As longtime drummer for Soundgarden, Matt Cameron was responsible for some of their heaviest (“Mailman”), strangest (“Applebite”) and best (“Fresh Tendrils”) songs. It’s no surprise that his contributions to Pearl Jam’s canon have been much the same. “Get Right” falls squarely in the “strangest” category. A two-and-a-half minute garage-rock number, the song hasn’t quite endeared itself to the fanbase since its inclusion on 2002’s Riot Act. Played only 17 times during the 2003 tour, “Get Right” has yet to reappear live since the penultimate show in Mexico City. As a quirky, almost slight bit of songwriting, it must have proven hard to place within any given night’s setlist.
The song’s chorus of “I wanted to get right” is supposed to be code for getting high, and certain phrases in the verses would appear to bear that theory out (“Bakers dozen”, “the fire is made now”), not to mention a big ole illustrated spliff in the liner notes. Still, the cut-and-paste language sticks out of the song awkwardly over the sparse instrumentation between choruses. The music is dominated by the rhythmic interplay between Ament and Cameron, with choppy, pulsing guitar. The chorus is by far the best part of the brief “Get Right”, as Vedder brings his voice up an octave for a catchy singalong augmented by rapid-fire handclaps. I always wonder if it wouldn’t have been more successful if Vedder had sung its entirety in his upper register. As it stands, the full, rounded tone of his lower voice on a word like “underbelly” draws too much attention to the silliness of the lyric. Will we ever hear this song again at a Pearl Jam concert?