All Those Yesterdays

What, exactly, makes a song Beatlesesque? Is it a defineable quality beyond “you know it when you hear it?” And what Beatles period/song/member are people referring to when they describe another piece of music as being reminiscent of the Fab Four? There are a number of Stone Gossard-penned Pearl Jam tracks that beg the comparison, from “Sunburn” (though it’s still up in the air whether this is Bayleaf or not) to “Parachutes”, and especially “All Those Yesterdays”. The Yield closer gains the most allusions to John, Paul, George, & Ringo, but not much in depth examination as to why. I’m not a Beatles scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but I have a few ideas open to debate.

1. Jeff Ament’s bass sounds like a horn. Whether on purpose through technique or effects, Ament’s bass squawks and honks like a tuba or trumpet or what have you, and for that reason, that type of simulated Salvation Army brass band line recalls Sgt. Pepper’s, Yellow Submarine, etc.

2. The used of doubled-vocals and harmony tracks is similar to those employed by Beatles. Perhaps the specific harmonic intervals are approximate to certain Beatles songs we’ve all heard, which in turn are products of not only rock and roll, but British parlor tunes and vaudeville.

3. Gossard’s lyrics.  While not as specific as “A Day in the Life” or “Eleanor Rigby”, do dig into how average people get through (or don’t get through) the mundaneness of existence, while memories and experience pile up like “all those paper plates”.

Of course, whatever Beatlesy business is going on with “All Those Yesterdays”, that’s not all that’s going on.  The song eventually builds to a chugging rocker with the decidedly Vedderesque lyrics about escape, and it caps Yield appropriately in both its lean melodic sense and diamond hard approach.  Extremely rare live, it seems like a tough song to place within a set.  It closes the album, but only if you don’t count “Hummus”.  At the end of a show, or an encore, “All Those Yesterdays” might sound too much like a new beginning.  Played first, it might sound too much like an ending.  Perhaps better that the song pops up from time to time, drifting off and doing all the things such songs do.

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~ by Michael on October 16, 2007.

6 Responses to “All Those Yesterdays”

  1. This had always been my favorite PJ album closer before “Inside Job” came along. I can appreciate the Beatles references, but I think the song stands on its own without any comparisons to other bands. I love the simple riff that Stone plays through the first verse of the song and then the way it just kinda explodes by the end. And although the song has been somewhat forgotten over the years, (especially in the live setting) it is still one great tune and a fitting close to my favorite (depending on which day you catch me) Pearl Jam album.

  2. Favorite album closers, from first to last:

    1. All Those Yesterdays
    2. Indifference
    3. All or None
    4. Around the Bend
    5. Parting Ways
    6. Release
    7. Inside Job
    8. Stupid Mop

  3. Looks like a favorite so far. Sorry about the sporadic updates by the way. It’s so close to being done! “Down” is underway; hopefully tonight or tomorrow. Anyone know of a way to post polls on WordPress? I’d like to do some polling about whether or not to include things like “Thunderclap” and “Sunburn”.

  4. one thing that supports the beatles-esque description is that the word “yesterdays” is sung practically the same as the word “yesterday” in the beatles song of the same name.

    yesterday-ay-ay-ay.

  5. favorite album closer:
    1. release
    2. parting ways
    3. around the bend
    4. all those yesterdays
    5. inside job
    6. indifference
    7. all or none
    8. stupid mop

    depending on the time of day….

  6. How tastes vary, eh?

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