Better Man is the third song to feature from Pearl Jam in this music project and possibly my joint favorite song with Nothingman. It is the eleventh track on the band’s third studio album, Vitalogy. Better Man was never commercially released as a single but reached the top of the Billboard mainstream charts and stayed at number 1 for a total of 8 weeks. Vitalogy became the second-fastest selling album in history, only behind the band’s previous release Vs., selling 877,000 copies in its first week and went multi-platinum quickly.
The song was written by Eddie Vedder when he was in High School. Vedder stated, “Sometimes I think of how far I’ve come from the teenager sitting on the bed in San Diego writing ‘Better Man’ and wondering if anyone would ever even hear it“. Extraordinarily, the song was omitted by the band from their previous album Vs. When the band’s producer Brendan O’Brien heard the song in rehearsals he said “Man, that song’s a hit”, but Eddie just went “uhhh.” Al Weisel of Rolling Stone called the song a “haunting ballad about a woman trapped in a bad relationship.” When “Better Man” was performed on VH1 Storytellers in 2006, Vedder introduced it as a song about “abusive relationships.
Waitin’, watchin’ the clock, it’s four o’clock, it’s got to stop
Tell him, take no more, she practices her speech
As he opens the door, she rolls over
Pretends to sleep as he looks her over
She lies and says she’s in love with him, can’t find a better man
She dreams in colour, she dreams in red, can’t find a better man
Can’t find a better man
According to wikipedia: In Atlanta 1994 at the Fox Theatre, Vedder clearly said “it’s dedicated to the bastard that married my Momma.” He was referring to his stepfather, Peter Mueller, a California attorney whom Vedder had long believed to be his biological father and who divorced his mother in the early 1980s….
In Pearl Jam concerts, the slow opening verses and choruses of “Better Man” are frequently sung as much by the audience as by Vedder. The song is often performed live as a medley with The English Beat’s “Save It For Later”. At the last Vote for Change concert on October 13, 2004, in East Rutherford, New Jersey at Continental Airlines Arena, Vedder made a guest appearance with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and sang “Better Man” upon Springsteen’s request.