I’m Open

Bracing myself for the inevitable backlash, our tour of the spoken-word Pearl Jam songbag continues with “I’m Open”. I was lucky to be part of the audience that witnessed the song’s first full performance in Hartford, Connecticut, and I realized a couple things listening to Vedder’s solo rendition that night. First, I was excited primarily for my good fortune rather than the actual song. Second, “I’m Open” works much better without the storytelling. Actually, I’d always been sure that the lines “I’m open / Come on in” spoke volumes more than Vedder’s tale of a man lying in a bed in a room with no door. Minus those bits, the song is an impressive and effective collaboration between Vedder and Irons, reminiscent of “Master/Slave”, “Dead Man”, Vedder’s duets with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and looking forward to “Arc”. It also serves an important function, bridging “Mankind” and “Around the Bend”. Without it, the effect of going from Stone’s punk-pop to Vedder’s lullaby would be too jarring. “I’m Open” quiets the flow of the album even below “Around the Bend”, so that the gentleness of the latter sounds brighter than it otherwise would. The opening bass rumble of “I’m Open” absorbs everything which precedes it. Unfortunately, for me at least, the satisfying calm of the song is marred by spoken word that breaks my concentration away from the beautifully executed atmospherics and onto a story too vague and self-conscious to be of much interest.


~ by Michael on May 7, 2007.

8 Responses to “I’m Open”

  1. This is my one of my favorite pj songs. I think you kinda phoned that one in corduroy13. πŸ˜‰
    Seriously though, corduroy13 has been doing an amazing job with this website. I kinda disagree with him here in regards to the spoken word/vocal parts tainting the song. The spoken word verses are very brief for one and I personally think Eddie shined on them. Some of the Ed’s best words put to song. Your praise of the middle chorus is accurate though.

  2. BYM: I’m happy to hear you disagree with me, and thanks for the kind words w/r/t the blog. “I’m Open” is definitely better than “I’m Still Here” of course, and I can honestly say it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. Maybe in another five years I’ll actually like it. πŸ™‚

  3. The spoken word stuff is pretty problematic for a lot of people, isn’t it?

    Eddie has a great speaking voice. I find when I’m listening to the bootlegs, I look forward to him speaking. I lot of people find his rants to be intrusive, but, in truth, I don’t really care what he’s saying. The sound of his speaking voice has a musical quality that is a nice bridge between changes of pace in the show.

    I’M OPEN does the same thing for me here. I enjoy listening to it, and as you point out, we really, really need something between MANKIND and AROUND THE BEND. It definitely wouldn’t be something that I would put on a mixtape.

  4. It does it’s job well, preparing for Around the bend after mankind. And it’s proabbly one of the most openly sad songs PJ has. HA i said “openly”.

  5. I wish I could just focus on the tonal quality of Vedder’s voice during “I’m Open”, as I do enjoy hearing him speak in interviews and onstage. However, I defy anyone to listen to the line “something, anything, to enter” and not think of Butthead (of Beavis and… fame). Sorry, but that’s the curse I’m bearing! πŸ™‚

  6. Beavis and Butthead? I don’t hear that at all. To me, he sounds like a 1950’s Hitchcock movie narrator. Like the twilight zone or something. This track is really underrated.

  7. Eddie’s baritone voice creates a weird atmosphere in this song

  8. I almost whole-heartedly agree with you about this one, C13. Really, I think it’s one of No Code’s higlights in terms of music. I think the spoken word parts aren’t bad, just, for me, they seem inconsequential. Spoken word works to great effect on something like Push Me, Pull Me, but I think I’m Open would have benefitted more from being made up of the kind of singingin the middle part. My favorite part of this song is the climax, with Ed going into his falsetto before returning to the spoken word style.

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