In a recent conversation with Greg Prato of Songfacts, Jeff Ament revealed the Pearl Jam album that Eddie Vedder struggled to complete.
When asked about his involvement in writing lyrics for Pearl Jam songs, the bassist replied:
“There might be 10 Pearl Jam songs that I wrote lyrics to over the years. There was a point right when we made ‘Yield’ where Ed [Vedder] asked for help. For him to be in the studio by himself at the end of making a record, trying to finish 12 or 13 songs, it was just hard to be the only one left. So ‘Yield,’ Stone [Gossard], and I each had a couple of complete songs.”
He added, reflecting more on the band’s collaborative dynamics:
“Everybody’s brought complete songs, and sometimes they end up on records, sometimes they don’t. That’s an incredible thing when you bring a complete song in and let the band re-form it and to have Ed reinterpret your words. That’s a really cool thing.”
Ament also discussed some specific Pearl Jam songs that underwent transformations during the process, explaining:
“There’s a song called ‘Help Help,’ which was on ‘Riot Act.’ The demo that I did for it was a little bit more rock – a little bit more Zeppelin-y. And then, when the band got a hold of it, it just got a little bit more ‘art project-y.’ It’s a cool track when I listen to it now. It sounds kind of psychedelic and almost like Jane’s Addiction.”
The rocker gave another example, saying:
“And then there’s a song musically that I brought in that Ed wrote lyrics to called ‘Push Me, Pull Me’ that was almost like an uptempo Police song, and that got turned into a little bit more of an art project.”
He also emphasized the importance of openness during the creative journey, stating:
“Everybody hears this stuff in a different way. The only way you can be happy with it is if you’re open to everybody interpreting it and breaking it open and changing it. I’ve learned to do that over the years.”
While discussing the make of ‘Yield’ in a 1998 chat with MTV, Ament had reflected on Vedder’s desire to be less involved compared to their previous albums and wait for others to contribute. According to the bassist, everyone in the band took the frontman’s request seriously and tried to fulfill it.