Gods forgive me as such criticism can get a little dicey, but I soon forgot about “Soon Forget” after the release of Binaural. Its role in busting Vedder out of his writer’s block by breaking open the door to the wild world of ukelele is not insignificance, but categorizing the song anywhere near the upper echelon of Pearl Jam tracks is like grasping at thin air. Like “Drifting”, it’s a straight-shot bit of commentary, no verbal sleight of hand here. There’s humor too, in the reference to “Benjamins”, and “the only thing that keeps him horny”, and for that I have no grievance, though I’d love to hear the story of the girl our millionaire covets in the first verse. I imagine Vedder getting inspired while surfing in September of 1999, riding a breaker, fall on the heels of summer, and having a good laugh.
The ukelele is the “Bugs” accordion on Binaural, a challenge to fans to accept a non-traditional instrument in their beloved rock band, or else join the mass evacuation to the loving arms of rivals Creed and Staind. It should have been clear by that point that with Pearl Jam, you get nothing as it seems. “Soon Forget” isn’t just a curio; it’s a nod to the Who’s “Blue, Red and Grey”, and points its finger toward the politics of “Green Disease” and “Undone”, not exactly light years from their prototype. Still, it wasn’t long after May of 2000 that “Soon Forget” and I were parting ways.