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Did Pearl Jam and Cameron Crowe kill the '80s?



The trailer for Cameron Crowe's latest movie -- Pearl Jam Twenty, a documentary of the Seattle band -- is out. Let me say this upfront: It looks fantastic. And let me say this too: I really, REALLY hate Pearl Jam.

Cameron's signature touches are all over the trailer, especially the use of music. I got chills at times, just like I did when I saw Say Anything, Singles, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Elizabethtown. (Sorry, Vanilla Sky fans.) 

That being said, can I ask this: Am I wrong in thinking that maybe Pearl Jam (certainly grunge music in general) and Cameron Crowe may have killed the spirit of the '80s? Whatever spirit was left in 1989, it seemed like the Seattle sound crushed it in a windfall of indecipherable lyrics and ears-splitting guitar riffs. It was like bad punk rock, without any cause other than random, directionless angst.

I don't blame Crowe directly. He obviously had emotional ties to the Seattle scene. (His former wife, Nancy Wilson of Heart, made it her hometown.) But it's a lifestyle and music that, as a guy who has lived in the exact opposite corner of the country for an entire lifetime, I simply cannot relate to. I've never had the need to wear flannel in Florida. When I'm feeling dark, I like my music to be depressing, not mopey. There's a subtle difference. Life is depressing at times; you can't avoid that. Mopiness is a choice.

Eighties fans, including myself, give Crowe a substantial amount of worship and praise. I will gladly pay to watch (and own on DVD) just about everything he's created on film. And he deserves every milligram of it for his contributions to our decade. But as soon as that clock struck midnight, Cameron Crowe eagerly moved on and pushed the values and pop culture of a next decade. And frankly, I'm not ready to. I'll probably pay to see Pearl Jam Twenty, but only because of the man, not the music. In this one and only case, I'll choose mopiness over depression.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 3:40pm]


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