I nearly wore out the CD single of Animal released in 1994 by Pearl Jam. I haven’t grown tired of it at all. This is one of my all-time favourite Pearl Jam tracks. It was released as the third single from their second album Vs.; an album rawer and more aggressive than their classic debut album Ten. No other song for mine embraced that grunge Seattle guitar sound better than Animal and secured their status as one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Rolling Stone hit the nail on the head when they described Animal in their review of Vs. – “of a kind of ritual passion, tapping into something truly wild“. It’s a song for me at least where I feel compelled to play it ‘F%&king loud’!
Wikipedia: Upon its release, Vs. set the record for most copies of an album sold in its first week, a record it held for five years. Vs. occupied the number one spot on the Billboard 200 chart for five weeks, the longest duration for a Pearl Jam album.
Animal was written by Eddie Vedder and the music was primarily written by guitarist Stone Gossard. The song peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song was performed at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1993, a rare occurrence for a song without a music video.
While there does seem to be some conjecture among fans over the song’s meaning some spouting it’s about the media’s abuse and invasion of privacy of the band and the other interpretation it depicting a ‘gang rape’; Gossard had a different take – he said: ‘You might have five great artists in the band, but if they can’t compromise and work together, you don’t have a great band. It might mean something completely different to Eddie. But when I heard that lyric, it made a lot of sense to me‘
One, two, three, four, five against one
Five, five, five against one
Said one, two, three, four, five against one
Five, five, five, five, five against one
Torture from you to me, yeah
Abducted from the street
I’d rather be
I’d rather be with
I’d rather be with an animal