A storm is approaching. You’re standing on the sidewalk, people are rushing to shelter, mothers grabbing their children, cars racing along, Sirens wailing. The cold wind strikes your face, splashing tiny droplets of rain in your eyes. But you’re not running. You’re paralyzed, watching the black clouds crawling ever so closer. It feels like you’ve been watching these clouds for years now. Their foreboding presence makes you realize just how much you could lose, just how many people you have in your life to care about. You clench your fists and hold your breath. Adrenaline is running rampant all through your body. Fear has been in charge of your thoughts for so long. But deep inside there’s some tiny ember of warmth, of hope, and assurance. It’s like the winds are giving life to that tiny spark, turning it into a wildfire. Something primal urges you to move, to turn away and run. It’s worth it.
“Sirens” is the second single of Pearl Jam’s 10th studio album and man, it’s powerful. Written by guitarist Mike McCready and released in the September of 2018 it was heavily inspired by Pink Floyd’s way with words, to address both personal matters and the society as a whole at the same time, And the courageous and solemn tone of E flat major and the 155 bpm tempo of the song go well with this intention.
The song starts with guitars and the drum at it from the beginning, pulling you in instantly. The tone is a bit on the more brilliant side at first but that quickly leaves its place to a horizon of blues. Like a sunny day quickly taking the hazy shades of winter. Then come the vocals, clear as crystal, oh so gentle, and ever so defeated. The low-pitched, soft Piano chords on 0:46 take you just a few steps closer to danger. But then the song rises towards the light. The second part of the verse feels much more hopeful, trying to get out of the trap. With the guitar, the vocals, and especially the drums much stronger. In comes the chorus at 1:08 and it’s like there’s a whirlwind of fire and sunshine going haywire at the song’s heart, raging against the darkness. All the instruments pick up the pace and the vocals are enough to reach the heavens. Then, like any other fire, our great whirlwind dies down, but not for long, just to catch its breath. The second verse plays like the one before did, and then the fire rises from its ashes like a phoenix. This time the chorus is accompanied by powerful piano harmonies, and it’s ready to take on the darkness head-on, as demonstrated by the embezzling guitar solo. The piano harmonies are much more pronounced now. The chorus is played one last time “and the fear goes away…”
As stated above, the lyrics are both pertinent in a personal way, urging you to love and care for the ones around you without fear before there’s no more time to do so, and also in a more profound way about the effects our current actions have on the lives of the future generations. But in the end, it’s always worth it to care.
The storm has passed, and you stand stronger than before. See you at the next review.
You can also read my other review from the link below: