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Pearl Jam

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This very cathartic song began as a droning riff guitarist Stone Gossard started playing. The rest of the band started forming the track, and Eddie Vedder walked up to the microphone and poured out the words that would make up most of the lyrics. It was a very emotional song for Vedder, who was thinking about the pain and loss he had been through: he found out as a teenager that the man he thought was his father was actually his stepfather, and his real father died before they could connect. Eddie realized that the song had a similar meaning for his bandmates, who were still dealing with the death of Andrew Wood, who was the lead singer in Gossard and Jeff Ament's band before they formed Pearl Jam. "Release" was one of the first songs Eddie wrote with the band, and it's one that helped them find common ground. "We were strangers, but we were coming from a similar place," said Vedder.
At first, this song was almost 10 minutes long, as Vedder did "release" a lot of words when he started singing it.
Pearl Jam
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Comments (14):

Obviously it's a "closure" type of song. It's full of empathy, understanding and a sense of "releasing" any bad feelings/memories/thoughts. It sounds as though Eddie is making an attempt to communicate to his real father and showing him what he has done and how he did it. It's so personal and intense that it's hard to imagine the feeling Eddie had when he realized too late what he knows now.
- AL, WF, TX
The main riff is really one chord played in arpeggio form with subtle note changes in parts.
- Zero, Nowhere, NJ
Look at what I found on their site!!


I see the world
Feel the chill
Which way to go
I see the words
On a rocking horse of time
I see the birds in the rain

Oh dear dad
Can you see me now
I am myself
Like you somehow
I'll ride the wave
Where it takes me
I'll hold the pain
Release me

Oh dear dad
Can you see me now
I am myself
Like you somehow
I'll wait up in the dark
For you to speak to me
I'll open up
Release me
Release me
Release me
Release me
- Alek, Ottawa, ON
I am completely convinced that the line in question is "I see the words on a rocking horse of time. I see the verse in the rain.."
I can't find anything online to justify this, but I by no means hear "birds".
- Kimberly, St. Louis, MO
This is one of those songs that reminds me to thank Almighty God for blessing us with this amazing musical group called Pearl Jam.
- Bill, Pierce , ID
i have shed tears and missed my dad so much when i hear this song!!!it makes me weak!!!!
- zubin, mumbai, India
I'm pretty sure he came up with the first verse just chilling in the front lobby of Studio X/ Bad Animals (recording studio) in Seattle, as I remember hanging out up front and chatting with him. Looking out the front windows, you can "see the world", and the "birds in the rain". Not to mention when the FedEx guy came and opened the door, a cold wind came in, thus the "chill" that he feels in the song.
- Dan, Woodinville, WA
ps... i also think this is a song about eddie being released when he rides waves. in the fact that he feels released when he is out in the ocean cuz i know he is an avid surfer and that is his release.
- george, Chicago, IL
i love how that it being improvised can be completely beautiful
- george, Chicago, IL
They're is nothing in the world like hearing this song me chills everytime.
- Wes, Littlestown, PA
Hey Ash, I like your depiction of this song, especially your last sentence: Eddie is "calling on the memory of his father to see him and release him from his" ongoing pain that he's probably endured over time without knowing his true father. Yet I think the line "Oh she walks slow..." in Alive is in reference to him getting some tail for the very first time, and not a reference to his mother. I think references to his mother, which are very apparent in this song, are early on, but only in the first verse. The first verse in Alive definitely explains his mother's revelation to Eddie of his real conception. Now the second verse, "She walks slow," I think is absolutely a reference to the first time he gets laid, and nothing to do with his mother....God, I hope not. Eddie's weird, but not that weird, I pray. "The know where...I just stare"....that's some puddin tang, son!
Back to this song (sorry), I've checked numerous refencences to the lyric "I see the .....Supposedly he says "I see the birds and the rainbow...ooohhh. But what I still hear is "I see the virgin rainbow". This site states that Eddie swore to keep this song's lyrics secret. So maybe all commentators have mistaken this line for "I see the the rain...oh." No, I think it's "virgin rainbow." And no, I'm not a virgin, although such geek talk would presume such a notion.
- Mark, Horseheads, NY
Release is about Eddie and his relationship with his father "Oh dear dad, can you see me now... I am myself, like you some how" Eddie had little relationship with his biological father as his mother had divorced and remarried when Eddie was very young. He grew up being told that his actual father was his uncle and he would visit on occassion. When Eddie was older and hid "uncle" was dying his mother finally told him the truth (Ala "Alive" Oh she walked slowly across the young man's room, she said I'm ready for you" by then it was too late to form a relationship as his father dided not soon after. Eddie never got along with his stepfather as they had little in common. He is calling on the memory of his biological fater to see him and release him from the pain of never getting to truly have spent time with him as a son... sad story.
- Rico, Leamington, Canada
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!! I've probably listened to this song 200 times since first buying this CD. It STILL brings goosebumps! Upon my 500th listening, no doubt that probably still will not have changed.
- Ash, Charleston, WV
Release was made as an improv, and Eddie Vedder refuses to write down the lyrics so he can honor the fact he made it up as he was going.
- Elliot, St. Louis, MO
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