So, apparently Pearl Jam are selling Verizon now, and I’m certain that sometime in the near future, the ghost of Jim Morrison will appear to Eddie Vedder in a dream and ask, “Do you know what you’re saying to millions of people?”
During the Super Bowl, Verizon aired a “feel-good” commercial touting the benefits of 5G while insisting it can never replace working-class people (firefighters and such). In the background was River Cross, a song off Pearl Jam’s upcoming new album, Gigaton.
Watch the clip below:
I can think of 4 arguments Pearl Jam might use to rationalize this:
- They could say, “Yes, it’s selling out, but the message was a good one and this is just the way the world works.” Otherwise known as the “Neoliberal argument.” If Barack Obama’s your guy taking massive speaking fees from corporations, this is the argument for you.
- They could pull out a Joker card, (and I have no idea if this is true) and say they didn’t receive any money for it. Ok, fair enough. But you’re still selling Verizon, so this really just diverts from the real issue.
- They could say, “Hey, we’ve earned this.” This is actually the argument I’m most sensitive too. You know, in a lot of ways, they have earned the right to do this. Between the Jeremy music video, boycotting Ticketmaster, making some really challenging and creative albums after they became famous like Vitalogy, No Code, and Yield, Eddie Vedder’s Into the Wild (how much better can you get?), and just using their music to champion several good causes, it’s hard to say anything bad about them. But selling out is selling out. As Martin Luther King Jr would say, “I oppose using River Cross to sell Verizon because I love Pearl Jam.”
- They could do something huge that is really punk rock or good for the fans that make you fall in love with them all over again and forget they ever did this. If they’re smart, (and Pearl Jam are incredibly smart) this is what they will do.
Only time will tell, but what I don’t understand is, why do this? Don’t you have enough money and recognition? You know, music videos are ok. Market the album that way. Lending your songs to movies is ok. Going on talk shows is ok. But this… this is not ok. It hasn’t been ok in the entire history of Rock N Roll.
Pearl Jam should be better than this.