Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Vs.Released: 1993Charted:
This was written from the perspective of a girl with a learning disability called dyslexia and her mother who doesn't understand the condition. Eddie Vedder explained in Pearl Jam - The Illustrated Story
The child in that song obviously has a learning difficulty. And it's only in the last few years that they've actually been able to diagnose these learning disabilities that before were looked at as misbehavior, as just outright rebelliousness. But no one knew what it was. And these kids, because they seemed unable or reluctant to learn, they'd end up getting the s--t beaten outta them. The song ends, you know, with this idea of the shades going down so that the neighbors can't see what happens next. What hurts about s--t like that is that it ends up defining people's lives. They have to live with that abuse for the rest of their lives. Good, creative people are just f--king destroyed."
The album was originally titled "Five Against One." The band changed their mind and decided to call it "Pearl Jam," then decided on "Vs." Some copies were already printed as "Pearl Jam" before they renamed it.
Bass player Jeff Ament took the photo that appears on the album cover. It shows a sheep gnawing through a wire fence, and represented trying to get out from a cage.
During the short instrumental break, Pearl Jam often extends the song by adding a short song or poem in live shows.