“Go” by Pearl Jam (1993)

If anyone thought that success would’ve mellowed Pearl Jam out, all they had to do was press play on the Seattle band’s second album, Vs. Talk about coming in hot! “Go” comes after you with the strength and speed of the train that runs those kids off the track in Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” video.

It’s an absolutely intense song. Drummer Dave Abruzzezze (who composed the music) plays like he has eight arms. Stone Gossard’s guitar riff chugs along menacingly, and then there’s Eddie Vedder’s scary/soulful singing. He growls through the verse (and there’s only one verse), sounding tightly coiled and tense, before exploding into the shout “Don’t go on me!” in the chorus. It’s perfectly emoted.

A couple random notes: there was some talk back in the day about Vedder adopting the persona of a very creepy dude in the lyrics, but “Go”‘s Wikipedia page suggests that Abruzzezze and Vedder actually wrote the song with a car in mind? Who the hell knows? I’m kind of glad when artists don’t say exactly what a song is about, because it allows the listener to come up with their own interpretation.

I karaoke’d “Go” once. It was towards the end of a very long, drunken night, and if I’d known what screaming like Eddie Vedder would do to my throat (especially after my previous selection, Johnny Gill’s equally shout-y “My My My”), I might’ve gone for something a little calmer.

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