Aye Davanita

Why, you ask, did I choose “Aye Davanita” as the first track from Vitalogy to explore? Fair enough question, particularly because it’s commonly regarded that if that record was released without “Aye Davanita”, “Bugs”, “Pry, To”, and “Stupidmop”, it would likely stand as the most consistently great Pearl Jam album.  Every one of the other ten tracks is a qualified classic.  But I love the bizarre experiments, largely the work of Vedder, inserted throughout the raw, turbulent Vitalogy. Many fans skip tunes like “Aye Davanita” routinely, hate them, can’t understand them.  I can’t claim to understand them either, as an act of deliberate career/artistic sabotage or anything else.  But I do think the years have been kind to these oddities, which punctuated Pearl Jam’s record with moments of levity, dread, anxiety, and in the case of “Aye Davanita”, calm.

It’s also a much needed bridge between “Betterman” and “Immortality”. The latter is a profoundly dark riddle.  And for all of the mother-son strife and bitterness built into “Betterman”, the music is at least heroic, if not buoyant.  “Aye Davanita” is the palate cleanser between the two, wiping almost the entire record clean prior to “Immortality”, which is enough of a song to almost warrant an entire side unto itself.  “Aye Davanita” achieves this by fading both in and out as if the listener is only witnessing one cycle of a much longer piece.  It’s repetitive, nonsensical, vaguely Eastern, and full of all sorts of weird vocal (brrrrrd bop, brrrrrrl beep!) and instrumental sounds that reveal themselves after repeated listens.  I’m willing to bet that out of the four strange tracks on Vitalogy, “Aye Davanita” gave record execs at Epic the most cause for concern–because it was the only one that suggested a viable direction Pearl Jam could continue to travel (and would to some extent on No Code).  Used as intro music to Pearl Jam shows much the same way as “Master/Slave” and “The Color Red”, “Aye Davanita” is like funky wallpaper in the basement of the house of Pearl Jam.

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~ by Michael on April 30, 2007.

16 Responses to “Aye Davanita”

  1. I like this song. I have no idea why.

  2. I don’t understand it myself, but I’m also fascinated by the “weird” tracks. I never skip them, except STUPID MOP. They help to make Vitalogy the wild and wonderful listen that it is. They also ease some of the tension, letting you know that the band maybe isn’t quite as seriously self-involved as most of the tracks would lead you to believe. Unlike probably virtually everyone else who bought Vitalogy, I’m so glad some record executive didn’t talk them into taking these out.

    AYE DAVANITA is one I’ve put on just because I felt like listening to it. It would fit onto a Dead Can Dance CD.

  3. ‘Aye Davanita’, I like it. Best of the so-called “filler” tracks. ‘Hey Foxymophandlemama, That’s Me’ is a close second. Both songs are still viable.

    This tune sounds like it could of been penned by Jack Irons. The vocals are influenced by tribal music yet the drums are absent (except for a snare beat) which makes it unique considering a lot of tribal music is drum based.

    (Susan, the Dead Can Dance is cool too.)

  4. Just a filler…

  5. Like so many others, back in the days when Vitalogy was in the highest rotation in my CD collection, I generally found myself skipping this song along with the other so-called fillers. Then one day about a year ago I woke up, as I do so often, with a song in my head, but unlike most times this happens it wasn’t a song that I had been recently obsessivly listening to, but instead out of nowhere it was Aye Davanita. Strange….since then I have been listening to it more frequently. I agree with Susan as well, aside from Stupid Mop, the rest of these shorter, baffling songs really do nicely decorate the landscape that is Vitalogy.

  6. I almost wonder if this, Bugs, and Stupid Mop forced some people to not have as much patience with No Code. As if Pearl Jam had already burned them on the previous album with a couple of blank tracks, and then No Code was such a departure that those people sad enough is enough?

    That said I don’t think I ever skip this one, putting it more squarely in the Master/Slave catagory than anything else. And as you said, a nice break before Immortality.

  7. I like this theory, dracwn. I never fully understood why No Code got the reception that it did. I chalked most of it up to the odd single choices, but I think you’re on to something with Vitalogy starting to freak some people out.

  8. [...] 5. Nothingman 6. Whipping 7. Pry, To 8. Corduroy 9. Bugs 10. Satan’s Bed 11. Better Man 12. Aye Davanita 13. Immortality 14. Hey Foxymophandlemama, That’s [...]

  9. hi…i’m ervin, i’m indonesian…can you describe to me about the meaning of aye davanita. in my opinion, it sounds seems inspired by Indian or middle east’s ethnic music.

    vitalogy is a impressed album by pearl jam, we will go to the space or strange ocean when hear this album..

    thanks, you can contact me at vinvulkumbang@yahoo.com
    and, forgive me for my bad english…ha..ha..ha..

  10. Just have to say that I love “Bugs”; every aspect of it is fantastic. Pearl Jam’s weird tunes always felt quite liberating for the band, I think.

  11. Aye Davanita alongside many others such as the intro/outro to TEN, Sometimes, In My Tree, I’m Open to name a few, are the best examples of Pearl’s Jam. Remember Pearl’s Jam? The mescaline based preserve. These tracks really mean the most to me. They have a certain transcending quality, and are amazingly textural. Brendan O’Briens production is fantastic. Completely my own interpretation, and i’m a massive fan of almost everything they’ve done. These tracks mean the most to me though, and my ideas of music and it’s ability to reflect human ideas of existence and ourselves and the universe we exist in. Aye Davanita is really spiritual in this sense.

    Probably was just a filler track by them though ;) Production is incredible!!!!! Love it, always will.

  12. Yes. But what do the words aye davanita mean?

  13. Nice observation regarding this song’s place as a palate cleanser — it serves that purpose well. About the phenomena of songs growing on you over time, I’d also have to agree — especially as regards Pearl Jam. Besides Ten, which blew me away at every single moment, every album they’ve done has sounded better and better with time.

    Vitalogy grabbed me by the shirt in a way that no other PJ album had, some time after it was released. Maybe the hype put me off, but I had to wait. Years later, the more I listened to it, the more I appreciated the brilliance. The poetry of it, the vitality & raw energy both in Vedder’s vocals and in the music as well.

    Putting songs like Bugs and Foxymophandlemama is like showing someone your naked body; or like seeing someone else’s body: maybe, at first, you’re shocked and not sure how to react. Maybe you get hard or wet, if the person’s just exactly what you’re into, but the longer you’re in the sexual relationship, you get used to that body, that mind, and doing it gets to be an act of communion with those most intimate parts of a person, whatever your first reaction, and loving them. The feel, the friction, the wetness. If you lost that person, you’d have to get used to sex with someone else and… just like listening to another album, maybe you like it right away, maybe it takes time to get used to it…

    Tellyawhot, though — this is an album I like fucking more and more each time I hear it, and it’s the dirtier parts that keep getting better and better, more and more interesting. The parts I always loved are still sweet, but I love licking those cracks — now they’re a part of me.

    Satan’s Bed is the ass; Spin the Black Circle is the nape of the neck; Whipping is the chest… but the sweet spots, those are the “oddities”.

    “Well, I have thought about it, real deep — yes, I believe I would…”

  14. This was a Good write up, I will save this in my StumbleUpon account. Have a great evening.

  15. Pry to is obviously about privacy. I think pry in the title is meant to be like, prying in on somebody’s business. Bugs has a great deal to say about pyschy stuff, i tihk it’s also about drugs. I love aye davanita, but can’t explain it. foxymop gave me nightmares as a kid. but I think its very poigniant concerning essentially everything pearl jam stands for, especially at the time. look up the lyrics, it’s definitely puzzling, but somewhat enlightening. and that’s the only thing I want so much.

  16. “aye davanita” means “any date available” without the label

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