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For part two of my series about artists that I didn't like at first but then came to love, we'll talk about Pearl Jam, who just released their ninth album, Backspacer, last week.

I was born in Seattle, and even though it's been 25 years since I've lived in Washington, I still consider it my hometown. So I've pretty much got an unequivocal love for just about anything that comes from the Pacific Northwest (most notable exception... this guy). Even my favorite soulless corporate conglomerates (Starbucks and Amazon) call the Emerald City home.

So why did it take me so long to embrace Pearl Jam? I guess there were a couple of reasons. For one, Eddie Vedder just seemed too damn serious. And despite the fact that Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament had been part of the Seattle music scene for years, I kinda tagged them as bandwagon jumpers (the fact that Vedder had previously fronted a San Diego funk band helped this misconception). Mostly though I think it was Ament's
stupid hats that turned me off. Whatever the reason, I just wasn't digging them when Ten first came out. My mind first started to change with the release of Vs. I absolutely loved "Animal," and the rest of the album just seemed a little more raw and real than their debut. And their ultimately futile battle against Ticketmaster proved that they weren't the hucksters I originally pegged them as. But it wasn't until I saw them live in Las Vegas, on what was the tenth anniversary of their first ever show, that I fully realized what a awesome band they were. They opened with a cover of Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive," and within the first three songs, it was obvious that I had been selling these guys short for years. Anyone who's seen them in concert can probably agree that they truly are among the great bands of our time.

If I had to list my three favorite Pearl Jam songs, they'd be "Animal," "I Got Id," and this one. The original version was on the soundtrack to Singles, but this live version is from Disc 2 of the 3 disc Dissident:Live In Atlanta single.

Pearl Jam - "State of Love and Trust (Live)" (mp3)

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I've gone the complete other way. I loved them at first, but over the last few years I've grown to dislike them quite a lot (their 'seriousness' is a large part of it).

I'll admit that they are a great live band, but that's as far as I'll go.
 
I'll admit I've NEVER liked them.
 
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