chord progressions are the defining feature on which melody and rhythm are built.

"Thumbing My Way" was written real quick. There's something about writing real quickly that keeps the music in a nice pure state. You don't think of it as homework. You think, "Wow, that was a good half hour spent." There is a tangible joy about creating something that wasn't there before. [2]

Bassist Jeff Ament on the song:

We were out in the room playing the song and learning it. In the process, [producer Adam Kasper] went and re-miked everything very covertly. So all of the sudden when we were ready to play it, it was up and he captured it. Nailed it. That to me was really critical and kind of how the record sounds. A lot of times, there's that cool thing when you don't quite know the song and everybody is really concentrating. It lasts for four or five takes and then it's gone. After that, it's all cerebral. [3]

Adam Kasper is a Seattle area record producer and engineer,with platinum and gold awards, working with such bands as Aerosmith, Mudhoney, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, R.E.M., The Tragically Hip, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. He went to Capital High School in Olympia, Washington.

Guitarist Stone Gossard about the song:

That's a real live performance with lots of room ambience. It's us trying to keep up with the chord changes! There are some nice drums and bass. The sentiment of the song is amazing. [3]

Lyrics

The lyrics for "Thumbing My Way" are about a person in turmoil. [4] In an interview, Vedder stated that the song is not about himself. He elaborated by saying, "I'm pretty good at removing myself from most of the songs. One thing about writing songs is, they don't always have to be about you. When they are always about someone, I lose interest after a while." [4] The song includes several references to hitchhiking. At the band's February 14, 2003 concert in Sydney, Australia at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Vedder said, "This song's about hitchhiking your way through a broken heart." [5]

Hitchhiking asking people, usually strangers, for a ride in their road vehicle

Hitchhiking is a means of transportation that is gained by asking individuals, usually strangers, for a ride in their automobile or other vehicle. A ride is usually, but not always, free.

Sydney State capital of New South Wales and most populous city in Australia and Oceania

Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and extends about 70 km (43.5 mi) on its periphery towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, the Royal National Park to the south and Macarthur to the south-west. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas and 15 contiguous regions. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders". As of June 2017, Sydney's estimated metropolitan population was 5,230,330 and is home to approximately 65% of the state's population.

Sydney Entertainment Centre Multi-purpose venue, located in Haymarket, Sydney, Australia

Sydney Entertainment Centre was a multi-purpose arena located in Haymarket, Sydney, Australia. It opened in May 1983, to replace Sydney Stadium, which had been demolished in 1970 to make way for the Eastern Suburbs railway line. The centre was owned by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, which administered the neighbouring Darling Harbour area, and managed under a lease.

Reception

In its review of Riot Act, The Guardian stated that "Thumbing My Way" "resembles an acoustic 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'" and called it one of the album's "best moments." [6] Brett Hickman of Stylus said, "Never a band to make their quieter forays really work, the band deliver their best one with "Thumbing My Way". Through its muted organ, acoustic guitars, brushed drums and Vedder's semi-coherent line readings, the band matches intent with mood perfectly." [7]

Music video

The music video for "Thumbing My Way" was directed by James Frost. [8] The video was filmed at Seattle's Chop Suey club in September 2002. [9] The video consists of a filmed live performance of the band rather than a conceptual video. It was one of five videos shot at the club to promote Riot Act (including "I Am Mine", "Save You", "Love Boat Captain", and "1/2 Full"). Up to that point the band had not made any music videos since 1998's "Do the Evolution". The video was released in late 2002.

Live performances

"Thumbing My Way" was first performed live by Vedder during a solo performance at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles on February 26, 2002. [9] The first performance of the song with the full band took place at the band's December 6, 2002 concert in Seattle at The Showbox. [10] Live performances of "Thumbing My Way" can be found on various official bootlegs and the live album Live at Benaroya Hall . Performances of the song are also included on the DVDs Live at the Showbox and Live at the Garden .

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References

  1. Scaggs, Austin. "Eddie Vedder: Addicted to Rock". Rolling Stone . April 21, 2006.
  2. Fricke, David. "Eddie Unabridged". Rolling Stone . May 29, 2003.
  3. 1 2 Cohen, Jonathan. ""Inciting a 'Riot': Pearl Jam's New Album"". Archived from the original on October 30, 2002. Retrieved April 8, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). Billboard . November 2002.
  4. 1 2 Kaufman, Gil. "Pearl Jam: Readin' The Riot Act". VH1.com. November 7, 2002.
  5. Vedder, Eddie. (Speaker). (2003). 2/14/03, Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Australia . [Audio Recording]. Epic.
  6. Sweeting, Adam. "Pearl Jam: Riot Act". The Guardian . November 8, 2002.
  7. Hickman, Brett. Pearl Jam: Riot Act. Stylus . September 1, 2003.
  8. Mills, Fred. "Yield Not". Seattle Weekly . November 6, 2002.
  9. 1 2 Pearl Jam: 2002 Concert Chronology. fivehorizons.com.
  10. "Pearl Jam Songs: "Thumbing My Way"" Archived May 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine . pearljam.com.