An unreleased Pearl Jam song titled “Better Days” has leaked after appearing unexpectedly on the official site of Pearl Jam’s Monkeywrench Records. One eagle-eyed Pearl Jam fan discovered “Better Days” posted as a stream with a note reading, “Gary, Kelly wanted you to hear this please give it a listen.” The “Kelly” in question is likely Pearl Jam manager Kelly Curtis, Antiquiet reports. Monkeywrench Records is the label created by Pearl Jam, now free from a major label record contract, to release their latest album Backspacer. The site had previously been dormant until the surprise appearance of “Better Days,” however as news of the leak began to spread, the site went under lockdown and now requires a username and password. However, you can still listen to “Better Days” on Antiquiet.
As opposed to the harder-edged, guitar-based tracks on Backspacer, the soaring ballad “Better Days” recalls Pearl Jam songs like “Long Road” and “Off He Goes.” Mandolins and accordions crescendo as Vedder sings, “Our future is paved in better days” in the song’s triumphant climax. The experts on Pearl Jam’s Ten Club message board speculate that “Better Days” dates back to 2003’s Riot Act — a song of the same title was listed among the tracks recorded during that album’s studio sessions — but this version was likely recorded more recently as Vedder’s vocals more closely resemble his present-day singing voice.
Pearl Jam haven’t released any comment about the “Better Days” leak, but fans have whipped themselves into a frenzy hypothesizing the track could appear on the group’s next album, the band’s annual Christmas singles, a possible upcoming reissue of Riot Act or as a B side to Backspacer.