[About the author: Ezra Schwartz is my youngest brother. For those of you who are confused – yes, I have another brother. And apparently despite his youth (he’s 16) he writes quite well. Enjoy!]
Much like my brothers, I have an unhealthy obsession with Pearl Jam. I also seem to have certain phases lasting weeks at time in which I listen to one sole song many times over. After listening to the bootleg from the Mansfield, Massachusetts show from July 11, 2003, the final show in the Pearl Jam “experiment” to play every single song, I became obsessed with the opener of the acoustic pre-set, Long Road.
Long Road was first released as a single on Merkin Ball in 1995, and has been played live many times, mostly as an opener. Personally, I have not seen Long Road live, but I am fairly certain that my brothers have, and I would love to hear it at future concerts. Long Road is a very sad and moving song comprised of beautiful poetry and imagery, and can be very comforting at times.
The beginning of the song seems to discuss the loss of someone close.
And I wished for so long. Cannot stay. All the precious moments. Cannot stay… But still something’s missing. Cannot stay.
Later on, the song repeats the same question: “Will I walk the long road?” This can probably be interpreted in many ways, but I believe that “the long road” refers to the journey of life that has its ups and downs, but that we nevertheless have to endure.
All the friends and family. All the memories going round, round, round, round. I have wished for so long. How I wish for you today.
Then, as the song concludes, we learn that even though life may seem hard and we may want to give up, we still must go on. The world goes on, and we must continue, as well.
And the wind keeps roaring. And the sky keeps turning gray. And the sun is set. The sun will rise another day.
You may or may not have heard, but our family has recently been going through very tough times. Sometimes, during those times, the best comfort one can get can come from the indescribable feelings of sympathy that come from music. Long Road is a touching song about life and loss, and it has definitely been a consolation to me the past week or so. So, if you’re ever feeling down about life, just listen to Long Road to search for a purpose, to lift your spirits, or just to hear an excellent song.
Pearl Jam – Long Road