Emotionally Stirring

There's few capable of capturing emotional distance through song like Eddie Vedder, few who can speak volumes with a simple breath which is why the Pearl Jam front man was the obvious choice to compile a soundtrack for Sean Penn's latest movie. Telling the true story of Christopher McCandless, 'Into The Wild' is about a disillusioned twenty something guy who having dropped out of society hitch hikes across country living as a modern day vagrant before perishing in the Alaskan wilderness. Steeped in bittersweet futility, 'Into The Wild' suits Vedder perfectly allowing his emotions to flow through each track until the film becomes almost second place to the soundtrack, leaving Vedder's music to tell the story for itself.

With his signature solemn baritone tied around earthy folk driven tracks Vedder is able to pour every emotion into the album as classic Pearl Jam trademarks rear their heads amongst quintessential Vedder honesty. That said though this is very much an Eddie Vedder project with the man himself playing every instrument on the album right down to the jaunty jangles of a ukulele and is perhaps because of this isolation that Vedder is able to depict the film's story so well. From the upbeat carefree spirit that stampedes its way out of 'Far Behind' to the calming sadness that seeps out of the soulful crooning of 'Guaranteed', Vedder is able to portray every scene of the film with vivid clarity, brilliantly capturing the isolation of McCandless along with his free spirited nature. 'Into The Wild' essentially is not a cheerful story with the ending dominating throughout but Vedder manages to almost make you forget that, being a true story, you know the outcome simply by musically illustrating McCandles high and low points. He is able to encapsulate the romanticism of escaping the modern world, of living life as nature intended with a carefree attitude but still allowing an element of foreboding to penetrate through each song so you can never entirely forget the tragic outcome.

By draping the tracks with earthy folk roots Vedder is able to not only marry a soundtrack to a film but also manages to capture the essence of the surroundings McCandless was in. Tracks like 'Rise' and 'Tuolumne' are so vast in their sound but so rich with a folk led base it is like you are actually in the Alaskan wilderness with McCandless, with Vedder as your guide gently taking you into his confidence and taking you on the journey with him. And it is this open honesty that makes 'Into The Wild' such a wonderful soundtrack. Not only do we get to experience what McCandless did but we also get a tentative look at Vedder himself as his emotions ooze from each track and his uncompromised honesty shines through.