7 O’Clock – Pearl Jam

Here it is. The Gift! THE Album that got me through the early days of lockdown. When Mrs ForTheDeaf was at her sickest and the law dictated that we could only leave our homes for one hour a day. I would head into the woods with Pearl Jam’s long awaited Gigaton on my headphones, two dogs by my side… Well, we would power through the undergrowth from Who Ever Said to Rivercross. My iTunes tells me I have played Gigaton more than any other record in 2020. That is in no small part, thanks to this center piece of a track.

It’s worth mentioning Gigaton is a hell of a fucking good record. I know it didn’t win everyone over. I don’t care, I’ll got to bat for it. I’d be so bold as to claim it is Pearl Jam’s best album of the 20th century and (hold tight Grungers) One of the three best record they have ever made. Yep. It might be middle aged shouty stodge rock to some. But As a fan who has been with them since their first ever UK show (I think I might have mentioned THAT before) and someone who has found merit in everything from No Code to Lightning Bolt I can safely say. I am middle aged stodgy and shouty. I really dig it.

7 O’clock is the track to play out over the closing credits of the annus mirabilis that has been 2020 because it fingers the villain of the piece and reduces him to a blip on the horizon. The instruments are set for hope. Where the band rage in other areas of Gigaton (Quick Escape burns from the inside and Never Destination is a masterclass in demolition through drumming) on this track they inspire positive change through leadership and parable.

“Seven O’ Clock in the morning got a message form afar, down under an oasis where there are dreams still being born, and summer spoke to winter relaying all encouraging words, and I was fully grateful mutant messages were heard”

I’m often told by people that I put too much emphasis on the importance of music. I heard those words 30 minutes into a walk that had my eyes practicing a surface tension experiment while I thought about the facts. My wife hadn’t been out of bed for a month, I hadn’t been to work in six weeks and there were numbers rising on the news and in the texts, tweets, WhatsApp messages, of my friends, of dead people, both unknown to us and coming ever closer to our real lives.

“Moved on from my despondency and left it in the bed, do I leave it there still sleeping or maybe kill it, better yet? For this is no time for depression or self indulgent hesitance, this fucked up situation calls for all hands on deck”

YES! The would be tears receded. Vision stabilized.  

I had found the strength required to deal with all sorts of shit in the grooves of particular records many times before. Why would a global pandemic be any different? We were holding it down. We were isolated. We could pay the bills. We could eat and I could nurse her while she got this awful fluid off her breathing apparatus and we could take turns getting some sleep.

Suddenly there was a silver lining to this situation. We were spending more time together than we had since we got married 18 years ago. We were at home. In a home that cost us everything but I never saw. I was always in too late and out to early to notice the odd jobs that needed doing and the boxes that got stuffed in the cupboard under the stairs when we moved in were still there.

While she recovered, I reprogrammed. Slow down, look around, take time, to cook, to eat well, to be at home, listen to the album as a whole. Twice if you dig it. It’s OK. The record player got moved from the spare room to the front room. We sat at the table playing scrabble or painting old furniture while music played. Gigaton and Seven O’Clock came around again and again. We are better than ever while we’re getting over this.

“Much to be done, much to be, Much to be done”

Merry Christmas you lot. I’m so glad you made it.

My album of the year has a glorious center piece in this track
How to open an album 101
Hear them roar
The epic closer

15 thoughts on “7 O’Clock – Pearl Jam

  1. 7 o’clock was definitely a song that grabbed me on the first listen, and is still, on most days, my favorite song on the record. Pearl Jam are my all time favorite band, and I love something about each album. I usually find with their new records, that I don’t really know how much I like it until it’s had time to marinate a bit (For example, I rate Riot Act way higher now than I did initially). I revisited this one a lot through the course of the year, and I think it will continue to grow on me.

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  2. Oh boy, am embarrassed to say I haven’t bought or listened to it yet — well now I’ve listened to 4 tracks — but will now. After listening to these 4, I can see why you were inspired in what sounds like a horrific time in your world, where the pandemic moved into your home. So glad your wife made it through and you re-bonded while listening to PJ. Who better to, honestly? Happy Holidays to You and Yours.

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  3. This is eloquent and excellent on so many levels. I know our belief systems are different, but I’ll say God bless you for having gone through what you’ve gone through this year. I’m so pleased to hear that your wife, and you, have persevered and made it through stronger and more complete. This is excellent because of the humanity of it; a writer is nothing without a story to tell; you indeed have one, and you tell it well and beautifully. And all of that is aside from the music. I, too, have found the merit in the entirety of PJ’s catalog, and I agree that Gigaton, ranking high, was one of the true gifts of this trying and fearful year. And you’re exactly right about this tune; it’s a piece of hope. Ed has an excellent way of taking one song and telling us, “The world is going to hell,” and then following it up with one that say, “yes, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t find some reasons for hope.” We do have reasons for hope, and PJ continuing to make important music is one of those reasons. I’m so pleased you and yours have weathered and that you are at that desk doing what you do. Like a PJ album, there are people who will have a better day today because of your efforts, and I am one of them. For that, I thank you, sir. Rock on, be well, God’s speed, and Merry Christmas.

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  4. Merry merry to you and yours as well, good sir! I am fully with you on the PJ train, this was one of the only new releases I bought this year (as will be evidenced by my paltry and short New Years Eve list post), but when it comes to Pearl Jam, it has to happen. I didn’t even review it this year – it felt too close, too personal, like they wrote it just for me. Your post here eloquently and beautifully captures the feeling and now I know I was wrong to wait to write it up.

    Here’s to a better, safer, more productive 2021.

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  5. Dude, you’re my kindred spirit when it comes to PJ. 7 o’clock is an awesome track indeed. It took me the better half of the year to completely warm to Gigaton. That second half of the album wasn’t easy to love. Only in the last few months I truly get it. (Well at least I think I do.) It just sneezed into my top ten albums of the year which I will feature later this week.

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  6. This is beautiful. “I am middle aged stodgy and shouty. I really dig it.” Yah, we are the legion. This record came just in time and this song is my favourite off it too (together with the Dance of the Clairvoyants. How do you feel about it?)

    I hope your wife has recovered fully and that you’re still happy. Over here it’s been a bit testy and we’re doing less and less stuff together. This isolation knows no boundaries. Wishing you well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hiya. Thanks for the kind words. Mrs ForTheDeaf is in good health now. It was a rough summer for her though. I like Dance Of The Clairvoyants as a single. I love it in its place on the album. I’m still playing the heck out of it now. Quick Escape has become a fir favourite too.

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