Eddie Vedder wrote "Better Man" when he was still in high school. He played it with his pre-Pearl Jam band Bad Radio in the late 1980s, and later cut it on Vitalogy. It's one of the most instantly catchy songs Vedder ever wrote, which is what made him so reluctant to let Pearl Jam use it. The band was incredibly overexposed after Ten and he worried that another massive hit would lead to their downfall. He eventually folded. The lyrics are about his mother and her second husband. Eddie and his stepfather had a terrible relationship that inspired many early Pearl Jam songs, but they actually have reconciled in recent years.