Pearl Jam vs. Nirvana

Pearl Jam or Nirvana?

For any child of the 80s or 90s the answer to this question reveals everything about who you are as a person. It pretty much defines whether you have any value in life at all.

Ok, took it too far. But it is a particularly relevant question right now.

Pearl Jam just released their 10th studio album Lightning Bolt – now the number 1 album in the country (whatever that means anymore).

Nirvana, on the other hand, is on the shortlist to enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on their first year of eligibility (again, whatever that means).

Much like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones will forever be intwined for children of the 60s and 70s, the debate will eternally simmer between these two stalwarts of the Seattle grunge scene over who was better.

If you’re a Nirvana fan you point to the incredible success and legacy of Nevermind. You bring up “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the grunge revolution ignited by the music video. You look to Nirvana as the most influential band of the 90s.

If you’re a Pearl Jam fan you point to the sales charts. You bring up the two decade plus career of Eddie Vedder and his crew. You bring out the thousands of concert bootlegs and the legacy as one of the greatest touring acts of all time.

My gut tells me to say Pearl Jam is the better band because of their longevity and because so many of my close friends are hardcore PJ fanatics and they may disown me if I say otherwise.

The truth is the real answer just comes down to personal preference. The great thing about music is God gave each of us individually the incredible ability to receive it uniquely.

No two people like exactly the same music. No one’s taste is better or worse than anyone else’s. You are free to like Nirvana more than Pearl Jam and vice versa and not be wrong or right about your choice.

You’ll never convince a fan of Nirvana to believe Peal Jam is the better band. Nor should you waste your time trying. The person with the opposite opinion is not wrong. Neither are you.

There are few certainties in life. On everything else God gives us agency – free will if you will.

For example: Who we worship is something God cares very much about.

Where we worship, how we worship, what we wear to worship – God is not really concerned with.

He likes organs and He likes guitars and He likes big groups and He likes small groups. (God probably doesn’t like 3 piece designer suits, but I can’t say that definitively.)

God created humanity to be a body. A body with arms and legs and fingers and toes and ears and teeth. No body part is greater than another. All are essential. A body with 3,000 arms and no legs just doesn’t work.

Let’s stop thinking our goal as Christians is to make everybody think like us.

Our job as Christians is not to create clones. Loving others as yourself does not mean trying to turn others into yourself.

Let’s step away from the debate podium. Let’s worry more about how well we serve and listen to each other than how well we get our arguments across.

What are some other things Christians spend too much time arguing about? And let’s hear your answer: Pearl Jam or Nirvana? 


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