Life Wasted

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"Life Wasted"
Single by Pearl Jam
from the album Pearl Jam
B-side "Come Back" (live)
Released August 28, 2006
Format Vinyl, Digital download
Recorded November 2004 – February 2006 at Studio X, Seattle, Washington
Genre Alternative rock
Length 3:54
Label J
Songwriter(s) Stone Gossard, Eddie Vedder
Producer(s) Adam Kasper, Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam singles chronology
"World Wide Suicide"
"Life Wasted"

"World Wide Suicide"
"Life Wasted"
Audio sample
Music video
"Life Wasted" at Google Videos

"Life Wasted" is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam. Featuring lyrics written by vocalist Eddie Vedder and music written by guitarist Stone Gossard, "Life Wasted" was released on August 28, 2006 as the second single from the band's eighth studio album, Pearl Jam (2006). The song peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. On Pearl Jam, "Life Wasted" is reprised as a modified version on the album's tenth track, "Wasted Reprise".

Origin and recording[edit]

"Life Wasted" features lyrics written by vocalist Eddie Vedder and music written by guitarist Stone Gossard.


The lyrics for "Life Wasted" were reportedly written about the death of Johnny Ramone and about the feelings one has after driving home from a funeral. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Vedder stated:

When you leave that funeral, that drive is as important as any single stretch of road you'll travel on. You've got a renewed appreciation for life. And I think that feeling can last through the day, through the week, but then things start getting back to normal and you start taking this living and breathing and eating thing for granted. I think that song is there to remind you, 'This is that feeling'....The truth is—I'm a little sensitive and this is a close, personal relationship. I'll just say it. Fuck it. Right up front. Half the record is based on the loss of the guy who turned out to be the best friend I ever had on the planet. And that was Johnny Ramone.[1]

Release and reception[edit]

A 7" single for "Life Wasted" was released commercially in the UK on August 28, 2006. The B-side is "Come Back" from June 27, 2006 in Saint Paul, Minnesota at Xcel Energy Center. The single was also made available as a download from the UK iTunes Store. The song peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number ten on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Kyle Anderson of Spin said that "even though Eddie Vedder sings "Leave the fame to someone else" over the best riff Pete Townshend never wrote (on "Life Wasted"), he actually chuckles just before the last chorus. It's a small detail, but it's a sign that Pearl Jam are taking themselves less seriously, and it fits them like a snug flannel shirt."[2] This is misquoted however, as the line is "leave the pain for someone else" [3]

A cover of "Life Wasted" is featured in the 2007 video game, Guitar Hero II, for the Xbox 360.[4]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Life Wasted" was directed by Fernando Apodaca.[5] The video explores the song's themes of death and rebirth.[1] The video was filmed over 10 months in locations such as Romania, Seattle, Washington, and George, Washington.[5][6] The video, which emulates the liner notes from the album, was done without the aid of special effects. Apodaca created the physical sculptures for the video. Life casts were made of each of the band members' heads. Vedder sacrificed his eyelashes for the process.[1] The busts were brought to life through the use of projection.[7] During the video, the heads are shown being lit on fire, drenched with water, and inhabited by worms and bugs. Other sculptures in the video were made from bronze, wax, and leather.[7] It also features footage of Vedder singing and the band performing the song.

Apodaca stated that the video portrays "the ambiguities of consumerism, obsolescence, deterioration, and growth. Within the film exists a fractured world which is both fragile and transitory, such as wax melting and bread voraciously consumed by ants. Various mythologies are revealed but not explained, opening doorways to interpretation."[7] The video was released on May 19, 2006 to the public on Google Video under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license allowing copying, distributing and sharing.[8] This was most likely the first time that a video produced by a major record company was released under such a license. This video marked the first time Pearl Jam had released a conceptual video since "Do the Evolution" in 1998. It was nominated for a MTV Video Music Award for Best Special Effects in 2006.[9]

Live performances[edit]

"Life Wasted" was first performed live at the band's April 20, 2006 concert in London, England at the London Astoria.[10] The band played this song when they appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman on May 4, 2006 in support of Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam performed the song in 2006 for Sessions@AOL. Pearl Jam performed the song for its appearance on VH1 Storytellers in 2006. Since 2007, the band has played the song in the key of C major during live performances. On the album and 2006 performances, it was played in D♭major. The change of key requires the de-tuning of the guitars to a half-step down (E♭, A♭, D♭, G♭, B♭, E♭), and the use of a capo on the 3rd fret (first 5 strings only, open 6th) as opposed to the 4th fret. Live performances of "Life Wasted" can be found on various official bootlegs, the Live at the Gorge 05/06 box set, and the live album Live at Lollapalooza 2007. A performance of the song is also included on the DVD Immagine in Cornice.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Life Wasted" (Stone Gossard, Eddie Vedder) – 3:54
  2. "Come Back" (live) (Mike McCready, Vedder) – 5:18

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2006) Peak


US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[11] 10
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[12] 13
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100)[13] 11
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[14] 110


  1. ^ a b c Hiatt, Brian (2006-06-16). "The Second Coming of Pearl Jam". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-06-22. 
  2. ^ Anderson, Kyle. "Pearl Jam, Pearl Jam (J Records)". Spin. May 13, 2006.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 21, 2010. Retrieved June 3, 2010. 
  4. ^ Ekberg, Brian. "CES 07: Guitar Hero II Hands-On". GameSpot. January 8, 2007.
  5. ^ a b Jones, Alex. "Alum awarded at SDFF" Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.. The Daily Aztec. October 3, 2006.
  6. ^ "McCready Talks About The Gorge". May 8, 2007.
  7. ^ a b c "Ten Club Q & A With Artist Fernando Apodaca" Archived August 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine..
  8. ^ Steuer, Eric (May 19, 2006). "Pearl Jam Releases Its First Music Video In Eight Years Under a Creative Commons License". Archived from the original on July 2, 2007. Retrieved July 15, 2007. 
  9. ^ "2006 MTV Video Music Awards". Rockonthenet. Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  10. ^ "Pearl Jam Songs: "Life Wasted"" Archived May 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine..
  11. ^ "Pearl Jam Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  12. ^ "Pearl Jam Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  13. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  14. ^ "Pearl Jam: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 7, 2017.

External links[edit]