Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder recently sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss the band’s forthcoming album, Lightning Bolt, but the conversation ended up being a hard-hitting commentary on the state of music. It began when Rolling Stone writer Brian Hiatt made a comment about rock and roll not being the cultural force that it once was. Vedder responded by bringing up the last month’s MTV Video Music Awards, “which he was able to fast-forward” through, and how pop music of today is just “really high fructose content.”
“These pop songs almost feel like tabloid journalism, in a way. It’s crap that people seem to like. And I don’t know if it has meaning. I don’t know if one of the pop songs of the summer has any fiber in it. People are consuming it, and is it healthy? I don’t know. Maybe it’s some kind of way of taking themselves away from their problems. Maybe there’s some healthy property or some restorative property that I’m not receiving. It seems like it has a really high fructose content.”
Hiatt then moved the conversation to Vedder’s own genre and posed the question about why there aren’t “more good young rock bands shooting for the pop charts.” Vedder replied:
“Bono talked a lot about, you know, “We can’t let rock & roll become a niche.” I thought, “Well, that’s kind of crazy. I have more faith in it than that.” But I can definitely see his point. When there’s a pop song that seems a little bit better than others, it’s usually one that has some real guitar, real drums in it. I still feel like the best stuff has natural elements.”
You’ll hear plenty of those natural elements when Lightning Bolt hits stores October 15th. In the meantime, watch a clip of Pearl Jam performing on the VMAs from back when Miley Cyrus was just a year old.
Photo, above, by Jeremy D. Larson