This upbeat ditty — not about an underloved but overprivileged white boy who shoots others from his school. but rather about one who takes his own life, forcing his horrified schoolmates to look on — was released seven years before Columbine. And of course predated many other school shootings since. My point is not to drag everyone down on this Tuesday with obvious reminders, but to defend my actions as an (often) drunken college sophomore.
Because as a college sophomore at UVa, see, one of my roommates and I had choreographed a modern dance to this song. And it was as awkward and ridiculous as you can imagine. But not! — you see — as horribly insensitive as it might be today, when we know all we know about guns and schools and mental illness. Still, we were certainly a couple of a’holes.
First off, the video is incredible. It was made at a time not only when people still watched videos, but when there were a handful of video music directors whom avid MTV watchers could rattle off by name. “Jeremy” director Mark Pellington was one of these. Also on his resume? “What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy),” by Information Society. Yesssss. Nearly 20 years after I was wowed by “Jeremy,” I would watch a Pellington film and declare it “pointless nonsense.”
Best part? 3:03 – 3:21. Most will argue that the “best part” (tm pending) is Eddie Vedder’s skilled vocal run between 4:33 and 4:50. But I prefer a less dramatic, slightly more haunting portion of the build-up. The whole “try to erase this…” segue, where Vedder sings over himself in a deranged form of round, paints a portrait of guilt, regret, lingering terror, and brings the audience into the fear that is yet to explode minutes later. I will say, though, that my dance that accompanied that aforementioned vocal run? Truly inspired.