Songwriting Analysis: Pearl Jam “Black”

Pearl Jam: Ten

This early gem from Pearl Jam is surprisingly subtle for it being as big of a hit as it is — so we have to look closely at the songwriting to find unique moves that make this song distinct.

  • Switching between the major tonality of the verses and minor tonality of pre-chorus/chorus.
  • Inserting a big internal jump in a middle of step-wise melody to catch listeners’ interest.
  • Picking out a fragment of the chorus melody and mine it as the hook/motif.