Hitchhiker

It’s funny what song titles can evoke in the mind of a music fan, why it’s important for people to scour articles and interviews for the names of songs they probably won’t hear for months. But titles are important. They stoke the imagination in countless ways as to the potential character of a song. I was so excited when I saw the name “Hitchhiker” listed as slated for Lost Dogs. It reminded me of CCR’s “Sweet Hitchhiker”, a sawdust and diesel-smelling classic rock song, baked in the earth and just… dirty. Here was yet another outtake from the Binaural sessions, but unlike “Fatal”, “Education”, hell–even “Sweet Lew”, this one somehow was never mentioned by the band prior to that album. So I couldn’t wait for what I anticipated to be a good heavy rock song a la “Insignificance”. Then I heard it. What. The. Hell. Oh the curse of high expectations! “Hitchhiker” isn’t all that horrendous, just not what I’d expected or hoped for. It’s a strange song–directly addressing the annoyances that go along with fame, but in a completely different way than say, “Not For You”, or even “4/20/02”. There’s less rage than the former, less utter sorrow and bitterness than the latter, just a pissed-off rant about moochers that sounds like a superhero theme song from the ’60s. A fun surprise on Lost Dogs for the kids who thought they had it all, but ultimately not all that memorable.

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~ by Michael on May 8, 2007.

3 Responses to “Hitchhiker”

  1. For some reason I remember liking this tune the 1st few weeks I heard it. Lets just say it hasn’t aged well with me. It doesn’t even sound like a Binaural outtake, which is a great dark and eerie album. I could see this work as a Yield B-side or even a X-mas single B-side.

    My guess is that ‘Hitchhiker’ wasn’t entirely finished when Binaural was tracked because Brett Eliason mixed it. The same thing is true for ‘Sad’ and ‘Education’. As we all know, Tchad Blake and Brendan O’Brien mixed Binaural. It is a good guess that at the very least, Brett went back and re-mixed these songs. The other Lost Dogs, ‘Fatal’ and ‘In the Moonlight’ were both mixed by Blake, which tells me they were completely finished by the release of Binaural.

  2. Hmmm… you’re definitely on to something w/ the Yield b-side comparison. Hitchhiker is definitely part of Vedder’s growing number of lighter pop songs like Leatherman and U. Interesting theory also about the fate of the Binaural outtakes due to the state of their being finished or unfinished at the deadline. Could this also be why “Gods Dice” ultimately made the cut, when it was not originally advertised as being on the album? Was Gods Dice chosen for convenience, or was it written and recorded late, and the band was more excited about it than the others?

  3. Not sth special, there better “lost dogs” out there

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