"Alive" was the second single that came off of Ten, and was the first one to really make waves on the radio. I do remember seeing the video for "Evenflow" and falling in love with the band at that time, but "Alive" really captured my attention.
It is one of the greatest guitar songs ever written. Its message is strong. Though it is about Eddie finding out the truth about his birth father, the chorus rings true for all of us at all times. "Hey, I'm still alive." It doesn't matter what kind of personal hell you are going through. You are still alive. You have made it through yet another day. You can get through yet another one.
Have you ever been to a live Pearl Jam show when they play this song? The entire venue is uplifted. It's almost a physical reaction, as well as an emotional and spiritual one. Everyone is bellowing the words and pumping their fists in a collective redemption of their souls. It's magical and part of the reason I crave going to a live Pearl Jam show.
The song also has special significance for me since meeting Eddie a few years ago. I shook his hand and said, "Thank you for the last 18 years of my life." He squeezed mine back and moved on. And then he turned to look at me again and said, "Stay alive." This was on the eve of some of the most difficult months and years of my life. And I have stayed alive, thanks in part to their music.