- Accidental Innuendo: No, the band's name wasn't based on semen. They had to replace "Mookie Blaylock". The bassist came with "Pearl", and after a Neil Young show in which every song was a jam...
- Anvilicious: "Bu$shleaguer" can come across this way, since its lyrics are much more direct than other politically-charged songs in their catalogue.
- Archive Panic: If you start seeking the official bootlegs, that is.
- Awesome Music: Ten is one of the highest-selling debut albums of all time, up there with Boston's self-titled and Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction, and their live shows are commonly agreed to be this. "Given To Fly" from the Yield album also qualifies.
- "W.M.A.," the centerpiece of Vs., is certainly this. It builds from a complex tribal drumbeat to a furious anti-racist rant, backed by an eerie bassline and even militaristic chanting.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: A few of these here and there, including "Pry, To", "Aye Davanita", and "The Color Red".
- Black Sheep Hit: Their cover of "Last Kiss". Also, "Better Man", the band's biggest hit in the United States in terms of pop radio airplay, is much more acoustic and midtempo than most of their other songs.
- By the same logic, modern and classic rock stations mostly play from Ten, Vs. and maybe Vitalogy if they're feeling charitable. They will play newer Pearl Jam upon release, but it tends to fade fast.
- Covered Up: "Last Kiss" and its B-side "Soldier of Love"; lesser-known examples include "Leaving Here", "Sonic Reducer", "It's OK" and "Gremmie Out Of Control". Mother Love Bone's "Crown of Thorns" may be best known as a Pearl Jam stage number to those who don't know the background as well.
- Epic Riff: "Even Flow", "Jeremy" (at least on the bass), "Rearviewmirror", and "Save You".
- Face of the Band: Eddie Vedder, to the point where "Weird Al" Yankovic made a song about him.
- First Installment Wins: Ten is generally considered to be an iconic album; none of their other albums have matched its popularity.
- Although .vs and Vitalogy rival said album among critics and fans.
- And helped by a Broken Base, almost every album is accompanied by reviews saying it's "the best since Vitalogy".
- Funny Moments: During the '96 Olympic Games, they recorded a Power Ballad written by the engineer who mixed No Code, "Olympic Platinum". It's hysterical.
How hard can it be?
How high can I jump?
How high can I throw?
How high can I run
How long can I hold my breath and stay underwater and wave my legs around in perfect unison with my partner who doesn't really understand me and my Olympic dream, my Olympic dream
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Pearl Jam are still rather big in America, but they remain absolutely HUGE in Australia. They headlined the biggest festival in the country in 2014 and at least eight of their albums have topped the ARIA charts.
- Growing the Beard: Many feel this happened with Vitalogy.
- Harsher in Hindsight:
- "Jeremy", especially its accompanying video, after a rash of school shootings in The '90s (especially Columbine), even though in the song Jeremy shoots himself. Once again after Virginia Tech, and yet again after the Sandy Hook shootings.
- Also, "Alive" gets pretty eerie to listen to once we realize that with Kurt Cobain's suicide in 1994, Layne Staley's death by drug overdose in 2002, and Chris Cornell's death by suicide in 2017, Eddie is now the last one of the main frontmen of grunge standing.
- Hype Backlash: From anyone who felt either the production on their debut album Ten was sloppy, or that they were too classic rock to be part of the whole grunge/alternative insurgence. Most infamous among them: one Kurt Cobain. Eddie Vedder actually agreed, which contributed to the experimental nature of Vitalogy.
- Memetic Mutation: The screaming skeleton pilot from "Do The Evolution" has been used in some versions of the WTF BOOM! meme.
- Misaimed Fandom:
- People have gotten married to "Better Man". It's about a woman who hasn't left an abusive relationship because she doesn't want to be alone. The Lyrical Dissonance probably doesn't help. "Alive" (about Parental Incest) might also count, but Eddie Vedder is on record as saying that the fans' interpretation of the song actually changed the meaning of the song for him as well.
- "Jeremy" was one of Barry Loukatis's inspirations for going on a school shooting.
- Nightmare Fuel: The video for "Jeremy" mixed this and Tear Jerker. Also, the Animated Music Video "Do The Evolution", a great illustration of Humans Are Bastards.
- "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Just about every Post-Grunge band has aped the band's vocals and guitar sound. The band is not happy about it.