May 13, 2009

The Pearl Jam 2008 Christmas single for this California girl


The Pearl Jam “Christmas” single for 2008 is just starting to hit mailboxes worldwide, a scant five months late. As I’ve said before, punctuality has never been a reason to love these fanclub-only vinyl singles that Pearl Jam records almost each year since 1991.

Simply put, I am having a small seizure of happiness.

As a California girl, when I saw that the songs on this year’s release are “The Golden State” (a John Doe cover with Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney) and a brand new original Pearl Jam song called “Santa Cruz,” my heart beat in triple-time. I grew up in San Jose, just forty-five minutes and over the green mountains from the beach town of Santa Cruz. This naively feels like a gift just for me, a soundtrack to the terrain I love and miss.

Golden State (featuring Corin Tucker) – Pearl Jam
Santa Cruz – Pearl Jam

The lyrics to the harmonica-laced “Santa Cruz” couldn’t be any better for my insides; I can almost see the redwoods flashing past, and smell the salty air of the ocean as we approach over Highway 17. I’ve driven it so many times.

Santa Cruz
Heading south the compass reads
Look at our speed, we’re going 63
Look out the window as the trees go green
I look at them and they look at me

I got Neil Young on the stereo
He comes along whenever I go
There’s something different as I hear him now
Heading south on a familiar route

I can feel the lifting of my blues
I can see a wide horizon loom
I got the feeling I just can’t lose
Pulling into Santa Cruz

I got an old friend, he remembers me
From way back when we were seventeen
We’ve got kids and we’re older now
But when I see him we’re still seventeen

I need the beach to set me free
I need the wind to make me breathe
I need the water to wash my soul
I need my loved ones to let me go

I can feel the lifting of my blues
I can see a wide horizon loom
I got the feeling that I just can’t lose
Pulling into Santa Cruz.

Up in the Northwest we’ve got it good
A little soggy, but we’ve got it good
Can’t help thinking that I wish I would
Move my ass down to Santa Cruz

I got a feeling I don’t wanna lose
Pulling into Santa Cruz

I saw Pearl Jam play a secret show in Santa Cruz back in 1997, so the A-side feels like coming home to a nice time in my life.

The unaffected love song b-side of “Golden State” is a different version than the one that appeared on the John Doe Golden State EP, with less reverb and a sweet acoustic purity to the harmonies.

Well, that was worth the wait.


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  • HEATHER!! i just about died when eddie played the santa cruz song IN santa cruz last year. SO happy to hear it again, you just totally made my night :-)
    hope you are well!!

    Jillian — May 13, 2009 @ 11:19 pm

  • Heather, thanks so much for posting. You just made my day! :-)

    Barry — May 14, 2009 @ 1:47 am

  • thanks for that!!! love both of the songs.

    sg — May 14, 2009 @ 2:22 am

  • So thrilled to hear the Santa Cruz track. It’s incredibly appropriate for that beautiful town. Every time I drove in, off the 17, I would always feel a complete relief, roll my windows down and inhale the beautiful ocean-laced air. Thanks for posting it, Heather!

    Tristan — May 14, 2009 @ 9:29 am

  • Great songs. How come I can no longer download the songs? Is that a change Heather made or my version of Firefox?

    Michelle T — May 14, 2009 @ 9:39 am

  • I didn’t make any changes…

    browneheather — May 14, 2009 @ 9:53 am

  • to echo jillian’s comments, i saw ed do “santa cruz” the second night of the berkeley shows. ah, sweet memories. looking forward to getting my 45.


    ps. great interview with peter buck in pitchfork today if you haven’t seen it.

    lee. — May 14, 2009 @ 9:55 am

  • simply magnificent.

    thank you!

    Gur — May 14, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

  • did you see that somebody from pearl jam got assaulted in atlanta?

    julio — May 14, 2009 @ 12:13 pm

  • yah, julio – Jeff Ament the bassist.

    Freakish! Dude’s totally athletic, so I picture it as happening that Jeff was able to spryly jump five feet in the air and slam dunk the thieves, but I don’t think that’s what actually happened…..

    browneheather — May 14, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  • Thank you SO much for these. This just made my day…and today was our Burger King’s opening day.
    Whenever I want to be up-to-date on everything Pearl Jam, I go to the Pearl Jam official site, then I go here.

    By the way, anyone who is having troubles downloading the stuff…
    PC: Right click, “Save Target As…”
    Mac: Control+click, “Download File”

    Thanks again.

    Dave — May 14, 2009 @ 6:22 pm

  • I’m gonna say it because it’s coming sooner or later: nobody cares about Pearl Jam

    John — May 15, 2009 @ 6:07 am

  • Oh wait, I do! And it’s my site!

    browneheather — May 15, 2009 @ 6:41 am

  • Yeah I am pretty much the most notorious hater of Pearl Jam among my peers, so don’t take it too personally.

    Keep up the good work. I wouldn’t have expected anything different given the name of the site. :)

    John — May 15, 2009 @ 7:01 am

  • [...] of Pearl Jam official boots in storage, and I’ve been enjoying them a lot. Today I found this, which is really quite [...]

    Radio Free MP3: Pearl Jam - 2008 Christmas Single | The Midnight Cafe — May 15, 2009 @ 9:04 am

  • Thank you for posting this. I have yet to get my copy in the mail. It is a holiday single, we’re pretty much at memorial day. Cheers!

    Andy — May 15, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  • Thanks for posting these Heather. Held me over until my package arrived, which it just did in time for the weekend!

    Tremags — May 15, 2009 @ 11:43 am

  • Woohoo! Been waiting on this one for a while, thanks for sharing! Now I’m going to be rushing home after work today to check my mailbox.

    Heather, you coming down to Texas for ACL!?! My jaw just about hit the floor when I heard PJ would be headlining.

    The Blot — May 15, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! :)

    Selena — May 15, 2009 @ 3:55 pm

  • Thanks for this Heather! I haven’t checked your blog or the PJ site for quite awhile. I didn’t know your blog played each mp3 continuously. So I played the first mp3 today (Bittersweet) and went about my business. Then I think “Hey- Isn’t that Eddie singing on the end of the song?” What a surprise! Hope I get it the mail today. And now I can tune into your blog on Saturdays and listen to the eclectic stuff you put out there. Bummer about Jeff Amnent. Reminded me of Ray Davies’ near fatal assault in New Orleans a few years ago.

    Charles — May 16, 2009 @ 7:47 am

  • Make no mistake, plenty of people still care about Pearl Jam. Anyone who gave up on them, only missed the fact that they became a far better band after they left the frat boys and flannel heads behind in the ’90s and took on the long forgotten mantle of bands like The Clash and The Who in tearing down the establishment but writing sweet melodies along the way. I hope Santa Cruz is a sign of things to come.

    Eightiesologist — May 16, 2009 @ 9:02 am

  • Hi Heather, could you please send me the version of the Golden State EP? Thanks, Franz

    Franz — May 16, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

  • Eightiesologist: If my above comment had come from someone who thought Pearl Jam was ever good at any time in their career, you would have more of a point.

    I can assure you that is not the case, but I’m glad we’ve got some good differences of opinion here; otherwise it’d be a boring lot.

    John — May 16, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

  • John – No one? How about the thousands and thousands of people that cause Madsion Square Garde, the United Center, TD Banknorth Garden, and dozens and dozens of other arenas across the country and the world to sell out? No one cares about them? Stupidest comment I have ever read.

    Brian — May 16, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

  • let’s not fight about PJ. I’m okay with differences in opinion, eh?

    browneheather — May 16, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

  • [...] there are two mp3s from the just out pearl jam 2008 christmas single over here. [...]

    you know i don’t care anymore - Roll With It — May 16, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

  • Thanks from Canada for posting, I’ll get my holiday single a bit later being here.

    Have a great summer

    Tony — May 17, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

  • Thanks for the post. Your the best. I just got mine in the mail today. Long live PJ!!!

    mv ny — May 18, 2009 @ 7:53 pm

  • Well, let’s be clear about the context we’re talking about here. By no one, we’re talking about no one who’s concerned with the advancement of music toward new creative highs. Pearl Jam is clearly not concerned with it, you mean to tell me that their fans are?

    It isn’t a question of how many tickets they can sell. Do you think U2′s mediocre No Line on the Horizon album is going to decrease their ticket sales? By no means – with each album they will only become more monetarily successful.

    And in reality, that seems like a lot of what I read in the comments here. I feel that journalistically, showing preference for a particular band needs to come with some kind of recognized whimsy, because for most bands, the longer they stick around, the more irrelevant they make themselves; that’s not fatalism, it’s reality. Just look at the average review scores for the majority of bands throughout their career. Generally, it’s a decline. People who insist on branding themselves in this way (like I did in high school with the Foo Fighters) just smack of foolishness. Think the Foos are having trouble selling tickets? Good lord, no – monetarily, they’re in the peak of their career, probably. But at a certain point that stops speaking to the quality of their music and more to the public’s demand for someone to idolize unquestioningly.

    And since when does popularity equate to quality in the first place? Critics continue to viciously lambaste Nickelback in reviews, and I’m sure they are making a KILLING on album and ticket sales. The whole equation you’re working with is just empty.

    So I guess you could say that people care, sure. A lot of them care, and they care a lot. But they’re really uninformed, so their care, to me, says more about their ignorance than the music’s (or band’s) worth.

    I’m of the opinion that Pearl Jam has long since entered that ‘pedestal’ stage of their career, but then I have always disliked their music, so naturally I’m biased. And of course, I’m kind of an ‘indie snob,’ so strike two. But I grew up listening to Pearl Jam on the radio, so don’t think that I don’t have loads of context.

    And really, I’m pleased that music is subjective and that opinions are personal (and please, know that I respect yours), but I hope you can see where I’m coming from here.

    John — May 20, 2009 @ 6:55 am

  • Oh, and sorry, Heather. I missed your comment. Feel free to remove the above comment if you’d like to keep the peace. Don’t want to stir up trouble…at least, not too much. :)

    John — May 20, 2009 @ 9:30 am

  • It’s cool, I just generally find arguments about bands’ merits, especially on a personal blog named after a Pearl Jam song :), to be largely ineffective and perhaps better suited for a late night bar conversation where parties can step outside to settle matters. But hey, well stated, point taken.

    So, how ’bout them Nuggets?! (gratuitous change-subject)…. ;)

    browneheather — May 20, 2009 @ 9:43 am

  • To mv ny,

    At the vey least, you admit to being biased as far as not ever being a fan. As well as to be blanketing a general statement on all musicians as just cashing it in, if they have any career longevity.
    A band that defied constraints and labels and became a completely original band despite possibly alienating legions of fans. Which on top of continually changing and experimenting…lead the charge on the advancement of new musical acts, your rights and life in a cleaner, violence free world. So i find it strange that what you spoke of has always been the antithesis of what pearl jam have been about. I assure you…your foolishness continues:) By the way, what do you listen to?

    Dave — May 20, 2009 @ 12:20 pm

  • I of course ment John….oops.

    Heather…thanks for putting up those songs. I realized that I should join Tenc after trying in vain 2 acquire Eddie solo. I need a fighting chance with presale tix. Why has the internet allowed for the rampant spread of scalping…Is that not illegal still?

    Dave — May 20, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

  • Dear John,

    What’s funny is that there are plenty of other blogs out there, and even plenty of other posts on this website not having to do with Pearl Jam. And yet, you chose to read this one and express your utterly lame opinion(s), of which you even state you’re not entitled to express, based on not having “loads of context.” You’re a worthless piece of shit. Keep your PJ opinions to yourself, or go post on pitchfork loser.

    FeelLikeAStranger — May 20, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

  • I read this blog because there’s plenty of good content on it. And frankly, because I just read a lot of music blogs.

    The point I made about ticket sales was merely to suggest that their audiences are still more voracious when it comes to pursuing their band, and are willing to shell out more and more money each year that the band is around. The fact that Pearl Jam is an exception to that point in a monetary sense is utterly irrelevant. The point, as I discussed later, was that Pearl Jam has long since reached a point in their career that anything they release instantly becomes gold (or at least, purchase-worthy, listenable, digestible and debatable) in the eyes of most of their fanbase. It isn’t a slight to you all, clearly you all are trying to stay with it, judge it on its faults and strengths, etc.

    But if you think U2′s No Line On The Horizon is (so far) the #1 selling album of 2009 because it’s one of the BEST albums of 2009, you’re mistaken. Ultimately, what it boils down to, is that I think people generally aren’t as discerning as they believe themselves to be. I’m trying to argue that what gives a band the right to be on a ‘best of’ list at the end of the year is their cultural relevance, not their cultural popularity.

    Concerning their Ticketmaster war and such, well, that’s great – I truly appreciate their efforts, but that’s really more an appreciation of Eddie Vedder the altruist and philanthropist, not Eddie Vedder the singer/songwriter, isn’t it? Does it have any appreciable effect on the merit of their music? Of course not – they’re the same band, whether it was them or STP or Wilco or Radiohead that took up arms. Only they probably got paid less, and went to court a lot more.

    Regarding this: “…so don’t think that I don’t have loads of context.” I’m sorry to have thrown you a curveball with a double-negative, but if you read carefully you’ll see that I am saying I have plenty of context with which to properly assess the band.

    I think what I had hoped you’d come away with (and indeed, what I posted several times here) is that I respect the other opinions here, but wholeheartedly disagree. If we’re not capable of holding an adult coversation here without resorting to name-calling, then it isn’t really worth anybody’s time.

    Dave, I could list a lot of bands here that I enjoy listening to, but I’ll say this: I hold The Beatles to be the canonized gospel of rock music, and don’t consider anything else to have surpassed them in consistency or quality. That being said, I listen to a ton of other great music. My favorites are in my blogger profile:

    Fire away!

    John — May 21, 2009 @ 7:16 am

  • Popularity has certainly never meant a thing to me either. I always appreciate a debate. In fact, I usually play devil’s advocate just to keep things interesting.
    So I guess I’m saying they definitely have some cultural relevance. I threw those other things in just to emphasize how pearl jam(not just vedder)embodies good taste, and everything that should and could be done by an unbelievably talented bunch of guys, in the position to do so. Yes, I do believe that Eddie writes as good and as deep as the best of them( and not too be judged by what gets played on the radio only…you miss the best parts). Only he sounds better doing it.
    Completely my opinion, as is yours about the Beatles. I happen to agree that they are timeless, and experimented with just about everything musically in the 60′s. They also influenced practically everyone in music afterwards. But the Beatles were a rare phenomenon. It probably wouldn’t be fair to compare anyone against them.

    I don’t place much hope for the future. As we seem to be very much in a cultural void, as witness by the substance-less tripe that gets churned out now-a-days.

    Dave — May 21, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

  • I can’t say I’m in agreement about the future.

    Well, to be more specific: about the future of pop and rock radio, yes, I totally agree, but I feel that with the occasional exception, that’s been a foregone conclusion for awhile now.

    But then, there’s an ebb and flow to these things. Soon, maybe indie music will have become the new alternative and stake a claim for radio play.

    Anyway, it seems like we can lay this to rest, but then someone else may well come along and find a reason to stoke the fire.

    John — May 21, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

  • Heather,

    Thank you so much for this post! I am a member of the Ten Club and was equally as excited to receive this long anticipated single just last Monday. The only problem is my 45 player is broken :( How did you get this in a digital format? I would greatly appreciate it to know because they sound absolutely fantastic! Thank you so much!


    Matt W — May 21, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

  • Just came across your blog as I was searching for lyrics to Santa Cruz. This is by far my favorite PJ Christmas single. I just had a friend rip them from the vinyl for me and I have been listening to them all day.

    Anyway, great blog, keep up the great work. I have bookmarked your blog and I plan to check it again. Your PJ post has solidified your credentials as knowing great music.

    Nevada — June 9, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

  • Hi,
    how do I download this song?

    Anthony — May 5, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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