From “Green Disease” to “U” and now “Undone”, in this final stretch of More Than Ten, the remaining songs have many similarities, namely (at the risk of being completely redundant) they all consist of Ed Vedder indulging his lighter, leaner musical sensibilities. “Undone” is also a catalogue of other favorite Ed themes. Let’s recap them again!

1. Escape from mass, mainstream society to a smaller, simpler locale? Check.

Last stop on the west coast line
South of the northern border
One small corner on my mind

2. Commentary on the pitfalls of fame? Check.

Everybody, they know me there
Don’t get any second glances
Chances are that they don’t care

3. Ocean imagery? Oh you betcha.

Change don’t come at once
It’s a wave… building before it breaks

4. Left-wing politics? Yep.

Can’t wait for election day
Witness the occupation
Corporations rule the day

Ah yes, the four tenets of Vedderism. But there’s a notable, directly stated difference in “Undone”: “All this hope and nowhere to go / This is how I used to feel, but no more.” Though the song was released as a b-side, it is the act in Riot Act. It’s interesting to see that this renewed sense of both hope and purposefulness coincided with one of the grimmest times in modern U.S. politics and affairs, but that determined vigor and optimism has continued throughout a dire 2-term Bush presidency in much of Ed’s, and Pearl Jam’s work, as if the silver lining to an increasingly Orwellian world is an eventual wake-up call, and pendulum swing back towards sanity and rationalism. “Undone” is breezy yet focused, definitely west coast, with e-bowed and wah-wah guitars, sighing background vocals, and an explosive outtro that ranks among the band’s best.


~ by Michael on October 19, 2007.

3 Responses to “Undone”

  1. This tune is another one of the reasons that I wonder about the Riot Act outtakes. I’m probably one of the few people around who really enjoys Riot Act. Some of the tunes aren’t very good, but the band plays the hell out of them, and the thing works as a whole for me, but songs like UNDONE make me wonder what the other outtakes sound like. The lyrics are full of Eddie-isms, but in truth I really don’t care what the lyrics to this song are. The song as a whole gets under my skin. There’s a freedom and a sense of movement to it that you don’t feel on Riot Act. That feeling of exhilaration and hope that DOWN and UNDONE have in common are the reasons that, I guess, they weren’t included. Too bad.

  2. I really enjoy Riot Act too, Susan. I think the tunes are mostly very good; they’re not conventionally arranged, musically speaking, but who cares?

  3. i’ve been listening to the chicago (victoria?) show alot lately…and really glad about it…the set list so rewarding…and the outro of undone made me go back to lost dogs…just awesome…and i’ve had that pendulum lyric in my head for a couple months now…coming to me at unexpected moments….overall, a truly beautiful, and overlooked, gem of a pearl jam song…

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