"Jeremy"-Pearl Jam Pearl Jam was a grunge band of the early nineties, when the Seattle grunge style of music was very big, with bands such as Soundgarden and Nirvana. In fact Pearl Jam's 1991 C.D., entitled "Ten", is one of the top three grunge C.D.'s ever written. Pearl Jam, a band that consists of Dave Krusen on drums, Jeff Ament on Basses, Eddie Vedder on Vocals, Mike McCready on Lead Guitars, and Stone Gossard on Guitars, was formed in 1990 in the basement of a local art gallery in Belltown area Seattle. The majority of the songs that comprised their first C.D.,"Ten," were written in less than seven days after the band formed. The first release from that C.D. was called "Alive" and the second was a very emotionally charged song entitled "Jeremy." "Jeremy" is a song that Eddie wrote while in a hotel room in Texas. He picked up a newspaper and saw an article about a 16-year-old boy from a local school who shot and killed himself in front of his English class.
The boy was Jeremy Wade Delle. Classmates described him as a loner, rightfully so, because he had just transferred to Richardson High School in his sophomore year, and hated his new school. The student was often in counseling and missed class numerous times. One day however, Jeremy came into his second-period English class and the teacher asked him to go to the office to receive an admittance slip since he had not attended his previous class. Jeremy exited the room and came back moments later, gun in hand. He walked to the middle of the classroom said, "Miss, I got what I really went for" and proceeded to place the .357-caliber Magnum into his mouth and pulled the trigger. He died as soon as the gun was fired in front of his classmates in his second period English class. Eddie felt that he must do something to remember this boy and also spread the word of suicide to other teens. He used this song and experiences from his past to draw up the hit song and remarkable video "Jeremy." The first verse describes Jeremy sitting at home drawing pictures of what he would like his life to be. He could not achieve this in real life, so he would draw it with pen and paper. This picture that Eddie writes about is of Jeremy standing on a mountain top with all of the people that have ever teased him or taunted him lying dead below. You know that the people below are lying dead because it says, "dead lay in pools of maroon below." The color maroon is being a symbol for blood. He is standing on the mountain with his arms raised in the air in the shape of a "V." This shows his triumph or victory over his predecessors which lay dead below him. Once again, Jeremy could not achieve beating his peers in reality so he drew a picture of what he would like to happen. The second verse explains how Jeremy's parents did not pay much attention to him, or care much about him. Eddie shows how the responsibility of a parent can influence a child's life. To divert his anger and rage from his parent's neglect he created his own mystical world, where he was "King Jeremy." The chorus is short and simply, "Jeremy spoke in class today". Although Jeremy did not speak much with words that day during class, he spoke much louder with his actions. He killed himself in front of his classmates. He speaks on a wider level by committing suicide, because he cannot deal with the problems that he is facing. Metaphorically speaking he is saying that something in society needs changed.
The third verse is a flashback to Eddie's past. He remembers a kid that used to be teased in school, and would lash out in anger filled rages towards the people that would tease him. The boy's name was Brian and once the anger got to be to much he went into an oceanography room and destroyed it using a gun. He did not kill himself, like Jeremy did, but he made an impact on his high school tormentors. In this verse, he also parallels the two stories, making the point that Jeremy's parents are not solely to blame, but his peers are also at fault.
In the fourth verse, Eddie compares Jeremy to a piece of bad clothing, that "Mommy wouldn't wear". There is repetition to Jeremy being royalty. In addition, the chorus is sung again. The last verse is very strange. Eddie sings, "Try to forget thisÃ¢ÂÂ¦/Try to erase thisÃ¢ÂÂ¦/From the blackboard". When a person endures something so tragic as witnessing a suicide, or having a loved one die, the mind will never be able to for it. He also says to erase it from the blackboard, the blackboard is a metaphor to a person's memory.
The music video that was produced for the song "Jeremy" opens with newspaper clippings of tragic events in the news around the time of Jeremy's suicide. Also subtitles pop up periodically throughout the video. One says, "the serpent was subtle", a few subtitles later a Bible verse pops up "Genesis 3:6". This specific Bible verse parallels with the title before that says, "the serpent was subtle". This specific verse states: "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it." Satan, the serpent, came to Eve subtly and tempted her to eat the fruit, she ate it and shared it with her husband. This was the first sin that man ever committed. As Eve ate the fruit, she sinned. When Adam ate the fruit, he sinned, and Eve's sin was spread onto him. One of the realities of sin is that its effects spread. After Eve sinned, she involved Adam in her sin, and is spread. Just like the kids that teased Jeremy, or Eddie's high school acquaintance Brian, they are like Eve, spreading their sin of teasing onto other kids. In return, the children being teased or tormented will sin. In Jeremy's case, he committed suicide, which is a sin. Later in the video, it shows Jeremy being tormented by his peers and being lost in a fight between his parents. The last scene of the video is of Jeremy going into his class room with no shirt on, pulling a gun out of his pocket and proceeding to put it to his fact, by this time the camera turns to the blood stained children in the front row that look up with blank faces and are in shock.