Alone

Nicole, Nicole, Nicole.  How could I not know until today that “Alone” is about a woman named Nicole? To think that all this time, I thought it was just about a really hot shower.

Seriously though, “Alone” is as solid as a Pearl Jam outtake gets.  Although the song is credited to all five members of the band (released in the era when this was standard), it sounds pretty clearly to me to be a Gossard composition (experts weigh in now?). Attempted for two albums it wasn’t quite meant for, the song finally found a home on the flipside to “Go”, as well as a Frankenstein’s monster version for Lost Dogs that combined a newly recorded Ed Vedder vocal and the instrumental track from Ten‘s rough demos. I first heard about the song when my father brought home Vs. for me on the day it came out.  He said that one of his friends from work had gone to the midnight release and also picked up a second CD that had a song called “Alone” on it, but it would be a while before I’d be able to track the single down for myself.

The Go and Lost Dogs are more substantially different than I first thought when the latter was released, which cut out an entire half-verse right after the “heart off of Nicole /heart off of the coals” line, and I’m tempted to think the abbreviated version is preferable.  The rawer, punchier performance of the demo works well with Vedder’s newly harmonized vocals, and the “seagull” lines aren’t so sorely missed.  The song itself however, was missed for a decade between 1994 and 2004.  It has returned with some regularity for those who can’t get enough of that good ole, brawny Ten-era rock.

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~ by Michael on July 20, 2007.

8 Responses to “Alone”

  1. I adore this song and was absolutely giddy when I heard it live last year. I would agree that this is a Gossard composition – just listen to that groove-drenched riff in the main verse! The guitars work really well on this – Stone and Mike balancing the sound nicely and demonstrating that a lot more can be done with two guitars other than playing the same chords/riffs! It’s quite unique for Ed too in that he repeats the first verse as the songs outro, something which I find adds extra poignancy to the lyrics. I wasn’t too keen on some of the lyrics changes in the newer version (snakes in a panic?!) but the vocals did sound a bit cleaner in the mix. No matter how many times I listen to this song, the chugging opening chords get those hairs standing on the back of my neck every time!

  2. I like the original demo version the best. It probably dates back to when they were still Mookie Blaylock.

    Yes, this is a Gossard song. It was called “Richard E” from the Gossman Project, which was a tape of instrumentals Stone did with Mike, Jeff, Matt Cameron and Chris Friel.

    The ‘Gossman Project’ was given to Jack Irons and then to Eddie Vedder. The ‘Stone Gossard Demos 91’ were the five songs Eddie sent back to Seattle with lyrics and artwork. “Black” and “Alone” were on the tape but have never surfaced.

  3. You’re right about the snakes in a panic, Alex. That’s a bit of a head-scratcher. Also about the repetition of the first verse. Not a common technique for Pearl Jam.

  4. Edit to my comment: ‘Stone Gossard Demos 90’

    BTW, I am not even gonna ask about this Nicole business (although I hope someone else does). Just remember this very famous motto C13: “Out with the old, in with the Susan”

  5. I liked Alone, like in 1993. But now it’s just so … 1993. Cool little Gossard groove though, no doubt.

  6. That Nicole thing is the lyric as transcribed on the official site. I have no idea either.

  7. Shit you’re right. I thought you were an obsessed ex-boyfriend for a second there. HAHA.

  8. I’ve noticed a lot of times the “official” lyrics on the website are just wrong. I don’t know why. But it’s true.

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