Review Summary: Vedder's first soundtrack outing proves a step in the right direction for his career.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer tells the true story of Christopher McCandless, a college age man who exemplifies the adventurer in us all backed with a Thoreau-inspired outlook on life. After leaving college, he donates his life savings to charity, abandons the upper-class life he once knew and headed for the road by way of hitchhiking and other slightly illegal activities. Without spoiling the ending, he ends up alone in Alaska after traveling the entire United States. The stories Krakauer uncovered speak volumes about the true joys in life as well as hardship. Ten years later after the release of the book, Sean Penn made the movie interpretation after finally receiving permission from Krakauer and McCandless’s parents. At this point, Penn called up his friend Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam fame to compose a soundtrack to his film. Penn made a wise choice, for Vedder’s lyrical writing draws many similarities to McCandless’s journey. For one, he consistently (perhaps overly) uses metaphors and storylines involving cars, journeys, and traveling. Even Pearl Jam’s famous cover of “Last Kiss” tells the story of a lover lost in a car accident. This soundtrack shows a return to form for Vedder after exhausting his political beliefs on recent albums.
Vedder only contributed about a half hour of music to the film in eleven short segments, most of the songs spanning between one and a half to three minutes. Although it may seem that the song lengths do not give the song enough time to develop, he composed them in such a way that the length actually helps. Many songs only have one real motif or idea to convey, and the shorter lengths help them to never get old. Instrumentally and melodically, most of the album comes as a surprise. Vedder writes some songs that basically draw from Pearl Jam’s lighter catalogue on “Setting Forth” and “Far Behind”, but on the whole, his music takes a much more stripped down approach; however, it does not recall “Daughter” or “Yellow Ledbetter.” Instead, it takes on a folk sound, mostly due to his guitar melodies having a much more western sound than his trusty counterpart, Mike McCready, who draws inspiration from blues and eastern-oriented tonalities. “Rise” features higher tuned guitars, giving a whole new atmosphere for Vedder’s all too familiar voice. “No Ceiling” replaces guitar with banjo. Overall, Vedder lets loose the influences he could not show to their fullest extent on Pearl Jam records, a good release for him in his later career.
Disappointingly, the best lyrics on the album come easily from the two covers, “Hard Sun” and “Society.” Eddie should be commended simply for his brilliant song selection as these two songs tie into the story perfectly, almost better than his own compositions. The trailers for the movie used “Hard Sun” for its anthemic qualities, both musically and lyrically. Originally a song by Indio in 1989, the chorus features Vedder and a female voice harmonizing with the simple lyrics “There’s a big, a big hard sun/Beating on the big people/In the big, hard world.” This chorus perfectly captures the scope of McCandless’ journey and his opinion on society. Musically, it builds organically like a folk protest anthem until reaching a flurry of guitar strums at its close. “Society” returns to the album’s typical form with a simple acoustic guitar pattern and Vedder singing low keyed vocals. Once again, the lyrics speak almost from McCandless’s mouth.
The brevity of this soundtrack makes for an overall calming effect with a few great moments. “Hard Sun” and “Rise” really stand out as powerful songs in two opposite effects, but many aspects of this album could throw off many listeners. People looking for another Pearl Jam album will not find it. Conversely, people who have previously hated Vedder’s vocal style in Pearl Jam will definitely find much of the same, although put in a different setting. Still, he captures the essence of Into the Wild extremely well, and definitely steps into a new light for his career, perhaps one he could pursue as he gets older.
i don't like the movie story and the album without the movie is really average (and I'm a pearl jam fan).
This guy was really really naive to think he could live by himself without knowing a thing about how to survive "into the wild" : i'd just like to tell him : hey man haven't you heard talking about evolution ? if we live in the fucking society (you're crazy breed;) ) and no more in the caverns it's because of the difficulty to live in wild nature. And this kid (barely legal as some say ;) ), full of big ideas and rage against the machine ;), was just a fool. So the movie is well realised, great images... but the story and above all the end of the movie are useless. If the kid hadn't died it would have be great : the exemple of a successful rebellion. But the guy died so it's just the example of a loser (sorry for him). Sincerily the movie moved me a liltle but lot in the way I wanted : I wanted hope and that's not really what i got. Talking about the album, i especially liked : "society" and "end of the road" This Message Edited On 09.25.08
I respectfully disagree. I have noticed that some people think about McCandless that way, but he totally wasn't an idiot or just naive. In my opinion his journey wasn't just about living in the wild necessarely. It was a spiritual journay. An experience of freedome like never berfore. I was so happy for him whe he got to Alaska that it was crazy. The important thing for him in my opinion was to make the trip and get to Alaska an be there totally free of the Society and cruelty of people and wars and racism and all that crap that the society really is about. And even if he died during he's adventure he got to live more in those couple of years than most of us get to in a lifetime. He is my hero for doing that wich I'm afraid to do. Sometimes I just would like to run away to any ridection as far as I could away from all this shit that is Society. There :D
"And even if he died during his adventure he got to live more in those couple of years than most of us get to in a lifetime"
I don't think so, whatever you can say it's always a waste to die young and who knows what you're going to do in your future ?, maybe you'll go in alaska too (without dying of course). And I suppose that everyone doesn't die making a trip like his, so why did the director choose his story ? Because of his death ? Cos it's more dramatic ? As I said the fact that he died is not really encouraging for me, especially when you know that he made a stupid mistake about plants (yes books are good but practice is better, if you don't know a thing about plants live them alone) that's why i said he was naive cos he was a urbanite. He was a dreamer but reality is harsh even in (and without a doubt more) in wild nature where you must fight to survive (You lose, game over ;) ).This Message Edited On 09.26.08
Anyway I hope he is not your hero for mistaking about plants cos there is no need to go to alaska to make such a mistake ;) In your garden it's possible or you can also go to the forest and try eating things (whatever you find, there are many things to try ). And don't forget to take a good book (about plants) with you, it may be useful ))))This Message Edited On 09.26.08
Of course it's a waste to die young. I'm not saying it isn't. But I do think he lived more than you or me or many other persons will in a life time. Because he found his own paradise. He lived out his whole ideology of life and that is admirable. And in his final days he understood the maening of life for himself. And I dare you to find your meaning in this life and the reason your on this planet. It wasn't important for Chris that you or anyone else accepted his journey and it wasn't a publicity stunt. It was important for him live like he wanted, free. He wrote the following: " It is the joy of living to the fullest extent in which real meaning is found." And his task was to live like that and that he definitely did. The story is about Chris's own journey and how he evolved spiritually. I can bet that you haven't and won't live to the fullest extent of life, and for that I'm sorry ;). McCandless also wrote: " If you want something in life, you've got to reach out and grab it." He did that too. Your missing the point of the story. It's not about a tragic death and lonelyness in some forest. It's about a young brilliant man who reached out and grabbed his dream and lived to the fullest extent and found his purpose in life. The movie and the book try to tell this story to inspirate people, but it's sad that some people don't get it. I am inspired a whole lot. I began to look at the world more positively like Chris: He hated the society but still was so positive and social. I started to be more social and I started to appreciate my own ideology more, but at the same time I began to appreciate others more. I'm really sorry if the movie didn't do these things to you. And I'm not saying that the fact that he died or the fact that he made a mistake is encouraging like you're saying. If you thought that I meant that you might just be a bit stupid (sorry man ;)) And you think that he was a bad woodsman because he made a mistake. So you haven't made a mistake in your life? Every man makes mistakes and guess what, Christopher McCandless was a man .
The last thing about me going in my garden and eating poisonous plats is just idiotic (no offence ). It just shows that you think that I admire Chris for eating the plant so You think I admire everyone who has ever eaten a poisonous plat. HAHAHA :D. And yea: of course Sean Penn chose this story to make a movie about because Chris died and it's dramatic. That's hollywood for you man. It's all about the money for some.
So to sum up and quote a fine man (yea right! ) Sciroccu: You Lose, Game Over ;)
Game over so. Maybe i wasn't in the mood when i saw the movie (i'm a bit cynical these days), I understand your point of view even if i'm not 100% convinced. Indeed you said "he wrote before dying : It is the joy of living to the fullest extent in which real meaning is found"
Sincerily in addition to be a fool he would have been an idiot to write things as "i'm dying alone like a piece of shit because i just can't read a book right" or "i really fucked up men, don't do what I did" No it's more interesting and glorious to write a 2 dollars philosophical sentence as "eat the day" or "carpe diem"... The truth is that he wasn't enough prepared and that's all (if he hadn't met the magical bus the movie would just have last 20 minutes HIHI), even if his intentions (as you well explained it) were pure and good and laudable. And if he hadn't died what would have he done ? live forever in the forest eating plants or return to the fucking society ? You can't live lonely forever, it's not in human nature.
By the way I was just joking about the poisonous plants ( I hope you understood), if he died happily and with the true truth of the true meaning of our existence down here ( ;) ) i'm happy for him (sincerily that's true ;) ). it's just that i can't really identify myself to that kind of man (and i said "a man", happy ?). Euh, i made a few mistakes in my life (1, 2 ? i can't remember, i'm so a saint... ;) ) but hey i'm here today to chat with you so they musn't have been so important. Is the book good ? (i generally prefer books than movies even if i must say that i really liked the way emile hirsch played the role).