2013 Copyright Monkeywrench, Inc.
I was stomping my feet, mimicking drum playing, moving and shaking my right leg to the energetic beat bursting with so much confidence and certainty, and just shaking my head up and down feeling the rhythm of every instrument being strucked and strummed and tapped by Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, Matt Cameron, and Jeff Ament as I was holding the lyrics sheet provided in the album to understand each song better, and feeling Eddie’s cathartic howling and screaming and sentiments. It felt so liberating doing those subversive moves, and it just so happen that the first two tracks are sentiments against false righteousness and religious fanaticism often mistaken as true faith.
Without the lyrics sheet, you wouldn’t understand most of the words that Eddie Vedder sings about not holding back especially when he sings fast. However, simply catching an honest line or two as Eddie sings with conviction is enough catharsis for me. Songs from their tenth studio album, Lightning Bolt (released in 2013, their latest album), took me back to the time when I was 19, my age when I became a Pearl Jam fan. It also took me back to the present time realizing that indeed everyone cannot escape turning old physically including my favorite group, Pearl Jam. They may have lost their good looks and slim bodies because of aging and vices, but, a big BUT their music, their sound never aged. Their spirits never aged, thank God. I don’t know how they did it, but it’s a sense of wonder and awe that Pearl Jam, despite the years and conflicts of being together as a group, still could come up with a wide array of songs, with ten albums that are totally different from one another. Every album seems to reflect every phase of their growth as musicians, as a group, and as individuals. And I congratulate them, thank them for stucking it out all these years.
Everything they come up with is a surprise, regardless of whether this pleases the music listeners or not, regardless of whether the album succeeds or not. Whenever they fail, they keep bouncing back. And this is what I admire most about Pearl Jam, they just keep on going which explains why they’re one of the surviving bands that was conceived in early 1990s. As a fan, I still don’t know what to expect from them. They’re unpredictable. Whenever I buy their album and play their CD, I get so excited. I always wonder what’s in store. And this Lightning Bolt album took me by surprise.
It’s because Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt album is perhaps the most likeable album they’ve ever released. I also felt the wisdom and maturity of Gossard, McCready, Ament, Cameron, and Vedder in this album. I feel even non-Pearl Jam fans can appreciate this and perfect example is my younger brother who liked very much the track called “Sirens.” I, too, liked this song very much because of its beautiful words and melody:
It’s a fragile thing
This life we lead
If I think too much I can get
overwhelmed by the grace
By which we live our lives
with death over our shoulders
want you to know
that should I go I always loved you
held you high above, true
I study your face
and the fear goes away
Pearl Jam’s sound remains young as ever, more pop rock with a few ballads (even love songs, Pearl Jam style) I tell you. The subversion is still there (sometimes discussing about the movement of a pendulum and its symbolisms, or about DNA and insemination, or being alone), the raw, brutal emotion that empowers and releases pretensions is still there, but the lyrics are wonderfully different. I don’t know if “improved” is the right word, or “mature,” all I know is that if before I’m more after the howling and screaming and the no holds barred but less abrasive type of rock music by Pearl Jam, now, well I am still after the howling and screaming of Vedder and their brand of music but the lyrics, even how Eddie sings in some tracks, they came to me like a colorful confetti, or like a morning sunshine that brings me a brand new hope. Their music is less angry but still relatable, and more reflective of issues that matter most to them right now.
I love the first track, Getaway, with a catchy, fast beat and lyrics that goes:
Everyone’s a critic looking back up the river
Every boat is leaking in this town
Everybody’s thinking that they’ll all be delivered
Sitting in a box like lost and found
But I found my place and it’s alright
We all searching for our better way
Get yours off my place, it’s alright
I got my own way to believe
Also Mind Your Manners, the second track, most especially the bridge part:
Go to heaven
How you like your living hell?
The narcissistic side of me tells me that the title track, Lightning Bolt, is a song about me. It’s because from the very first time to the many times I listened to it, it gives me a happy feeling, it feels like Eddie Vedder is singing for me, about me:
Flipping through the worn out pages
And stages when you knew not who to be
Till the lightning strike set you free
You gotta know that you’ll never let her go
She’s a lightning bolt!
I also like the metaphorical track called Infallible:
Time we best begin
Here at the ending
Of everything that’s possible
In the hearts and minds of men
Somehow it’s the biggest things
That keep on slipping
Right through our hands
To keep this short and simple, Lightning Bolt album is placed second next to Vs. as my top favorite albums of Pearl Jam.
Petition Letter to Mayor Hernandez of Montalban Opposing Cell Site Installation in Amityville Subdivision.
21 December 2015
Hon. Cecilio C. Fernandez
Dear Hon. Hernandez:
There is a cell site that is under construction in our subdivision and it’s just stone’s throw away from our house. They dug a deep, wide hole into the soil about the size of a swimming pool.
The issue here is that the Officers and Board of Directors of Amityville Homeowners Association (AHA) did not ask for our permission about this, particularly us, the homeowners who are in close proximity to the proposed radioactive cell site. If we have known that there is going to be a cellular tower to be installed near our homes, we’d surely oppose it. And now that the construction is ongoing, our lives are being endangered because of the negative effects of this proposed radioactive cell site.
We’ve met with the president of AHA, Mr. Edilberto Braganza, three times complaining about this and in his indifferent and nonchalant reply, he said that the construction will continue since it has a permit from the building official of Montalban. He also denied that a cell site causes cancer. I, together with my fellow Amityville resident/homeowner Mr. Fernando Camba, could not help but express my rage due to the lack of concern and interest of Mr. Braganza to our problem. (Mr. Braganza, by the way, is an employee in your office, the Municipal of Montalban). We could see clearly in his face that he was unmoved by our anger which is actually our screams (to ask) for help to stop the cell site installation near our homes. Have we known we would strongly object it.
For your information, there was no written notice about the impending cell site construction. I’ve asked other homeowners about this and they, too, were kept in the dark. It is obvious that only the Officers and Board of Directors of AHA are making decisions among themselves. These officers and board of directors of AHA are supposed to be our leaders, our protectors in our subdivision but to our disgust, they turned out to be business dealers exploiting their posts as officers and board of directors of AHA. It is obvious that they have disrespected the By-Laws of Amityville Homeowners Association. And the integrity of Mr. Edilberto Braganza et al. is questionable. I am also a public servant, a worker from the Commission on Human Rights and clearly, our rights as homeowners have been violated.
Here is the source of our complaint:
Building Permit: 15-11-556 (Note: This was approved only last 17 Dec 2015)
Date Issued: 26 October 2015
Name of Project: Prop. Cell Site
Owner: Dominer Pointe Inc. (In partnership with BellTel Phils.)
Location: 2nd Mt. Samat St., Amityville Subd., Brgy. San Jose, Rodriguez, Rizal
Architect/Engineer: Engr. Frederick L. Cruz
Other information: The owner of the lot (the seller) is a relative of two of the board of directors of AHA.
We are aware that there is still no proven study about the dangerous effects of cell sites but so far, according to Agnette Peralta of the Department of Health, medical studies have confirmed that exposure to cell site radiation increases thermal or body heat. I have also attached articles regarding the dangers of cell sites in a residential area.
And common sense, THERE IS RADIATION that is going to be released nonstop and we would be gravely exposed to this radiation 24/7. Common sense (even conscience) can tell you that this is bad.
Therefore, we, the undersigned (the homeowners living near the cell site), are STRONGLY URGING YOU AND YOUR OFFICIALS TO STOP THIS CELL SITE INSTALLATION. We demand that this cell site be placed far away from us because of the radiation that it would emit.
Mayor Hernandez, we look forward to your prompt action.
JEZZAMINE E. ANDAQUIG
and 19 other homeowners/residents
Attached pictures and articles:
2014 Copyright, Boy Toy Inc.
2015 Philippine Copyright by Universal Music International
First you love me and I let you in
Made me feel like I was born again
You empowered me, you made me strong
Built me up and I can do no wrong
I let down my guard, I fell into your arms
Forgot who I was, I didn’t hear the alarms
Now I’m down on my knees, alone in the dark
I was blind to your game
You fired a shot in my heart
Took me to heaven and let me fall down
Now that it’s over
I’m gonna carry on
Lifted me up, and watched me stumble
After the heartache, I’m gonna carry on
Living for love
Living for love
I’m not giving up
I’m gonna carry on
Living for love
I’m Living for love
Not gonna stop
Love’s gonna lift me up
Above is the opening track called “Living for love” and it became my instant favorite for its groovy vibes. The rest of the album is just… wow!
I like how the songs were arranged, from the opening song up to the last song—the empowering and sentimental title track called “Rebel Heart.” This album is a real proof that Madonna has definitely reached the status of an icon. Rebel Heart is flawless.
The album does not have a lyrics sheet but thankfully Madonna sings clearly most of the time so it became an enjoyable trip listening to her songs. For example, in “Joan of Arc,” it has a part that goes:
One little lie can ruin my day
Words are like weapons, they betray
When I am afraid
One word of kindness, it can save me
Then surrounding these haunting lyrics is a beautiful melody that makes you wanna sit and listen. My other personal favorites are “Hold Tight,” “Joan of Arc,” “Iconic,” “Veni Vidi Vici,” and the title track, “Rebel Heart.”
“Rebel Heart explores two very distinct sides of my personality, the rebellious renegade side of me and the romantic side of me,” shares Madonna in one of her interviews. And that became the hook, the one reason for me to search, wait, and buy this album. The songs may be Madonna’s musical expression of her life experiences now that she’s 57 with a touch of gimmickry and naughtiness here and there. But while listening to each of her songs and singing them inside my head, I feel like I’m singing about my own journey and philosophical reflections now that I’m 37.
Simply put, Madonna’s Rebel Heart is worth every centavo I paid for.