Tremor Christ meaning (or your interpretation)

AKRounder85AKRounder85 PhilaPosts: 151
After many listens to this song, i realise I have no idea what this song is about and not even an interpretation on it. (And maybe that's why its a track i'd often find myself skipping) So I'm just throwing this out there and see what responses I get.
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Comments

  • The lyric is really beautiful...I think he is talking about those times when we are lost, and something beyond what we can comprehend plays a part in helping us find a way out...a new love, a new path...to be in a fragile little boat and endure the heaviest storm...it could be something that has nothin to do with all this...but this was my first impression anyway....I think the words are by Jeff, right? not sure...
  • mini_tbmini_tb Posts: 420
    LucasF wrote:
    The lyric is really beautiful...I think he is talking about those times when we are lost, and something beyond what we can comprehend plays a part in helping us find a way out...a new love, a new path...to be in a fragile little boat and endure the heaviest storm...it could be something that has nothin to do with all this...but this was my first impression anyway....I think the words are by Jeff, right? not sure...

    I think the subject of the song did something bad or made a bad decision that is coming back to haunt him (little secrets or tremors turning to quakes) and is trying to decide how to deal with the situation. The easy choice is to keep running/not face the consequences. The hard choice is to turn back and face the consequences. I think he's dreading making the choice but knows he must (the sailor drfiting by the storm). He ultimately decides to face the consequences even though he doesn't know what will happen next (turns the bow back/puts faith and love in tremor christ).
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  • BALLBOYBALLBOY AustraliaPosts: 749
    I can honestly sad i have no idea what it means & but that is the beauty of Tremor & PJ. Every time i listen to it i have no idea what he singing about so that challenges me to listen to it again & again. My only dissapointment is that i have never seen it live. Right up there with one of my favourites.
    Eastern Creek 95,Syd 1 98,Bris 2 98, Syd 1&2 03, Reading Fest 06, Bris 1 06, London 09, Hyde Park 10, Gold Coast BDO 14
  • I've always seen this as a song about having to leave a beloved behind - the protagonist goes forth (the sea serves as a metaphor for this), the 'organ' left behind is the heart (either the protagonist's own heart or a symbol standing for the beloved), the beloved is left struggling, 'drowning' as a result of the protagonist's abandonment (real or imagined on the part of the protagonist), there are potential problems and temptations to overcome (the devil reference) but the protagonist will eventually return to the lover, as a seamen would eventually return home, to dry land. The protagonist 'puts his faith in love' in order to see him right again, to help him return to shore, to his beloved. I suppose the Christ reference is as a juxtaposition to the devil: like Christ in the desert, the protagonist overcomes temptation and returns, relatively unscathed, if perhaps a little weather-worn (hence the 'tremor' perhaps?).

    Of course, I may be talking utter bollocks but I do love trying to figure these things out :D
  • voidofmanvoidofman Posts: 4,009
    My guess, much like Immortality, is about Kurt to some degree.
  • The Waiting Trophy ManThe Waiting Trophy Man Niagara region, Ontario, CanadaPosts: 12,157
    This. Song. Kicks. Ass.
    Another habit says it's in love with you
    Another habit says its long overdue
    Another habit like an unwanted friend
    I'm so happy with my righteous self
  • This. Song. Kicks. Ass.

    *Agree*

  • This. Song. Kicks. Ass.
    even if I am french and it's sometimes difficult for me to understand the hidden meanings behind the lyrics, I can say that this is a bad ass song, above all the last verse, shouted by Ed

    long life to Pearl jam
  • myramyra Posts: 1,257
    JB113274 wrote:
    This. Song. Kicks. Ass.
    even if I am french and it's sometimes difficult for me to understand the hidden meanings behind the lyrics, I can say that this is a bad ass song, above all the last verse, shouted by Ed

    long life to Pearl jam

    Welcome, fellow countryman !
  • This. Song. Kicks. Ass.

    agreed. love it.

    to me it's about secrets, lies that we all get caught up in. the bad things that we do to get what we want, how we get tempted to do bad things so easily and so many of us fall into a trap. one that we can't escape from and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. same for lying and how easy it is and how it creates a web that we can get tangled in.
    also about being strong willed, doing things for you instead of doing it to please others, having faith

    lots of different ideas really, i get a different meaning from it each time i listen to it

    my favourite part:
    I'll decide...take the dive...
    Take my time...not my life...
    Wait for signs...believe in lies...
    To get by...it's divine...whoa...
    Oh, you know what it's like...

    and of course
    Little secrets, tremors...turned to quake...
    The smallest oceans still get...big, big waves...
  • PearlOfAGirlPearlOfAGirl Posts: 15,993
    This. Song. Kicks. Ass.
    Agree Totally!!! :clap: Can you tell by my sig.? ;)

    Wish you were here...

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  • LucasF wrote:
    The lyric is really beautiful...I think he is talking about those times when we are lost, and something beyond what we can comprehend plays a part in helping us find a way out...a new love, a new path...to be in a fragile little boat and endure the heaviest storm...


    and the smallest oceans still get great big waves

    so the thing that "corrects your course" is never what you expect it to be and sometimes what is good for you in the long run isn't always for someone else
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  • The Waiting Trophy ManThe Waiting Trophy Man Niagara region, Ontario, CanadaPosts: 12,157
    This. Song. Kicks. Ass.
    Agree Totally!!! :clap: Can you tell by my sig.? ;)

    I'm on my iPod so I can't see your sig. What is it? : )
    Another habit says it's in love with you
    Another habit says its long overdue
    Another habit like an unwanted friend
    I'm so happy with my righteous self
  • slightofjeffslightofjeff Posts: 7,640
    I've always kind of struggled with this one, too. There's definitely a religious component to it, and not just because of the word "Christ" and various aluusions to angels and the devil.

    The bridge part, about waiting for signs, believing in lies, to get by ... from certain vantage points, that's the very definition of organized religion. And of course, all of the above, Ed says (derisively, I think) is "divine" -- another religious term.

    My best guess about this song is that it's about people who call on someone to save them who isn't even there. Or something.
    everybody wants the most they can possibly get
    for the least they could possibly do
  • BSullyBSully IndianaPosts: 386
    I think I read long ago, that Ed said that the song didn't really have a meaning and it was whatever the listener thought it was.

    So using that logic, I guess the songs has endless meaning even to one person.

    For me however, I think it is somewhat of an indivdual have a conflict with himself...
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  • BSully wrote:
    I think I read long ago, that Ed said that the song didn't really have a meaning and it was whatever the listener thought it was.

    So using that logic, I guess the songs has endless meaning even to one person.

    For me however, I think it is somewhat of an indivdual have a conflict with himself...

    I personally think that's true of every song - the part where he said it's whatever the listener thinks it is.

    I know there are some songs with more obvious meanings, but with all music, it's all subjective and interpretative and so I agree - it does have endless meanings.
    I also agree with your interpretation of the song - I feel like it's about that too amongst other things.
  • addiction
  • SOLAT319SOLAT319 Posts: 4,191

    The bridge part, about waiting for signs, believing in lies, to get by ... from certain vantage points, that's the very definition of organized religion
    This...
    and no, lyrics do not belong to Jeff. In fact these lyrics have that signature "Vedder feeling". How anyone assumes these are Jeff lyrics is surprising to me.
    I have no patience for bad music and stupid people...

    The whole world will be different soon the whole world will be RELIEVED

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  • SOLAT319SOLAT319 Posts: 4,191
    BSully wrote:
    I think I read long ago, that Ed said that the song didn't really have a meaning and it was whatever the listener thought it was.

    So using that logic, I guess the songs has endless meaning even to one person.

    For me however, I think it is somewhat of an indivdual have a conflict with himself...
    we know how he said things like that when he didn't feel like explaining. I personally find it hard to believe these lyrics not meaning anything. Especially the part I commented above.
    I have no patience for bad music and stupid people...

    The whole world will be different soon the whole world will be RELIEVED

    #resistgezi #resistturkey #resisttaksim #direnturkiye #direngezi
    #standingman #duranadam
  • vedder89vedder89 Posts: 177
    This is from THE SKY I SCRAPEs guided tour of vitalogy
    i think its pretty dead on with the mean...


    There is a lot going on in Vitalogy but one of the main themes playing itself out is the desire for purity in the face of corruption—a desire for the salvation of music, and the salvation of self in a world where both are threatened, perverted, distorted (I’ve long felt Red Mosquito needs to be on Vitalogy, as it is addressing these same themes).

    RM poster SLH has made the argument that Not For You should be seen as working itself out over time, rather than capturing a particular moment—and her interpretation makes a great deal of sense segueing into Tremor Christ. It picks up in the aftermath of a metaphorical shipwreck and while the song is exhausted you can cut yourself on its jagged sounds and sharp vocals. Musically Tremor Christ does a wonderful job evoking the stormy feel of the song. The subject had succumbed to the superficial ease of temptation, the promise of reward without cost. Slight surrenders of principle, seemingly innocuous decisions quickly spiral out of control. The smallest oceans still get big big waves. It turns out that there was a steep price after all, demanding payment in terms of lost love, lost innocence, lost purity. Both the art and the artist suffer for the easy choices, for the refusal to see the hidden price of playing the game instead of choosing to move Sisyphus’s rock. We’re left with an exhausted artist, passion bleeding itself dry, and the emancipatory promise of the music drowning in the wake left by the industry.

    The second verse, chronologically, comes before the first one—it’s a flashback of sorts, what happened to the subject that lead to him washed up on the shore. The Devil is seductive, and it is rare for the angels to reach an artist before they’ve accepted his bargain, to let him know exactly what is at stake. We can hope for angels but if we’re honest with ourselves we know it is going we’re going to have to learn to fight the devils (this theme returns in Corduroy and Satan’s Bed).

    While the subject is wounded, he isn’t dead yet. The second half of the song is a fighting creed, a declaration to resist, to forgo temptation and endure hardship, to do what is necessary to regain control over his soul, the only prize the devil ever seeks. And the song ends with the eerily calm determination to turn the boat back to the water, enter the waves and prepare to fight, with nothing on his side but faith in love (love of music, love as meaningful attachment and solidarity, love as purity), and the knowledge that the struggle itself has meanings. The liner notes of Not For You intimate that Eddie has at least a passing familiarity with Albert Camus, and this really starts to play itself out in the moments of defiance on Vitalogy (here, Whipping, and Corduroy). There is never any guarantee, or even expectation of victory, but it is the fight that preserves our humanity. There is no promise that he’ll find what he is looking for, and in fact he may be too far gone to be redeemed, but he is willing to accept responsibility for the mistakes made, and he is willing to keep searching for the possibility of a wavering, uncertain salvation (tremor Christ). Since that is all we can have, it will have to be enough.
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  • SOLAT319SOLAT319 Posts: 4,191
    vedder89 wrote:
    There is never any guarantee, or even expectation of victory, but it is the fight that preserves our humanity. There is no promise that he’ll find what he is looking for, and in fact he may be too far gone to be redeemed, but he is willing to accept responsibility for the mistakes made, and he is willing to keep searching for the possibility of a wavering, uncertain salvation (tremor Christ). Since that is all we can have, it will have to be enough.


    THIS....

    I know who does those interpretations and loved each one he did for every album....He's a great person to have conversations about lyrics.
    I have no patience for bad music and stupid people...

    The whole world will be different soon the whole world will be RELIEVED

    #resistgezi #resistturkey #resisttaksim #direnturkiye #direngezi
    #standingman #duranadam
  • slightofjeffslightofjeff Posts: 7,640
    That is awesome.
    everybody wants the most they can possibly get
    for the least they could possibly do
  • That is awesome.

    +1000000000

    I love reading other people's interpretations of songs and this one was great. Really great writing.
  • KimbaKimba Posts: 54
    I always think of The Tempest every time I hear this song.....
    "We were but stones, your light made us stars"
  • ttdmanttdman Posts: 3
    I have no idea what that song means but I absolutely love it. I remember hearing it for the first time here in NY on q104.3 before Vitalogy released...an instant classic for me. Definitely on my top 10 PJ songs.
  • zarocatzarocat Posts: 1,824
    Jonathan (adampants) can explain it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2PzsRCgWdE
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  • If I interpret it literally, it sounds like a man who did something terrible to someone he loves. "wounded is the organ" - maybe his heart?; "gorgeous" is drowning, crying - he hurt her - and he blames fate. Whatever he did started small and became large (tremors turn to quake etc); he blames fate again, which he calls the devil. I think for a while he considers what to do next, then in the end he decides to just accept what he did and get on with life.
    Had my eyes peeled both wide open, and I got a glimpse
    Of my innocence... got back my inner sense...
  • Triumphant are the angels if they ca get there first
    no more crowbars to my head
  • wow, i understood something completely different to everyone´s perception. i think is about a love you have to left behind, just to follow with your life, without thinking, that maybe and only maybe, you will regret later.
    .... the smallest oceans still get big, big waves ....
    Melissa Villarroel
  • This. Song. Kicks. Ass.

    agreed. love it.

    to me it's about secrets, lies that we all get caught up in. the bad things that we do to get what we want, how we get tempted to do bad things so easily and so many of us fall into a trap. one that we can't escape from and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. same for lying and how easy it is and how it creates a web that we can get tangled in.
    also about being strong willed, doing things for you instead of doing it to please others, having faith

    lots of different ideas really, i get a different meaning from it each time i listen to it

    my favourite part:
    I'll decide...take the dive...
    Take my time...not my life...
    Wait for signs...believe in lies...
    To get by...it's divine...whoa...
    Oh, you know what it's like...

    and of course
    Little secrets, tremors...turned to quake...
    The smallest oceans still get...big, big waves...


    Love your response!! I agree the end is my favorite part of the song. As with any Vedder song it can mean many things, which is why it resonates with so many people. Me...I think it's about the struggle between our egos/human and our divine selves (our souls). our egos, our human selves see ourselves navigating as a lone sailor/boat in a huge ocean (the universe) and being alone, getting trapped in the "storms" of our lives and struggling, struggling, struggling. Sometimes we have moments where we step outside ourselves and our egos and realize this and the power we hold as individuals if we do realize we aren't separate from everyone and everything. If the angels reach us maybe we give up these struggles, have faith, believe that things are divinely guided, and realizing our oneness with each other in the universe...and be happy and not. if not we view our life is a constant battle for survival, clinging to our attachments, fearing death, and life too (believing in lies to get by) and are miserable. Sometimes you need a tremor christ (an earthquake ...catastrophic event) that shakes up your life and makes you realize this.
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