Pearl Jam’s second act: Favorite tracks since 2000

Pearl Jam is back. Hot on the heels of “Lightning Bolt,” its first studio release in more than four years, the band descends on Barclays Center for two nights sure to be filled with epic rock greatness.

The grunge legends have elevated their concert reputation in recent years (with concerts consisting of a set list filled with both classics and deep cuts). Anything goes when you spend an evening with them.

Despite limited radio play in the previous decade, Pearl Jam has been releasing relevant and solid rock music during that span.

As a helpful companion, we count down the 10 best Pearl Jam songs released since 2000:


The second single off the new record is both divisive and inviting to those that haven’t heard Pearl Jam in some time. An ’80s ballad? From Pearl Jam? Once you overcome these obvious reactions and let the song play through a few times, a covertly catchy and unassumingly powerful song reveals itself. (“Lightning Bolt,” 2013)

9’Life Wasted’

This album opener signaled a rebirth for the band following a substantial layoff from the previously subdued album, “Riot Act.” It also heralded their first music video since 1998’s “Do The Evolution.” (“Pearl Jam,” 2006)8’Undone’

The irony of 2002’s “Riot Act” is that apart from a select group of songs, the best tracks off that record were the ones that were cut, such as this solid number inspired by activist Howard Zinn. (“Lost Dogs,” 2003)7’Parting Ways’

Hauntingly beautiful and supported by Matt Cameron’s wife on cello, Eddie Vedder’s lyrics precisely depict a couple whose time is nearing its inevitable end. (“Binaural,” 2000)6’Unthought Known’

This standout track features an uplifting invitation to anyone willing to enjoy what nature and life have to offer. (“Backspacer,” 2009)5’Down’

Another B-side off “Riot Act.” You won’t find a more genuinely inspiring track anywhere else in their catalog. (“Lost Dogs,” 2003)4’Insignificance’

A roller coaster of a song, this track is best experienced live as the band utilizes its stop-and-go structure to really drive home its worldly message. (“Binaural,” 2000)3’Sad’

Thankfully salvaged from the cutting-room floor of the “Binaural” sessions, this song could have catapulted the band back into the national spotlight with its commercial appeal, a scenario the band wanted nothing to do with at the time it was recorded. (“Lost Dogs,” 2003)2’Love Boat Captain’

On an otherwise yawner of a record, this song finds Vedder and the band coming to terms with the tragedy in Roskilde, Denmark, in which nine fans were killed during their performance. It also marks the first appearance of Boom Gaspar on keys. (“Riot Act,” 2002)1’Grievance’

The band debuted this track on the “Late Show With David Letterman” on April 12, 2000. With its odd time signature and intensity, Vedder delivers his most insightful growler to date, a song that easily stands toe-to-toe with its most famous ’90s counterparts. (“Binaural,” 2000)