Author(s): Ronen Givony
There has never been a band like Pearl Jam. The Seattle quintet has recorded 11 studio albums; sold 85 million records; played a 1,000 shows, in 50 countries; and had five different albums reach number one. But Pearl Jam's story is about much more than music. Through passion, integrity, and sheer force of will, they transcended several eras, and shaped the way a generation thought about music.
Not for You: Pearl Jam and the Present Tense is the first full-length biography of America's preeminent band, from Ten to Let's Play Two to Gigaton. A study of their role in history--from Operation Desert Storm to the Dixie Chicks; Jeremy to Columbine; Kurt Cobain to Chris Cornell; Ticketmaster to Trump--Not for You describes the band's origins and evolution, over thirty years of culture. It starts with their founding, and the eruption of grunge, in 1991; continues through the golden age (Vs., Vitalogy, No Code, and Yield); their middle period (Binaural, Riot Act); and the more divisive recent catalog. Along the way, it considers the band's idealism, activism, and impact, from "Better Man" to Body of War and the West Memphis Three.
More than the first critical study, Not for You is a letter to a famously obsessive fan base, in the spirit of Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch. It's an old-fashioned--if ambivalent--appreciation; a reflection on pleasure and guilt; and an essay on the nature of nostalgia, adolescence, and adulthood. Partly social history; partly autobiography; and entirely outspoken, discursive, and droll, Not for You follows Pearl Jam's odyssey, from the 1990s to the present.